Losing the Battle to Staghorn/Red Algae

Jon Reid

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Hey guys

Here is my tank. It is a 110 litre tank, with an Oase Biomaster 350 and CO2 in line diffusor. It has been running for about 8 months.

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Over the past month, I have been losing the battle against what appears to be some form of red algae. It has attached itself to every plant, even the stems:

image0.jpg


image1.jpg


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Nothing I've attempted so far has helped - upping the light, reducing the light, upping or reducing flow or CO2. Dosing directly with carbon kills that specific area but it comes back bigger.

Any suggestions will be very welcome.
 
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Jon Reid

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Hey Ryan, sorry the pics didn't load. I had to modify the link a bit. They're up now. The light I'm using is a Fluval Fresh and Plant 500mm, running at about 70% at the moment for 8 hours a day, but with a ramp on and off, so effectively 7 hours at full power.

I'm dosing daily with Easy-Life ProFito as well as Easy Life Easycarbo to try get rid of the algae.

With the exception of the algae, the plants in the tank all look in good shape and are growing quickly
 
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Keith GH

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Jon

It might help if you supply us with every detail about your tank and it's inhabitants. With the Water Parameters how was the test done.
Filter brand and size plus how often is it cleaned also are you using carbon in the filter.
Your tap water parameters.
Water changes what percentages and how often?
Feeding amount and how often?.
Is the tank getting any natural lighting?
Co2 every thing including the colour.

Some where in the above is the cause of your problem

Keith:wave::greenfinger:
 

Jon Reid

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Hi Keith

Here are some of the parameters:

Filter: Oase Biomaster Thermo 350. I’ve kept the setup standard but replaced the biological media with Seachem pebbles. The filter is cleaned monthly. The bioload of my fish is quite small so the filter is never dirty.

Water Changes: 50% once a week.

Feeding: twice a day. I use a small pinch of Fluval Bugbites for nano fish as stable and the second feeding is either 1/4 cube of frozen brine shrimp or a pinch of tetra min or a couple of fluval bug bites for cichlids.

Fish: 13 cardinal tetra, 6 Pygmy corydorus, 3 apistagramma, 2 CPD, 3 Ottos, 6 Ammano shrimp.

Parameters: ph 6.8, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates.

The water is hard as I use tap water from London.

The tank gets no direct sunlight, but it is near a window so it picks up indirect light. Oddly, the algae is concentrated on the side furthest from the window.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
6 Pygmy corydorus
I'm a <"Pygmy Corydoras"> fan as well.

This is a problem that nearly all of us have had at some point and plant health and growth looks pretty good.

I don't know how you feel about snails, but Ramshorn snails will control Red algae in the longer term <"by grazing off the biofilm">, but they won't eat the obvious tufts.

The first thing to say is we don't know what causes "outbreaks" of either Red Algae. We have a a couple of fairly extensive threads, <"What exactly causes..."> which would be worth a read (particularly if there is nothing on TV).

We think there may be a relationship between organic waste build up in the filter (particularly for Stagshorn Algae), but we aren't entirely sure. Have a look at <".....Shallow cube...">
I’ve kept the setup standard but replaced the biological media with Seachem pebbles.
Does it still have the fine sponges? Have a look at <"Biomaster 250">, I'm a great fan of easy clean pre-filters, but <"I like a coarser sponge">.

cheers Darrel
 

Jon Reid

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Thanks Darrel, I'll look into replacing the fine sponges in the pre-filters. I have actually read that thread before as I occasionally get the problem of the filter sucking in air. I think you are probably on to something regarding organic waste in the filter as one possible contributing factor to the problem is my surface skimmer sucking in food before the fish have had a chance to eat it.

In terms of removing what is there, I've soaked the plants that can easily be removed in a bucket of water and high dosages of carbon. I've also applied carbon directly to problem areas during a big water change when the plant areas are directly exposed. How would you go about treating more sensitive plants like the crypts?

In terms of the advice on stag horn algae, some advice says to increase the water flow and ensure there is enough CO2. My CO2 indicator is green for about 4 hours of the lighting period. In terms of flow, the problem only exists in areas where there is flow. In areas that are blocked off from flow, there doesn't appear to be a problem. I've experimented by swapping the position of the inlet and outlet and it confirmed my suspicion. The algae disappeared from areas that were previously in flow (in the line of fire from the lilly pipe) whilst it grew in areas that were previously clear.
 

Witcher

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In terms of flow, the problem only exists in areas where there is flow. In areas that are blocked off from flow, there doesn't appear to be a problem.
Hi @Jon Reid , it probably means that your plants in area of higher flow are bombarded with small particles of DOC, detritus etc. and that is what makes nice place to settle for algae.
I also see a lots of curled leaves on the stem plants in your tank - whenever I see unnaturally curled leaves in my tanks, I look at the levels of Ca, K an Cl (plus Mg in relation to Ca, if you use London tap water you probably have only minimal amounts of Mg and massive amounts of Ca and Cl in the water).
 

Witcher

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@dw1305 Hey Darrel,

I'm afraid it's not corrected, looks like you've missed colon after "https" and the link is still broken.
 

Witcher

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Let's have another go.
I've quickly glanced through that link and there is quite interesting statement:
Potassium deficiency allows staghorn to colonize leaves. K deficiency also causes necrosis.
which seems to be related with my thoughts in post 8: I look at the levels of Ca, K an Cl - so we have curled leaves covered with stag horn algae and both causes may be related with K.
 

Jon Reid

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Thanks for the advice Witcher. Do you have any suggestions for how to correct this? Would it just mean dosing with more magnesium?
 

rebel

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Hi all, I'm a <"Pygmy Corydoras"> fan as well.

This is a problem that nearly all of us have had at some point and plant health and growth looks pretty good.

I don't know how you feel about snails, but Ramshorn snails will control Red algae in the longer term <"by grazing off the biofilm">, but they won't eat the obvious tufts.

The first thing to say is we don't know what causes "outbreaks" of either Red Algae. We have a a couple of fairly extensive threads, <"What exactly causes..."> which would be worth a read (particularly if there is nothing on TV).

We think there may be a relationship between organic waste build up in the filter (particularly for Stagshorn Algae), but we aren't entirely sure. Have a look at <".....Shallow cube..."> Does it still have the fine sponges? Have a look at <"Biomaster 250">, I'm a great fan of easy clean pre-filters, but <"I like a coarser sponge">.

cheers Darrel
I agree with these sentiments. These outbreaks are essentially an unknown cause or the cause appears to be different for each tank. Change the obvious factors one by one if you are interested in finding something. Sometimes you won't find a single cause.

Cleaning filter and gravel vac is an obvious starting point and then reduce light by 20%, removing algae aggressively etc etc
 

Witcher

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Would it just mean dosing with more magnesium?
Hey Jon,

I'd definitely add Magnesium in sulphate form (Epsom salts) and Potassium if you don't do it (K either as a sulphate or nitrate, rather avoid chloride) - Profito contains only trace amounts of K and Mg and it seems you need to add more, especially at your water hardness, plus what @rebel mentioned I'd clean the filter and especially gravel trying to suck out as much debris as you can form that carpet - from my experience I know there are tonnes of debris in the carpets.
 

Jon Reid

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Thanks very much for the feedback and suggestions everyone. What I’m going to do is go with one suggestion at a time and monitor for 2 weeks. This way I should be able to isolate the problem. I’ve started with a big clear out of debri, basically a full stripping of the filter and gravel vac. I’ll up my frequency of a filter clean. If this solves the problem, I’ll still try the next suggestion which is adding magnesium. It sounds like it will benefit my plants.

Cheers guys!
 

Conort2

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Thanks very much for the feedback and suggestions everyone. What I’m going to do is go with one suggestion at a time and monitor for 2 weeks. This way I should be able to isolate the problem. I’ve started with a big clear out of debri, basically a full stripping of the filter and gravel vac. I’ll up my frequency of a filter clean. If this solves the problem, I’ll still try the next suggestion which is adding magnesium. It sounds like it will benefit my plants.

Cheers guys!
Sounds like a good idea. I’d start upping the magnesium straight away too if I were you. I have London tap and have to dose a load of magnesium to stop issues forming with older leaves. Crypts especially love the extra magnesium. They’re always a good indicator for me if their older leaves start looking bad it means I need to add abit more magnesium. It’s cheap to buy as it’s just Epsom salts, which you can get everywhere.

cheers

Conor
 
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From the numerous symptoms that are observable from the picture, the water is most likely hard, likely very high Ca and very low B.

L. "red" - sides of leaves curl heavily under which is a symptom of -B. -B can be induced with very high Ca concentrations.
Crypts - leaf margins are wavy which is a symptom of -Zn. Same with -B, it can be induced by high Ca concentrations.

The algae colonizing the leaf margins are likely a symptom of -Zn.

None of these symptoms are a result of -K.
 
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