Welcome to Our Community

Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.

Not Sure Why I Am Having Algae Issues?

Discussion in 'Algae Removal' started by dwiles, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. dwiles

    dwiles Mostly New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    GB
    Hi all 
     
    Just wondering if anyone can help me solve my algae problem! 
     
    I have a 90 litre nano cube, quite heavily planted with java fern and anubias. Its been set up since Christmas and I am still having algae problems. I do not use Co2 or fertilisers.
     
    Its stocked with 7 cardinals, 4 corys, 3 killifish and 2 otocinclus.
     
    Fish are fed once daily, tiny pinch of flake and pellets.
     
    My parameters are (in PPM) -
    PH 6.5
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate between 0 and 5 
     
    In terms of the type of algae I believe it is green hair algae and some sort of brown algae. The otocinclus don't seem to be able to put a dent in it.
     
    Oh and I water change 25% weekly
     
    Does anyone have any advice or solutions to make it disappear?
     
    Thanks in advance! Please excuse the poor iphone pictures - you get the idea!

     

    Attached Files:

  2. Byron

    Byron Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,796
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    CA
    That is brush (some call it beard) algae.  Otos will not eat this, neither will any other fish except one or two that are huge for this sized tank.
     
    Problem algae is caused by an imbalance in the light/nutrient area.  I don't know what the light here is, but you do mention that no additives are being added.  Adding these may or may not improve things.
     
    Anubias and Java Fern are both slow-growing plants, which means they require less intense light and thus less nutrients (meaning the level, not the nutrients themselves).
     
    Knowing the light data (intensity, spectrum, duration) should help us.  Also the GH of the source water.  All nutrients will occur naturally from fish foods, but the level of some or all may be insufficient; this is where we use additives, but they too can cause algae.  The GH is the prime source of "hard" minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium.  The plants here don't need much of these, and the GH will tell us more.
     
    Byron.
     
  3. dwiles

    dwiles Mostly New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    GB
    Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it! 
     
    The lighting I use is two arcadia stretch LED units. I am not sure of the spectrum but I think they are a mixture of 10K and 8K. They are on 8 hours every day. The tank gets no direct sunlight.
     
    I don't test for general hardness, would you recommend I buy a test kit?
     
    Thanks again
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,796
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    CA
     
    No need to buy a test, you should be able to ascertain the GH (and KH while at it) from the municipal water authority.  See if they have a website, as most post water data.  Or you could call them.  You want the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness or Alkialinity).  The GH is the dissolved minerals, and the KH is good to know as it serves to "buffer" pH.
     
    Is there any indication on the package,or the manufacturer's website perhaps, of the intensity of the light?  
     
    The spectrum we probably have now, as 10K (actually 10000K) and 8K (8000K), and K = Kelvin which is the colour temperature of light.  Not always the best aspect, but it helps.  With these numbers we can say this light is high in the blue and low in the red.  And that is part of the problem.  Red and blue light is required by plants for photosynthesis, and red is the primary driver.  Algae is not as fussy about light (or nutrients), and will easily make do with blue and little or basically no red.  Tanks with high cool (= more blue) lighting, such as actinic, frequently have algae problems.  Can you buy replacement strips for this light?  I'm wondering if they have "warmer" light, with a lower K number, say around 5000K or 6000K?  Some LED is interchangeable.
     
    I would suggest we work on the light here, which may well solve the issue.  Adding fertilizers with this lighting is in my view only going to make the algae worse.
     
    Byron.
     
  5. dwiles

    dwiles Mostly New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    GB
    Just looked on the website
     
    Apparently the GH for my area is 100mg/l
     
    I am not sure what the KH is or what chemical indicator on the chart I should be looking at to determine it? 
     
    Lighting - http://www.arcadia-aquatic.com/classica-stretch-led/ I have the freshwater CS40F model - I really can't tell what that chart means. I think I would be right in saying that 25% of the leds opperate at 10K and 25% at 8K while the rest are something else? The light to the eye is a nice warm yellow light, it doesn't really have any blue to it in my eyes. 
     
    Apologies for my failure to understand a lot of this lol.
     
    Kind regards
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,796
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    CA
    I'm not up on LED, having tried a few units and sent them back.  That data should make sense to someone like Steven if he seers this thread, he has previously mentioned about PAR and such.  I've always stayed with T8 because I understand it.
     
    To the GH, that is fine.  The unit mg/l equates to ppm (parts per million) tat is commonly  used in the hobby, along with dGH.  [Units are the same for KH.]  You can convert ppm to dGH by dividing ppm by 17.9, and similarly you can convert dGH to ppm by multiplying dGH by 17.9, so your 100 mg/l is 100 ppm, which converts to 5.5 dGH.  This is soft water, and absolutely ideal for plants and soft water fish.  Avoid any fish requiring harder water, such as all livebearers, and some others.
     
    KH is carbonate hardness, sometimes termed Alkalinity.  If you can find it, fine, but I wouldn't worry about it.  The KH is tied to the GH, and a low GH generally means a similarly low KH.  So the pH may be expected to slowly lower over time.  Regular water changes will help to keep this fairly stable, along with not overcrowding or overfeeding, all of which contributes to organics and these as thy break down produce CO2 which creates carbonic acid and the pH lowers.  Keep an eye on it for a few weeks, periodic tests maybe every few days to see what it does.  Some of my tanks hve lowered to 5, others around 6.  Each tank can be biologically different, and provided the fish are suited to the end result, all is well.
     
    At this stage, I would tend not to add plant additives until you have the light sorted out, with advice from members more experienced with LED.  A basic comprehensive supplement might help the plants, but I am still uncertain about the lighting, and adding more nutrient could make things worse.
     
    Byron.
     
  7. dwiles

    dwiles Mostly New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    GB
    Thanks Byron thats helped me a lot! 
     
    I will look into changing/modifying the lighting and see how I get on. Would blacking out the aquarium for a few days be advised?
     
    All the best
     
    Dan
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,796
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    CA
     
    Rarely will blackening out an aquarium benefit, long-term.  Sometimes it helps short-term to reduce the "problem" but unless the actual cause is resolved, the "problem" only returns.  The only way to deal with problem algae is to determine the cause and fix it.
     
    I have battled brush/beard algae a few times in my 20+ years of planted tanks.  I have experimented more than once and found that algae can become a nuisance from too much light (this is generally the main cause) whether intensity or duration or both together, from too little light (mainly intensity here, either initially with plants requiring more intense light than what is being provided, or from weakening tubes/bulbs that lessen in brightness and need to be replaced), from too many fertilizer additives, and from too few additives.  I also discovered that the longer and brighter daylight during the summer months can increase the light enough to cause algae; this I solved by keeping the fish room windows tightly covered all summer.  Not suggesting ambient daylight is the issue for you, just mention this to show how delicate the balance is.  All of these form the balance and higher plants are generally much more demanding tan algae which is why we can say that algae is always ready to take advantage of imbalance.
     
    As I said previously, get some knowledgeable advice on your light.  I am suspecting it is the issue, but LED is not something I am comfortable advising on as I have basically no experience with it.
     
    Byron.
     
  9. The-fish-Whisperer

    The-fish-Whisperer New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    US
    Haven't tried LED lighting I must say that I got rid of it quickly! My tanks were immediately overtaken with red and brown algae along with bristle algae. Having switched back to high intensity fluorescence my tanks have had the chance to return to a beautiful crystal clear with great plant growth and healthy and happy fish! Just my thoughts on LED Lighting systems for freshwater. And I had studied to get the equivalent lighting needs from LED but it just failed me. Anyone know what to do with a 12 inch clown loach that runs the tank like he's the king of everything?
     
  10. fluttermoth

    fluttermoth The current Mrs Treguard ;)
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    15,343
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    GB
    Hi there [​IMG]

    Could you start a new thread for your clown loach question, please? People might not see it on the end of your message here [​IMG]
     

Share This Page