Indentifying and fighting algae

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Era101

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Hi guys,

Back again with probably yet another rookie problem. I saw some algae growing in my tank a week or 2 ago. Figured it was because I didn't have any algae eaters in the tank so I added some oto's to combat the algae. Fast forward to today and my oto's aren't actually eating the algae...

The algae is starting to grow out of control but I can't seems to figure out what kind of algae it is. I added a picture of where it is most visible. My poor anubias are getting taken over... I am using submerged diy spray bars for flow and I think it gives a strong enough current. My gouramies can be "blown away" by if they swim to close.

I think it can be because of the water I am using. It's pretty hard and rich in minerals so that could be the cause. It could also be because of the lighting but it would be unlikely. Until this week I was using a 22 watt led light, I bought a 55 watt lamp now because I have some red plants and plan to add some more. Together with the new lights I did also just buy a full C02 canister setup, running at 0,5 to 1 bps, to prevent any new algae from the high lights.

I'm changing my water to RO this week and then see if that was the root of the problem. Although I would still need to get rid of the algae already inside the tank. I could really use some help on figuring out what algae it and ways to combat it.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Aquarium Adventures

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It looks like you have some BBA there (black beard algae) - as it is only a little you can spot treat with some hydrogen peroxide. I knows others have some success with Seachem Excel but it has never actually worked for me. I'm fighting a massive outbreak at the moment in one of my tanks and nothing was working - so bought some silver flying foxes and they are going to town on it! I made a video about it recently but don't want to be spamming the forum on my first day here!

Ultimately though - you have an imbalance of nutrients in your tank. Too much feeding, too much light or too much inconsistency in either. Its hard to figure out sometimes though - I've been trying for the bast part of a year in my tank and not figured it out.
 

BoomerXIV

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Hi guys,

Back again with probably yet another rookie problem. I saw some algae growing in my tank a week or 2 ago. Figured it was because I didn't have any algae eaters in the tank so I added some oto's to combat the algae. Fast forward to today and my oto's aren't actually eating the algae...

The algae is starting to grow out of control but I can't seems to figure out what kind of algae it is. I added a picture of where it is most visible. My poor anubias are getting taken over... I am using submerged diy spray bars for flow and I think it gives a strong enough current. My gouramies can be "blown away" by if they swim to close.

I think it can be because of the water I am using. It's pretty hard and rich in minerals so that could be the cause. It could also be because of the lighting but it would be unlikely. Until this week I was using a 22 watt led light, I bought a 55 watt lamp now because I have some red plants and plan to add some more. Together with the new lights I did also just buy a full C02 canister setup, running at 0,5 to 1 bps, to prevent any new algae from the high lights.

I'm changing my water to RO this week and then see if that was the root of the problem. Although I would still need to get rid of the algae already inside the tank. I could really use some help on figuring out what algae it and ways to combat it.

Thanks in advance!
I've seen and read people using bleach to kill it, I've tried it with my anubias and it works BUT I don't really advise using this method as your first option, like what everyone said try using excel or hydrogen peroxide. If its not work then you could try the bleach method, be advised not all plants will survive rinsed in bleach
 

glassfrog

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Interesting . I do have a algae growth but never heard of treating with Hydrogen Peroxide. I assume spot treating is loading a syringe and shooting directly on the clumps. How much should be used at a one time?
 

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I had a very severe infestation of this stuff one time, and even after I got the biological imbalances taken care of, it wouldn't go away. I came up with a sort of nuclear option, using Flourish Excel, that eradicated it without demolishing my tank. I will share if you want. If you just have little spots, though, I would either leave it alone or spot-treat with H202.
 

Anthony1976

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Have you got anyway of testing the phosphate in your water? Bba can be brought on by this some water companies add it to their water . If you are using excel make sure you dose it every day as fluctuations in co2 will make it worse.
 

seangee

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Ultimately though - you have an imbalance of nutrients in your tank. Too much feeding, too much light or too much inconsistency in either. Its hard to figure out sometimes though - I've been trying for the bast part of a year in my tank and not figured it out.
That is the key. Unless you identify and fix the source you will have this problem forever. Fix it and it goes away by itself - although you may want to clean or cut away the worst affected leaves.
I would not use Flourish excel or similar. It is not liquid CO2. It is gluteraldehyde which is a powerful disinfectant and poison. The recommended dosages are carefully calculated not to kill your fish too quickly. I would not use this in a tank containing livestock.

The anubias seem to be the worst affected. These are slow growing plants that do not appreciate too much light. Increasing flow won't help so best to reduce this to a level that does not cause stress for your gouramis. You don't mention other fish - but otos and gouramis are forest fish and don't like bright light - most tropical fish don't. IMO increasing the lighting is the wrong way to go.
 
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Era101

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Hi guys,

Sorry got a little swamped at work for bit. Thanks for all the amazing replies already!
 
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Era101

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It looks like you have some BBA there (black beard algae) - as it is only a little you can spot treat with some hydrogen peroxide. I knows others have some success with Seachem Excel but it has never actually worked for me. I'm fighting a massive outbreak at the moment in one of my tanks and nothing was working - so bought some silver flying foxes and they are going to town on it! I made a video about it recently but don't want to be spamming the forum on my first day here!

Ultimately though - you have an imbalance of nutrients in your tank. Too much feeding, too much light or too much inconsistency in either. Its hard to figure out sometimes though - I've been trying for the bast part of a year in my tank and not figured it out.
Yeah I was afraid it was BBA but I wasn't sure. None of the algae is really black, even the algae on the stems of anubias does look black but it's becoming almost grey to white as it grows longer. The rest is leaning more towards a lighter green. So I wasn't sure it was green hair or BBA.

What do you mean by feeding? The feeding of my fish or the feeding of my plants through the nutrients in the water? I don't think it's due to overfeeding everything or using too much food. The gouramies eat their share and the rest sinks down and acts as food for my cory. If it is an imbalance of nutrients I am hopeful that the RO could fix it as there are little to no minerals in there.
 
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Era101

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I've seen and read people using bleach to kill it, I've tried it with my anubias and it works BUT I don't really advise using this method as your first option, like what everyone said try using excel or hydrogen peroxide. If its not work then you could try the bleach method, be advised not all plants will survive rinsed in bleach
I kind of love my plants so bleach doesn't sound like the way to go. I have to rescape anyway to scrub off the algae on the lavarock and adding a piece of wood. Maybe I'll dip the plants in a hydrogen peroxide solution before planting them back into the tank.
 
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Era101

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I had a very severe infestation of this stuff one time, and even after I got the biological imbalances taken care of, it wouldn't go away. I came up with a sort of nuclear option, using Flourish Excel, that eradicated it without demolishing my tank. I will share if you want. If you just have little spots, though, I would either leave it alone or spot-treat with H202.
Yeah it kinda already spread to every plant in the tank. So it might be difficult for the plants to win the battle now if I don't kill the algae first. If you have some experience with using excel I'd live to hear it.
 
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Era101

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Have you got anyway of testing the phosphate in your water? Bba can be brought on by this some water companies add it to their water . If you are using excel make sure you dose it every day as fluctuations in co2 will make it worse.
Excel will cause fluctuations in co2? Even if I am injecting co2 already?
 
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Era101

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That is the key. Unless you identify and fix the source you will have this problem forever. Fix it and it goes away by itself - although you may want to clean or cut away the worst affected leaves.
I would not use Flourish excel or similar. It is not liquid CO2. It is gluteraldehyde which is a powerful disinfectant and poison. The recommended dosages are carefully calculated not to kill your fish too quickly. I would not use this in a tank containing livestock.

The anubias seem to be the worst affected. These are slow growing plants that do not appreciate too much light. Increasing flow won't help so best to reduce this to a level that does not cause stress for your gouramis. You don't mention other fish - but otos and gouramis are forest fish and don't like bright light - most tropical fish don't. IMO increasing the lighting is the wrong way to go.
I looked up the causes and an nutrient imbalance seems seems the most likely. I already posted and got replies back from you a few times before including a thread on the hardness of my water. I starting reading up on that and found an article that also said that during wc's a lot of the minerals stays in the tank. If that is the case and then looking at my water it would make sense for that to be the cause.

As I said already, changing to RO and buying a macro and micro nutrient package to go along with the co2 I'm injecting. I have to rescape as well so I'm thinking of adding more plants, a majority of them being fast growers. Do you think this could break the "infestation" if it is a nutrient imbalance?

Think of using a bucket filled with some hydrogen peroxide and dipping the plants in there to kill the eastablished algae during the rescape. What are your thoughts and/or experiences?

Alright I'll cut down of the flow and cut the worst affected leaves on the anubias. How do I know if I have too much light for the gouramies? They don't seem stressed and the colors seem to be getting more defined by the day. I do have about 30% of the surface covered with frogbit, does that help? I do need the hight lights for my red plants, carpet plants and some of the green plants as well.
 

seangee

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I looked up the causes and an nutrient imbalance seems seems the most likely. I already posted and got replies back from you a few times before including a thread on the hardness of my water. I starting reading up on that and found an article that also said that during wc's a lot of the minerals stays in the tank. If that is the case and then looking at my water it would make sense for that to be the cause.

As I said already, changing to RO and buying a macro and micro nutrient package to go along with the co2 I'm injecting. I have to rescape as well so I'm thinking of adding more plants, a majority of them being fast growers. Do you think this could break the "infestation" if it is a nutrient imbalance?
Based on my own experience I am backing the light, and with your high light requirements you may have to lose the anubias. I have dealt with BBA in 3 tanks where it was only on the anubias. The first I used frogbit which you can see in my signature. The right side of that tank really is very much darker than the left. I had to use a filter on the camera lens for that pic because photoshop could not cope with such a big difference and it was the only way to get a well exposed photo of the whole tank. With the exception of feeding time I always have more fish in the dark half of the tank - their choice. In the other 2 tanks I installed a dimmer and run the lights at 50% intensity. Neither tank has particularly bright lights. 2 of these tanks are on pure RO with only minimal micros.

Just FWIW (what follows is my opinion and I am not telling you what do do)
There is a difference between planted tanks and fish tanks which have plants. The difference is the focus. Those with planted tanks only keep fish to show off their underwater gardens and the well being of the plants is the most important consideration. This may compromise the well being of fish and is the reason I stay away from planted forums. My tanks are all fish tanks with plants for the benefit of my fish. If a plant fails to thrive in ideal conditions for my fish I throw it out and try something that does. One of my tanks has loads of red plants that are almost all green, I'm ok with this because it still looks good and the fish are thriving. I am also not prepared to turn up the lighting because these are all blackwater fish. Once you start injecting CO2, increasing light and adding macro nutrients you are moving into the planted tank realm.

Also FWIW (I spent many years keeping high tech planted tanks) red plants need iron to bring out the red. BBA loves iron.
 

utahfish

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Excel will cause fluctuations in co2? Even if I am injecting co2 already?
I would never put excel in a tank with plants or live animals. Its poison. One of the active ingedients in it is used for sterilizing medical equipment and embalming.
Tom Barr says the two leading causes of any algae in a tank are Co2 ,too much or inconsistent levels and ammonia.
An anubius has minimal use for Co2 As its a low light slow grower.
unless one has lots of hard to grow plants with red in them or hard to grow carpeting plants that require high intensity light and loads of nutrients then you most likely have too much free co2 in tank that isnt being used by plants so instead is being used to grow algae. Either add lots more plants and increase nutrients, tom barr also found that algae was due to under fertilization more than over fertilization as when plants dont have the nutrients they need they dont grow and algae takes hold as algae doesnt need much to grow. Where as when all nutrients a plant need are in excess the plants use what they need and store the rest and algae cant keep up because the plants are growing so fast. Without all the nutrients a plant needs to grow including co2 those excess nutrients go to algae as plants cant utilize them. Algae is always a sign of an imbalance between nutrients and light. In this case id say too much CO2. Decrease CO2 and light or increase light and comprehensive nutrients to balance out use of CO2.
I stopped using CO2 it was more trouble than its worth, one can get insane growth with CO2 but with insane growth comes the need for insane fertilization and light to keep up. Good luck.
 
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