ARRGH Black Algae!!!
I am having trouble with black algae growing on my plants. In my previous tank it grew on the silk plants and a resin ornament. Removed both. Now it is growing on the live sword plants and the floating hornwort. It does not seem to be growing on the slate rocks, the sand substrate or the gravel substrate. As of now I don't see any on the malaysian drift wood in the tank, but it is also very dark and harder to see.
What can I do??? The otocinclus, the pleco and even the stupid mts ignore it.
Right now we have the lights on for 10 hours a day for the plants to grow well. ( Its a total of 4 watts per gallon but probably eqiivalent to 6 watts per gallon over where the live plants are growing) We have recently started adding liquid plant fertilizer, only the last 2 weeks and the algae started to appear before then.
Our ph is about 7.7, nitrites 0, ammonia 0.0-0.15, nitrates 20ppm, water temp about 79f. And although I have not measured it I know our water is very very hard.
I guess I can cut back on the time the lights are on, but I don't want to kill all my plants with too much darkness..
How turbulent is the water? I'm REALLY new to the planted game, but I just read through the stickied threads about planted tanks and there's a lot of good info. I can't say I have experience here, but from my understanding of those threads, it sounds like you have PLENTY of light and nutrients in the water because the algae is taking off. From what I got out of the threads, I'd be leaning toward there being too much oxygen and not enough co2 in the tank. You don't want to risk killing your fish, but I know I have a high power filter (rated for double my tank) and a 24 inch air stone and I'm starting to lean toward that being TOO much for a planted tank. Just an idea. Go check out those stickies though if you haven't arleady. They're really helpful!
Gina, you have way too much light over the tank. But before I go into all that, can you tell me what type of light--fluorescent (tube) or incandescent (screw-in); name of the tube/bulb; kelvin rating (number followed by K). And what size is the tank (gallons and length).
I read your stickies since I posted at first and have changed things around now.. Now I have a 55 gallon tank,
122cm long, 53 cm high, 32 cm deep.
As far as the lights go we are now running: 1 T8 15w, 18 inch, 8000k flourescent with an additional compact flourescent 7watts at 3500k, per hood and there are 2 hoods.
So thats 44 watts Flourescent, equivelent 230 watt incandescent.
Right now we are mostly growing Swords.
Algae occurs when light is greater than what the plants can use. But in addition to the intensity, the type (colour spectrum) is also important, because plants need the red and blue whereas algae can use anything. So if the spectrum is not consistent, algae will have the advantage.
You might want to consider a single tube 48 inches in T8 or in this case perhaps T5, with a tube 6500K.
My question is the consistency of light.. is that predicated upon an evenly planted aquarium? Our aquarium has 2 growing areas on the opposite ends of the tank and a sandy beachy area in the center which is not planted. The original modification to the Aqueon light hoods was to increase the amount of light over the planted areas and to lower the temperature from 8000k to apoproximately 6000k to provide for the plants better. The only affordable lamps my husband (who is an electronics engineer) could find that would fit in a 5 inch area of the hood are the home type compact flourescent replacement blubs that screw into incandescent sockets. The only problem is these bulbs are normally in the 3000-4000k spectrum area. We will replace these with LED incandescent replacement bulbs when the prices come down, to help reduce heat and to increase the color temperature. These new bulbs are selling for $16.00-18.00 each, so it will be a while.
Because we have 6 otocinclus (post-it fish :lol:) and 1 albino bushynose pleco, we are actually trying to encourage some green algae growth. They would not touch the black type.
Due to your infomation in the stickies, we have switched the hoods around so that the 3500k lights are over the unplanted center of the tank and the 8000k lights are over the plants. We have also cut the time the lights are on to 8 hours a day.
Does this make sense? I can post a picture of the hood if you want to see it.
Thank you for all of your sound advice,
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