Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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CowgirlFishKeeper 02-15-2012 09:08 PM

I was hoping someone might have some answers for me.

My 15 gallon Goldfish tank has a hair algae problem. Not your typical hair algae issue, either. It grows on one wall of the tank, the filter intake, the plants, and the algae scrubber (which I almost never have to use). It is fully cycled and over 8 months old, using the same lighting since day one, which is Oddysea 24" with bluemoon LEDs for Freshwater (I made sure to buy freshwater). I hardly ever use the bluemoons because I have heard it's not that great for the tank, so I only use them once in a (lol) blue moon, just because it's so cool.

Now for the interesting part. As you can see below, it's likely not a nutrient issue, looking at the size of those plants. It's likely not CO2, due to the bubbler. I do realize that's really inefficient, but I can't afford any better. I haven't "changed" anything, I also only remember to do the water changes monthly, if I'm lucky. The largest fish is my Ryukin, whom is about 2 years old and no more than 3.5 inches. The Shubukin, about a year old, is not much shorter, but has a thinner shape, so is much smaller. I bought an otto to help with the non hair-algaes that my MTS won't clear out, and am considering a molly to mow down the hair, but I realize that can tip the scales in the other direction.

As for the tank stats, it is a 15 gallon TALL, sort of shaped like a thick picture frame. See pics below. The filtration is a non-main branded whisper trickle power filter rated for 40 gallon tanks. I have replaced the carbon section with cotton batton (hypoallergenic, no chemicals added, no dyes added). The filter media gets rinsed every couple weeks. For plants, there is tape grass (As you can see), Hornwort, which is an odd brown-green color and neither growing nor dying, Java moss which is growing like stinkweed, and some failing babies of water wisteria (or watersprite, I'm not sure). It won't root, it won't grow, and it dies off (which I believe tells me that the nutrients are still just fine), if a little low. The lights are 24" HOT5, and pump out 96 total watts for a watt per gallon of 6.5 (about). They stay on 10-14 hours depending on if I get home in time to turn them off. I make sure they get 12 hours of sleep every night and ensure the tank lights aren't on THAT long the next day if they end up staying on too long.

Every time I do a water change, which tends to be about 1/3 to 1/2, adding water conditioner (always!), the algae gets WORSE. I have tested with and without tap conditioner - no difference. I also add liquid plant fert with changes, and be a little on the lighter side, otherwise the algae gets worse. So, I light on the fert, but it doesn't make much of a difference. I also did have a loooooooong hair algae issue, but physical removal along with the fish eating it (and the Java moss and hornwort, lol) has destroyed the long strand hair algae. I now have short algae, and some green dust on the scrubber (and those salt water donutty shape circle things appearing out of nowhere). I did dose with salt for an ich outbreak, but that was due to new plant stress and me being out for the weekend. So, there is some low and almost non-existent levels of salt in there. I can add more, if recommended, as all plants seem to tolerate higher levels of salt. Here are the pics:
The full tank, on my home made shelf, sitting on my side table. Lol.
Mr Wiggles himself, being a camera hog, hovering my my face as he does every time I'm next to the tank. He even tries to eat my finger when I point at him through the glass. Kritterfish is in the corner there. I THINK that's a she; not sure. Mr Wiggles has tubercles, so.
Algae on the intake.
Off-color shot of the hornwort - the flash went off and the image was auto color corrected by my phone, lol.
The algae scrubber.

There are 3 types of algae present, if you can see them: the thin, scraggly green tufts that aren't more than 5mm long, the green spot/dust algae, and that really odd green, thick, tree-like THING that looks like spyrogira... Help?

EDIT: The white dots on the tape grass are bubbles - they collect on the algae, and sometimes release from the plants themselves...WHY, I have NO idea. Also, as you can see, my water is nowhere near yellow or green. It's crystal clear...

mike gergley 02-15-2012 10:49 PM

try running your lights less but it does not look like its that bad......

CowgirlFishKeeper 02-15-2012 10:50 PM

I have tested with only having half the lights on; it makes no difference.

ladayen 02-15-2012 11:02 PM

2 goldfish in a 15g tank. I would suspect they are putting out excess something that the other plants cant absorb.

CowgirlFishKeeper 02-15-2012 11:03 PM

Two very small juvenile goldfish in a tank with a filter built for four times it's size...

Tazman 02-15-2012 11:20 PM

Going a little off topic but I notice in your profile about the 33g tank.

This tank is not suitable for the fish you have in there. The hongi and bumblebee at some point will fight to the death.


Crushed coral sand can be a nitrate factory if not vacuumed very well. It could be the algae outbreak is being caused by that. Another possibility is the slate, if the slate contains any felspar that will leech silicates into the water which can lead to bad algae outbreaks.

Try removing the slate and doing a big vacuum of the sand, a lot of that algae can just be cleaned off with a brush...if after removing the slate and vacuuming, if you notice the algae coming back then it is something else.

ladayen 02-15-2012 11:23 PM

Yes, I stand with my original theory

CowgirlFishKeeper 02-15-2012 11:27 PM

I did not know that about the slate! I just called it "slate" because it's flat and cut thin. I have no idea if it is slate or not. As for the coral being a nitrate factory, the tank is inundated with MTS for that purpose - but I will be a bit more proactive with monitoring the state of the coral. Also, the Ryukin is a sifter, so he is hoovering it constantly.

As for the Bumblebee, I'm only assuming that's what she is due to color (she could in fact be a kenyi), and so far she and the big male get along swimmingly. In fact, I've seen the Hongi male defending her and displaying to her (lol good luck horny fish). I will remove the slate and let you know.

Tazman 02-16-2012 12:00 AM

Can you perhaps post a picture of the 33g? as you have what could be a female flavus also...if that is the have a major war waiting to happen, not to mention they need a 75g minimum.

1077 02-16-2012 12:05 AM

5 to 6 watts per gallon of T5HO lighting will bring algae, especially with lighting period of more than eight hours.
CO2 becomes limiting factor,followed by nutrient's with this much light, and what little is being produced by bacterial breakdown and fish respiration is being off gassed by the bubbler which I might run only at night when plant's use oxygen rather than produce it such as they do during the day.
Two 24 inch full spectrum T8 bulbs would be my choice for this tank without CO2 injection,Excel,or Easy Carbo, and I would place light's on timer for eight hour photo period and see if this did not bring improvement.
Without CO2 enhancement and current lighting ,,,alage and more of it will likely persist.

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