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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TL;DR I can usually manage algae with EI and CO2 but this mystery brown fluff has the upper hand. How do I kill it before it smothers my MC, without killing the shrimp?

I posted another thread asking about hair algae in my tank but it doesn't look or act like normal hair algae. I've been researching and stumbled on pictures of Rhizoclonium and Melosira, both of which look exactly like my brown fluff. It would be nice to know what I'm battling, and how to get rid of it. My main question is whether this is a "new tank" bloom and will sort itself out as I balance the tank, or whether I have to aggressively clean it up and if so, how to do it without killing the shrimp and snail? I've been removing the worst clumps manually with tweezers, but it tends to break apart and if a clump gets stuck in the plants it grows where it lands. It doesn't tend to be too firmly attached to health plants but I can't get it off the moss or MC.

It got established when I got off on the wrong foot with too much light, too many ferts, and probably not enough water movement. Turns out Fluval LEDs crank out a lot of PAR and you have to REALLY SHAKE bottle #2 of the API nitrate kit. Oops. The normal GSA and fuzz are gone/eaten but Amanos, otos, and the nerite snail all ignore this stuff.

It seems to favor either unhappy/slow-growing plants or areas with low water flow. It's all over the MC which I planted last week. Until I swapped out the filter yesterday, water movement at the substrate was poor. There has been a bit of BGA as well, which alerted me to water flow issues. The MC seems to be transitioning from a shallow or emersed form and it's unhappy. It is on the Christmas moss which is growing painfully slowly, in the stems of the Nymphaea where the water flow is slow, and there are some clumps inside the thicket of Rotala. I pulled a little out of the center of the H. corymbosa "compact" this morning. I dropped some H2O2 on a bit of it in a glass and it gradually turned green and then fell apart in case that helps with ID. I can't peroxide treat the tank because of the Amanos.

I've got CO2 steady, am working to dial in EI (still a bit overdosed), and lowered some ambient evening light. Plants are growing steadily, except the moss and MC. My latest move is to replace the awful Fluval U2 (bad suggestion from LFS) with a Finnex PX-360. Water flow is now generous, but the impeller rattle may drive me insane.

Tank info:
  • Age: 5 weeks, cycled, no ammonia or nitrites
  • Size: 10g
  • Substrate: Eco Complete
  • Lighting: 22W Fluval Fresh & Plant 3.0 running 1h ramp-up, 6h at 60% with a siesta, 1h ramp-down, low evening lighting (<10%) so I can see the fish.
  • CO2: 20-30 ppm, pressurized - I'm not running with a solenoid so it's 30 PPM first thing and falls during the photoperiod
  • Ferts: EI, the API kit is wicked hard to read ~20ppm NO3? I'm lowering dosing this week.
  • Water: 8dKH, 9dGH, change 50% on the weekend, 25% midweek
  • Flourish Excel, 1 mL/day (Hopefully short-term)

There are plenty of actively growing plants. The R. rotundifolia is attempting world domination and just got a haircut yesterday. This is the tank.

These are two close-ups of the offending algae.

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