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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m going to try to avoid writing a novel about this, so here’s the short and sweet:

Finished cycling a new 29g aquarium fishless (with plants) around the beginning of December. Lighting is Fluval Planted 3.0. Using Flourish (regular) and Flourish Iron 2x/week. Stocked with some freshwater tropical fish, plants thrive. Green spot algae appears, I turn the lights down to 65% 8 hours/day. Plants do great... until nitrates run out. The fish weren’t producing enough nitrates. Get (14) more fish, still no nitrates. Start supplementing potassium nitrate and phosphate. Yay, finally nitrates. Start seeing some plant growth again, BOOM... Fluffy plants! Fluffy log, fluffy EVERYTHING!
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I started supplementing CO2 a few days ago, but so far I haven’t been able to get my drop checker past emerald green towards the end of the photoperiod.

I already have 6 otos, a pleco, and a nerite snail and I do not want to add more algae eaters without solving the problem...

Was this caused by too many phosphates? I have a testing kit on order to arrive soon, but I’ve done 3 water changes since I last added phosphates and this algae keeps getting fluffier and fluffier.

Please advise.:)
 

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IMO your plants were missing some key nutrients until recently. This made them decline and start to slowly decompose emitting Ammonia into the water attracting algae to them. It is probably not the PO4. It's the condition of the plants. You are turning things around pretty well. You have corrected some major deficiencies in your nutrient dosing routine. Carbon is 40% of a plants mass so it's good that you got that going. There is a balancing act that has to be done between light intensity and CO2. I think you will find the balance based on what you said about turning down your lights when you thought they needed to be turned down. Keep going with your instinct. I hate to say this but from the looks of the plants in the picture I would replace some of them with new plants. It sounds like you're testing and not just dumping fertilizer in. The only other thing would be to stay on top of your tank maintenance. Weekly water changes with attention to removing detritus. Good luck. You will have the satisfaction of making a comeback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
IMO your plants were missing some key nutrients until recently. This made them decline and start to slowly decompose emitting Ammonia into the water attracting algae to them. It is probably not the PO4. It's the condition of the plants. You are turning things around pretty well. You have corrected some major deficiencies in your nutrient dosing routine. Carbon is 40% of a plants mass so it's good that you got that going. There is a balancing act that has to be done between light intensity and CO2. I think you will find the balance based on what you said about turning down your lights when you thought they needed to be turned down. Keep going with your instinct. I hate to say this but from the looks of the plants in the picture I would replace some of them with new plants. It sounds like you're testing and not just dumping fertilizer in. The only other thing would be to stay on top of your tank maintenance. Weekly water changes with attention to removing detritus. Good luck. You will have the satisfaction of making a comeback.
Thanks for your reply! I’ve been wondering about getting rid of the worst of my ludwigia plants in the photo but I wanted to give them a fair shot before throwing in the towel. Tomorrow I’m going to pull out the anubias nana on the log and try treating it to kill the algae. I’ve been religiously doing water changes once a week and doing a thorough gravel siphon.

Will the algae on my driftwood eventually die, or will I need to toss that out too? I also have a thick carpet of algae on the back glass, I wasn’t sure if it would eventually die off on its own, or if I would need to manually remove it? The last time I owned an aquarium I never had issues with algae, so this is all new to me. Thanks again for your advice!
 

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Was your last aquarium this high tech? It's like you got a Maserati. I wouldn't know how to drive one at first. Don't panic the algae just means your water parameters are good enough to grow something. I would leave the algae on the back and the sides for the time being. It will compete with the other algae in places you don't want it. When things have settled, you will hopefully be able rub or brush the algae on your driftwood off. Are you going to use Excel on that Anubias? I might try that on mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I grew a few plants in my last aquarium, but definitely with less strong lighting and no CO2. Not sure how they survived, I didn’t even use fertilizers. My tanks were cycled but I also never bumped up my filter capacity with sponges or bio rings... super basic lol

I don’t have a bottle of Excel on hand so I’m going to attempt a hydrogen peroxide dip first.

Per LiveAquaria:
When preparing a hydrogen peroxide plant dip, be sure to use 3% hydrogen peroxide. Effective against algae, parasites, fungus, and bacteria. Mix 2-3ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water. Dip your plant in the hydrogen peroxide plant dipsolution for no longer than 5 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update: I tossed out the worst of the fluffy plants last week and planted some healthy bacopa. I noticed today that now the bacopa is beginning to grow fluffy algae, but the new plants are healthy and have already grown since placing them in the tank. :unsure:

My phosphate testing kit is reading 2.0ppm phosphates, the kit says anything above 0 is bad, but I’ve heard that Green Spot Algae can be caused by too much light and too few phosphates, so I have no clue what a good phosphate level is supposed to be.

I finally had to take a razor blade to the back wall of the tank because the algae was growing out of control. It looks better, but my driftwood is looking worse.

I’m not over fertilizing, I’m pushing CO2, my tank lights are on for 8 hours/day with the first and last hour ramping up and down. If anyone has any more ideas, I’d love to hear them.
 

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I'm currently attacking a hair algae problem that was brought upon by a plant I bought off some guy on kijiji. I had quarantined the plant for 3 days using alum but that only removes pests such as snails and worms. Where I failed was that I probably should have use a H2o2 dip but was concerned it might melt the moss. Though my issue is not as severe as yours, in my view I see only three possible outcomes. One, live with it and try to find some right balance with light, Co2, supplement/nutrients, and clean-up crew. Note, any new plant you introduce will sooner or later become covered with algae; Two, go out on a full assault. In my case, it's easier because I don't have fish yet which gives me the flexibility of using an algaecide, blackout the tank, and a UV sterilizer because no matter how much you scrape the glass, H2o2 spot treat, spores are spreading around the tank. They might not be seen but anytime there is an imbalance, you will see a flair up; Three, tear down the tank and restart again (probably the cheapest method over the long-run when you think of time and aggravation). Pick plants that are tissue cultured and be careful not to introduce algae in to the tank. Don't use water from other tanks. Any rocks or wood that goes in is properly sterilized using h2o2.

Once you get hair algae, unless you do a full out assault or tear it down.. it will always be there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your input! I’m going to try finding a balance between light/CO2/nutrients because I accidentally started a science experiment.

I set up a quarantine tank for a few shrimp I brought home and I threw my algae covered plants in it. I fertilized them with flourish, excel, iron, and nitrates, and the algae is dying off on those plants. I’m already pushing CO2 in the big tank, but I’m going to start dosing excel and turn the lights down to 55% and see what happens.

The anubia I treated in H202 is still covered in hair algae, the H202 looks like it killed/browned the green spot algae on it but the hair was untouched.lol
 
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