Algae on Plants
Just started to notice algae growing on my floating plants. Looks to my untrained eye to be two different forms. Figured I'd post some pics and solicit advice about any intervention I may need to act on.
Here's a wide shot showing fine green fuzzy strands growing off the roots
And a closeup of the same for detail
I noticed the 2nd type of algae growing around the outside of the leaves on the lowest hanging stem of my floating mystery plant.
Upon closer inspection, it's also on the stem. Could this be Brush Algae?
Here it is again removed from the tank and isolated against a white background. The extent of the growth is even more evident.
By the way, this remains a mystery plant if anyone has a guess (reported by LFS clerk to be Rotala indica).
15g aquarium, 15w T8 (6500K), 12 hours duration on timer. Duration was recently cut back from 14-16 hrs per day with no timer. Perhaps this change was made too drastically?
Algae is only occurring on the floating plants.
Thanks in advance for taking a look and sharing your insights!
maybe it was too drastic but my guess is that you would a got a lot more algae with 15 hours of light per day and now at 12 its probably too much cut back to 10 or 8 gradually then see if it comes back
you withh have to remove the remaining algae by hands tho!
algae is a problem with nutrients and light too much of one or the other or both and its out of control hehe
Buy a brand new soft bristle tooth brush. Rinse it off with tap water and gently stroke and twirl the tooth brush to remove the algae. Once it's established it will have to be manually removed. Cut the duration of light to 8 hours to prevent further growth.
Algae needs light, any type of light. In a planted tank, an increase in algae generally means something is wrong with the balance and the light has become greater than what the plants can use. There has to be a balance; plants will photosynthesize full out as long as all nutrients are available and they have sufficient light (intensity). As soon as something essential is no longer available, plant photosynthesis slows and may even cease. Botanists term this the law of minimum. Light should always be the limiting factor. Algae can use any light and once the plants stop photosynthesizing and light continues to be present, algae takes advantage.
This is why the temptation we all share to limit nutrients at the first sign of algae is actually the worst thing we can do. We should increase the nutrients to balance the light--or reduce the light duration/intensity. Of course, if the missing nutrient is CO2--and it usually will be--increasing other nutrients will in this situation only make things worse. Reducing the light, whether intensity or duration, is always to best method to control algae. And duration is usually what should be reduced, provided the light intensity is sufficient and not beyond the needs of the plants.
With this in mind, it should be no surprise that algae usually first appears on floating plants. They are closest to the light so it is more intense. In this case, reducing nutrients in the water will only make it worse, since the floating plants are fast growing and with all that light, they need even more nutrients. They can obtain CO2 from the air, so here it is the easy-to-add nutrients, via a liquid fertilizer, that should be increased.
The above is general; there are various types of algae and many aspects of the natural system that can all play into this. Many others have written about nutrients causing this or that algae--iron, phosphorus, CO2 and others. But generally it is wisest to start by reducing the light to prevent algae from increasing.
To specifics. The second algae in the photos is brush, and it is increasing on dead or dying leaves. I would remove that whole stem of leaves, they are all dying anyway, as shown by their yellowing throughout. Even the roots on that stem are not alive--they would be white like the others if they were. I am most plagued by brush algae, and I have noticed that when it increases like it is here in these photos on a leaf--and it will do this on one leaf only of a sword plant--that leaf is dying; when I remove it, the stem at the base has turned brown showing that nutrients are no longer traveling to and from that leaf. I don't know if the leaf starts dying (as leaves do now and then) and the algae latches on, or if the algae starts the dying process. But there is a connection one way or the other.
Something that must be remembered: it is not natural tonot have some algae. Algae is an essential part of all life on this planet [except for the life forms living in the ocean volcanic vents which are very different]. An aquarium that has no algae is not natural. But we have to keep it in check.:smash:
Thank you for the outstanding info. I will cut the duration to 10 hours and start dosing the recommended amount of Flourish. I will also remove the affected stem. As for the thin fuzzy algae in the first two pictures, I finally acquired some water sprite and would love to salvage it if at all possible. Is this where the toothbrush come into play?
How about an introduction in the aquarium
I am very much in the beginner guessing stage of my aquaria life right now. One aquarium we have is a small Biorb, which has pushed me back into this great hobby. I thought that was going to be the only tank in the house too, LOL In the Biorb, I have a few plants tied to different things with hope they live, and root. There it was the growth of algae, I actually grew something. I do know something is not correct in the system, it has to be the light. My grandson rises early, real early, and the 2 year old wants those fish awake too.
Here is how I handled the problem. I bought an Algae eater, and it has done its job very well too. It has cleaned off the plants, and everything else in just a couple weeks.
I'm happy with the results, and so is the Algae Eater. The Grandson, he still gets the lights on early every morning. I hope the fish like it too.
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