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Algae Issues

kribensis12

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So, I don't normally post on this forum for actual advice but I can't think of any good way to get rid of this algae. I have (2) 10g tanks. One with WC Apistogramma Cacatuodies fry and the other with more fry and the parents. The one with just fry probably has about 15 in it, and they are about 2 or so months old. So they aren't producing that much waste. I also feed them twice daily with decapsulated (not hatched) brine shrimp. Then the other tank gets the same treatment, and a couple flakes twice a day for the parents. I do weekly water changes. I have a MASSIVE algae problem. It's actually blanketing the gravel in a nasty looking algae cloak. It completely covers the decorations and plastic plants. I use an algae scrubber to get the sides of the tank. I try to get as much algae out of the tank as possible. It comes right back. Normally within a week or two. I use blackwater extract for the tank and it's supposed to help limit algae growth as well as help these fish feel a little more at home. They obviously feel at home (lots of babies), but the algae is growing without impediment. I don't have a kit to test phosphate ect but I think that the water here is high in phosphate. I would just buy 2 small bristlenose plecos but I go to college here in a smaller town and the pet stores don't carry dwarves. Just common plecos. I'm at about wits end on what I can do to prevent algae growth. Anyone have ideas?

PS: I also tried changing the light cycles. Didn't help.
 

DrRob

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Just to check it isn't blue green algae, in which case it's bacterial rather than algal and may responds to erythromycin.

Otherwise, if it's filamentous algae then you're on mechanical removal, increased flow to annoy it, and significantly cutting the light levels (if you have no live plants, turn them off for a while).
 

ian

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sounds like BGA to me...and you will struggle to find anyone to get you a prescription Erythromycin for an algae outbreak. I for one am not a believer in using antibiotics in our systems, we have enough resistant strains, lets not help matters by adding more into water systems.

The best way to get rid of BGA is a 4 day blackout, and before doing so, add some NO3 and P04 to the tank. Before all of that do a 50% water change. Try and up the flow around the substrate. This is a real hard algae to beat though, with or without ABX.
 
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kribensis12

kribensis12

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What would adding nitrates and phosphate do besides encourage more algae to grow and increase the nitrates on takes with baby fish in them? It googled pictures of BGA, and that's exactly what I have. I'm not a fan of spending extra money on products myself or adding anything extra into the tank. What causes the algae to appear? Is there something I can do? There is a Erythromycin product I can buy here:
http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-606-ParaGuard-250ml/dp/B0002A5X7I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330897243&sr=8-2
 

ian

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low nitrate and phosphates are renound for BGA blooms. Try and step away from the age old thinking od N and P causing algae.

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm
 

DrRob

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BGA is a cyanobacteria. Basically a simple bacteria with a form of chlorophyll. Very basic stuff, which sadly means that, being uncomplicated, it's very difficult to target with anything specific.

Being a bacteria it will respond to antibiotics. As Ian said, there are issues with resistance, and, yes, being in the US you can buy the products anyway.

Blackout, as Ian suggests, will kill it off. Be careful, as it will release it's bioload when you do this so watch for ammonia surges. To be honest, antibiotics would be worse for that effect.

Adding phosphate and nitrate would change the chemistry of the tank. BGA is currently predominant and is using up the basic nutrients. More complex organisms can out compete it but need a more complex mix, so if you change the conditions to suit them better then they'll grow instead. As a result it will lose it's nutrient supply if things like algae (and remember that BGA isn't really algae) do better, sounds counterproductive, but true. BGA itself is actually capable of fixing it's own nitrates, which is a pain, and means that it grows well in very low nitrate conditions, which your competing standard algae can't do.
 
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kribensis12

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I'm not worried about Nitrates causing an algae bloom. I'm worried about the affects of the nitrates on my fry being as they are a sensitive fish when it comes to water quality. I will try the suggested method of a blackout. I don't have a test kit for nitrates ect. so I have no idea as to where they are at. I am a firm believer that frequent water changes/gravel vacums and adequate feedings are water quality solvers and I've not come into the need for a kit. Since I don't have a 30 dollar test kit, I shouldn't be adding chemicals into the tank if I have no idea as to how much they affect it.
 

ian

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don't buy a N03 test kit they are the most unrilable things on the market.

Tis true though N03 actually helps kill BGA, i know of people directly adding N03 to the affected areas and it ridding BGA.

To reiterate adding NO3 before the blackout will help and not hinder, as above BGA isn't a real algae.

heres another blog to add the causes are low N03 levels.

http://www.aquatic-eden.com/2006/10/blue-green-algae-bga.html
 

DrRob

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If you don't have a test kit then I agree, don't add nitrate.

To be honest I'd suggest getting one, but you probably expected me to say that :).

Remember to do the water change after a run of blackout, sounds like you will anyway, but this stuff is a nitrogen fixer, so will be pulling nitrates into the tank by itself and killing it off will release it, but it needs doing.

I'm going to hold fire on advice for the moment, as Ian is far more knowledgeable on planted tank nutrient stuff than I am. The risk of forums as you can be talking over each other.
 
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kribensis12

kribensis12

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ianho: I never said that lack of nitrates wasn't part of it. From your source:

Dosing nitrates will not have any effect on it now, since it has gained a foothold. It may even cause it to grow even faster (this is what happened to me). Increasing water circulation may or may not work, since the protective membrane protects the colony against oxygen.

That gives me another reason to not dose with nitrates. I will try the black out. I leave for spring break on friday so I will run the blackout until friday so I can clean the tanks out. The light will then be off for another week and a half before I get back. Hopefully this will fix it. If it doesn't, I might get some Maracyn.

To be honest I'd suggest getting one, but you probably expected me to say that .
I did. When I'm on a college students budget, unnecessary things like the test kit aren't on my priority list.
 

ian

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Krib, you came and asked for advice, i gave you IME/IMO the best advice. Yes a black out will work, but are you correcting the problem, no. I will putt $100 that you BGA will appear in 3-6 weeks time. Foothold or not. However it looks like you'd made up you mind already

my advice was...Water change, Add nitrates, and black out. How are nitrates going to exacerbate the problem?? BGA cannot survive without light, this is it's main and 99% of it's food source. Adding the N03 will give time for it to circulate and settle. Keeping you N03 above 10ppm would be beneficial and won't hurt fry.

ps you can do alot of damage to you A and N bacs with Mycins, so try and leave that.
 

lljdma06

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Krib, you came and asked for advice, i gave you IME/IMO the best advice. Yes a black out will work, but are you correcting the problem, no. I will putt $100 that you BGA will appear in 3-6 weeks time. Foothold or not. However it looks like you'd made up you mind already

my advice was...Water change, Add nitrates, and black out. How are nitrates going to exacerbate the problem?? BGA cannot survive without light, this is it's main and 99% of it's food source. Adding the N03 will give time for it to circulate and settle. Keeping you N03 above 10ppm would be beneficial and won't hurt fry.

ps you can do alot of damage to you A and N bacs with Mycins, so try and leave that.
If this advice was given to me, I would take it. :) Not that I'd ever need it, though, since I don't have BGA.

Also, get real plants, IME, fry do better. They feed off the micro organisms and stuff. Less work for you in the long run. Plants are wonderful, they keep everything clean and sparkly.

L
 
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kribensis12

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From what I understand, plants are not a good idea around here. My college is located in what was once called the "limestone capital of the world". Our water is around a pH of 8.2 and there are a lot of minerals in it. I have never been able to keep plants alive (water is similar to the water I have backwater back home - liquid concrete), even with aquatic fertilizers. I understand that plants are great additions. I would love real ones. It's just not a feasible option (unless I'm missing something). To give you an idea of how hard plants are to grow back home, I killed water lettuce. WATER LETTUCE! Sword plants, Java Moss, anubias, ect. All died.

The issue with BGA:

-Black outs work; since from what I've come to learn, the BGA is not harming the fish and I have time to try my options
-I need a test kit, something a college budget doesn't account for, and something I won't have much use for except when it comes to BGA
-I would need to buy some phosphate and nitrates - once again, something that is not in my budget

I'm not trying to ignore advice. I'm taking what I've been giving and picking the most feasible option for me. While it may not be viewed as the best/more effective option, it has been known to work. If it comes back in as you said, 4 to 6 weeks, then I will consider a different form of treatment. I appreciate the advice, I really do.
 

lljdma06

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I live in Miami, another liquid rock location with an 8.2 pH. I grow an awful lot of plants it seems.
 

coldcazzie

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As someone who has fought BGA for months and months and months before getting rid of it (no offence to Liz and Ian, but they haven't), let me say this.

1, Blackouts won't work on their own on a heavy outbreak. Trust me. I tried it. I tried it repeatedly. I did little ones. I did week long ones. I did two 4 day ones with a water change inbetween. They did not work on their own. If your outbreak is as heavy as you claim, then it's unlikely you will be able to beat it with blackouts alone.

2. Dosing EI helps. BGA is more likely to get a hold in a tank with low nitrate because it can fix it's own nitrogen so when other plants are struggling with low nitrates BGA can still flourish. Obviously having higher plants helps as well.

3. Circulation, circulation, circulation. You need flow. And lots of it. I used a spray bar. It worked wonders. To the point where after I took it out, a small amount of BGA returned, but it never got out of control again.

4. I never tried abx. We can't get them in the UK for tanks. So I've no experience with them. However, I am a great believer in not using meds if you don't have to. So my personal preference would be to try everything else first, and then only use abx as a last resort. I would actually buy a whole new tank and transfer the fish into that before buying abx.

Is it both tanks or just one? Could you, for example, put all the fry in with their parents, remove everything from the other tank, scrub decor with a bleach solution and replace the substrate, then put all the fish in that tank and do the same with the other?
 
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