BBA, Staghorn & Hair Algae

Discussion in 'Algae' started by chrisjj, 12 Feb 2010.

  1. chrisjj

    chrisjj Newly Registered

    My tank has been running for about 4 months & I am beginning to get the above algae.

    It only seems to have appeared since I started adding liquid fertilizer for my plants about 1 month ago. I'd say it's medium planted.

    It's not major at the moment, but does seem to be increasing.

    The algae is generally appearing on the following:
    The bba on the slate.
    Staghorn on vallis / some other plants.
    Hair on java moss - nightmare!

    I have approx 3wpg lighting - 8.5 hours a day.
    I feed once a day (occasionally missing the odd day).
    No CO2.
    I've reduced the fetilizer dose.

    I generally remove the worst of it during my weekly water changes to keep it under control.

    My cardinal shrimp don't seem to be interested in any of it.

    I've been reseasrching but thought I'd get some thoughts - So what can I do?????

    I've seen that reducing the light intensity to 2wpg would help - but I'd rather not if pos (or is that a must?).

    So what can I do?

    What about:

    getting a few amano shrimp
    dosing with flourish excel

    As long as this is OK for my other inhabitants

    Many thanks
  2. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi chrisjj

    3wpg for 8.5 hours a day without CO2 is a surefire recipe for algae. I'm surprised you've got away with it for 4 months.
    Let's take stock of what's going on here.
    Light is the driving force behind everything in a planted tank. The more light you use, the more the plants want to grow. For the plants to grow, they need CO2 (especially @ 3wpg), and plenty of ferts. You have neither. Therefore your plants are suffering and leaching Ammonia from their dying leaves which is why they are being 'attacked' by the algae. They are telling you that they are not healthy. Algae will also grow on just about any non living surface too.
    As for the type of algae, BBA, Staghorn and Hair are a definite indication of a lack of, or fluctuations in CO2. As you do not inject CO2 this can't be the cause so why is it fluctuating?
    It's fluctuating because of your water changes. As you are changing your water weekly, the CO2 levels will rise due to the fact that tap water contains some CO2. Within a day or two, all of this CO2 will be used up by the plants, so the CO2 level drops in your tank. Algae will respond far quicker to these fluctuating CO2 levels than the plants will, especially in a high light tank, and this is what you are seeing.
    I know you didn't want to hear this, but you must reduce your lighting until you get over this battle. I would also drop the lighting period to 6 hours a day until you get sorted. Even if you drop it to 2wpg you should still be using CO2. Failing that, you can use the Flourish or Easycarbo daily, as your carbon supplement but this is the expensive option in the long run on a big tank.
    Overdosing with Flourish Excel or Easycarbo will normally kill off all of these types of algae but I would strongly advise that you remove your shrimp before you do this. Fish seem to have a higher tolerance of this stuff than the shrimp.
    So a things to do list.
    1. Reduce the intensity of your lighting down to 2wpg or less.
    2. Reduce the length of your photoperiod to 6 hours.
    3. Remove all infected leaves manually.
    4. Clean infected slate.
    5. Overdose with Flourish Excel or Easycarbo.
    6. Feed the plants, daily if possible.
    7. Additional water changes will help, but do them before you dose the Flourish or Easycarbo and feed the plants.

    That should give you a fighting chance.
    When calm is restored, you can revert back down to the recommended dose of the Flourish or Easycarbo and continue with the plant feeding.
  3. chrisjj

    chrisjj Newly Registered

    A quick update -

    As much algae infested decor & plant leaves have been removed - new slate has been put in (there is still some old).
    3 amano shrimp added.
    Easycarbo being used daily (starting off with low dose & slowly increasing so as not to stress inhabitants). I'm concious that my shrimp might be sensitive to easycarbo. It's only a 60ltr tank so is doesn't work out too expensive.
    Liquid ferts added weekly - the bottle says add one dose weekly - (1ml per 10ltrs) - can I split the weekly dose & add it daily? so rather than adding 6ml in one go, add about 1ml per day?
    Lighting still 8.5hrs
    Light reduced by 1/2. (was 3.5wpg, now 1.75wpg)

    So far the above seems to be working :D . Whilst still there in some areas, the growth rate of all the algae has reduced significantly. I hope that, as the easycarbo dose reaches proper levels, I could have it under control.

    A ? regarding CO2 fluctuations - water changes adds CO2. Do I still add easycarbo on water change day? or would this be like adding 2 doses of CO2 in one day? or would it not make any difference? (if you follow me!)

  4. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi chrisjj
    Glad to hear you're getting on top of it.
    You certainly can. In fact it's probably the better option.

    You could probably get away with not adding Easycarbo on water change day but personally I would still add it. At least you then have a known quantity of Carbon available for the plants at all times.
    As you may have worked out by now, stability is one of the keys to a successful planted tank.
    Keep up the good work. I'm sure you'll get there in the end :D
  5. chrisjj

    chrisjj Newly Registered

    Update - all algae seems to have disappeared, or at least not reproducing :D

    I have now removed all of the leaves, slate, decor etc affected by BBA - and it has not reappeared. There are a few tiny "tufts" on my bogwood that I can't get to without wrecking my scape.
    Same with the staghorn - and it has not reappeared.
    I removed as much hair algae as pos during water changes - and it has not reappeared for a few weeks.

    This has been achieved by:

    Reducing light from 48W to 24. I have also replaced the bulb with a power Glo 24w 18000k.
    Adding 1ml Easycarbo per day.
    Adding 1ml TPN+ per day.
    Adding 3 amano shrimp (don't know if they helped much - no evidence of eating the algae in question).
    No real change to water change routine - once weekly - 15%ish.
    My filter has two sponges in it. I lightly rinse one of the sponges every 2 weeks alternating between sponges.
    (light is on for about 10hrs per day).

    Cheers guys
  6. CeeJay

    CeeJay Member

    Surrey UK
    Hi chrisjj

    Glad you're winning the battle :D .
    It is sometimes a slow old process, but worth sticking at it, as you have :thumbup:

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