Staghorn Algae Challenge

Discussion in 'Algae' started by andyh, 1 Oct 2009.

  1. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Hello

    I am getting Staghorne in my tank, I have started to try and combat it but wanted to check i am heading down the right route.

    Firstly My Tank Spec.

    60l, 6 weeks old.
    2 water changes per week. (30%)
    ADA Amazonia Substrate,
    Tank temp 25c,
    Pressurised CO2 using glass diffuser, solenoid driven, on 2 hrs b4 lights off 1 hr before. (approx. 1.5 bpm)
    Glass drop checker using 4dkh solution (starts bluey green then by the end of the co2 period is pure green)
    Eheim external filter 10x turnover
    Hydor koralia nano 900lph
    Lighting 2 x 24w T5 on 7 hrs per day
    Air pump with air stone, running 14hrs over night.
    dosed Brighty K since day 1.
    Ferts, Just started dosing ADA Brighty step 1, 2 days ago.
    [​IMG]

    In attempt to counter act the Algae, i have done the following:

    1. Moved the Co2 diffuser under the Koralia to allow for better co2 distribution around the tank.
    2. I have now started dosing Ferts (ADA Brighty Step 1). I let the tank use the nutrient rich substrate for the first few weeks. I now think i should of added this a little earlier. Could there be a fert shortage which contributes to the algae.
    3. Remove all the Algae i can.

    Questions:

    1. Should i increase the amount of CO2 rate? After reading the Algae guides its suggest that Staghorne is caused by fluctuating CO2 levels or lack of maintenance of the filter. (My filter is cleaned regularly)
    2 Some UKAPS members have suggested that two much flow can be a problem as the plants cant get the co2/ferts could this be right?


    Any help or advice would be welcomed! :thumbup:

    Thanks

    Andy
     
  2. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

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    Location:
    N. Wales
    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    This is the part that initially caught my eye. My drop checkers tend to be closer to yellow, especially when the lights first come on. Personally, I would slowly increase the CO2 over the next couple of days, but keep an eye on your fish.

    In the short term, dosing a liquid carbon will rid you of the algae, and provide additional carbon.

    Too much flow can cause algae on plants, as several of us have found. For me, it occurs on plants closest to filter outlets and power heads.

    Dave.
     
  3. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Interesting, you have your CO2 DC yellow by the time your lights come on. I have never understood the optimum setting around this. SO if i gradually increase my CO2 so that its higher at the point the lights come on, this is better? o_O

    I have a bottle of easycarbo so will start to dose as per instructions. This is my first tank with pressurized CO2, is there any risk dosing Easycarbo and pressurized CO2 at the same time?

    For me, the Staghorne is all over the tank, not specifically around the outlets.
     
  4. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

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    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Using them both together will not cause any problems.

    It appears to me that you have plenty of flow around the tank, so I would concentrate on getting the levels of CO2 up.

    Dave.
     
  5. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge


    Good Point, Yes it would seem that way, i will slowly increase my CO2. I am beginning to think that having my air pump running all night contributes to the reduction of CO2. Maybe I should shorten the period its on. I took my inspiration on this from Armano and the fact that he lifts his lilly pipes at night to create aeration. Or maybe, due to this I should of increased the amount of CO2 at the beginning to compensate for this. o_O
     
  6. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    I have my DC green at lights on, then once it is yellow, i turn CO2 off (3hrs before lights out)

    personally, i prefer to dose all nutrients from day one as i know there wont be any limitations, AS is nutrient rich, but you can never be sure there is enough, especially with high lighting. nutrients dont tend to be related with staghorn, but never count it out.
     
  7. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    So i have increased the CO2 to 2bps and started dosing EasyCarbo i will keep an eye and report back. I have also set my solenoid to come on 3 hrs before the lighting to see if i can get the drop checker to change colour earlier.
     
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Here's part of your problem
    There is no way this is necessary. Degassing CO2 with the air pump put's you behind the concentration curve in the morning. That's why the checker is blue/green in the morning. You have an open top tank to begin, with so getting proper saturation at THE most critical time of the photoperiod is not possible unless you inject very high quantities or start the gas much earlier. This is a waste of gas so your consumption will be poor. Get rid of your air pump is my suggestion. I don't think that too much flow is your problem here at all in this case.


    Cheers,
     
  9. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    I kinda hoped you pop up on here, thanks for the advice, so you don't think i need it at all?
    I will turn it off, and see what happens. :thumbup:
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Well, the question is "Why do YOU think you need it?". You may have some very good reasons (or issues in the tank) that I know nothing about and would therefore possibly mislead you. I've never used air stones because, for me it's like turning the heating on while the window is open. Air stones absolutely don't help plants at all but they might help critters, so lets get to the root (so to speak) of what purpose or objectives you are trying to accomplish with this apparatus. ;)

    Cheers,
     
  11. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Ok, the logic behind the air pump is for two reasons in my mind:
    1. I wanted to create the best environment for my critters (fish and shrimps) as well as my plants, doing this in my mind helped eliminate the risk of too much CO2. I can now see that this would of helped get rid of lots of the CO2 thus meaning i would have to put more in. (fighting a loosing battle)
    2. After taking a fair amount of influence from Armano's work and the fact that on a number of his tanks he lifts the lilly pipes over night for circa 14hrs, I just took it a step further as I wouldn't be able to do it every day, albeit I automated it with a timer and air pump.

    I have decided that i will now run the set-up without the air pump and see if that does the job, with a view to not using it any longer.

    I have a question then, with regards to the CO2.

    When the lights come on, is the goal to have the CO2 levels high so that the plants cant start to use it straight away? This part confuses me slightly. o_O Currently i have my CO2 coming on approx 2 hrs b4 the lights. Is the goal to have the DC green 30ppm at the point the lights come on? I also appreciate that every tank is different and that depending on flow, number of plants, size of tank and lighting etc these all influence the amount of CO2 required and i have to work out what my tank requires by watching/working with it, but some general guidelines would be welcomed. :clap:

    My goal with all of this is to provide the best environment for my plants, fish and shrimps. With no Algae as I am a perfectionist. (dam it! :twisted: ) :lol:

    Thanks in advance :thumbup:
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    OK, well here's the thing about CO2: The more CO2 available to the plants the more oxygen is produced as a result of photosynthesis. During the photoperiod therefore the water can become saturated with oxygen which then gives you a reserve to hopefully last the night. There is a catch though; the plants do consume oxygen and so they compete with the critters for this so that by morning O2 levels would have fallen. This is the worst time for critters as there is low O2 levels and elevated residual CO2 levels. In some tanks, especially those with high stocking levels, it was found that oxygenation via air bubbles would alleviate this stress. So it's a matter of monitoring to see how the critters are responding. If they are not dependent on the air bubbles then you are wasting precious CO2 because this residual CO2 helps to get the levels up when you turn the gas on. The most important time for CO2 is lights on. This is where many people fail because it takes a tremendous amount of inertia to get complex plant systems going in the morning especially when you throw massive amounts of light their way. In natural systems the light intensity profile is gradual so this gives them time to get the machinery going, but we just hit a switch and viola, instant photon storm. Algae are much more capable of adjusting to this as they have simpler mechanisms. If the CO2 levels are high at lights on then the plants can immediately deal with the photon storm, but if it take 3 hours for the level to rise to a sufficient level then they are at a serious disadvantage.

    if you have multiple lights you can help the situation by only turning on some of them first. This reduces the CO2 demand. Remember that plants only need perhaps 5-6 hours or so of high CO2 levels - but that has to be at the front end of the photoperiod. You can shut the gas off earlier than is commonly practised and they will use that residual levels. Shutting off the gas earlier then helps to drop the residual levels sooner, but not so much that you are behind the power curve in the morning. Again, this is something you need to play with to determine the best fit. Timing is everything. If you have a bluish dropchecker at lights on this equates to instability. remember that the dropchecker has a 2-3 hour response lag so that means when you see the bluish/green that was the CO2 level 2-3 hours ago - which means it's even lower at that moment.

    Cheers,
     
    Ben C likes this.
  13. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Thanks very much, that single response has just helped me understand the basics i have been trying to get my head round for ages. This is the one thing that i think was missing from the CO2 section, what we need is a discription like above as a sticky post. There are stickies which explain how to set up pressurised CO2 but not how to effectively use it and why. Excllent response thanks very much.

    P.s What do you for a living? Are you some sort of Biology guru? :D
     
  14. James Marshall

    James Marshall Member

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    316
    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    I've never managed to get rid of staghorn by increasing the CO2 myself, but that's probably because i use way too much light. However I recently managed to eradicate it completely by overdosing liquid carbon for a few days, I think staghorn is particularly sensitve to Gluteralderhyde as it turns red then just crumbles away.

    3971805651_52850fd1a1_o.jpg

    Do be careful with overdosing if you have inverts in your tank, in which case it is best to slowly increase the dose on a daily basis.
    I would definately follow Clive's advice first, but as a last resort liquid carbon might be useful.

    Cheers
    James
     
  15. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Well i have made the changes suggested i.e increased the C02 bubble rate too 2bps and also started dosing Easycarbo.

    I am sure the situation is getting worse. here is my HC carpet now being taken over by Stag horne!

    [​IMG]

    my only concern is that my CO2 is not getting spread and the tank enough.

    little video to show my diffuser:
    http://gallery.me.com/hartandy#100549

    Any comments welcomed.
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Hi Andy,
    You'll probably need to overdose the Easycarbo. You didn't mention what color the dropchecker now is at lights on after you upped the CO2. If it's still blue/green you have increased it enough. Getting rid of algae is more difficult than avoiding it in the first place so you have to be extreme.

    Cheers,
     
  17. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Here is a pic of my tank today the Staghorne has finally taken over! :lol: :thumbup: :woot:
    594319_ca1c51b2.jpg

    Sorry Clive i don't think even you can sort this one! :oops:
     
  18. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Clive

    Ref the drop checker, i have increased the CO2 a little but still not convinced its enough. I have also moved the diffuser and Hydor power-head to allow for better distribution.
    [​IMG]
    The 'white specs' on the blackground are CO2 bubbles so i am now really happy with the spread of co2.
    However, when i come down to the tank the next day the drop checker is blue again. Its totally green by the time the lights come on, going to a greeny yellow. CO2 period currently 6 hrs which comes on 3 hrs b4 lights and lights are on 6hrs 2 x 24w t5.
    I am dosing easycarbo, but have shrimps so not over dosing too much.
    I also gave the tank a harsh pruning to clear a lot of algae covered bits.

    I still think that this indicates i am not putting enough CO2 in? What do you think? More Co2? (longer period or more bubble rate?)
     
  19. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    Hi Andy,
    You do need to get rid of the staghorn that's there. If you're inhibited in overdosing Easycarbo because of the shrimp then you'll have to attack it during water changes. Use a spray bottle or paint brush with the liquid diluted. JamesC suggests a 3:1 water to liquid mix. Spray directly on the expose areas when the water level is low, wait 5 minutes or so and then refill. Do this several times a week.

    Your filter outlet also seems as if it's just an open tube pointed along the long axis of the tank. I'll bet the plants on the far right are doing OK. Your problem however is on the lower left. The Koralia is good but the CO2 concentration will still be much weaker. This appears to be a distribution problem so I would try the spraybar mounted along the back wall so that your effluent comes towards the front glass and will be deflected down towards the substrate. Might also want to continue playing with the diffuser position as well.

    Cheers,
     
  20. andyh

    andyh Member

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    Re: Staghorne Algae Challenge

    I think in that case it may be worth catching my shrimp over the next few days and sticking them in my other tank and dosing hard with the easy carbo. Will this be a risk to my fish?
     

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