People's thoughts on wood causing algae

Mark Keetch

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So I'm doing 2 x 75% WCs weekly, the light I have is only on 60% intensity, I'm ferting 30ml daily of TNC complete and I have circulation round the whole tank with an in tank Bazooka C02 diffuser.

Nearly all my plants have new weekly algae on them, so does the rocks and even the Nerite snails are covered in algae. The glass however isn't too bad.

I have very few fish in the tank (6 rummeynoses, 4 lemon tetra, 6 silver tip tetra, 3 ember tetra, 3 ottos, 13 amano, 3 corys). So the fish load isnt massive but yet every week the sponges and media in the external filter are caked in brown gunk and the sponge in the Eheim surface cleaner is blocked with gunk too.

The wood in the tank is very old and they weren't bought from a reputable place like AG. Think they were Ebay jobbies from years and years ago. A mate of mine suggested maybe it's the wood that is causing the algae and gunk issues I got.

I'm planning a rescape in the next few weeks and wanted to get your guy's thoughts on the wood causing the issues. If it could be the wood then I'm thinking of going for an all rock, no wood scape next.
 

alto

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Possible re a few ‘wood heavy extraordinary algae’ recent topics here ... should be easy enough to lift a piece and give it a scrub with a stiff brush - if you seen loads of brown gunk coming off o_O
 

Mark Keetch

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Possible re a few ‘wood heavy extraordinary algae’ recent topics here ... should be easy enough to lift a piece and give it a scrub with a stiff brush - if you seen loads of brown gunk coming off o_O
So if brown gunk/dust comes off it when I scrub it, get rid of it? Its probably not helping with the algae issue
 

Kezzab

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Hi, is this the 300ltr tank? If so thats about a more than double EI eqivalent fert dose isnt it?

If its old wood, with no bark, i think tje decomposition has limited impact other than cosmetic - @dw1305 has covered this.

You also dont say what type of algae, very broadly when i get black/red alage it tends to be coz the tank is grotty, but green is more light related. That could just be a quack theory though.

If you are planning a rescape anyway can you just remove the wood and see if the tank recovers?
 

alto

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So if brown gunk/dust comes off it when I scrub it, get rid of it? Its probably not helping with the algae issue
That depends, if you like the wood, scrub to remove the loose/soft top layer - if you get to harder wood underneath, I’d keep using the wood
If you find the wood is nothing but rotten (soft), then it’s more likely contributing to excess organics

It looks like nice wood, so I’d hesitate to discard it

Is it possible to remove the wood without taking down the scape?
 

Mark Keetch

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Hi, is this the 300ltr tank? If so thats about a more than double EI eqivalent fert dose isnt it?

If its old wood, with no bark, i think tje decomposition has limited impact other than cosmetic - @dw1305 has covered this.

You also dont say what type of algae, very broadly when i get black/red alage it tends to be coz the tank is grotty, but green is more light related. That could just be a quack theory though.

If you are planning a rescape anyway can you just remove the wood and see if the tank recovers?
Hey. Yeah it's the 300 litre tank. A few others have told me 30ml daily is too much too. Specially seeing my plants arent at full density yet. I got advised by AG and couple of guys on here to dose that much. But maybe they meant to dose that much once the plants are fully grown.
So the algae I believe is BBA and staghorn on the stems, bolbitis/ferns, Buces and rocks. But only the lower down Buces are affected. The Buces higher up, closer to the light dont have any algae on them. And there's GSA on the anubias.
Thing with removing the wood without a rescape is I have quite a few plants attached to and wedged between the wood.

That depends, if you like the wood, scrub to remove the loose/soft top layer - if you get to harder wood underneath, I’d keep using the wood
If you find the wood is nothing but rotten (soft), then it’s more likely contributing to excess organics

It looks like nice wood, so I’d hesitate to discard it

Is it possible to remove the wood without taking down the scape?
Ok I can try scraping down the wood til I get all the loose stuff off. And unfortunately removing the wood removes a lot of area that plants are attached to or wedged between.
 

alto

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Drop the water level and do some test scraping on exposed wood
 

Mark Keetch

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Drop the water level and do some test scraping on exposed wood
On the higher up pieces of wood yeah?
Another good thing about rescaping too is at the moment I got no more room to add more fast growing stem plants with the layout I got going. So with a rescape I can create more room to add more fast growers. Maybe that'll help with the algae
 

Tim Harrison

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I've had a mare with a couple of recent scapes. Wood disintegrating at a rate faster than the system could handle. Result, high organics and massive algae infestation.
Also, I've had fungal growth on wood that I'm sure has released phytotoxin and inhibited plant growth and negatively impacted on plant health to the advantage of algae too.
As soon as I removed the wood and rescaped order was restored.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If its old wood, with no bark, i think tje decomposition has limited impact other than cosmetic
Wood disintegrating at a rate faster than the system could handle. Result, high organics and massive algae infestation.
Also, I've had fungal growth on wood
My guess is that a lot of the wood being sold now <"wasn't dead when it was harvested"> and it still contains sap etc., which add to the BOD and contribute to its more rapid decay.

You really want the "heart wood", which is denser and more lignified, making it much more resistant to decay. You can see the effect in this stag-headed Oak, the sap wood has rotted away leaving the visible "horns" of heart wood.

2430301_1e694692-jpg.jpg


cheers Darrel
 

Mark Keetch

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I've had a mare with a couple of recent scapes. Wood disintegrating at a rate faster than the system could handle. Result, high organics and massive algae infestation.
Also, I've had fungal growth on wood that I'm sure has released phytotoxin and inhibited plant growth and negatively impacted on plant health to the advantage of algae too.
As soon as I removed the wood and rescaped order was restored.
Ah ha....so you had the same issue. I think maybe it is the wood you know. I've had it for years and years and I think I got them off eBay so wasn't from a reputable place like AG. Might need to take the rocks I got down to AG and use their dryscape tank to figure out what other bits of wood to buy or maybe just leave it as an iwagumi tank.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I've had it for years and years
If it has been wet for some, or all, of that time? If it has then it won't have much <"easily biodegradable material left">, so it might just be a case of it physically degrading and sloughing off bits of wood. The fragments won't be very polluting in themselves, but will clog the filter, look unsightly etc.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

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I had and have aquariums dominantly scaped with wood from several origins. I experienced spider wood degrading fastest off all. Could be because of what Darrel @dw1305 says because it is harvested fresh and likely not fully dried before it goes to the trade and into aquariums. I know from woodworkers that it can take years for fresh wood to fully dry and be manageable to work with properly. Likely depending on the size.

I have one thank that has quite a lot of BBA growing, mainly on the wood, have different wood types in it and the BBA doesn't seem to discriminate it grows on all of it. I'm not sure i can state that it's the wood causing it, i rather believe the wood is an ideal medium for algae to grow on. Wood is organic matter is an ideal medium for a nutrient rich biofilm and biofilm and algae and mosses and other epiphytes have a symbiotic relationship and favour each other. I guess the cause is algae are introduced and i gave it a perfect medium to thrive. Could very well be that softer types of wood are even more ideal mediums.

Then 1 + 1 makes 2, loads of wood, a lot of surface space that favours biofilm and thus also algae growth if there is nothing else growing in place. My current dominant wood setup that's about 5 years old now has about 80% of all wood covered with Anubias, what is not covered with plants, grows BBA. Now i have much more Anubias growing and spreading and fewer algae-covered surfaces than 3 years back. :) What catches my eye is the places to dark for Anubias to spread to naturally does have BBA. Could mean, BBA has a much lower light compensation point then Anubias.
 

Tim Harrison

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Ah ha....so you had the same issue. I think maybe it is the wood you know. I've had it for years and years and I think I got them off eBay so wasn't from a reputable place like AG. Might need to take the rocks I got down to AG and use their dryscape tank to figure out what other bits of wood to buy or maybe just leave it as an iwagumi tank.
The first time was with oak, the second azalea root (spider wood). Before that I've never had any issues. Although I do tend to chuck a lot of hardscape, both wood and rocks at my scapes, perhaps too much wood to water volume.

However, I've never had any problems with proper bog wood or manzi. So if you can take your rocks to AG and mess around in the sand box it'd be a good opportunity to try out both types.
 

zozo

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erhaps too much wood to water volume.
Good valid point!? I kinda experienced the same with Mopani, 9 kilo's of it in a 110-litre tank, i guess volume wise 30%. And that's also a wood that never water before. The wood leached like mad and the tank suffered a massive coffee brown slimy filamentous algae outbreak in the first 6 months, then slowly decline and go away. But not long after it was replaced with BBA, not that much but definitively something permanent. I tried everything but - Resistance is futile. I learned to live with it and look past it, it's part of the tank. And as said above since there are more and more plants spreading BBA is at its decline. :)
 

Mark Keetch

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Thanks for your help guys. A lot of info to take in, as always. Lol.
It makes it more difficult with me not knowing what wood it is. There is no algae growing on the wood itself and I'm now starting to think the wood might be causing the build up in the filter but not causing the algae issue I have. I think that is caused by me ferting too much. I know over ferting doesn't cause algae, but it does feed any algae that is there. I'm ferting the amount I should be ferting with a fully dense plant load, which at the moment I am long way from. So I think I will drop the ferts a bit and then increase again as the plants start getting to their full density.

As for the wood that is in there, I am planning on the rescape next weekend so I cant see AG being open by then for me to go play in the sand box. So I'll take @alto advice about scraping all the loose bits of wood off until I hit hard wood, rescape using the wood, then if I'm still getting issues with gunk build up, when AG reopens, I'll buy some pieces of proper wood from them that are as close to the size and shape of the pieces I already have, and replace them.
 

Ray

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It’s possible the wood is a red herring. BBA is usually triggered by CO2 fluctuations - for example if you run out of CO2 and don’t notice for a day or if you run the lights right after a water change rather than letting the tank settle overnight. I’ve also had it just because I neglected maintenance for a while - hard to separate there being more gunk vs un pruned plants causing dead spots and sucking up more CO2 - but with 2 WC/week it sounds like you are definitely not doing that.

See James algae guide:

http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm
 

nigel bentley

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Hi Mark, When I first set up my tank, I got Bba on my wood. Not really sure if the wood was the cause or Bba but glass and plants were fine in the main.

To eradicate this I took the wood out and placed into a bucket of nearly boiling water and left for 30 mins. I then gave the wood a light scrub with a old tooth brush to loosen the Bba. A light scrub helped my not digging into the wood.
I then put the wood back into the tank. Some Bba was still there, but had turned a light pinkish colour. It disappeared totally in a few days and I assume the nerite snails at it. I see you also have some snails.

Mark, Iam in no way an expert but this worked for me. I'm New to aquascaping, but there are some really great people on this site.
Stay safe
Nigel
 
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