Did Algaefix Kill My Silver Flying Foxes?

notg2009

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Hi everyone,
It's been a while since my water has been cloudy and I have been seeing small particles floating around even after water changes. I also see small white specs on some plants. I think this is an algae problem, but am hesitant to use AlgaeFix since I lost two of my three silver flying foxes right after I used the product a while ago.
 
I had some green algae on the the glass that I scrubbed off. My cleaning crew at this point consist of 1 silver flying fox, 1 gara, 2 nerites, 3 cory cats (I don't think they really count), and some pest snails.
 
My tank is a 29 gallon with a T8 light that is on about 7 hours a day. I dose with Excel every 3 days and have root tabs in the substrate. I have multiple plants that are in good condition.
 
1) Is the cloudy water due to algae growth?
2) What can I use to take care of the issue without losing my last SFF?
 
Thanks
 

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Far_King

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I personally would not use any chemical product to "fix" an algae issue.  It is better to try and identify the issue and rectify the root cause.
 
How often do you change the water?  Is the tank near a window or any direct sunlight?  Have you tried reducing your lighting times?  Have you tested the chemistry of your water?  Do you use CO2?  What sort of filter do you have and is it in good working order and well maintained? (thinking the floating particles here).
 
This guide to algae may give you some ideas: http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm
 

Byron

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I concur, never use chemicals to deal with algae as the algae will only return if the cause is not rectified, plus there is the detrimental effect any and all chemicals have on fish.  Any substance added to the water will get inside the fish.
 
As Far_King noted, we need more data to sort this out.  In addition to what he mentioned, are you using any plant additives other than the Excel?  I will have more on Excel later.
 
And one general comment...algae issues are always due to an imbalance involving light intensity/duration and nutrients.  But the whole picture has to be looked at, not this or that item.
 
Byron.
 

StevenF

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It's been a while since my water has been cloudy and I have been seeing small particles floating around even after water changes. I also see small white specs on some plants. 
Algae has chlorophyll which converts light and nutrients into food the plant can use.  Chlorophyll is green.  The white spots are probably not algae.  You might have a bacterial  or fungal bloom.  Bacteria and fungus generally feed on organic materials.
 
It would be helpful to provide us with your water perimeters (ph, gh, kh, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.  Also how are you aerating your water (water circulation,or air pump ).  Based on the limited information you provided I am thinking Excel is fueling the algae bloom.  If you don't have enough aeration, nitrogen (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)phosphate, potassium and micro nutrients Excel is not going to help your plants. Excel is just a organic material plants can use as a source of carbon plants can use instead of CO2 for carbon. If your plants cannot grow fast enough to use the excel bacteria could start using it for food.  If you are short on just one micro nutrient (such as copper) plant growth will slow or stop.  If you don't have enough nitrogen (a macro nutrient) the same thing can happen.  While root tabs will provide some nutrient they may not provide all the ones needed or might not desolve fast enough to meet the needs of your plants.  How often do you add new root tabs?
 
In my opinion Excel should not be used  by itself.  If should be used at a minimum with a good micro fertilizer (such as Seachem Flourish comprehensive).  For really rapid plant growth you might also have to add a macro fertilizer.  If you use Excel alone The plant growth might surge after a water change and then slow down as the micro nutrients are used up.  Once the micro nutrients are used up plant growth would slow or stop and Excel would stay in the water unused.  The pictures you included don't appear to show a lot of plant growth.
 
I might be wrong but the above is my best guess based on my own experience and the limited information you supplied.
 
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notg2009

notg2009

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Thanks everyone for replying. Here are some more info:
 
-29 gallon with marinelan filter (size C carbon). Recently cleaned the internal filter and the carbon filter is about 2 weeks old
-T8 light that is on usually around 7 hours. I think the bulb is a 5500 or 5700K.
-Ammonia, nitrite, and potassium levels are usually close to zero, nitrate usually around 10
-Total Hardness (as CaCO3) (mg/L) 122 (from water company records)
-I dose with Excel (I know you don't like this product Byron!) and added seachem root tabs last week
-I do ~30% water changes weekly
-Some of the cloudiness might be due to bubbles, but this is more than the usual. Particles appear to be white in color and don't have the glare that you get from bubbles
-Apart from ammania gracilis and cabomba plants, the rest appear to be doing fine. Cabombas were doing fine until I noticed a lot of their lower leaves are gone (prob pest snails) and their growth stopped to some extent except for the ones in the center of the tank that recently grew well.
-The side photo shows more green algae on the glass
 
Thank you for taking the time to help me out. I appreciate any and all suggestions and recommendations.
 

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notg2009

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Forgot to mention that I have a bag of purigen in the filter as well
 

Byron

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The failing Cabomba is almost certainly due to the light.  Stem plants are generally fairly fast-growing, which means they need more light and nutrients than would plants like swords or moss and fern.  The lower leaves are the first to go since they are farthest from the light.  And having myself tried this plant more than once, I can say you will not have it last with this little light.  Best to forget Cabomba and stay with plants that do manage.
 
However, we also get into nutrients, which have to balance, and presently you are adding none so they are only available from the water changes and fish food.  The swords in the photo do not look bad, perhaps a tinge on the light (yellowish) side of green.  But I would suggest a balanced comprehensive supplement, once a week, and the one dose divided into two.
 
The Excel (aside from my personal objection to using such a dangerous toxic chemical in a tank with fish) is not going to help anything unless it is daily plus coupled with the other essential nutrients.  Carbon is a macro-nutrient, but it is still only one of 17 necessary nutrients for aquatic plants, and it is highly unlikely that these are sufficient.  But there is likely going to be sufficient carbon from the breakdown of organics to supply what these plants need (except again for the Cabomba type).  But in any case, your light is not sufficient in intensity to provide what will be needed to match additional carbon so it is again not going to achieve anything.
 
Now, the cloudy water.  If green, this is unicellular algae.  If whitish/yellowish, it is bacterial/organic/diatom in origin.  I have been battling the latter in one tank for months, and while I have identified the issue I have not found the cause, and I have been working with a couple of very knowledgeable individuals.  However, in many cases the problem is not this insoluble and you should still look to find the balance.
 
What is the substrate?  If this is one of the so-called plant substrates, it could be a factor.
 
Byron.
 
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notg2009

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The substrate is just regular gravel. I though Seachem root tabs are equivalent to to Seachem flourish that's why I switched to tabs recently.
As for the light, I remember from ur previous posts that a T8 could provide good results. What do you think about this light with only one bulb running (I tried the 30 inch before with 2 lights and got algae and stressed fish)http://www.amazon.com/Coralife-Aqualight-Output-Fixture-24-Inch/dp/B002P9MFW0
 

Byron

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notg2009 said:
The substrate is just regular gravel. I though Seachem root tabs are equivalent to to Seachem flourish that's why I switched to tabs recently.
As for the light, I remember from ur previous posts that a T8 could provide good results. What do you think about this light with only one bulb running (I tried the 30 inch before with 2 lights and got algae and stressed fish)http://www.amazon.com/Coralife-Aqualight-Output-Fixture-24-Inch/dp/B002P9MFW0
 
First on the tabs, these are not technically equivalent to adding the liquid Flourish Comp fertilizer, but having said that, I can now see why the swords look as good as they do.  This puzzled me previously, as I believed there is a nutrient inadequacy from no liquid ferts, but the substrate tabs are off-setting this.  Plants like swords which are heavy feeders and have extensive root systems will certainly benefit from substrate tabs.  But there is still some benefit to using the liquid.  The tabs only release nutrients within the substrate and not into the water column, or so Seachem says, and I will accept their word.  Plants take up nutrients via their roots and their leaves, and some nutrients are best taken up via the leaves, so these need to be in the water column.  However, again you are adding nutrients with fish foods and water changes, and this may be all you need so long as the tabs are being used.  However, the stem plants like Cabomba will most certainly not have adequate nutrients, and even with substrate tabs they will fail, but this plant would need much more light, and higher nutrients including getting into CO2.  If you accept that (as I have in my situation) and stay with what works, things will be fine and you can have a beautiful planted tank using plants that will manage in your situation.
 
Second on the light.  A single T8 tube over a 29g is borderline (I have the same setup) but it can work.  Simply stay with low and moderate light plants.  The dual T5 fixture linked would be way too bright, though one tube only would provide sufficient intensity but most of these fixtures require both tubes in before they will operate, so removing a tube is not possible.  A single-tube T5 fixture if you can find one would be manageable.  However, this will up your nutrient requirements but stillnot go much beyond where you are anyway.  I can understand that algae would be a real issue with T5 lighting...I tried a dual T5 over my 115g 5-foot tank for a week and then returned it as it was far too bright for the plants and the fish.
 
What I would do here is keep your present light, and use either Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or Flourish Trace at one dose per week, divided.  For a 29g, with Flourish Comp about 1/2 teaspoon is one weekly dose, so add 1/4 teaspoon the day following the water change, and 1/4 teaspoon three days after that; with Trace, I do 1 teaspoon on day one (following the water change) and 1/2 teaspoon on day three.  I am suggesting Trace here as you may find it is all you are now missing, and if this were me, I would probably get a small bottle of Trace and try that for a few weeks.  The tabs will add everything, and the water changes with your excellent GH will be sufficient in hard minerals, which leaves the micros possibly lacking.  When I changed from twice weekly with Flourish Comp to once plus one Trace, I saw less algae and good plant response, and I have even reduced the Comp dose to less with no negatives and frankly non-existent algae.
 
Byron.
 
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notg2009

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I will try Trace and continue with liq flourish. Also I just realized that my light is a 6500k.
 
Thanks
 

Byron

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notg2009 said:
I will try Trace and continue with liq flourish. Also I just realized that my light is a 6500k.
 
Thanks
 
Light should be fine, I use 6700K (the Life-Glo) over my single tube tanks.  Over the dual tube larger tanks I now have one 6500K and one 5000K, but I have had both 6500K for years and good plant response.
 

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