Algae ID

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
I have a couple of types of algae in my tank atm and looking for IDS. Plants are mostly growing happy, I did a big trim yesterday. Looking for some recommendations from people on what to change to prevent/remove the algae. It's not overwhelming atm but seems to be slowly getting a bit worse.

1. Size of tank plus age/duration of the set - up.

60p size, set up originally 3 months ago but rescaped with a complete tank drain 2 weeks ago.

2. Filtration.

Eheim Classic 350/2215. 10x tank turnover by design. 1 x eheim sponge, 100 ml purigen, filter floss and the rest seachem matrix
ADA Vuppa II. 3x tank turnover by design.

3. Lighting and duration.

ADA Aquasky RGB, 10 hours
Lifx Z strip backlight, 12 hours (first and last hours are linear ramp 0-100%)

4. Substrate.

2 L ADA Power Sand Advance S
9 L ADA Amazonia II
6 L ADA Amazonia Powder (3 L added 2 weeks ago)

5. Co2 dosing or Non-dosing.

Pressurised CO@

6. Fertilizers used + Ratios.

Per day
3 ml ADA Neutral Brighty K
3 ml ADA Brighty Mineral
1 ml ADA Brighty Iron
1.5 ml Seachem Excel (or 7.5 ml after water change)

7. Water change regime.

50% per week

8. Plant list + When planted.

Heavily planted on day 1 in June, very heavily planted 2 weeks ago

Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo'
Hygrophila 'Araguaia'
Staurogyne repenes
Limnophila
'Vietnam'
Hydrocotyle tripartita 'Japan'
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Tropica'
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Mi Oya'
Cryptocoryne becketti 'Petchii'
Blyxa japonica
Alternanthera reineckii
'Mini'
Taxiphyllum barbieri
Anubias barteri
var. nana
Hygrophila pinnatafida
Rotala
'Green'
Rotala 'H'ra'
Rotala 'Colorata'
Rotala rotundifolia
Rotala macrandra
'Green'
Micranthemum micranthemoides
Ludwigia acruata
Ludwigia
'Super Red Mini'
Myriophyllum mattogrossense

9. Inhabitants.

2 Blue Rams
5 Emperor tetra
12 Cardinal tetra
12 Ember tetra
5 Otocinclus
Caridina longirostris
Caridinides wilkinsi

~15 Clithon oualaniensis

10. Full tank shot

CO2 is on in the pics (in-line diffuser) hence the bubbles.
First 2 algae pics you can see a couple of the worst affected leaves - some sort of blue/green hair algae and some green spot algae. These are only affecting foreground/midground plants and probably worse towards the front/mid left of the tank. There might be a bit of it in the monte carlo too.
Second 2 algae pics you can see some kind of white to blue/green algae affecting the moss. This is primarily affecting the right-most branch that reaches the top of the tank. The other branches are pretty much free of it.

_DSC4584.png

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_DSC4588.png
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_DSC4591.png
 
Last edited:

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
821
Location
Nottingham
The algae type looks like Staghorn to me.

When you say your are ‘CO2 dosing’ does that mean just using Excel rather than pressurised CO2?

For Staghorn to take a hold like that you must have a deficiency somewhere. The ADA ferts are very lean I believe so that’s one option, if you aren’t using CO2, then that will be the other. If you can’t use pressurised CO2, you might need to rethink your lighting and certainly the lighting period - getting that down to 6 hours might help.
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
The algae type looks like Staghorn to me.

When you say your are ‘CO2 dosing’ does that mean just using Excel rather than pressurised CO2?

For Staghorn to take a hold like that you must have a deficiency somewhere. The ADA ferts are very lean I believe so that’s one option, if you aren’t using CO2, then that will be the other. If you can’t use pressurised CO2, you might need to rethink your lighting and certainly the lighting period - getting that down to 6 hours might help.

Yeah sorry - I do have pressurised CO2 dosing very close to what the fish can tolerate at the start of the light period. I then run it on and off the rest of the day (e.g. starting 30 mins every hour and tailing off) to maintain pH and hence at least the CO2 level at the start of the light period. In reality I expect the CO2 does increase a bit during the day as photosynthesis will buffer the pH.

What would you suggest next?

I see a few options based on your post:

1) Increase the proportion of the day the CO2 is running. While I can't increase CO2 anymore prior to lights on, based on my experience the fish will tolerate a further pH drop as long as the plants have started photosynthesising. At the moment I believe the pH is dropping from approx 7.15 to 6.35 at lights on. I think the fish will tolerate 6.15 later in the day but anything more is pushing it. I am using a fairly decent pH pen so the relative changes in pH should be fairly accurate at least. I haven't done a daily profile in a while so will check for sure tomorrow. Also GH was between 1 and 2 last time I checked.

2) Switch from ADA ferts to EI based. I have been trying to dose lean purposely for red colours on the Rotalas but have had limited success with that anyway. I do have a bottle of this on hand (https://www.liverpoolcreekaquariums.com/store/p1066/_All-in-One_(_Shrimp_Safe_)_.html) which is a EI type fertiliser with slightly reduced metals.

3) Reduce the lighting period which should help with any CO2/fert issues. I realise 10 hours is pushing it but never had any issues initially to be honest. I'd probably try 8 hours as a first step.

I'll also try spot dosing the excel with a syringe and see if I can stress the algae out that way - but not a totally sustainable way as need prevention as well. Tbh algae on the moss already seems stressed out with the white colour probably due to the high light.
 
Last edited:
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
191
Location
South Carolina
If you added a couple of SAE to that tank that’s staghorn would be gone in no time. If I had to guess it would be the lighting period. Every tank is different. My uncle has a softer water tank and he had some prolific stag until the SAE were intoduced, no more.
 

Wookii

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2019
Messages
821
Location
Nottingham
Yeah sorry - I do have pressurised CO2 dosing very close to what the fish can tolerate at the start of the light period. I then run it on and off the rest of the day (e.g. starting 30 mins every hour and tailing off) to maintain pH and hence at least the CO2 level at the start of the light period. In reality I expect the CO2 does increase a bit during the day as photosynthesis will buffer the pH.

What would you suggest next?

I see a few options based on your post:

1) Increase the proportion of the day the CO2 is running. While I can't increase CO2 anymore prior to lights on, based on my experience the fish will tolerate a further pH drop as long as the plants have started photosynthesising. At the moment I believe the pH is dropping from approx 7.15 to 6.35 at lights on. I think the fish will tolerate 6.15 later in the day but anything more is pushing it. I am using a fairly decent pH pen so the relative changes in pH should be fairly accurate at least. I haven't done a daily profile in a while so will check for sure tomorrow. Also GH was between 1 and 2 last time I checked.

2) Switch from ADA ferts to EI based. I have been trying to dose lean purposely for red colours on the Rotalas but have had limited success with that anyway. I do have a bottle of this on hand (https://www.liverpoolcreekaquariums.com/store/p1066/_All-in-One_(_Shrimp_Safe_)_.html) which is a EI type fertiliser with slightly reduced metals.

3) Reduce the lighting period which should help with any CO2/fert issues. I realise 10 hours is pushing it but never had any issues initially to be honest. I'd probably try 8 hours as a first step.

I'll also try spot dosing the excel with a syringe and see if I can stress the algae out that way - but not a totally sustainable way as need prevention as well. Tbh algae on the moss already seems stressed out with the white colour probably due to the high light.

Well it sounds like your CO2 should be okay, so I would sort the ferts out.

I had Staghorn crop in my tank a couple of weeks ago after not seeing any for months. When I checked everything, I found my auto-doser wasn’t pumping macros anymore. The problem was a small kink had formed in the tubing. I should have noticed that the plant growth had slowed, and they were no longer pearling, but sometimes you miss the obvious with a hectic life. As soon as I sorted the macros out the plants sprang back to growth and the tank was full of O2 bubbles again.

Lean dosing works for many people, and many people swear by the ADA products as a complete system, but I put it firmly in the expert category. You may be an expert too, but if not, it’s likely that 9 times out of 10 you’ll end up with too much of a deficiency that will limit plant growth and leave an opening for algae.

The whole point of EI is it works for less experienced aquarists (I include myself in that) by simply eliminating the possibility of any nutrient deficiency from the equation. In doing that you can focus on other factors that might be causing any issues you experience.

As you suggest, I would manually remove as much of the Staghorn as you can, trimming old leaves and the moss etc. Then, as you say, just apply your usual daily dose of Excel with a syringe, misting the affected areas while all the pumps/filters are off, switching them on after 15 minutes.

You should see any remaining Staghorn turn pink within a couple of doses, but keep at it until you’ve got all affected areas.

I would wager that if your CO2 is good as you suggest, that if you sort the ferts out, you shouldn’t see it reappear. I’m not familiar with that product you linked to - you just need to be sure it providing the right EI levels for P, N, K and traces. If you aren’t sure, then I’d suggest simply buying the raw salts and following a pre-prescribed EI mix.
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
Well it sounds like your CO2 should be okay, so I would sort the ferts out.

I had Staghorn crop in my tank a couple of weeks ago after not seeing any for months. When I checked everything, I found my auto-doser wasn’t pumping macros anymore. The problem was a small kink had formed in the tubing. I should have noticed that the plant growth had slowed, and they were no longer pearling, but sometimes you miss the obvious with a hectic life. As soon as I sorted the macros out the plants sprang back to growth and the tank was full of O2 bubbles again.

Lean dosing works for many people, and many people swear by the ADA products as a complete system, but I put it firmly in the expert category. You may be an expert too, but if not, it’s likely that 9 times out of 10 you’ll end up with too much of a deficiency that will limit plant growth and leave an opening for algae.

The whole point of EI is it works for less experienced aquarists (I include myself in that) by simply eliminating the possibility of any nutrient deficiency from the equation. In doing that you can focus on other factors that might be causing any issues you experience.

As you suggest, I would manually remove as much of the Staghorn as you can, trimming old leaves and the moss etc. Then, as you say, just apply your usual daily dose of Excel with a syringe, misting the affected areas while all the pumps/filters are off, switching them on after 15 minutes.

You should see any remaining Staghorn turn pink within a couple of doses, but keep at it until you’ve got all affected areas.

I would wager that if your CO2 is good as you suggest, that if you sort the ferts out, you shouldn’t see it reappear. I’m not familiar with that product you linked to - you just need to be sure it providing the right EI levels for P, N, K and traces. If you aren’t sure, then I’d suggest simply buying the raw salts and following a pre-prescribed EI mix.

Thanks mate. I am not any expert specifically but have a scientific background in the nutrient biology of corals - so not far away from this sort thing. That said, I don't have the experience to diagnose deficiencies exactly (apart from iron which I have seen before). My plants are pearling (stems in the background at least) but possible there is something wrong.

I'll try the excel, pruning and the EI type fertiliser I have. I'm not going to do the maths but a lot of people here in Australia use this brand and it is a just a family business with a good community around it so when they say it is based on EI I trust it. I can see that the shrimp safe version I have just has about 30% reduced metals but should still be far in excess of that ADA ferts.

SAE is another option but will create a problem later on when/if they become too big and boistrous. I'll see if they have any next time I am in the LFS.
 
Joined
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Messages
191
Location
South Carolina
SAE is another option but will create a problem later on when/if they become too big and boistrous. I'll see if they have any next time I am in the LFS.

I haven’t had that experience, they actually hide during the day for me for the most part But graze my driftwood and love to dive into my maze of hydrocotyle tripartita lol
 

Luketendo

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2008
Messages
626
Location
Australia
Tested the pH this morning and had 7.52 before CO2 and 6.78 at lights on. Strange since I never had pH quite this high on the tank before, could be that the pH pen has drifted but at least the magnitude of change is as expected. Will keep going throughout the day.
 
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