Dreaded algae - hair

Discussion in 'Algae' started by lstratton, 28 Apr 2008.

  1. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    So it is completely my fault that I now have hair algae. I know it is due to a build up of excess nutrients and it happened whilst I was away on holiday and then when i came back, my pump to get water back into the tank broke, so i couldn't do the usual 50% water changes.
    So this is my fert routine -
    Sunday – H2O change + 3/4 - KNO3, 1/4 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Monday – 1/4Tsp - Trace
    Tuesday - 3/4 - KNO3, 1/4 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Wednesday – 1/4Tsp - Trace
    Thursday - 3/4 - KNO3, 1/4 - KH2PO4, 1 – Epsom salts
    Friday – 1/4Tsp - Trace (optional)
    Saturday – DAY OFF
    Except I don't usualy add the trace on Fridays.
    My question is - my plants are starting to yellow (not enough nitrate?) and get pinholes (not enough potassium?), so I'm guessing I have to increase these amounts, so how much would you reckon? It is a 240l tank with pressurised CO2 (not sure how much goes in, but the tester is lime green), eco complete substrate and about 3wpg.
    But my main issue, is that I am worried about the hair algae getting out of control, and how do I get rid of it because it is in my mosses and when I pull it off, it pulls all of my moss off as well!
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    I'm afraid you have it all wrong. Nutrients don't cause algae - excess or otherwise. This is rule number 1. Ammonia causes algae, not nutrients. There is a 99.5% probability that your hair algae is due to poor CO2 or poor distribution of CO2. Do more water changes and add more CO2. Add Excel to facilitate the removal. In 2-3 weeks you should have it licked if you fix the CO2.

    Cheers,
     
  3. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    oh that is great. I had to turn down my CO2 for a few weeks because my tester in the tank had a leak, so I could never tell how much was in there. that would be why. I have it back now to the lime green colour so that will be good and I'll treat the hair algae with excel as I have some of that - what do I do exactly? Squirt it on the algae with a syringe? And how much on each patch??
    Also should I up the ferts if I'm getting yellowing and pinholes?
    Thankyou for your help
     
  4. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi lstratton,
    The yellowing and holes are a bit of a mystery. The dosing scheme looks perfect to me, your lighting is high but not at all over the top and the EcoComplete is an enriched substrate so I don't see why these deficiencies should appear unless they are somehow coupled to the short term CO2 loss you experienced. Here is a tip for future reference: When you need to drop your CO2, go ahead and also drop the lighting as well until you've sorted it out.

    I'm inclined to stay with the current dosing scheme for now. I mean, you didn't do the water change and you had excess nutrients right? So that implies there was no deficiency. The only thing I can think of is your flow might be marginal. What sort of filtration do you have? It seems like CO2 should be fixed and going again for a few weeks before doing something else. That is the only way to isolate the true cause. If after three weeks the holes and discoloration don't improve then move on to the next suspect.

    You can apply the Excel in a variety of ways. You can apply a daily or every other daily 3X overdose to the tank. This would be the most effective if the algae were all over the place. The disadvantage of this method is that some plants, such as liverworts, bladderworts and Valis may not respond very well at all to this treatment. If the algae is just in certain patches you can turn off your filters and use a syringe to inject directly onto the patch daily. Wait 5 minutes or so before turning the filtration on again. Turning the filter off keeps the concentration on the affected site longer than it would if there was flow across the patch.

    Cheers,
     
  5. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    thankyou for that. I think it'll be best to treat the whole tank with the excel, just to be sure, as I have a fair amount of moss in there.
    As for the yellowing and pinholes, it may well have been down to the low CO2. I'm going to do a trim of the all the bad looking leaves tonight and then hopefully with a strict regime, I'll be back to a good looking tank in a few weeks.

    Thankyou for all the help

    Lucy
     
  6. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Hi
    I am still struggling with the hair algae. I am dosing 4caps of excel which is 20ml and i'm doing it everyday as well as the fert dosing and the CO2. The algae isn't getting worse, but it isn't getting better. I take out as much as I can every water change I do and there isn't any growth until about the 4th day, then it blooms until I do a water change on 7th day.
    Not sure what to do, it has been a few weeks now and I'd have expected to have seen at least a little bit of a change.
    The plants aren't complaining though with the added excel, they're growing like mad!
     
  7. daniel19831123

    daniel19831123 Member

    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Blackpool
    Seems like the CO2 is the key here since you mentioned that your plant is growing mad with the addition of excel. what filter have you got? Probably as clive mentioned, it's the lack of filtration that causing the CO2 fluactuation in the tank. Furthermore 3wpg is kinda high light. Maybe the CO2 should be drived into the yellow/green zone?
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, we need to look deeper into the light as Daniel mentions and CO2 application, both the injection rate and flow/distribution.

    Can you confirm that you're using 4dkh distilled water in the dropchecker and that you are not using tank water or tap water in the checker?
    Can you lower the lighting by 25%-50%? This will help tremendously for now.
    Can you increase the injection rate without gassing the fish? You need better saturation.
    You mentioned a broken pump earlier. What is the status of your filtration and what filter(s) is/are being used? The yellowing you mentioned earlier could indicate poor nutrient distribution even though you are dosing the correct values.

    If you have an infestation you may have to do a three day blackout + Excel treatment + daily 50% water change.

    The blackout procedure would go something like this:

    1. Mechanically remove as much algae as possible, sacrificing the more heavily infected leaves.
    2. Perform at least a 50% water change and reposition the filter outlet so that you have agitated surface movement (plants will need oxygen in the dark).
    3. Shut down CO2, but immediately dose the proper levels of nutrients.
    4. Add Excel or Easycarbo at the level specified on the label for "initial water change"
    5. Completely cover the tank and shut down lights.
    6. On the second day repeat the water change, Excel dose and nutrient dose. Keep the tank covered and lights out.
    7. On the third day repeat the water change, Excel dose and nutrient dose. Keep the tank covered and lights out.
    8. On the fourth day repeat the water change, Excel dose and nutrient dose. Now you can return the filter outlet to it original position and resume CO2 but wait several hours for the saturation level to increase before turning on the lights. I would suggest only a 50% lighting level for the moment.


    Cheers,
     
  9. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Thankyou for that, answers to questions as below -

    Can you confirm that you're using 4dkh distilled water in the dropchecker and that you are not using tank water or tap water in the checker? Yes
    Can you lower the lighting by 25%-50%? This will help tremendously for now. Yes, I'll do that tonight
    Can you increase the injection rate without gassing the fish? You need better saturation. Yes, I will try and do that tonight as well
    You mentioned a broken pump earlier. What is the status of your filtration and what filter(s) is/are being used? I have 2 tetratec 1200, turned up full. I have taken the spray bars off and positioned the outflow so that the flow goes around the tank in a clockwise motion. Maybe I should put the spray bars back on so that the flow points down into the tank??

    I will try all of this, this week and see how the algae is going by Monday when I do a water change. If it is still there then I will follow the blackout procedures.
    Thankyou for all of your help as usual

    Lucy
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Lucy,
    My personal preference is always to mount spraybars on the back wall of the tank so that the water flows from back to front and then down the front glass and then to the back of the tank. The stronger the pump power the better this effect will be. I'm not saying your configuration can't work, but that I feel it's better to send flow to the bottom of the tank. This is especially useful if you have carpet plants. CO2 wants to rise up and escape the tank so forcing the water to the bottom gives better contact time with each leaf.

    Cheers,
     
  11. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Hi there,
    So I followed the blackout procedure and while it has reduced about 50% of the algae, there is still some amongst the mosses.
    I'm not sure what to do now? I'm tempted to rip out the mosses that have the algae in and start again, it would certainly be less hassle!!!!
    What do you guys think? (I finished the blackout procedure on weds by the way)
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Keep the CO2 high and you can then treat with a daily double overdose of excel, or spot treat the moss with excel. Mosses are difficult due to their tangled nature. I'm impatient so I'm not a moss person myself but I have actually taken infected moss out, pulled it out and stuck it in a jar in a dark corner for a few weeks or treated it separately with Excel in the jar.

    Cheers,
     
  13. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    yeah I'm getting very impatient with it. I think I might rip it all out and stick in a dark corner for a few weeks and see what happens, at least it won't be infecting my tank anymore and I can clear that up!
    Thankyou for that. I'll try it and see how it work cause it breaks my heart to have to throw away all that moss that is actually growing really really well now! Typical!
     
  14. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Oh goooooooooooooooooooood, this is a never ending battle! When I replaced the CO2 bottle the other week, I obviously didn't do it well enough because the bottle is now empty. The problem being that I was away last week (came back today) so the algae has gone mad, much, much worse than it was before.
    Right, this is my plan of action -
    Get new bottle, install and thoroughly check for leakages!!!!
    Trim all stem plants right down to get rid of all algae
    Re plant all pogostemon to thin out, and also to get rid of the algae,
    Scrub rocks with algae on and wood
    Remove it all off my java fern (I took the moss out before I went away, so that is one good thing!)
    Then I'll do blackout for 4 days with 50% waterchanges and dosing with excel
    Then lights back on, only 50% for now and resume as normal, keeping fingers crossed!
    How does that sound?
     
  15. JamesM

    JamesM Member

    Messages:
    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
    I see no mention of beer... You may need to revise your plan to include some ;)
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    You should make up a solution of soapy water using washing up liquid in a spray bottle. When all connections are made and the gas turned on, spray all joints with the soapy water solution. Any leaks will show up as bubbles.

    You can try a daily 2X or 3X overdose of Excel/Easycarbo. After a few days you'll start to see the hair algae tuning colors and dying. The rocks and wood can be pulled out and treated with bleach then rinsed. This is always disheartening but don't lose heart mate.

    When you leave town it's always a good idea to lower your lighting by either removing bulb(s) or by obsuring the bulbs that you do have. This lowers the CO2 demand and gives you some breathing room.

    Cheers,
     
  17. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    Okay, I'm thinking that with me going away on the weekends a lot and having the odd holiday, that it might make my battle easier if I convert this tank into a low tech one! What do you think?
    Plants I currently have are:
    Pogostemon, Java fern, java moss, anubias nana, a hygro of some sort and rotatla green.
    If I stop the CO2, have just the original Juwel lighting (2x T5s), which is all I'm using at the moment, keep the planted substrate and add some low light loving plants like more java ferns, mosses, anubias and hygros, do you think this will be possible? Will the pogo still grow well without the CO2?
    Also, do you still add ferts to a low tech tank?
     
  18. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Don't stop the CO2, this will only fuel more and more algae problems. Go with your original plan of a major trim and clean and see what progress that will make. The other thing I always do when I see any extra algae in a tank is up the water changes as this always has a positive effect. Don't worry, you will win the battle against algae, it just doesn't happen overnight.
     
  19. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    okay, I'll keep on going with it. ARGH! I hate doing daily water changes when I have to take 120l out!
     
  20. lstratton

    lstratton Member

    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    London
    oh and I'm thinking of swapping from dry ferts to TPN+ - how do I work out the daily dosing for this?
     

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