Algae problem.

castle

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I'm suffering from this too in my puffer tank - i noticed I'd done a few things differently which really triggered the explosion of algae, much like you I'm doing 50% water changes daily.

  • I removed 75% of my floaters as they were covering the tank - as soon as I did this, within a few days I started noticing thicker algae. Diatoms are rife. Won't be doing that again.
  • Additionally, I moved a puffer into the tank, he decimated the snail population in days, lots of small decaying snails left in the tank.
  • I also moved from Tropica Specialised to TNC Complete - unsure if that really has made a difference though.
There is something not right, as new growth in the Rotala has stunted, reading about this at the moment.

So, it's a slow road to recovery for me. I put back the floaters - but now, the algae is on their roots - and I've added a pot of limnophila sessiliflora, and I've blocked the tank from sunlight using cardboard. Lights are also reduced to 70%. I can't say for sure if I'm seeing improvement, but detritus in tank is at all time low.

Sadly, increasing flow isn't an option as the puffer will be unhapy.
 

Nick72

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I would start by cutting back on the water changes.

Physically removing as much algae as possible is a good idea, but to eventually beat the algae you need to have a healthy plant mass that is growing and out competing the algae.

Too achieve this you need to have constant conditions with good light, high CO2, and high nutrients.

You've design a tank with only moderate plant mass which is always going to make balancing a little harder.

Every time you do a water change you mess with the nutrients and the water composition changes.

The algae is better adapted to thrive when the tank goes out of balance, the plants need longer to try to adjust to the new environment, which again gives the algae the upper hand.

I would stick to one large (50-70%) water change per week.

Do the water change at night when the lights are off for the least disruption to photo period.

This is also the time to remove algae and any decaying plant matter.

I would also take your lights down to 50% until your plant mass has increased and the algae has gone.

I suspect your all in one fertilisers is also leaving you light on pretty much everything.

All the light and CO2 will just grow algae until you get the NPK+Ca+Mg+S in balance.

Ultimately I would also suggest moving to DIY fertilisers.
 

castle

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I think you're replying to me @Nick72

While this may be the worst algae outbreak I've ever had, I'm still of the school that there are not such thing as too many water changes, but I relent and I'm down to 50% every other day. CO2 isn't an option for me, and don't use easy carbo either.

I've reduced lights further, now at 60% - and I've cut out some cardboard to protect the tank from the 7pm sun. I will be keeping this up now, sadly, outside of viewing hours anyway.
I don't think the plant mass is that light, I don't have any hardscape and 60% of the total floor volume has plants - but I'm no expert. I'll continue fertalising the tank, around 1.2ml a day. I have very hard water, I wonder if this is another issue. I'd like to order some more plants anyway (Lutea hobbit and Lagenandra meeboldii 'Green').

The Rotala was always a gamble for me, I've had no success with stems apart from p.Gayi and I'm okay with that. But I will give this a few more months before I throw in the towel and take out the Rotala. I won't change the lighting or ferts, or water changes now for a month. I'll see what happens :) I consider it a test, fail me once: okay my fault, fail me twice: we may not be a match, fail me 3 times: get out of the tank.

The crypts are all putting out new leaves, so it can't be all bad in there... :)
 

Wilksy

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Steeple Bumpstead
Nick, I thought I had quite a high plant mass in my tank, there is very little room for anything else as I wish to keep a plant free area to the right. Plant growth is not an issue, what is is the continuous growth of green and brown algae, I fear if I don't do any water changes it will amplify the problem. In terms of plant growth the floating plants have nearly quadrupled in less than 4 weeks as I am now having to remove some every couple of days.

Attached picture of latest growth, this was taken on Saturday after a thorough clean up of algae, I have replaced the Monte Carlo as it would not stay rooted to the substrate.
tank latest.jpg
 

Nick72

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Wilsky, Its a very nice tank, but I would call it moderately planted as you have a bit of hardscape, an empty area to the right, and a low grass area (not a huge plant volume).

Less volume consumes less nutrients leaving some available for algae.

The issue is then if you lower the overall level of nutrients the plant mass you have then becomes nutrient limited for growth.

The simplest, but not only solution, is to add more plant mass.

I understand that would conflict with your overall design, I'm just saying that it's one of the reasons you are likely to have algae issues. Your tank has a smaller optimal window than one with a larger plant mass.

As to the water changes, it is entirely your decision. I firmly believe that every water change slightly interrupts the plants and creates a small window for algae.

Of course there are many reasons why periodic water changes are required.

I am just off the view that anything more than once a week is too many. Once a week is fairly arbitrary, I suspect once every 10 days may be better - but that's another thread and I do a weekly water change myself.

I'm pleased to see your floating plants doing so well. They are an excellent idea and will go along way to improving the water quality.

Please feel free to follow or ignore any of my advise. It's your tank and you should do what you think best.
 

Wilksy

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Thanks for your reply Nick, doing huge water changes every other day seems to be the answer that most people give, I'm happy to go with whatever is best, my thoughts at the moment are i'm adding too much TNC Complete which is giving me a high nitrate reading, tonight I shall be doing a 60% water change with RO water only, its really annoying as my other tank has no algae at all, has less plants and only gets 3ml of TNC a day, it has never had any real algae issues and is much less high tech than this one.

I'm desperate to have livestock but just can't face adding anything until I have the upper hand.
 

Nick72

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I would advise only changing one parameter at a time.

If you choose to lower the lights to 40%, and that would be my suggestion, then keep adding the same amount of TNC - at least for a couple of weeks to see if the reduced light intensity works.

You can always reduce the TNC later and see if that has a different effect (although I would not advise it as I suspect you are running lean already).

If you change two parameters at once it's much harder to know which one caused any possible change of outcome.

Best of luck. Do report back when you have tried something.
 

Wilksy

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Ok update time as we are over a month since the last report, I'm still suffering green slime even after less than one day from a clean up, I still have no live stock in the tank and I'm still removing heaps of brown muck from the plants and I still can't seem to get the carpet grass to root properly. I'm starting to get quite stressed out with this, it seems that everything I do makes no difference at all, the floating plants are growing like mad, the plants certainly seem to be growing although I've yet to need to trim any of them.

I reduced the like to 40% and reduced the plant feed by 3ml/day to 6ml/day., water changes are no weekly with RO water plus minerilze and I remove as much of the green slime and brown slime with a variety of methods, the best one is a piece of 10mm glass tubing with fired ends and using it like a pipette - using this means I can get the green or brown muck off each leave if I decide to although this is massively time consuming.

My good lady is getting fed up with the general unhappiness I feel with this tank, I really don't know what else to do, as usual my other tank continuous to be algae free with almost no tech involved.

Any ideas, suggestions or even professional help with a physical visit (from July 4th of course)
 

Nick72

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@Wilksy

I do feel for you, and there is nothing worse than when the wife gets on your back about the amount of time and energy you are "wasting" on the hobbie.

When we last spoke you were going to try to change only one parameter, the lights - it's all to easy to get lost in multiple changes, and it sounds like you've lowered the lights, lowered the ferts, and started blending in RO water.

Is Cyanobacteria (Blue/Green Slime Algae) the biggest issue?

If so, I think it's time you tried:

https://www.ultralife.com/product/blue-green-slime-stain-remover/

I've not used it, but I've read and watched countless reviews where it gets great results.
 

JoshP12

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Canada
Ok update time as we are over a month since the last report, I'm still suffering green slime even after less than one day from a clean up, I still have no live stock in the tank and I'm still removing heaps of brown muck from the plants and I still can't seem to get the carpet grass to root properly. I'm starting to get quite stressed out with this, it seems that everything I do makes no difference at all, the floating plants are growing like mad, the plants certainly seem to be growing although I've yet to need to trim any of them.

I reduced the like to 40% and reduced the plant feed by 3ml/day to 6ml/day., water changes are no weekly with RO water plus minerilze and I remove as much of the green slime and brown slime with a variety of methods, the best one is a piece of 10mm glass tubing with fired ends and using it like a pipette - using this means I can get the green or brown muck off each leave if I decide to although this is massively time consuming.

My good lady is getting fed up with the general unhappiness I feel with this tank, I really don't know what else to do, as usual my other tank continuous to be algae free with almost no tech involved.

Any ideas, suggestions or even professional help with a physical visit (from July 4th of course)

Hi Wilsky,

I just wanted to weigh in and share some thoughts. The first is being super stressed when you do not know what induced the issues you are having is normal. My wife also has also said that she will throw out my tank and at times, I have wanted to throw it out - but for some reason we keep trekking. I get it.

Cleaning like nutso crazy not knowing if it will help - I get it.
Reading hundreds of conflicting arguments - I get it.

So you are not alone on these emotions. I hope someone can do a physical visit for you and coach you - as I would pay big money to be coached through the process and have my learning scaffolded instead of trial and error with no understanding of what is happening.

Now for the advice that I will give (and it is more some conceptualizations that I have made);

Lights - on off high low - whatever. The important part of lights it that plants need light to grow - we need to hit the minimal amount - MINIMUM for them. Often, we reduce lights under this pretence that they cause algae. If that was the case, then how come glass algae (GDA, Diatoms, GSA, even BBA), ALWAYS shows up in the bottom first. If we adopt the idea that ferts do not cause algae, then the argument will be poor flow. I can tell you, I do not have poor flow at the substrate, equipped with a spray bar, and even if I did - the PAR at the top of my 24inch tank is WAY higher than that at the bottom - so what does light do?

Light gives energy to the system - so the suggestion to reduce the light is so that you can clean daily and it feels "faster" than if you had higher light. In other words, you can catch up to the system in hopes of stabilizing it.

PS light also increases the nutrient demand of everything. So with lower light, you don't need as many fertilizer either. People dose EI to not have to worry about if they need to look for tell-tale signs of deficiencies.

I recently < realized > that each plant even in the same area is going to have a different "set up" internally ... In those photos that I attached, you can see the change in the make up in real time. Why I am sharing this is so that you can predict what happened next. Those "dead" leaves are spawning grounds for algae.

So the rebuttal to reducing your nutrient will be that the plants need to be healthy - so if you reduce your feed, then you MAY have unhealthy growth - perpetuating the algae issues. However, the less nutrients in the WC, the less opportunity algae has to eat - compound with a slower moving system with low light and you will have an algae-free system -- This is where those ideologies come from.

Increase the light and everything grows faster - plants use more nutrients - algae spores bloom faster. So in some ways increasing the light is a good idea if you have maximum CO2 and maximum ferts - I mean you are only going to allow everything to grow better and combat algae quicker - remove the dead stuff and your results come quicker <-- I still don't necessarily suggest it because I haven't done it.

If you have no livestock, you can blast that CO2 HIGH - HOWEVER, you will need to reduce this to a "safe" range over months or you will see carbon related deficiencies after you reduce it.

If you limit your nutrients right down, you can limit your CO2 uptake (no clue how - but I am in the process of trying to learn this).

The other suggestion will be start again, scrap the tank, and restart with all of your new knowledge. It's great if we have infinite money and time.

If you want to salvage your tank, you need
1) get CO2 + flow to the optimal level (which it looks like you have)
2) keep your fertilizer consistent
3) you can reduce your lights to slow down the system but then it means the plants will grow slower, so you won't know if they are healthy -- use your floaters as an indicator - though they are a pain for the following:
4) Clean -- I salvaged my < disaster tank + this > by doing the above and cleaning. At some point you get to stop cleaning - I stuck my arm in last week maybe 3 times (aside from leaves that floated up). Now, that includes removing all dead matter - flushing the filter. You can add purigen if you want to help remove organics - but it is not a solution ... it slows down how much work you need to do.

@Nick72 suggestion of 1 thing at a time means that this will not fix overnight and THAT is the hardest part - especially when you don't know if what you are doing is working.

It is very easy for me to say do at least 70% water changes daily with intense scrubbing and cleaning and you will stabilize the tank. But it will take some months of consistency and doing it is a pain. But I am telling you - it will work ... because while you provide a healthy environment for the plants to grow, you remove EVERYTHING that messes with them ... it's like being a "snow-plough parent" lol ... compound that with some learning skills (CO2 + ferts + lights) and voila!

Tanks that are photoready all the time require cleaning and maintenance.

I remember watching this video:
I was thinking - he has algaes - You can see them (why doesn't he care I kept thinking!) ... but he just doesn't care and I think the root is that he knows that if he didn't want algae, he would know what to do - and that is the key. People who know how to obtain algae-free know why it got there and do not stress about it - because they know what they did wrong to induce it.

All this to say, I just wanted to share :).

If that is Green slime, then you need to remove it @jaypeecee can weigh on green slime - I have used UltraLife Chemiclean before long ago and it worked. But ultimately, it will require cleaning - all the while the plants are going to suffer through all of this and we hope that you are able to salve a few healthy ones to restart and bloom your entire vegetative beautiful landscape.

Josh
 

Wilksy

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Hi Nick, I lowered the lighting as you suggested and I was already using RO water (I have an endless supply at no cost) the ferts was an addition as I just felt I was putting too much in. All me other parameters have stayed the same. The blue/green is the real problem it just comes back so quickly, I think the brown is weaning now.

I do have some of the remover but have been reluctant to use it as its not a cure, just a temporary fix, but now may well be the time.
 

Nick72

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Hi Nick, I lowered the lighting as you suggested and I was already using RO water (I have an endless supply at no cost) the ferts was an addition as I just felt I was putting too much in. All me other parameters have stayed the same. The blue/green is the real problem it just comes back so quickly, I think the brown is weaning now.

I do have some of the remover but have been reluctant to use it as its not a cure, just a temporary fix, but now may well be the time.


I think Josh made some good points in his post above, and I would prefer to understand and treat the imbalance than mop it up with chemicals.

At the same time if the chemicals are known to be reasonably safe, and if balance is proving elusive, then perhaps it's time.

You may find your close enough to balance that the Cyanobacteria won't come back - just won't go away without a push.

If not, it might give you a break for a couple of weeks and allow you to approach the problem with a fresh head.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Wilksy

Whichever approach you take in eradicating Cyanobacteria (aka BGA) is obviously your choice entirely. But, I would recommend getting some ammunition under your belt first. And, for me, that meant reading about it to find out what makes cyano tick. I don't know if you've seen the following thread in which I explain how I eradicated cyano from one of my tanks:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/cyanobacteria-identification-at-last.60496/

Please take a look at this thread and, if you have any questions, just ask.

JPC
 

Wilksy

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Quick update and a question, I have no resorted to Blue Exit currently on day 5 and nothing has changed still loads of BGA on the Blue Exit instructions it said to remove all absorbents ie Carbon which I have done, does it also mean all types of sponge products as I have a pre filter and one other in my Oase Bio.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Wilksy
Cheers, how long should it take before the BGA starts to go away

I think you may find it useful to read another thread on the subject of cyano/BGA and this is it:

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/do-i-have-bga.61152/page-7#post-605754

You'll be able to see the process that @Ruskie went through. Unfortunately, Blue Exit wasn't a success for @Ruskie. It was necessary to resort to an alternative treatment.

Do you have a recent photo of your tank so that I can see how bad the cyano/BGA is?

JPC
 

Wilksy

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Update time I think, I have attached 3 pictures of where I am currently at, the Blue/Green has gone as have the brown muck. I initially used Blue/Green Exit which worked up to a point, I then purchased via Amazon some Ultralife which made a massive difference. Looking at the link I was sent I also bought a UV Steriliser and I have no issues with the Blue/Green at the moment...............However,

I now seem to have a problem with another algae which is like a pond type, its green and attaches to the plants etc as shown in the attached pictures, could someone please give me yet more advise on how to stop this, I am losing the will to live!!

The first picture is of the tank cleaned on my normal weekly clean, 50% water change, pipes cleaned, plants trimmed etc, the other two pictures are the same tank 6 days later, most of it comes off easily enough but it just comes back so quickly.

tank 15.8.20.jpg
tanka 21.8.20.jpg
tankb 21.8.20.jpg
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Wilksy

In my opinion, you still have cyano (aka BGA) in your tank. It is evident on the rocks and where the rocks meet the substrate. In other words, it also appears to be on the substrate - particularly near the rocks. It looks just like the stuff that I'm purposely growing in a tank at the moment. I also see what looks like a lot of hair algae. Both the BGA and hair algae suggest a surplus of nutrients (ferts) in the water column plus an excess amount of light. BTW, I see a DC on the LHS of the tank but it's difficult to see what colour it's showing. Are you injecting CO2? Or, are you using a form of liquid carbon?

JPC
 

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