Algae problems

MacWhinny

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Hi

So I'm having an issue with green and brown algae.

I have reduced my planted tank light to 8hrs a day (Which I heard is the min that I should)
I have stopped dosing fertilizer and liquid CO2
It has an external filter (Fluval 207) with Biohome Ultimate Filter Media inside amounting to 1kg
I remove 20L a week (Tank is 56L including the external filter) I would do 50% but I need a bigger water storage tub first



I last did a water change on Sunday and it's now Wed. As you can see, the green algae have started to cover the gravel. Something I had mostly removed while doing a gravel clean
I need to get a better gravel cleaner, as the one I'm using would suck up all the gravel if it was not for the gravel guard, so it's not the best cleaning of the gravel by any standards. But better than nothing.

I have an issue with brown algae on the forward plant (One I'm really am not a fan of and thinking about removing)

Any ideas as to what I could do more of or am not considering? Ik I need to do a 50% water change and need a better gravel cleaner, and ik I need more plants and more than two algae eaters (Snails)

Thanks ahead of time :)
 

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Lajos_Detari

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Brown algae can be easily removed by wiping them off with sponge or towel.
They usually appeared in new tank.
But once you remove them and reduce your lighting, they usually won't come back.

If you can get some algae eaters will be easier. But your tank is too small for most algae eater unless you keep the algae eater just for a short period.
1 Golden Chinese Algae eater can remove all your algae probably within 2 days. But they will grow too large for your tank. Furthermore, the Golden Algae Eater will suck the slime of other fish once they grow older.
I used to keep them for a short period, then I gave them away to a fish store.

What is your lighting wattage?
High wattage will promote algae growth very fast even if you turn on for 8 hours.
 
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MacWhinny

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My plant light is on for 7hrs right now and the tank is more in the shade next to my window with a black background paper to keep the light out of the tank.

The light is an Aqua One PlantGlo LEDs 18W max and I have 1LED strip turned off out of the two.

I've now purchased a much better gravel vacuum and remove 30l out of the 55l tank, plus say 2l for the Fluval 207 filter volume. So a lot more cleaning of the pollutants now. I'm hoping that will allow me to start doing fertilizers and liquid CO2 again for the plant's health.
 

StevenF

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Plants can outcompete alagae for nutrients to some extent. So good plant growth is important to minimize algae. Unfortunately I see a lot of yellow in your plants. I think your fertilizer is not supplying everything your plants need. What brand fertilizer are you using and how much do you add to your tank per wee? Also what is your nitrate level and Water GH level.
 
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MacWhinny

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I stopped dosing fertilizers as I was having an algae issue. I'm also using Easy Life Pro Fito, I researched what the best fertilizers were and that one came up as one of the best. I also use flourish excel for the liquid CO2. I'll continue to use them from the weekend if the algae growth has stopped.

I'm also looking at changing to sand as I have Apistogramma Macmasteri Cichlids which would benefit from it, plus the plants would have a better substrate to anchor down. Just need to find one that is good for them and the sand is black.
 

StevenF

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stopped dosing fertilizers as I was having an algae issue. I'm also using Easy Life Pro Fito, I researched what the best fertilizers were and that one came up as one of the best.
Keep in mind the tap water everyone uses is not the same. So it might work for some people but not other. Many fertilizers assume you tap water will supply some nutrients so they either don't add those or use a lot less.

Based on what is listed on theEasy life web site this fertilizer doesn't have nitrogen or phosphates. And also like 90% of fertilizers on the market doesn't have calcium. there may be other issues but there is not enough information on the web page to. I

fyour nitrate test kit shows zero nitrate you are deficient on nitrogen (5ppm of nitrate would be sufficient). Most people don't monitor phosphates (Again you don't want zero but you also don't want to see very high levels, 1ppm is fine). If your water is soft you might not have enough calcium.. What is your tap water GH? The yellow I see could be due to insufficient nitrogen. and the twisted leaves could be caused by low GH. Gh is primarily a measure of both calcium and magnesium.

If you don't have enough N P or Ca plant growth will be slow at best, or your plants might actually be dormant most of the time waiting for a water change to supply the needed nutrients. At worst the plants will die. Algae in comparison can do very well with vastly lower nutrient levels. So by discontinuing thefertilizer you typed the balance in favor of more algae. And if your N, P, and Ca are low the balance in your tank may have frequently favored algae instead of plant growth.
 
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MacWhinny

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These are my water parameters before I just did a 30l water change. The only high one is the Nitrates at around 30ppm, the tap water in the devon is soft or at least in my area. (Plymouth)

I don't know if that is because my external filter is still going through the starting cycle. But it does have the Biohome Ultimate filter media mix and is about 2 to 3 months since I started using it. I did have my other internal filters running for a month to help the external one out.

Can you recommend a good fertilizer that's fully balanced with all the needed minerals in it?

PS didn't realise i had my feet in all the photos, so enjoy that one :D
 

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Stan510

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You already have cyanobacteria going. I can see it on the igloo and some on the crypts and even front glass.
Best for now to cut the lighting period down to 6 hours. Cyano for sure slows on a shorter photoperiod...long just makes it get out of control with bright lights.
You might try some Hydrogen peroxide- but that's a tricky chemical to use. Plants that seem to be fine..might weeks later show damage. Same for fish.
I think if you clean the filters weekly and change 50% of the water ( as you wipe it down)..the last tool is a shorter light period.
 
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MacWhinny

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You already have cyanobacteria going. I can see it on the igloo and some on the crypts and even front glass.
Best for now to cut the lighting period down to 6 hours. Cyano for sure slows on a shorter photoperiod...long just makes it get out of control with bright lights.
You might try some Hydrogen peroxide- but that's a tricky chemical to use. Plants that seem to be fine..might weeks later show damage. Same for fish.
I think if you clean the filters weekly and change 50% of the water ( as you wipe it down)..the last tool is a shorter light period.
I could start cleaning out/rinsing the external filter weekly with the water change. A pain to do mind you.
But As soon as I did the last water parameter tests, and the 30l water change, the day after I had algae on the gravel that was not there when I had used the gravel cleaner. All I had added was fertilizer and liquid CO2 and almost a week later, I have algae all up the glass, gravel, and plants. As if my water parameters were bad. Which they aren't, other than Nitrates being high
The photos are current and how things are looking right now. After my last clean last week, things looked up. But a week on and o_O I'm doing more and better cleaning now and it's getting worse.
 

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Stan510

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Stop with the fertilizers!..its feeding the Cyano. Less hours of light and cleaning of the substrate and pre filters should be good enough to get you back into the game.
As last resort? Use Erythromycin- that for sure will kill 100% of the Cyano.
 

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I've read through this thread a couple times, and while I agree with much (maybe most) of what others have suggested, a couple things I emphatically do not agree with, and it is as well you know so you can decide.

First question though, what are the light specs? It looks OK in the photo, but would help to confirm. Light drives photosynthesis, so this can be a factor.

Nutrient supplementation should always be a balanced product, that I agree with. But when you have a low-tech or natural method planted tank (as opposed to an aquatic garden where the plants are key and fish few or non-existent), never add nitrate/nitrogen or phosphates, and choose a comprehensive supplement product that has either neither or minimal nitrate. [I believe there is an Easy Pro product with neither, that is perfect because it has everything else (I've checked into it for another thread]. Plants take up nitrogen as ammonia/ammonium, and it is next to impossible to never have sufficient for their needs, unless the tank is way out of biological balance; they will not take up nitrate unless the ammonia/ammonium is exhausted, and provided the light and other nutrients are adequate to be in balance. As for phosphates, there is more than sufficient in fish foods to supply plants' needs in this type of setup.

Calcium may need supplementation, or it may not, depending (a) which liquid comprehensive, if liquid is used, or (b) which substrate tab if these are used. We also need to factor in the GH, a standard source of calcium depending. This is not shown in the test photos, you may be able to find the number on your water authority's website, as general or total hardness (GH).

Liquid carbon (Excel) was mentioned...this highly toxic disinfectant has no place in a tank with fish. I've written about this danger so often. The prime carbon source is the breakdown of organics in the substrate, plus (less) respiration of fish, plants and some types of bacteria. You can easily balance this with the light and plant load, and then a comprehensive supplement.

On the cyanobacteria, I agree with the advice in post 11, though not with the earlier cause. Organics in the presence of light cause cyano. The only way to get rid of it is to clean up the organics (filters, substrate, fish load, fish feeding, plant nutrients) and usually a reduction in light duration can help. Never resort to antibiotics, this is not good for the fish.

Floating plants would help you in all of this.
 
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MacWhinny

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I've read through this thread a couple times, and while I agree with much (maybe most) of what others have suggested, a couple things I emphatically do not agree with, and it is as well you know so you can decide.

First question though, what are the light specs? It looks OK in the photo, but would help to confirm. Light drives photosynthesis, so this can be a factor.

Nutrient supplementation should always be a balanced product, that I agree with. But when you have a low-tech or natural method planted tank (as opposed to an aquatic garden where the plants are key and fish few or non-existent), never add nitrate/nitrogen or phosphates, and choose a comprehensive supplement product that has either neither or minimal nitrate. [I believe there is an Easy Pro product with neither, that is perfect because it has everything else (I've checked into it for another thread]. Plants take up nitrogen as ammonia/ammonium, and it is next to impossible to never have sufficient for their needs, unless the tank is way out of biological balance; they will not take up nitrate unless the ammonia/ammonium is exhausted, and provided the light and other nutrients are adequate to be in balance. As for phosphates, there is more than sufficient in fish foods to supply plants' needs in this type of setup.

Calcium may need supplementation, or it may not, depending (a) which liquid comprehensive, if liquid is used, or (b) which substrate tab if these are used. We also need to factor in the GH, a standard source of calcium depending. This is not shown in the test photos, you may be able to find the number on your water authority's website, as general or total hardness (GH).

Liquid carbon (Excel) was mentioned...this highly toxic disinfectant has no place in a tank with fish. I've written about this danger so often. The prime carbon source is the breakdown of organics in the substrate, plus (less) respiration of fish, plants and some types of bacteria. You can easily balance this with the light and plant load, and then a comprehensive supplement.

On the cyanobacteria, I agree with the advice in post 11, though not with the earlier cause. Organics in the presence of light cause cyano. The only way to get rid of it is to clean up the organics (filters, substrate, fish load, fish feeding, plant nutrients) and usually a reduction in light duration can help. Never resort to antibiotics, this is not good for the fish.

Floating plants would help you in all of this.
Photos are from after I've done a weekly gravel clean/water change/removal of dead, dying, crappy-looking leafs
I gravel clean pretty much everywhere and there is not that much being sucked up, other than the algae issue I'm having covering the gravel

The water around my area has very little chlorine and is not that hard from what my local fish shop told me
The light is an Aqua One PlantGlo LEDs 18W max and I have 1LED strip turned off out of the two. So not using the full light it can provide
I've also stopped dosing fertilizer/CO2 (What Liquid CO2 would you recommend?)
I did a filter clean/rinse about 3 weeks ago
But even with all that, I'm still having issues with algae carpeting the gravel

I've never really had luck with floating plants, Though I was using a glass top, which I do not use now. I read that floating plants, do not like getting their leaves wet and can cause them to rot away.
I do need to buy more plants (I'd like to remove all my plants and substrate, likely sand which is better suited for Apistogramma Macmasteri, and get some new ones in) plus some algae eaters. Likely a bunch of Otocinclus Catfish and shrimp.
 

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Byron

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I've also stopped dosing fertilizer/CO2 (What Liquid CO2 would you recommend?)

None. They are dangerous, and unnecessary. Carbon comes from the breakdown of organic matter primarily in the substrate. This is why most of us with planted tanks (low-tech, or natural) don't usually touch the substrate. As the organics are broken down by various species of bacteria, CO2 and ammonia/ammonium is released, and the plants take this up. There is usually sufficient to balance the light.

I read that floating plants, do not like getting their leaves wet and can cause them to rot away.

I've never had this occur, and all my tanks are well covered to prevent fish jumping out (they will), and eliminate evaporation.

I still say the biggest issue is the lack of floating plants. Water Sprite, Frogbit, or Water Lettuce would do wonders here, and likely solve your algae problems, now that the fertilizer problem is fixed.
 
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MacWhinny

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But what if you have lots of plants. It helps with plant growth right?

What fertilizer would you recommend then, that has a balance of ingredients that plants need?
 

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