Help - Algae Outbreak!

Discussion in 'Algae' started by swackett, 29 May 2008.

  1. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    I recently decided to upgrade the 2x40w T8 tubes that came with the Roma 240 tank to 2x54w T5 tubes.
    At present the plants do not seem to be growing very fast and I have most forms of algae growing in the tank (e.g. hair, fuzz, green). I am using 4 kh solution in a drop checker and this indicates a nice green colour and with the new lights the plants are now pearling like mad which they did not do under the T8's, so I do not think co2 is a problem.

    I guess that nutrients are lacking in the tank and would like some help to try and determine how to remove the algae and so get the tank and plants back to looking their best.

    Any help much appreciated, thanks.

    Tank: Fluval Roma 240
    Lights: 2x54w T5 Arcadia Plant pro (lights on for 10 hours with 2 hour break)
    Filter: Fluval 305
    C02: JBL pressurised at 1 bps (on 1 hour before lights and off 1 hour before lights)
    Substrate: Sand/gravel over Tropica Plant Substrate
    Fertiliser: 20ml Tropica plant nutrition once a week
    Water Change: 10-15% once a week
    Nitrate: 7.5
    PH: 7
    KH: 8
    Phosphate: 0.25 (Rowaphos in filter)
    Iron: 0.1
     
  2. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Well two things that sprang to my attention were that you're dosing once a week meaning you have large amounts of nutrients which will then decline over the week. What you really want is stable conditions so maybe dosing more regularly would help with that. A number of people on here use Tropica Nutrition daily. Looking again it looks like you're using just TPN, not the one with Nitrates and Phosphates so are you dosing any macros? With higher lights and CO2 you'll need some macros.

    The other thing was the water changes. As you're having a few algae issues I'd up the water changes to 50% a week, maybe more often than that, syphoning off as much algae as possible.

    Oh and don't worry about the test kit readings. Nitrate, Phosphate and Iron tests are very inaccurate at the best of times.
     
  3. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Um...It also looks like you are actually trying to get rid of phosphates (Rowaphos?). This explains why you are having algae problems. As Ed says, all of your test kit readings are suspect, but if you are not alarmed at the fact that your nitrates are only reading 7.5 then I have to conclude that you fundamentally believe that nutrients cause algae. If you continue to believe that you'll never get rid of your algae.

    Another fundamental error is to assume that your CO2 is adequate just because your drop checker is green. It could be that you don't have enough flow or that you need it to be slightly yellow.

    Your algae problems will go away when you stop believing that Nitrates and Phosphates are bad. Algae is caused by the combination of ammonia and your 108 watts of T5.

    As you can see also, turning off your lights for 2 hours per day doesn't help.
    Have a close look at the sticky article in the algae section.

    You need to start doing 50% water changes at least twice a week for a while to lower the ammonia concentration and to lower remove algal spores. You also need to dose NPK, and quick.

    Cheers,
     
  4. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Thanks for the quick response and advice guys,

    We were initially told by our LFS that Rowaphos will remove phosphate which is the cause of algae, having read some of the articles on this very informative site I can now see this is inaccurate and will remove the Rowaphos straight away. I will also start to dose nutrients more regularly that 1 once a week to try and get a stable environment.

    We have some Seachem Potassium on order, should I also be thinking about getting a separate Iron supplement as well as Tropica Plant Nutrient + ?

    I know test kits are not 100% accurate, but should I be aiming for as an optimum level of nitrate and phosphate in the tank?
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Dependence on test kit readings will ultimately doom you. They actually can be 100% accurate on any given day and then 0% accurate on any other given day. The problem is that you never know which day is which. Do yourself a favor and put your test kits on the highest shelf in the house, out of your own reach.

    Having too much nutrients in the tank is never a problem. Having too little is the problem. If you dose the requisite amount of nutrients then you know that you have enough and you never have to measure it...ever. If you try to modulate the nutrient values between some minimum and maximum you will be riding on a hamster wheel endlessly testing and adjusting. I know it seems counterintuitive but you would do well to forget that you even know how to spell test kit. It wouldn't surprise me if the bozos in that LFS of yours had suggested test kits to you. Throw them away, get over it and lets get that tank sorted out. :D

    If you get TPN+ you won't need anything else because it contains NPK and traces. No other supplements needed.

    When you catch your breath have a read of this dosing article+> viewtopic.php?f=34&t=1211

    Remember to dose immediately after every water change. Hopefully you are doing at least a 50% water change at a frequency of at least twice a week.

    Cheers,
     
  6. planter

    planter Member

    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    Surrey
    Told you it was a good forum :D TPN+ will sort out your algae issues im sure.
     
  7. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Test Kit? - What's that !!

    Okay, I'll get TPN+ and start a dosing regime asap.

    I'm also thinking of getting substrate capsules as my Tropica substrate has been in the tank for 10 months and is probably running a little low on nutrients now.
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Sorry, No. Spend your money buying more plants or more cool gadgets like bigger filters or fancy glass doo-dads. These are aquatic plants and under high lighting they feed primarily through the leaves via the water column. Instead of capsules just dose more TPN+. Easy... :D

    Cheers,
     
  9. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Attaboy... :D
     
  10. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    I'm just wondering how people do a 50% water change, is there an easy way as that would be about 120L with my tank and will take a while using 14L buckets!

    Thanks,
     
  11. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
  12. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,301
    Location:
    London
    Have a look here: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=1729
     
  13. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Hi,

    Thanks for the information on the python , I think I'm going to make my own one from garden hose and hozelock connectors as my sink is about 20m from my tank!

    I've looked through the sticky in the Algae section and cannot see any information in there pointing to how long the lights should be on for. Could you point me in the right direction? Should I just keep the lights on for a solid 10 hours?

    Thanks for you help

    Steve
     
  14. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    I'm still trying to recall where this siesta concept came from and which threads the arguments against were offered. I think it might have been from a vendor website. In any case, a better lighting sequence for your plants would more appropriately simulate the normal diurnal sequence such that the day begins with low light-> increases to high noon -> then lowers to sunset. This is not a spiritual concept but instead is a practical one: In the morning we need to raise the CO2 level as quickly as possible so that the plants are not limited by the poor availability of the gas, but this is not always feasible due to the quantity of water and the inefficiency of the diffusers. So it is unlikely that there is the target 30 ppm concentration by the time the lights go on in the morning.

    More light always requires more CO2 - always, so instead of turning on the full lighting level, just turn on half and let that run for a few hours. This allows the CO2 concentration to ramp up but the lower lighting reduces the CO2 demand from the plants. After a few hours you can then have max lighting because the tank water will now be fully saturated. After a few hours of max lighting by late afternoon the plants will actually start to use less and will prepare to shut down for the night so you can again lower the light and shut off the CO2. This saves on the lighting bill if you are energy conscious.

    So you could have a lighting sequence like 50% power->100% power->50% power. The timing and intervals of the last two are less important than the first. Try to have 50% for the first two hours or so to give your diffusers a chance to get the tank saturated properly. This sequence idea is by no means cast in stone. As you gain experience you will have a better idea how to play with these factors to fit the plants and your lifestyle.

    There are a lot of chemical and physiological changes that occur both in higher plants and in algae during the change from night to day. Remember that photosynthesis and food production in plants is a very complicated affair involving hundreds of enzyme actions and probably thousands of individual chemical reactions which must all be choreographed by the plants regulatory systems. Because algae are of much simpler construction, they respond much more easily to lights on-off-on. Higher plants having much more complex systems are at a disadvantage when the lights are suddenly shut off and then turned back on. Think about the fuel efficiency of your car when you are in heavy start-stop-start traffic as opposed to being out on the motorway. There is simply no advantage to shutting down the lights in the middle of the photoperiod and there are arguably, disadvantages.

    "Noonday Siestas" should be thrown out on the same rubbish tip as the "LFS lower your phosphates" philosophy.

    Cheers,
     
  15. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Thanks for the reply,

    The problem is that I only have 2x54w tubes in the Roma and these are on the same control unit so cannot control the tubes separately. In this case is it best to have the lights on without a break for 10 hours? I guess the siesta thing is another way some people attain to having successfully limited algae growth.

    I am buying a 4x24w Arcadia luminaire for my other tank and will set this up as recommended on the “Setting up a higher tech planted tank” article (i.e 50% for 4 hours, 100% for 2 hours and 50% for the remaining 4 hours).

    Would you recommend using Flourish Excel after prunning / water change? I have read this helps limit algae growth and therefore it is a good idea to dose when the tank changes.
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Yes, if you cannot control the lamps individually then go ahead and simply delete the siesta. What you can do for the moment is just limit the total duration by an hour or two and to turn your gas on even earlier to ensure higher CO2 concentration levels by the time lights go on. There is no way algae growth will be limited by implementation of siesta. Algal growth can only be limited by manipulating the environment so as to optimize plant health. Since turning off the lights stops food production in plants there is no advantage per se, however if you are also starving your plants of their basic nutritional requirements then there is limited food production anyway so this may help slow algae during the dark periods. :? But this is is like starving you kids and then limiting their exercise so that they don't use up what little energy they have.

    Excel is a good, if expensive product that provides an alternative supply of CO2. Profito Easycarbo is an identical product which I believe is a little less expensive. The form of this CO2 is in a complex which most higher plants can metabolize but which algae cannot. It is a highly toxic product (so keep kids away) and is also toxic to algae and some plants. As a result it can be used to help rid the tank of some algae and at the same time help to supplement your gas injection.

    You can dose it daily and at water change to help but by itself it doesn't solve the problem. All other efforts must be in place such as proper nutrient dosing and tank cleaning, physical algae removal etc. There is no relation to pruning. This is strictly an alternative CO2 source with mild algecidal properties.

    Cheers,
     
  17. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Just spent the last 4 hours removing algae infested plants/leaves, did a 50% water change with bucket (not sorted out syphon yet) and planted lots more Rotala Rotundifolia, Rotala wallichii, Hygrophila poly "rosanervig" amoungst others so we now have a lot more of substrate covered with plants (about 80%).

    Inserted JBL balls in substrate for swords and moved the filter inlet to the same side of tank as the outlet, and removed Rowaphos from filter.

    Finally dosed with Excel and TPN+ (5ml per day to start with and will increase 10ml per day)

    Fingers crossed :)
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    5 ml TPN per day on a 240L may be insufficient. Check this thread for some TPN+ dosing ideas: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1386

    Cheers,
     
  19. swackett

    swackett Member

    Messages:
    439
    Location:
    Epsom, Surrey
    Thanks,
    Yeah at the suggested dose of 1ml per 20l I should be adding 12ml per day.

    Cheers,
     
  20. planter

    planter Member

    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    Surrey
    any chance of some tank pics steve? before and afters are always useful for reference.
     

Share This Page

Facebook Page
Twitter Page
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice