Yet more algae...

Discussion in 'Algae' started by alip01, 27 Oct 2008.

  1. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    Hi all,

    Unfortunatley, shortly after redoing my 60L tank, to make it high tech, algae started to form. I believe that it was brush algae. After fiddling about with the CO2, and taking the worst of it off, it went away. :)

    However, there has always been a little algae on my HC, and when I got some more a few days ago, the algae has spread onto it. :?

    These pics are from when it was in the pots, as I didn't have time to plant it for a few days, but they hopefully show the algae enough.

    DSC03505.jpg

    DSC03515.jpg
    You can see the algae on the HC leaves, and on the Vallis leaf in front of the pot.

    It's brown, a few cm long, and in strands.

    I've now planted the HC, and removed the worst effected stuff, but it's still there. :?

    The tank's 60L, got AS, PSS and Tropica underneath as a subsrate, CO2 at around 30ppm, it might be slightly low, so I'm going to turn it up this afternoon, and has 48W of t5 lighting on for 8 hours a day, with reflectors. I'm dosing EI, KNO3, MGSO4, KH2PO4, Trace and KSO4, with 50% weekly water changes.

    There's 4 Otos and 6 Amano shrimp, and a Bristle Nose, as well as a pair of Paradise.

    So what sort of algae is it, and what should I do to get rid of it?

    Thanks,

    Alistair
     
  2. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

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    Hi Alistair, there seems to be quite a lot of detritus there, when was the last time you did a gravel vac? i know its tough in a planted tank so when i do my WC's i give the substrate a good "waving" with a UKaps gravel flattener which lifts all the detritus into suspension and then it's removed by the hose or filter. Also what filter are you running on the tank?
    Cheers
    Dan
     
  3. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    I haven't actually cleaned the substrate. I thought you weren't supposed to with AS :oops:

    I'll give it a scrape with my gravel flattener and then syphon off the worst of it, hopefully that will make things a bit better. :)
     
  4. LondonDragon

    LondonDragon Administrator Staff Member

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    Make sure you have enough flow in this tank too and that you are not overfeeding, what I see in the photos seems to me from overfeeding.
     
  5. Dan Crawford

    Dan Crawford Founder Staff Member

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    When i say "waving" i mean just wave the flattener over the top of the substrate to lift up the particles into the water column. ;) And yes, propper gravel vacing is discouraged when using AS.
     
  6. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    OK, I'll feed a bit less. The tank's filtered by a Fluval 105. There is also an Eheim pump, rated at 600L/ph, so there should be suitable flow. I was thinking about upgrading the filter and asking my parents to get me one of these for Christmas...

    Thanks for the info Dan, I'll hopefully be able to do a WC this afternoon, and if not then tomorrow is the weekly WC anyway :D
     
  7. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

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  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi,
    If it were me I'd give serious thought to lowering my light. 48 watts T5 + reflectors is a lot of light for a 15 gallon tank. The pressures for CO2 uptake are tremendous at these energy levels.

    Cheers,
     
  9. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    I was only thinking of this filter because George F had used it on this set up, which is the same size as me...

    I've bought another starter, so that I can add another bulb. I was thinking of then having the single 24W starter on for a couple of hours, then the two 24W starter on for 4 hours or so, before going back down to the single again. Do you think that this would be a better idea than having the two 24W on for the 8 hours?

    I'm going to be doing the WC tomorrow morning, as I've not had time for one today. I'm thinking about upping the 50%water changes to 2 or 3 a week for a couple of weeks to try and combat the algae. Would this be a good idea? What would I do about my EI dosing plan?

    Thanks for the help so far,
    Alistair
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi,
    Using 48 watts of T5 high energy lighting, boosted by reflectors, on 15 gallon tank is the equivalent of brushing your teeth using a rocket propelled grenade launcher (RPG). There is a strict relationship between the amount of light energy absorbed by the leaf and the speed of which that leaf must then assimilate carbon via CO2. When the level of CO2 does not match the light energy the plant disintegrates and algae attacks. The rate of disintegration is proportional to the difference between the need for CO2 and the amount being provided.

    Close examination of the photos you provided clearly shows the wide scale melting and fading of Hemianthus Callitrichoides typical of CO2 starvation due to photon torpedo bombardment. If you can provide the levels of CO2 diffusion required by this level of energy input then great, but if you continue to use the 48 watt phased plasma assault rifle without adequate CO2 concentrations then you run the risk of having the plants simply evaporate.

    You will give yourself a better chance of success if you lower the lighting by at least 50% and concurrently add more CO2. Lowering the light will give you more margin for error until you can figure out how much more CO2 you need and it will reduce the environmental pressures for the plants to rapidly uptake nutrients and CO2.

    Multiple water changes are good, yes, definitely this is a good idea. Using strong filtration is also good. You also need to dose. Check the Tutorials section for the EI dosing article if you are interested in using the dry salts. You can use the 20G numbers used as a reference in that article for your tank.

    Cheers,
     
  11. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    OK, so hopefully the new starter will come tomorrow, and I will then just run the single tube, leaving the double out for now. The CO2's around 30ppm according to my drop checker, so should I turn it up slightly, or leave it as it is? I'm already dosing EI dry salts, just as solutions. I'll up the water changes, but what should I do about the dosing schedule? Just carry on as normal, ignoring the fact that I'm doing the water changes?

    It's strange that the new HC isn't doing very well, the old was ok, just a bit algaefied. It also had very small leaves, whereas the new has bigger leaves. I've still got a little of the old left in there, as it didn't have algae on, and it's still doing ok. :?

    Things are starting to make sense now. :)

    Thanks for the help,
    Alistair
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Alistair,
    The dropchecker is limited in that it can only tell you what the concentration is at the location where it is mounted, and even then it only thells you what the concentration was at that point 2 hours ago. Also, there is often an order of magnitude difference between the CO2 concentration at the source compared to that of the plant beds. The concentration "thins out" as it spreads. The concentration of CO2 is not homogeneous across the tank. Additionally, flow patterns change as the plant beds grow so that CO2 may not be delivered the same at a given location today compared to that location a month ago. This is why strong filtration, high injection rates, and timing of the CO2 is critical. Try turning on the gas much earlier prior to lights on, perhaps, an hour or even two, in order to achieve maximum saturation prior to the photoperiod. The dropchecker should be a lime green or even yellow when the lights go on. If you are running the gas 24/7 then you simply have to increase the injection rate. HC seemingly has only two growth modes - rampant growth (where pearling bubbles threaten to pull the bed out from the substrate) or stagnation, so if it is only doing OK then that really means that it is basically unhappy. As a very rough guide the HC should start pearling within an hour or so of lights on. This may not always be achievable and depends on other environmental factors but is simply an ideal goal. That is an indication of adequate CO2/flow/nutrition/light.
    [​IMG]

    Each time you do a water change the dosing scheduled should be reset. I always suggest to dose immediately after the water change, especially in high light scenarios, and to then follow the standard procedure until the next water change where the schedule should again be reset. If you do multiple water changes without adjusting the dosing you can easily cause more problems than you solve...

    Cheers,
     
  13. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    Hi,

    The CO2's already on an hour before the lights come on, and turns off an hour before the lights go off, via a solenoid on a timer. I'll set it to come on 2 hours earlier, and I'll turn the bubble rate up ever so slightly. It's currently at 1 bubble per 0.7s, so I'll try and turn it up to 1 bubble per 0.5s. I'll also move the drop checker down to where the HC actually is, so that it will give a more accurate reading. The new starter hasn't arrived yet, but there's still time. :)

    I've also got some Easy Carbo, would you suggest that I start dosing this directly onto the HC and other algae effected areas? If I spot dose it, how much should I use?

    Thanks for the help,
    Alistair
     
  14. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    Right,

    The new starter has arrived, and I've installed it, so that I now only have one 24W t5 with reflector on. I've also shortened, the time the lights are on by an hour, so that they are now on from 2.30pm - 9.30pm, with the CO2 being on from 12.30pm - 8.30pm, and moved the drop checker down to where the HC is. I've moved the drop checker down to where the HC is, although it hasn't changed yet. I shall do a 50% or more water change this afternoon, refresh the drop checker, increase the CO2 slightly, clean the filter and AS, and dose the tank with the macro ferts. Anything else I should do?

    The HC looks to have good flow around it from the pump, because it's moving, or rather the algae's moving. :rolleyes:

    Thanks,
    Alistair
     
  15. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, Generally HC responds very well to Easycarbo/Excel. I would start daily dosing per bottle recommendation for now and see how that goes. If you had very high levels of algae or poor growth rate response you could try a 2X dose, but really it would be better to stick with the recommended levels for now. Remember that the dosage after a water change is higher than the non WC dose so pay close attention to the bottle instructions. Also note that some plants such as Riccia do not respond well to Easycarbo/Excel so it depends on what other species are in your tank. This is another reason for starting out with normal dosing levels.

    Every day use a toothbrush to remove the algae by twirling the bristles around the hair and pulling gently. You must be relentless in mechanical removal because fixing the environment does not automatically get rid of algae that is already present (although the Easycarbo dosing will kill some). More important than seeing a decrease in algae is to observe an increase in the greening and growth of the HC. When this happens the algae will subsequently recede. This may take several weeks with occasional bubble rate and/or Easycarbo adjustment.

    Cheers,
     
  16. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    Hi,

    The other plants in the tank are:
    Anubias nana,
    Nesaea pedicellata,
    Vallisneria spiralis ''Tiger'',
    Blyxa Aubertii.

    So from what I know Vallis is the only one that might be effected by the Easy Carbo in my tank. Is it just overdoses or normal doses that damage it?

    The Easy Carbo instructions don't say anything about doses after WCs, I know my old Excel did, but I've finished that a while ago, and thrown the bottle away.

    I'll go and find a new toothbrush now. ;)

    Also just wondering, is it hair algae that I'm dealing with?

    Thanks,
    Alistair
     
  17. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi,
    Yes, I concur that other than the Valis, the plants on your list should be risk free. I have no experience with Excel dosing of B. Aubertii but if it anything is like it's cousin japonica it should be fine. The jury seems to be still out on the various forms of Valis based on the inconsistent reports, but overdosing certainly carries a higher risk. I didn't realize the Easycarbo instructions were different than the Excel so just follow the advice on the bottle.

    Take a look at JamesC's Algae Guide to confirm the type. It's not very clear from your photographs so I had to assume this is what you have. Hair is a CO2 related algae but if your were not dosing properly you could easily have Clado or Rhizo.

    Cheers,

    P.S. Use the old toothbrush for algae and get the new one for yourself....
     
  18. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    Hi,

    I have been dosing the ferts as per the 20G guide, making the solutions etc. So my guess is that it's CO2 related. I certainly did have the CO2 low for quite a while, as I wasn't around enough to monitor it when I turned it up.

    I don't think it's Clado., as it's brown, however I have seen some Rhizo. around the tank, I've been removing this when I see it, and so it's not such an issue now. There are still a few bits around in the more densley planted areas, but the Amano shrimp I added on Friday have been around these areas for most of the time, and it certainly seems to be getting clearer! I think that the stuff on the HC is probably hair from those pictures, but it could be small amounts of Rhizo. It's probably from the low CO2 levels rather than nutrient issues, although as I'm due to make a new batch of solutions at the end of the week I could up the ferts a bit to make sure it's not nutrient related... How much do you suggest to increase it by?

    With regards to the toothbrush, wouldn't the toothpaste on the used one be bad for the inhabitants of the tank?

    Now I know what to do about this blooming algae. :)

    Thanks,
    Alistair
     
  19. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, you may want to have a look at flow rates/patterns as discussed in earlier posts. You may also need to do a bit more tank cleaning such as vacuuming, and perhaps it would help to thin some areas of dense growth to get better flow through the beds. Although your fauna may help to remove the more unsightly amounts it is still and indication of stress. Admittedly EI is a bit of an extremist mindset. Adding more CO2 will then require adding more nutrients so you could easily add another 50%, however, since you have decided to lower the lighting you should have a much easier time optimizing plant health.

    Toothpaste on the brush shouldn't pose a problem but if you are apprehensive about it then just throw it in the dish washer or washing machine (and then soak/wash it in water to dissipate the detergent). Toothpaste is mostly baking soda, enzymes, vitamins, calcium, hydrogen peroxide and perhaps some artificial sweeteners. Ummm...I guess you shouldn't use toothpaste from China since they had a recall due to the use of toxic diethylene glycol (which was really dumB.) Other than that it shouldn't be a big deal...

    Cheers,
     
  20. alip01

    alip01 Member

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    I've tried 'waving' my gravel scraper at the AS, and it did seem to raise a fair bit of sediment, which I then removed during the WC. I was just thinking that I would thin out the plants a bit. The drop checker's turned a better shade of green now that the bubbles are at 1 per 0.5s or there abouts, and I've moved it to just over the HC. :D

    I'll add more ferts to the next batch of solutions, so that there are no issues on the nutrient side of things.

    Thanks,
    Alistair
     

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