Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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turtleman 02-29-2008 09:04 AM

New to Forum & Hobby
I am new to the hobby. I purchase and set up a new 70 gallon fresh water planted tank on February 16th. The tank measures 36” (left to right), 18” (front to back), and 25” (top to bottom). I started with fishless cycling using ammonia for the first week. Ammonia was from Wal-Mart and contained ‘chelating agents’. Hardness went through the roof so I did a 95% w/c and started over, cycling with 10 small fish. Fish are doing fine so far. I am at the end of the second week of cycling. Ammonia is 0.00, Nitrites are ranging 0.50 to 1.0, and Nitrates are usually at 5.00 or 10.00. Phosphates are 0.00. I have hard well water. The kH is 7 and the dH is usually around 15. The pH has fluctuated from 7.2 up to 8.4 (usually below 8.0). I have done several major water changes. Filtering with Fluval 405 (top 2 trays have BioMax, bottom 2 trays have carbon, ClearMax, and Pre-Filter). Lights are Tek-Lights 156 watts (T-5 HO), turned on 10 hours / day.

My problem is Fuzz Algae, sort of brownish in color and attaching to plants and objects. It flows in the water like hair. It’s not Thread or Brush Algae. I have been burning just half the lights (2 of the 4 lamps). Yesterday, I decided to turn all 4 lamps on to try to accelerate plant growth (to consume more nutrients and stave the algae). This morning the tank is very cloudy (with algae, I think). I don’t know if I should just keep doing what I’m doing and give it time to become established, or if I should start over or what. The Algae is taking over the tank and I need help.

fish_4_all 02-29-2008 11:24 AM

If the "algae" comes off the plants rather easily it is most likely diatoms which are normal for a new tank and will go away once the slime film has established itself on everything in the tank. I also have problems when cycling a tnak with green water andcloudy water but it always go away on it's own without changing anything.

No reason to start over, the tank is doing some fairly normal things for a cycling tank.

turtleman 02-29-2008 11:33 AM

How Much Light
What about the light intensity? I've read that giving the plants lots of bright light 8 - 10 hrs/day will help them take off and therefore begin to consume the nutrients cutting back on what is available for the Algae. Others are telling me to "blackout" the tank. That I should turn the lights off. Any advice on the lamps?

fish_4_all 02-29-2008 11:46 AM

The tank is too young. Leave it alone and don't change a thing. Blackouts are a last resort for a well established tank when algae is taking over. Leave the lights on 10 hours a day. Nothing to really do but be patient. Once the tank has been running for a few months then you can start to think about blackouts if needed. Adjust the lighting times when you know how the plants react and hbegin to see a pattern in algae, again, after the tank has been running for a lot longer.

As for the plants, they will use nutrients but as far as them outcompeting algae it is very complicated. If the plants use up one nutrient and not the others then algae can get worse because of it.

Look into a basic fertilizer dosing regiment. Nothing has ever worked better for me than making sure the plants have enough nutrients to be healthy as far as controlling algae.

Pfertz, one of the sponsors of this site has made it easy to dose regularly and not have to worry about anything but pumping 3 bottles when needed. I don't use it but we already have a member or two who loves the ease of using them. I like the torture of dosing dry ferts, lol.

turtleman 02-29-2008 11:52 AM

My substrate is 4" to 5" of equal amounts of Flourite and Eco-Complete. I thought that is where all the nutrients were coming from. Do you think I need to add more nutrients at this point or did you mean after things settle down a bit?

fish_4_all 02-29-2008 11:57 AM

Right now maybe not. There isn't a lot of informaiton out there as to how much oyu need to dose with Eco. I know some that won't dose anyhting and I know some that dose a lot.

My personal opinion is that aquatic plants feed both by the roots and the leaves for the most part. That and if you don't dose anything then the Eco becomes almost inert over time. Dosing regularly, even in small amounts and adding root tabs with iron to the Eco keeps things going steadily and prevents shortages. I know if I had Eco I would still dose pretty heavily although likely not as much as I normally would.

turtleman 02-29-2008 05:38 PM

:evil: photos attached of the evil stuff. Can anyone tell me what type of Algae this is?

fish_4_all 03-01-2008 12:13 PM

That is a serious bout of algae.

Ok, try this for me. Take your finger and see how hard it is to remove. Then smell it. I know, EWWWW but if it really stinks then it is likely diatoms, if not and only has a plant smell then is algae.

I am gonna get someone else to look at this stuff and try to help. I haven't seen this algae specifically before and want to make sure we get it right.

fish_4_all 03-01-2008 12:37 PM

Reduce your lighting to 6 hours, do a good 50% water change and before filling the tank, physically remove as much as you possibly can. Reduce the amount of food you feed.

In 2 days, do it again, then do it again making sure to remove as much as physically possible even if you have to remove a few leaves doing so. If it still doesn't help after 10 days or so of water changes then a blackout may be the only choice to get rid of it. 3-4 days of complete and total blackout, no peaking, no light at all, no exceptions! Run an airstone and feed the fish a little more than you normally would. Completely cover the tank with a box and towels or a dark sheet doubled up to make sure that there is absolutely no light going in the tank!

I do not like a blackouts on a cycling tank because it is going to make the cycle longer than it should be. If you can control it manually and with water changes all the better.

Thanks for the help herefishy.

turtleman 03-01-2008 04:45 PM

The algae is not smelly. It comes apart and floats in the water. I'm going to do some major w/c's.

If it comes to having to a blackout. Can I do that with plants and fish or should I remove them first

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