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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I have been using EI dosing for 11 days now. I have followed all the instructions and made my macro and micro bottles and have been dosing according to the instructions.

I seem to be having a progressively worsening of this blue-green (my guess could be wrong) algae which is worst on my mosses but is also present on my aquarium glass. I've not had this type of algae before and it's starting to look unsightly as it's getting worse.

I have attached some pictures most of them are a week apart. The worst one if today and the others a week or 2 before.

The only other parameter I have changed apart from moving to EI dosing is that I increased my lighting duration from 6 hours to 6h 30 mins a day and that was 3 or 4 weeks ago now. When I did increase the lighting duration then I did notice some green film type algae on my crypts and red plants but these are going away now and have cleared off about 60% what they were before. The tank had such lush growth a few weeks ago it looks so different so fast.

I was just wondering what tweaking I should do next? I'm guessing there's more than enough nutrients if i'm using EI dosing and my CO2 checker is lime green throughout the photoperiod. Also not overfeeding the fishes. Just wondering if that only leaves tweaking with the light but i'm not sure.

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I have a very basic understanding of this as, but I have battled something that looks an awful lot like this and I can tell you what I did.
It's actually very simple...I focused more on helping my plants be a healthy as possible in order to out compete the algae and whatever that other gooey bacteria is. I do 10 plus hours of lighting (I try to match the natural cycles of light... however many hours of light I get from the sun I give at least that to my aquariums). I've found rooting agents like seachem flourish advance to help root growth to be quite helpful. The more roots your plants have the more nutrients they will take in. Also knowing what plants will take in the most nutrients is key. True aquatic plants that float are major eaters. They will help you in your battles! Pothos is another favorite of mine. It's not aquatic but it will grow in water for years as long as it's got nutrients, and it's great for eating the ammonia aright from the water column. The point is, if you take away things like lighting and nutrition you're not just going to hurt the growth you don't want. You will make it more difficult for all plant life. They all want and need the same thing. If you can get the plants you want to be healthy and thrive, everything else will balance out in the end. At least this has been my experience. It's also important to say that this doesn't happen overnight. It's taken months for mine to balance out completely, and there's even still some algae growth on the hardscape (which doesn't bother me)
I hope this info helps
 

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It looks like your plants were doing pretty good before, if its only been 11 days. Why did you start EI?

I dont know the specific cause but there's a large imbalance happening somewhere. Double check that you mixed your macros right. Then I would suggest cutting EI in half because you dont have a lot of hungry fast growers to begin with. This tank doesnt need EI level ferts

Do you have a vacuum hose, just a tube to go around the substrate and plants and drain in a bucket? Suck as much as you can out. Can probably get a lot off that moss this way if its well attached. Clean the filter. Do a large water change, 80%+. Repeat this in 2-3 days.

Do the water change right after the vacuuming/cleaning. Right before starting the drain, with the filters off where there is no current, take a spray bottle of peroxide (it comes in little spray bottles) and direct spray everything underwater. Then start the drain. The peroxide will help beat it back while hopefully the cleaning and fert reduction balances things out.

After a couple of deep cleaning/big water changes, go back to your normal routine. It may take a little time to sort itself out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It looks like your plants were doing pretty good before, if its only been 11 days. Why did you start EI?

I dont know the specific cause but there's a large imbalance happening somewhere. Double check that you mixed your macros right. Then I would suggest cutting EI in half because you dont have a lot of hungry fast growers to begin with. This tank doesnt need EI level ferts

Do you have a vacuum hose, just a tube to go around the substrate and plants and drain in a bucket? Suck as much as you can out. Can probably get a lot off that moss this way if its well attached. Clean the filter. Do a large water change, 80%+. Repeat this in 2-3 days.

Do the water change right after the vacuuming/cleaning. Right before starting the drain, with the filters off where there is no current, take a spray bottle of peroxide (it comes in little spray bottles) and direct spray everything underwater. Then start the drain. The peroxide will help beat it back while hopefully the cleaning and fert reduction balances things out.

After a couple of deep cleaning/big water changes, go back to your normal routine. It may take a little time to sort itself out.
Thanks for the response.

Yh the plants we’re definitely much better before EI dosing and also before I increased the light. I switched to EI as I was using Tropica SN before EI and it is quite expensive for a 320L tank.

yes I’ve got all the cleaning equipment so will definitely do all the cleaning you recommend.

I was thinking of reducing my light back to 6 hours and cleaning and see how that gets along for a week or two and if that fails I’ll just do another big clean up and then half the EI ferts just so I can monitor what change is causing what?
 

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Thanks for the response.

Yh the plants we’re definitely much better before EI dosing and also before I increased the light. I switched to EI as I was using Tropica SN before EI and it is quite expensive for a 320L tank.

yes I’ve got all the cleaning equipment so will definitely do all the cleaning you recommend.

I was thinking of reducing my light back to 6 hours and cleaning and see how that gets along for a week or two and if that fails I’ll just do another big clean up and then half the EI ferts just so I can monitor what change is causing what?
I would keep the light at 8 hours because you want the plants thriving as much as possible. That is the best defense against any kind of algae. This looks like cyano of some kind but the same applies

if you used a nutrient calculator to make your ferts you can just as easily clone the Tropica, or get more in the range you were at which is a LONG way from EI, lol. A moderate increase might be just what you needed.

If you just followed a recipe and arent familiar with using a calculator to hit specific ppm, its easy and someone will be glad to explain it. Or just cutting the EI in half will probably do the job. Just saying..
 

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Looks to me you have mostly BGA and not the more traditional algae types. BGA is technically not algae, but a cyanobacteria.

From my experience this is usually caused by an immature or weak bio-filter. Bio-filter meaning BB and plant uptake. It's not uncommon in fairly new tanks and tanks that don't have a large load of fast growing plants. You should be able to correct it with more water changes, more plants (if possible), and organic removal products like carbon/purigen. All of these things will work to reduce the amount of organics in the water so the "bio-filter" can keep up.

Finding the right balance with light is important as not enough the plants won't uptake enough and too much the algae can get the upper hand. The best lighting option that gives the most flexibility is one where you can reduce the intensity for much of the photo period and have a peak in the middle. If you can't do that I would reduce lighting duration a bit until you get a handle on it. Definitely siphon out as much as you can via water changes as mentioned. I really doubt the EI type dosing is the main problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would keep the light at 8 hours because you want the plants thriving as much as possible. That is the best defense against any kind of algae. This looks like cyano of some kind but the same applies

if you used a nutrient calculator to make your ferts you can just as easily clone the Tropica, or get more in the range you were at which is a LONG way from EI, lol. A moderate increase might be just what you needed.

If you just followed a recipe and arent familiar with using a calculator to hit specific ppm, its easy and someone will be glad to explain it. Or just cutting the EI in half will probably do the job. Just saying..
I was also looking at my images again and the before I upped the light from 6 to 6h30 there was some algae already there. I think maybe upping the light might have tipped the balance and maybe the EI dosing is just in the background? As when I started EI dosing I didn’t notice algae getting worser faster it was the same as when the light was upped? But it seems like a while ago now so I’m doubting myself. I just wonder if I increase the light to 8 hours which I haven’t done before if the algae will book further?

ah I had no idea regarding EI dosing not being for all planted CO2 injected tanks. I just thought as my tank is both of the above that EI dosing would suit. I will look into those calculators. Have you got a link please?

Looks to me you have mostly BGA and not the more traditional algae types. BGA is technically not algae, but a cyanobacteria.

From my experience this is usually caused by an immature or weak bio-filter. Bio-filter meaning BB and plant uptake. It's not uncommon in fairly new tanks and tanks that don't have a large load of fast growing plants. You should be able to correct it with more water changes, more plants (if possible), and organic removal products like carbon/purigen. All of these things will work to reduce the amount of organics in the water so the "bio-filter" can keep up.

Finding the right balance with light is important as not enough the plants won't uptake enough and too much the algae can get the upper hand. The best lighting option that gives the most flexibility is one where you can reduce the intensity for much of the photo period and have a peak in the middle. If you can't do that I would reduce lighting duration a bit until you get a handle on it. Definitely siphon out as much as you can via water changes as mentioned. I really doubt the EI type dosing is the main problem.
thanks for the reply. My tank is 5 months old now. It’s fully cycled but I guess it could still be immature like you’re saying. I have a lot of fast growing Ludwiga that can be seen on my oldest pics but I have trimmed them all as it turned into a jungle so they are shorter at the moment but just hidden behind the tree on the left end not in view.
I added some more plants to the soil on the left front position but my fish just pulled it out hence why I have not tried again.
I can definitely increase my WC frequency and I already have purigen in my filters.
I can change the intensity of the lights as they are programmable. Currently they come on full blast almost instantly and maintain that same intensity throughout the duration the light is turned on. I have no idea how to adjust this I just adjust the duration as I don’t understand how the intensity would work as there may be points where there’s not enough light and so algae might benefit- hence why I just keep it constant
 

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Nutrient calculator - Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator

6 hours or 10 hours, once cyano takes a hold changing light an hour or two one way or the other isnt going to change much. Obviously right now you wouldnt want to go to 12 hours because it spreads so fast. But light isnt the root cause.

A 3 day blackout will kill it. But you have to address the cause or it will just come back

Removing organic waste should be priority number one, hence my and Asteriod's cleaning suggestion. I dont like purigen. Ran it off and on for a few years and plants just dont do as well when its in there. Totally anecdotal mind you, some folks like it. But every time I have taken it out I see an explosion in growth and plant health. Im pretty sure it impacts certain nutrients. Again, anecdotal.

Just because EI is typically OK - Im close to EI levels myself, higher on some things - that doesnt mean you can just suddenly dump a crap ton of nutrients in every tank out there and never see an adverse reaction. Everything balances according to what is present in the water. The bio filter, the plants, countless processes going on behind the scenes. Going from Tropica to EI is a huge swing.

Im not saying EI is bad. Im saying that the dramatic shift in nutrient levels sparked an imbalance somewhere allowing cyano to take hold. No idea what the imbalance is, but why keep larding it on if you dont need it in the first place? Something is out of whack and its not the extra 90 minutes of light ;)

Adding: Did you ever double check to make sure you did the macros correctly? Specifically PO4 and NO3, make sure you didnt miss a zero somewhere and accidentally rolling with 10x more or less than you intended, or something similar
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nutrient calculator - Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator

6 hours or 10 hours, once cyano takes a hold changing light an hour or two one way or the other isnt going to change much. Obviously right now you wouldnt want to go to 12 hours because it spreads so fast. But light isnt the root cause.

A 3 day blackout will kill it. But you have to address the cause or it will just come back

Removing organic waste should be priority number one, hence my and Asteriod's cleaning suggestion. I dont like purigen. Ran it off and on for a few years and plants just dont do as well when its in there. Totally anecdotal mind you, some folks like it. But every time I have taken it out I see an explosion in growth and plant health. Im pretty sure it impacts certain nutrients. Again, anecdotal.

Just because EI is typically OK - Im close to EI levels myself, higher on some things - that doesnt mean you can just suddenly dump a crap ton of nutrients in every tank out there and never see an adverse reaction. Everything balances according to what is present in the water. The bio filter, the plants, countless processes going on behind the scenes. Going from Tropica to EI is a huge swing.

Im not saying EI is bad. Im saying that the dramatic shift in nutrient levels sparked an imbalance somewhere allowing cyano to take hold. No idea what the imbalance is, but why keep larding it on if you dont need it in the first place? Something is out of whack and its not the extra 90 minutes of light ;)

Adding: Did you ever double check to make sure you did the macros correctly? Specifically PO4 and NO3, make sure you didnt miss a zero somewhere and accidentally rolling with 10x more or less than you intended, or something similar
Thanks! Can I just do such huge changes in light in one go? I’ve been going quite slow and steady so I can monitor what the changes are exactly. I try to make my actions tend to be very low risk haha.

Im definitely going to follow all the cleaning steps!

yes that makes sense regarding dumping the extra nutrients but I just thought that’s how it’s done- never seen any posts saying gradually increase to EI- maybe I didn’t read into it enough!

Im sure I checked multiple times before adding all the salts into the mixer. The bottle will be out soon as they are only 500ml bottles so will make sure it’s correct on the new batch. Maybe I just have just stuck with the Tropica haha.
 

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Removing organic waste should be priority number one, hence my and Asteriod's cleaning suggestion...
I think burr740 and I are saying the same thing but in a different way. The organic load any setup can handle is the key to being algae-free. Without a doubt the best way to do that is with a tank full of healthy fast growing stems. Burr comes more from that type of setup (correct me if I'm wrong), but most of my setups have minimal plant mass (see links in sig) so, without the plants the next best way to remove organics are water changes, removing dead/dying leaves, organic removal products. I rely on these more heavily since I don't have the plant mass. Even with good plant mass these things are important, but they are even more critical without it. I don't believe anything can process the by-products of organic decomposition as fast as plants can.

In the past I have seen BGA appear when I ease up on water change and/or removed a large amount of plants, thus leaving a larger organic load, pretty much ruining the balance that existed. Light will accelerate the problem, but is not the only cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think burr740 and I are saying the same thing but in a different way. The organic load any setup can handle is the key to being algae-free. Without a doubt the best way to do that is with a tank full of healthy fast growing stems. Burr comes more from that type of setup (correct me if I'm wrong), but most of my setups have minimal plant mass (see links in sig) so, without the plants the next best way to remove organics are water changes, removing dead/dying leaves, organic removal products. I rely on these more heavily since I don't have the plant mass. Even with good plant mass these things are important, but they are even more critical without it. I don't believe anything can process the by-products of organic decomposition as fast as plants can.

In the past I have seen BGA appear when I ease up on water change and/or removed a large amount of plants, thus leaving a larger organic load, pretty much ruining the balance that existed. Light will accelerate the problem, but is not the only cause.
Thanks for the reply.

I will try to optimise my set up as good as possible and also implement all the other ideas regarding getting rid of organise waste products. I actually don’t a huge trim of all of my stems the day after I introduced EI does that count as reducing the plant mass?? Maybe that’s a further reason why waste products could not be eliminated
 

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Thanks! Can I just do such huge changes in light in one go? I’ve been going quite slow and steady so I can monitor what the changes are exactly. I try to make my actions tend to be very low risk haha.

Im definitely going to follow all the cleaning steps!

yes that makes sense regarding dumping the extra nutrients but I just thought that’s how it’s done- never seen any posts saying gradually increase to EI- maybe I didn’t read into it enough!

Im sure I checked multiple times before adding all the salts into the mixer. The bottle will be out soon as they are only 500ml bottles so will make sure it’s correct on the new batch. Maybe I just have just stuck with the Tropica haha.
Its not that EI should be eased into, thats not really a thing. Its just that anytime you make a big change there's going to be a reaction, good or bad. In this case you had a fairly well-running tank cruising along with low nutrient levels and you suddenly raised everything something like 500% (didnt crunch the numbers, prob more than that) Which caused everything from the plants to the bio population to have to adjust. Meanwhile latent algae spores and this cyano got served up an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I had a similar thing happen to me 10 years ago when I switched from Seachem liquids to EI. Within a week half my plants were stunted, all the good ones, and the tank quickly went to hell in a big way. Gurus at the time insisted my problem was CO2. CO2. CO2. Thats all I heard, because nobody wanted to hear a bad word against EI. So many had aligned their identity with it, like a favorite sports team or political party. Thou shalt not slander EI!! lol

Nutrients arent benign no matter what anyone says. Gotta be careful making adjustments, especially big ones
 

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It's so interesting as a fairly new hobbyist hearing these stories about these big disagreements and shifts in thinking relative to the fairly recent past.

EI evangelism! microtox wars!

I wonder if there are current trends or drums being beat that some of the old hands in the hobby think might suffer the same fate/evolution in thinking moving forward?
 

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Its not that EI should be eased into, thats not really a thing. Its just that anytime you make a big change there's going to be a reaction, good or bad. In this case you had a fairly well-running tank cruising along with low nutrient levels and you suddenly raised everything something like 500% (didnt crunch the numbers, prob more than that) Which caused everything from the plants to the bio population to have to adjust. Meanwhile latent algae spores and this cyano got served up an all-you-can-eat buffet.

I had a similar thing happen to me 10 years ago when I switched from Seachem liquids to EI. Within a week half my plants were stunted, all the good ones, and the tank quickly went to hell in a big way. Gurus at the time insisted my problem was CO2. CO2. CO2. Thats all I heard, because nobody wanted to hear a bad word against EI. So many had aligned their identity with it, like a favorite sports team or political party. Thou shalt not slander EI!! lol

Nutrients arent benign no matter what anyone says. Gotta be careful making adjustments, especially big ones
This happened to me a few weeks ago. I was using tropica premium and specialized and was using 2-3 times the recommended dosage es per the bottle instructions then I changed to GLA PPS PRO and I could see it was a big change because I started to see some algae and tropica is a very lean approach. I cut the dosage I was doing PPS PRO and it seems ok now.
 
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