Tank two weeks in algae bloom started...

AcrossThePond

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New person here.. Appreciate you reading this. Please read my description but we had a devastating case of Columnaris in my son's 29 gallon about a month ago (things were fine, gone for the weekend, 90 percent dead 4 days later). I was so frustrated I bought a "hospital" tank and got rid of the old one. It was partly because I wanted to get rid of any trace and also "upgrade". I didn't want to go too large due to weight so went with a 45 gallon. It was running for about a week and got the Fluval app light. The app sucks but I assumed I set the thing to turn off and on for 8 hours before we left for Thanksgiving for a week but came back and light was on and have a huge algae spell right under it. I turned on the in line UV and cut the light and it's not crazy (I can post pictures) but what I can't tell is if it's a "good thing", "bad thing", or "a thing". I spent enough money on this little experiment I would like to do it correct (the Fluval light is $200 alone!!!) so open to any ideas. The tank is minially stocked. I started with new gravel which I washed *for hours*, new plants, new water, new everything but the survivor fish which have been in a hospital tank up until 8 days ago. I realize the tank need to cycle but I would like to have this thing look as clear and pretty as possible while setting up the optimal environment for some fish. I'm new to live plants, and done with fake stuff, so this is all new to me. Any ideas on what I should/should not do? Happy to take pictures. Thanks!
 
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xxBarneyxx

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Some pictures of the setup might help to see what type of algae it is (some close ups will be useful), that can help figuring out the cause. Will also help to see the plant types and how heavily planted it is. As above water parameters would help too,.

Are you using any kind of plant fertilisers?
Have you got some water flow in there (i.e. a filter), heated?
What is your lighting schedule at the moment (intensity and length)?

Sorry for all the questions but it helps narrow down the issues.

There are a lot of different types of algae and many of them are common in new setups. Some such as diatoms (a brown colours slimy crud that covers everything) are totally normal and will go away themselves eventually. Others may be more of a problem.

Algae issues normally occur when there is an imbalance between available nutrients, light and CO2. Given that there is no fish in the tank and that the light was left on for a week its probably safe to assume it was a light issue.

Without more information I would say a general "fix all" would be cut down the blue spectrum on your light, do a nice big water change removing whatever algae you can by hand and cut the total lighting period down to 6-7 hours a day. More plants and more plant growth will generally mean less algae as well so if the tank isn't super heavily planted I would chuck in some fast growing stem plants and floating plants.

Might be able to give some more specific advice with more information.
 
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AcrossThePond

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Hi, there,

Thank you for the replies, I wanted to get some proper pictures here to give you more information. I stupidly cleaned the tank on Sunday when we got back so doesn't look that bad but it went from nothing to the gravel being covered in about 1 week after running for 1 week with nothing in the tank but plants. It's a 45 gallon (170 liters) tank with a Fluval 407 canister filter (for up to 100 gallons, so plenty of filtration/flow), the Fluval inline UV filter (which has been turned off since it's a new tank), a spray bar, a bubbler, Fluval heater, and a Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED 19 Watt light. I have the tank at 75°f (24°c) and it's been very consistent (should it be cooler/warmer?). With the plants I wanted the light to run from about 7:30am to 8:00pm (completely new to live plants). We went away for Thanksgiving for a week and I set the Sunrise/Sunset on the Bluetooth but never confirmed it actually set correctly so it could've potentially be on while we were gone but after looking at the settings believe it ran for those same hours while we were gone.

I included a picture from the day I set it up, and a full one today. I added "Stability", "Flourish", and dechlorinator. The big decoration is the best example because it was pure grey before we left and now looks green and the spray bar and glass have green/brown slime. I'm not completely new to this "hobby" and had a 10 gallon running for about 4 years with zero algae prior to upgrading. The picture that I'm unable to show you is that the gravel was covered in that same green you see on the top of that decoration (I already scrubbed some off during my 20 percent water change the day we got back and gravel vac). Lesson learned, take picture first and post to an awesome website full of super nice people.. The other interesting but logical thing is that almost all the algae was growing directly under the light - not to the left 6 inches of the tank because the current light was actually made for a 30 inch aquarium. I intend to put a 36 inch light in there with the aqueon glass hood.

Back to the original question, maybe this is all really nothing to worry about and part of a tank properly cycling? I just don't know and having spared no expense so far and a little OCD, I would like a healthy well functioning aquarium without a green slime over it. Your expertise is appreciated.

Sorry to be so wordy here but wanted to give you everything and if you made it this far - THANK YOU!

I'm new to reading these and included a picture in case it's easier but these are the water conditions:
Ph 7.1
Ammonia 0.125 ppm
NO2 0.20 ppm
NO3 2.0 ppm

I will eventually put in a CO2 diffuser but I care more about getting the tank setup first with the plants a slight secondary concern. But, I've seen some really cool looking tanks with plants so welcome any advice! I can't believe I've used only plastic so far, disgusting ;p

Many thanks!!!
 

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xxBarneyxx

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Thanks, that helps. There is a lot of info below so if your need clarification on anything just ask

Short(ish) version first:
  • Looks like green dust algae and some diatoms. Totally normal and will get better.
  • Reduce your lighting to somewhere between 6-8 hours, get some more plants if you can. 12 hours is too long even for a heavily planted tank.
  • It looks like your tank is not cycled and you have fish so are now doing a "fish in" cycle, you will need to do water changes to take ammonia and nitrite to zero to stop the fish getting harmed. You will unfortunately need to do this fairly often. This link explains more - Fish in Cycle. The excess ammonia will also encourage algae growth.
  • Another way to help with the cycling issues is to add plenty of fast growing plants. This will remove ammonia directly from the water. Another useful side effect is that when you have good plant growth you get less algae growth. There is a list HERE with plants rated by growth rate. Floating plants are some of the best for removing nutrients from the water.
  • If you can get enough plants in there you move away from doing a "fish in" cycle and more into doing what is known as a "Silent Cycle" Its similar but you are counting on your plants to remove ammonia from the water.
Some specific replies to your post:
I have the tank at 75°f (24°c) and it's been very consistent (should it be cooler/warmer?).
That will depend on your fish. That is generally a pretty mid range temperature for most tropical fish though.
With the plants I wanted the light to run from about 7:30am to 8:00pm
As above this is too long of a photo period. I personally run my tank lights for 6-8 hours. Longer light periods will not give more plant growth. Plants will only use the light for a certain period of time before the go into a "rest" mode. For most plants 6-8 hours is more than enough light. Any excess will probably just encourage algae growth.
I added "Stability", "Flourish", and dechlorinator.
Great. Flourish is fine as a trace fertiliser which is probably all you need. This makes sure the plants have plenty of micro nutrients without adding lots of macro nutrients that the algae can use. I would recommend adding some root tabs for any plants you put in the substrate though. Later on if you add a lot of plants and have light fish stocking levels you may have to use a macro fertiliser as well but that depends on a lot of things and not something you have to worry about now.
Back to the original question, maybe this is all really nothing to worry about and part of a tank properly cycling? I just don't know and having spared no expense so far and a little OCD, I would like a healthy well functioning aquarium without a green slime over it.
Yeah its partly the tank cycling and partly the long photoperiod. More plants always helps. Once you are cycled and stable snails can help take care of algae as well.
I will eventually put in a CO2 diffuser but I care more about getting the tank setup first with the plants a slight secondary concern.
Honestly CO2 diffusers are not always necessary. You can have some lovely planted tanks without adding CO2. This is coming from someone that uses CO2 all the time and often argues the positives of it on this site :)
I've used only plastic so far, disgusting ;p
I think the majority of us started there. Once you see how much better a nicely planted tank is for both looks, water quality and fish well being you will never go back. I think I first got into planted tanks about 20 years ago and after seeing how successful it was every tropical tank I have had since has been heavily planted.
 
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AcrossThePond

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Thanks, that helps. There is a lot of info below so if your need clarification on anything just ask

Short(ish) version first:
  • Looks like green dust algae and some diatoms. Totally normal and will get better.
  • Reduce your lighting to somewhere between 6-8 hours, get some more plants if you can. 12 hours is too long even for a heavily planted tank.
  • It looks like your tank is not cycled and you have fish so are now doing a "fish in" cycle, you will need to do water changes to take ammonia and nitrite to zero to stop the fish getting harmed. You will unfortunately need to do this fairly often. This link explains more - Fish in Cycle. The excess ammonia will also encourage algae growth.
  • Another way to help with the cycling issues is to add plenty of fast growing plants. This will remove ammonia directly from the water. Another useful side effect is that when you have good plant growth you get less algae growth. There is a list HERE with plants rated by growth rate. Floating plants are some of the best for removing nutrients from the water.
  • If you can get enough plants in there you move away from doing a "fish in" cycle and more into doing what is known as a "Silent Cycle" Its similar but you are counting on your plants to remove ammonia from the water.
Some specific replies to your post:

That will depend on your fish. That is generally a pretty mid range temperature for most tropical fish though.

As above this is too long of a photo period. I personally run my tank lights for 6-8 hours. Longer light periods will not give more plant growth. Plants will only use the light for a certain period of time before the go into a "rest" mode. For most plants 6-8 hours is more than enough light. Any excess will probably just encourage algae growth.

Great. Flourish is fine as a trace fertiliser which is probably all you need. This makes sure the plants have plenty of micro nutrients without adding lots of macro nutrients that the algae can use. I would recommend adding some root tabs for any plants you put in the substrate though. Later on if you add a lot of plants and have light fish stocking levels you may have to use a macro fertiliser as well but that depends on a lot of things and not something you have to worry about now.

Yeah its partly the tank cycling and partly the long photoperiod. More plants always helps. Once you are cycled and stable snails can help take care of algae as well.

Honestly CO2 diffusers are not always necessary. You can have some lovely planted tanks without adding CO2. This is coming from someone that uses CO2 all the time and often argues the positives of it on this site :)

I think the majority of us started there. Once you see how much better a nicely planted tank is for both looks, water quality and fish well being you will never go back. I think I first got into planted tanks about 20 years ago and after seeing how successful it was every tropical tank I have had since has been heavily planted.
Thank you very much for such a thoughtful and full response! I'll get some additional plants this weekend, try your suggestions, and let you know how it all goes. Thanks again!
 

xxBarneyxx

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No worries, glad it could help bit.

If you are on Facebook it might be worth seeing if there are any local fish groups on there. You might be able to pickup some plants and cuttings for free.
 

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