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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

I have recently set up a 10 planted tank and am having algae bloom every few days. Let me summarize the status of my tank:

1. Tank is 1.5 months old.
2. I have planted Alternanthera Reineckii, Rotala rotundifolia Indica, Anubias and micranthemum umbrosum (Montecarlo).
3. Among these plants, only Rotala Indica and Anubias seem to be doing fine. Montecarlo and Reineckii are covered with algae and also the substrate around these two plants has lot of algae.
4. I have a 36 watt CFL (65000k) which runs 5 hours a day (9-12PM and 2-4PM).
5. I use Haggen Nutrafin DIY for C02 and it produces decent amount of bubbles.
6. Have a HOB filter. Also added a small powerhead today for proper circulation.
7. Substrate is ADA Amazonia.
8. I do 50% water change every week with RO water (I add small amount of treated tap water also to maintain the minerals balance).
9. I dose 3ML of liquid CO2 every night (as instructed by the pet shop owner) and 2ML of ADA Brighty K in morning.
10. Have added 2 ottos and 6 cherry shrimps two weeks back.

I have not been able to test the water parameters as the test kits are not available with the pet shop. Have ordered one from [Ebay Link Removed]
Attaching few screenshots of the tank. I am not sure if this algae is diatom or blue-green algae. It grows pretty fast and even traps oxygen bubbles inside it.
Please advise what I can do to cure this problem?
 

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Looks like classic BGA to me, which is actually a photosynthesizing bacteria. I had a bit of a variant of this a few weeks back in my tank. My reading suggested that low flow and low nitrates is typically the cause. My guess is you'll see very low nitrates when your test comes in.

To get rid of it, you can address the cause or treat with antibiotics and do water changes. I suggest the former as your tank will be re-infected shortly (with any new addition), and if the conditions don't change, you'll be looking at BGA slime city once again. With mine, I started dosing macros and added another powerhead which allowed the BGA to recede. Mine wasn't as bad as yours, though, so you'll want to do as much manual removal as possible as well.
 

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I would think that you are very under-planted, especially in the context of using new Amazonia substrate. I would normally try and cover every inch of Amazonia with plants when setting up a new tank. It leaches significant amount of nutrients and you need plant mass to use it up.
Does look like classic BGA to me too! Nasty stuff, I suggest you keep removing what you can and fix the cause as soon as possible.
Good luck.
 

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You are probably getting high light from that "CFL" bulb - we usually refer to that type of bulb as "power compact" or PC bulb. If you have a good reflector you very likely have around 60 PAR light intensity. With that much light you need to use pressurized CO2, with the bubble rate optimized so the plants have enough carbon to grow at the rate the light is driving them to grow. The plants also need enough nitrates, phosphates and trace elements to meet their requirements when growing that fast. And, you need to keep the tank glass clean, keep the substrate surface clean, keep the filter clean, etc. - near perfect tank maintenance. As you can see, you can't do a "low tech" tank with that much light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like classic BGA to me, which is actually a photosynthesizing bacteria. I had a bit of a variant of this a few weeks back in my tank. My reading suggested that low flow and low nitrates is typically the cause. My guess is you'll see very low nitrates when your test comes in.
Thanks Natasha. I also guessed it is blue green algae, as my ottos just dont touch it, while they keep other portions of aquarium clean.
Assuming it is indeed low nitrates, what can I do to increase its levels? EI dosing?

Bump:
I would think that you are very under-planted, especially in the context of using new Amazonia substrate.
I agree Sumit.
Actually I wanted monecarlo carpet in front of the aquascape, so didn't plant anything alongwith it. But unfrtunately it never picked up :(.
Do you recommend any other simpler carpet plant?

Bump:
As you can see, you can't do a "low tech" tank with that much light.
Thanks Hoppy. I kept the lighting high (36 W) for montecarlo to grow. However I still run it only for 5 hours a day. Do you recommend reducing the hours further till this algae subsides?
 

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Get a second nutrafin bottle and hook it up to same latter through a T valve. Change a bottle every 3-4 days using the following recipe:

White Sugar to first line
1/2tsp bakers yeast
1tsp baking soda

This should give you a bubble every other second. This is what I did before going pressurized on a 20L. The increase in C02 should help. I also agree it is too much light.
 

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Thanks Natasha. I also guessed it is blue green algae, as my ottos just dont touch it, while they keep other portions of aquarium clean.
Assuming it is indeed low nitrates, what can I do to increase its levels? EI dosing?
Do you have a test kit? I would check out the nitrates before you start adding anything. I use PPS dosing, and admittedly I haven't checked my nitrate in a few weeks given that the algae resolved, but the standard people like to maintain is 10-20ppm I believe.
 

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Thanks Hoppy. I kept the lighting high (36 W) for montecarlo to grow. However I still run it only for 5 hours a day. Do you recommend reducing the hours further till this algae subsides?
You can't get enough light at the substrate to grow carpet plants, without also having high light throughout the tank. Algae, like plants, are driven to grow by the light intensity. The more light intensity you have the harder it is to get good plant growth without also having good algae growth. That doesn't mean it can't be done, only that you have to do everything right to do it.

If you reduce the time the lights are at high intensity, you can make life more difficult for algae, but even with short photoperiods, if you have high light, you need to have good CO2, and have the same CO2 level in the water every day. Most carpet plants do very poorly without CO2 anyway. The reason you need pressurized CO2 is because it is very hard to keep DIY CO2 running at the same bubble rate day after day, and it is hard to get enough CO2 with DIY. It can be done, but it takes a lot of attention to do it.
 

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I have successfully fought BGA many times by working with light intensity. BGA can occur anywhere, even in a bare bottom tank with some java ferns and a single betta which is never overfed. Water balancing (adding nitrates) did nothing in the long run to solve the problem. Reducing light intensity worked like a charm. In short I have found nothing better than light control and a clean tank as a cure for BGA. And I never use test kits because they are so pricey in our parts.
As far as foreground plants grow, I would recommend hair grass for your tank. If for nothing but the fact that they are far easier to clean (algae removal) than plants with thin roots and small leaves :) Plus they may add more bio mass than some other foreground plants that you could choose.
Edit: Also consider hydrocotyle tripartita as a fast growing carpeting plant which works well in a tank with high lights and CO2 supply. May rapidly cover all empty spaces in the right conditions :)
Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have successfully fought BGA many times by working with light intensity.
Thanks Sumit. How do I reduce the light intensity? Should I buy a new light or just reducing the photo period should help?
Also I want to do some treatment for BGA in parallel to solving the root cause of the problem. Do we have any Maracyn like antibiotic available in India?
Thanks in advance.

Bump:
Add floating plants, that will also help
Thanks..will try. But since its just a 10G tank, not sure if there will be enough room for them.
 

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Reducing photo period is a help, but you can't do it aggressively without hurting plant growth. And it will not eliminate BGA. Intensity reduction has always worked with me in fighting BGA. Perhaps a combination of the two?

Maracyn may not be easily available in India, but Minocycline is readily available. Most people in India use erythromycin to fight BGA. I don't use it because of the side effects, and BGA can develop resistance against it.

Take away light and food and it will go away from sight - I don't think it ever actually goes away completely in a tank. There is just not enough for you to see :)
Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Take away light and food and it will go away from sight - I don't think it ever actually goes away completely in a tank. There is just not enough for you to see :)
Cheers!
Thats exactly what I want to know :) , how to reduce the intensity?
Is it by changing the tube to a lower wattage or by increasing the distance of light from the substrate/water surface?
 

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The easiest way to reduce light intensity significantly is to use gray fiberglass window screen (from Home Depot) between the light and the tank top. Each layer reduces the intensity by 40%, 2 layers reduce it by 64%, etc. You can use the screen as a top for the tank, or cover the bottom of the light fixture with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
and keep raising the light above the tank.
I try and lower wattage if possible or change the light. But raising is more effective in my opinion if it is possible as the spread can improve.
The easiest way to reduce light intensity significantly is to use gray fiberglass window screen (from Home Depot) between the light and the tank top. Each layer reduces the intensity by 40%, 2 layers reduce it by 64%, etc. You can use the screen as a top for the tank, or cover the bottom of the light fixture with it.
Many thanks guys for your time and useful inputs.
I will try one of the 2 solutions and will update if it helped.
Meanwhile I have reduced my photoperiod to 2 hours.

Also when I spoke to my pet shop about BGA, the owner suggested me to add a liquid containing Nitrosomanas and Nitrobacter for solving the problem. Although I am not planning to add any chemical to my tank right now, was just curious to know if he is right about this liquid?
 

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The Pet Shop guy may be assuming that you have an ammonia problem, which is causing the algae problem. The bacteria he is suggesting adding would help better cycle the tank to eliminate any ammonia problem. Have you tested for ammonia? That seems like a better first step.
 

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I had BGA a year or two ago, pah! I spit on it :). The lighting may be a factor, as someone else said - try raising it a foot for starters - 36W is a lot of CFL for a 10 gal. I am using 2 10W spiral CFLs at 20" above the substrate. May take away some of the energy from that BGA but it will defiitely reduce the ambient lighting.

Back then, someone told me that BGA grows when there's too much organics, sometimes caused by overfeeding. So I got my siphon vac and cleaned the heck out of the gravel, whatever BGA I could get as well. It went away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi,

So based on valuable inputs that I got in this post, I have done following changes to fight BGA and other algae:
1. Have increased the height of light fixture by 6 inches (see the pic). This is to reduce the light intensity.
2. Considering that it is recommended to have more plants with ADA Amazonia susbtrate, I have added Echinodorus Tenellus plant. In addition to that, every week I trim a stem of rotala indica and replant it in free area :) .
3. Have started dosing Seachem flourish excel instead of a locally available liquid CO2.
4. Am keeping the photoperiod to 4 hours a day.
5. Changing the mixture of my DIY CO2 every week and adding slightly more yeast for getting better and consistent CO2 bubbles.

Will update in 15 days if these changes have helped me control BGA.
 

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