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Treating green hair algae

Discussion in 'Algae Removal' started by Gypsum, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Gypsum

    Gypsum New Member

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    I'm mainly double checking my approach to treating a hair algae infestation and some slightly sorry looking plants. It's a 125L planted tank, about three and half months old. It being my first tank, I was unaware that you needed to provide nutrients and potentially CO2 for the plants until I started researching why I had an algae issue. Whoops. I bought Seachem Flourish comprehensive supplement and EasyLife EasyCarbo.

    I want to verify the dosage of the Flourish, as I've come across different suggestions, ranging from a couple drops once per day, to a larger amount once per week, to something in-between several times per week. Can anyone shed light on what I should do now to reduce the algae, and what I should do as a matter of tank maintenance SOP once the algae is under control.

    I also read that the EasyCarbo may not be great for the fish. We put a bit of it in at the last water change and all seems fine, but obviously I don't want to keep dosing the tank with stuff that could harm them.

    Is there anything else I should be doing, or should I see how it goes with the Flourish? I need to keep some algae because I have six otocinclus, but right now I have more than they can eat.
     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Otos will not eat "problem" algae like hair, brush, beard. Only common algae (you usually cannot even see this, they are very effective) and diatoms. They do need sinking algae/kelp-based foods once in a while, maybe once or twice a week, depending. Omega One's Veggie Rounds are ideal, very nutritious, and all substrate fish can enjoy them.

    Never dose more than the recommended amount for the tank, once a week. On the bottle it says "5 ml for each 250 ml (60 US gallons) once or twice a week." I would do this no more than once (not twice) a week or you can have serious algae issues depending upon the plants, light, fish load. You can divide the once a week dose into ml and use a dropper to dose daily, alternate days, or whatever. I dose the amount for the tank volume (calculate minus displacement of water by substrate, etc) once a week, on thee day following the water change. For smaller tanks, say under 50 gallons, this is easier, but you can do the division and dropper method.

    "Problem" algae [algae is normal in any healthy tank, the aim is to keep it under control so it does not become "problem" algae] can only be dealt with by finding (or restoring) the balance of light and nutrients that feed the plants and no more. Algae that is disadvantaged will not become "problem" algae.

    Light involves intensity and spectrum; duration is also a factor once you have the intensity and spectrum suited to the plants. Nutrients occur from fish food and water changes plus plant supplements. I have had problem algae increase from too long a light duration, from too much fertilizer, from too little intensity (tubes/bulbs give out over time and intensity lessens considerably).

    I believe this may have glutaraldehyde in it; I know Flourish Excel is, and API's CO2 Booster is glutaraldehyde, and that toxic disinfectant should not be added to a tank with fish. There is usually more natural CO2 than most expect, so it is better to leave it "natural" and manage the light/supplements accordingly. I have had planteed fish tanks for 30 years or longer, and I would never add any form of CO2 be it diffused or liquid, as it does impact fish.
     
  3. Gypsum

    Gypsum New Member

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    I was away at the weekend, and the hair algae is enthusiastically taking over the plants.

    The tank is a 125L Jewel Rio. It has the light that came with it, but other than it being an LED light, I don't know what it is, since we got the tank second-hand. It's on for ten hours per day. The tank is around a corner from a north-facing window, so doesn't get direct sunlight. I've been adding Flourish as per above instructions. I'm aware I was probably overfeeding the tank for a wee while -- when I had the ram that was being chased at feeding time, I was throwing lots of pellets at him in an effort to get him to eat. I've read that can add to a nutrient imbalance? However, since he was rehomed, I've cut back on the feed.

    Any suggestions?
     
  4. Byron

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    I would recommend reducing the photoperiod (tank lighting). If everything was balanced, ten hours could work, but usually nutrients will dwindle before this long a "day" period. My tank lights are on 8 hours a day and this is the max I can use, but of course each tank is different. But I would reduce down to 8. Use a timer, having the light on the same 8=hour period each day is important not only for plants and controlling algae but for fish, they are impacted by light.

    If you can find online data on the light it might help. Aquatic plants require red and blue light to drive photosynthesis; having green in the mix does benefit plants according to controlled studies. LED is frequently high in blue but significantly lacking in red, so this could be an issue. But if you can find data it may tell you/us more. Blue light when red is insufficient will increase algae.

    Ambient room light does factor in too. I was having brush/beard algae issues every summer until I realized it was due to the longer and brighter daylight entering the windows, notwithstanding the blinds being closed. Heavy drapes darkening the room solved this problem in subsequent years. Easy to do in a fish room, less easy if the tank is in a normal room. But I would look into the light data before anything else.
     
  5. Gypsum

    Gypsum New Member

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  6. Byron

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    I dug through the data and they talk about "wide spectrum of light" and "blue and white light" but no data to substantiate what this might actually mean. As far as spectrum, I would have to question this light's suitability. If other members have used it or know it, perhaps they can advise.

    As for intensity (both spectrum and intensity are individual factors when it comes to light for planted tanks) I would assume it is adequate or even more than adequate. They refer to T5 which is very bright lighting, though that does not mean this is the same, but it might be the thrust of their claim.

    My own attempts at LED lighting all failed. So I am still using my T8 fluorescent tube fixtures which I understand from many years of use and trying just about every T8 tube. Again, LED experts might be able to help out more with this. But my earlier advice still stands about reducing the photoperiod. Some floating plants are advisable too, they will reduce light getting into the tank some, and provide less bright overhead light for fish which is always a plus.
     

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