hair algae

Discussion in 'Algae' started by stuart_s, 6 Feb 2008.

  1. stuart_s

    stuart_s Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    hornsea, east yorks
    sorry folks i am the new old kid on the block
    i upgraded my tank from a 120l to 180l approx 6 weeks ago with no problems i replanted and fed the plants with tetra plantmin now i have a hair algae problem i complete regular water changes of 25% every 3 weeks and keep up with
    filter maintenance ( juwel tank) has anyone any ideas without using chemicals?

    thanks for any info
    stuart s
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Stuart,
    Tetra Plantmin is only a trace element mix and cannot provide the Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous needed by plants. It's unclear whether you have a highly lit CO2 injected tank or a low lit non-injected tank. Both types require NPK, but the highly lit tank requires much more.

    If you can give us an idea of your lighting, filtration and CO2 status we can give you a general idea of a baseline dosing scheme.

    If the tank is highly lit and CO2 injected then your water change interval is probably too long and if it is a low tech tank then it is way too short.

    Cheers,
     
  3. stuart_s

    stuart_s Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    hornsea, east yorks
    thanks for your reply ceg
    i have a 180L community tank (juwel) with 2x45watt t5 lighting i do not use co2 as i don't understand how it works ( i think i deed to do some serious homework) and i have not fed the plants since the original dose on replanting
    i hope this info will give you something to go on and any help would be very much appreciated

    thanks again
    papasan.
     
  4. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    My high-tech suffered from terrible hair algae. For several reasons I took out the CO2 and reduced the lighting by one tube, stopped dosing EI, and waited...

    ,,,that was about 6-8 weeks ago and the hair algae has reduced significantly and the plant growth is healthy.

    Essentially I went from high-tech to low-tech. I do fewer water changes now so I think CEG is on to something with regard to frequency. I haven't settled in to a pattern of water changes yet but initially have been leaving it for several weeks. I'm now committed to every four weeks but I'm prepared for that to be too frequent and adjust accordingly.

    Whatever you change, give it a chance to take effect. My tank is only this week beginning to show some solid signs of settling down and finding a balance - I watched the algae on the surface of the water clear itself over a matter of days and, as mentioned, the hair algae has backed off a lot.

    Best of all, the fish are a lot more active since the removal of the CO2.
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Some fundamental principles of CO2 and it's measurement can be found in the Cookbook section: http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=467

    Sam's excellent guide to using fire extinguishers as a source for CO2 is located in the Tutorial Section: http://www.ukaps.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=266

    We can recommend some hardware for you such as regulators, bubble counters and diffusers if you wish.

    You have basically a 50 USG tank and 90 watts T5 so approximately 2 WPG. For T5 lighting CO2 supplementation is more or less mandatory. If you do not dose NPK in addition to this lighting level the plants essentially starve, become weak and algae attacks. Poorly fed plants leach ammonia into the water column due to breakdown of their cell structure as a result of starvation. Ammonia plus light signals algae to spawn and attack/eat the source of ammonia. This is why algae forms on the plants They have a ready source of ammonia to which they can attach.

    Each time you change the water you lower the ammonia concentration level. If you change 50% of your water you reduce the ammonia by 50%. If you wait three weeks the ammonia buildup feeds the algae. As a corrective action I would suggest 2X weekly water changes of at least 50% in the short term.

    Each day that goes by without NPK addition weakens the plants more and encourages algae. The nutrients released by fish waste alone cannot supply the required levels of NPK at that lighting level. Additionally the fish waste breaks down into ammonia before being broken down into NPK, further adding to your woes.

    If you check this page you'll see a list of available nutrients for sale: http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... th=145_146

    At your lighting level, in addition to CO2 injection you would typically need the following dosing of those powders:

    3X weekly 1/2 teaspoon KNO3
    3X weekly 1/8 teaspoon KH2PO4
    3X weekly 1 1/4 teaspoon MgSO4

    2X weekly trace element (Plantamin?)

    As bugs rightly pointed out, you can lower the light by about half and this would lower the demand for nutrients. I would suggest that you cut the light until you decide whether you want to inject CO2, do more water changes and physically remove the algae that is present. You might also want to consider adding a carbon source such as Excel or EasyCarbo.

    Low light and high light are at opposite ends of the spectrum. High light means high maintenance, high nutrient dosing, high water changes to remove ammonia, and high plant growth. Low light is just the opposite.

    Bugs, FYI if you are low tech you want to avoid water changes because any new water that is added disrupts the low CO2 levels (which the plants become accustomed to) and can trigger algae. In a low tech the plants recycle the fish waste so you can get away with as much as a 6 month water change interval! Ammonia is much less of a problem when the lighting is low. A low tech system uses the ammonia slowly.

    In a high tech tank the CO2 levels are very high so the function of the water change is to eliminate ammonia and organic waste because the lighting will trigger algae if the ammonia is present.

    Hope this clarifies. Let us know if any of this is fuzzy.

    Cheers,
     
  6. stuart_s

    stuart_s Newly Registered

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    hornsea, east yorks
    thanks for your replies ceg & bugs
    i thing i will battle on and increase the water changes remmove the algae by hand add excell and look at lowering my tube wattage
    thanks again for your help

    papasan.
     
  7. tanker

    tanker Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Malaysia
    hi there, i've read a lot in the last hour on algae control from this forum. There's so much misconception that i had! first its on the dosing of ferts and that it will not trigger more algae. So i will not hesitate on dosing ferts from now on.
    I think there's a reply from ceg that bio filtration media need to be replaced as well? i had previously thought that the longer the filtration media, the better it is. How often should these medias be replaced? i'm using eheim bio-ball.

    my aquarium had hair algae from and the water was greenish despite massive water changes. about 2 weeks back, i did some major clean up, vacuum the ADA substrate which is full of blahblahblahblah. after that the water is ok for now. i also think that it is not that densely planted and have since planted more. but the hair algae does not seem to go away yet, although it is not spreading. i use CO2 and dose ADA brighty k, ADA step 2. So i suppose i should continue dosing daily and making twice water changes per week. i also think that i have too much fish as my aquarium is quite small, 1.5ft X 1ft. with
    24 cardinal tetras
    5 yamato shrimp
    7 nerite snails.

    any advise? should i get rid of some of the tetras to lower the ammonia content? replace some of the bio balls?
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Tanker,
    The biggest misconception is that people tend to think in terms of algae control within the tank. It's much better to change the mind set so that we think in terms of plant health and tank health. Algal blooms are suppressed in healthy environments. Nutrition, filtration and waste management are the key elements in providing a healthy environment.

    In theory, the bio-balls should be replaced gradually over six month intervals because their pores become clogged with detritus inside the filter bed. This clogging reduces the surface area of the ball thereby reducing each balls ability to support a high bacteria colony. In practice, replacement media is expensive and the best way to lengthen their life is to simply keep the filter clean. A lot of people do not want to open up their filter because it so tedious and messy. I despise filter cleaning but I hate shelling out megabucks for filter media even more, so I try to keep my filters free of detritus.

    Following this lead, if you have sufficient filter capacity, and if you keep the tank/filter clean, if you avoid overfeeding and if you do regular water changes there is no reason to lower the present stocking level, but yes less fish does mean less NH4 production. Hair algae in general can be due to poor CO2 so you might want to think about tweaking the needle valve a bit to up the concentration level. You can also lower the temperature to 26C or below. Low plant biomass is a killer though, so I would add more plants. The ADA marquee is rarefied air and I haven't studied their contents that well so I can't say whether your P and K levels are satisfied with these two products. Have you considered the cheaper alternative powders? It seems you're paying a lot of money to have algal blooms. Gosh, you can get algae without even buying any ferts. :wideyed:

    Hair algae is a really tough customer and it may require a 3 day blackout to get under control. Try the blackout while dosing at night and see how that goes. It may take a couple of weeks of continued harassment.

    Cheers,
     
  9. Net_fisher2

    Net_fisher2 Newly Registered

    Messages:
    14
    Location:
    Isle Of Wight
    Stuart / Tanker,
    I went through want you are going through 4weeks ago, took on board all the suggestions. :rolleyes:
    Upped flow by adding extra filter,
    Sorted my Co2 to become a consistant dose,
    Started dosing NPK as per CEG's suggestions (Garden Direct, thanks CEG), at levels that i would never have dreampt of before!
    Lots of water changes. Cleaned the Aglae out evry night....
    Hours spent reading posts on this forum...
    Then went through pretty much every different algae in the book! But worked through it!

    Basically changing my mind set! :oops:
    You can read the post - "Tread Algae"
    If I had dosed from the begining I am sure I would not have gone through this pain!
    But I have learnt the Hard way!

    A lot of work and investment,
    but have had a completly Algea free tank now for 1 week and its bloody great! :D

    Oh and havent tested any water (No3, No2 Etc Etc) :lol:

    Thanks CEG
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Another satisfied customer. :D Another test kit bites the dust. :D

    Thanks for the feedback Net_fisher. Thrilled to hear you whipped that tank into shape mate! Keep up the dosing+CO2 and you should be fine. remember you may need to tweak more as your biomass increases. Now that you know how to grow the weeds you can ascend to the next level of esoteric aquascaping.

    Cheers,
     
  11. tanker

    tanker Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Hi! Thanks ceg and net fisher

    If thats the case, my bioball is long expired, its more than 1 year now and has turned kinda brownish/greenish...

    When i started, all the information i got was from the shop guy...So when i asked what was he using for their display tank, he showed me all these ADA stuff, and i thought that was the way to go. i used to have gravel and some cheap liquid fert which ended up with lots of BBA and i couln't/didnt know how to get rid of it. So i re planted my tank, used ADA substrate and ferts that the shop guy recommended. however the filter is still same, it is a hook on eheim filter, which i loaded some bioballs...

    Now i know what i have to do, which is to read a LOT from this forum and learn about powder ferts before my existing ADA ferts run out. Is it norm to have lots of those fish blahblahblahblah in the substrate? I'm quite reluctant to vacuum it too frequently as my most of my plants have not rooted firm.

    if i am to do a blackout for 3 days, will my newly planted plants be affected? some of it is not doing that good and has begun to die slowly, especially the Glossostigma elatinoides
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi tanker,
    If most "shop guys" know anything at all about the planted aquarium it's a safe bet they know only enough to be dangerous. Did you require a loan from the Halifax to buy all that stuff? If only the shop guy had told you that BBA was a CO2 issue you may not have splurged. :wideyed: The ADA AS gravel is good stuff though so we can't complain too much (even if it basically kitty litter on steroids).

    Check the dry powder article: http://www.ukaps.org/EI.htm
    Also Check the CO2 measurement article: http://www.ukaps.org/drop-checker.htm
    The algae sticky has good stuff as well: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=905
    Thread algae discussion: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1064

    You should gently disturb the substrate to dislodge the feces while using a vacuum to get it out of the tank. The feces and other detritus tuns into ammonia which triggers algae. If the plant becomes dislodged then just replant it. No big deal.

    Glosso requires a large amount of CO2 and it is in the worst place in the tank for CO2. Blackout are normally not a problem for plants. As net_fisher says you can probably do it with elbow grease but the blackout is easier.

    Cheers,
     
  13. tanker

    tanker Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Thanks for the advise ceg!
    hope my aquarium will improve soon with those advise. i think i should pump up more CO2 then. I'm a bit paranoid since before i got the solenoid and timer, my fish actually were gassed to death. i swithced on the CO2 a bit too much and then only came back home after like 15hrs. they were all dead, only 1 shrimp survived.

    i'm based in malaysia, so i think the price of items here may not be as expensive as in UK, but it still hurts for me. a small bottle of ADA step2, 250ml cost about 9GBP, converted. Plants are reasonable. And my aquarium is a small one, so it is still kinda affordable for the substrates.

    i'm planning to go for a big one sometime, but not in the near future. when i can afford the $$$ and more knowledge of course :D the current one serves as a learning experience so that at least i dont invest in things that i dont need in the future. and how to maintain it.
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yes, CO2 application is somewhat of an art. The problem is that many people lose patience and make large changes to the needle valve settings. You can make a significant change to the concentration level just by opening the valve a few degrees at a time. The solenoid will enable you to turn the gas off hours long before the end of the lighting period. If your lighting is, say 10 hours, you only really need the gas to be on for 8 hours. 1 or 2 of those 8 hours should be before the light comes on. This enable you to inject to higher CO2 levels and since the gas is off for 16 hours, the fish get a break.

    Again you have to slowly make adjustments but it is achievable. Many people don't want to go though this trouble and just use 24/7 injection so the choice is yours. It's not a big deal on a small tank but as tanks size increases this solenoid and needle valve manipulation becomes more and more important.

    Cheers,
     
  15. tanker

    tanker Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Hi ceg, you mentioned that glosso needs a lot of CO2. i dont have a drop checker now so its hard to make measurements. so i'm now estimating by looking at the rate the bubbles are coming out from the diffuser. is it a good indication that if plants are not pearling, then there isnt enough CO2? also mentioned that glosso is in the worst place in the aquarium. what does it mean? my diffuser is at the back bottom corner of the aquarium, i suppose the gas should has enough time to dissolve before escaping from the surface
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi tanker,
    I don't normally like to rely solely on the pearling since there are a couple of variables that affect pearling. Generally however, assuming your dosing is correct, more CO2 typically causes more pearling, all other things being equal. In general therefore, with a lack of any other form of measurement try an injection rate such that pearling occurs from most stem plants within a few hours into the photoperiod. Obviously, if you see toxic side effects in the fauna then you'll need to back off a bit. The idea is to increase the rate slowly over a few days. No two tanks or diffusers are alike so it's really hard to judge based on the bubbles coming from diffuser.

    The bottom of the tank is the worst place for the plants because CO2 rises to escape from the tank. It's difficult therefore the saturate the lower regions of the tank. CO2 saturation is not homogeneous in a tank. The bigger the tank the less even the distribution. Detritus also tends to settle on the bottom the subsequent decay produces tiny pockets of ammonia. Since the flow rate on the bottom is also generally at its lowest when compared to the upper regions in the tank the ammonia is not swept away with as much efficiency so it's very easy to get algae on carpet plants. Many people assume that the secret to glosso and HC is to add more light, but actually, it's more CO2 and better flow to the bottom. If this is done properly there is no need to add megawattage to the tank, which causes other headaches.

    Cheers,
     
  17. tanker

    tanker Member

    Messages:
    102
    Location:
    Malaysia
    oh great! ceg, u're like "the guru". you've said about all the misconception about adding light, as i was given that bad advise before. i couldnt understand what else is wrong.

    i'm still battling algae and trying to dose right. Hope that i'll be able to get it right, get results in a few weeks time!!
     

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