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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have had a 75 gallon tank set up for a few years. For the first year or so everything was fine. I got lazy and did not replace my bulbs like I knew I should. Then I got this plague of algae. The algae is dark green and looks like very short beard algae (around 1/16th inch long). It is impossible to remove from the leaves and requires a razor blade to remove from the glass. It grows on the glass, the leaves of every plant, everything but the fish.

I replaced the bulbs and I normally do regular weekly water changes of at least 30%. I have 6 40 watt bulbs in there but since the algae has attacked I cut back to 4. I am using Phillips Colortone Bulbs which have the same wavelengths of light of the grow lights but are much cheaper.

My substrate is 3 inches of Shultz Clay Soil Conditioner and a inch of Eco Complete on top.

I have some crypts, anubias, Val Grass, and something the guy called "Temple Plants" which used to grow like a week, but are choked to death now with Algae. The tank is not overloaded with fish, but I have no algae eaters. I haven't done any CO2 supplementation as of yet and the only fertilizer I've used are small tabs you put into the substrate near plant roots.

I got my water tested at the local pet store (and the clerk recommended this site) and the specs are as follows:

pH- 7.6
Phosphates- Approx 1.5
GH- 300 ppm
KH- 180+ ppm
Nitrate- Approx 20 ppm
No Nitrite or Ammonia.

I'm about to chuck this all in the trash and start over. What would you folks recommend?

Dave
 

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Hopefully, someone that can better understand the chain of events will come along and chime in here, but:

It seems strange to me that the tank was fine with that much light and no C02, and then the algae showed up After the lights were "Bad".

Question: When You refer to replacing the lights--are You talking about the "Recommended" time-frame to replace them, or do You mean they actually went bad/burned out?

Without more information and shooting from the hip: It sounds like the dynamics of Your system changed and now You need C02 and Ferts. Maybe the Plant mass has increased enough to the point that there isn't enough nutrients (ferts) to maintain the balance that You had before. That would explain to me why You suddenly have the algae showing up.

You have just over 3wpg of lighting. That generally requires C02 and water-column fert dosing anyway.Reducing the lighting to just over 2wpg was a Great first step, and may really help the situation without having to go to C02 and Ferts dosing.

After re-reading Your post--it sounds like Green Spot Algae(GSA) combined with Green Dust Algae (GDA). Means You need more P (Phosphorus). Once You add that--You may then need to add N (Nitrate) and/or K (Potassium) and then micros. :biggrin: Sounds like a hassle and can be intimidating at first--but its really not. Just a Learning-curve. :proud:

Hopefully, someone else will come along and confirm or correct what I am saying here.

I'm about to chuck this all in the trash and start over. What would you folks recommend?
Personally, I would recommend You sticking around. There's plenty of Folks here that can help You get through this and whip that Tank back into Good shape! :proud:


HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses so far.

No, the bulbs weren't burned out, but I've been told they lose a lot of their wavelengths in a years time and need to be rotated out.

Right now I'm running 160 Watts in the 75 Gal Tank a little over 8 hours per day.

I am still a plant noob, but isn't Phosphorous a bad thing and causes algae spikes?

Additionally, if I used a water fertilizer, won't I have the same problem? Shouldn't I be using a substrate fertilizer instead?
 

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Why don't you start by cutting your lighting down a few hours and get some CO2. I am no expert either on Algae prevention or extermination, but from what I have seen and heard, usually the lighting is the culprit (aside for poor fert dosing).

From what I gather, algae is a plant (so to speak), but it reacts alot faster to different water parameters than your plants do. Plants do not react quickly, the algae does. So, in order to prevent algae, or reduce it, is to keep things consistent in your tank and make changes very gradually over time.

That said, you should try and remove as much of the algae first. Then cut the lighting down for a few days. Another option is to add more plants. More plants, means more nutrient abosrbtion that the algae can't use.

Search around this site a bit...there are alot of people with different solutions (or preventative measures) to algae.

But like I said, my belief is that it always come back to lighting.
 

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Ok, I'm a bit busy at the moment, but I'm going to throw up this post--and then I'll probably post a bit more in a little while.

Light is the plant's driving force. It determines how fast/much the plants want to grow. This desire is then limited by C02 and Nutrients (N, P, K and Micros, generally). When something is out of balance--plant growth is inhibited and algae gets the upper-hand. Where that balance is varies from setup to setup--its individual. In this case, it appears that something in the system has changed: More or less fish/plants/life, more or less feeding (overall--quantity and/or frequency) that's why there is a change and algae has started showing up.

but isn't Phosphorous a bad thing and causes algae spikes?
No, that's fish forum myth and the opposite is true. I have been message boarding for a bit over a decade now, and been around here and APC for a couple of yrs now--You are not going to find more Completely True Cutting-edge Freshwater Information anywhere else. Period. Hands-down. And, Yes---I have Looked! :biggrin:

Additionally, if I used a water fertilizer, won't I have the same problem? Shouldn't I be using a substrate fertilizer instead?
Possibility, but not the normal route, and it depends upon Your particular setup.

Just hang in there. Your bulbs should be fine for now--new or not. Cut Your lights down to about 6 hrs a day and leave it at the 160w. This will buy You time to help get things in order and learn the basic stuff that You need to know.

Again, this can all seem very complex, intimidating, etc--its really not--just a learning curve. :proud:

HTH
 

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Questions:

The plant mass in the tank has increased over time as the plants have grown, correct?

Have You added or lost any fish or other non-plant life that would coincide with the algae appearance?

Has Your feeding quantity or frequency changed?

What is the tank setup around: Discus, other cichlids, just a community tank, plants, etc? What's the reason for the tank?
 

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the only this that changes with a bulb over time is intensity right?
Honestly, I'm not sure.

But--everything else being equal--the plant growth: Like the Vals spreading around creating new plants, etc, will suck up more nutrients creating an inbalance.

Without answers to the questions above--My Guess is this: Bioload and input (food) are about the same. Plant mass has increased sufficiently to suck up all of the P--that's why the N is at a nice 20ppm. The shortage of P is causing the GDA and GSA. The nutrients are all interconnected--so there maybe be other shortages or borderline levels. Without P the plants will stop sucking up the N. In theory N will increase. However, feeding the fish adds more N and P and whatever else. Sounds like more P is need, but that may lead to needing more K so the P can do its job. Then, eventually, micros will come into play.

It doesn't sound like the tank is currently very out-of-balance, but---Out-of-balance it is. By lowering the light levels--it may reduce the plant's growth drive to sufficiently put everything back in order--maybe not. At least it will buy some time to get updated and get some ferts and/or C02 if needed.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The tank has 4 angels about 4 inches high, some diamond tetras, 2 clown loaches, and a few Cories.

I'm going to do a waterchange tonight, remove a lot of the algae infested leaves, and go get some flourish fertilizer tonight.

I'd like to get the algae under control before I mess around with a yeast reactor.
 

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Flourish is just micros. You need the P and K more at this point, but a bottle of Flourish will be needed too, so go ahead and pick that up. When You buy Flourish products--You pay a lot for the water. So, You may want to place an order with Rex Grigg For the N, P, and K. As You will see--its not expensive. I believe he has his supplies lined up and, if so, You should have Your stuff in a week--He can tell You for sure what's going on. He also sells CSM+B. Plenty of folks around here use it. Some don't like it--and I am one of those that don't like it. I prefer the Flourish and have started using tropica mastergrow also. My suggestion would be to checkout the flourish first.

I use a lot of P and K.

1lb of P (KH2PO4)will last a long long time. $3

I go through a lot more K (K2SO4), so I would suggest 1lb of that to start. $2

I rarely use/need to add any N (KNO3), so I have some collecting dust. But that said--a lot of folks around here use it, so I would suggest picking up 1lb--just to have it on hand in case you do need it. $2

Or You can check out his Combo pack--for under $20--Your set and would give You a chance to check out the CSM+B.

Your call......:proud:

Personally, I would skip the Iron (Fe) at this point. You should have enough in the micros (Flourish, CSM+B, etc)

Flourish Excel is a carbon substitute by Seachem. It can help Your situtation, but can also get pretty expensive on a 75g tank, again: Your Call....:proud:

DIY C02 can be done on a 75g. Its not often recommended, but its been done before. Just keep in mind the extra work and the expense will add up over time. Pressurized is a much better choice--but expensive to setup. For some money is a major factor. Your call.....:proud:

Keep the lights down to the 160w and about 6 hrs for now. Get the Ferts and sort out Pressurized v. DIY C02--the rest should be downhill.......:biggrin:

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I know I'm a bad tank photographer, but here are the pics. Now that I've studied it more, I think I have BBA. What do you think?



 

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I know I'm a bad tank photographer, but here are the pics. Now that I've studied it more, I think I have BBA. What do you think?
Yep, looks like it from here. You can kill it off by Over-dosing Excel, but its the first sign that Your C02 is not up to par. Again, You can also use Excel as a carbon (C02) substitute, but it will get expensive on a 75g. If You've lowered Your lights and reduced the photoperiod--just get some excel to knock the BBA back, and then sort out the C02.

Both of my C02 tanks ran out, so I got them refilled yesterday. I've been dosing Excel to supplement the carbon, and using ~30ml/55g is killing the bit of BBA that I have right now.

Here's a Link:

Excel as a treatment for BBA? Experiences?

How is everything else coming along?
 
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