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Filament algae and general algae problem

thesorcerous

New Member
Joined
1 Aug 2019
Messages
22
Location
UK
Hi all,

First, thank you for reading this, and I really appreciate any suggestions you have.

I have read a lot of the pinned posts about algae, and I am at a little bit of a loss as to what my problem is and what to try next to solve it. Here's hoping one of you can easily identify it!

I have regular large growths of some sort of filament algae. Both the soft type that forms clumps around my plants (I think Rhizoclonium?), some fur (Oedogonium) and some staghorn. I am aware that these are probably just the ones that have hold at the moment, and that it is just a more general algae problem.

I have had advice from the great guys at Aquarium gardens, but I can’t get there at the moment, and I think i must have not mentioned something to them as their advice hasn’t solved the problem.

I have pasted the full details of the setup below, but in short, it’s a high energy system with regular >60% water changes done at least twice a week, usually three. Turkey basting to get as much waste from the bottom as possible.

Any plans I have put in the foreground gets swamped quickly with the Rhizoclonium and I have not had a great success growing anything there. I am an experienced fish keeper, and have a low energy planted tank running fine (which to be honest is slightly overstocked with fish, gets too much food and is nearly half the volume), but I just can’t get a handle on this high energy system.

My thoughts for the next steps are: 1. increase CO2 even more (hope fish will be OK) 2. increase fertiliser (but will this increase algae?) 3. buy one of those pumps for marine aquariums which moves the water around even more?

Photos attached, but happy to take more if you see something you think needs a closer look. Whole tank photos are before and after latest maintenance and water change.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks,

Rob

The setup:

Tank: 87 litre (68 cm x 30 cm x 43 cm high) assuming gravel and hardscape are roughly offset by the filter volume.
Light: Twinstar V2 600SA; 6 hour photo period, 15 minute fade to 100%, then 5.5 hours, then fade to 0%.
Filter: Eheim Pro4+, 250 (950 litres per hour turn over, so possibly a little underpowered?)
Temp: 23 degrees C.
Substrate: PRODIBIO AQUAGROWTH AQUARIUM SOIL to a depth of 7 cm on average.
CO2: on 3 hours before lights, off when the lights go to 0. CO2 art regulator with inline diffuser. Two pH meters opposite sides of the tank, one near the top, one near the substrate, both showing light green.
Plants: Lots (but maybe not enough?). There are almost no spaces at the back where i can cram in any more stems. I have been cutting some which have got to the top and replanted them just to try to get more growth.
Animals: 19 ember tetras (Hyphessobrycon amandae); 1 Bristlenose plec (Ancistrus sp).; cherry shrimp population (30-50?); 3 amano shrimp (started with 10 about a year ago).
Fertiliser: TNC complete 8ml daily; TNC liquid carbon 1.5 ml daily.
Food: 1 spoon of NanoGran 3 times a week (this is fine for the number of fish and shrimp), occasional pleco wafer, but remains removed after a few hours if not consumed.
Maintenance: at least 2 >60% water changes per week, often 3. Turkey basing the substrate as much as possible.
 

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Nuno Gomes

Member
Joined
1 Nov 2018
Messages
152
Location
Portugal
I'd dim the lights to about 60% and do a 5 hour photoperiod, the Twinstar 600S is pretty powerful and you don't need all that light when you're having those issues. Once the plants are healthy you can set it to full again.
The filter isn't bad as long as it's not crammed with media but you could probably do with some extra flow, a pump or skimmer in the opposite end will do the trick for cheap.
I'd also stop using the liquid carbon, it's obviously not helping. Then it's a matter of removing all algae manually, by using a brush on the hardscape and trimming the affected plants.
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
564
Location
USA
The type of algae you suspect, Rhizoclonium (aka Cladophorus), Oedogonium (aka Spirogyra) and Staghorn, are green filamentous algae that thrive in strong light. I have one or more of them in my planted bowls by the window that receive afternoon sunlight. It's a zero tech but super high energy setup due to direct sunlight.

My snails, cherry and Amano shrimp don't eat them, and neither dosing Seachem Excel (Glutaldehyde) at initial high rate is effective. There is one algaecide, API Algaefix that I read is effective on filamentous algae, but the label says it will kill shrimp too so it is no go. Molly, Flagfish and SAE may work as they are algae browser (not grazer as bristile nose and Otto), but they will eat shrimp too so it is no go.

Presently, I am able to reduce their growth rate by placing a sunscreen behind the bowls, and physically remove them every few weeks. The screened sunlight is still strong, in the 200 PAR range. I am monitoring this thread to find out if there is a permanent solution.
 

Siege

Member
Joined
11 Aug 2017
Messages
1,247
Location
Cambridgeshire, UK
Try filling the drop checker more. Make sure it is bone dry when filled as any drop of water will kill the solution.
 

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
153
Location
London
For the filamentous algae (I had spirogyra), I suggest doing a blackout. I have it in one of my tanks and it got very bad very quickly, so I did a blackout for 3 days and that mostly got rid of it (it was all gone when I first did the blackout). I did a looooot of research on this algae because it's so annoying, and this was the best advice I found. Several blackouts + balancing your CO2 well so it doesn't come back after. Some people overdose Excel and Algaefix in various stages, but as I have lots of shrimps and snails I can't treat it with any big doses of chemicals.

I sort-of followed this: Multiple blackout method for algae control

The algae has started to come back slowly, but much less badly than before after the first one (I didn't do the repeats yet cos I was curious what would happen after one), I'm planning on doing another blackout and properly following the above advice to really get it (the first was really a test as I've not done it before and paranoid it would hurt the creatures and plants). My tank doesn't have CO2 so I can't battle it on that second front.
 

thesorcerous

New Member
Thread starter
Joined
1 Aug 2019
Messages
22
Location
UK
Hi all, thanks so much for the replies!

OK, I will reduce light to 60%, stop liquid carbon dosing (already done these two), physically remove as much as I can, clean and replenish both drop checkers following your advice (I think they were dry, but obviously any salt that gets in will act as a buffer), I may transfer some SAEs, or buy some more when I can (by the way, I have some SAEs in a tank which is a shrimp farm, they may eat some, but not too many to notice). I will also try blackouts.

Thanks again for your time and responses. I will let you know how I get on.

Rob
 

tiger15

Member
Joined
14 Mar 2018
Messages
564
Location
USA
Here is an experiment on a 3-day blackout method, but unfortunately it didn’t work. So good luck and let us know if it works for you. Algae... Journal ?

There are many types of green filamentous algae, and I have no clue what caused one type to thrive than another besides knowing they all share strong light. I have never encountered any type of gfa in my high tech medium light setups. On the other hand, I’ve never encountered bba in my high sunlight zero tech planted bowles, only gfa. In my dwarf hair bowle, I have clado, in my dwarf Sag bowle, I have spirogyra, and in my guppy grass bowle, I have none. All three bowles are subject to identical management and conditions, so go figure.

I know pond owners deal with gfa all the time and commercial algaecides such as Algaefix and copper work but will kill invert so they are no good. What left for aquarists to use are peroxide and Glut which are safe for invert if dosed at appropriate dosage If we know what it is.
 

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