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I'm a newbie in the midst of a fierce ALGAE WAR. Please help save my 2.5 gallon tank!

I'm about to redo my tank, putting in action all the stuff I've learned from this website over the past six weeks. I hear that floating plants, that soak up nutrients from the water column, can help combat algae. Which plant(s) would you recommend?

I'll try anything. Even duckweed, if it works--although I've heard once you've got duckweed, it's pretty much impossible to get rid of.

Also, has anyone had any luck with barley straw--or whatever that stuff is I've heard mention of--in a nano tank?

Thanks, Scott.
 

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Listing your setup details would be most helpful. Are you using any lighting (how much, how long and what kind)? Are you fertilizing ~ if so with what, and again how much and how often? Tank inhabitants, how much you feed them, how heavily planted is your tank, how long it's been set up, water test results, CO2, etc.

If this is a new tank, it might simply be "new tank syndrome" and will pass once beneficial bacteria grow in. If it's not, then listing all the details will help others more experienced than me (I'm a newbie, too) help diagnose your problem.

As for barley straw, that's something that some pond keepers swear by. Some say there's something in the straw that combats algae. I think it's just the extra surface area that helps ~ more area for more beneficial bacteria to colonize means more crap filtered and clearer water. I did the same thing once with a huge wad of plastic orange "snow fence" barrier stuff ~ just wadded it up and sunk it in the bottom of my pond. Green water turned clear in half the time it normally does. And there wasn't anything rotting away in my pond that I'd have to clean up later.
 

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I posted on Barley straw a while back and had very little response. The main thing was that you need to give the straw some time to begin to decompose, you can't be changing it out constantly or it'll have no effect.

I've not tried it yet either.
 

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not all duckweed is impossible to get rid of. I can sell you 3/4 pound of pure GIANT duckweed or about enough to cover 2sq/ft, which are 1cm wide and grow in long chains that can easily be removed for only $5 including shipping. however duckweed alone may not solve your problems. PM me anytime if you are interested in a purchase.

small is regular duckweed, large leaf chains are GIANT
 

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Thats not giant duckweed. It is salvinia minima. Very nice floating plant. I love the stuff. It grows very very fast.
 

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Thats not giant duckweed. It is salvinia minima. Very nice floating plant. I love the stuff. It grows very very fast.
I'm not sure you can tell the difference from salvinia minima and giant duckweed (spirodela polyrhiza) from these pics. They're very, very similar.

Regardless, I can definitely attest to floating plants helping to control algae, but they're far from a cure-all. I added some of spypet's giant duckweed to my 90g that doesn't have any real plants because my Oscar won't tolerate them. It's probably combination of some nutrients getting sucked up and the fact that it's blocking a lot of light from the tank, but I don't have nearly the algae issues I had before.

That said, you need to find out why you're getting these algae outbreaks in the first place and resolve it instead of trying to band-aid it with floaters, IMO. Also, giant duckweed would be way out of proportion to a 2.5g and barley straw is just ugly.

I vote finding another solution.
 

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I've yet to talk to anyone in the planted tank hobby that's suggested any real effects from the barley straw. I tested it....maybe 8 years ago when they started selling. I also tried the raw stuff and fermented some etc.

None of it worked on the reference tanks. Steve tried it and had the same lack of response on several algae species.

In ponds, it's namely for green water, green water is rarely an issue for plant tank folks.

Floating plants do what?
Block light.

I tell folks to use less light or if they have algae issues, reduce the intensity, most never listen or do everything else before trying that for some reason.

You can place screen under your lights and do the same thing.

It's not due to nutrient export that's reducing the algae, that's easy to test for and we can add lots of nutrients without any algae bloom.

Neither floating plants nor screen affect CO2, so both nutrients/CO2 are out/falsified as causes

Screen can be varied easier and it is more consistent.

You can also rise the CO2 and dose more/do more/large % water changes etc to address the high/er light or a combo of both.

Stay away from algae "cures". Focus on growing plants.

Plants do not grow algae because they lack Bob's miracle Algae cure in a bottle for 14.99$.

And our hobby is about growing plants, not killing algae.
So focus on that and the algae will not be a big issue.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Barley straw is not really a good cure, unless it's barley extract liquid.
the straw is a preventitive for ponders, it really works too.
 

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So what difference is the extract vs the straw?
I've used both. Neither did anything to BBA, Hair or BGA.

We used it for awhile. Several folks used it and reported the same things back when ALS started selling it several years ago. Shawn Prescott(nice guy BTW) wanted to tell me all this jazz about it etc, bottom line: it did not do anything and algae grows not because of of a lack of Barley straw, rather, because of the lack of good growing conditions/nutrients etc.

This is why no algae cure will ever win favor. They do not grow the plants which is why we get in the hobby, not to kill algae. It side steps the real issue and root cause.

Hey, if I thought it was useful I'd say so for planted tanks, ponds, lakes etc, but bales of rotting straw in my pond is not my idea of a decent pond or is the extract for 20$ for 16oz. I've never suggested it to a client and they have tried it in the past to no avail.

Then they call me to fix the real problem, not some snake oil method.
If you look at the research, about 1/2 of the papers fund it to be inconclusive, and those that found it worked, tended to have no plants in their ponds and lives in northern climates, researchers in the US have not found similar results.

The amount of research has also curiously trailed way off after an initial spurt.
There would be more research if they had found more to it? I think so, but like myself, they didn't not find the claims to be valid. If you did, bully for you, show how and why. They explain and how and why I nor the researchers here in the USA did not either.

Or perhaps it was something else going on?

I have no answers there and no results to show for the treatment.
The test I as well as several other did was pretty good and we had decent algae cultures growing, as well as what? 5 years of marketing and sales have produced very little results for success on the web. A pond owner using UV or some floating plants can easily achieve the same if not better results.

Pardon the suspicious attitude, but I've been reading algae cure alls from hucksters for 20+ years and none of them really address the right issue nor show any definite cure other than : copper, Excel, both of which are nutrients at least.

A new comes down the pipe every year. Or an old one is revived by folks who were not around the last time the folks on the web tested it. Steve Dixon used it 6 months on BBA and never saw anything.

To rule out your own difference in tending your tank: induce the algae of choice on purpose, then when in full bloom, add the herbicide/algicide.
This addresses the cause of the algae to begin with and allows you to experiment with a control, an algae infested tank.

Since that is what this product is to be tested upon is it not?

But if all you have are folks suddenly trying things, often many things, and have algae issues they cannot resolve at the root to start with, nor are willing to do the test, then a few of these things are by chance alone, are bound to appear to correlate, but it is impossible to proscribe cause to them.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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...This is why no algae cure will ever win favor. They do not grow the plants which is why we get in the hobby, not to kill algae. It side steps the real issue and root cause...
I hear what you are saying, but curious nevertheless. Do you feel the same way about Moss Balls/Marimo Balls/Tribbles (Cladophora aegagropila). They are said to outcompete the algae since they use the same nutrients as algae thereby starving the algae. In fact, if I am not mistaken, these balls are actual balls of algae but they are not as invasive as regular algae and stay restricted to ball form. They apparently do not attach themselves to driftwood, gravel, glass/plastic, or decor.
 

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Tom, i understand it as a preventitive in plantless, or sparsley planted koi ponds. it seems to target greenwater algae.

i think the best way to battle algae is to take conditions out of it's favor and into the favor of higher plants.

RE: marimo balls
They do help outcompete lower algae, i think they probally use more PO4 than most plants, therefore if you have the correct nutrient ratios, you wouldn't need to turn to the plant as an algae battle tool, but could still use it as a nice plant.

Cladophora algae is said to thrive in the same conditions as higher plants, therefore, amano shrimp and Excel or H202 treatment seems to work well.

since marimo balls are a clado algae, then maybe this plant represents an "evolution" or "mutation" or even "transformation" if you will, between lower algae, and higher plants?
 

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RE: marimo balls
...Cladophora algae is said to thrive in the same conditions as higher plants, therefore, amano shrimp and Excel or H202 treatment seems to work well...
This is good to know. Thanks for sharing. So if I have marimo balls in my nano, dosing with Excel should not kill them. I assumed the opposite. I figured that since they were a type of algae, dosing with Excel would have a negative effect on them.
 

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i'm not sure, caRE to do an experiment?
 

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I hear what you are saying, but curious nevertheless.
And that is why they sell Barley extract, algae cure alls and other snake oils.

That and desperation and marketing/advertising.
"Well, it's only 19.99, I can try and if it doesn't work, I'm only out 20$"
Send me 20$ instead. I'll help you too and you'll have better results.:tongue:

Rather than educating the hobbyists about the issue and how to do horticulture, it's easier to make a fast buck off of you.

Treat the cause, not the symptom.

Teach someone to kill algae, they will buy plants and algicide from you.
Teach someone to grow plants, they will sell you plants and buy neither.

Larger macro algae like the Cladophora and Chara are more like higher plants.
And they are more related to higher plants than other species of green algae, of which all land plants are ancesteral to.

They also get algae covered and have epiphytes as well.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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i'm not sure, caRE to do an experiment?
In the name of Aquascience, why not especially if the results may help someone down the line. I have ordered 4 marimo balls. Once i receive them, I will throw them in the 10 gallon that gets a daily dosing of excel(normal amounts of course) and see what happens. My 2.5 gallon nano is overrun with thread algae and corrective measures(overdosing with excel, addition of amano shrimp and cherry shrimp, reduction in photoperiod, 50% weekly water changes, etc.,) seem to be doing little to stop it. I will throw in a marimo ball in the 2.5 gallon nano and see if the overdoses of excel kill it or if it survives it reduces or reverses algae growth. If the marimo ball in the 10 gallon and 2.5gallon dies due to excel dosing, I will still have 2 balls left and I will have learned something. Lol, perhaps what Tom Barr is trying to tell me. Oh well, you know how it is I guess I just have to find out the hard way :)
 

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Some of us must do the hard way.
I'm that way myself.

If you spot treat the Excel on the Excel, it kills plants also at high enough concentrations, just about any and everything living.

What counts is the dose. The excel works well because it's not enough to hurt plants/fish, but enough to hurt most algae.

I had some Clad balls in the past, the Excel I recalled never harmed them much. Nor Chara.

Amano shrimp/SAE's etc also do not harm the Clado balls.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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