HELP Algae is taking over my tank
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HELP Algae is taking over my tank

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HELP Algae is taking over my tank
Old 05-13-2014, 08:41 PM   #1
 
HELP Algae is taking over my tank

I have had my planted tank set up for at least 6 month's or more now. I have always had algea. Is there something I'm doing wrong?

I have a Glo T5 HO Linear Fluorescent Lighting System Single bulb with a Coralife 80413 6700K T-5 High Output Fluorescent Lamp, 39-Watt bulb

Read more: HELP Algae is taking over my tank

My light is on for about 12 hours a day. I have lots of ricca floating. It takes up nearly 1/2 of the top of my tank so it provides some shade.



I wish I had taken a picture before I cleaned up some of the algae. As it is it killed all my Taiwan moss. I have more Taiwan moss that made it's way to the log I have in my fish tank and has given my take a really nice "natural" look. that is also being taken over by this algae and is completely covered in dark green algae.

It is taking over my Ricca too :( it gets so bad that the algae keeps growing downwards from my ricca. I keep taking it off and throwing it out (again wish I had taken a picture prior to cleaning my tank)

I only have 9 fish and I have a 55 gallon tank so I know I need more fish but would that be the only contributing factor? My light is set to be on for 12 hours but I've been turning it off so it's only on 10 hours a day now.

Here are a few pictures I took but the quality is not that great.

Oh and my amazon swords have never done really well. Which I find odd because I have had the in every tank I own and they have always thrived, to the point where they out grow the tank (and this is with NO fertilizer or efforts on my part- then again those tanks had a LOT more fish in them )

The only fertilizer I use is Seachem Folourish but I have not fertilized in several month's. because of this Algae issue. I do have eco complete as my substrate but I plan on swapping that out for a nice sand soon.



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Old 05-14-2014, 09:51 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aklick View Post
I have had my planted tank set up for at least 6 month's or more now. I have always had algea. Is there something I'm doing wrong?

My light is on for about 12 hours a day.
I stopped reading. First, cut your lights down to eight hours a day. You may have to go to six hours a day. If you get down to six hours a day and the algae has stopped, completely, then it's a light problem. You will have to make adjustments to your lighting or timing in order to fix the problem. As wise people have taught me, algae is nature's way of trying to fix a problem. Our job is to try to understand the conditions on which algae live, and how out of whack it is when they thrive. Then, to adjust the environment. We play deity here. We're in charge. Not the algae.

It may be a feeding problem. This is trickier, I think, because we can't be bothered to measure the micrograms we not only feed, but what goes uneaten. The old "feed what they can eat in five minutes" advice is probably still fairly good. Algae are indicators of either too much light or too much nutrient. Then, if it's nutrients, then why aren't the plants using up the excess nutrients?

Being higher on the food chain, aquarium plants should out-compete more primitive algae. Algae lives on the margin, getting the light and nutrient to survive. On very little. Given more, the grow. Given too much light, they explode. They get greedy. Lowering the light is the first test you can do.

This, of course, is just me synthesizing what more experienced people say, according to the University of You Tube. Others may correct me, which is a good thing. I want to get it right.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:25 AM   #3
 
Thank you. I have started cutting down the light as of today. I think I'll just cut back to 6 hours just in case. I read a few things online that said you can cut the light WAY back for a day or two to try to kill off the Algae. Granted there is a risk of the plants dying too but my plants are being taken over by algae and if the algae doesn't die it will kill my plants. As it is I think my Taiwan Moss is a goner :( it's coated in dark green algae.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WayneL View Post
I stopped reading. First, cut your lights down to eight hours a day. You may have to go to six hours a day. If you get down to six hours a day and the algae has stopped, completely, then it's a light problem. You will have to make adjustments to your lighting or timing in order to fix the problem. As wise people have taught me, algae is nature's way of trying to fix a problem. Our job is to try to understand the conditions on which algae live, and how out of whack it is when they thrive. Then, to adjust the environment. We play deity here. We're in charge. Not the algae.

It may be a feeding problem. This is trickier, I think, because we can't be bothered to measure the micrograms we not only feed, but what goes uneaten. The old "feed what they can eat in five minutes" advice is probably still fairly good. Algae are indicators of either too much light or too much nutrient. Then, if it's nutrients, then why aren't the plants using up the excess nutrients?

Being higher on the food chain, aquarium plants should out-compete more primitive algae. Algae lives on the margin, getting the light and nutrient to survive. On very little. Given more, the grow. Given too much light, they explode. They get greedy. Lowering the light is the first test you can do.

This, of course, is just me synthesizing what more experienced people say, according to the University of You Tube. Others may correct me, which is a good thing. I want to get it right.
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:01 PM   #4
 
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Aklick: 6 months is not enough to fully balance a tank. Give it few more months before you remove the Eco-complete and change it to sand. I am not familiar with Eco-complete, but I have ADA soil in one of my tank. I tried to fight algae for almost 8 months. I played with lights, I fertilized more, less, micro nutrients, macro nutrients together, separate...I add algae eating fish and finally pressurized CO2. 8 months later, just before my 2 week holiday, I run out of CO2. I refilled the canister but I did not use it because I was afraid to leave it without me being around to fine tune CO2 injection. I came back from my vacation expecting to meet the mother of all algae. Well...surprize. No algae. Not more than when I left. I do not fertilize now (I suspect there is enough from the soil) and I inject a lot less. Keep in mind, lights are also losing intensity over time (it is advised to change the bulbs every 9-12 months) and the soil also slows down nutrient leaching into the water.
I find my experience worth sharing.
My idea is that: if you help plants grow, algae will slow.
Wayne: what do you mean by:" being higher on the food chain, aquarium plants should out-compete more primitive algae"?
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Old 05-14-2014, 02:43 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corina savin View Post
I find my experience worth sharing.
That's all any of us have, our experience, which we share.

Quote:
Wayne: what do you mean by:" being higher on the food chain, aquarium plants should out-compete more primitive algae"?
Basic biology. The higher the life form, the more resources it uses. Plants take in more of everything, until they use it all up. All they can absorb. They are powerful feeders. Algae is not. They are poor performers in competition with plants, but are more powerful than bacteria. As the nutrients disappear, so to does algae. At eight hours, perhaps, there is enough light to make plants flourish. They do not need the extra two hours of light. So what flourishes when the plants are using the light? Algae. If the plants are getting all of the resources, there isn't anything left for algae.

Another way is to think logically. If we weren't more aggressive than moss, we'd be covered in it.
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:13 PM   #6
 
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My idea is that moss is stronger then us (humans). Moss need less in terms of nutrients, temperature, shelter....you got what I mean....Now: there is no competition between humans and moss, is it?
Which takes me to my original point. IMO (but I can reference it..) is that the lower you are on the evolutionary scale, the better adapted to less than ideal conditions.
Algae have a lot more advantages than plants and they are quick to use them if plants are unable to compete for some reason. Algae can use nitrates better than plants (prefer ammonia), algae can use carbonates better than plants (prefer CO2).
"Algae is almost always more adept than plants at using light and nutrient" (Diana Walstad)
In the fight against algae, you should ignore the algae and focus on good plant growth. The rest will follow. I know that this statement doesn't give you the answer "how" but you cannot deny it.
Disclaimer: I have algae too
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:23 PM   #7
 
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Let me share another idea, I am sure you will like it...No, it's not mine but it hit me with its meaning...
It goes like this: "if humans didn't have a brain, we wouldn't be able to compete for survival with other animals. We are (or we became) such poorly adapted animals (excuse the term....comes from Darwin).
Intelligence is our sole advantage and what a difference it makes. We don't need to chase a pray (we cannot run fast enough anyway) because we have guns, we don't need the teeth to rip the meat because we cook it....we don't live in caves because we build houses.
Liked it?
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:24 PM   #8
 
I copied this from an old post I made. I've had my tank for over a year now so it's pretty we'll established .

So are you are saying if I decrease the light the algae may die off?
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:11 PM   #9
 
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Question for me?
Why is everybody looking for straight answer when there are no such thing?
The answer could be yes, if its too much light, more than plants need (excess serve algae only) or no, if its not enough light for plants, going lower only algae will survive.
You will now ask: "how do I know what is a right amount of light". And then we go in circle, back to the balance needed for the plants. Since plants are more evolved (right point Wayne), they have a stricter needs (wrong point Wayne), they are more "delicate" than algae in term of necessities.
Nobody can tell you for sure what to do: more light, less nutrient, less light, more nutrient...whatever it takes, there too many variables to give you an educated, precise answer.
That being said. Blackouts work for algae. For a limited time, plants are better off than algae without light. One of the few advantages of plants over algae is that plants have a much larger stores of food reserves. Unless you solve the imbalance that brought you algae in the first place, this is just a "Band-Aid".
Nutrient, light, CO2, often described as the three sides of a triangle. If you cannot close the triangle (because 2 sides are too short and the third one too long, for example) you're out of balance. Plants will only grow according to the shortest side (often, that's CO2), the rest- algae take advantage.
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Old 05-14-2014, 07:54 PM   #10
 
Thanks. For the record I wouldn't have asked "How do I know what is the right amount of light". I"m smart enough to know that it's going to be something I have to play around with.

Thank you for explaining the triangle for me. That will help me understand where I might be going wrong (I'm thinking CO2 as I just have a sponge filter and stopped using Flourish excel a long time ago). I was using Flourish Comp too but I stopped using that when I started to see Algae too (I was wondering if it was to much nutrients) but since then the Algae has gotten worse so I am not thinking that was it.


I also think I feed my fish to much so I will pay closer attention to that. Pretty rookie mistake if you ask me. I should have known better since I've had fish tanks for the past 15 years. (some planted some not)

The funny thing is the one time I had a planted tank I did no research. I just had guppies, a bubble filter and a carbon filter. My plants did so well that they got to big for the tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by corina savin View Post
Question for me?
Why is everybody looking for straight answer when there are no such thing?
The answer could be yes, if its too much light, more than plants need (excess serve algae only) or no, if its not enough light for plants, going lower only algae will survive.
You will now ask: "how do I know what is a right amount of light". And then we go in circle, back to the balance needed for the plants. Since plants are more evolved (right point Wayne), they have a stricter needs (wrong point Wayne), they are more "delicate" than algae in term of necessities.
Nobody can tell you for sure what to do: more light, less nutrient, less light, more nutrient...whatever it takes, there too many variables to give you an educated, precise answer.
That being said. Blackouts work for algae. For a limited time, plants are better off than algae without light. One of the few advantages of plants over algae is that plants have a much larger stores of food reserves. Unless you solve the imbalance that brought you algae in the first place, this is just a "Band-Aid".
Nutrient, light, CO2, often described as the three sides of a triangle. If you cannot close the triangle (because 2 sides are too short and the third one too long, for example) you're out of balance. Plants will only grow according to the shortest side (often, that's CO2), the rest- algae take advantage.

Last edited by aklick; 05-14-2014 at 07:56 PM..
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