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Algae solution?

Discussion in 'Algae Removal' started by vegajane23, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. vegajane23

    vegajane23 New Member

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    This is my first planted tank., so please be kind. I am learning more every day and I know I've got so much more to learn. Is there any other ways to decrease algae production other than decreasing light? I'm down to 7 hours (split 3.5 hr in the morning and 3.5 hr in the evening), and I tried algaefix (which lead to my discovery of how harmful it is and then doing MAJOR water changes today...), so, before I decrease my times yet again (I would like to see it with the lights on some after all), does anyone have any other ideas?
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  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    You need to find the balance between light and nutrients that will provide what the plants require in which case algae is discouraged. This takes some explaining.

    Light involves the intensity (brightness) and the spectrum. Light is what drives photosynthesis in plants, and each plant species has a minimum requirement for light intensity. Duration does not make up for any deficiency in intensity. Once you have the intensity, then the duration can be used to provide sufficient time for the plants in balance with the available nutrients, but not beyond so algae will then take advantage.

    Plants photosynthesize according to what botanists term the law of minimum. This means that if the light is sufficient and nutrients are available, plants can use these and photosynthesis full out, up to the point when any one factor is no longer sufficient. So it is the minimum, not the maximum, that determines the plant's response (growth via photosynthesis).

    If the light intensity here is adequate for the plants, and if all 17 nutrients are available to the plants, then you can use duration to control algae. But changing thee duration will have no effect on algae if the light is not sufficient intensity for the plants, or if nutrients are out of balance.

    I know it sounds complicated, but it really is not once you grasp the fundamentals.

    Something about your split lighting period...don't do this. It is bad on fish. Light is important for fish, as much as for plants. Light drives the inner biological clock known as the circadian rhythm. When you divide the photoperiod, it cause serious consequences for fish. Every 24 hour period must have the "daylight" (= tank lighting here) as one consistent period, and a period of total and complete darkness for several hours. The time between these two, what would replicate dawn and dusk in nature, can be almost anything. It is the duration of the daylight and the total darkness that is important for fish.

    Plants need this too, but they are able to take advantages unlike fish can do. The reason the split time is sometimes suggested to control algae is because the CO2 builds up during darkness and is used when the tank lights are on (daylight to the plants). By splitting the photoperiod the CO2 has a chance to rebuild. But as I said above, this is very damaging to fish, and there are better methods to deal with this.

    We need to know the specs on the light. From the photo I am assuming it is LED, and my experience with LED is non-existent. But others may be able to advise once we know. Also, what if any fertilizers (plant additives) are you using? What is the GH of the water? And what is the fish load? All of these are sources of nutrients for plants so all must be factored in to the solution.
     
  3. Rob M

    Rob M New Member

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    Nerite snails.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Algae grows from too much light or too many nutrients, or not enough plants to use the light and nutrients. You can add more live plants to use the excess light and nutrients. Just make sure they are true aquatic plants. Doing big regular water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate can help remove nutrients. If you have plants in the tank, just gravel clean around them.

    Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.

    Some good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, narrow Vallis, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).

    The Water Sprite normally floats on the surface but can also be planted in the substrate. The other plants should be planted in the gravel.

    If you add an iron based aquarium plant fertiliser, it will help most aquarium plants do well. The liquid iron based fertilisers tend to be better than the tablet forms, although you can push the tablets under the roots of plants and that works well.

    I use Sera Florena liquid plant fertiliser but there are other brands too.

    Do not bother adding carbon fertiliser to the tank because they are not necessary.
     
  5. vegajane23

    vegajane23 New Member

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    I wish I had all these answers for you upfront, but I went to the pet store today and took pictures of my lights after I couldn't find anything written on them. They are Aqueon LED color max and blue max. I'm only running 2 bulbs because I was hoping this would be enough for low/med light plants... Online info is VERY limited. My GH is 30 on my strip (this is one of the 2 I only check with a dip stick) and currently only running 2 cory cats and 2 ghost shrimp. However, I'd never checked my KH before and it is low to zero... going to try to increase this with baking soda???? I did, after your amazing response buy a fluval pressurized co2 kit and install (I was told I didn't need this), I have the flourish tabs near all the plants but I also bought the micro nutrients and added to the water today to help. I really hope this works!!! Thank you so very much!!!
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    There members with experience with LED may be able to offer better advice here, but I would be concerned over the red in this light. Aquatic plants require red and blue light to photosynthesize (green also helps, interestingly) with red being the most significant, and most LED is lacking much red but has more blue than needed. But that is about all I can offer. Blue light without adequate red will promote algae. LED light specifically intended for planted tanks can be ideal.

    No. Do not use baking soda. There is no need to increase the KH here. The GH and KH in my tanks is zero and I have soft water fish and plants. The pH will tend to be acidic, which is fine for such fish and is OK for plants. However, I asked about GH because that is a source of the "hard" minerals calcium and magnesium, and calcium is a macro-nutrient essential for leaf development but there are other ways to get this. And a GH of 30 (I assume this is in ppm not degrees) is fine for soft water fish and the plants.

    I did not intend to suggest CO2 was needed, and it is not. Can you return this? There is sufficient CO2 naturally to deal with most plants. Adding it is only raising the bar a lot with respect to more light intensity and other nutrients, or algae will have a field day.

    Flourish tabs are fine, replace in 3 months. Liquid fertilizer is fine, but which one specifically? If the Flourish Trace (which has the micro-nutrients) that is OK, but the Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium would be a better one as it contains some of the macros as well. I have used both, individually and together, for years and in the end the Comprehensive was sufficient. It is all about balance, and adding more of anything than what balances the rest is how algae is able to take advantage.
     
  7. vegajane23

    vegajane23 New Member

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  8. vegajane23

    vegajane23 New Member

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    I can return the CO2. With all the completely contradictory information online and in the books and from the pet stores this is overwhelming. I just don't want to kill my fish and plants. I bought the Flourish Trace, but when I return the CO2 I can pick up the Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. Then I will wait and see what these changes do. Since the last time I read about the bulbs I have, I found an article that says the red bulb is actually measuring very high on the blue scale... so maybe time to do shopping there (Fluval has a fresh and tank 3.0 that has some cool adjustment capabilities that might help!)
     
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Get advice from other members here with LED knowledge. You want light that has a spectrum in the 5000K to 7000K range. Fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs with a 6500K rating are ideal light. If you find an LED with this, you should be OK, but again other members can advise. My foray into LED with five units was a disaster and I gave up.

    Yes, there is a lot of information out there, and some of it is very misleading and some downright wrong. Any individual with the money can set up a website and promote him/herself as "expert" while knowing nothing. Hence the value of forums, at least what each of us posts can be reviewed and corrected by each other.

    The other thing is that there are different levels of planted tanks (taking this one item) and the advice may suit one method but not another. Keeping it simple (low-tech or natural methods) means less expense, less fuss, and significantly less to go wrong and harm the fish and plants. I have fish tanks that have plants in them but the fish are my priority and everything is with their welfare first in mind, and the plants make do.
     

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