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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have been struggling for several months to get the balance right in my 50 gallon. If someone could help identify my current algae and help with figure out how to rid my tank of it that would be most appreciated.

Tank Setup:
Compressed Co2
2 x SBReef Sbox 16" Leds running at about 60%
3 x per week dose NilocG Thrive 3 pumps
1 x Fluval 406
1 x powerhead

Lights are on for 7 hours per day

Please let me know if you need any other tank params.

Thanks,
Nathan
 

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I see a lot of BBA. What is your pH drop with co2 on? Or rather, off-gassed pH vs CO2 saturated pH. This would be the first thing I'd check as BBA and CO2 are often associated. You should be getting at least a 1 degree pH change. One of my tanks, for example, goes from ~7.6 pH off-gassed to 6.4 pH at saturation - a 1.2 degree change. Also, how often are you doing water changes and cleaning your filter? Organics can be another cause.

2x sbox @ 60% is a TON of light for a 50 gallon, you're talking ~198watts for your tank. That might be something to look at as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I see a lot of BBA. What is your pH drop with co2 on? Or rather, off-gassed pH vs CO2 saturated pH. This would be the first thing I'd check as BBA and CO2 are often associated. You should be getting at least a 1 degree pH change. One of my tanks, for example, goes from ~7.6 pH off-gassed to 6.4 pH at saturation - a 1.2 degree change. Also, how often are you doing water changes and cleaning your filter? Organics can be another cause.

2x sbox @ 60% is a TON of light for a 50 gallon, you're talking ~198watts for your tank. That might be something to look at as well.

I haven't measured PH recently so I will do that, my saturated level is 7.0, I will measure in morning to get the off-gassed level. I do water changes every week and change out about 60% of the water. I clean the filter every month. I had the lights down around 30% but when things started going south I thought maybe the lights where to low so I upped them recently.
 

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Let me know what your pH off-gassed is tomorrow and we can go from there. I would definitely lower your lights back down to 30% though, maybe even lower. Adding a ton of light when things aren't balanced can quickly make things worse. With higher light comes higher demand for co2 and ferts, making things even more unbalanced.

Correcting your current algae issue is going to require a lot patience.
 

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Hello,

I have been struggling for several months to get the balance right in my 50 gallon. If someone could help identify my current algae and help with figure out how to rid my tank of it that would be most appreciated.

Tank Setup:
Compressed Co2
2 x SBReef Sbox 16" Leds running at about 60%
3 x per week dose NilocG Thrive 3 pumps
1 x Fluval 406
1 x powerhead

Lights are on for 7 hours per day

Please let me know if you need any other tank params.

Thanks,
Nathan
Try the H2O2-excel one-two punch (search PT forums) followed by manual cleanup up of all the algae debris and large water changes. I had algae an algae bloom like that a while back and it completely wrecked my tank. I can't pinpoint what triggered it, but my best guess was I overdosed on macros and didn't keep up with my water changes. Once I had the bloom things went downhill because as that algae dies off it just creates more detritus which covers up plants and substrate and starts clogging up your filters and decreases your flow.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Let me know what your pH off-gassed is tomorrow and we can go from there. I would definitely lower your lights back down to 30% though, maybe even lower. Adding a ton of light when things aren't balanced can quickly make things worse. With higher light comes higher demand for co2 and ferts, making things even more unbalanced.

Correcting your current algae issue is going to require a lot patience.

I measured the PH again this morning and it was up down to 6.4.

Bump:
Try the H2O2-excel one-two punch (search PT forums) followed by manual cleanup up of all the algae debris ...
I have been using H2O2 at each water change but it doesn't seem to work well on this algae and until I get the balance right I think it will just keep coming back, I will keep at it though.
 

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10ml Metricide 14 for a few days in a row should do the trick..
Now people can come and yell at me.. ;)

Then you need to work on the root cause..
Your sb reefs are probably too strong for now.. cut back.. establish good growth then ramp up slowly..
cut back on CO2 as well (counter-intuitive) but you are feeding the algae more than the plants at this point..
They are not going to outgrow the algae when covered w/ it...
This will not totally eradicate it at this point but will get it manageable..

This is how I "fixed" my 55..YMMV..
 
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I measured the PH again this morning and it was up down to 6.4.

Bump:

I have been using H2O2 at each water change but it doesn't seem to work well on this algae and until I get the balance right I think it will just keep coming back, I will keep at it though.
Are using both H2O2 and Excel in sequence as described in the treatment approach?

Also, the suggested H2O2 is much higher than most people's comfort (on the order of 6mL of 3% H2O2 per gallon of aquarium water).

There's been a lot of theoretical discussion around the combo and one belief is that the sequence of H2O2 weakens the algae enough for the gluteraldehyde to do its full damage. If the algae doesn't die, then it is at least weak enough for your traditional algae eaters to mop things up (e.g. Amanos, otos, and SAEs assuming they are hungry and interested).

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have reduced the lights to 30% and started daily dosing of two caps of Excel, I will do the peroxide treatments during my weekly water changes. Anything else I should adjust?
 

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What is your water GH. Are you using distilled or RO water? Most fertilizers on the market don't have calcium and sulfur. Both are macro nutrients. Thrive like most fertilizer does have these. If you increase your GH by 2 or 3 degrees it might help by improving plant growth. I would recommend Sachem equilibrium. Equilibrium is a sulfur based GH booster and it will also address sulfur as well as calcium. If you have a nutrient deficiency it might be impossible to "Balance" the aquarium. That was my experience with my tank in the past. Once I resolved the deficiencies algae started to die back without H2O2 or liquid CO2 (Excell) dosing. In fact H2O2 and excel didn't work for me either.
 

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I have reduced the lights to 30% and started daily dosing of two caps of Excel, I will do the peroxide treatments during my weekly water changes. Anything else I should adjust?
IIRC the one-two punch works synergistically, so doing the H2O2 and Excel in that order 15 minutes apart works better than dosing each at separate times/days.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What is your water GH. Are you using distilled or RO water? Most fertilizers on the market don't have calcium and sulfur. Both are macro nutrients. Thrive like most fertilizer does have these. If you increase your GH by 2 or 3 degrees it might help by improving plant growth. I would recommend Sachem equilibrium. Equilibrium is a sulfur based GH booster and it will also address sulfur as well as calcium. If you have a nutrient deficiency it might be impossible to "Balance" the aquarium. That was my experience with my tank in the past. Once I resolved the deficiencies algae started to die back without H2O2 or liquid CO2 (Excell) dosing. In fact H2O2 and excel didn't work for me either.
Finally got around to measuring my GH using an API test kit. It took 9 drops of test solution which with a GH around 161ppm not sure if Equlilbrium will help here as from the chart it looks like I am already on the high side. I do not use ro water for this tank, just tape water treated with prime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The tank is continuing to get worse, there is not cyanobacteria starting to grow across one corner of the tank and the crypts are melting / developing a thick algae coat.
 

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@Nath514 ,

I don't think you ever identified how much CO2 is going into your tank. I suspect that to be the fundamental issue. There's not enough CO2 for the light you're pushing. There's a balance that you need to achieve between co2, lights, and ferts. To paraphrase Darkblade's Primer to Planted Tanks, more light means more demand for CO2 and ferts. If you don't supply the necessary CO2 and ferts, you get unhappy plants and algae.

Ferts are covered by your thrive dosing so if you keep that going, we can sort of push that aside for a moment. CO2 is sometimes the maddeningly hardest to get right. With your light(s), I stress that you really have to focus on this. Are you using a reactor? diffuser? being cut short by a ph controller? When do you turn it on and how long? Either way, the mere fact that there's BBA, points to not enough CO2. So what do you do if you can't figure out your CO2 easily? You reduce light. A lot if necessary. So that you reduce the demand. Not only lowering to 30% intensity, but shorten the photoperiod. Without knowing what 30% really means in PAR in your tank, we don't know if it's still too strong. 7 hours is a long photoperiod and way too long if the light is too strong. So cut the demand, let your plants recover, kill off the BBA with hydrogen peroxide during water changes (watch it bubble and turn red the next day, muahahaha).

This part is risky as you’re messing with peroxide so be careful. As you have a big tank and probably a lot of BBA and if you don't want to do the 1-2 punch all the time, right before a water change, you stop the pumps, select a small section of the tank and squirt some straight peroxide onto the BBA with a dropper and let it sit for 15 minutes. I wouldn't squirt so much to exceed the concentration of what you do in the 1-2 punch. Meaning not more than 10 tbsp total because then you can't easily get it back out so you don't want to overdose. Then make sure you suction that area as you drain the water. Alternately, I've done it when the water is low, but then you can't suck that area out easily. In that situation, I do even less and just let the peroxide dilute on its own over time. Do small sections like this every week and if you're doing it right, the BBA will stop coming back in the sections where you've killed them. If they're coming back, then you know you STILL have a co2/light imbalance.

Cyanobacteria is supposedly caused by low oxygenation, high organics (probably from dying plant mass?), high light... This 'usually' means there's not good flow in your tank. Not a good flow ALSO will cause CO2 problems. Granted, there's an argument that too much flow causes BBA, but I feel thats more a secondary problem of not having enough CO2 to begin with. Here's a video on the importance of flow/surface agitation in your tank. This will also help you in properly increasing your CO2 without endangering your fish.
. You can treat cyano with an antibacterial, but if it's not too bad, you can just suck out the sheets, fix your flow problem, clean your tank and get away with it. You're already messing around with peroxide, no need to add even more chemicals to the tank.

So anyway, cut your light down, get your co2 right, do your water changes, clean your tank, and slowly kill your BBA. If they don't come back, that should be an indicator if you're on the right track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Nath514 ,

I don't think you ever identified how much CO2 is going into your tank. I suspect that to be the fundamental issue. gen peroxide during water changes (watch it bubble and turn red the next day, muahahaha)....

Thanks for the detailed reply!



My CO2 Setup:
1. GLA GRO-1 CO2 Regulator
2. Atomic CO2 Diffuser diffusing into the canister filter intake
3. CO2 comes on when the lights come on and go off when the lights go off


I think the flow in the tank is pretty good, I have the output from the fluval 406 in the right corner pointing across the back of the tank and a powerhead on the left side pushing water to the front glass and back across the tank.


I have a drop checker for the co2 but it doesn't seem to be working anymore, may need to get new solution. I will drop the photo period and try to get the co2 dialed in. One problem I have right now is that my bubble counter keeps drying up which makes it hard for me to dial in the co2. Might need to get a new one.
 

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You seem to have a pretty good system for co2 delivery so whats left is getting the right amount in for the light that you're pushing.

I've heard of people putting mineral oil or some other food grade safe oil type of thing into their bubble counter to counteract the evaporation. Might want to search about that.

Anyway, here's some other advice on co2 tuning.... from the same guy who created the video above.. more than I can write:

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/co2-tuning.html

Here's how to measure it without a drop checker

https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/monitor-co2-level.html

but even then, that's not a truly accurate measure, so the author goes into how to observe your plants to see if its responding properly as well as your fauna to see if you're not accidentally causing harm.

All this may be for naught if you somehow still aren't able to properly deliver enough CO2 for your situation. So I still stress that. If you do all of this and still get algae, yea, that's tellin you that you still have too much light. OR you can lessen the light to begin with and hit the required CO2 level easier and then slowly ramp the light back up.

Best of luck!
 

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Something else that you should probably change - you said your CO2 comes on at the same time your lights do. You need to have your CO2 come on at least 1 hour before your lights so that the tank is well saturated at lights on. A lot of us do CO2 on 1 hour before lights on and off 1 hour before lights out. I personally have my CO2 come on 2 hours before my lights because I'm running an insane amount of light, I've also noticed it takes a bit longer to reach a good saturation with my reactor than it did with an inline diffuser.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all the replies, I am getting some more timers ordered so I can change the lights to be independent of the co2. I started to notice some of my plants yellowing which I think might be because I cut back on ferts.



My biggest problem at the moment is now cyanobacteria. It was come on strong and despite my efforts to remove it keeps spreading. Any ideas for tackling cyanobacteria?


Thanks,
Nathan
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I was able to get rid of the cyanobacteria but now I have another round of algae taking over.

At the moment I have a long blueish gray hair like algae as well as green algae on many of the leaves. I continue to fight bb algae with Excel but I'm not sure I all making any progress.


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