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Juwel 180, Long'ish Brown Aglae Threads. Inc Photos


23 Apr 2011
Tank specifications - Juwel 180 Vision / 123litres.
Lighting - T8 2x 25w (As of two days ago Changed from 2xT5 35w).
Lighting period- 7 hours day.
CO2 - Excel Flourish daily 6ml.
Filtration – Standard juwel compact Bioflow 3.0 filtation system including Bioflow 600 pump
Fertilisation routine – Flourish ¾ single dose twice a week, Flourish iron ½ single dose twice week , flourish trace ¾ single dose once a week.
Water used – Tap water which is hard 133.7 mg/l ca, Nitrate 20 mg/l no2, Potassium 10.2 mg/l k, Phosphorus 822 µg/l P/l. 25% water change weekly.
Water temp- 24c.
Tank critters- Glow light danio, X-ray tetra, Green fire tetra, Corys, 5 amano shrimps x5. (Tank is up to the limit with fish stock when they all fully grown)

Tank photos with OLD T5 lamps a few days ago.


Close ups Left hand side.
Close up Right hand side near filter.

Polysperma close up (sure the snails love eating this plant, always have holes in leaves!)

The tank has been setup for about 1.5 years.

Up until a few days ago I had the 2xT5 35w lamps above which I knew where too bright but have now managed to change for some T8 25w type lamps x2. This I am hoping will help a great deal. With lower CO2 need and slower growth.

98% of the algae grows on the back 3D background and the plants stay mostly clear, but it is spreading on the back ground and not looking very nice (wish it was a green algae if I had to choose I could probably put up with that).
It looks like BBA but it is a lot longer and more like a hair type algae. It is soft and slimey to the touch and grows to about a couple of cm’s or so.
When out of the tank it has a brown/black, dark green look to it (some websites says BBA grows to 0.5cm.) http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

I have read most of the forums with regards to BBA (which I am not positive it is) and that it is a CO2 issue.

Steps I have taken so far.

1) I tried shielding light with diffusers- did not really work. (so changed the lamps to T8 from T5)

2) I cut down the time from 10 hours 6 to 8 months ago to 7 hrs – Helped a small amount I think.

3) Dosed excel 3x dose for a week – did not really do anything to the algae.

4) Spot dosed onto the algae – killed algae BUT also bleached the 3D back ground permanently which looked terrible (would not use back ground again even though it looks very nice to start with).

5) I would have more shrimp but the little sods keep stealing the corys food.

What is this algae?

Without getting into CO2 gas and RO water is there anything else I can do ? Any advice. Comments please?

Please ask if you need more information or if I have not made myself clear 🙂 (I hope I have not made this post too long)
Yer I thought reducing the light would be a good thing, The fish seem to like it better too and swim a lot closer to the top part of the tank than before (think the T5's where just too much light).

Water changes are once a week and around 34L which is about 28% (123L Full)

The filter is not too bad and is easy to change as they just pull out on a catridge and can then can be replaced and sloted back in.
BBA is believed to be triggered by fluctuating co2 levels. As you are dosing a liquid carbon product you are not so much low light - low tech, but more low light - medium tech. The weekly water changes could be contributing towards the algae problem. JPT, suggests cutting back on water changes in non co2 tanks, and increasing flow/co2 in co2 enriched tanks.


If you were not dosing the liquid carbon then water changes would be less often and small amounts, which would help with maintaining stable co2 levels.

7 hours is plenty, I'm not sure there are many people here running anywhere near 10 hours. Mark Evans's latest journal I think was down to 5- 5.5 hours per day. You could always shave an hour off to help. Floating plants are also something else to consider to provide some shady spots.

The textured backgrounds will affect flow too.
One thing I have learned from different forums, and I think it helps is to let the change water sit for a few days before use so any dissolved c02 can be released.
When I first started the tank I did not want to go down the co2 route, either gas or liquid at all but bright T5 lights forced me (wish I had the option of T8 from the start) as the plant all started to die.

Maybe dropping the light time will help ?? And is something extra to think about.

But I am really crossing my fingers that the light intensity change will do the trick as there should be a massive difference in light intensity now.

I have even thought about doing a blackout for a few days using some pond liner hanging over just the 3d background, so it only affects that and not the plants. There is so much mixed information if a blackout would work or not on bba? Some say yes and others say it did nouthing.

Also I cant work out why the 2-3x dose of excel dose not seem to work in my tank, like other people have used.
I know light/UV affects the half life of excel from seachems website, so I am wondering if now that I have less light and co2 needs for the plants the excel might be more effective?
Hi mate

Hope you get it sorted mate its a pain i had the same .

I,m low tech and just have vallis and java moss . I,m new to the plants in tanks and had a problem with the same type of algae as you .
No co2.
I just did a 40 % water change , dosed with excell and in 2 days the algae went rusty red then died off . Theres still a tiny bit in the tank but i,m not to bothered about a tiny bit .

Just a thought ...... could you turn off the co2 for a week , do the 40% water change and just dose with excell starting with the higher dose rate like on the bottle ?
It worked for me so might be worth a shot .

Yes this algae is a bit of a pain and I hope I get it sorted out soon too. 🙂 I wish my excel worked as well as yours did in your tank:?

I do not use co2 only excel and I have tried a 5x dose after a large water change and then I did a 3x for a week , it did not seem to do anything to the algae. There must be something in my water which stops it being so effective or the excel is not at its best??? I wish i knew
To nuke BBA with liquid carbon it's best brushed directly, I use a toothbrush.

I've not had to resort to any blackouts so can't comment on how effective it would be.

How is the flow around that tank with the internal, internal? Can you improve it?
Reducing lighting intensity and duration is a good move especially in a low energy tank, I did pretty much the same as you and have not suffered algae since, although I didn't suffer your particular species, but had small amounts of thread, brown, fuzz, green spot and stags horn algae.

However, I remain to be convinced about this CO2 water change business. Granted the theory behind it is convincing but IME nothing could be further from the truth. I change around 30% - 50% of the water in my low energy tank twice a week, and the tank remains pretty much algae free.
I might just give a blackout a try to see how it goes. As with the pond liner just over the background at least the other plants will not suffer.

I did have some of plant blocking the flow a little at the background but I am keeping on top of that more now. And at least with lower light the growth should be slower growing.

Troi said:
However, I remain to be convinced about this CO2 water change business. Granted the theory behind it is convincing but IME nothing could be further from the truth. I change around 30% - 50% of the water in my low energy tank twice a week, and the tank remains pretty much algae free.

Do you use co2 at all in this tank? As I have read in not just adding co2 its about keeping it constant level either high or low.
or try doing water changes when your tank lights are off.
darren636 said:
or try doing water changes when your tank lights are off.
For that to work would you not have to leave the light off over night after the water change. So the co2 could off gas without lights.
As if you water changed in the dark and then you turned the light on the extra co2 will still be available to the plants would it not?
Do you use co2 at all in this tank? As I have read in not just adding co2 its about keeping it constant level either high or low.

Hi no I do not use CO2 injection in my tank nor inorganic carbon.
Well I did a 5 day blackout over the background using a bit of pond liner and ................. it did not work 🙁

But it was still worth a try as it easy and it did not affect any other plants.
I'd ditch the background (there is something biochemical going on with it that's exciting the algae) and use one outside of the tank. I just use a black plastic thingy I attach to the wall behind the tank. It gives it the necessary backdrop to set of the colours of the plants and critters and being a few cm from the back of the tank it gives the scaping greater depth as well.

Thanks for you reply Troi

And I agree so what I have done now is, I have removed the juwel background from the tank which has now removed maybe 99.8% of the BBA (let it try to grow now out of water..ha…ha :lol: ) and the rest can be spot treated with excel.

I loved the background and what it did to my tank looks wise. But it is just an algae magnet, and is either attracting algae with its make up or it just makes it real hard to kill it by not making it very cleanable.
I have read other forums where people are having the same problem with this background. And just thought to myself enough is enough.

With the back ground gone it has given me an extra 13% water in the tank and more swimming space for the fish, better flow and I think in the end it was going to be my only solution.