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Plant Melting / Algae

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I have a fairly new tank, it is a 20 gallon tall tank that has been established for about a month now. I am having trouble with some of the plants melting and some build up of algae especially on the moss and driftwood. Below are some specs of my tank.

Size: 20 Gallon Tall
Filter: Eheim 2215 Canister Filter
Lights: 2 x Current USA two row leds ( 7 hours / day )
Water Changes: 1 per week 10 - 20 %
Chemicals: 2ml flourish excel daily, 1ml flourish ferts weekly with water change.
Inhabitants: 1 Beta, 10 CPDs, 4 Ghost Shrimp, 3 Nerite Snails

Below are some pictures showing the plant melting and the algea, any advice would be awesome thanks!





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I had my s repens randomly melt one time. Still can't explain why it happened...

Anyway, amano shrimp really like that lighter colored hair algae, a small army took care of my problem in about a week... I also believe if you were to take your normal excel dose and just use a syringe or the like to squirt it directly on the algae spots each day it would help to weaken it and I would think eventually kill it.

Just be sure not to put in more than the recommended max dose in your spot treatment.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply, I will see if I can find amano shrimp and give a few of them a try. I usually administer the flourish excel near the moss but I will try to make it even more direct and see if that helps.
 

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The algae is probably growing on the moss because it is close to the surface, near the light. It is slow growing and a common problem area. Try soaking the moss in a peroxide solution and adding it back in when the tank is more established. Also, I would gradually work up to 4ml Excel daily as it helps combat algae at double dose. Also, I would dose ferts daily instead of weekly. Just divide the weekly dose by 7, using a tad more than recommended. Watch for new plant growth, because if you are not getting any there could be a problem with lighting being too bright or not enough. Usually in a low tech, it is a matter of providing too much and the plants can't keep up without co2.

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you need to get your plants to grow, otherwise you will combat algae forever.
ferts+propper amount of light+co2 is the key. light intensity must be leveled with amount of co2.
if tank is running only for 1 month then its too soon to blame on anything but id start with
1) lowering light intensity by 30-50% (light hours set at 7..8 is good)
2) gradualy over 10 days increase excel dose to 5ml
3) adding fast growing stem or floating plants
4) manualy removing as much algae and damaged plants as you can.

PS you have served very nice and expensive food for your betta inthere lol how big are those gorgeous CPDs ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The beta is a very well fed fish, the CPDs are still pretty small most are about half an inch but they seem to be doing well. I plan on adding some more in a few months. Most of the plants are growing pretty rapidly but I am still having the algaie problem.
 

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i'm also having an algae problem on my plants, and some of them seem to have that melting that you described. my tank has been established for about 2 years. and this is a new problem. i just did a 50% water change, and i will do daily water changes for a week. maybe that'll help. i also just cut the lighting time back, like somebody in this thread suggested. i fertilize my plants with a liquid called "flourish". i don't add any liquid co2. maybe i should do that? my tank is 55 gal, with 2 angel fish, 10 cherry barb, 8 fancy guppies, 8 tetras, 8 cory catfish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am still having tons of problems. I now have horrible brown algae, as well as blackbeard algae all over the place. I went ahead and made a diy co2 generator to try that instead of using excel. The co2 generator has been running for about 4 days now. I am seeing even more plants start to melt and the algae is completely out of control.

I am wondering if the plants melting is a result of the co2 generator. Are they just adjusting to the new levels of co2 or is there something else I should be checking. Will the co2 generator help with the algae? Currently almost every plant is covered and the tank looks horrible. I am thinking about increasing my water changes to twice a week but am not sure if that will make the water conditions fluctuate more and encourage the algae growth.

Any more advice would be great.

Thanks

Bump: Here are some pictures showing the algea and plant melting.


http://i.imgur.com/H5dj6tF.jpg?1


http://i.imgur.com/SIdU1Pi.jpg?1


http://i.imgur.com/Z3whnWm.jpg?1


http://i.imgur.com/8xMxrQK.jpg?1


http://i.imgur.com/hds9Ofl.jpg?1
 

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Were you able to find any Amano shrimp? Snails help with filmy algae but usually aren't interested in filamentous types as much although I have seen them eat dead BBA. Common livebearers eat a lot of algae like some of the kinds you have. Getting some algae grazers and picking out the algae need to be done. This is a mini garden and algae are the weeds and diseases we face.

Have you been able to turn down the lights? I'd try to turn them to about half what they are now and when you get the tank cleaned up turn the intensity back up by 5% every couple weeks.

Flourish is good stuff but with the bright light over the tank it isn't enough. Plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and a bunch of minor nutrients. In a low light tank fish pee/poop provide nitrogen and phosphorus and your water might provide enough calcium and magnesium but in a bright tank that often isn't enough. There is a guy selling complete fertilizer in the sale forum, have a look see. Strong growing plants keep the eye from going to ugly algae and algae can scavenge low levels of nutrients better than the higher plants can so providing plenty of nutrients helps higher plants more than it helps algae.

I'd also keep using Excel. Use the water change amount squirted on the worst spots when water is low during a water change and let the tank cook for 15-20 minutes then refill as well as the daily dose.

The Staurogyne is melting but at the same time it is growing new shoots, bet it is adjusting to the changes you have made. I'd break off the mostly bare stems, take off the nasty looking leaves and replant the stem.

I have a couple of java fern roots that look like yours. The platies pick at that algae all the time but cutting off the infested roots would work as well. They pick at the moss as well, guess it has algae hidden in it as well.

I cut sickly moss off the wood, toss it and new healthy moss grows back. If the moss has attached I'd do that. It will grow tighter to the wood and looks much more natural. Keep the trimmings and try to clean them with hydrogen peroxide dip in another container if you need more moss for your scape then tie it down somewhere in the tank. Research dipping moss and maybe even try a couple different ways to see what works best for you. New growth resists algae better than old growth so trimming it when algae attacks may keep it clean once light and nutrients are at a good level for the CO2 you are able to provide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the reply, I have a 3 nerite snails, 4 ghost shrimp and 4 ottos. Still trying to find the amano shrimp. I have turned the lights down to 6 hours / day but I will try going lower. I also took a look at the for sale forums and will try to purchase some micro / macro ferts. As for picking the algea off. I have been trying but it is growing so fast I can't keep up.
 

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Unkempt moss catches everything floating in your tank. All the dirt, fish poo, algae, fish food... It all ends up in your moss. What you have there currently is nothing but a breeding ground for algae and scum. Its like a launch pad for the algae to attack the rest of you tank.

Here's what you should do. Get a gravel vac in there and try to remove as much of that stuff you can. Really get in there and get as much as you can. Then get some H202 and spray that moss down well. In my experience moss can take H2O2 fine so don't be afraid to use alot. Finally get string and tie that moss down tight.

Aside from the usual advice about too much/ not enough light, co2, nutes , ect... this should help alot.
 

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you need to get your plants to grow, otherwise you will combat algae forever.
ferts+propper amount of light+co2 is the key. light intensity must be leveled with amount of co2.
if tank is running only for 1 month then its too soon to blame on anything but id start with
1) lowering light intensity by 30-50% (light hours set at 7..8 is good)
2) gradualy over 10 days increase excel dose to 5ml
3) adding fast growing stem or floating plants
4) manualy removing as much algae and damaged plants as you can.

PS you have served very nice and expensive food for your betta inthere lol how big are those gorgeous CPDs ?
+1 to this post

You need to lower your light immediately and get rid of any dying plants. Dead plants just melt and produce ammonia and further contribute to algae. Trying to save unhealthy plants that are beyond saving is only going to make matters worse (I've tried and failed before lol)

Treating with Excel spot dosing or H2O2 spot dosing could kill off some of the algae you can't manually remove and give you an edge. Just remember that it will always come back if the underlying symptoms are not resolved...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have been puling off as much algae as I can each day. And have cut many of the badly infected leaves off. I was also able to get 6 amano shrimp. I may get some more ( how many is a good amount for a 20 tall? ). I have also started dosing liquid ferts that I purchased from nilocg. I dose micros 3 times a week and macros 3 times a week as instructed. I am also adding 2ml of excel each night after the lights go off.

In terms of water changes I have been doing 2-3 a week to suck up all the algae I scrape off. These water changes are only about 10% so nothing big just enough to suck up lose debris.

Lights are on for 6 hours a day from 2 - 8.

Is the excel safe for the amanos? I had ghost shrimp in the tank but they have all disappeared so I am worried the excel might be killing my inverts.
 

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Some inverts can be sensitive to excel. You can remove them while treating the tank.

Hand cleaning, spot treating, lower light/higher ferts, and a clean up crew like you have (otos and snails)... thats about the best you can do. Give it some time.
If the algae wont stay off the moss after about 6 weeks of all of the advice you got, then i would throw the moss out. Better to buy clean moss then keep an algae machine.
My tank seems to breed a new strain of algae per month. Never a ton but just enough to piss me off. There are many things you can try. But the most sure fire is to make sure you have enough plants in the tank to soak up ALL the nutrients. If the plant gets all the goodies, then there isnt anything left for the algae. For a 20 gallon id say at least 20 plants. Then add or reduce based on algae.
 

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With all of this decay and algae removal going on lots of organic waste.
Purigen from Seachem may help absorb some of this material.
I use Purigen and UV sterilizer at all times.
Whenever anything is stirred up the tank is again clear in <20 minutes.
This is a 40G long heavily planted, 15 molly sized fish.
2 Amano work hard all day, 14 ghosts break down all crap on the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
More Problems:

Woke up this morning to find 3 dead amano shrimp. I have a feeling I lost more than that. Wen to check the water params and found the following:

pH: 6-6.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10ppm
KH: 71.6
CO2 75ppm

The co2 and nitrate levels were alarming, while the nitrate isn't off the charts I have never seen the tank go above 0 since it has been setup. The co2 levels are way to high for my tank. Not sure what to do about that, could the low ph be what is killing the amanos? The lights had only been on for about an hour and half.

I have since done a 40% water change to bring down the nitrates and hopefully reduce the co2 levels. Really don't want to lose more amanos as they were hard to find.

Since I am now dosing the micro and macro ferts should I expect an increase in nitrate levels?

I am using purigen inside my canister filter.

Thanks for any help!
 

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More Problems:

Nitrate: 10ppm

The co2 and nitrate levels were alarming, while the nitrate isn't off the charts I have never seen the tank go above 0 since it has been setup.

I have since done a 40% water change to bring down the nitrates and hopefully reduce the co2 levels. Really don't want to lose more amanos as they were hard to find.

Since I am now dosing the micro and macro ferts should I expect an increase in nitrate levels?

I am using purigen inside my canister filter.

Thanks for any help!
Maybe a month with no nitrogen has not helped the plants.
I'm lucky if when dosing I can keep 5ppm for 24hrs.

Bump: Just to add, maybe should have left the nitrates, run an air stone, gas off some CO2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Still fighting algae but it doesn't seem to be growing at quite the rate it was. I keep pulling off the hair algea hopefully eventually it will stop coming back.

One new concern is that my beta's eyes are looking a little cloudy. It is swimming quite a lot back and forth so I am worried that it might be too much ammonia due to low ph killing off the good bacteria although my water tests do not reveal that.
 
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