• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up

Struggling to grow anything that doesn't end up having algae issues


9 Oct 2020
Hi All,
For the past couple of mouths now I have been running into so may issues with my plants. when I have purchased new plants I wash them with clean water before adding into the aquarium to get rid of any nasty bugs or algae. once the plants are planted they look stunning in the tank and show amazing signs of growth but the issue I'm facing is algae. I have added some photos below of the issue's I am facing and to be completely honest I'm thinking of pulling up my hole carpet plants of mini hair grass as this has not taken off at all in my aquarium. The root's are amazing and spreading like there's no tomorrow and also Producing new runners but the grass itself is brown instead of vivid green. The mini hair grass has been in my tank now for the past 8-9 months and its just not coloured up as much as I would have liked and its making the tank just look dirty and unattractive but would be such a shame to take it all out after the hard work of waiting for it to carpet and the time it took to plant.

I have Co2 on an automatic timer which come's on at 4am-9pm the co2 checker is lime green and has Neva changed in colour.

My only down side with the tank is the algae that seems to reappear also the carpeting plants that just don't take off at all. Its so frustrating as I have never had this issue before and have felt that I have done nothing different then I would normally do. I have had a full carpet of monte Carlo in a fluval flex with co2 and that was amazing no issue's no algae looked amazing. but now I have moved to a larger aquarium it seems like its so stubborn that carpeting plants just don't wanna grow.

My first idea that I really wanted to do is have a lovely carpet of monte Carlo on the bottom of the tank which I could trim and shape that failed as it all melted back and didn't produce any new growth. so decided after some advice from a local aquatic store to move onto mini draft hair grass to have as a carpeting plant which looked amazing once planted but yh not taken off in the way I thought it might of had. I do trim the grass once a week on the days that the water change and filter clean and also glass cleaning which is every Sunday.

wile this has been going on I have been speaking to my local scape nature plant specialist about this and they seem to be baffled why this maybe happening to me and they have advised me that I'm doing everything correct and I have done anything to off balance the aquarium for this to happen and have spoken with them about my lighting my substrate my filter media and they have advised me also that all correct and fine I'm just so disheartened that I don't know what elc to do. So thought to reach out to everyone on here to get some pointers and advice as I would really love some help.

Yesterday I did a water test just to see if there was anything that I maybe missing and nothing has come back and all look's spot on.

List of house mate's in the tank
6x Corydoras Sterbai
1x torpedo barb
6x cardinal Tetra
1x Bulldog Pleco
1x female Siamese fighting fish (Super Friendly)
5x celestial pearl danios
4x Otocinclus Catfish
1x Rabbit snail
8x Rainbow Fish

Thankyou to everyone for there help and advice I do apricate it.


  • 91E69618-82AD-4370-ACAC-E70923B4EAED.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 363
  • 90552530-41CE-42DE-AF47-8AAABD9CF182.jpeg
    1.3 MB · Views: 283
  • 7099767C-04EC-4C0F-9E9E-5589BDF75A56.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 271
My go-to suspect for bad algae problems is too much light. Can you please describe your lighting setup for us in terms of type of lights and how they are being controlled? Your CO2 is on for 17 hours per day which is much too long. Back off both CO2 and lighting to a max of 6 hours per day until you get things under control.
Hi Andy,
Yes sure I have a Twinstar 900s light unit on a automatic set timer which come on at 8am.
The light setting's I have it on is
This is connected to a timer dimmer.


  • 15FB201A-24E4-40C2-9C7A-5D1A8312DA9E.jpeg
    1.4 MB · Views: 259
My best guess, upon looking at this video: ELEOCHARIS ACICULARIS MINI (Expectations)

Is that (assuming it’s the same tank) the plant mass is very low, and the light duration is quite long. I’d remove the leaves which are really suffering with algae; I’d go and get a lot more plants too. I’d go at hardscape with a toothbrush, vigorously.
Is the Hairgrass actually brown, or is it covered with brown algae?
How big are your weekly water changes?
Your drop checker never changes colour; does that include after the CO2 turns off? And after lights-out?
A pH profile would be useful.
Hi Castle,
I have added a couple new plants to the tank as the photo above shows the newly added plant has started to grow algae. I tend to trim the plants to replant so there more of a bulk. with the algae issue to hand if I was to scrub with a tooth brush would that cause more issues as the fine algae may move across the tank? also I would also be doing a water change. with the hair grass is it wise to remove it all then start trimming back the plants that are showing signs of algae also to replace the hair grass along the road once everything has been resolved? I can take a photo of the tank in a sec for you to see.
The co2 does change colour to blue when water changes are done then goes back to lime green. Also the co2 checker does turn a different colour once co2 is off.

also the mini hairgrass is a brown dead look with green shoots been told a wile back to keep trimming and to give it time as its a slow grower but the roots look healthy and each one looks like its still producing green stems.

The weekly water changes are around 35% - 40%
I would probably do a few things:

Go for it, removing and scrubbing as much algae as possible. Remove any covered leaves. 80% water change, twice if needed.
Buy 3+ pots of frogbit.
Buy more of whatever plants you’re wanting; plant a lot heavier. A few plants ain’t enough, buy a few pots of each.
Stop cutting the grass, stop trimming any plants until you see algae reduce. We need to establish some plant mass.

Also, FTS please!
morning Castle,
Ok I shall grab some more plants for the tank and stop trimming the grass I shall do a deep clean of the algae to get as much as I can removed also to do a water change once that done. May I ask what FTS means as I’m not sure 🤔 hehe

many thanks

FTS is a full tank shot 😀
The lighting schedule might be good to view but not so good for plant growth Mixed things said about special effects of sunrise to sunst Aquarium Gardens tanks are lit by twinstar maybe drop them a line?
It seems to me that if you spend time and effort trying to get perfect C02 just it time with lights on…ie switching on gas several hours before and getting a steady lime green there after …. then it makes sense to have the light ‘on’
Can you ramp the light upto say 50% in 30mins and keep it there for 6 hours and the back down?
I see you also have a Bulldog pleco in the tank,not saying it's the main issue you have but it might be contributing as in moving around it's possibly disturbing the substrate and kicking up detritus into the water column.
I am able to set the time for the light to come on and off also to adjust the sunrise and sunset options with the dimmer I have which I did buy from aquarium gardens. And yes that’s correct I do have a bulldog pleco which I have grown very fond of and won’t be removing. When I set up the tank I asked a lot of questions about setting up the light and also had alot of people private message me regarding the correct times and settings to have it on ideally I am thinking to move the lighting down to 6hours a day but deciding what time it should be is confusing me as I don’t know what time would be good for the plants and fish. Apart from that it’s frustrating that this has happened as everything has taken off so well I’m just baffled what it could be. And with the co2 it’s on at 4am in the morning around 4 hours before the lighting comes on and the only time the co2 checker changes from lime green is when a water change has been done.
i will 100% be changing the light time to 6 hours a day as it now becoming lighter and staying light untill 9.30pm so there’s no need for the light to be out on for so long a day.. I started it off with a long light period due to winter and not a lot of light from outside plus for my enjoyment 🙃 also the tank is beside a big window which I think maybe also causing the issue but I can pull the curtains & roll down blind to eliminate most of the sun light
Sunlight, for me at least really exacerbates algae in an unbalanced aquarium. I see the merits of a long lighting schedule, but also I think we should all be more aware of when a tank has settled. Expect to have algae blooms, let them die off. Instead of combatting algae, I quite like the idea of doubling down and maintaining a schedule (with a tweak, or course).

I take perfect looking tanks with a grain of salt, and I think we all should. I wouldn’t get to disheartened while your aquarium finds its feet.

If everything in the tank is taking good off, I’d say there is an excess, or deficiency somewhere. @dw1305 duckweed index I think is excellent. Might be worth considering?
As I'm looking to reduce the lighting to 6 hours a day does anyone have any good suggestions to have it on also what time that the light come's on also turn off? plus with your suggestion on the duckweed what would it benefit as I understand it will as shade add shade from the light and take harmful nurturance out of the tank to replace with good nurturance.

I totally agree that there's too many photos online and YouTube videos of peoples planted aquariums when they don't show the bad parts of the situation that may arise with algae. plus most of them get free plants as there sponsored by the company that they are featuring in there video's.
Photo's of my aquarium hope there ok...
if need any more photo's please comment on the post :)


  • EF8B25E9-1FCE-4CA1-A4A8-F4B2A6BE05A9.jpeg
    4.6 MB · Views: 236
  • 2D5F18D2-66CC-4882-B41D-80F44EC1C375.jpeg
    4.9 MB · Views: 231
  • D6722063-B85B-4DA0-BA3D-E3A1C0C90DEF.jpeg
    4.5 MB · Views: 223
  • 3F84C332-54C9-42A6-B9F2-80FCC1CFF541.jpeg
    4.2 MB · Views: 216
  • 4DF2F947-CC81-4DEE-AD67-6B5094311A2D.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 208
  • CD9ABE30-21EC-4CD8-B4D5-3A7B051CE6F6.jpeg
    1.5 MB · Views: 212