Cleaning Plants
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Cleaning Plants

This is a discussion on Cleaning Plants within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I have what appears to be algae growing from my plant leaves, its green and sort of hairy looking. Should I just remove the ...

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Old 12-31-2009, 04:33 PM   #1
 
Cleaning Plants

I have what appears to be algae growing from my plant leaves, its green and sort of hairy looking. Should I just remove the plants and just rinse them in clear water, I have also read about covering the tank for a few days to keep it in total darkness.

The tank water is very clear and I clean the glass every few weeks. I have a total of 110 watts over a 55 gallon tank and I run the lights about 9 hrs a day with a 1 hour break in the middle.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Walt
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
 
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That is a lot of light in my opinion, especially if you do not have CO2 diffusion. If you do, I would simply increase the "siesta" to 2 hours and reduce the "on" period to 8 hours but no less. If you do not have CO2, I would do the same but also consider less light. I am only guessing from your number of 110 watts that this may be T5 HO tubes? If so, one of these tubes will be more than adequate; the light intensity of T5 HO is about 1.5 times a regular T8 tube of the same type, and in T5 HO wattage is not an indicator of intensity as it basically can be with T8 tubes depending again upon the type of light. Or two regular fluorescent tubes (they would be 32 or 40 watts depending upon manufacturer and 48-inch) would work. And, the type of tube has a bearing. Intense light with a lot of green is going to allow algae an advantage because plants use mainly blue and then red to photosynthesize and reflect green (which is why the leaves appear green, the law of science that objects appear the colour of the light they reflect) but algae has evolved nicely to use it along with blue and red. Red-based light without sufficient blue also tends to promote algae because it is not adequate for plants. Also your fertilization method may have a bearing.

I have never removed plants to remove algae, as it will only come back unless conditions are not such that they promote it. If the light and nutrients (includes carbon via CO2 from the fish, nitrogen as ammonia/ammonium from the fish, and minerals) are balanced for the plants, algae will not be more than just there, which is natural.

If it is hair algae, from what you describe, it is not easy to remove from plant leaves. Soaking them in peroxide or something else might help, but again I would not go this route but rather adjust the light/nutrient balance to favour the plants. I have this algae in my 115g, I leave it alone, it gets on some of the plant leaves but in several months has not damaged the plants. Brush algae is worse, and when the leaf begins yellowing from that I simply remove it (the leaf).

Byron.
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:02 PM   #3
 
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Hi walt, don't think we met before - So Welcome to the forum!

Green fuzz algae leads me directly to 2 question for you to better help you: Ho long has this tank been set up & running? What's your water parameters (NO2, NO3, Ammonia)

I just recently battled 5 diff types algae exploding in my 55 (which is successfully solved now). The particular type of algae you're referring to can easily occur in new systems that are not well established yet due to ammonia rises and falls, lack of CO2 (tank not fully stoked yet) imbalance between lights and available nutrition to the plants. What's your stocking in this tank?

You can remove the plants if you like, but personally I'd just battle the reasons that's causing this ad keep my plants. The siesta is ok for a tank, but i'd up the break to 3hrs.

The light is rather strong as far as wpg you have there - What fertilizer to you use in combo with that? These 2 things have to be balanced properly or algae will develop.
Also there's different types / spectrum of light, some support algae growth better then others: What kinda of light do you have (eg. Full spectrum, Daylight etc)?

Sorry I answer your question with so many more questions in return, I hate doing this, but to properly help you through it based of the experience I made here recently, knowing ALL necessary factors will help eliminate it and guide you through it much better

FYI full black out for several days will not help this particular algae (other types yes but not this one).
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:52 PM   #4
 
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Isn't 2 watts per gallon recommended? I'm confused.
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:57 PM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
Isn't 2 watts per gallon recommended? I'm confused.
You can run high end lights, if the rest is high end too and sowith all is balanced again. All my tanks have about 1wpg or even less then that, and I'd wanna say my plants pictures speak for themselves.
And don't beat me over it, let's have Byron himself confirm this, but I think all his tanks are somewhat in the lower wpg ranges too!?
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:41 PM   #6
 
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Plants require considerably less light than many have frequently suggested over the years. And when you start observing these plants in their native habitat, this becomes obvious.

Aquarium plants in nature are basically shade plants, and they need significantly less light than many terrestrial plants, floating plants, emergent plants and corals; I mention corals because the actinic type of intense blue light designed for reef tanks is not recommended for planted aquaria simply because it is too intense. Submerged leaves cannot use light as effectively as emergent (emersed) growth, somewhere around 10% of the light needed for emersed plants is all that a submersed plant requires or more importantly can use in balance. Excess light only stimulates algae.

In her book, Diana Walstad cites a study done with Myriophyllum brasiliense. The plants had submersed and emersed (aerial) leaves, and the rate of photosynthesis was compared between these leaves as the light increased. In very low light, both forms of leaf photosynthesized at the same rate; as the light intensity increased, the aerial leaves photosynthesized correspondingly faster, but the submersed leaves remained the same, no change. The submersed leaves were "light saturated" and remained alive and healthy but did not grow any faster.

Most--not all, but most--aquatic plants will grow very well in approximately one watt of full spectrum/cool blue light per gallon. This assumes regular fluorescent, T8 or the former T12, not T5 HO which is much more intense and therefore less "wattage" is comparable. I have used slightly under one watt per gallon for more than 20 years, and the photos of the plants in my aquaria illustrate their active growth and health.

Now, when you add CO2 diffusion to an aquarium, you obviously stimulate the plants to faster growth which means more light will be needed to balance. One of the reasons I do not use CO2 is the fish. Forest fish come from quiet dimly-lit waters, and fish in my aquaria are my first priority so I want as little light as possible for their benefit, so long as I can see them; they would be fine with nothing except diffused daylight from a window, but hard to see. And the plants need some light, and one watt of full spectrum/cool white per gallon obviously works for me and many others. And without going into the details, I have had tanks with more light and the fish did respond negatively, even after a full week. I want the fish to be vibrant and healthy, sparkling gems as they can be in low light. And the plants seem happy. I have Echinodorus macrophyllus that are more than ten years old and still sending out flower stalks, and my E. quadricostatus are all runners from a plant I bought 12 years ago.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 01-01-2010 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:37 PM   #7
 
Let me provide a bit more information. I have two 55 watt compact flourescent lights; one side is 8000K full spectrum and the other is 6700K. I have been experimenting with lights and am leaning towards standardizing on the 8000K as it makes the water look clearer. I do not have any CO2 injection. API Leaf Zone has been my fert of choice but have been considering a change to Seachem Comprehensive. In addtionn a few months back I added some fert pellets under some of the plants.

The aquarium has been set up and running for about 1 year and algae on the rocks and plants have been a continual problem over the past 6 months since the lighting upgrade. The aquarium is fairly well understocked right now as I have been slowly bringing the PH down with additions of RO water. When I get the level to about 7.6-7.8 I will add more fish (I started at about 8.5). I do a 15-20 % water change weekly and my test today indicated zero nitrates, nitrites and amonia.

Thanks for all the great information so far.

Walt
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:29 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
In her book, Diana Walstad cites a study done with Myriophyllum brasiliense. The plants had submersed and emersed (aerial) leaves, and the rate of photosynthesis was compared between these leaves as the light increased. In very low light, both forms of leaf photosynthesized at the same rate; as the light intensity increased, the aerial leaves photosynthesized correspondingly faster, but the submersed leaves remained the same, no change. The submersed leaves were "light saturated" and remained alive and healthy but did not grow any faster.

Most--not all, but most--aquatic plants will grow very well in approximately one watt of full spectrum/cool blue light per gallon. This assumes regular fluorescent, T8 or the former T12, not T5 HO which is much more intense and therefore less "wattage" is comparable. I have used slightly under one watt per gallon for more than 20 years, and the photos of the plants in my aquaria illustrate their active growth and health.
I don't want to interrupt this thread with my personal questions, but I just want to get Byron's opinion on my lighting in my 10 gallon tank... I have daylight florescent twisties that one would use in a regular lamp, and they are 40 watts each, at 5000K. Sufficient? Is that even the right info to focus on? And can number of hours of light offset or balance out lower wattage or kelvins?
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:50 PM   #9
 
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Maybe to help out till Byron get's here I'm sure he won't mind...

You say 40w EACH - Do I assume you have 2 in there @ 40w, so total of 80 watts for 10g? That's lil much IMO.
The number of hrs you run your light will not offset the needed spectrum. Ideally you'd wanna imitate the sun for the plants and that's best done with a rating around 6500K. That's what I have had best success with for my plants.
The 5k may work for you BUT I think your wattage is too high, to balance that properly with your fertilizers would be a tough task and if not balanced properly will ask for some algae down the Rd IMO.
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:37 PM   #10
 
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How to get lower wattage and higher kelvins? (this matters, right?).

I still can't find the tube kind you have. i looked on lowe's, too. I'll check again.
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