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Algae won't go away and i am running out of ideas tracing the cause

Paulus

Member
Joined
17 Jan 2010
Messages
306
Location
The Netherlands
Never had mayor algae issues in the past 20 years (even made it to an article in a UK aquarium magazine for an interview :p) compared to my current tank. In the past i always used the EI method for dosing. Just plain filter sand as "soil" for the plants. Plants did perfect and only had some hair algae when the filter flow was low or when the co2 was running out. But a quick filter clean or new co2 bottle fixed that within a week.

But the plants grew so fast with that EI dosing so i wanted to try lean dosing (planted-box A1O leandosing) with my new tank which is using better light, 2 filters, professional soil etc etc

But the bba, gba etc is hitting and it keeps coming back.
Only thing left for me now what could be the cause will be the low nitrates level.
All other factors looks okay.

20220305_162140.jpg 20220305_162148.jpg 20220305_162210.jpg 20220305_162219.jpg

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Setup:
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Aquarium
ADA 120P (120x50x50)

Soil
Tropica soil

Light
wrgb2 120cm
running at 70%-55%-70%
light time is 8 hour (turns on at 12:00 and turns off at 20:00) and has a 1 hour ramptime included (12:00-12:30 and 19:30-20:00)

Filtering
1x eheim eheim professionel 4+ 600
1x eheim 2217 classic
all plants are moving no visible deathspots

CO2
starting at 09:00 and turns off at 19:30
checker is green/lime during the light period
checker placed on different positions in the tank and all same levels. No deathspots again.
its running via an inline diffusor. All the co2 mist is in the tank visible and plants are pearling.

Dosing
everyday (excluded sunday because of maintenance) a dosingpump is pumping 16ml of planted-box a1o fertz in the tank at exectly 10:00h
(a dosage of 28ml on 100L aquarium water gives: 0,25ppm FE, 12ppm CA5ppm NO3 and 2,5ppm PO4)

water quality
NO3 = 0mg/l yellow colour, tested with sera nitrate drop tester)
PO4 = 1,0mg/l (sera drop tester)

Maintenance
Every sunday trimmings, waterchange (50%), cleaning glass etc etc

---------

So i am running out of ideas......
Any tips or things i could change/try?
Could it be a NO3/nitrate issue and should i dose extra NO3? (still have plenty off that in a bag from the EI dosing)
What would be a good NO3 to aim for? Are there better NO3 tests on the market (sera can only detect from 0 - 10 - 25 - 50mg/l, so if it would be 5mg/l i cant tell)

I want my fresh/healthy planted tank back like i always had before in the last 20 years :(
 

Andy Pierce

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2020
Messages
301
Location
Cambridge, UK
Ferts, light, CO2: you're trying to hold back growth by limiting ferts. If that's not working for you, you could instead try limiting light (which has already been suggested) or limiting CO2. I'm trying this last approach, by EI dosing a tank that does not have any injected CO2 gas or liquid carbon added. We're five weeks in and so far so good but still early days of course...
 

Hanuman

Member
Joined
4 Jan 2019
Messages
1,569
Location
Thailand
checker is green/lime during the light period
Is your PH dropping a good 1PH point from degassed water after CO2 is on for a good hour?

everyday (excluded sunday because of maintenance) a dosingpump is pumping 16ml of planted-box a1o fertz in the tank at exectly 10:00h
(a dosage of 28ml on 100L aquarium water gives: 0,25ppm FE, 12ppm CA5ppm NO3 and 2,5ppm PO4)
Where is the K, Mg and traces in all that? In any case I think you are under dosing considering that a 28ml dosage for 100L provides those ppm, yet you are only dosing 16ml for a tank that is 300L and then doing 50% WC weekly. Plants are hungry. They are starving considering the medium/high lights and CO2 you are pumping. Algae are there to let you know that.

Check your CO2 first to make sure you are good on that side. Also mechanically remove all infected plants. You can spot dose hardscape if needed. Then start bumping up your ferts.

If what you want is a slower growth rate then perhaps lowering your light intensity (and or temperature if that is possible for you) is what I would do. You might also need to adjust CO2. Just make sure that all plants you have in your tank are fine at lower light intensity, lower CO2 levels.
 
Last edited:

Hanuman

Member
Joined
4 Jan 2019
Messages
1,569
Location
Thailand
Actually I went through <that fertilizer> and your dosing regime. I think by Ca you meant K. There is no Calcium in that Fertilizer. That company produces 2 AIO fertilisers: an EI version and a Lean version. You are using the lean version and you are actually dosing as recommended, perhaps even slightly more but I don't see any issue with that:
1646612674710.png

I would say Nitrate is on the low side.
Also, you are using Tropica soil. Since I have never used that soil I don't know how rich it is but if that tank is already several months old and that it is heavily planted then the substrate might start to be deficient. Also you didn't mention if those water changes are done with TAP or RO.
 

palcente

Member
Joined
26 May 2021
Messages
54
Location
Kent
"wrgb2 120cm running at 70%-55%-70%, plants are pearling "- indication that it could be way too much light in relation to co2 & nutrients (especially with lean dosing!!!), when you changed the light, did you start at that setting or built it up to 70% gradually?

"Every sunday trimmings" - what are you trimming each week and how much of it? I triggered algae by trimming too much before - are you in a trim/algae cycle? Release a lot of chemistry/organics into the water column and just when the filter is done processing it all, you trim again?

"and 2,5ppm PO4" - you dose 2.5ppm, but you only read 1ppm - did you check at the substrate level? If yes, is the test dodgy or are your ferts dodgy? I found that in my tank for 2ppm of P, I need to dose around 30ppm of N to (almost) completely avoid algae (still getting some bba spots on just one type of moss). I also keep the same light (WRGB2) at around 50%, which I have been building up gradually from 25%.
 

Cd2021

Member
Joined
20 Feb 2021
Messages
86
Location
Hampshire
Hi Paulus,

Also having a WRGB2, 70% is really high. I haven't even made it passed 45% without a massive outbreak. I'm only running at 25% at present because of this.

My suggestion would take a sample of the tank water, allow to degas for a good 12-24 hours, test this with a PH probe. Then test your water @ lights on. And drop your lights whilst you're messing about with the Co2 levels.

Thanks
Chris
 

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
1,008
Location
Singapore
If you are getting algae outbreaks, too much light is certainly a possible trigger. On the other hand some plants show nicer colours under brighter lights.

If >25% light intensity on WRGB2 is causing algae outbreaks, do look into (1) CO2 optimisation (2) tank cleanliness (3) water flow, especially to substrate level
 

dw1305

Expert
UKAPS Team
Joined
7 Apr 2008
Messages
14,289
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
Only thing left for me now what could be the cause will be the low nitrates level.
Your plants look off pictures pretty good.
I'd guess that it isn't a nitrate (NO3-) effect as well. As @PARAGUAY says the plants look a good green and usually the <"degree of green coloration and fixed nitrogen availability"> are closely related.

Nitrate testing is quite <"problematic at low levels">, which is why I tend to use the leaf colour chart as a <"proxy for nitrate level">. In this case I'm going to equate nitrate levels with levels of all <"fixed nitrogen">.

The difficulty in testing for nitrate (NO3-) was actually one of the drivers for the, independent, development of both <"Estimative"> and <"Duckweed"> Indices.
Might be a clue there reduce intensity or /and add floating plants.
I'd try that. <"A floating plant"> (ideally Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)) would also allow you to <"discount CO2 availability"> from <"your options">.

cheers Darrel
 
Last edited:

GHNelson

Global Moderator
UKAPS Team
Joined
14 Dec 2008
Messages
5,576
Location
Hemel Hempstead
Dear Member
Please give as much detail as possible regarding your aquarium set-up, when requiring advice/help!
Please upload photographs if possible.
Copy and Paste the list below...and add your answers to each number on the list!

1. Size of tank in litres.
2. Age of the set - up.
3. Filtration.
4. Lighting and duration.
5. Substrate.
6. Co2 dosing or Non-dosing.
7. Fertilizers used & Ratios.
8. Water change regime and type.
9. Plant list + When planted.
10. Inhabitants.
11. Full tank shot & Surface Image.
hoggie
 
Last edited:

Paulus

Member
Thread starter
Joined
17 Jan 2010
Messages
306
Location
The Netherlands
First of all: Thanks everybody for the feedback :D:angelic::thumbup:
Your plants look off pictures pretty good. You said you updated your lighting? Might be a clue there reduce intensity or /and add floating plants. Try reducing photoperiod keep up with water changes and removing as much algae as can .
Lighting was new with this tank build/setup.
My old tank was a diy led with some extra cheap flood lights.

At the start of the new tank i had 3 weeks dark start (because of waiting of the plants and other stuff). And the first 2 months i started with 40% light and build it slowly up.
Ferts, light, CO2: you're trying to hold back growth by limiting ferts. If that's not working for you, you could instead try limiting light (which has already been suggested) or limiting CO2. I'm trying this last approach, by EI dosing a tank that does not have any injected CO2 gas or liquid carbon added. We're five weeks in and so far so good but still early days of course...

Is your PH dropping a good 1PH point from degassed water after CO2 is on for a good hour?


Where is the K, Mg and traces in all that? In any case I think you are under dosing considering that a 28ml dosage for 100L provides those ppm, yet you are only dosing 16ml for a tank that is 300L and then doing 50% WC weekly. Plants are hungry. They are starving considering the medium/high lights and CO2 you are pumping. Algae are there to let you know that.

Check your CO2 first to make sure you are good on that side. Also mechanically remove all infected plants. You can spot dose hardscape if needed. Then start bumping up your ferts.

If what you want is a slower growth rate then perhaps lowering your light intensity (and or temperature if that is possible for you) is what I would do. You might also need to adjust CO2. Just make sure that all plants you have in your tank are fine at lower light intensity, lower CO2 levels.
Will try to bring the light period and intensity down to 6 or 7 hours and see if that will help reduce the algae.

Actually I went through <that fertilizer> and your dosing regime. I think by Ca you meant K. There is no Calcium in that Fertilizer. That company produces 2 AIO fertilisers: an EI version and a Lean version. You are using the lean version and you are actually dosing as recommended, perhaps even slightly more but I don't see any issue with that:
View attachment 184174
I would say Nitrate is on the low side.
Also, you are using Tropica soil. Since I have never used that soil I don't know how rich it is but if that tank is already several months old and that it is heavily planted then the substrate might start to be deficient. Also you didn't mention if those water changes are done with TAP or RO.
woops i mean K instead of C. Yeah the advised dosing for this A10 is 28ml on 100L per week. So is should dose 14ml per day for my tank but i tried 16ml per day for a month now as test.
First time using tropica soil (my old tanks and scapes always had just plain filter sand as soil. First time using a proper soil.
Water changes are done with tap water. Always used the dutch tap water here in the past 20 years.
"wrgb2 120cm running at 70%-55%-70%, plants are pearling "- indication that it could be way too much light in relation to co2 & nutrients (especially with lean dosing!!!), when you changed the light, did you start at that setting or built it up to 70% gradually?

"Every sunday trimmings" - what are you trimming each week and how much of it? I triggered algae by trimming too much before - are you in a trim/algae cycle? Release a lot of chemistry/organics into the water column and just when the filter is done processing it all, you trim again?

"and 2,5ppm PO4" - you dose 2.5ppm, but you only read 1ppm - did you check at the substrate level? If yes, is the test dodgy or are your ferts dodgy? I found that in my tank for 2ppm of P, I need to dose around 30ppm of N to (almost) completely avoid algae (still getting some bba spots on just one type of moss). I also keep the same light (WRGB2) at around 50%, which I have been building up gradually from 25%.
Light was build up from the start. Started with 40%
Trimmings depends on the plants. The rotala's (green, h'ra, which isn't turning red like it did in my old tank with crappy led light, rotundifolia) i need to trim every ~3 weeks.
hygrophila pinnatifida removing the runners and leaves with algaes.
Monte carlo als removing the top layer because of the algae. Blyxa cutting some tops that had algae on it.
Other plants like pogostemon helferi and the other slow growing crypts only the leaves if the contain algae. But the slow growing plants are most of the time clean of algae.
Hi Paulus,

Also having a WRGB2, 70% is really high. I haven't even made it passed 45% without a massive outbreak. I'm only running at 25% at present because of this.

My suggestion would take a sample of the tank water, allow to degas for a good 12-24 hours, test this with a PH probe. Then test your water @ lights on. And drop your lights whilst you're messing about with the Co2 levels.

Thanks
Chris
Which rgb values are you using?
Will try to lower the light intensity.
If you are getting algae outbreaks, too much light is certainly a possible trigger. On the other hand some plants show nicer colours under brighter lights.

If >25% light intensity on WRGB2 is causing algae outbreaks, do look into (1) CO2 optimisation (2) tank cleanliness (3) water flow, especially to substrate level
Will try to lower the light intensity.
Hi all,


I'd guess that it isn't a nitrate (NO3-) effect as well. As @PARAGUAY says the plants look a good green and usually the <"degree of green coloration and fixed nitrogen availability"> are closely related.

Nitrate testing is quite <"problematic at low levels">, which is why I tend to use the leaf colour chart as a <"proxy for nitrate level">. In this case I'm going to equate nitrate levels with levels of all <"fixed nitrogen">.

The difficulty in testing for nitrate (NO3-) was actually one of the drivers for the, independent, development of both <"Estimative"> and <"Duckweed"> Indices.

I'd try that. <"A floating plant"> (ideally Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum)) would also allow you to <"discount CO2 availability"> from <"your options">.

cheers Darrel
Yeah nitrates are weird to measure with a aqua soil because it will take it so the water column will give you "wrong measurments".
First time using a proper soil so still learning how that works with a hightech tank :)

So for now i'll try to lower the light hours & intensity. Seems thats the one with the biggest effect/cause at this moment.

Again thanks all for the input :)
 

Cd2021

Member
Joined
20 Feb 2021
Messages
86
Location
Hampshire
Hi Paulus,

Honestly V V low at present. 25% recovering from an algae outbreak. I doubt I’ll go over 40%, plan to increase a couple of percent a week.

Thanks
Chris
 
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