What's Wrong W/ My plants?
Over the last month, my plants have gotten large, but at the same time, the leaves have been covered at the edges w/ blackbeard algae. I hired a siamese algae eater for the job but there's just too much. Now the leaves are starting to get some rough black stuff on them, not to mention a few holes. I've got just two huge anubas' and two lancelotas. All with the same problem.
I've had this 14 gal tank for about a yr now, but just maybe 3 months ago, I outfitted my walmart hood with two fluroescent bulbs.
Is there any way to get rid of the algae? Any chemicals I can administer?
Anubias is a low light plant; not sure about "lancelota" as I don't know what you might be referring to as an aquarium plant--true lancelota is a terrestrial weed. Anubias, being slow growing and having tough leaves, is always a prime target for black brush algae.
Which brings me to the light; increasing it probably caused more light that the plants can use. When light exceeds the level needed in balance with the available nutrients, plants can no longer make use of it to grow, and algae takes advantage. Algae (aside from diatoms) is almost always due to excessive light. Sometimes reducing the duration each day helps, sometimes reducing the intensity (less light period). Or increasing the number of plants and nutrients to balance the light.
By fluorescent bulbs I am assuming compact fluorescent screw-in bulbs, not tubes. What type are they and what wattage? And how long are they on each day? And what (if any) fertilizer are you using and how often? With the answer to these questions, and some info on the other plant, I may be able to offer some more specific suggestions.
Edit: Almost forgot, do not use chemicals to "kill" algae. They will either not be effective (but may harm the fish), or they will be effective and also kill or seriously affect the plants. And fish will suffer no matter what.
Thanks Byron, yes since my hood was incandescent, I bought a pair of 10watt fluorescent (claims to act as 14 watt in lumens) screw ins. The other plants are called anubias lanceolata (pardon my previous post). they are kind of like the anubias nanas except taller with longer leaves. I try to keep the lights to about 8-10 hrs a day. I currently use seachem fluorish twice a week. Water changes occur every two weeks.
Thank you very much,
P.S. I have attached my water quality log for the last two weeks, just started a new log as I just crossed the 1 yr mark.
Thanks for that info, a couple things stand out at me.
First, the light. Anubias is a very low-light plant. It does best in fairly dim light or under the protection of floating plants. I would strongly suggest the latter option, because the other thing I spotted was high (relatively) nitrate. This is a sign of too much organics with nothing to use them, and in high light, your algae will occur under such conditions. It is not the nitrate per say that is the issue, but the cause--organics (nutrients). And twice weekly Flourish is adding more. Nitrate under 40ppm is not really a problem for fish, although most would recommend it stay under 20ppm. With live plants, it should be less than 10ppm, but Anubias is a slow growing plant thus not using nutrients quickly.
My first suggestion would be to acquire some floating plants. Ceratopteris cornuta is ideal for this and it grows very fast in almost any water and can easily be thinned regularly to keep it just right. I will easily cover the surface, and provide good shade for Anubias (and many crypts also benefit like this). If you can't find this plant, some stem plants do very well floating; Brazilian Pennywort is one of the best, and Wisteria will also work. Cabomba should too. These also are fast growing (all stem plants are). And this means they will use nutrients more than Anubias on its own, so this will help with the nitrates and algae reduction in both ways (reducing light and using nutrients). I would also reduce Flourish to once weekly, even with floating plants. You can easily use it twice if the plant response indicates that is needed after 1-2 weeks [thinking here of the floating plants, Anubias should be no different]. And dose Flourish a day after the water change; the water conditioner probably detoxifies heavy metals, and some micro-nutrients are heavy metals (iron, zinc, manganese) and the conditioner will make these inactive for about 24 hours.
Second suggestion is to do more frequent water changes; this is the best way (other than lots of live plants) to control nitrates. A weekly partial water change should be done; the amount depends upon conditions and fish, and number and type of plants. The more plants the less water needs changing; the more fish, the more water; the higher the nitrates, the more water should be changed. Have you tested your tap water for nitrate? You should; some tap water contains nitrates, and if this is the case it is not a tank issue but one that can be handled with a water conditioner like Prime that detoxifies nitrates at water changes. I can explain more if you find nitrate in your tap water. And a note, if using the API liquid test kit, shake Regent #2 for 2+ minutes before adding the drops; the instructions say 30 seconds but several have found inaccurate higher readings unless the regent is shaken for 2 minutes.
Last comment is on the type of light; the bulbs are fine, I have two 10w over my 20g so I know the amount of light and with floating plants that will be fine. But what type are they? "Daylight" or some similar name, with a Kelvin rating around 6500K, are best. If you are using very cool lights (will have a higher K rating) plants will not do as well but algae will. Same if it is too warm (lower K) the algae takes advantage. A daylight or full spectrum around 6500K (anywhere from 5500-7000K will work) is best for plants and controlling algae.
Thanks for your awesome reply. My tap water is lookin around 5-10ppm. The bulbs are a pair of GE Daylight energy smart CFLs 490 lumens 6500K.
Wow, I've been shakin that #2 regent for only 30seconds for every test for a year! So 2+ minutes will give a much more accurate result?
I think I'll tryout the floating plants though. I'll retest the nitrate when I can. I'll let you know.
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