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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!

Some of you have been following my nano dutch journal. It's had its ups and downs and for a while seemed that it finally reached a balance until I accidentally introduced spiro from another hobbyists cuttings. I started dosing API Algaefix which ended up killing the spiro and causing a lot of regular green hair algae to die. It seems all the algae dying triggered another cyano outbreak. So I used ultralife green slime remover and killed the cyano. The dead cyano triggered another round of hair algae and the spiro came back. Killed it off which again trigger cyano because I am practicing nitrate limitation in the tank which isn't helping. It seems I'm now stuck in an endless cycle, kill one algae which triggers the other and vice versa. Any ideas on how to fix this? I try to manually remove as much as I can but considering how wide spread cyano and hair algae are and how dense my plant mass is its literally impossible to remove 100% of any decaying algae.

I tried reducing my light by 20 PAR but somehow the hair algae just got worse. I'm still trying to kill off this current bout of cyano, so at the moment I have spiro hair algae AND cyano and I can't figure out which one I should target without triggering the other.

Thanks guys!
 

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Hey everyone!

Some of you have been following my nano dutch journal. It's had its ups and downs and for a while seemed that it finally reached a balance until I accidentally introduced spiro from another hobbyists cuttings. I started dosing API Algaefix which ended up killing the spiro and causing a lot of regular green hair algae to die. It seems all the algae dying triggered another cyano outbreak. So I used ultralife green slime remover and killed the cyano. The dead cyano triggered another round of hair algae and the spiro came back. Killed it off which again trigger cyano because I am practicing nitrate limitation in the tank which isn't helping. It seems I'm now stuck in an endless cycle, kill one algae which triggers the other and vice versa. Any ideas on how to fix this? I try to manually remove as much as I can but considering how wide spread cyano and hair algae are and how dense my plant mass is its literally impossible to remove 100% of any decaying algae.

I tried reducing my light by 20 PAR but somehow the hair algae just got worse. I'm still trying to kill off this current bout of cyano, so at the moment I have spiro hair algae AND cyano and I can't figure out which one I should target without triggering the other.

Thanks guys!
my brother had a ton of hair algae and then his pearl gourami and 2 kuhli loaches ate it all. i don't know if that helps but just something that might
 

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I’d stop dosing these algae killers in your tank for one. You run a ton of light for plants that will thrive in like 30-50 PAR.

Consider doing less honestly. Water changes, manual removal, gravel vac, keep that up. Good general hygiene and then time. I read you move plants a lot, uproot em constantly, etc. Try to do less large changes to the tank.

Sounds like you tend to favor quick fixes, so why not try a blackout? Hit them all at the same time. I feel like all these issues are harkoning back to a different set of root problems, and my bet is on Co2 and o2 management, patience, and persistence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I’d stop dosing these algae killers in your tank for one. You run a ton of light for plants that will thrive in like 30-50 PAR.

Consider doing less honestly. Water changes, manual removal, gravel vac, keep that up. Good general hygiene and then time. I read you move plants a lot, uproot em constantly, etc. Try to do less large changes to the tank.

Sounds like you tend to favor quick fixes, so why not try a blackout? Hit them all at the same time. I feel like all these issues are harkoning back to a different set of root problems, and my bet is on Co2 and o2 management, patience, and persistence.
I only dosed the algae killer per Tom barrs recommendation for spiro algae. It is like cladophora and is impossible to kill otherwise. I also don't do any major changes to the tank other than regular maintenance for a dutch tank. Uprooting, cutting off the old bottoms, and replanting the tops is necessary every now and then for these tanks as the stems get too dense and the lower leaves get less and less light until they start to die and become algae inhibitors. I made a few changes here and there within the first month of it running which is pretty typical for a lot of people with dutch tanks. Other than doing that periodically I just trim plants scrape the glass and vaccum the substrate with the turkey baster method. I havent moved anything around in a month or so and i never had these algae problems when i was moving or adding plants. It came about after I finally got everything how I wanted it started a "regular" maintenance routine. I do weekly 50-75% water changes with RO. What sparked it all was the introduction of the spirogyra. I will agree I run super high light which i just lowered to 130 PAR, but I also run rich co2 and o2. So what would your thoughts be on my co2 and o2 management? I have never used a blackout to treat for algae before, Im worried my plants would take a hit from that and it won't kill the but I'd be willing to try it I guess.

Edit: since it seems a blackout might be a good place to start and then I can start off fresh and lower my light settings once the blackout is done would you mind answering some questions about how to go about doing it? Like I mentioned I've never gone this route before in a high tech so I have questions hahaha.
 

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Well, sounds like we are both chasing our tails. I too have been going through this. First green hair algae, started dosing Excel then I got cyanobacteria . I've been manually removing as much as I can and turned down the lights. I did some Google searches on Excel, Blue/Green algae , and Erythromycin. Then I came across an article about the redfield ratio. So it states that a ratio 16 to 1, Nitrogen to Phosphate , if Nitrogen is high green algae will occur. High phosphates and you get Cyno. My search of Excel revealed that it contains phosphates so I assume this triggered my Cyno outbreak. My search on Erythromycin came with you-tube videos where the host explained exactly found in the Redfield Ratio. He suggested if you have Cyno, you dose Nitrogen, and for green algae, dose phosphates. His third choice was to use Erythromycin, and as a last resort do a Blackout. I think I'm going to try balancing my Nitrogen/Phosphate, their is too much controversy as if Erythromycin kills beneficial bacteria in the filter. Just my thoughts, we'll see if this pans out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, sounds like we are both chasing our tails. I too have been going through this. First green hair algae, started dosing Excel then I got cyanobacteria . I've been manually removing as much as I can and turned down the lights. I did some Google searches on Excel, Blue/Green algae , and Erythromycin. Then I came across an article about the redfield ratio. So it states that a ratio 16 to 1, Nitrogen to Phosphate , if Nitrogen is high green algae will occur. High phosphates and you get Cyno. My search of Excel revealed that it contains phosphates so I assume this triggered my Cyno outbreak. My search on Erythromycin came with you-tube videos where the host explained exactly found in the Redfield Ratio. He suggested if you have Cyno, you dose Nitrogen, and for green algae, dose phosphates. His third choice was to use Erythromycin, and as a last resort do a Blackout. I think I'm going to try balancing my Nitrogen/Phosphate, their is too much controversy as if Erythromycin kills beneficial bacteria in the filter. Just my thoughts, we'll see if this pans out.
I too have read that about cyano. Not sure about phosphates and green algae however. I dose APT complete which IMO is pretty lean I rarely ever have measurable nitrate. I haven't tested phosphate in some time though, but I use RO water in this particular tank to cut down on "if" factors. I didn't have a major green hair algae problem even with the high lighting, the issue was when I had to nuke the spiro with algaefix as I couldn't find any other way to get rid of it other than an algaecide unfortunately. I tried to ride it out for 2 weeks but it started to get worse so I figured I should take care of it before it got out of hand. Once it died off the cyano came which I would assume from my low nitrogen in conjunction with the die off of spiro and green algae. I only dealt with cyano in this tank during the first 6-8 weeks of setup which was pretty normal. I hadn't seen the sprio since the algae fix dose but lo and behold it returned when I dealt with the cyano. I'm thinking the other member is right and I should try to kill multiple birds with one stone and do a blackout after my water change this Sunday and see how that goes. After 3 days when I uncover the tank I'll knock my lighting down another 20 PAR or so and see where that gets me. My photoperiod is only 6 hours as it is. At some point I would like to reintroduce shrimp back into the tank ad well.

I've just never done a blackout before so I'm not sure if I should dose ferts and turn off my co2 during it? Should I run the co2 but add an airstone? I'll need some advice on that matter.
 

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Yea blackouts are pretty straight forward. You just need to totally block the light from all angles, so using black trash bags, towels, whatever. Some tape to keep it tight. No light for 3 days

The more you remove before the better, so first clean stuff as best you can beforehand.

I drop an air stone in during the 3 days and then I also have used a little excel just to hit it a bit during the blackout as well. Then when you are done with the 3 days, 75% to 100% water change. If your plants are healthy, they should be fine.

Don’t run co2 and no ferts during blackout. Intuitively speaking here, there’s no point, your plants won’t need it when there’s no light.

You likely will still see some leftover algae, but now you can handle the remaining stuff more easily. Blackouts are more effective vs green algaes vs say BBA, which it really won’t do much to. So this is why I suggested this route for your case.

Also for your lighting, your running at like 110-130 PAR or something right? Would you be open to dropping down to say 60-80? Starting off a lot lower, but giving you more forgiveness and time to check other aspects of the tank like CO2, flow. Are you able to drop your pH a full point (like 7.2 to 6.2) purely with CO2 being added? Not sure if you own one already, but $100 super well spent on a pH probe and meter like the pinpoint pH probe. I use it basically every day in a tanks early stages to monitor my "general" CO2 levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Don’t run co2 and no ferts during blackout. Intuitively speaking here, there’s no point, your plants won’t need it when there’s no light.

You likely will still see some leftover algae, but now you can handle the remaining stuff more easily. Blackouts are more effective vs green algaes vs say BBA, which it really won’t do much to. So this is why I suggested this route for your case.

Also for your lighting, your running at like 110-130 PAR or something right? Would you be open to dropping down to say 60-80? Starting off a lot lower, but giving you more forgiveness and time to check other aspects of the tank like CO2, flow. Are you able to drop your pH a full point (like 7.2 to 6.2) purely with CO2 being added? Not sure if you own one already, but $100 super well spent on a pH probe and meter like the pinpoint pH probe. I use it basically every day in a tanks early stages to monitor my "general" CO2 levels.
I'm going to try dropping it down somewhere between 80-100 after the blackout is complete. It was 150 and I just dropped it to 130 earlier this week. I don't know what my pH drop is because of the fact that the API liquid kit doesn't go below 6 and my tank water is soft and acidic. I think a reliable pH pen will be my next investment. I went onto the barr report again and found a thread mr.barr wrote about spiro, seems more co2 and lower light could be the key to keeping growth rate down. My co2 is already super high for this sized tank so after the blackout I will keep the co2 where it is but lower the light like I said. He also noted a multiple blackout approach, do a 3 day blackout and lower the light afterwards. Do a water change and then start up the co2 and fert dosing. Let the plants recover for 3-10 days depending on their general condition afterwards and then do another blackout. Repeat however many times it's needed and the plants can stand. So I will post the progress after this next inital blackout and see where that gets me. Thanks a lot for your opinion! The tank is due for a WC Sunday, so I will trim what's needed, do a manual removal, 75% WC and shut the co2 down and start the blackout.

Okay so I just did a 75% WC with RO. I tried my best to remove as much hair algae as I could although 90% of it is stuck in my monte carlo carpet so I couldn't get all of it. Same with the cyano, which seems to be dying off already but there's still some underneath the carpet and on the edges of the older leaves on my stem plants. Since turning down the light intensity I actually found some gray already dead tufts of hair algae. The spiro however is starting to get out of control. I decided not to trim any of my plants although the stems are definitely due for one. I figured if my plants are going to be stressed after the blackout I should probably just leave the very healthy tops alone. I also already cleaned out the canister, replaced the filter floss, and added fresh purigen on my last WC to try and help the algae problem so I left the filter alone as well. When I uncover the tank I will do a large 75% WC and replace the filter floss again but leave the plants alone to recover. 3 days later it will be due for the regular weekly WC which I will do another 75% and then trim my stem plants off the surface to trigger fresh growth.

The tank is all set for the blackout, my betta was fed and the airstone put in. I unplugged the co2 solenoid and the light and double bagged it with black trash bags making sure to cover the lily pipes too and then threw a thick towel over since this room gets tons of natural light.

Here's some pictures of the algae before, which definitely isn't terrible but too far spread about the tank to try manual removal at this point, also a picture of the tank covered up. I'll update you guys on Wednesday or Thursday! Tom barr noted that downoi has a hard time with blackouts so fingers crossed I don't have any problems with my plants. Despite having super low gh and kh the downoi has been doing great in the tank, it would be a shame to lose it.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Heres to hoping for the best! Good luck!
Thanks! Speaking of tons of natural lighting, any thoughts behind that being a possibility in causing the extra algae? The sun rises around 8am and is the room is very bright by 9-10am on less cloudy days. My lights don't come on until 1pm and the photoperiod is only 6 hours. Im wondering if perhaps that may be playing into the problem. Although I find it odd I had zero hair algae problems the first 2 months this tank was running, at 180 PAR at the substrate with less plant mass? Another intriguing thought, I had more algae problems when I switched my twinstar for a chihiros and completely saturated the tank with a red/blue color spectrum.
 

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Thanks! Speaking of tons of natural lighting, any thoughts behind that being a possibility in causing the extra algae? The sun rises around 8am and is the room is very bright by 9-10am on less cloudy days. My lights don't come on until 1pm and the photoperiod is only 6 hours. Im wondering if perhaps that may be playing into the problem. Although I find it odd I had zero hair algae problems the first 2 months this tank was running, at 180 PAR at the substrate with less plant mass? Another intriguing thought, I had more algae problems when I switched my twinstar for a chihiros and completely saturated the tank with a red/blue color spectrum.
Yea that could be a reason too, though hard to say for sure what ambient PAR you get. My kitchen gets a lot of natural light as well, but it’s still nothing compared to outside and indirect sunlight.

IME, generally the first few weeks of a new setup are like the honeymoon phase, **** doesn’t really go wrong. It’s the weeks immediately after those first 6, then algae pops up.

And I also have a Chihiros, wrgb2. Running that thing at 100% is way too much light for me, so I run it at almost 40%, the exact settings I use are 27-45-45 (R-G-B) for reference. (I like the less red since greens pop a lot more.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yea that could be a reason too, though hard to say for sure what ambient PAR you get. My kitchen gets a lot of natural light as well, but it’s still nothing compared to outside and indirect sunlight.

IME, generally the first few weeks of a new setup are like the honeymoon phase, **** doesn’t really go wrong. It’s the weeks immediately after those first 6, then algae pops up.

And I also have a Chihiros, wrgb2. Running that thing at 100% is way too much light for me, so I run it at almost 40%, the exact settings I use are 27-45-45 (R-G-B) for reference. (I like the less red since greens pop a lot more.)
The stock intensity out of the box for the vivid mini in my tank was 364 at the substrate which is absolutely insane. Granted it's a shallow tank but still impressive for the price point. It outdid my twinstar E series by a long mile. I tweaked the light down before the blackout started, I'm now running 112 PAR at the substrate with red and dark blue at 37% and green at 17% since I'm growing mostly red plants. Id like to be able to knock it down further but my hygrophila chai doesnt do well under 120 PAR so im already pressing the matter. Like most dutch tanks this thing is nothing but pure blood sweat and tears even for it only being a 5 gal but the payoff is very much worth it. I'm super anxious to uncover the tank. I'll probably do that tomorrow so I'll update you guys then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Soo I uncovered the tank a minute ago. Somehow the cyano is worse? The hair algae that's been growing in one patch in the dead center of the carpet...still alive. One thing that did die from the blackout however was the spirogyra from what I can see. Hopefully it stays dead because that stuff is a real B word. Not sure where I should go from here....any ideas? Should I attempt another blackout in a few days or ride this out for a week with the lower light intensity and see how it goes? I'm going to do a quick water change shortly and replace the filter floss and plug everything back in.
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Good thing is all the plants seem to be just fine. I'm a bit confused on whether or not light was still able to get into the tank somehow, most of the plants weren't closed up like they are when the tank lights have been off for awhile. The monte carlo was definitely reaching upwards like it was looking for light but all the leaves on my stems were wide open. The AR mini was a tad bit closed but yeah im confused as to why the cyano didn't die. I did two layers of black trash bag with a thick towel. I stuck my head underneath before the blackout to see if I could see any ambient light getting through the tank covering and didn't see anything. Soooo idk :oops:
 

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I think based on the stems growing up, you blocked out the light. I mean you could always have gone more overkill, but I think ya did fine. The cyano looks like its melting off the plants compared, looking at the Downoi from before and after. Have you tried to scrub it off and suck that stuff out of the tank? I feel like it should come away more easily.

As for the hair algae, i dunno I guess its hard for my eyes to gauge, but yes its still there, but I feel like its been hit well. Trim away what you can, remove as much as you can now, and again, water change it up.

I have had this happen to me before, and you could try again for another few days if you so wish, but id remove as much as you can before another round.
 

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I think based on the stems growing up, you blocked out the light. I mean you could always have gone more overkill, but I think ya did fine. The cyano looks like its melting off the plants compared, looking at the Downoi from before and after. Have you tried to scrub it off and suck that stuff out of the tank? I feel like it should come away more easily.

As for the hair algae, i dunno I guess its hard for my eyes to gauge, but yes its still there, but I feel like its been hit well. Trim away what you can, remove as much as you can now, and again, water change it up.

I have had this happen to me before, and you could try again for another few days if you so wish, but id remove as much as you can before another round.
Yes I did a 75% WC and rubbed some of the plant leaves between my fingers to loosen up the cyano and vacced it up. I couldn't get everything, but it did seem more loosely attached than before. As for the hair algae, I also rubbed that between my fingers and maybe it's placebo effect or maybe not, but it seemed much more slimey than usual so maybe the algae cells are breaking down. I didn't have time to do an intensive maintenance session, but at the very least did the WC with some manual removal of algae and I put fresh filter floss in again. Hopefully the purigen will help me out with some of the decaying organic matter. Sunday is my actual WC day for all my tanks, so I will trim the plants then. They are actually overdue for their first full hack down, typically in dutch or stem heavy tanks it's beneficial to cut the stems all the way down to 4 inches or so above the substrate to completely regenerate new healthy growth, but considering they just went under some stress with the black out I think I will just do another regular trim of the tips and wait until next week to hack em. I'll see how the next few days or so go with the algae now that I lowered the PAR and decide if I need to do another 3 day black out.
 

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Yes I did a 75% WC and rubbed some of the plant leaves between my fingers to loosen up the cyano and vacced it up. I couldn't get everything, but it did seem more loosely attached than before. As for the hair algae, I also rubbed that between my fingers and maybe it's placebo effect or maybe not, but it seemed much more slimey than usual so maybe the algae cells are breaking down. I didn't have time to do an intensive maintenance session, but at the very least did the WC with some manual removal of algae and I put fresh filter floss in again. Hopefully the purigen will help me out with some of the decaying organic matter. Sunday is my actual WC day for all my tanks, so I will trim the plants then. They are actually overdue for their first full hack down, typically in dutch or stem heavy tanks it's beneficial to cut the stems all the way down to 4 inches or so above the substrate to completely regenerate new healthy growth, but considering they just went under some stress with the black out I think I will just do another regular trim of the tips and wait until next week to hack em. I'll see how the next few days or so go with the algae now that I lowered the PAR and decide if I need to do another 3 day black out.
gotcha, we’ll that’s good to hear. Honestly if you have some time, I’d argue that now is the best time to do the intensive cleaning as things are at their weakest. If you have time tommorrow, I’d budget and hour if you can! Totally understand if that’s not feasible but if it were me, I wouldn’t give algae a chance when I’m at the end of the treatment. You didn’t wait 3 days just to go easy on it at the end!

Oh and if you got some excel lying around might help ya out a little just to hit the algae even more with a little dosing. Why not hit it as many ways as possible right?

I’d also prolly water change 50% each day if my schedule and tank inhabitants would allow it
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh and if you got some excel lying around might help ya out a little just to hit the algae even more with a little dosing. Why not hit it as many ways as possible right?

I’d also prolly water change 50% each day if my schedule and tank inhabitants would allow it
I dont have any excel but I do have APT fix which is an algae treatment but I don't believe it's chemical. I will try to do another WC tonight and spot dose the APT fix, it's good for hair algae. Dennis wong said it could also be used for cyano but I didn't see any changes in the cyano when I used the APT fix during the inital round of algae when I first set the tank up. The only inhabitant is a betta, which is why im lucky as she's super forgiving with any treatments I need to do!
 

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I dont have any excel but I do have APT fix which is an algae treatment but I don't believe it's chemical. I will try to do another WC tonight and spot dose the APT fix, it's good for hair algae. Dennis wong said it could also be used for cyano but I didn't see any changes in the cyano when I used the APT fix during the inital round of algae when I first set the tank up. The only inhabitant is a betta, which is why im lucky as she's super forgiving with any treatments I need to do!
Its definitely a chemical haha, I read the ingredient is some sort of "epoxy aldehyde". I'm not sure if its at all similar to excels active ingredient called glutraldehyde though. I came across a forum post here where someone said it was more effective against BBA though, which to me gets me intrigued! Anyways, good luck! I believe all your hard work will pay off soon.

Also, just a sidenote, in your photos your MC and downoi are very pale, is that just due to the light colors?
 

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Its definitely a chemical haha, I read the ingredient is some sort of "epoxy aldehyde". I'm not sure if its at all similar to excels active ingredient called glutraldehyde though. I came across a forum post here where someone said it was more effective against BBA though, which to me gets me intrigued! Anyways, good luck! I believe all your hard work will pay off soon.

Also, just a sidenote, in your photos your MC and downoi are very pale, is that just due to the light colors?
Thank you so much for your help :giggle: I'll update again in a few days. It's just the color spectrum washing the greens out. I favor my red plants so I have the lighting set to an unnatural purple hue that really washes out the greens. I did notice though that under intense red and blue that even if i balance out the spectrum they are more pale than they used to be. An interesting observation on the effect on green plants. My Staurogyne repens doesnt seem to enjoy the spectrum as much either. Not natural looking but hey what dutch tanks look natural lol! When I rented the PAR meter from the LFS I took over 2 dozen readings with different color settings on my chihiros, so if I ever decide I want to switch the spectrum back over to be more balanced with the greens I'll already know what to set it to in relation to what PAR value I want.
 
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