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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all

I'm trying to identify the algae in these photos, and determine how to beat it.

It first appeared about 3 weeks ago and is spreading quickly. Tank details:
- established Sept 2015
- water temp has been around 81-85F over the summer (Australia), but dropped about 2-3 weeks ago and is now averaging 78-80.
- ph = 7.4, GH = 6, kH = 2 (my tap water, no additives)
- good water flow (x10) and surface agitation
- low tech, no CO2 injection, 2x20W T8 fluro tubes on for 9 hours a day (3 hrs in morning, 6 hrs in evening)
- It's an Aqua One AR620 tank, 24 gal.

I was also fighting what could have been BBA, so about 5 weeks ago I:
- increased my ferts (2ml of Seachem Flourish) from once to twice a week
- did a 50% water change (with my previous tanks, cichlids and saltwater, I only changed water about every 2 months. The tanks and fish were always happy)
This quickly got rid of the BBA, and I would say that this new algae appeared at the same time as the increase in ferts, water change, and temp drop.

I've got 2 bristlenoses and 3 cory sterbais, but they're not touching it. I can't buy Amano shrimp in Australia, and Nerite zebra snails are hard to get. I can easily get Mystery and Apple snails, and SAEs.

I'll resort to chemicals if it will work, but I guess I need to determine the root cause at some point.

I'm new to planted tanks. Please help!

Ledman

PS: I've cleaned the filter since taking the photos.
 

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Definitely not BBA. I'm fighting that in my own tank right now and it looks nothing like that. BBA doesn't branch like that AFAIK. I've not seen staghorn in person before. That does look similar to pictures I've seen before, but I didn't realize it was that long (if that's what it is).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Vidikron

I've just discovered that BBA is black hair algae. Thought it was different. Thanks - you prompted me to investigate further. I'm a newby at this planted stuff.

This leaves staghorn. I did a big water change and cleaned the filters a week ago, but no improvement. It continues to spread.

I bought Excel today and dosed as recommended for initial use (10 ml for my 24gal / 91L). I'll do this daily for a while and see what happens. I've read that I should reduce lighting to 6 hours a day, so I'll start that now.

It's possible I had an ammonia spike - I noticed a few weeks ago that one of my six lemon tetras is gone and I never found it. All other fish seem happy though.

Ledman
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

WaterLife, thanks for the James' Algae link. As the algae grows and spreads, it's definitely looking like staghorn. With all your help I think we can rule out BBA.

The approach I'm taking is:
- reduce the light timer to 6 hours in the afternoon
- add Excel daily when the lights first come on (at the rate recommended for initial use - about x2)
- reduce feeding to every second day

A week ago, I did a 50% water change, vacuumed the gravel and cleaned the filters. I also just re-aimed my powerhead to get better surface agitation - there wasn't much surface movement. (No CO2 injection).

I'll try this for a week and if it doesn't work then I'll seriously consider a blackout.

Here are fresh photos, which have attached upside down! Can't seem to fix it sorry.

Cheers
Ledman
 

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I've personally never had it in any of my tanks so I can't offer any advice on how to get rid of it. But I will be following along to see you what find to be effective at eradicating staghorn.

Cheers!
 

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You could have a buildup of organic matter somewhere. Staghorn is barely hanging on in my tank. It started to grown like yours until I vacuumed the excess mulm, increased the flow, and did one 50% water change. I normally do water changes on the scale of once every 6 months to a year and I usually only feed once a week. Although I don't have a heater and I have co2.

Also, excel is usually used as a one or two time treatment. It does not work well as a permenant solution as it does not always take care of the initial problem. The same caution should be taken with a blackout. Sure they will kill the current algae, but what happens if it finds its way back in the tank?

The problem is not the algae. The algae is a symptom of the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all

Irishspy, unfortunately Amano shrimp are not sold in Australia. I need to research other shrimp - I can get ghosts/glass, crystals, tigers and a range of cherries. I don't know how good any of these are for cleaning up algae though. I've been thinking about buying red cherry shrimp for a while now.

Nerite snails are sold here but are very hard to find - been looking for months. I can easily get mystery snails, but not sure they eat much algae.

Virc003, your comment on organic matter got me thinking. About a month ago I started feeding blanched cucumber (about 1" dia and 1" long, unskinned) to my two small bristlenoses, about once a week. They hollow it out within 2 days, and after 3-4 days the skin breaks down and swirls around the tank. The guppies and lemon tetras have fun chasing the pieces but I'm not sure they actually eat it. Maybe uneaten cucumber is accumulating. This is on top of regular feedings, which are about 5 times a week, small amounts each time. I used to feed every second day with other tanks (cichlids, saltwater), but I've read that daily feeding is best for planted tanks. (something about giving the plants enough nutrients? Can't remember).

So three days into 2 x Excel and 6-hours of lighting, with no change.

I forgot that I have hydrogen peroxide from the chemist - I may tank the worst plants out of the tank and soak them a strong bath in a few days time.

Cheers
Ledman
 

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Be cautious with the Hydrogen Peroxide. Mind the % concentration (not sure how strong your's is from the "chemist").
If too concentrated, it can be dangerous for even humans (you can see a vid on YT of high % H2O2 and what it does to blood cells).
Too strong or long of a dip can melt plants as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I can report that the 2 x Excel and one photoperiod of 6 hours, for a week, has worked wonders. Whatever it was (probably staghorn) shrivelled up and turned red. I stopped dosing a couple of days ago and it continues to disappear.

Nothing is eating it, that I can see. I've got a few baby ramshorn and Malaysian trumpet snails, but I'm not sure what they're eating. I culled them right back a few months ago, but I'll let them grow now in the hope they control some algae.

The big question is now what? Virc003, as you said, I need to address the root problem - I'll try feeding less and changing water monthly. (I lightly vacuum the flourite substrate each time). I will try buying some shrimp also - Caradina typus ("Australian amano shrimp") or Darwin Red Nose - both have proved elusive so far.

Cheers,
Ledman
 
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