Hair Algae threatens again!

Discussion in 'Algae' started by mork, 6 Apr 2008.

  1. mork

    mork Newly Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kenilworth, UK
    As a newbie, having returned to the hobby after 20 years or so, I am a little confused with what I have been reading and would appreciate advice on my set up. I got rid of an attack of hair algae about a month ago by daily water changes and dosing with Flourish Excel. However, the hair algae has started to return, so I must be doing something wrong. Below are notes of my current set up and procedures;-

    Aquaone UFO 550 Tank - 70 litres
    Aquagrit substrate (recommended by LFS for good plant growth)
    UFO lighting PL - 11w 8000K White x 2 units
    Light on 9 hours per day 1100 - 1400 hrs & 1600 - 2200 hrs
    Daily dose of 1.8 ml Flourish Excel & 1.8 ml Tropica Plant Nutrition
    Running two chambers of Nutrafin Natural plant yeast CO2 system, 10 day cycles each chamber, alternating recharging between chambers with new yeast every 5 days. (Reluctant to have pressurised system in my lounge)
    Have been changing 20 litres water weekly -is this too often? (water treated with Nutrafin Aquaplus conditioner) & also weekly treating with 10ml Stress Zyme for biological filter.
    Tap water is 7.6 pH . Tap water after 7 days is 7.3pH (drop checker still pale blue) Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings are all 0
    4 pearl danios, 5 harlequins, 4 ottos & small peppermint plec
    Fairly well planted tank but hair algae threatening on amazon swords & crypts. Vallis does not grow well. New leaves on crypts appear weak and distorted.

    Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I think your drop checker gives a big clue to a possible cause of your problems; low, or at least inconsistent, CO2. I have Pressurised CO2 in my living room. What exactly is your concern? If you;re worried about an accident then maybe get a smaller system with dispoable cylinders? These only contain up to 600g of CO2 so have a lot less CO2 to vent. A pressurised system really is pretty safe though; I've never heard of anyone's blowing up or anything!

    You don't mention your filter or turnover either. Very good circulation and effective biological filtration (over-filtration by traditional standards in fact) seem a key factor in a healthy planted tank.

    You can treat the algae by adding double the recomended dose of excel onto the areas with algae using a pipette or syringe rather than simply putting your daily dose straight into the tank's water. Don't do it too concentrated though or it can knock some plants back. I used to take the daily dose and then fill the rest of the syringe with water to dilute it slightly first and then squirt that over the areas I wanted to treat.
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Welcome to the forum. :D From your notes, the evidence suggests that your tank is suffering from starvation due to lack of the most important nutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium as well as Carbon. Your tap water may already be high in nitrates and phosphates and perhaps that is why you are not dosing these, however, you may want to consider using TPN+ instead of TPN which only provides trace elements. TPN+ contains NPK in addition to trace elements.

    Excel, although a very good source of carbon cannot fix your fundamental problem of NPK starvation. Some NPK is obtained from the fish food and fish waste but this is not enough. It's not clear to me why you shun a pressurized system in favor of a yeast bottle. Is this a decor issue? A pressurized system can deliver a better, more stable supply of CO2. You need to drive the dropchecker at least into the green so clearly the yeast system is inadequate if it is always blue. The dropchecker water also needs to be of a known kH such as 4dkh water. Tank water is not a good idea. I'll have to admit I don't know what UFO lighting is. Could you clarify whether this is T5 or T8? If it's T5 then that's a fair amount of light for a 15 gallon so your nutrient dosing and CO2 needs to be up to snuff. Zero nitrates is not a good thing at all but I doubt that this is the true value because test kits are not very accurate.

    You should also be changing at least 35 liters a week. Forget the stress zyme. The filter gets seeded by virtue of the water in the tank so save you money.

    Cheers,
     
  4. mork

    mork Newly Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kenilworth, UK
    Many thanks to you both for the advice which I will take on board. Regarding Ed's comments the concern about pressurised is more an issue of how it's going to look in the lounge (I don't wish to test my wife's tolerance too much) It is a corner tank so I can't get behind it now and you can't hide much at the sides. I will investigate whether one of the smaller systems will stand inside the cabinet but it will be a squeeze! The filtration system sits on top of the tank under the hood and consists of 2 containers with a spray bar over each. Each container has layers of sponge, wool and ceramic noodles. One used to have carbon but I have replaced it with the noodles. Circulation within the tank appears to be good.

    Thanks Ceg, for your comments. I have a nearly full bottle of TPN - is it possible to add the NPK separately? I do use 4dkh water in the drop checker and my lighting is T8. I don't think it will be easy to change the lighting due to the way the hood is designed. Any spares I need I get from this site:-

    http://www.aquarium-parts.co.uk/acatalo ... pares.html

    What to do you think of my lighting schedule? I thought that this might be a factor

    I will increase the volume of my water change - I didn't originally think that this was necessary due to the water stats. I will ditch the stress zyme.

    Thanks again for the advice
     
  5. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    If you base the CO2 system on a 2kg Fire extinguisher, it should fit into the cabinet.

    You can def dose PNK separately to the TPN, in fact I do that just so I can have better control over whats going into the tank!

    The whole siesta thing with lighting is a bit of a strange one to me, I have never seen the point. I believe it was first introduced in order to give the CO2 level in the tank time to build back up during lighting period. But the co2 systems we have today generally mean this is not longer necessary. If it were me, I'd just have the lights on for one complete block of time. I think there might even be evidence to suggest that a siesta does more harm to the plants than the algae.

    You could knock the lighting down to 8hrs, that might help.

    Sam
     
  6. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, study this article very carefully: http://www.ukaps.org/EI.htm

    You can find the NPK powders at either of the following:
    http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... th=145_146
    or
    http://www.gardendirect.co.uk/potassium-nitrate-p-210 and http://www.gardendirect.co.uk/potassium-phosphate-p-213


    You can use whatever schedule fits your daily viewing regimen. Whatever effect the lighting schedule has pales in comparison to the effects of the rudiments of poor nutrition. Since the lighting is T8 this is much less extreme than if it were T5, which has almost a twofold increase in intensity.

    Water statistics have nothing to do with the reasons for water changes. Plants leech proteins, lipids, enzymes and carbohydrates into the water column. When they are starved they then also leech ammonia into the water column. The organic waste from these metabolic processes as well as the organic waste from whatever fauna resident in the tank combine to trigger algal blooms. Replacing the water reduces the concentrations of these waste products. The more frequent and/or voluminous the water changes the better.

    Cheers,
     
  7. mork

    mork Newly Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kenilworth, UK
    Thanks very much for the detailed answer - it's much clearer in my mind now. I will look up the sites you've mentioned and take action to hopefully resolve the problem

    Thanks again
     
  8. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I just thought I'd mention as well that your filters sound much like trickle filters. Although very good biologically they tend to drive off alot of the CO2 in the water which may explain that even your DIY CO2 isn't being used as well as it could.

    I'd also reiterate that adding stress zyme won't do anything to the filter, it's more for the health of the fish if they get knocked (or stressed!). It shouldn't be necessary.
     
  9. mork

    mork Newly Registered

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Kenilworth, UK
    Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. The filtration system for the Aquaone UFO 550 is part of the overall hood unit and does create a very slight rippling of the surface water but seems to create more movement lower down in the tank. I have ordered some NPK salts and a pressurised CO2 system so I am hoping for an improvement in current conditions.

    I guess I could disable the current filtration and try some other type if all else fails. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that that won't be necessary!

    Thanks again
     

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