constant algae problem
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constant algae problem

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constant algae problem
Old 09-12-2009, 08:35 AM   #1
 
constant algae problem

since iv added plants to my 50g tank iv had a pretty bad algae problem. its been three weeks since i started adding plants. the algae started out as just brown algae covering the leaves of my plants and then it went to hair or string algae and now starting to notice some green spot algae. my ph is 8.2 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 and nitrate ranges between 0 and 5. i dont know whats causing it or how to get rid of it. i was thinking though that it may help to replace my filter medium. the tank has been running close to a month and half to two months and iv never changed the carbon or biological material out of my fluval 205. im also thinking there may be some different medium that i could put in the fluval to help reduce the algae. im considering using a chemical algae killer that says its safe for planted aquariums and fish but im not to sure about that. any insight that anyone has would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:51 AM   #2
 
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Algae can present itself due to a number of reasons. What type of lights are you using, what's your lighting schedule? I've learned (the hard way) that an inbalance of nutrients and too much bright light can cause algae to explode. If you can answer the lighting questions and tell us what ferts you are (or aren't) using we'll be able to help you.
DO NOT USE THE CHEMICAL ALGAE KILLER!! We can get rid of the extreme algae problem naturally without turning your tank into a chemical soup.

PS. Is the info current in your aquarium log? If so, that answers the light & fert question, but not your lighting schedule. Also, how "old" are your bulbs in the light fixture?

Last edited by aunt kymmie; 09-12-2009 at 10:58 AM.. Reason: added info
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Old 09-12-2009, 01:32 PM   #3
 
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I agree with kymmie's advice and questions. I'll just add a couple comments on the filter issue and algae in general.

First, most suggest carbon is not useful in a planted tank; it removes things from the water that the plants can better use (and will remove) so it is counter-productive. In any case, carbon loses its ability to do this after a very short period; depending upon the carbon, the quality of the water and other things, this can vary but in general a month is probably it for carbon. Personally, I would get rid of the carbon and not put more in the filter, it is in my view wasting money.

As for the biological material, just rinse it when necessary. The frequency depends upon things like fish load, plant load, feeding. Bacteria colonize the media, that's its purpose, so unless the media is getting clogged with mulm and detrius it is OK. In a planted tank there is no need to ever replace it. Some say there is even no need for it; I have a basket of bio-max in all my filters but frankly I'm not really sure why. Plants do more and better filtration of the water than any filter. The main item in the filter (in planted aquaria) are the pads that remove suspended material as the water passes through it; this is the "clear" aspect of the water. The "clean" aspect is the filtration done by the plants and the bacteria.

There is nothing you can put in the filter to avoid algae forming; it is perfectly natural, but we do want to keep it in check. Allowed to become rampant it will kill the plants by encrusting the leaves so the plant can't photosynthesize (grow) and it will die (first the leaf, then eventually the plant). And there are several types as you've mentioned.

Brown algae occurs in new tanks (I would venture to say all of us have had this in a newly established aquarium). Once the tank is mature (and that takes more than the 1-2 months you've mentioned) this algae will then only occur in too low light, so normally it will not be seen after the tank is established biologically. Ottos and many plecos, farlowella, and snails will eat this algae, and it is easily removed from plants with your fingers; it rarely is a problem.

The green spot is also very common. Scrape it off the glass when you see it; it can, if left, become difficult to remove and I have to resort to a razor blade if I've missed some. I find that using one of those sponge-type scrapers every week during the partial water change keeps it away. I can't see it, but I run the sponge scraper over all the glass I can get too--front, sides and back where there are no plants. If I neglect to do this one week, you can be sure I will spot a few dots on the glass before many days. So cleaning the glass every week will generally handle it. Not many fish will eat this, but it is easy to keep in check.

The brush and hair algaes are more problematical. I ignore brush algae on the bogwood or rocks. It will grow on plant leaves, and when it gets to be more than just a few strands I remove the leaf. Hair algae similar. Both these will occur under nutrient-rich conditions with excess light. Keeping the light and nutrients in balance for the needs of the plants and not more is the key, and this takes a few weeks to sort out. As kymmie alluded to, the light is often the key. Having the light as the limiting factor in plant growth is beneficial to keeping algae in check.

Byron.
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:58 PM   #4
 
my lights are brand new 40 watt life glo bulbs. they go on at 7 am and off at 7 pm
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:52 PM   #5
 
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Byron this is totally off topic and i appologize to fighttest but thank you for that post! i read it and i just learned a lot about why my 20 gallon had so much algae and that the green dot should be taken off asap

THANK YOU! <3
-Ramen
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:52 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fighttest View Post
my lights are brand new 40 watt life glo bulbs. they go on at 7 am and off at 7 pm
Life-Glo is good plant and fish light. You have plants now, and presumably will be using liquid fertilizer once or perhaps twice a week, so you have to experiment over a few weeks to get the balance that will allow the plants to utilize the nutrients, CO2 (from the fish) and light without algae increasing; reduce the duration of the light by 1-2 hours if it seems necessary. Another trick is to divide the light periods: lights on for 5-6 hours, off for 2 hours, then back on for 5-6 hours. I have read that this will be sufficient for the lants which can photosynthesize quickly once the light is on, but not good for the algae that takes longer and will even die back with shorter light periods.

Byron.
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Old 09-13-2009, 12:56 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramenuzumaki View Post
Byron this is totally off topic and i appologize to fighttest but thank you for that post! i read it and i just learned a lot about why my 20 gallon had so much algae and that the green dot should be taken off asap

THANK YOU! <3
-Ramen
You're welcome. Interesting, last evening I was sitting in front of my 115g for a spell and noticed a speck that wasn't moving (expected it to be something in the water that would slowly move in the current), and when I went closer to the glass I saw it was the green dot algae, just one spot, but enough for me to see it, and a slight appearance of more forming around it. Obviously I missed it last week, so today when I'm in there doing the pwc it will come off I can guarantee you. Keeping on top of it is all it takes.

Byron.
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Old 09-13-2009, 02:03 PM   #8
 
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thank you so much Byron :)
its good to have lots of people here that can help us newbies like you!
i will be going to my moms shortly to to check on my fish and do my daily maintenance [check for algae spots, count to see if all my fish survived, make sure my dojos didnt uproot anything, etc] of the tank
ill be sure to get rid of that spot, i figured my Pleco would eat the bugger D:
would little green specs of algae be spot algae? these specs arent the same colour as the other spot. i figured it was just areas my pleco missed and would get to later on
i mean a bunch of specs
not like the clear specs in my 5g though
these are algae specs im sure :)
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramenuzumaki View Post
thank you so much Byron :)
its good to have lots of people here that can help us newbies like you!
i will be going to my moms shortly to to check on my fish and do my daily maintenance [check for algae spots, count to see if all my fish survived, make sure my dojos didnt uproot anything, etc] of the tank
ill be sure to get rid of that spot, i figured my Pleco would eat the bugger D:
would little green specs of algae be spot algae? these specs arent the same colour as the other spot. i figured it was just areas my pleco missed and would get to later on
i mean a bunch of specs
not like the clear specs in my 5g though
these are algae specs im sure :)
When I see any algae on the glass, at least the front, I scrape it off during the weekly pwc. I have fairly heavily planted aquaria, so the algae-eating fish I have will not go without. I have 5 ottos and a whiptail in the 115g, and 3 Farlowella in the 90g. They are all busy beavers, not so much because there is so much algae but it's just their natural habit to spend all day grazing plant leaves and wood. In fact, they hkeep the tanks free of algae that they will eat, and are always down munching on the tablets when I feed the fish.

Byron.
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:18 PM   #10
 
im going to think about a whiptail and farlowella for my 50g i got 2 ottos a few days ago but they both died that night.. may have been because my friend stuck his hand in the tank near where they were sleeping and freaked them out (he thought they were dead)
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