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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I'm new here! Generally I go with very low-tech set-ups and don't really do much in the way of ferts and keep plants that are happy with crummy lights and eco-complete.

I have a fairly new set-up and I'd like help in growing algae. The tank is a 20 gallon long housing "rainbow-colored" stiphodon gobies. Shortly I'll be adding a few Reticulated Hillstreams as well. I have 40W of T8 light on it.

While cycling, I seeded several algaes and left the lights on almost all the time. The cycling process produced nutrients and I also dosed with plain old Schultz 10-15-10 liquid plant food. I now have nice brownish red algaes covering my rocks (not all diatoms, I don't think) and some nice green ones coming in as the browns get eaten. I haven't dosed any of the Schultz since the fish moved in, as I'm unsure of its safety.

The tank gets plenty of oxygen from an oversized HOB filter plus a powerhead with air coming in. I don't do any CO2, but can add Excel if needed.
I have a couple of small anubias, a few java ferns and some mosses. No other plants. The Anubiases are gloriously covered in algae, and I'm hoping the java ferns follow suit.

I have three questions:
1. Can I use the Schultz, and if so, what should my dosing be?
2. If I can't use the Schultz, what's the easiest way for me to fertilize the tank to encourage algae growth. Easy is the key for me.
3. I have some plain old Flourish. Should I be dosing that as well? And at the recommended level?

Many thanks!
 

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Have you ever thought about just having a little too much light? Seems easy to grow algae by maintaining a slight imbalance in light vs. nutrients (carbon, NPK, micros, etc.).
 

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i was the master of growing algae but now i think i am an apprentice algae destroyer!! :D
if it has direct sunlight it will go crazy!
all about imbalance, as far a im aware it will come whatever and if you dont fight it then it should take off.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Honestly, I have my 2W/gallon and that's as much as I can do. And you lost me at "imbalance" :)
Some day I'm definitely going to figure out all those ratios and get nice lights and CO2, etc., but this ain't the day or the tank!
 

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Imbalance: Basically, plants grow best with a certain ratio of light vs nutrients, while algae will grow with a lot wider range of ratios. If you want algae to grow instead of your plants, I'd actually back off on the ferts and crank the light as much as I could. I think your algae will grow pretty close to in proportion to the amount of light you give it. Is there any chance you could expose the tank to sunlight? Algae goes nuts over sun light.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, it gets a bit of sunlight. It's across the room from a big picture window that's open all day. So you think no ferts at all would be best? Because of the algae-eating nature of the fish, I don't actually feed the tank much, so there isn't much in the way of nutrients coming into the system.
I could upgrade my lighting, but I don't want to upgrade the amount of heat they put off for these cooler-water fish...
 

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Light is what drives algae growth. Put a single AH Supply 55 watt light kit over that low tank and you are guaranteed to be able to grow more algae than you could ever want. You can probably find a used AH Supply 55 watt light on Craigslist if you are patient. Most people are switching to T5HO lights, so the AHS lights aren't expensive used. Since you don't say where you live I can't look to see if there is one available near you. If there is an aquarium or aquatic plant club near you, join it and you will almost certainly find a AHS light for a very low price.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you! I'm looking into that. I live not terribly far from St Louis, so I'll check around craigslist there. What K bulb would be best for my purposes?
 

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The color temperature of the bulb isn't of much concern if you want to grow algae. The front glass will soon be opaque with algae, so you won't see much inside the tank anyway. I hope you realize that once algae gets started good no amount of any kind of fish will ever be able to keep up with it. BBA in particular isn't considered edible by any fish I know of, unless it is already dead. And GDA will quickly cover the whole inside of the glass, and even algae eaters can't remove it fast enough to keep up.

Why not just shoot for an algae free tank, and rely on spinach leaves, zucchini, etc. for food for the vegetarians in the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All of the inhabitants will be specialized algae eaters. I've read in multiple places that the Stiphodons will even eat BBA, not that I want that stuff. I'm planning on doing whatever it takes to keep the front pane open, but other than that I really want to load up the algae. Also, it's probably already to late to go back! We'll see. Thanks for the help.
 

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IMO i would proceed with caution, once algae is prolific it is a lot harder to get rid of... and what the point of an aquarium if you cant see anything?? :)
i have a lot of algae eaters and while its always in the back of my mind they are going hungry when i put any veg or seaweed in they dont touch it, i also dont clean the glass on one end of my tank very often nearest a window so it has a good harvest of green algae on the glass so they always have access to a good supply if needed... bear in mind most algae eaters are also scavengers and while grazing algae will eat any other organic matter as a matter of course.
 

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You can leave your current lights on for 12+ hours. This works too if you don't have the intensity. Don't change the the water too often and algae seem to like micro nutrients a lot.

Don't use excel, it's an algaecide.
 
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