Algae problem or healthy tank?

utahfish

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Didn’t see any of this algae in my old tank. New tank has been up for about 2 months. Is this going to be an issue or it’s relatively harmless?
Its hair algae, most algae eating fish wont eat it. Nerite snails and amano shrimp will.
Any algae is due to an imbalance in nutrients and light. Hair algae usually takes hold due to too much or too long exposure to light. Plants need around 10 to 12 hours of light a day but it need not be continuous where as algae needs about 7 to 8 hours of continuous light to thrive.
Try breaking the time your plants get their 10 to 12 hours into two parts with a " nap" in the middle. Get a timer go 5 or 6 hours on 1 or 2 hours off then 5 or 6 hours on. That way the plants get there 10 to 12 hours but the algae doesnt get enough continuous light to take hold. Good luck
 

seangee

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My nerites won't touch hair algae. I don't know about amanos but you do need to deal with the source.
 

Byron

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I agree with the imbalance as the cause, but not with the suggested remedy which I'll come back to.

First off, on the Anubias I see black brush algae as well. "Problem" algae on Anubias and Java Fern is usually due to the light. These are slow-growing plants, which means they need less light intensity and less duration (intensity and duration are related but not interchangeable, so it can be either or both causing trouble) and to balance less nutrients. Floating plants is often the only solution you need, unless the light is really intense. Duration can be lessened, but if the intensity is still an issue for the plant the algae will continue; floating plants can help here.

The algae on the wood I would not worry about. Algae is normaly in any healthy aquarium, but we aim to keep it under control. I only look at the balance if the problem algae appears on, or increases on, plant leaves. On the balance, we need to know the light (intensity, spectrum, duration) and any plant additives.

The "siesta" approach to planted tanks is not advisable because it harms the fish. It is true that this approach of "x" hours of tank lighting, followed by a "siesta" of "y" hours, then a period of light again, will usually help in dealing with algae, but only if all nutrients are available. The "siesta" allows the CO2 to rebuild, as it normally does during darkness. When CO2 is not being added via diffusion, such as in low-tech or natural planted tanks, the available CO2 occurs primarily fromm the breakdown of organics as well as from the respiration of fish, plants and some bacteria species. This CO2 can get used quite rapidly, especially under stronger light. Which brings us back to the balance again.

The problem is that this siesta approach is quite stressful on fish. It is due to the circadian rhythm, and I will copy from an article I wrote several years ago as this should explain it.

Most animals have an internal body clock, called a circadian rhythm, which is modified by the light/dark cycle every 24 hours. This is the explanation for jet-lag in humans when time zones are crossed—our circadian rhythm is unbalanced and has to reset itself, which it does according to periods of light and dark. Our eyes play a primary role in this, but many of our body cells have some reaction to light levels. In fish this light sensitivity in their cells is very high.​
Previously I mentioned that the rods and cones in the eye shift according to the changes in light. This process is also anticipated according to the time of day; the fish “expects” dawn and dusk, and the eyes will automatically begin to adjust accordingly. This is due to the circadian rhythm.​
This is one reason why during each 24 hours a regular period of light/dark—ensuring there are several hours of complete darkness—is essential for the fish. In the tropics, day and night is equal for all 365 days a year, with approximately ten to twelve hours each of daylight and complete darkness, separated by fairly brief periods of dawn or dusk. The period of daylight produced by direct tank lighting can be shorter; and the period of total darkness can be somewhat shorter or longer—but there must be several hours of complete darkness in the aquarium. The dusk and dawn periods will appear to be stretched out, but that causes no problems for the fish. It is the bright overhead light that is the concern, along with having a suitable period of total darkness. And the "day" period when the tank lights are on should be one continuous period, not sporadic, and it should be the same every 24 hours or it will impact the circadian rhythm causing more stress.​
 

Retired Viking

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I have my 55 gallon tank in a room on the dark side of the house. The tank light come on at 10 am and off at 9pm where the room light takes over and turns off at 10 pm. The room lights are not bright and give a sunset effect. I also have Nerite snails which seem to take care of the little algae I have.
 
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Fizzle1785

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The tank is a fluval 32 gallon flex tank it comes with the aquasky led light. I have it programmed for 9-10am turn on and 8-9 pm turn off with 2 hours of moonlight (blue light). I already took 1 hour off each setting because it seemed like way too much light. Maybe I should alter the settings to a create less brightness?
 
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Fizzle1785

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As far as nutrients are you meaning over feeding or what? I feed 2x a day usually and it’s slow sinking pellets which do collect on the leaves of the plants. Once in a while I substitute bloodworms for a meal.
 

Byron

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The tank is a fluval 32 gallon flex tank it comes with the aquasky led light. I have it programmed for 9-10am turn on and 8-9 pm turn off with 2 hours of moonlight (blue light). I already took 1 hour off each setting because it seemed like way too much light. Maybe I should alter the settings to a create less brightness?
I will leave it for those members who may have experience with this light to comment as to its intensity. Intensity and duration are related but very different, and one does not make up for the other. If the light intensity is OK for the plants, then adjusting the duration can make quite a difference either way; but if the light is too bright, it is too bright no matter the duration though even then a reduction in the duration can help somewhat. I think it would help to reduce the duration. It is highly unlikely for example that sufficient CO2 will be available for more than a few hours, and withouot CO2 plants cannot photosynthesize which means algae has the advantage. My tank lights are on for seven hours daily, and I have no algae issues; I slowly worked down to this number due primarily to black beard/brush algae problems. It also helps to have a timer so the lighting is on for the same period every 24 hours; this not only helps plants and discourages algae (subjective) but it is better for the fish, same issue I posted about previously. You can have the light period anytime you want just so long as it is consistent, so when you are usually home to enjoy the aquarium is what most people select. The moon light is fine, but no longer, though there is some evidence it too can encourage algae. The fish need several hours of complete darkness, including no ambient room lighting. If you get some floating plants, reducing the duration to 8 hours may help.

As far as nutrients are you meaning over feeding or what? I feed 2x a day usually and it’s slow sinking pellets which do collect on the leaves of the plants. Once in a while I substitute bloodworms for a meal.
Plants get nutrition from water changes, fish foods (once processed through the fish, lol), organic decomposition in the substrate (this is the major source of CO2), and any plant fertilizers/additives.

Unless you have fry which need more frequent feedings as they grow and develop, feeding fish only once a day is more than adequate, and not more than what they can clean up quickly (except substrate feeders like catfish, loaches, etc which can take an hour or longer to adequately eat the sinking food). Overfeeding is not good for fish to begin with, but twice a day rather than once a day means double the organics and algae is always waiting to take advantage. I usually miss one day and often two days a week feeding the fish. Fish that are healthy can easily go for one and even two weeks without food, so with that in mind, be careful not to overfeed. Bloodworms as a fish food are fine as a once a week treat, but no more often.

Also what are some good floating plants? I have never really looked into those before
Water Sprite (Ceratopteris cornuta), Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) are ideal. These are substantial plants and do an amazing job of removing bad stuff like ammonia from the water, plus providing shade. Some stem plants do quite well left floating; Brazilian Pennywort, Wisteria. The smaller floaters like Salvinia are better than nothing but they are very small and their shading ability is minimal.

With floating plants you might have to look at some liquid fertilizer. Always use a comprehensive supplement, one that has all necessary nutrients in proportion to each other.
 

utahfish

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I agree with the imbalance as the cause, but not with the suggested remedy which I'll come back to.

First off, on the Anubias I see black brush algae as well. "Problem" algae on Anubias and Java Fern is usually due to the light. These are slow-growing plants, which means they need less light intensity and less duration (intensity and duration are related but not interchangeable, so it can be either or both causing trouble) and to balance less nutrients. Floating plants is often the only solution you need, unless the light is really intense. Duration can be lessened, but if the intensity is still an issue for the plant the algae will continue; floating plants can help here.

The algae on the wood I would not worry about. Algae is normaly in any healthy aquarium, but we aim to keep it under control. I only look at the balance if the problem algae appears on, or increases on, plant leaves. On the balance, we need to know the light (intensity, spectrum, duration) and any plant additives.

The "siesta" approach to planted tanks is not advisable because it harms the fish. It is true that this approach of "x" hours of tank lighting, followed by a "siesta" of "y" hours, then a period of light again, will usually help in dealing with algae, but only if all nutrients are available. The "siesta" allows the CO2 to rebuild, as it normally does during darkness. When CO2 is not being added via diffusion, such as in low-tech or natural planted tanks, the available CO2 occurs primarily fromm the breakdown of organics as well as from the respiration of fish, plants and some bacteria species. This CO2 can get used quite rapidly, especially under stronger light. Which brings us back to the balance again.

The problem is that this siesta approach is quite stressful on fish. It is due to the circadian rhythm, and I will copy from an article I wrote several years ago as this should explain it.

Most animals have an internal body clock, called a circadian rhythm, which is modified by the light/dark cycle every 24 hours. This is the explanation for jet-lag in humans when time zones are crossed—our circadian rhythm is unbalanced and has to reset itself, which it does according to periods of light and dark. Our eyes play a primary role in this, but many of our body cells have some reaction to light levels. In fish this light sensitivity in their cells is very high.​
Previously I mentioned that the rods and cones in the eye shift according to the changes in light. This process is also anticipated according to the time of day; the fish “expects” dawn and dusk, and the eyes will automatically begin to adjust accordingly. This is due to the circadian rhythm.​
This is one reason why during each 24 hours a regular period of light/dark—ensuring there are several hours of complete darkness—is essential for the fish. In the tropics, day and night is equal for all 365 days a year, with approximately ten to twelve hours each of daylight and complete darkness, separated by fairly brief periods of dawn or dusk. The period of daylight produced by direct tank lighting can be shorter; and the period of total darkness can be somewhat shorter or longer—but there must be several hours of complete darkness in the aquarium. The dusk and dawn periods will appear to be stretched out, but that causes no problems for the fish. It is the bright overhead light that is the concern, along with having a suitable period of total darkness. And the "day" period when the tank lights are on should be one continuous period, not sporadic, and it should be the same every 24 hours or it will impact the circadian rhythm causing more stress.​
Never had a problem with the siesta approach but then again ive never had a tank in a completely dark room, always a window that lets light in the room but not direct light to the tank.
The circadian rhythm part makes sense though.
I was always told plant needed around 12 hours of light so to hear youre growing plants with 7 hours a day is a shock, maybe im out of the loop and ill drop the length my lights are on and skip the siesta.
 

Byron

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Never had a problem with the siesta approach but then again ive never had a tank in a completely dark room, always a window that lets light in the room but not direct light to the tank.
The circadian rhythm part makes sense though.
I was always told plant needed around 12 hours of light so to hear youre growing plants with 7 hours a day is a shock, maybe im out of the loop and ill drop the length my lights are on and skip the siesta.
There is a lot of misinformation in this hobby, about plants as much as fish.

George Farmer, who is I believe a non-active member of this forum, is well known in the UK and has authored books and articles on planted tanks. He has said that six hours is about the least amount of tank lighting (corresponding to "daylight") that will work. Some have gone down to five hours due to algae issues and it has solved their problem.

Years ago (2000) I moved to a house and had a dedicated fish room, with 8 tanks. I had my tank lighting on for 10 hours, and brush algae became a problem. I reduced it to 9, then 8 hours, allowing several weeks in between for the plants and system to adjust. This seemed to work, except in the 70g which i figured out was shallower, therefore the light was stronger than in the deeper tanks, so I reduced the 70g to 7 hours. But every summer the brush algae would re-appear, and it took me three summers to cotton on to the issue...the increased daylight (intensity and longer days) in summer meant more diffused daylight was entering the room. I put heavy drapes over the windows (possible in a dedicate fish room) and the algae stopped. Sometimes it doesn't take much to upset the balance.

I moved and downsized this past May, and have my five tanks in the spare bedroom (fish bedroom, lol) now on 7 hours from 9 am to 4 pm. Everybody seems happy.
 
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Fizzle1785

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I will leave it for those members who may have experience with this light to comment as to its intensity. Intensity and duration are related but very different, and one does not make up for the other. If the light intensity is OK for the plants, then adjusting the duration can make quite a difference either way; but if the light is too bright, it is too bright no matter the duration though even then a reduction in the duration can help somewhat. I think it would help to reduce the duration. It is highly unlikely for example that sufficient CO2 will be available for more than a few hours, and withouot CO2 plants cannot photosynthesize which means algae has the advantage. My tank lights are on for seven hours daily, and I have no algae issues; I slowly worked down to this number due primarily to black beard/brush algae problems. It also helps to have a timer so the lighting is on for the same period every 24 hours; this not only helps plants and discourages algae (subjective) but it is better for the fish, same issue I posted about previously. You can have the light period anytime you want just so long as it is consistent, so when you are usually home to enjoy the aquarium is what most people select. The moon light is fine, but no longer, though there is some evidence it too can encourage algae. The fish need several hours of complete darkness, including no ambient room lighting. If you get some floating plants, reducing the duration to 8 hours may help.



Plants get nutrition from water changes, fish foods (once processed through the fish, lol), organic decomposition in the substrate (this is the major source of CO2), and any plant fertilizers/additives.

Unless you have fry which need more frequent feedings as they grow and develop, feeding fish only once a day is more than adequate, and not more than what they can clean up quickly (except substrate feeders like catfish, loaches, etc which can take an hour or longer to adequately eat the sinking food). Overfeeding is not good for fish to begin with, but twice a day rather than once a day means double the organics and algae is always waiting to take advantage. I usually miss one day and often two days a week feeding the fish. Fish that are healthy can easily go for one and even two weeks without food, so with that in mind, be careful not to overfeed. Bloodworms as a fish food are fine as a once a week treat, but no more often.



Water Sprite (Ceratopteris cornuta), Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) are ideal. These are substantial plants and do an amazing job of removing bad stuff like ammonia from the water, plus providing shade. Some stem plants do quite well left floating; Brazilian Pennywort, Wisteria. The smaller floaters like Salvinia are better than nothing but they are very small and their shading ability is minimal.

With floating plants you might have to look at some liquid fertilizer. Always use a comprehensive supplement, one that has all necessary nutrients in proportion to each other.
Do you know a reliable source to get any of those plants? I haven’t seen any floating plants at my LFS. I’m sure they’re all over the internet but anyone have a website or company they prefer?
 

utahfish

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There is a lot of misinformation in this hobby, about plants as much as fish.

George Farmer, who is I believe a non-active member of this forum, is well known in the UK and has authored books and articles on planted tanks. He has said that six hours is about the least amount of tank lighting (corresponding to "daylight") that will work. Some have gone down to five hours due to algae issues and it has solved their problem.

Years ago (2000) I moved to a house and had a dedicated fish room, with 8 tanks. I had my tank lighting on for 10 hours, and brush algae became a problem. I reduced it to 9, then 8 hours, allowing several weeks in between for the plants and system to adjust. This seemed to work, except in the 70g which i figured out was shallower, therefore the light was stronger than in the deeper tanks, so I reduced the 70g to 7 hours. But every summer the brush algae would re-appear, and it took me three summers to cotton on to the issue...the increased daylight (intensity and longer days) in summer meant more diffused daylight was entering the room. I put heavy drapes over the windows (possible in a dedicate fish room) and the algae stopped. Sometimes it doesn't take much to upset the balance.

I moved and downsized this past May, and have my five tanks in the spare bedroom (fish bedroom, lol) now on 7 hours from 9 am to 4 pm. Everybody seems happy.
Im gonna give this a shot with the decreased time and stop the siesta, ill let you know how it goes, i always hated having the lights on for 12 hours no matter how i broke it up, plus having shorter length of light should also reduce nutrient dosing as well???
 

seangee

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My tanks are all in the 6-8 hour range. It is actually different in each tank and these have varying degrees of shade due to floating plants. frogbit works well for me so that's what I stcik with.
My flex (but its a 15) has 7 hours per day on full intensity. This is too much for the slower growing plants such as amazon swords and anubias - so that part of the tank is shaded and they do well. If I don't shade them they do grow algae. I have no shade in the part where I have faster growing plants such as crypts and hygrophila.
 

Byron

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Im gonna give this a shot with the decreased time and stop the siesta, ill let you know how it goes, i always hated having the lights on for 12 hours no matter how i broke it up, plus having shorter length of light should also reduce nutrient dosing as well???
Yes. I have had brush algae increase by using too much fertilizer, again it is the balance. I am very cognizant of fish physiology and try to keep additives to the essential minimum no matter what, because I now know that all of these things including fertilzers, conditioners, etc do impact fish even though some of them may be necessary.
 
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