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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've yet to have a problem like this. When I first set the tank up, about 1.5 years ago, I avoided pretty much any algae issues entirely. I just got great amounts of growth, always had crystal clear water, and generally good looking tank (IMO anyways). When I moved out of my parents house the tank fell into disarray and basically was uncared for. I had a lot of plants wither and die away, a lot of dead plant matter floating around and a lot of just general nastiness. I've since cleaned the tank up a lot, but for the first time I'm combating a real algae problem and I can't seem to get ahead.

Here are some shots of the tank:










I need some help here getting this resolved. My CO2 is running fine, I'm getting light green on the bubble checker and the fish seem fine. I run an airstone at night to help keep the fish from getting gassed while the plants are in respiration. I had an issue with that back when I had the tank running so well. My plant mass was much larger back then though. So I'm not sure if that's causing dramatic fluctuations between night and day CO2 levels.

I thought it was a flow issue, since I'm down one filter ( I traded my 2213 to my roommate for scope rings ) until I can get my second 2215, which will happen soon. However I've added powerheads pointing in various directions to help move water around and it didn't really help.

I'm also only running 2 bulbs right now and the light is higher off the water than it was when the tank was exploding super algae free growth (when I was running 4 bulbs and it was still on the CA legs).

I was fertilizing, but stopped late last week to see if it would improve the algae situation. It only got worse.

I'm still getting some solid plant growth, and some leaves are clean, but as soon as I trim the crapped up leaves the others will obtain algae growth. Its happened 2x.

Uhg... any help?.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, like I said in my tank journal thread, I have this brown coating of some type of algae pretty much all over everything. It's giving the tank a brown tinge. My first thought is diatoms, because I've dealt with those in the past, however, this tank isn't new, the substrate has been used for a year previously, so I'm not sure why it would blow up now.

So I'm not sure what this is but you can see it covering most of the substrate, glass, equipment, and even sitting in the algae growing on the plants.


I know it's not a water issue or my roommate would be having diatom explosions as well, but he merely deals with a little GDA here and there.

I feel like there's a pretty dramatic issue somewhere causing this that I'm missing and I'm just not sure what....
 

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Looks like you fell beneath critical plant mass. You have few plants, and almost no fast growing, weedy stem plants. Organic wastes aren't being removed from the water effectively enough to suppress algae growth. And your existing plants are now unhealthy because they're covered with algae, so they're becoming organic waste themselves; contributing to the problem rather than helping it.

The balance is now tipped firmly in algae's favor. If you want to get back to where you were, you will have to swing it in the other direction hard.

Clean the tank thoroughly. Vacuum gravel, clean algae from filter components, etc. Remove every bit of organic waste and algae you can.

Assuming you want to save your existing plants, clean them too. Trim away unsalvageable leaves. Use H2O2 or Excel spot treatments to remove algae from those you feel can return to health. This will be an ongoing process. The algae will continue to grow back while the balance shifts. Fight it every step of the way, and do not let it overtake healthy leaves.

Add lots of plants, especially fast growing weedy stem plants. Even if that's not in your preferred tank scheme. Once things get under control, reduce the stems bit by bit as your preferred plants fill in.

Improve filtration. You said you're down a filter. Add it back in if possible. Make sure one or both are operating at peak efficiency.

Keep CO2 high and continue fertilizing; both benefit the plants, not the algae.

Reducing light will slow everything down. Including plant growth. Since plant growth is what we're trying to increase, unless you had too much light to begin with, this can be counterproductive. Although you can use it temporarily to buy some time while you get your action plan together.
 

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id say flow issue for sure it looks like its gettin to much accumulation and slowly decaying on the plant itself, do just like dc said trim an clean what u can most should come back check your npk levels to, if you cant add another filter back on try adding a powerhead just for water movement keeps the sediment/ debris moving till they are captured which is what u need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm working on getting another 2215 very soon, which will actually be more filtration than I previously had (2215 x2 vs 2215+2213). I'm also going to bring in one of those Subcurrent hang in filters to break the water surface and a koralia nano for more flow.

For now I've moved around the power heads and have a hang in filter running to help push water across the tank harder. I'm seeing a lot more movement in the plant leaves (swaying around from current.) Overnight it seems like a lot of the brown has been blown off the leaves so maybe that's working.

I went back to fertilizing my normal dosages after the water change yesterday. I did unfortunately cut a bunch of the lotus leaves off which didn't help plant mass. They were blocking up flow across the top of the tank and I was getting film really badly.

Would it be better to go back to 4 bulbs maybe? I get a hell of a bubble storm when it happens but it also looks like the algae reaps benefits from that too (forms its own bubbles.)

I've got some sunset hygro growing, and its going fast, but I guess I can get some of the heartier stems I'm wanting and put them in to help soon (ludwiga, etc.) and other plants like staurygone repens and blyxa japonica in decent amounts. Or should I run out and get something like wisteria which supposedly grows stupid fast? I'm more or less against floaters like duckweed because I've heard once you have it you never get rid of it.

Is trimming the plants going to be counter productive to the plant mass issue, as there's a decent amount that needs to be cleaned out?
 

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no i would trim all the bad and decaying leafs as its only hurting the plant as they just spend energy trying to heal them cut them an let them focus on growing not healing, with that said if your cutting the hygro just replant it till everything gets back on par. now your saying should u upgrade your lighting with out any info on that we cant say one way or the other i would keep it how it was when it was doing fine maybe up co2 if you have any in there no info if u have it or not? if you have any algea left try some h2o2 to spot treat and i would put my money on it that your tank will be back in no time, it seems to me that it was lack of flow and some neglect thats it.
 

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As a quick estimate, I think four bulbs would be too much light. Plants can only use so much. Only algae benefits from the excess.

Wisteria really does grow stupid fast. It's my favorite for quickly solving a plant mass issue. Ludwiga Repens can grow quite fast too once it gets going. The others, not so much.

Assuming you can keep most of the algae on leaves to a minimum with spot treatments, you must make an assessment which leaves will then be healthy enough to be a benefit, rather than a burden, on the plant. If that were my tank, I'd immediately trim about 20% of what I see in your pictures. The rest I'd spot treat, repeating as needed. As long as those leaves are at least a slight net benefit to the plant, it will produce new growth quicker. Over weeks, you can trim away more old growth as new growth replaces it.

Of course, trimming away all leaves with algae is simplest and best; then replacing that mass with new plants, in addition to what you need to stabilize your tank. But in a case like this, that is basically throwing out everything, and even more plants you'll need to add.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah when I was running 4 bulbs I played a balancing game switching between 2 and 4 as needed. However I got more color with 4 obviously. I had a TON more plants though.

I think I'm going to try and set up some plant orders at the end of the week to help with the issue. I might go pick up some wisteria from petco or something too.
 

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i would not add more light without co2 your asking for the same situation your in less light gives you more wiggle room with error which is what you need right now even with more plants i would highly suggest not going 4 unless you add more co2
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, that was my thinking also, which is why I dropped back to 2 bulbs when this problem started taking off. I assumed it was due to light but was apparently wrong. Once the situation is under control and I'm getting solid growth I'll probably bump up for color but for now I'll be fine with 2. I was just wondering since more light could possibly mean faster growth on the amazons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did a trim last night and got rid of the leaves that were really bad. My CO2 bottle was on its last leg last night so I'm getting a fresh one and I'm going to stop by the local fish store and petsmart to see what plants they have. The fish store pretty much always has wisteria, and petsmart is good about having some hygro.
 

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I just went through this (and still have a big of lingering algae).
First, trim off any really badly covered leaves, even just pull the worst out, or cut them to the substrate if they are stems. Get rid of any dead leaves and the like. Manually remove all the algae you can. Get the H202 out or excel.

If you don't have a large bio load, I would very thoroughly clean your filter to like new. You may have your tank cycle but you should have enough beneficial bacteria elsewhere so that it shouldn't be nearly as harsh as setting up a new tank and dropping fish in (my tank didn't even cycle).

I would do a very large water changes as well, just to sort of "reset" the tank. The set your photo period to something short like 5-6 hours and gradually increase it.

That should put you ahead of the game. You may still have some things linger but you will find yourself back in control pretty quickly. Maybe do more water changes as well, like you would likely do on a new tank.
 

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If it were me I'd remove all the fish, clean the substrate while lowering the water level as much as you can and keep the plants under water. Then do a major overdose of Excel, circulate it for a bit and then a 100% WC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I picked up 3 bunches of Hygro Compact today to help with plant mass. I also grabbed a small Java Fern but they're slow growers to my knowledge so that won't really help too much.

I'm cutting the air stone out at night instead of running it, hoping to keep CO2 levels a little higher so when things kick up in the morning the CO2 level is a bit more even. I'm pretty sure I don't have a plant mass that is going to suffocate the fish at night.

I found a pretty big culprit of decay last night. The red flame sword I acquired from my roommate was pretty much dieing one leaf at a time. It was back in the shadow of the lotus so I hadn't really paid much attention to it (but knew it hadn't grown) and upon inspection last night pretty much all the leaves were decaying/translucent. I'm not sure why. I moved it away from the lotus, into a higher flow area and removed all but one remaining leaf.

The photo period has been at 10 hours but I'm going to cut it back to 7.

I haven't been dosing excel but I'm going to Nashville on Friday and I'll probably grab some from the Critter down there and begin dosing that. I'm also going to do some H2O2 treatment tonight.

On the plus side, I've seen some improvement in the "brown/decaying" algae that was present. I think flow has a HUGE hand in this. I'm going to clean the 2215 out tonight (keeping the bioballs safe to avoid ammonia spikes) and hopefully that will help as well.

I'm going to beat this crap lol....
 

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From the looks of it that is black beard and the main cause for beard algae is lack/ fluctuations in amount of co2. The key would be to increase your co2 and get the plants to photosynthesize as much as they can.

I had the same problem and I did a H2o2 treatment. The algae turn reddish or pinkish when treated with H2o2. Also the problem in my tank was that I had a bacterial infection break out and had to turn down co2 to ensure my fish could recuperate and I was doing all that I could to help the fish get as much oxygen. Me turning down co2 lead to BB. I did a H2o2 treatment and increased the co2 back up to 3bps and the algae disappeared.

BB can spread fast and fill the tank up. I would suggest you act immediately. A drop checker will help to identify the correct levels of Co2 in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yeah I've had all that running.

I've essentially turned the corner now. I think the CO2 levels stabilized a lot after removing the air stone at night. I also did what you all would cringe at doing.... used Algeafix. I kept it to one dose and did a water change 2 days later. It seems to given me the step ahead.

The algae has stopped spreading and is now wiping off the leaves pretty easily. I'm going in every night and wiping them clean as much as possible. There are a few leaves that are translucent slightly, and I'm going to trim them in a day or two if they haven't started healing up. Even the junk on the back glass has started dieing.

Some of my crypt leaves are melting but they'll come back. I know how finicky the crypts can be sometimes.

All in all I can say I'm winning now.
 
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