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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 58 gallon aquarium set up in February that I have been having green algae problems with.

Heavily planted, Co2 running. Lights are on 8 hours a day, Co2 comes on one hour before they are on and shuts off one hour before they go off. One canister filter rated for up to 50 gallon and one HOB filter rated for up to 60 gallons.

Temp 78-80F
Current parameters are as follows:
pH 6.8
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrates 5.0
Phosphate 2

I also tested my tap water and the phosphate is reading 2-5 ppm from the tap. I just purchased the phosphate test today to see if that was my problem.

I feed 3 small meals a day that are consumed entirely within 2 minutes, I have an automatic feeder. I also supplement with a variety of frozen and bottom tabs for my corys. I have a cleanup crew of 2 ghost shrimp, 6 corys, and 6 nerite snails. I do a roughly 50% water change weekly, and I rinse my media off in old tank water at that time and stir/vacuum the gravel. I was dosing seachem flourish once a week during water change, but I've switched to twice a week smaller dosing. I also have root tabs I've replenished at the 2-3 month mark.

Is it the phosphate giving me the algae problems? I know plants require phosphate but I've also read any thing over 1 can cause blooms. I know the tap water matches what's in the tank so it seems as if it's coming from the tap, however I have an axolotl tank and a heavily planted betta tank and neither of them have any algae.

This is directly from my tap
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Can you get the tap water quality report from your suplier? I wonder what else is there in your water, specifically the Iron content.
 

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I hoped the water report would shed some light but that didn't happen.

Generally speaking the 2ppm PO4 is in the high range but it's not critical. I don't think this is the root cause of your algae.

What light fixture are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Your light is very low considering you are supplying CO2. You should bring back the white light to full brightness. Ideally you would need two of these fixtures to get somewhere in the mid light range.

Your Nitrogen level is low especially in comparison to your Phosphate level. Usually the proportion should be 10:1 meaning to every 10ppm of NO3 there should be 1ppm PO4. So you should bring up your NO3 to about 20ppm.

Continue dosing the Flourish but in the future you should better get some CSM+B and mix the fertilizer by your self with the addition of some Magnesium.

Trim out any badly affected leaves, any yellow dying leaves. Add some snails, 5-10 snails won't hurt having in there.
 

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I have the same amount of PO4 as you here in GA, out of my tap. I had green hair algae and of bit BBA for a month. I trimmed and removed as much as I could, added a UV, and cut lighting down to 4 hours for a week. I added 6 SAE’s, and some snails. I also added an additional smaller paintball CO2 tank using a bubble diffuser on top of my 5 pound that goes into a CO2 reactor. I’ve read that micro CO2 bubbles hitting the actual plants is also a benefit apparently so I thought I’d give it a try and it seems to be working out well. It’s been more than a month now and I don’t see anymore algae so far. I’m also dosing thrive half the recommended amount 3 times a week and the plants are responding well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your light is very low considering you are supplying CO2. You should bring back the white light to full brightness. Ideally you would need two of these fixtures to get somewhere in the mid light range.

Your Nitrogen level is low especially in comparison to your Phosphate level. Usually the proportion should be 10:1 meaning to every 10ppm of NO3 there should be 1ppm PO4. So you should bring up your NO3 to about 20ppm.

Continue dosing the Flourish but in the future you should better get some CSM+B and mix the fertilizer by your self with the addition of some Magnesium.

Trim out any badly affected leaves, any yellow dying leaves. Add some snails, 5-10 snails won't hurt having in there.
Thank you. I had another lamp on there and full light but was worried too much light was causing the algae so backed off a few weeks ago. I can increase it again.

I typically don't worry much with my nitrates getting to 20-30 on my other tanks, but I have a few rams in this tank and this is my first time keeping them. I had read that they were very sensitive to nitrate and it should always be kept below 10.

I trimmed some leaves last water change but definitely see a few more I need to go in and tackle. I have 6 nerite snails already.
 

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Did it get any better when you removed the other light?

If you can't increase the NO3 then you will have to reduce the PO4 and that's going to be more complicated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Did it get any better when you removed the other light?

If you can't increase the NO3 then you will have to reduce the PO4 and that's going to be more complicated.
I would say it's about the same. There's maybe less build up on the glass but it still shows up 2-3 days after cleaning it off, and the amount on the leaves is not diminishing.

I can decrease my water changes, currently I do them so frequently because I didn't want any detrimental effects for my rams. I think extending out to 30% every other week would help bring my nitrates up.
 

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Hi @Anubis_stat

I also tested my tap water and the phosphate is reading 2-5 ppm from the tap.
That range is about 10X higher than I would want in my tanks. And, as your tap water is already high in phosphate, tank water changes isn't going to be the answer. Could you use rainwater or RO+DI water to dilute your tap water? Also, be aware that test kits can only detect inorganic phosphate (orthophosphate) - they are unable to detect organophosphates.

You could consider using a product such as Seachem PhosGuard.

Anon

Hi @Anubis_stat

Further to my previous reply, I think the answer to the question you posed is that phosphate is almost certainly contributing to the algae that you are seeing in your tank.

Anon
 

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Thank you. I had another lamp on there and full light but was worried too much light was causing the algae so backed off a few weeks ago. I can increase it again.
^^^^This is your main problem ^^^


you had too much light over your tank to begin with. for the love of the plant gods do not listen to the previous comment about increasing your lighting to fix this algae problem. You did the right thing in the first place by reducing the lighting but you need to have more patience. those plant leaves aren’t going to magically revitalize in two weeks. They need to be removed. You had two lighting units running full blast over slow growing plants. Your tank went out of whack because of this and your plants were affected by it and the algae took over.

It’s not the phosphates in your tapwater or the phosphate reading in your tank. If you’re feeding your fish three times a day then you are definitely overfeeding and contributing to the organic waste in the tank however again your main issue is your lighting and that needs to be reduced and you need to trim all the plant leaves that have the algae and give them a chance to grow new healthy leaves. Also just to be clear you mentioned that your tank was heavily planted. No offense but this is a lightly planted tank IMHO.

Reduce the light, reduce the feeding, Trim the leaves and be patient…or rip out the severely affected plants and replace with healthy ones and start over.

good luck! :)
 

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^^^^This is your main problem ^^^


you had too much light over your tank to begin with. for the love of the plant gods do not listen to the previous comment about increasing your lighting to fix this algae problem. You did the right thing in the first place by reducing the lighting but you need to have more patience. those plant leaves aren’t going to magically revitalize in two weeks. They need to be removed. You had two lighting units running full blast over slow growing plants. Your tank went out of whack because of this and your plants were affected by it and the algae took over.

It’s not the phosphates in your tapwater or the phosphate reading in your tank. If you’re feeding your fish three times a day then you are definitely overfeeding and contributing to the organic waste in the tank however again your main issue is your lighting and that needs to be reduced and you need to trim all the plant leaves that have the algae and give them a chance to grow new healthy leaves. Also just to be clear you mentioned that your tank was heavily planted. No offense but this is a lightly planted tank IMHO.

Reduce the light, reduce the feeding, Trim the leaves and be patient…or rip out the severely affected plants and replace with healthy ones and start over.

good luck! :)
You really believe his cheap 25W fixture provides enough light for a 60 Gallon deep tank with CO2 ?

Wow ...
 

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Im pretty sure Im having the exact same problem!!! Phosphates in RO/DI water? - problems with algae
Your pictures look very similar to mine. I've got phosphates somewhere between 2-5ppm and problem seems to be phosphates in my rodi water but ive yet to confirm that 100% by testing some distilled water (new lockdown here). Additionally my nitrates were also low, in my case close to 0ppm. From what I've been told phosphates isnt necessarily a problem (unless super high) if you have sufficient amount of the other nutrients such as nitrates. So since I can't seem to reduce my phosphates I've started dosing nitrates (seachem nitrogen) and trying to maintain levels at 5ppm. I didn't know about the 10:1 ratio so maybe I need more? I also increased my lights to my pre-algae settings. I've still got the algae but certain plants have started growing again, so some progress but this is only week 2 since these changes so we'll so how it goes.
 

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IMO of all the comments so far I would listen to @Fat Guy.

FWIW, here are my thoughts.

Before you make changes based on readings, take the time to calibrate your PO4 kit. Many times the reading is off and people make changes based on false assumptions.

You say your tank is heavily planted but in reality it is very lightly planted. And the plants you have need very little light and nutrients. Do not add more light unless you plan on adding more fast growing stems and densely planting the tank.

Three meals a day is likely contributing to your issue. Overfeeding results in an excess build up of organics. And you say you also add frozen food and bottom tabs for Cory’s as well. Frozen food should be fed very sparingly and should be thawed and rinsed. It’s a major contributor to dirty tank conditions.

In general fish require MUCH less food than most provide. If someone were to see how little I feed my tank fully of hungry Rainbowfish they would be shocked. Yet fish are very healthy and long lived. You create more problems overfeeding than underfeeding.

There is no magic NO3 : PO4 10:1 ratio. In fact, most of the best tanks in the world are closer to 3:1 and 2:1. 2 ppm PO4 is not in a high range, and PO4 is not causing your algae. The best tanks dose PO4 to get higher than that. And do not use Phosguard. There isn’t a successful planted tank in the world that needs it.

Do not perform less water changes to raise NO3. If anything, perform MORE larger water changes and dose NO3. There is a world of difference between a tank that is generating nutrients from fish waste/feeding than an uber clean tank that is dosed with nutrients.

You say you have CO2 running. What does that mean? How much pH drop from fully degassed? Dialing in CO2 correctly can cure a LOT of problems.

And lastly have patience. When you make changes it can take weeks/months to fully understand the effect. Plants take time to transition to new conditions.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing how things go from here.
 

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Trying to interpret that color chart above makes me want to go give my Hanna PO4 checker a big hug. I can't imagine trying to troubleshoot things like this with such poor data -- the color in the tube isn't on the chart. Seriously, the Hannah checker is wonderful.

If you're in a municipality that adds phosphate to the water (I used to live in Minneapolis, and worked at a LFS there, so got a good understanding of this), getting yourself a decent RODI system would help you dial things in. You can start with water of known makeup (two Hs, one O) and add what you need from there.
 

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You really believe his cheap 25W fixture provides enough light for a 60 Gallon deep tank with CO2 ?

Wow ...
Yup. Take another gander at what they posted. He/She was running TWO lighting units full blast over these undemanding plants in their lightly planted tank. The OP made the right decision when they switched to running just one lighting unit on their path to addressing the algae problem they are experiencing. Telling them to up their lighting before addressing their organic waste issue is like throwing fuel on the fire here. Again, as I had mentioned before, and as Greggz also addresses- when you overfeed like they are, there is an excess build up in organic waste which becomes a large contributing factor to the algae issues they are experiencing. Unfortunately I think you are making things a lot more complicated than they should be with your advice and your untoward sarcasm. “Wow” right back atcha bud.

IMO of all the comments so far I would listen to @Fat Guy.
Thank you Greggz. I agree with your comments as well here.
 

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If there is one thing true about this hobby then it's the fact that you can have 100 people with 100 different opinions. What I don't like is when someone comes with "Hey, don't listen to that guy, listen to me". Ok, whatever...

@Anubis_stat, you asked for help and you got a bunch of opinions. Which route to take is up to you.

Love and peace everyone!
 

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If there is one thing true about this hobby then it's the fact that you can have 100 people with 100 different opinions.
I agree you can get loads of conflicing information in this hobby. I am sure it is difficult for someone newer to the hobby to wade through.

The best advice I can offer to anyone is to seek out tanks that demonstrate success in a style similar to what they have mind. Then study their methods. Reach out and ask questions. It's easily the fastest route to success.

One of the problems is that there are many who are eager to repeat what they have read, but have littlle practical experience or success. So stick to people who can show you something you want to emulate. When you do, you begin to realize they have many things in common.

And even then each tank is unique and there will still be a period of trial and error. But getting the basics right sure does help make that process much easier.
 
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