Algal depression

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Garuf, 26 Nov 2007.

  1. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Hello, I thought I would be algae free after overdosing excel but that seems not to be the case, here's my tank after 2 weeks.
    [IMG=http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/8227/1000471es5.th.jpg]
    The 2 algae that bother me the most are the unidentified one that looks just like strings of grey/green dirt and the gsa which are thick in my moss and anubias respectively.

    What do I do about ridding them and preventing them coming back?
    here's a close up on the worst area's
    [IMG=http://img407.imageshack.us/img407/8227/1000471es5.th.jpg]
    Sam (themuleous) already suggested stripping the tank down but I thought I'd try and get as much advice as possible and use a strip down as a last resort.

    Help me, it's really getting me down.
     
  2. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    get some SAE? They will clean up the algae but beware though if there is moss in there they might take that down as well.

    What type of algae is it?
     
  3. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Sae's are difficult to get and get too big for this tank (its only 11/10 gallons) otto's I can get, I already have 3 in there though and I never see them do anything...

    The algae is... I don't know what it is I do have GSA and GDA on the glass and anubias though.
     
  4. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    You may need more than 3 Otos! I have 5 in a 12", 5 gallon cube and they soon dealt with the algae. Get 3-5 more for yours!
     
  5. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    definitely agree. More otos and more algae cleaner if the excel route didn't work! And maybe some fast growing stem plant. Don't know id the latter will help. Theoretically cladophora moss ball might help as they belong to the algae family and should secret some allelochemicals to stop algae from growing. It's basically a bio version of excel. I know if it works practically as I've never tried it myself
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Garuf,
    Lets start from the beginning so we can figure out why the algae outbreak was induced, and what you need to do to minimize it. If it is GDA then you'll have to leave it alone for 3 or 4 weeks and it should go away.

    These are standard questions in order to troubleshoot:
    1. It's a 10G tank but what type and wattage of lighting?
    2. Is this a newly setup tank?
    3. What exactly is your dosing, in teaspoons or grams if dry powder or ml if commercial fert.
    4. Are you injecting CO2, if so what method and how are you measuring the concentration exactly?
    5. What is your water change schedule?
    6. What is your filtration?

    No need to be depressed but it will take some elbow grease to remove. I don't really like to suggest stripping a tank down because the reason algae appears is because there has been some sort of error in keeping the plants healthy. If you make the same error the second time the algae will only return. If we can find out what it is that you are doing or not doing the problem can be solved.

    For sure you'll have to physically remove the algae growing on the plants and wood.

    Cheers,
     
  7. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    1. It's a 10G tank but what type and wattage of lighting? 36watt powercompact, no reflectors
    2. Is this a newly setup tank? no, 6 months old in a week or so, had algae since about month 2
    3. What exactly is your dosing, in teaspoons or grams if dry powder or ml if commercial fert. Im using the mixtures outlined by james c in his EI article, 10kno3 5mgso4 and k2po4 every other day, trace from AE just upped it to 5ml every other day to see if I get better quality anubias leaves
    4. Are you injecting CO2, if so what method and how are you measuring the concentration exactly? Yes, pressurised, monitored via drop checker with dkn4 solution in it, running yellow
    5. What is your water change schedule? a bucket full every sunday 40-50%
    6. What is your filtration? eden 501 squeezed every water change to keep flow steady (bidding on a eheim 2213 atm)
     
  8. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    what plant have you got in the tank? What kinda of substrate do you use if there is any rooted plant in the aquarium?
     
  9. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Hc, glosso, anubias barteri var nana, taiwan moss, hairgrass eleocharis ac..., Hygrophylia Polysperma Rosanervig, Rotal Rotundifolia and Ludwigia Repens.

    The substrate is ADA Aquasoil amazonia.
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, 36 watts CF, even without reflectors, is a tremendous amount of light for a 10G tank. Wow! :wideyed: I would suggest that, at least in the short term, you consider lowering your light by at least half and have lights on for no more than about 8-9 hours per day. This will immediately throttle down the demand for nutrients.

    Aquasoil is notorious for leaching quite a bit of ammonia into the water column. Again, a short term solution for the next few few weeks is to do an 80% water change at least twice a week. This is a way of continually reducing the NH4 concentration in the water column. Water changes also removes algal spores, a top priority.

    You could easily move up to the next bracket in James' dosing schedule. These plants are Nitrogen starved. As they decline, they then leach NH4 back into the water column across damaged cell walls. This signals algae to propagate.

    Puny filters do not have a large enough bacteria colony to handle ammonia spikes. Optimally, the filter for this tank should be able to turnover at least 30 gallons per hour while filled with media. All filters are rated at about twice what they can actually do with media so you'll ideally need a filter that has a turnover rating of near 60G per hour. The 2213 has 116GPH from what I see on the website so this should be fine.

    Adding more traces is all well and good but you've absolutely got to fix the macronutrients first. :idea:

    As discussed before, physical removal has got to be a priority because as you add more nutrients the existing algae will feed on what you dose. This ought to be followed by a three day blackout. Remember that you must continue to dose after every water change and dose even during the blackout. You don't need CO2 during the blackout. This might take a few weeks so hang in there. '8)'

    Cheers,
     
  11. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Ok so lets bullet point this.
    - cut down light : unfortunately this is impossible the 36 watt is the only light I have.
    - 2 x 80% wc may prove impractical with college but I'll endeavour to do them.
    - move up a bracket in the dosing - easily done, what you you recommend dosing wise?
    -more filtration - if I don't will the 2213 I'll get a tetratec ex700.
    -3 day black out : where does this fit in? sorry being a bit stupid :oops:
     
  12. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Oh, and mechanical removal of course.
     
  13. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Sorry, my mistake - I didn't choreograph all the suggestions:

    1. Sod's law - this is THE most important factor. I'm on thin ice here because lighting isn't my specialty but I believe that even though your ballast output is 36 watts it can drive a lower wattage lamp without blowing it to bits. If it's a CF socket, all the lamps, regardless of wattage rating fit (4 pin Euro-socket right?) Just to test this I inserted a 24 watt lamp into a 55 watt ballast and it was fine - and it wasn't any brighter than if it were plugged into a 24 watt ballast. I don't know what the long term effect is though..

    2. Physical removal should be performed as quickly as humanly possible. Get as much as you can out of the tank but try NOT to disturb the substrate if you can't do the water change immediately thereafter.

    3. 80% water change should be performed immediately after physical removal. You must get ammonia, spores and remnants out of the tank or life is more difficult.

    4. After water change dose immediately (double your dosage) and perform a 3 day blackout. Blackout means BLACKout. Do not let one photon of light into the tank. Use black plastic bin liners if necessary. Shut down CO2 (and lights obviously:rolleyes:) The second dose if possible should be done at night (if it can be done - if not, leave it).

    5. 80% Water change at the end of blackout. This is important because dead things killed by the blackout like spores and leaves generate ammonia if left in the tank. Dose (double) after water change:!:

    6. I'm not familiar with the tetratec. It should be fine if it's got similar media volume and similar pump output as the Eheim. The idea is to get enough bacteria built up (takes a few weeks) to handle NH4.

    This is the standard triage for algae attacks. Keep it up for the next few weeks and you should see a decline in algae and more importantly an increase in plant health. Remove algae and infected leaves as quickly as possible. It is definitely possible to find a dosing scheme to allow you to run the 36 watts CF but I honestly don't know what that is right now. Use James 20-40G dosing to start off with and see how the tank responds in 3 weeks. Remember you can always go higher. It's when you go lower than you should that you run into trouble.

    Cheers,
     
  14. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    ok I think i've got that, after the black out do I go straight back into a black out or do i run the tank for a few days?
     
  15. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    Agree with clive. Funny though if you have aquasoil from the very beginning, uit should have leech ammonia from the very start and the algae shoulld have been a problem from the 1st month itself... Can't really understand why the problem start manifesting itself after 2 months. By theory your filter would have mature by then.

    You can try a light diffuser for the mean time and there is loads of stuff in DIY shop that can achieve that. The easiest way is to use a semi transluminence polystyrene sheet.
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    The blackout should knock back the algae quite a bit. Go ahead and do the immediate water change and turn on lights+ CO2 again. The plants need to start production again. Don't forget to dose. I would severely restrict the photoperiod though seeing as that was what got you in trouble in the first place. Even though you are dosing more it takes time for the plants to reconfigure their chemistry to take full advantage of the new dosing scheme. Meanwhile they continue to "bleed" and algae again have an advantage. It's Catch-22 but it has to be done. The frequent water changes help to limit the impact of the "bleeding".

    An analogy: If I found you starving in the desert and gave you food and water that would save you that day but it would take a few weeks of feeding before you'd regain your original weight, right? This is the case here. As you continue to physically remove the algae, then also continue to remove ammonia and spores via water changes. Continue to limit the light and to dose. Over the next few weeks you should notice that less and less algae re-grows. This is a signal that the plants are regaining their health. As the plants regain their health they will then start to absorb ammonia instead of ejecting it into the water column.

    You've got to think about why algae flourishes in order to avoid massive outbreaks. Too much light, too much ammonia, poor CO2 and poor feeding. That's it for all intents and purposes. Control these four basic factors and you control the outbreaks. Can you see now why I don't agree with stripping the tank and starting all over again? No matter how many times you restart the tank, if you fail to understand the causes you will continue to make the same mistakes you'll have the same troubles. Many people simply throw in the towel and give up because they never learn to perceive algae as a symptom of plant illness. Instead they perceive it as some foreign invader. Algal spores of every type will always be in your tank. Like vultures they wait for ill health or poor water conditions to attack. If we focus on keeping our plants healthy we avoid the conditions that signal them to bloom. Avoid the combination of high lights and ammonia at all cost. Avoid starvation by dosing appropriately. Whenever you see algae your default thinking should be - "plants are starving (NPK)" and/or "too much light" and/or "ammonia breach". If you follow this discipline you will always be able to react properly. On the contrary, if you follow the popular thinking that nutrients cause algae, you'll be doomed... :rolleyes:

    Cheers mate.
     
  17. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    As an additional comment regarding lighting, I've got a twin 54w T5 controller (not compact though) and have two 35" T5 tubes plugged in. I think these are 36w are thereabouts. I haven't seen any problem with this and it's been running for about 2 or 3 months now.
     
  18. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    An update,
    The algae initial seemed to be getting better of its own accord until recently, today armed with ceg's and some research that turned up some help from Tom Barr I attacked the algae, this meant :
    Cleaning everything that the algae effected, except the HC which was simply impossible without disturbing the substrate and ripping it all up and having to replant again.
    removing the log trimming the anubias and moss to nothing but new shoots and scrubbing off all the algae left.
    adding the EI recommended for 20-40 gallons and unplugging the lights + co2 and covering up the tank and a slight overdose of excel.
    Tommorow I'll add trace.
    Not tomorrow but the day after I'll add more ferts and finally in 3 days time ill remove the covers re-attach the co2 and light and do a 80% water change.
     
  19. Garuf

    Garuf Member

    Messages:
    4,959
    Location:
    Leeds.
    Update, close, but no cigar.
    Although the algae seems to have initial subsided it has not been eradicated, this clado is just impossible to shift, the moss HC and hairgrass are the hardest hit, followed by the few stems at the back, this is anything but good news.
    One upside is that I moved my diffuser, upped co2 and enjoyed the extra flow of the 2224 and I've had pearling the likes I've never seen before everywhere but the moss hc and hairgrass, indication of bad health perhaps?

    anyway, help is still required anyone any idea's?
    I know Dave Spencer you got over a Clado attack recently, how did you do it?
     
  20. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Member

    Messages:
    2,668
    Location:
    Lincoln UK
    Garuf

    The reason that some of your plants aren't pearling may be due to defficiencies but I would guess more to do with circulation. If most are pearling then it should mean you have got the macros and CO2 right or thereabouts as they are shedding excess oxygen but if some aren't then maybe they are not getting as much as the others.

    Are the non pearlers in the same area? Are they in a thickly planted or wooded area that breaks circulation?

    I wouldve though that 36W PC without reflectors should be OK over a small tank like a 10G should be OK but I am far from knowledgable about small tanks. lol

    I have never been a fan of PC lighting over tanks since I had the 55W version. My tank was always algified then which is one reason I switched to linear which seems to have almost cured the problem. maybe PCs are just too intense without spreading the light as well. Your guess is as good as mine on this issue.

    Andy
     

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