Algae in a Planted Tank Question.
Hey guys thanks for your help on my other posts...
I'm having problems with what I think is a regular old brown algae on the glass of my 75g tank. Besides scraping the heck out of it every other week or so how can I safley get rid of it in a Planted tank where I cant use any chems?
I currently have a single bulb hood light with a 48" T8 Power-glow 18,000K light and have recently purchased 5 large snail thinking this would help, am I wrong?
Is there something I can do with my filtering that might help?
Also have one other question about Hard Water... How can I safely lower it?
These are some of the fish I have
3-? black tip tetras (LOL)
3 - Rainbow somethings?
I guess these pictures are taken after a good cleaning? Cause that looks sparkling clean to me and not algae invested :-)
The best way to counter brown algae is lots live plants eating/ using up the nutrition causing the brown algae to grow, adding several fast growing stem plants will help this (Cabomba, Ludwiga, Hygrophilia, Pennywort etc)
Also check your NO2 & 3 levels, elevated levels can support brown algae growth.
As for your water: What is your pH and KH in the tank right now and what do you want to change it to??
your right those are some older photos of the tank. I will get you those numbers when I get home... Does it really matter if I have hard water?
I also have a new question about my Penguin 350.
How often should I be changing the filters on this thing? I keep getting conflicting reports about rinsing the filter?
"Hard water" can mean something different to different aquarists; we can better answer that question when we know just how hard it is (the GH, KH and pH if you can provide these numbers). This impacts the type of fish that will be healthy in your water, as well as possibly impacting plants (if the water is really very hard).
On the filter, the media should be regular rinsed to keep it clean and allow the water reasonable passage through it; too much debris impedes the water flow which not only adds to the wear and tear on the filter motor but means the filter is not doing the best job of clearing and cleaning the water. Also, depending upon the filter construction, water is sometimes able to find alternate routes (the path of least resistance) and that also defeats the purpose of a filter. The media (pads and whatever) only needs actual replacement when they are no longer functioning due to literally falling apart. Regular rinsing is adequate until that happens.
To your original question on brown algae; this is actually diatoms, and is common in new tanks (during the first couple of months usually) and in established tanks with low light. While a Powerglo is fairly strong (intense) light, one T8 or T12 (regular fluorescent) tube on a 75g is not. As you have live plants, I would consider a dual-tube fixture (T8) or a single tube T5 HO fixture (these produce 1.5 times the intensity of T8 tubes so one would be enough). Then a Life-Glo full spectrum 6700K tube if T5 HO, or a combination Life-Glo and cool white (the Power Glo could serve as this second tube) if T8/T12. These will provide good light for the plants, and create a natural appearance with fish and plant colours.
And yes, absolutely never use chemicals to rid algae. Many of these are high in either copper or simazine, and both of these are highly toxic to fish as well as plants in high concentrations. As plants require a very small amount of copper, it may already be present in fertilizers and additional copper should not be introduced. It is recommended that algae be controlled naturally, by encouraging healthy plant growth, not introducing excessive nutrients (more fertilizer than required, overfeeding, overloading fish) and regular partial water changes. Improved lighting would probably solve the diatoms problem.
Reason I asked for the NO2&3 levels is because of your algae issue. Reason I asked for you pH & KH is because you house Tetra's, which I am assuming because of them you asked about lowering your hardness in the OP. But pending how high/ low it really is leaving it alone may be far safer & better for your fish then messing with it.
Apart from what Byron told you about he filter already - Ensure to not rinse out 1 part of the filter while exchanging a pad at the same time always do this few months apart. Reason I wanted to pint this out: When you rinse out your filter (which is best done in a bucket of water that came from your weekly water change, to keep SOME bacteria alive vs chlorine tap water killing it), rinsing out the filter & exchanging the pads at the same time can easily make make you run through another cycle with your tank becuase you'd have taken out too many beneficial bacteria at once. So just keep in mind to do these 2 steps (if necessary at all) apart in time.
Filter can run a VERY long time before they need to be touched, so this whole 'clean each week' is not only unnecessary but also harmful for your bacteria.
OK so heres what I got... Mind you I'm a bit color blind so I will just post an image so you can come to your own conclusion. I think I'm in trouble.
Plus here is a pick of the algae on the side tank and what I think is algae on one of my plants.... I'm starting to get discuraged, nothing seems to be going right with this tank.
I think I mentioned it before, but in case I didn't here it goes: Ditch the test strips and get a liquid test kit (such as offered from API), these test strips are just about as accurate as me looking at your tank and guessing your parameters and more often then not by the time they do show NO2, 3, or Ammonia reading they're so sky rocking high actually that's it often too late. Alternativly ask your LFS if they do a test sample for you with a liquid kit and write down the numbers.
Honestly just by looking at this I'd def not suggest 'messing' with your hardness as you initially indicated until you know what you really have vs the Tetra's needs.
For the algae, be patient, I know its not cool, but just follow all advise given to you above in this threat and give it time to work. Fast growing plants will help this and so will better lights, but it is not going to be a overnight quick fix change.
I agree with all but the last sentence. How often the filter material needs cleaned is largely a matter of whether the filter is properly sized for the system, and The numbers and types of fish and foods being offered. With that said,,In a moderately stocked tank with proper sized filter and fish arent' being overfed or fed with frozen foods that can foul water quickly, then swishing the filter material around in old aquarium water every couple weeks ,should keep it clean enough to allow it to do it's job.
As Angel said, try to space out the maint with regards to cleaning gravel and filter material. To do it all at one time can indeed destroy substantial portion of needed bacteria.;-)
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