Algae is taking over my tanks.

Lauren Olivia

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It’s honestly ruining my motivation to make my tanks look good at the moment. My 100L looks perfect, barely a spot of algae. This empty 20L grows algae back an hour after I clean it. My 30L betta and snail tank has classic hair algae that I’ve had for months and just can’t beat. It just keeps growing back. It’s all in my hair grass and I think I might have to just throw away the hair grass. Here is what I’ve tried.
Physical removal every single day.
Reducing lighting hours
Blackouts for days
I never open my blackout blind any more
Never overfeed and weekly water changes
Keep nitrates at almost 0, ammonia and nitrites have always been 0
Algae removal liquid melted all the algae in my 20L but then I couldn’t remove it then it all grew back once I had the lights back on.
stopped using my fertiliser for a bit just in case that helped.
I’m honestly about ready to give up. If anyone has any ideas of anything that could work I will try anything at this point. I just want them to look good again. Picture attached is my 20L after killing all the algae with the liquid and it just started growing back.
31A6E9F9-356E-479F-98F1-27CFEBF4B4EF.jpeg
 

Naughts

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Can you give us details of the aquarium lighting - Kelvin rating, how many hours it is on....?
Also which plant fertilisers and how much?
 
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Lauren Olivia

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Can you give us details of the aquarium lighting - Kelvin rating, how many hours it is on....?
Also which plant fertilisers and how much?
The 20L has a dennerle 6W light that came with the tank setup, and the 30L has an Aquael light but I’m not sure what W it is, it was a plant light that I got a while ago, just based on what tank size it said. I also have floating plants in the 30L. They’re both on timers for 8 hours, although I have tried less and it didn’t make much difference. When I did blackouts for days the plants dies before the algae. The 20L was set up about 3 months ago and the 30L was rescaped around the same time if that makes a difference.
 

Naughts

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The experts on here say 5000k-6500k is optimum for plant growth. Outside of this kelvin range algae has the advantage. I think your aquael light is 8000k (does it have it printed on the bulb?), so you may need to reduce that. You could change the bulb, buy a dimmer if the fittings are suitable, or just try and get floating plant cover to reduce the light. I would definitely reduce the duration to 6 hours for 2 weeks and note any change. 6 hours is just enough to keep the plants happy.

I know how frustrating it is, it's getting the delicate balance of light and nutrients to optimum levels that keeps it at bay. Just keep trying to beat it and posting here for more ideas to try.
 
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Lauren Olivia

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The experts on here say 5000k-6500k is optimum for plant growth. Outside of this kelvin range algae has the advantage. I think your aquael light is 8000k (does it have it printed on the bulb?), so you may need to reduce that. You could change the bulb, buy a dimmer if the fittings are suitable, or just try and get floating plant cover to reduce the light. I would definitely reduce the duration to 6 hours for 2 weeks and note any change. 6 hours is just enough to keep the plants happy.

I know how frustrating it is, it's getting the delicate balance of light and nutrients to optimum levels that keeps it at bay. Just keep trying to beat it and posting here for more ideas to try.
I don’t really know that much about lights or how they work, just that it’s an LED, so I’ll have to look into it. I’ll do some research and reduce the lighting, thanks. Any ideas why it’s growing in those two and not my big one? Maybe the shrimp or the fact it’s been established longer?
 

Naughts

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Each tank is it's own ecosystem depending on light, plants, bioload, organics, maintenance, filteration etc.
Yes algae is common in newer tanks, and shrimp (and snails) will eat some types of algae.
 

seangee

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The relationship between light, nutrients and CO2 is complex and needs to be in balance. If one of those is off you get algae, and unfortunately for most of us its trial and error. E.g. if light is wrong too much will cause algae and so will too little - algae is less fussy than plants.

In my experience hair algae (and I am assuming you mean black beard algae) can usually be managed by reducing the light. By this I mean intensity rather than duration. You could try a dimmer, or adding fast growing surface plants like frogbit.

The picture you posted looks like cyanobacteria rather than algae. This can be a real pain to get rid of as you have discovered - and it is a bacteria rather than an algae. Based on the picture and if that is the empty tank I would be quite tempted to just start again. Throw out everything, bleach the tank and hardware and start afresh. If that is some kind of "plant substrate" you are better off with inert sand or gravel - that way you have control over what is in your water. And be careful not to share nets, tongs or anything else between the tanks. You don't want it spreading to your other tanks.
 
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Lauren Olivia

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The relationship between light, nutrients and CO2 is complex and needs to be in balance. If one of those is off you get algae, and unfortunately for most of us its trial and error. E.g. if light is wrong too much will cause algae and so will too little - algae is less fussy than plants.

In my experience hair algae (and I am assuming you mean black beard algae) can usually be managed by reducing the light. By this I mean intensity rather than duration. You could try a dimmer, or adding fast growing surface plants like frogbit.

The picture you posted looks like cyanobacteria rather than algae. This can be a real pain to get rid of as you have discovered - and it is a bacteria rather than an algae. Based on the picture and if that is the empty tank I would be quite tempted to just start again. Throw out everything, bleach the tank and hardware and start afresh. If that is some kind of "plant substrate" you are better off with inert sand or gravel - that way you have control over what is in your water. And be careful not to share nets, tongs or anything else between the tanks. You don't want it spreading to your other tanks.
I have experienced and dealt with Cyanobacteria before and was actually starting to wonder if that’s what it was now. I managed to beat it last time so I’ll see how it goes before starting again. I can recognise the smell so I’ll see tomorrow. The other stuff in that tank was brown hair algae and some stuff that looked almost like white hair algae, the slimy looking stuff just started in the last couple of days. and in my other tank it’s bright green thick hair algae.
 

itiwhetu

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How warm are your tanks, a simple thing like lowering the temperature can increase the oxygen content and reduce the algae growth
 
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Lauren Olivia

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How warm are your tanks, a simple thing like lowering the temperature can increase the oxygen content and reduce the algae growth
Ah I never thought of that, thank you. They’re all at 25-26 but I could turn off the heater in the one that doesn’t have anything in it right now
 

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