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Getting algae after starting EI dosing, what to do?

ceg4048

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Well, CO2 is always an issue and so I never dismiss it, regardless of what the dropchecker says. You could add a Koralia just to see if it has a positive effect. If so then you'll know what the answer is and you can then decide to find a less obtrusive way to get flow to that particular area. It's not clear to me why you have uneven currents or what your configuration looks like so it's difficult to analyze for possible changes. Could you show us an image? Also, which plants are getting the GSA? Anubias is notoriously susceptible to GSA for example.

I'm not sure what purpose adding an airstone would serve. Bubbles would merely outgas the very same CO2 that we're trying to keep dissolved in solution so in my opinion their use would be completely counterproductive.

I also disagree completely with the idea of chucking everything and restarting. The reason you have algae is because of your technique, not because of some alien invader sabotaging the tank. 99 times out of a hundred folks who chuck and restart have exactly the same problems the second time because they have the same equipment and the same mindset so they make the same mistakes. Algae won't go away just because you chuck and restart. Algae spores are in every tank on the planet, waiting for poor technique and waiting for plants to suffer. After implementing good technique it can take weeks or even months for the plants to get healthy enough to resist the attacks. Chucking the lot or dumping algaecide in a tank are desperate resorts. In any case aren't you the guy who is super paranoid about toxic chemicals in the tank? And throwing herbicides in the tank is actually being considered? What's up with that one mate? :? Take a deep breath, brew some tea and take a reality break.

A blackout consists of first doing a massive water change, then shutting down the lights and wrapping the tank in black material such as bin liners so that no ambient light can penetrate the glass. CO2 is shut down, but dosing continues as per schedule - but only dose at night, in the dark. This continues for 3 or even 4 days in extreme cases. At the end of the period another massive water change is done and everything resumes as normal. The plants take a hit but not as much as the algae. They recover much more rapidly that if they were nuked by algecide. That's the only real leveling of playing field. As far as the fish they just get on with it. it's just an extended night time for them so no big deal.

By the way, if a leaf has algae on it, then that means that it's not healthy. This is a fundamental mindset that has to be adopted. Algae is not an accessory or a hitchhiker. It is more like a vulture because it's attacking unhealthy tissue. The leaves are unhealthy because they are suffering from some form of malnutrition. The plants/leaves that are algae free and those that are healthy.

If the tank is 95% algae free then I hardly think it's cause for panic. If you're getting good growth from most plants then you are on the right path and that you just need a bit more tweaking. As the plants grow their needs increase. The mass increase demands more nutrients, more CO2 and more of everything.

You can also move those particular plants that suffer to another location in the tank to troubleshoot. See if they do better. Sometime moving a plant just a few inches has a dramatic impact so that's something else to consider.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
 

chris1004

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Thanks for your answer Clive as always food for thought.

Just a couple of things to clear up.

I'm only thinking about stripping the immitation rockface background out not stripping down the whole tank and starting again as I feel certain that it is causing me problems by providing GSA a perfect stronghold from where it can launch its attacks on the rest of my tank. Mind you thinking about that option while I write this I realise that that wouldn't be such a bad thing and could prove interesting as I could reuse all the good plants that I now have, not to mention that its actually fun to refresh the aquascape if you have the time.

You are quite right of course about my paranoia over water quality with regard to my fish and if I were to treat the tank with an algecide then I would simply move them into another tank for a while whilst the treatment and subsequent water changes were done. Sorry I didn't mention that, at the moment the algacide is just a consideration and not a definate go ahead so it wasn't relevant in the context. Having a think and a cup of tea for a while is always a great option though, LOL. ;)

Good point well made about using airstones so that rules that one out.

So that leaves me with adding a korilia powerhead for more flow and doing a blackout (sounds like a plan). I may also rehouse my fish for a while anyway and crank up the co2 until all the GSA is gone and if that fails then use an algeside followed by a lot of large water changes.

At least if I get onto a level playing field with no visible algae in the tank I can be certain that if it comes back then I still haven't got things quite right. At the moment I feel that there have been so many changes over the past few months that any number of things (or combinations of) could have started it off and I'm just struggling to keep it in check at the moment rather than preventing it getting a stranglehold in the first place. Once clear I hope it won't come back as I'm fairly sure that I have everything right i.e. CO2,flow,ferts,lighting and filtration. But if I haven't then this will be brought to light (by the re-emergance of the GSA) and I can reassess my situation then.

Thanks.
 

ceg4048

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Hi Chris,
It's quite possible the the rockface background is negatively impacting flow/distribution. I reckon that deleting it will have a positive effect. It might be visually more appealing as well if you just use background paper. ;)

For more effective troubleshooting, it's a good idea to do one thing at a time and wait a few weeks so I'd think about removal of the rockface and taking a reading. If you use a shotgun and change a whole bunch of things at once you'd only be able to guess what the effective solution was.

Cheers,
 

chris1004

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I've ordered a korilia powerhead (taking the total rated flow to 20x tank volume) and will try adjusting the flow to start with as its the least painfull option at the moment. I've also decided on running another course of reduced lighting, large water changes and flourish excel in the coming weeks as it worked wonders last time and may be enough to do the trick again. Certainly worth another try at least. If that fails then I will do a blackout.

Removing the background although still on the cards could be troublesome as its sealed in with black silicone sealant and could prove to be a long and messy job. Not quite sure how easy or otherwise it will prove to be and I'm a little afraid of taking the plunge. Can silicone sealant (the black jewel stuff) be easily removed from the glass (inside rear of tank)? Ultimatly after consideration I would rather not take it out if I can get away with it so this will have to remain a last resort, but I do feel that it is causing me more trouble than its worth and regret fitting it in the first place.

Took another look at my ferts aswell and as far as they are concerened I am certain that the macro mix I'm using is fine (6 teaspoons kh2po4,6 teaspoons kno3 & 18 teaspoons mgso4 - 600ml ro water dosing 50ml 3 times a week) but I wasn't so sure about the micro mix. I use the AE trace element mix and was dosing as per their instructions (i.e 1.5 teaspoons - 200ml ro water dosing 25ml twice per week). Because I am using 100% remineralised ro water I have kind of got to thinking that maybe there isn't enough of the right trace elements in the water so I've doubled my dosage this week. It could be my imagination but my plants seem to have responded well to this. Can they respond this quickly or is it imagined? and could the additional trace elements cause me any problems (I'm thinking 'not' but it would be nice to have this clarified)?

If the scattergun approach works I'll take it.LOL. :)

Thanks again for all your help Clive it is truly appreciated.
 

ceg4048

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Hi Chris,
The black silicone can be sliced through and the residue can be removed by shaving with a razor blade, but yes this is a messy affair, no doubt.

The AE dosing instructions are weak compared to that shown in the EI tutorial so it doesn't surprise me that adding more traces yields better performance. Just before you go to bed, sit in the lotus position and repeat this mantra five times; "Adding more traces does not cause problems"....

Cheers,
 

chris1004

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:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Cheers mate, will let you know how things progress in due course.
 

chris1004

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The backgrounds out!!!! :D :D

and what a mission that proved to be.

Having got it out I am now as convinced as ever that it was causing me an awfull lot of my trouble. As you quite rightly pointed out Clive (if you read this mate) it was adversly affecting my flow distribution. Since its removal it is blatently obvious (even to a planted tank newbee like me) the difference in flow along the back wall of the tank. As for the background itself it was absolutly covered and I mean very thickly along its very top edge with algae. This area was directly below the lights and constantly damp with condensation, I suppose I shouldn't be suprised when you think about it. It took me quite a long time to strip it out and clean the rear glass of silicone but I am so glad I did as I never really stood a chance with it in the tank.

Whilst I was at it I also stripped the tank down completly and replanted with the good plants that I have now ammassed and although it was a long painstaking process I enjoyed it and now have a completly new 'scape' , which should (hopefully) flourish in time.

I also added a Koralia 1 to further improve flow and maintained the increase in trace element dosing. If the scattergun approach works thats fine by me. ;)

I know that its still early days but I do feel so confident that a large part of the root cause of my troubles has been addressed and armed with the knowledge that I have gained thus far through experience and the help that I have received from this website I am hopefull of succeeding. I know the plants will grow back its just about keeping the algae at bay. I will update this in a few months to see how things have progressed.

Thanks again Clive your a star with the patience of a saint.
 

ceg4048

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No worries mate. :D Looking forward to seeing photos of the new configuration. :D

Cheers,
 

chris1004

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Photos are a bit tricky for me to put on here as apart from not knowing how to I don't have a digital camera other than the one on my mobile phone which I'm sure is probably woefully inadequate. You never know though I may be able to get one of my 4 children (the youngest of which is 21) or their partners to take some photos for me and talk me through how to upload them onto this forum. :oops: :)

And besides I would be embarressed to post a picture of my tank on here to stand side by side in comparison with some of the pictures of planted tanks that I've seen, yours included. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to plants, there placement within the tank and how to correctly prune them.
 

aaronnorth

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chris1004 said:
Photos are a bit tricky for me to put on here as apart from not knowing how to I don't have a digital camera other than the one on my mobile phone which I'm sure is probably woefully inadequate. You never know though I may be able to get one of my 4 children (the youngest of which is 21) or their partners to take some photos for me and talk me through how to upload them onto this forum. :oops: :)

viewtopic.php?f=30&t=2618
 

chris1004

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ok just a quick update 1 month on.


The tank appears to be completly devoid of algae yeeeeehaaaaaah, boooooshakaruudeboyindahouse!!!!!!! (thats clearly to much excitement for a grandad surely) :D :D :D :D

After replanting I did suffer a little bit to start with as you would expect with non established plants but after dosing for the last couple of weeks with flourish excel (only recomended doses though) I can't see any algae anywhere in the tank and believe me I have looked hard.

So now I believe that I am on a level playing field and will reduce and evetually completly cut out the flourish excel dosing and see how things go.

Still crap at prunning though so a lot to learn yet..... :)
 

ceg4048

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Good stuff Chris. remember though that excel adds CO2 so as you withdraw it you may put the plants back into a CO2 deficit. You might consider tweaking up the gas slightly as you withdraw the liquid if you start to see hair strands. Just monitor very closely.

Cheers,
 

chris1004

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I check my co2 twice daily anyway Clive purely as a precaution against gassing my fish but I take your point on board and at least I know now what signs to look for and how to remedy the situation if algae occurs again.

I feel that I have learnt a great deal in the last few months and you have been very instrumental in this. When I first came on this forum I thought that my plants looked healthy but I know now that that is only because I didn't really know what healthy plants look like. Gone is my installed hatred for po4 and no3. So now I can get on with the real job in hand and learn how to aquascape and maintain plants properly.

Cheers. :D
 

LondonDragon

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Another winner and proves once again that EI works very well if you get your head around it properly, and just stop blamming EI for the Algae when the user is at fault for its implementation.
 

chris1004

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chris1004 said:
Since I have started EI dosing I am experiencing several types of algae and although I know that it is not the dosing itself that has caused the problem I wondered what I should do about it.

I don't know if I was reading your post wrong there LD but I wasn't blaming EI for getting algae and never did right from the start of this thread, above is the first line of the very first post. :? :? :?



Fact is I did get algae when I started EI and your quite right the problem lay largly in the implementation but its all a learning curve surely. I never doubted that it would work eventually.

I did get peed off with GSA for a while though and think that the textured background had an awfull lot to do with my problems which was never mentioned anywhere in any of the tutorials or posts that I come accross as a problem that could occur prior to me starting EI. Not that any of that matters now.

Maybe it could be added as a footnote or somthing to one of the tutorials somewhere, possibly save someone else some grief somwhere along the line.
 

ceg4048

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Chris, we need more data before we can unequivocally blame the textured backgrounds as a contributing factor. In my mind it's obvious, but I have only your data and I believe one other persons report to go on. You made a multitude of changes to both your technique as well as the configuration so it's bad science to attribute the degree of improvement to the background removal alone, know what I mean? I would be on thin ice if I were to unilaterally advise to remove all textured backgrounds, even though I strongly suspect it as a severe flow disruptor. I'm sure it depends on the operating regime of the tank as well. In lower light scenarios it may not be as significant, but in higher light I reckon it's a serious culprit...

Cheers,
 

LondonDragon

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chris1004 said:
I don't know if I was reading your post wrong there LD but I wasn't blaming EI for getting algae and never did right from the start of this thread, above is the first line of the very first post. :? :? :?
Not having a dig at you Chris, just a lot of people lately have been blaming EI for their algae outbreaks and its nice to see someone overcome them and carry one using EI ;)
 

chris1004

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LD, I wasn't sure if it was aimed at me or not but I think I know who you mean now.

Clive, I know your right (as ever 8) ) and I accept the fact that I was, and still am, willing to use the scattergun approach to solve problems, normally I want it fixed and I want it fixed now and just don't have the patience for one thing at a time.

I realise that its just my opinion about the background based on what I saw with my own eyes, thats all, not a scientific fact or anything and I dare say that the other changes that I made also had a benificial effect on the outcome. Ultimatly all I really care about is that the problem seems to be solved and hope that it doesn't return.

Thanks, Chris
 

chris1004

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Clive,

Yesterday whilst looking at my tank and scouring every leaf in site I noticed some GSA but only on one leaf in the whole tank. I stopped dosing flourish excel alltogether a little over a week ago (two water changes back).

My immediate reaction was bu**er its coming back, as you might expect.

So without further ado I reached in and cut out the offending leaf but it wasn't until the leaf was out and in my hand that I saw that it was badly damaged (torn almost in half). I'll be honest it blew me away a little that even though I've read and absorbed all that has been said that this one damaged leaf in the whole tank has been attacked by GSA, probably (hopefully) the only damaged one.

I am now a total and utter convert to what you have been banging on about Clive, reading is one thing, but seeing it with your own eyes and understanding why is on another level entirely.

Thankyou so much for showing me the way.
 

ceg4048

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Morpheus to Neo: "I can only show you the Door. You must walk through it." 8)

Actually I'm not satisfied until you go another 2 weeks without distress. Remember we talked about Rubisco production reprogramming and the amount of time it takes? It's a rocky road with twists and turns. What was that Grimm's fairy tale where the little girl kept dropping bread crumbs so the path home would be revealed? Now that you understand the truth it's like having those bread crumbs and it will be clear what direction and actions to take when the road does become a little rocky. No more running to the LFS to buy 10 Kg tubs of Rowaphos...now you can change your moniker to chris1004_unplugged. :D

By the way, what kind of leaf was that mate?

Cheers,
 

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