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Algae Problems Help Please

CeeJay

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Hi Anniekins
anniekins said:
I have read your information several times, and I must admit that I never realised that EI dosing was quite so complicated,
That's what I thought when I first started reading the EI tutorial, so I had to read it many times. Once digested it was like I had a eureka moment (well it has been known on occasions :D ) and it all made sense to me.
With the help of Clive (ceg4048), who I have to say, has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this planted tank field, plus help from many others, I took the plunge into EI about two weeks ago.
All I can report is that my plant growth has gone mental, and that was after reducing my lighting to 6 hours a day whilst dealing with a new tank algae issue, but that turned out to be a flow problem which is now sorted. I'd hate to think what the plant growth will be like when I ramp the lighting back up. :lol:

Three things I have learnt from this EI stuff is
1. It is simple once you understand it.
I must admit I have started thinking like Clive, (that man's got a lot to answer for :lol: ), when it comes to this EI dosing lark, so here's my take on it.
As a human being we eat food every day (well most people do!). So do the plants.
Now if I ate a meal every day, I would eat until my belly was full and leave what I didn't want. So do the plants.
If I didn't do the washing up until the weekend I would have seven plates, all with some food left on them. This is the excess that was not required. Same applies to EI.
Then at the weekend I clear the plates and wash up (do the 50% water change) and calm is restored for the next week. :D

2. It is much better to overdose than underdose, for sure.

3. It's a lot cheaper than the commercial liquid ferts so everyone's a winner. ;)

The results (for me anyway) are superb, thanks to that excellent EI tutorial.
My plants have never looked so good. :D

Chris.
 

ceg4048

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anniekins said:
Thanks ceg4048 for taking the time to explain so fully the calculations and for trying to make it as easy as possible, I really do appreciate it. I have read it through a few times and I must say "the fog is definately clearing.....For now anyway! ;)
As Chris said you'll have a Eureka moment after you actually start mixing the powders a couple of times and later will wonder what the fuss was about.
anniekins said:
Just to clarify on the water changes though, will I still need to carry out 50% changes twice weekly to continue from where I am now?
Well try to remember why you were doing the multiple water changes. It was to rid the tank of ammonia as well as to rid the tank of as many algae spores as possible. The spores just turn into more algae plants which produce more spores. Once you get the plants healthy and if the algae then disappears there is no more need to do the multiple water changes. Just resume your regular water change schedule of once a week. I can't see your tank but if it's cleared up as you say then go back to the single water change and see how the plants respond.
anniekins said:
Also should I dose straight after the water changes have been carried out as usual?
Well, sure. Think about the logic for a second. If you do a 50% water change haven't you just removed half of the food along with half of the algae spores? When you add new water back, it's un-dosed, isn't it, so you need to replenish the food that you removed.

Anytime you see the beginnings of an algal bloom in your tank, your immediate reaction ought to be to implement large, frequent water changes to get rid of the spores and to immediately dose right after to make sure the plants remain well fed. This should be an automatic response. The sooner it's implemented the less severe will be the bloom.

One more thing about water changes; Don't be passive when doing the changes. Actively get into the tank and fluff the plants. Grab the stems by the scruff of the neck and give em a shake. This sounds absurd, I know, but here's why; Every submerged surface in a tank gets covered with a very thin biological film. This film covers absolutely everything and there is a community of microscopic organisms that inhabit this film. A world unto their own. The plants actually contribute to this film because they excrete organic waste products such as proteins as well as gasses such as oxygen. This film is called the "epiphytic layer" and you may recognize the word from epiphyte (plants that sit on top of other plants) or epidermis, the upper layer of skin. Algal spores tend to settle in this film and this is where they wait for things to go awry. The proteins and carbohydrates excreted by the plants settle here and the film makes it difficult for CO2 and nutrients to penetrate through to the plant cell membranes. Fluffing the plants, gently rubbing the leaves between your finger, or even a general roughing up disrupts the film and dislodges a lot of the organic waste and algal spores. Sometimes the waste is obvious and looks like typical detritus, which it is. These undesirables can then be siphoned out during the water change. Here is a security camera capture of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" invading the tank and assaulting the plants. You can see the siphon tube adjacent to the area being assaulted. Don't be afraid to get in there and throw a few punches. You'd be surprised how much this helps. This is like kicking algae in the groin. My water changes are violent.
8396953191_b04c31f024_b.jpg


Cheers,
 
Last edited:

anniekins

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Thanks for your replies guys. Chris I am glad that you are happy with your experience of E I and your plants are enjoying it too. I am looking forward to starting mine as soon as everything arrives which should be in the next few days.

I totally agree with you on the expertise that members on this forum have. Their willingness to give their time and share their knowledge with newbies like me is a real credit to them.

I am amazed by the patience shown by all, but I feel I do need to say a big "Thank you" in particular to ceg4048 (I haven't used your name as I do not wish to offend you) for your in depth explanations which have helped me no end in understanding the requirements of keeping a healthy tank and plants, and also for not making me feel like the village idiot! :oops:

I am aware that I have so much to learn, but I have to say, I am really enjoying it every step of the way and I am looking forward to that Eureka moment very soon! ;)

Will keep you posted.
 

CeeJay

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Without meaning to hijack this thread :oops:
anniekins said:
but I feel I do need to say a big "Thank you" in particular to ceg4048
I would like to say that too, :D , without his patience answering what must be mundane questions for him, I think this planted tank game would have been a lot harder for me to comprehend easily. :(
His explanations are in laymans terms which suits me just fine.
It's people like ceg4048 who really make this an enjoyable learning curve as opposed to a tedious one and I for one am glad to have got involved.

Chris
 

ceg4048

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Happy to help and even happier that that you have the patience to read through all the words. :lol: Understanding the basic foundations and having a willingness to learn is the key. This will empower you to help others as well.

Cheers,
 

CeeJay

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ceg4048 said:
Grab the stems by the scruff of the neck and give em a shake.
I didn't know that either. :wideyed:
ceg4048 said:
This sounds absurd, I know
It does. But it does make sense. Would have never thought to do that on my own.
I used to treat my plants with kid gloves. :oops:
I guess it's time I got ready to rumble (in the jungle) :lol:
Thanks

Chris
 

anniekins

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Fertilisers arrived yesterday, EI is now underway! :) Will keep you up updated.
Cheers
Anne
 

anniekins

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Just a quick update, I'm pleased to say that everything appears to be going very well. There are barely any signs of algae in the tank or even on the background at the moment. There is just a very tiny amount of brown algae on some anubias leaves, but it really is a very small amount.The plants are looking good and filling out, so I'm going to reduce the number of water changes whilst watching developments carefully,I'm soooooooooooooooooooo happy! :D :D :D
Thanks
Anne
 

ceg4048

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Another satisfied customer. 8)
Another mind freed from the tyranny of The Matrix. :twisted:

Just keep on top of things. Plants filling out is both boon and bane. Boon because it indicates optimal health, but bane because higher plant mass drives higher demand for nutrients/CO2/maintenance with less tolerance for mistakes.

Anubias is a real pain because the mature leaves are so slow. If I'm getting good growth rates I try to clip these infected leaves off. The young leaves grow relatively fast so they are not as prone to algal attacks. If you can have these plants shaded by other, taller plants that does seem to help as well.

And just think, you didn't even have to teleconference with Stephen Hawking and the Cambridge Astrophysics Lab to mix your fert solution, right? ;)

Cheers,
 

anniekins

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absolutely right, with your help it was as easy as ..................... making tea! ;)

The only problem I have coming up is that I am away for seventeen days in a few weeks time and I don't have anyone to look after my tank as the family are all going as well.

I have a neighbour who would be able to pop in a few times but as he's retired he does tend to go away quite often so I can't rely on him too much. I know that there are food blocks available but obviously I've not encountered this situation before. Any suggestions as to what I can do to keep the plants ticking over and the tank as algae free as possible in my absence?
cheers
Anne
 

ceg4048

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Just lower the light intensity and duration while you're gone and that reduces the demand for nutrients/CO2.

Cheers,
 

anniekins

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Thanks for the advice again but could I just clarify the following points: :?

What duration of light would be the bare minimum to keep the plants ticking over each day?

Can I leave the lights off altogether whilst away, or would that be totaly detrimental ?

If I added the fertilisers and CO2 just before I leave would it last through to my return (17 days later) in your opinion?

Sorry for so many queries but I really do not want to return to a tank full of algae again or, even worse dead fish, as the tank is now looking at it's best since it was started earlier this year. :D

Thanks
Anne
 

ceg4048

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Hi Anne,
Well...the first question is the $64,000 question. Plants need to use food at the same time they are producing food. Since we don't know the rate at which either is occurring, any number I give you would be pure speculation I'm afraid. We know that an 8 hour photoperiod is about the max that plants need but the intensity is another issue. When I leave town I typically drop my lighting and CO2 by about 50% or so. These are just general figures. If the lighting intensity is too low then the plants cannot produce enough food. If it's too high they run out of nutrients and algae attack. The thing is that if your plants are well fed now and they are fattened up, then it would be better to err on the side of caution and have a low intensity. They can use their food reserves for these 17 days and they will be a bit thin when you get back. If there is too much CO2 and light then you'll have an algae farm to fix when you get back. It's much easier to put the fat back on than to clean algae.

17 days with only ambient light is kind of like a long blackout. I actually did this experiment to see how long it would take to wipe out all traces of the plants. I went 12 weeks with ambient light only no CO2 and no ferts. Of the 60 odd species in the tank, the last remaining plants were the ferns, some crypts and some hygrophillas (Bravo!). The first to disappear were the any red plants and high CO2 plants after 4 weeks or so (not surprisingly). The next quickest to disappear completely were P. helferi and L. aromatica at about the 8 week mark.

You can add some fertilizers just before you leave but if you add a lot, say the entire 17 day amount here is what happens: The plants feed like crazy and increase their biomass like that plant character in "Little Shop of Horrors". This increased biomass now runs out of nutrients quicker, start to decay and algae attacks.

I can only suggest that you do a massive water change, like 90% dose a normal amount and simply convert the tank to an "approximate" low tech environment by lowering CO2 and light intensity. If your vacation is in the distant future then experiment now for the next 17 days and see how the tank reacts.

Cheers,
 

anniekins

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Thanks once again for in depth reply, as always it is greatly appreciated.

I will of course follow your advice on doing a 90% water change before leaving, but as for the lighting, do you think about three hours a day will be sufficient or will I need to increase or even reduce the time further whilst away?

One other query if you don't mind............. on the final dose of fertilisers will it be best to add the usual 10mls of EasyCarbo or omit it altogether?

I go away in about 22 days so I think I will leave the trial so the plants are well fed and fattened when I leave.Fingers crossed all will be okay on my return! :)

Cheers
Anne
 

anniekins

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Just a quick update, after returning from Thailand yesterday.

All fish were fine after the 90% water change before I went away. :D The tank has alot of algae on the 3D background, and the Koralia 1 has stopped working after only a few months........ a little disappointing to say the least!

Done a 75% water change today, put some new plants in, cleaned tank throughly and have re-started the fertiliser dosage.

Now it's time to catch up on the some lost sleep! :thumbup:

Regards
Anne
 
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