algae - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
  • 1 Post By beaslbob
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-12-2014, 08:03 PM Thread Starter

well here's hoping an algae section starts ... i would think a sub-section like the plant one in beginners. ... anyway ...

the little bits i know about algae from my own experience and what i have come across on the net


staghorn algae - you DO have an ammonia issue
greenspot algae - (going on readings - seems to agree with my tank) - potassium deficiency

greenwater isn't a true algae in the typical sense

cyanobacteria - not true algae - theory - water O2 and circulation issues
-and can contribute to ammonia problems - see staghorn algae
-i'm going on all theory for cyanobacteria

other algae's, ... i'm rather clueless about

for others concerns for algae concerns on here, for my own curiosities and concerns, ... i'm asking to see what knowledge can be found, shared, learned.


i would to see additional information on these, ... both on removal, and on intentional culturing of.

there are many resources i have come across that say "excess of one nutrient or another" and another site will say "deficiency" ... for the same algae for the same nutrient ...

staghorn i have the most experience, ... and in controlled amounts is a very nice addition to a tank, ... too bad it doesn't stay that way :(

staghorn i have had twice, ... once when starting my tank, adding fish before the nitrogen cycle had finished, ... so ya, a bit of elevated ammonia (and other stuff going on associated with establishing a cycle

second time was with a massive pH shift causing an ammonia spike due to ammonium being converted to ammonia ... and a cycle had to begin again, ... and without anything else staghorn started up again, ... once things got settled the staghorn disappeared.

for staghorn it may not be ammonia per say, ... could be elevated nitrites, ... either way, something in that cycle is my hunch.

do i know if staghorn is favoring a particular pH range ... i dono, ... but from 6.5 up to over 8.0 no staghorn at various times, ... so i'm guessing more ammonia (or nitrite), ...

... i would like to hear others knowledge about having algae

both their hunches, their findings, ... things they have done consistently that have resulted in algae again and again (either accidentally, coincidentally, or intentionally)

thank you everyone for your input.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-13-2014, 03:46 AM
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I have an interesting observation involving cyanobacteria. I only recently started keeping live plants in my tanks. Before then, I had a healthy growth of cyano across three walls of my upstairs tank. I really feel like it helped keep the tank stable so I let it develop as much as it would and only cleaned the front glass. Over the course of a year or so it reached a maximum of about 90% coverage and stayed pretty stable for several years.
Well, when I added live plants guess what? The cyano is gradually dying back and now only covers about 60-70% of the glass. I intentionaly positioned the plants so that they would not shade the cyano.

Theory: live plants are removing nutrients from the water that cyano needs to survive. Live plants are more efficient at extracting the nutrients than cyano.

I know cyano is not algea, but maybe the same principle applys.

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-13-2014, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
i've also heard one of the better ways to get rid of algae is to ignore it and focus on the plants

so long as the plants are less than 100% algae will continue, then its just patience (something most newbies don't have)

my tank is less than healthy in this area
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-13-2014, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
just remembered:

green dust algae & diatoms

diatoms are another one to ignore, mostly associated with new tanks

green dust algae - not a true algae - settles onto the glass & is a nasty eye-sore
-cleaning it off sounds like allows this stuff to persist, ignoring it (also personal experience) it gets worse and worse till it kills itself off and falls off the glass, and at this point the problem takes care of itself
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-22-2014, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
watching my own tank (very bad when that's the only source of info. to spread

cladophoria algae:

i don't know if it's time (as plant health is making it difficult for cladophoria algae to grow)

using a buffer to keep my tank with a consistent ph of 7.0, Cladophoria is disappearing (including areas that there are no fish or critters interested in algae (they cannot access)

either holding this pH or making more nutrients available due to this pH


if others have experiences, contrary or supporting this, it would be great to hear.

i am not to fixed on the idea of plants making it difficult for clado to survive as hair algae is making a comeback (much to the happy tummies of my flagfish)
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-23-2014, 09:11 AM
Cyano is a real problem expecially for marine tanks.

What happens is things are going just fine. Nitrates drop finally then after months of operation here comes the cyano. Little on the sand, rocks, and glass. Then in a few days it is all over everything.

Nitrates are consumed by plants and algae sure. But also anoxic/anaerobic bacteria in sand also.

So at some point nitrates drop down but there is still phosphates.

And Cyano can get it's nitrogen from nitrogen gas. So in a low nitrogen high co2 and high phosphate environment (like the sand surface) cyano steps up and blooms. All the while taking more and more co2 and phosphate from the plants.

So very rapidily the tank can become cyano cominated and controlled verses plant controlled.

What I do is very simple. Kill the lights and stop adding food. This reduced the bioload expecially the phosphates and the cyano dies off. Releaseing nitrogen (ammonia/nitrates) for the plants. So the tank is"reset" in favor of the plants and the cyano dies off.

I then resume a few days later after the cyano is gone, with less lighting and feeding and adjust,

So the tank stays cyano free in the future.

my .02
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maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)


Last edited by beaslbob; 02-23-2014 at 09:13 AM.
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