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Brown fuzzy algae, unhealthy plants and dosing questions

dennish

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Hi everyone,

I'm new here. Although I had my fair share of fish tanks, this is pretty much my first real attempt at going somewhat high tech.
I am at week 8 now. First weeks I had some diatoms, but those are already pretty much gone.

However, I'm dealing with some very aggressive form of brown fuzzy hair algae since two weeks. Definitely not diatoms, as it is hairy, soft and slimy to the touch. (rhizo maybe?)
Also my rotala's and AR mini don't look healthy at all. See pictures below.

Algae issue:
I try to remove the algae almost every day. It's growing really fast. I started dosing 4 ml Easycarbo a day, but I doubt this will help. Thinking about starting a hydrogen peroxide treatment, but open to suggestions.

Plants issues:
Funny enough, the plants are showing good growth and already needed to trim 3 times as the rotala's were blocking the lights (my tank is shallow).
The new growth on the rotala looks ok, but when trimmed all the horrible leaves and dying stems beneath it become visible again. It has transparant holes and are discoloring.
Also the Alternanthera Reineckii Mini is decreasing quite rapidly. It's turning brown and pale.
Monte Carlo carpet still looks happy though and became already a thick layer.

Info on the tank:
Tank size: 66 x 48 x 30 cm (custom size)
Tank volume: 96L / 25G
Filter: Oase Biomaster 350
Co2: Pressurised Co2 injection with inline diffuser, 3 bps, 1,5 hour before light on, turns off 1 hour before light off.
DC: Starts green in the morning, ends lime green/yellow
Light: 24W Leds (Chinese brand), lowered from 8 to 6 hours since a week.
WC: 50% per week
Substrate: Tropica Soil Powder
Fertilizer: Tropica Specialized Nutrients. Upped the dosage to 6ml a day since two weeks.
Plants: Rotala Rotundifolia, Rotala Colorata, Alternanthera Reineckii Mini, Monte Carlo.

Water parameters:
Temp: 23 celsius
pH: 6
KH: 3
gH: 10
NH3: 0,2 mg/l (This is new this week, is it because of the dying rotala?)
NO2: 0 mg/l
NO3: 20 mg/l
PO4: 0 (It's always zero! I sometimes don't trust this test :lol:)

I'm getting a bit uncertain and lost in terms of dosing or other solutions. And it feels like I need to act fast.
Basically, my questions come down to this:
  1. How do I get rid of this brown fuzzy algae?
  2. How do I get my plants healthy again? If it's a fertilizing problem, should I dose more or less? I'm just not sure if there is a deficiency or if my water is getting toxic.

Really hope anyone can shed some light on this. I would love to have a thriving tank I can enjoy.

Thanks,
Dennis
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Kevin Eades

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I would say you may have been low on nutrients to start which may have caused the plants to suffer. Then the algea takes over. I think you need a clean up crew to see if this has been resolved with the higher ferts.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
but those are already pretty much gone.

However, I'm dealing with some very aggressive form of brown fuzzy hair algae since two weeks.
Welcome, they may be <"filamentous diatoms">.
This is new this week, is it because of the dying rotala?)
I'm not sure about the ammonia reading, but I think the Rotala issues are due to lack of available iron (Fe). Iron deficiency symptoms look really common in <"Rotala rotundifolia">, have a look at the linked thread and links.

cheers Darrel
 

dennish

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I would say you may have been low on nutrients to start which may have caused the plants to suffer. Then the algea takes over. I think you need a clean up crew to see if this has been resolved with the higher ferts.
I'm a little restrained of adding any clean up crew because of the ammonia spike and I also think they're not up to the task as it's growing so fast.
I'm not sure about the ammonia reading, but I think the Rotala issues are due to lack of available iron (Fe). Iron deficiency symptoms look really common in <"Rotala rotundifolia">, have a look at the linked thread and links.
Do you think I should dose more of the Tropica Specialized Nutrition? If so, how much do you think? I currently dose 6 ml a day, which I thought was already on the heavy side. Or should I add extra iron separately? I personally prefer to keep things simple with liquid ferts.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Or should I add extra iron separately?
You'll need to add it separately. Iron is a bit different to most of the other nutrients in that we have to add it as a chelate to stop it forming insoluble compounds.

cheers Darrel
 

dennish

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Got it. Thanks for the help so far!

So how much should I need to add? Or how could I calculate this?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So how much should I need to add? Or how could I calculate this?
You can use the nutrient <"Dosing Calculator">, you want to aim for about 0.5 ppm Fe. Have a look at this <"threads links">, which chelator you need depends upon how hard (dKH) your water is.

I use soft (rain) water, so can use FeEDTA as a chelator, but if you have harder water you will need FeEDDHA or FeDTPA as a chelator. If I had harder water I'd use FeEDDHA and the "pink tint" method from <"Olympus is Calling">.

It will take a while for the plants to perk up when iron becomes available, because the plant can't move it to the old yellow leaves, so it will only be new leaves that are greener.

cheers Darrel
 
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ceg4048

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However, I'm dealing with some very aggressive form of brown fuzzy hair algae since two weeks. Definitely not diatoms, as it is hairy, soft and slimy to the touch
Hi,
Actually, it is most definitely diatomic algae. There are over 10,000 species of diatoms.
DC: Starts green in the morning, ends lime green/yellow
The rule of thumb is that the DC should be lime green by the time the light are turned on. May wish to consider turning the gas on earlier.
Photo #3 shows translucency in the leaves, which is a sign of CO2 deficiency.
It's definitely necessary to mechanically remove the threads as often as you can with as many water changes as you can. An old toothbrush helps this without doing too much damage.
As far as your nutrient dosing you can add as much as you want, but at this point you'll need to fix the CO2 because that is THE main problem here. Iron will not fix this problem, but again, add as much Iron as you want, without fear.
Light: 24W Leds (Chinese brand), lowered from 8 to 6 hours since a week.
Which, as usual, is over the top. It's the intensity of these little diodes that is doing the damage. Reducing the photoperiod from 8 hours to 6 hours only reduces the amount of time that the damage is being done. If your lamp has a dimming function then that is the first thing to do - reduce the intensity significantly.
NH3: 0,2 mg/l (This is new this week, is it because of the dying rotala?)
NO2: 0 mg/l
NO3: 20 mg/l
PO4: 0 (It's always zero! I sometimes don't trust this test :lol:)
Just sometimes? None of these numbers are reliable and none of these kits will help you. Nitrogen and Phosphate test kit are like vampires that suck the blood from your wallet.

Cheers,
Cheers,
 

Nick potts

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Which, as usual, is over the top. It's the intensity of these little diodes that is doing the damage. Reducing the photoperiod from 8 hours to 6 hours only reduces the amount of time that the damage is being done. If your lamp has a dimming function then that is the first thing to do - reduce the intensity significantly.
24W over a 100l, co2 injected tank doesn't seem like all that much light. I understand that hugely powerful lights are not needed but I would have guessed this was a little on the low side?

Thanks
 

dennish

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Thanks everyone. I highly value your responses.

Hi all,

You can use the nutrient <"Dosing Calculator">, you want to aim for about 0.5 ppm Fe. Have a look at this <"threads links">, which chelator you need depends upon how hard (dKH) your water is.

I use soft (rain) water, so can use FeEDTA as a chelator, but if you have harder water you will need FeEDDHA or FeDTPA as a chelator. If I had harder water I'd use FeEDDHA and the "pink tint" method from <"Olympus is Calling">.

It will take a while for the plants to perk up when iron becomes available, because the plant can't move it to the old yellow leaves, so it will only be new leaves that are greener.

cheers Darrel
That are some interesting reads. Thanks for linking. However, I can't find any chelators specified with most liquid fe ferts on the Dutch market. Also, my gH is 10. In what category does this put me? I somewhere read this was 'medium' hard so that doesn't help me at all in pointing me to the right chelator. :lol:

The rule of thumb is that the DC should be lime green by the time the light are turned on. May wish to consider turning the gas on earlier.
Photo #3 shows translucency in the leaves, which is a sign of CO2 deficiency.
Got it. I switched it to 2 hours before the lights turn on. I'll keep an eye this. I find it so hard to believe however it's Co2 deficiency. The whole day may tank looks like a sprite tank with pearling plants. But the earlier start may certainly help where the shortage may be happening.

Which, as usual, is over the top. It's the intensity of these little diodes that is doing the damage. Reducing the photoperiod from 8 hours to 6 hours only reduces the amount of time that the damage is being done. If your lamp has a dimming function then that is the first thing to do - reduce the intensity significantly.
I find my lights being too strong a bit hard to believe either. I read somewhere it's about 1750 lumen. I know lumen is a wrong way to calculate the actual intensity, instead of PAR, but I think it does give a general idea that these lights aren't that strong.

Even though I find some things hard believe, I could be awfully wrong of course.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
In what category does this put me? I somewhere read this was 'medium' hard so that doesn't help me at all in pointing me to the right chelator.
That will put your pH well over pH7 (assuming dGH and dKH are linked), so that means you need FeEDDHA or FeDTPA as a chelator.
However, I can't find any chelators specified with most liquid fe ferts on the Dutch market.
Have a look at iron chelates for house-plants, rather than aquariums. Because horticulture is a big industry in the Netherlands I'm pretty sure there will be some for sale. @zozo may be able to help?

cheers Darrel
 

dennish

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I found a Belgium shop where I can order FeDTPA dry salts online in case I need it, which is good news!

I've been reading a bit more about iron deficiencies and from what I read it's telling me you see the deficiency in the new leaves, if I'm not mistaken. The thing is, the issues on the plant aren't happening in the new leaves, but the old ones. The picture I've posted in my first post are trimmed rotala stems, not the new growth. The new growth looks somewhat ok, even though it takes a while before it start growing again.

I just wanted to emphasize this, as I'm trying to avoid barking at the wrong tree. Any thoughts about this are highly welcome!

Thanks
 

ceg4048

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24W over a 100l, co2 injected tank doesn't seem like all that much light. I understand that hugely powerful lights are not needed but I would have guessed this was a little on the low side?
Without a PAR meter no one really has any idea whether a given light is too much or within acceptable range. What we do know however is that the leaves show signs of distress. That means one has to at least consider the possibility. It's when we ignore the possibility that we get into trouble.
I find my lights being too strong a bit hard to believe either. I read somewhere it's about 1750 lumen. I know lumen is a wrong way to calculate the actual intensity, instead of PAR, but I think it does give a general idea that these lights aren't that strong.
No one has any idea what this number means. Lumen is so far away from a legitimate metric for plants that any assessment regarding PAR is guesswork.
I find it so hard to believe however it's Co2 deficiency. The whole day may tank looks like a sprite tank with pearling plants. But the earlier start may certainly help where the shortage may be happening.
Yes, this is by far the most common scenario.

Cheers,
 

dennish

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Yes, this is by far the most common scenario.
When the lights turned on this morning, the DC was lime green. And at the end of the photoperiod it was still lime green.
So how, and how long would it take to see if this fixes things? And if things doesn't change for the better, what should be my next step?
 

ceg4048

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When the lights turned on this morning, the DC was lime green. And at the end of the photoperiod it was still lime green.
So how, and how long would it take to see if this fixes things? And if things doesn't change for the better, what should be my next step?
Hi,
I would be lying to you if I were to provide a number. Fixing the timing is one of the corrections we can make to our CO2 technique, however, typically we see a decrease in the rate at which the leaves turn translucent within a few days. It would be a good idea to remove as many of the sick leaves as possible because this will provide more space for the CO2 to get into the plant bed. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for diatoms, which are tenacious. You really will need to relentlessly remove the threads and to perform as many water changes as you can throughout the week.
The other item is the flow and distribution of the water. This makes a big difference. When there is a lower plant mass we can get away with less effective flow/distribution, however, as the mass increases the demand for CO2 increases, so flow/distribution technique becomes more critical. As I said, trimming/thinning out the plant beds will help distribution.

Cheers,
 

dennish

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Thank you for the response again. I think my co2 is going pretty good at the moment. I have been using a second DC somewhere low in the corner behind the rotala and it showed a green/lime green color as well.

The other item is the flow and distribution of the water. This makes a big difference. When there is a lower plant mass we can get away with less effective flow/distribution, however, as the mass increases the demand for CO2 increases, so flow/distribution technique becomes more critical. As I said, trimming/thinning out the plant beds will help distribution.
I have a Oase Biomaster 350 on this 96L tank and there's certainly a nice circulair flow in the tank. Your comment actually makes me wonder why there are quite some people that have thriving thick rotala bushes without dying bottoms. I see them replanting the new trimmed tops, but not taking away the old ones. Just questioning what I'm doing differently that makes my rotala stems deteriorate at the bottom so much.

Also, I've been watching my Po4 a little closer. Two days ago I added 1ppm FOSFO from easylife to see if my test kit would read it. It did.
But today, two days later, it's zero again. Does this mean I should dose more Po4 next to the Tropica Special? Or could it be the Tropica Soil is absorbing it?
 

ceg4048

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I have a Oase Biomaster 350 on this 96L tank and there's certainly a nice circulair flow in the tank. Your comment actually makes me wonder why there are quite some people that have thriving thick rotala bushes without dying bottoms. I see them replanting the new trimmed tops, but not taking away the old ones. Just questioning what I'm doing differently that makes my rotala stems deteriorate at the bottom so much.
Yes, I know. It's very difficult to compare tanks because no one knows how much PAR is entering the tank. That is THE most important parameter, because it drives the demand for everything else, but, due to cost, few people have a PAR meter, so it's impossible to draw meaningful conclusions. Additionally, flow rate/distribution and hardscape/plant layout differ.
Also, I've been watching my Po4 a little closer. Two days ago I added 1ppm FOSFO from easylife to see if my test kit would read it. It did.
But today, two days later, it's zero again. Does this mean I should dose more Po4 next to the Tropica Special? Or could it be the Tropica Soil is absorbing it?
Well, I'm neither a fan of fosfo, which is almost all water, nor of PO4 test kits, which really, no one knows what this kit actually measures. So I cannot comment on this. To even come close to an EI dosing regime, you would need to add about 10X of these products 3X a week.

Cheers,
 

dennish

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New update.

So I've waited a while to see if the fixed co2 did anything, but unfortunately no changes. I honestly think my co2, flow and distribution is fine with a lime green color all day in pretty much every spot. This turns my focus back to other nutrient deficiencies.

The ammonia spike is gone, which is good news. Probably because I removed a lot (but not all) of not so thriving rotala stems and planted some of the tops again that were doing ok.

I simply don't have the experience to pinpoint a deficiency on plants yet just by looking at them, so I have added 2 new pics of the rotalas. See pictures below. One are the planted tops, the other are still stems from the start, trimmed and not growing well at all. Hope people can sincerely help me out here. 🙏

The rhizoclonium is still there, too. A 4 day blackout didn't work unfortunately so I'm still doing WC every 2-3 days taking out as much possible.

Trying to get this tank balanced for almost 3 months now and to be honest, it's getting kind of tiresome looking at a dying tank for so long. ☹️


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Karmicnull

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Notwithstanding ferts/CO2, what do you have in the way of clean-up crew? Any CRS/Amanos/Nerites? They are not an answer on their own, but in my limited experience to-date they are part of an answer.
 
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