best fish for algae control. - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 37 Old 05-25-2011, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
JNB
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Since I am stuck with my light for now, how does this sound:
I do a blackout for a day or two, add a lot of new plants to take up some nutrients, add something to eat some hair algae, like a few Amano Shrimp, and see what happens.
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post #22 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 09:42 AM
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What are you dosing at the moment?
One of the problems could be the irregular lighting schedule... A timer is only about $4.

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post #23 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not dosing with anything. I do have a timer and I have it set at the on-off-on schedule based on what was recommended to me on Aquatic Plant Central and by a local specialty fish store. They said it might disrupt the algae growth while not harming my plants. It seems to have worked to some extent - the growth went down maybe 50% and the plants are fine so far.
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post #24 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 11:03 AM
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Please take what I will say as a sincere effort to help you resolve this, not as continued harping on the light issue.

You don't have a balance and success will not occur until you do. There is no "alternate" way. For instance, plants need light of a certain intensity and duration in order to photosynthesize. If the intensity is too little, extending the duration does not compensate; and vice versa. And in both cases, algae will take advantage.

Providing light with no nutrients or with insufficient nutrients to balance will not work. Plants can only photosynthesize when they have sufficient light intensity and duration and all 17 nutrients are available. As soon as one of these is missing (inadequate), plants will slow down photosynthesis or stop altogether. It is what botanists call the law of minimum. Light should always be the limiting factor to plant growth (photosynthesis), and if it is you will not have problems with algae, ever.

The "siesta" approach as it is often called works to limit algae in most circumstances. However, it is not due to the light per say, but due to CO2 (carbon dioxide). In a natural setup CO2 occurs naturally, from the fish and bacteria in the substrate breaking down the organics. More occurs from the bacteria than the fish. But it is limited. Plants will photosynthesize to the max, that is, full out, as long as everything is available. As soon as any essential nutrient (or light) is not, they stop; they will slow in some instances since they can store some nutrients and they use their reserves. Carbon is the macro-nutrient required in the greatest supply. In most natural aquaria, it will be the nutreint in least supply. And as soon as it is depleted, photosynthesis stops; plants cannot store carbon, it must be constantly available as long as light is present.

Plants photosynthesizing full out use up the available carbon (CO2) fairly quickly. They use it faster than it can naturally be produced, so it becomes exhausted. Within a few hours usually, depending obviously upon the CO2 being produced in the aquarium. A siesta light schedule of 5 hours on, 3 hours off and 5 hours on [then off for the rest of the night] will usually work. The 3 hours off allows the CO2 to rebuild. This is tied to the diurnal pH fluctuation in a natural planted tank. The pH lowers during darkness because the CO2 adds carbonic acid to the watder; pH rises during daylight because the CO2 is being taken up by plants.

Many of the other nutrients will be available in an established aquarium but in varying levels. Some occur via tap water (another important reason for weekly water changes), most via fish foods although in very variable amounts, and we can add them via fertilizers. Depending upon what is naturally available, additional fertilization is usually beneficial. And contrary to some, it will not increase algae--unless something else is missing (i.e., carbon) and light continues to be available.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #25 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 11:15 AM
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You definately need to dose flourish... didn't you mention that already?

Sometimes it helps to throw everything you know out the window and start from the ground up.

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post #26 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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I really appreciate everyones help. As far as advice, what would you recommend I do? Right now I have 2 hrs on, 5 off, 5 on for the lights. I can adjust that of course. Flourish or Flourish Excel I can dose (weekly?). Also add some new plants to restock the tank and suck up some nutrients, and get some algae eaters? My moss is getting filled with algae, so I will definitely be getting some shrimp. I am going to get a SAE and if it gets too big and eats all my moss I can always drop him off at the store. What do you think?
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post #27 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 03:28 PM
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I really appreciate everyones help. As far as advice, what would you recommend I do? Right now I have 2 hrs on, 5 off, 5 on for the lights. I can adjust that of course. Flourish or Flourish Excel I can dose (weekly?). Also add some new plants to restock the tank and suck up some nutrients, and get some algae eaters? My moss is getting filled with algae, so I will definitely be getting some shrimp. I am going to get a SAE and if it gets too big and eats all my moss I can always drop him off at the store. What do you think?
I really do not advocate getting any fish solely for algae control [shrimp are fine, they have so little impact on the system, though they will eat very, very little of this, and only certain types]. SAE only eat brush algae; they are shoaling and should be in a group; they get large and can be boisterous.

Excel I do not recommend. If you are contemplating using it as a nutrient (carbon), it has to be dosed daily. Used as a spot remedy for brush algae [which to my knowledge is the only type is directly seems to sometimes affect] I believe aquarists apply it directly on the algae. Be warned it does negatively affect some plants. Mosses for instance, and Vallisneria, and a few others. This reaction seems to vary, so other factors may be involved, but enough aquarists have had whole stands of Vallisneria literally melt and Mosses disintegrate that it is a risk. And as redchigh noted, fish can be affected.

Flourish Comprehensive is a complete nutrient fertilizer containing levels of all nutrients except oxygen, hydrogen and carbon which they naturally assume will be in the aquarium sufficiently. It is used once or at most twice a week.

But we are back to the light which is still the source of the algae. Recent studies reported in the UK have suggested that plants can manage with a minimum of 6 hours of light each 24-hour period, assuming nutrients are in balance. If replacing the fixture is really not an option, I would suggest having one 6-hour light period each day, no more. With the Flourish Comprehensive, and provided there is sufficient CO2 in the tank to balance this, plants will photosynthesize and algae will be left out.

If the light is a fairly recent purchase, the store may exchange it. I had one for over a week and took it back for this same reason. They do after all want your continued business, and being satisfied is the best way of keeping it.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #28 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 03:58 PM
i had a BBA a few years back and i dosed excel to kill it. I had to buy a syringe and apply directly to infected areas. I think the thing is that excel is caustic when heavily concentrated, the application shocks the algae. However, right after (a day or so), I had to vacuum the substrate and do a 75% water change to reduce the effects of overdosing excel and reduce my nitrate levels. If you just kill off the algae and not correct the balance, the algae will come back. I once overdosed excel on a small tank and it killed almost everything. All my snails died over the next few days, my mosses browned, everything except the anubias which was growing emersed. Its really not safe to overdose it for the purpose of killing algae.

For my tank now, I dose excel once every 2 days, i haven't had any algae issues and it hasn't thrown my tank out of wack, nitrates a nice 5ppm.

I think your best bet right now is to go into the tank and cut off all the effected plants, do a water change, plant a bunch of new plants and start on a flourish comprehensive regime. I dont think a blackout is needed, one or 2 days wont make much of a difference anyway, my BBA survived 3 day blackout. Not sure about staghorn, but ime, its a pretty stubborn algae as well.
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post #29 of 37 Old 05-26-2011, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
JNB
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OK, here's my plan of action: I definitely can't return the light, so I'll cut that down to 6 hours/day.As recommended, I'll get a bottle of Flourish Comprehensive. The plants I did not remove before look kind nasty after this algae issue, so I will toss most of them and restock with new plants. Of course, there is a water change along with it all.
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post #30 of 37 Old 05-28-2011, 07:23 AM
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I have a couple mollies, a snail, 3 emerald green cories and a sucker fish in my 55 gallon and I don't have any problems--they do a good job!
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