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Having algae nightmares :(

ojustaboo

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15 Mar 2011
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201
Hi all, hope your all doing well and have less algae problems than I do.

My tank details are as follows.

Juwel 190Lt Corner tank
T5 lighting, 2x28w
Pressurised CO2 system, about 3 bubbles per sec (external reactor connected to filter
output) on 1hr before lights come on and off 1 hr before they go off at midnight (on for 9hrs)
Eheim Pro 3 2073/350, 1050 lph
JBL ProFlow u750 Powerhead 670 lph circulation pump
laterite, underneath pea shingle gravel.
Airpump (not on at the same time as CO2)

About a month ago I has such a bad hair algae problem that I removed my fish, emptied the tank (except for the substrate) and scrubbed the tank clean and replaced all the plants, admittedly with not as many as before, mainly due to what my local aquarium shop had in stock.

I hoped this algae problem was due to my filter impeller breaking and them sending me the wrong part, this ended up with me being without a filter for nearly 3 weeks by the time it was sorted.

Before the tank clean out I was having the lights come on at 3pm and go off at midnight. Since then I have added a 1hr break between 7 and 8pm where the lights go off.

I also added the circulation pump at this time.

The CO2 comes on at 2pm and goes off at 11pm, also have an airstone that comes on at midnight and goes off at 2pm.

The drop checker which I've now moved 1/2 way down the tank does turn lime green when the CO2 is on and also the plants have grown fairly well in the 3 weeks they've been in so I think that side of things is working OK.

My cleaning routine is to change 1/3 of the water every 7 days and to clean one or 2 trays in the filter every 2 to 3 weeks. At the same time as the water change I add API Leaf Zone plant food.

However, after just 3 weeks, I've started to get algae again.

The hair algae is the most noticeable (although it doesn't show up that well in the included photos). I've also got some algae on the end of some of the plant leaves and seem to have a clump of moss like algae growing on one of the bits of wood.

Heeeellllllpppppp :) Any suggestions please?

Could I need more CO2. more plants, both? Just wasted £7 on some stuff supposed to help with algae, two bottles and you put in different amounts over different days etc. Total waste of money, did nothing.

I've included 4 photos, sorry about quality, seemed to have shaken the camera a bit, but hopefully you can see the problem. I also realise the tank doesn't look that good, I was trying to let it settle and hopefully get on top of the algae problem before shelling out on a load of new nice plants.

Many thanks

Joe, Pics below.

Pic showing (hopefully) Green hairy algae
fish1r.jpg


Pic showing clump of grey moss like algae on piece of wood
fish2.jpg


Pic showing green algae on end of plant leaves
fish3m.jpg


Not very good pic showing whole tank
fish4f.jpg
 

foxfish

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Your equipment sound OK but you have a few little quirks!
You could try - 7 hours of straight light, no air stone, EI fertilisation. gas on two hours before lights & off one hour before lights out. 3bs can only be a guide but you may well need more C02, up the rate to 4bps & see how your fish behave. The more gas the merrier until you fish show signs of stress.
50 % water change a week but perhaps twice a week at the moment!
A full tank shot would be helpful but it looks like you would benefit from some more plants too.
If your filter was out of action for three weeks then this would definitely not helped the situation so get some fresh tap water in you tank via those water changes.
 

CeeJay

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Hi Joe

Foxfish has given you some good pointers to be going on with, especially the CO2 advice :D

Your hair algae is definitely caused by low/poor CO2 distribution, on top of which you are now supplying the plants with CO2 which dramatically increases their uptake of nutrients. After a quick scoot round the web I found this, API Leafzone Data Sheet. Look at Section 3 for it's contents. It is a very weak solution too, so dosing this once a week is not enough.
It looks like you have a serious shortage of nutrients in your tank. You are missing PO4 and Trace elements (and possibly MgSO4, if you are in a soft water area).
The high uptake rates (caused by high light and supplying CO2) and the lack of correct fertilisation are the reason your plants are under attack by the algae. The plants are failing because you are not matching their requirements. When a plant starts to fail, it releases Ammonia (amongst other things) and Ammonia + Light = Algae every time :( .
You will need to address your fertilisation regime ASAP and sort out your CO2 delivery.
This is by far the cheapest method in the world for dosing a CO2 supplied tank Clive's EI tutorial :D
Personally I would leave the lights off (and turn your CO2 off) until you buy your ferts. The plants will get by with ambient light and their demand for everything will be a lot lower. This will cause you less problems in the long run.
In the meantime, manual removal of the algae and lots of water changes will help.
 

ojustaboo

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15 Mar 2011
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201
Many many thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

Have altered my timers to be as foxfish suggested and removed my air pump.

Will digest that EI article tomorrow when I'm more awake and will definitely change to EI fertilization. Will keep lights and CO2 off until I do.

The grey moss clump on the wood I mentioned is infact a green clump and has the hair coming off it.

Have doubled the amount of CO2 and the fish seem just as happy. It's a very deep tank and being corner shaped makes distribution a bit problematic which is why I got the circulation pump. If I put fish food in, I can see the food going all round the tank. However, I'm not totally convinced the CO2 is reaching the bottom of the tank, I can see minute bubbles come out of the spray bar when the CO2 is on, but they never go more than 1/2 way down. Might try moving the spray bar to be about 1/2 way down to see if that helps. But I suspect when I plant more plants and they grow, the spraybar will need to be moved back higher up, although the circulation pump does create a nice anticlockwise flow around the tank (very noticeable when I put fish food in), so maybe with that, I could still get away with it.

Will get the EI and a few more plants, turn the lights and CO2 back on and move the drop checker to near the bottom to see if it's registering any CO2

thanks again

Joe
 

CeeJay

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Hi Joe
ojustaboo said:
However, I'm not totally convinced the CO2 is reaching the bottom of the tank,
This is our major problem with CO2 distribution. CO2 only wants to go one way, and that is up and into the atmosphere. Exactly where the plants don't live :( .
You may have read that we keep going on about 10x tank volume turnover per hour. This is the very reason we do.
Deep tanks are especially difficult, and corner tanks present their own set of unique problems too. So you will be looking for a flow rate of at least 1900 lph on your tank. Whilst the numbers look good on your filter, this rate is usually the flow rate quoted by the manufacturer without media. Add media and your flow rate will be dramatically reduced, sometimes by as much as 50% and even more when your filter gets dirty :( .
So your flow rate will need addressing too. Koralia powerheads move big volumes at low velocity, so this may be a worthwhile option to consider.
 

ojustaboo

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Thanks Chris.

So I need to replace my JBL Proflow 670lph with something a lot more substantial.

Is Hydor Koralia Power Head No 1, 4.5watts 1500lph / 400gph powerful enough (looks like it to me) or should I be going for the next size up please?

Sorry for all the questions, many thanks for all the advice.

Joe
 

CeeJay

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Hi Joe

On my 180l I use a Koralia 1 and they are very good at what they do, but that is on top of a 1200lph and a 700lph filter :wideyed:. They just look so damn ugly IMO :lol:
I'm getting away with it at the moment, but I can forsee it being a problem as my plant mass increases in my current set up :(
So I would suggest the next size up, if only because it is a corner tank. You can also run it on a timer that switches it on when your CO2 comes on (even though the tank's in the dark), and goes off when your lights go off. That's the way I've been running mine for a long time now, and it works a treat.

ojustaboo said:
Sorry for all the questions, many thanks for all the advice.
No need to apologise, we were all new once :D
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
A full tank shot would be helpful but it looks like you would benefit from some more plants too.
I'd agree with the others you need more plant mass. You also have a problem with some of your plants, the stripy one is not an aquatic, and it will slowly decline in the tank, producing ammonia as it decays and stimulating algal growth. It looks like it might be a variegated form of Acorus gramineus or possibly an Ophiopogon cultivar.

I go for a really big plant load in the set up period, and I like the tank to be well established before I start changing any parameters. Because I run low tech, nutrient depleted and no CO2 I tend to use a lot of floating, or emergent plants, in the set up period. The advantage to this is these have access to aerial CO2 and aren't CO2 limited.

I differ from most other posters in that my primary interest in plants is because of their beneficial effects on water quality and maintaining tank stability. I want stable parameters above everything else. I want plants that will grow successfully in the parameters I have, rather than trying to alter things like light, CO2 and nutrients to suit the plants I'd like to grow.

I'd recommendeither Salvinia and/or Limnobium as a floating plant. if you can't find any locally PM me, I've plenty spare.

cheers Darrel
 

ojustaboo

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Many thanks

I'll get the next model up :)

Thanks Darrel, I'll have a look around this weekend, if not. I'll send you a PM. Have removed stripy plants :)

best

Joe
 

ojustaboo

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Me again :)

Am about to order my new power head.

Just noticed the Koralia 1 I mentioned above was a Hydor Koralia 1 Wavemaker 12v Low Voltage Pump

Should I be looking at one of the Hydor Koralia Evolution 2800 Circulation Pumps or should I instead be looking at the Koralia magnum or the Nano range please?

Many thanks

Joe
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
From what I can see in in the final photo, it appears the gray pump output is in a position which causes interference with the output from the spraybar mounted above. That is not a good place for that pump at all. It should be placed at the same level as the spraybar in a location that the spraybar does not reach and pointed in the same direction as the spraybar.

Cheers,
 

ojustaboo

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ceg4048 said:
Hi,
From what I can see in in the final photo, it appears the gray pump output is in a position which causes interference with the output from the spraybar mounted above. That is not a good place for that pump at all. It should be placed at the same level as the spraybar in a location that the spraybar does not reach and pointed in the same direction as the spraybar.

Cheers,

Ah, thanks.

I was working on the following assumption.

As it's a triangular tank and not square, getting the flow to go across the top, down the front, across the bottom to the back and up the back wall probably wouldn't work on this shaped tank.

Hence, my idea was to create a circular anticlockwise current (as in if you looked down into the top of the tank, so it's going around the 3 sides rather than down the front of the class).

Doing this, does mean that when I drop food in, it does appear to now get to all areas of the tank, however I appreciate your knowledge and experience, and I suspect that while the food may well do this, what's also happening is it's stopping the spray bar output dead in it's track, causing the Co2 to go even less down the tank than it did before?

Will move it in line with my spray bar.

Thanks

Joe
 

ojustaboo

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Any advice on whether I should be getting the Evolution, magnum or nano Koralia power heads please?

thanks

Joe
 

ceg4048

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Hi Joe,
I regret I can't confidently suggest any of the particular models other than what I read of the sales pitches. The Evolution supposedly offers significant flow increase over the basic Koralia, while at the same time having a lower power consumption. Whether this is true I have no idea, but it certainly sounds like all goodness.

One cannot manipulate flow in the same way one can bounce/direct a tennis ball. The more complicated a path you select, the less likely you are to achieve that path. It's not really necessary to have your target be the front pane. You can target one of the triangle sides or the area where the side meets the front pane. This simplifies the problem because all you need to do is to send max flow in that general direction and upon contacting the wall at the opposite end the flow will then be directed downwards. Once strong flow is established across and downwards it will then spill out and spread along paths of lesser resistance as it heads downwards, so really, it's just a matter of picking a target surface(s) and sending as much energy, evenly, against that target as possible.

Cheers,
 

ojustaboo

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Thanks, I understand what I should be aiming for now :)

Think I'll go for the Evolution. I see where I was getting confused, they've updated their models, hence when people are referring to Koralia 1 etc, they're not referring to the Koralia 1 that's available to buy, as that's a special low voltage one, they're referring to models now superseded by Evolution etc.
 

ojustaboo

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Hi all.

Right, I've got my EI chemicals, got my new circulation pump, brought a few new plants and a kind member is sending me some floating ones.

So tomorrow I will be blitzing my tank, starting back up the CO2, installing new powerhead etc etc etc.

In the 3rd and 4th pic on my OP, the plant at the very front, even though I've had no light on and done water changes, this still has a lot of algae on it. Is it worth trying to save this or would I be better off just ditching it for a fresh start?

Many thanks

Joe
 

ceg4048

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Hi Joe,
That looks like some kind of sword, and these are fairly forgiving plants, so just cut off all the infected leaves, even if the majority of them are damaged, and see how it goes.

Cheers,
 

ojustaboo

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Many thanks.

Took the cowards way out as they were all infected, so simply threw it away.

Having flow issues now but will start a new thread in the filters section as I suspect it's more suited there

thanks for all the help and advice, very much appreciated.
 

ojustaboo

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4 days later and the hairs starting to reappear :(

All the above suggestions have been done, EI being dosed every day as per instructions

It's only coming from the wood, and it's coming from bits that are obviously where the algae was (even though I did my best at cleaning it).

None on the plants and it's not bad at the moment.

Have turned up the CO2 even more, bubble counter is one bubble quickly after another. However, my external reactor makes a sort of popping noise when the CO2 is on and this is a much slower rate than the bubble counter.

Fish still seem more than happy after 3 hours, so will monitor.

Maybe my home made external reactor wasn't the best idea?

Joe
 

ceg4048

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Hi Joe,
Did you mention that you were using an air pump? i thought i saw that in your OP. Low CO2 levels can sometimes be attributable to outgassing due to the use of these pumps. It's very difficult to assess your reactor from afar. That's why I always suggest that you take a series of direct measurement of the tank pH every hour or half hour throughout the photoperiod (and a few hours before) to assess the CO2 profile as a function of time. That will give you an idea of the reactors performance.

Cheers,
 

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