Is this Algae?

Shiverz

Fish Crazy
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
277
Reaction score
410
Location
Lancashire, U.K.
On the picture Algae on Plant.jpg I have attached, you'll notice two forms of what I believe to be Algae which is attaching themselves to my Simon Says plants (because I can't pronounce or spell the real name siemensas or something). There is a "fluffy" kind, which is growing on the surface of the leaves and only near the surface of the water. Then there is the "Colouring-in" kind which has a brown hue and starts to colour-in the leaves turning them all brown (which I believe to be brown algae).

All I can tell you about the "fluffy" kind is that I do believe it's feeding off the light, as it only appears at the top of the tank and no where else, in fact if I snip a few leaves off the plants, I wont have a problem, but my little buddy Shoto loves swimming through the unkempt leaves and loves to hide amongst them too. Along with Shoto, detritus worms seem to also love this fluffy algae, when it comes to cleaning the tank if I just run my finger on one of the leaves a few worms will be brushed off (which Shoto loves).

I have come across the "colouring-in" kind before and after some experimentation I found out that it was caused by too much plant feed, even though I only followed the instructions on the package. After reducing the amount of plant food to zero, all of the brown algae faded away, but now, it is back again and it is slightly confusing as I can't take anymore food away from them.

Any help on identifying and solving would be greatly appreciated.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,941
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
The green is black brush algae, and I agree the light is the cause; difficult to deal with as the leaves are closest to the light and thus susceptible, and presumably the lighting is balanced for the lower plants. I have regularly seen this same thing on adventitious plants of my larger Echinodorus swords if I leave them on the inflorescence and they are near the surface. I would just monitor this, but if it begins appearing on lower leaves like it is moving down, reducing the duration of the tank lighting may help. The nutrients (fertilizers and natural) also factor in. I have had this algae become a nuisance from too long a light period, from old tubes that needed replacing (too minimal light), and from too much liquid fertilizer.

The "brown" I really can't see well. If this easily comes off with your fingertips, it is diatoms. It looks more to me like the leaves may be dying, if I am looking at what you are referring to.
 
OP
Shiverz

Shiverz

Fish Crazy
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
277
Reaction score
410
Location
Lancashire, U.K.
The green is black brush algae, and I agree the light is the cause; difficult to deal with as the leaves are closest to the light and thus susceptible, and presumably the lighting is balanced for the lower plants. I have regularly seen this same thing on adventitious plants of my larger Echinodorus swords if I leave them on the inflorescence and they are near the surface. I would just monitor this, but if it begins appearing on lower leaves like it is moving down, reducing the duration of the tank lighting may help. The nutrients (fertilizers and natural) also factor in. I have had this algae become a nuisance from too long a light period, from old tubes that needed replacing (too minimal light), and from too much liquid fertilizer.

I did have to increase the light by an hour about a month ago as some leaves were dying and I thought this to be the cause. I will try to reduce the amount of light by half an hour to see if that helps with the situation.

The "brown" I really can't see well. If this easily comes off with your fingertips, it is diatoms. It looks more to me like the leaves may be dying, if I am looking at what you are referring to.
The brown parts are the "blotches" on the leaves. I did just try rubbing the algae off with my finger and it did indeed come off after one or two rubs. I checked another leaf just to be sure and that came off to with very little persuasion.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,941
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
More data may help. What is the GH? And are you using any fertilizers?
 
OP
Shiverz

Shiverz

Fish Crazy
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
277
Reaction score
410
Location
Lancashire, U.K.
More data may help. What is the GH? And are you using any fertilizers?
The hardness Clarke is 1.26, I'm not exactly sure how to convert that to GH, I had a quick google but it just blew my brain. All I can tell you is that overall it is "Soft" water. (I was told how to convert this around a year ago, but that information has since left me).

I was using "King British Aquatic Plant Food" but I haven't put any into the tank in the last month, I seemed to be overfeeding and it was leading to the growth of the brown algae I mentioned earlier.

My own guess (and only guess) would be my light levels are causing the problem. At the moment I'm at 7 hours of light in a 24 hour period if that is any help to you.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,941
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
The hardness Clarke is 1.26, I'm not exactly sure how to convert that to GH, I had a quick google but it just blew my brain. All I can tell you is that overall it is "Soft" water. (I was told how to convert this around a year ago, but that information has since left me).

I was using "King British Aquatic Plant Food" but I haven't put any into the tank in the last month, I seemed to be overfeeding and it was leading to the growth of the brown algae I mentioned earlier.

My own guess (and only guess) would be my light levels are causing the problem. At the moment I'm at 7 hours of light in a 24 hour period if that is any help to you.

If my conversion is correct (@Essjay will know this) your 1.26 d Clarke is equivalent to 18 ppm, which is also 1 dGH. This is very soft water. Excellent for soft water fish species, and plants, but that brings us to the fertilizers which will need some of the "hard" minerals (calcium and magnesium).

The website [https://www.kingbritish.co.uk/product/king-british-aquatic-plant-food#overview] says this product provides essential nutrients, but it does not list what these are, nor the proportions. Nitrate and phosphorus are not included, and that is good as there is more than enough of both if there are fish being fed. But the other 15 or so nutrients are important.

I have seven hours of light over my tanks, but that is with my light intensity and works for the plants.
 
OP
Shiverz

Shiverz

Fish Crazy
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
277
Reaction score
410
Location
Lancashire, U.K.
If my conversion is correct (@Essjay will know this) your 1.26 d Clarke is equivalent to 18 ppm, which is also 1 dGH. This is very soft water. Excellent for soft water fish species, and plants, but that brings us to the fertilizers which will need some of the "hard" minerals (calcium and magnesium).
So using a more suitable fertiliser will help with my plants and possibly the algae? I have noticed my cryptocorynes are looking more and more like they're "melting" over the past month, but even now it's barely noticeable (that's coming from someone with little to no knowledge in botany).

The website [https://www.kingbritish.co.uk/product/king-british-aquatic-plant-food#overview] says this product provides essential nutrients, but it does not list what these are, nor the proportions. Nitrate and phosphorus are not included, and that is good as there is more than enough of both if there are fish being fed. But the other 15 or so nutrients are important.
So I'm probably best off looking for a new source of plant fertiliser. I wasn't hoping to keep Shoto in this tank, it was only going to be a stop gap, but now he's been in there six month and the plants I threw in there as a temporary measure seem to be more permanent. I will look further into suitable fertilisers and look to take better care of my plants.

I have seven hours of light over my tanks, but that is with my light intensity and works for the plants.
I'm still playing around with mine (as you can guess). They are old tubes, but I've always found them to be reliable, and I don't exactly fancy gutting everything out and replacing with LED's.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,941
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
So using a more suitable fertiliser will help with my plants and possibly the algae? I have noticed my cryptocorynes are looking more and more like they're "melting" over the past month, but even now it's barely noticeable (that's coming from someone with little to no knowledge in botany).
So I'm probably best off looking for a new source of plant fertiliser. I wasn't hoping to keep Shoto in this tank, it was only going to be a stop gap, but now he's been in there six month and the plants I threw in there as a temporary measure seem to be more permanent. I will look further into suitable fertilisers and look to take better care of my plants.

Without knowing what is in the fertilizer, I can't guess that it is not OK. Is there a list of nutrients on the package? Leaving this for the moment, because...

They are old tubes, but I've always found them to be reliable, and I don't exactly fancy gutting everything out and replacing with LED's.

What exactly do you mean by "old tubes?" If you mean they have been in use for 12 months (or longer), and by "tubes" I am assuming T8 (or T5?)...they must be replaced. Fluorescent tubes weaken as they burn, and by 12 or so months, they are so weak in their intensity they are no longer driving photosynthesis sufficiently. This is certainly one cause of algae, as i mentioned I have had black brush algae increase from not replacing my T8 tubes. The type/brand of tubes is also important.
 
OP
Shiverz

Shiverz

Fish Crazy
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
277
Reaction score
410
Location
Lancashire, U.K.
Well the tubes are around the same age as the fish maybe a couple of month older, so I'd guess at 8 month old, give or take one month. As for what the light is (t5/t8) I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you. I have no knowledge when it comes to lighting unless it's RGB in a computer and even then I just play with colours.

Also I have misplaced/thrown the box for the fertiliser it would seem. The bottle also doesn't contain any useful information regarding what it brings to your tank.
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
14,297
Reaction score
9,861
Location
Teesside, UK
I know we've left hardness behind, but did you know there's a hardness section in the calculator on the forum? It includes Clark, dH, US hardness (grains per gallon) and mg/l CaCO3, otherwise known as ppm.
 

Essjay

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Global Moderator
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
14,297
Reaction score
9,861
Location
Teesside, UK
Fluorescent tubes are being phased out in the UK so they'll be impossible to source quite soon. Halogen bulbs are being banned from September 2021 and fluorescent tubes from September 2023, though the link seems to suggest T5 tubes will still be available.

We will all have to start using LEDs after that.
 

Byron

Fish Guru
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
15,941
Reaction score
7,446
Location
CA
Well the tubes are around the same age as the fish maybe a couple of month older, so I'd guess at 8 month old, give or take one month. As for what the light is (t5/t8) I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you. I have no knowledge when it comes to lighting unless it's RGB in a computer and even then I just play with colours.

Also I have misplaced/thrown the box for the fertiliser it would seem. The bottle also doesn't contain any useful information regarding what it brings to your tank.

Maybe another member in the UK will know something about the fertilizer. As for the light, 8 months is OK, but at 12 or 13 months you should replace them. At one end of the tube it should have some printing, and T8 or T5 will be included (or should, again). The "T" number is the diameter of the tube in eighths of an inch, so T8 is 8/8 or 1 inch diameter, and T5 is 5/8 diameter. They are not interchangeable, so your unit will take one or the other. T5 is considerably more intense light than the same length/type of tube in T8. T5 is highly valued in the marine side of the hobby where more intense light for corals is required, and also by high-tech planted tank aquarists. Fish are not so pleased with T5 because of the brightness.
 

Most reactions

Top