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Algae in two of my aquaria

Tzahidmaster

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Hello everybody,

I have algae problems in two of my aquaria. I have blackbeard algae in my community tank, and cyanobacteria in my blackwater aquarium. The blackbeard algae has gotten completely out of control and is everywhere. The cyanobacteria is contained to lower parts in the substrate and a small part on the wood visible in the pictures. I have tried using eheim algozid in both of the tanks in the appropraite dosage for the respective algae, but this has had little impact. I do a 30% water change once every two weeks in both of my tanks, and I also top of the blackwater aquarium once a week, since it has no lid and therefore loses more water to evaporation. the lights are on 7 hours a day using a timer. I started using a plant fertilizer which contains nitrogen and phosporus based on advice from my local fish store, and I add liquid carbon dioxide (Flora Grow Carbo) once a day, also on advice from my LFS. But I have seens little impact on algae growth from these measures. And the added nitrogen from the fertilizer has actually spiked my nitrite and (I think) killed my gourami. I have measured the following water parameters today before the water change using drop tests:

Community tank:
pH: 7,5
KH: 11 DH
CO2: 13 mg/l
NO3: 30 mg/l
NO2: 0,4 mg/l
NH3: 0 mg/l
PO4: 0,5 mg/l
GH: 13
Fe: 0,08 mg/l
Temperature: 23
Stock: 12 neon tetra's, 2 molly's

Blackwater aquarium:
pH: 7,5
KH: 12,5 DH
CO2: 14,5 mg/l
NO3: <10 mg/l
NO2: 0 mg/l
NH3: 0 mg/l
PO4: 0 mg/l
GH: 14,5
Fe: 0,05 mg/l
Temperature: 25
Stock: 1 Betta Splendens

I have added pictures using the following imgur link:
I was wondering what I could do to reduce eliminate these algae. Any tips/advice is appreciated.

Greetings,
Hidde Strikwerda
 

Byron

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Interesting that this is the third if not fourth such thread I have responded to today. ;) Advice is the same.

Problem algae occurs when the balance of light/nutrients is out (for the plants). Cyanobacteria is caused by organics in the presence of light.

Never use chemicals/additives that kill algae if fish are present, they will be affected. The advice from your fish store is unfortunately misleading and risky. The fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorus is only going to make algae worse; there is more than enough phosphorus in fish foods for plants (in natural or low-tech systems), and nitrogen is unlikely to ever be missing as this occurs from fish respiration and breakdown of organics and plants prefer ammonia/ammonium and take up a lot of it. The carbon product I cannot find the ingredient for, but it is probably glutaraldehyde (like similar products) and this is a highly dangerous toxic disinfectant that should never be added to a fish tank. As you've seen, they didn't work anyway.

The nitrate in the community tank is high, at 30 ppm. This has a negative impact on fish long-term, and should never be above 20 ppm and as low as possible below that. It is possibly due to organics though not always. Large water changes, keeping the filter well cleaned, and vacuuming the substrate, along with not overstocking and not overfeeding fish will help to keep nitrates low (unless they enter via the source water, that's another issue).

We need to know the light data for the algae issue; too little light in balance with nutrients, too much light in balance, or too little/too much nutrients (fertilizers) can all cause BBA. I have battled this a few times in my 30 years of aquaria and getting the balance right or reset is always the solution. All you can tell us about the lighting will help, including spectrum and duration.

Similar issues for the cyanobacteria but here the organics is the prime factor. I have twice had to deal with this in one tank, and I did it by removing as much as I could during the water change, cleaning into the substrate well, cleaning the filter more regularly, temporarily stopped plant fertilizers, substantial W/C of 60-70%, and feeding less until it was gone.

EDIT. I will post the links to the other algae threads as sometimes I remember something in one but not another, and they may provide more background.
 
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PheonixKingZ

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@Byron, you should work collectively with @Colin_T, me and another knowledgeable members should work on a thorough thread that the mods can post on under the “Useful threads” section, to the left.

That way, we could just post a link, instead of having to reply the same thing and type it our every time. :)
 
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Tzahidmaster

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Hello,

thank you for your comprehensive reply.

In the blackwater aquarium I have the following lighting system: A4050555 Qube LED 15 15x 1,5 W 10-20 L. I could not find the spectrum online, and I have thrown away the box, but I hope this helps. In the community tank I have a superfish retroled combi. I could not find any specifications of that one, so I hope that you guys might be familiar with it. In both tanks i have the lighting on 7 hours a day, from 6 o clock in the evening till 1 o clock at night.

The NO3 levels in the blackwater aquarium are already fairly low, so would you suggest I just continue on removing the algae I can reach during water changes, and keep the NO3 low, and eventually the algae will go away? Also, should I go back to using my old plant fertilizer which does not contain phosphorus and nitrogen, or skip the plant fertilizer entirely? Because the LFS explained that the idea is to support plant growth so they outgrow the algae, how do you feel about this? And should I continue on adding liquid CO2 daily into both tanks?

Please let me know if you need any additional information and I will try to provide it.

Greetings,
Hidde
 

Byron

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Can you find a website for the QUBE light manufacturer? I came across a couple on reef lighting, but if you could find it we may see what we want to know. I also found some sites on the Superfish, like this one:

If you could look at some of these and see if your lighting is there, it would help us.

Moving on to fertilizers, what were you using before? The LFS is correct on the principle, but the balance of light and nutrients takes in factors like the fish load/feeding which can sometimes be sufficient or it may need supplementing. There really is no need for fertilizer that has phosphorus and nitrate as I explained, but there may be benefit in one without these.

Definitely stop usinng the lioquid CO2, this is dangeroous. Some plants will be killed using these products (Vallisneria is especially sensitive), but if it should get overdosed it can kill plants, fish and bacteria. It is after all a powerful disinfectant used to kill bacteria. There is no benefit to fish using this no matter thee potency.
 
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Tzahidmaster

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The QUBE light is also manufactured by superfish. It is the superfish qube LED 15. I have found a dutch website where it is sold (I live in the Netherlands): https://www.aquaplantsonline.nl/ver...sh-qube-led-15.html?search=Superfish+Qube+Led. For the community tank I have the 45 cm Retro LED combi from your link.

I have added a picture of my previous plant fertilizer.

The LFS explained that for optimal plant growth, you need a balance between light, CO2, and nutrients. And judging from my water parameters, my CO2 is still a little bit on the low side right? Do you think it's never a good idea to add liquid CO2, or just not in this case?

Greetings,
Hidde
 

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Byron

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The Profito looks OK, I would use it up. I'd like to know exactly what is in it before recommending you get more of this. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement and Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti are both good and basically the same, but I'd like to know all that is in Profito before classing it with them. May be just as good.

The LFS explained that for optimal plant growth, you need a balance between light, CO2, and nutrients. And judging from my water parameters, my CO2 is still a little bit on the low side right? Do you think it's never a good idea to add liquid CO2, or just not in this case?
The explanation is correct, though CO2 is one of the nutrients (carbon) and often separated because it is relatively easy to add the other nutrients via fertilizer but not carbon (CO2). And all has to balance with light intensity/spectrum/duration.

I had a CO2 test kit years ago but could never make sense of it so I gave up. CO2 is produced in the aquarium primarily fro the breakdown of organics by bacteria, principally in the substrate. Respiratio of fish, plants and some species of bacteria also add CO2. Plants use this CO2 if the light intensity and spectrum are adequate. In low-tech or natural planted tanks the CO2 is usually the first nutrient to become depleted, though not always. Once I have my tank(s) set up, I adjust the duration of the tank lighting as needed to avoid algae. If plants are using the light and the nutrients they will grow. Once any single factor is insufficient, they slow growth and algae can take advantage. The fine tuning with light duration can take a bit of tweaking. Floating plants can sometimes be all the fine tuning you need.

I have never added CO2 to my tanks, and I never will, if they have fish. The liquid products are in my view comparable to pouring half a cup of bleach in the tank...it is a severe risk, for no real benefit. Diffused CO2 is safer, or so we thought, but more recent work suggests that long-term fish are negatively impacted. I have aquaria because of the fish, so they come first. My light is moderate because these fish prefer less overhead light, so my plants have to manage. Those that do I keep, those that I try and they don't, I forget. I use a comprehensive liquid primarily because floating plants (which I have in every tank) need good nutrition. I adjust the lighting so there are no algae problems, and everyone is happy. :fish:
 
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Tzahidmaster

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Thanks for the comprohensive explanation on the workings of CO2. Could you find the relevant information about the lighting in the links I posted? Because I am really wondering currently what I could do actively to remove the algae? I would love any advice on other things I could or should change?
 

Byron

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Thanks for the comprohensive explanation on the workings of CO2. Could you find the relevant information about the lighting in the links I posted? Because I am really wondering currently what I could do actively to remove the algae? I would love any advice on other things I could or should change?
LED lighting is something I have no experience with, other than to say that I tried five units and all were returned because they were not adequate. So I gave up and repaired by T8 fluorescent fixtures, lighting that I do understand.

And I cannot see spectrum data in those linked sites, so I'd hate to guess. But without getting a new fixture, you are probably going to have to use what you have, even if a different spectrum, so dealing with the nutrient side and having floating plants might be all you need to do.
 
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