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Diatoms or Hair Algae?

Epiphyte

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Can't work out if this is diatoms or hair algae? Obviously both require different treatments.

20210308_152437.jpg

• Tank is 3 weeks old, ADA 75p (150L)
• Oase Biomaster Thermo 600 was in my old tank and mature, with 1 1/2L of seachem Matrix, 1 sponge and 2 trays of their plastic balls.
• CO2 injection with a green drop checker.
• Substrate is ADA Powersand Advance L, capped with Tropica soil. Tank is at 23°C-ish.
• Light is Chihros Vivid RGB II, light settings below, was on for 8hrs with 1/2hr ramp time, though today I have reduced this to six hours. Approx 12cm from water surface.
• 8ml of TMC Complete per day, just increased to 10ml this morning)
• 18 Amano Shrimp, 8 Otto's, a fake SAE (I think it's a flying fox, very young, should still eat algae for now), around 80 red cherry shrimp.

Appeared around 3 days ago and absolutely exploded overnight. I've removed a lot by hand and continue to do so, I'll also try get a water change in every day but that's not always possible.

Am I looking at diatoms which will disappear in a few weeks or am I seeing hair algae here? Diatoms doesn't make too much sense to me as the filter is well cycled from a much larger tank, though 500ml of the matrix, which replaced a sponge, is brand new.

Light settings:

Screenshot_20210308-153454_My Chihiros.jpg
 
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Sdogg

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If it's only 3 weeks I'd say diatoms.
Manually remove what you can, extra water changes if possible. Keep up the maintenance and be patient.
 

ceg4048

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Can't work out if this is diatoms or hair algae? Obviously both require different treatments.
Hello,
This is a type of diatomic algae. You'll probably want to reduce the light intensity. It's not easy to predict whether this will go away by itself.
Is your powersand and Tropica soil new? A lot happens in the sediment that affects the water column.
 

Epiphyte

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diatoms appear as a brownish dust forming on glass/hardscape, and will wipe away with a finger up the glass...
Agreed this is what I normally would expect, but searching around it turns out diatoms can look like this, but hair algae also can.

If it's only 3 weeks I'd say diatoms.
Manually remove what you can, extra water changes if possible. Keep up the maintenance and be patient.
Thanks. I thought this may be the case but 3 weeks is only the substrate and harscape really, everything else is well cycled. This is what has confused me! I'll carry on with water changes and manual removal too. Grows incredibly quickly!

Hello,
This is a type of diatomic algae. You'll probably want to reduce the light intensity. It's not easy to predict whether this will go away by itself.
Is your powersand and Tropica soil new? A lot happens in the sediment that affects the water column.
Powersand and soil are both new, yes. I think I may have put a little too much power sand in, but there's not much I can do about this now it's under a few inches of soil. Essentially the substrate, harscape and maybe 1/3 of the plants are new, the rest is all old from a mature tank.

Will reducing light intensity not effect plant growth at all? I assumed healthy growing plants were my first defence in combatting this, or is it best to knock the algae on it's head for a short while then get the plants growing strongly? Blacking the tank out is a pain so I'd rather not do that, but would keeping the lights off for a few days be a benifit?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
but searching around it turns out diatoms can look like this, but hair algae also can.
You can do it via touch, if the strands feel <"slightly gritty"> when you roll them around in your fingers they are filamentous diatoms (Synedra or Fragilaria).

cheers Darrel
 

Epiphyte

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Hi all,

You can do it via touch, if the strands feel <"slightly gritty"> when you roll them around in your fingers they are filamentous diatoms (Synedra or Fragilaria).

cheers Darrel
Your knowledge of past threads always impresses me Darrel! This is exactly what I'm suffering from I feel. I'll bump the CO2 up a little more. Flow isn't an issue (it's growing in the most open area of the tank), I'll try keeping lights to 6hrs, keeping ferts up and trying to max out the CO2 as high as I'm comfortable with for the moment.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Powersand and soil are both new, yes. I think I may have put a little too much power sand in, but there's not much I can do about this now it's under a few inches of soil.

Powersand needs to be well and truly buried. Nutrients leaching from the powersand layer are taken in by the soil, which is the reasoning for deep soil layers on top. You also plant heavily into this to begin uptake from the substrate from day one.

Substrate is ADA Powersand Advance L

For the future, small or medium is more appropriate for a 75P. Large results in bits of pumice finding its way to the surface when you replant stem tops etc.

light settings below, was on for 8hrs with 1/2hr ramp time, though today I have reduced this to six hours

Sensible.

8ml of TMC Complete per day, just increased to 10ml this morning

The ADA system of startup is a lean water column consisting of daily potassium and micros. Using powersand, soil and dosing a comprehensive fertiliser at startup is problematic. It’s jumbling up different methods that are mutually exclusive at the early stages during startup. From your picture can only see an anubias and a carpet at the very beginning of carpeting. Is there anything fast growing in the tank? Floating plants?
 

Epiphyte

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Powersand needs to be well and truly buried. Nutrients leaching from the powersand layer are taken in by the soil, which is the reasoning for deep soil layers on top. You also plant heavily into this to begin uptake from the substrate from day one.
Powersand is under around 6" at best (rear of tank) and 1" at worst (very front) of substrate.

For the future, small or medium is more appropriate for a 75P. Large results in bits of pumice finding its way to the surface when you replant stem tops etc.
Sadly at the time there was no M in stock at AG when I placed my order. I took Dave's advice and just grabbed some L. During planting I found the odd bit rising to the top of the substrate but I just removed them manually. I've seen no more since the tank was flooded.
The ADA system of startup is a lean water column consisting of daily potassium and micros. Using powersand, soil and dosing a comprehensive fertiliser at startup is problematic. It’s jumbling up different methods that are mutually exclusive at the early stages during startup. From your picture can only see an anubias and a carpet at the very beginning of carpeting. Is there anything fast growing in the tank? Floating plants?
Lots of plants so far! For plants in the substrate I've got a carpet of Marsilea Crenata, plenty of Vallis, maybe 20 ludwigia stems, lots of crypts and I'm going to add another bunch of maybe 10 stems today when I water change if I can find a gap in the substrate. As for epiphytes, I've got loads of anubiases, Bolbitis, Buces and around 8 pots worth of Christmas and weeping moss. On top of that I've got a bunch of red root floaters on the surface which are growing nicely.

Looking how the tank has grown in the last 3 weeks it's certainly looking really dense already. I planted as heavily as I could with the plants I had to start with in the hope I'd negate this sort of issue, obviously I could do with planting a few more!!
 

ceg4048

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Powersand and soil are both new, yes. I think I may have put a little too much power sand in, but there's not much I can do about this now it's under a few inches of soil. Essentially the substrate, harscape and maybe 1/3 of the plants are new, the rest is all old from a mature tank.
Hello,
There is not much of an issue regarding whether there is too much or just enough powersand. The relevant issue is that the sediment is new and therefore is unstable as regards bacterial colonization. The filter bacteria is only one part of the tank infrastructure. The sediment plays a much more important role and directly affects chemical and bacterial stability.
Will reducing light intensity not effect plant growth at all?
Yes, but so what. As bizarre as it may seem, rate of growth has little to do with determining plant health. Lots of unhealthy plants grow quickly and are then overcome by algae precisely because they are unhealthy. The reliance on light without regard to nutrition and CO2 is exactly why we get into trouble.
I assumed healthy growing plants were my first defence in combatting this, or is it best to knock the algae on it's head for a short while then get the plants growing strongly? Blacking the tank out is a pain so I'd rather not do that, but would keeping the lights off for a few days be a benifit?
Yes, the health of plants is your first defense, but you have to do the things that keep the plants healthy. Dunking plants underwater and throwing megawatts of light at them does nothing for their health. Blacking the tank is not necessarily the answer either. The answer lies somewhere in between. Avoid excessive lighting and use moderate lighting by reducing the power output of the lamps.

Cheers,
 

Epiphyte

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The plot thickens. Big water change today removed lots of the, what I suspect is, diatoms. Beneath it I find this, any ideas, is it hair and cyanobacteria?

20210310_181055.jpg
Blue/green filaments

20210310_182227.jpg
Dense green slimy looking, clogging up moss and stems

20210310_180439.jpg
On the glass during the water change
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Powersand is under around 6" at best (rear of tank) and 1" at worst (very front) of substrate.

1615452670164.jpeg


Powersand Advanced in a 1200. Ends at the Hygrophila lancea araguaia as it will only ever get trimmed, never pulled up and replanted. The Staurogyne repens to the right will be pulled with the tops replanted, or potentially changed out. Most who use Powersand aren’t considering ahead. But if you do it can save you work further down the line.

Looking how the tank has grown in the last 3 weeks it's certainly looking really dense already. I planted as heavily as I could with the plants I had to start with in the hope I'd negate this sort of issue, obviously I could do with planting a few more!!

Possibly not, your planting sounds dense but not seen a full tank shot. Willing to bet the problems flaring up from after week 3 coincides with a reduction in water changes at startup.

Not an expert but can only speak from experience. The three problems I see are:

  • Powersand not being buried deep enough
  • Using a comprehensive fertiliser in the first month with an ADA style substrate system
  • Stocking the tank early

If your tank was handed over as a job to fix as the maintenance guy:

  • Daily water changes
  • Constant manual removal of algae

It isn’t a complicated solution but it is graft. In another two to four weeks the setup will potentially be grown in enough to carry on as you were before and crack on.
 

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