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beard algae, hair algea, new tank, need help

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Shokan Yamadori, May 28, 2013.

  1. Shokan Yamadori

    Shokan Yamadori New Member

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    This is my tank 10 days ago when i first planted it.

    Specs:
    77g
    I run co2 my injection until i reach 6.5ph (water has a 7ph at start) , i use to run it only when lights were on but i switched to 24h a day today.
    4 t5 light that use to run 12h a day, i switched to 6h a day today.
    i use azoo plant nutriment as recommended on the bottle
    i use 100% reverse osmosis. (it comes out at 50ppm)
    i use to do a 25% water change each week, now i switch to do it each 2 days
    heater at 79F

    usefull fishes:
    6 albino algae eater
    6 amano shrimp
    2 cat fish

    20130516_224310.jpg

    This my tank today. All the left part plants are getting beard algea and hair algae. HC and micro sword are hit hard by beard algae.

    20130528_200421.jpg

    Micro swords with beard algae.


    20130528_200453.jpg

    HC with beard algae and one of my 6 albino algae eater.

    20130528_200505.jpg

    Dward hair grass with hair algae.


    20130528_200516.jpg

    What can i do else to get rid of my algae problem, thanks for helping out. :)
     
    keithgh likes this.
  2. Theos

    Theos New Member

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    I had a problem with BBA at one stage, the good news is its quite easy to wipe out with H202 or flourish excel. The bad news is inverts will die off before BBA.

    BBA often occurs from poor circulation and fluctuating CO2 levels. Running lights for 12 hours a day is quite excessive aswell.

    Are you dosing N and P? Because with water changes every 2 days you'll have to. Id advise to do one weekly instead. Also high P and low N levels are conducive to BBA. High P levels limit other nutrient uptake and the same is true for low N.

    I dont know your ferts as we dont get them here.

    Edit:
    Also your tank being so young it is likely uncycled especially with the water changes so you are likely getting ammonia spikes, which the hair algae enjoys. You might want to cycle your tank fully as with an uncycled tank your Ammonia levels will be high and without nitrifying bacteria you wont have any nitrates. Prime conditions for most algae.
     
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  3. Shokan Yamadori

    Shokan Yamadori New Member

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    i dont know about the NPK value of my fertilizer but i add some everyday and more after each water change. I'm doing those frequent water changes because i did read on this forum that it could help with my algae problem. I would need more advices about my water changes.

    So if i understand well, i need to add more live bacteria to speed up my water cycle, i also need to my turbine for more circulation.
    I would need explications about how to cycle my tank fully :)

    thanks for the help !
     
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  4. Theos

    Theos New Member

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    Ok mostly your bacteria in your filter need ammonia to feed and multiply. Once they reach capacity they should be converting all your ammonia to nitrates. Algae is symptomatic of imbalances in your tank.

    By changing water constantly you arent allowing for the ammonia to feed the bacteria.

    Switch to weekly water changes and find what macros you are dosing.
     
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  5. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Here are my thoughts:

    1) 100% RO water is not advised. You need minerals like Calcium and Magnesium in the water. KH is necessary to buffer pH and maintain stability. I would switch to 50% RO water OR add something like seachem equilibrium to the water to restore the proper mineral balance. A GH booster is a good idea too.

    2) You have inadequate levels of CO2. A 0.5 drop in CO2 is not enough for a high light tank. You would want to see somewhere around a 1.0 drop. Adjusting CO2 by a pH controller is ill advised as other things besides CO2 effect pH. Observation is your best friend when figuring out CO2. I like to use a drop checker to help me get close then dial it in based upon observing fish and plants. If fish go to the surface I have too much CO2, if plants stunt and I have difficulties with algae I have too little. Keep in mind CO2 should be adjusted slowly over time and only adjust when you are home to watch for problems. You don't want to gas your fish. Also, your CO2 diffuser looks dirty and those bubbles are quite large making it difficult for them to dissolve in the water column before reaching the surface. Your CO2 should turn on one hour prior to your lights and can be turned off 30-60 minutes before they turn off. If you are using a drop checker you generally want to see a nice green color when the lights come on. My drop checker gets to yellow by the end of the photoperiod. The airstone is also likely gassing off plenty of CO2. It is best to have a nice gentle ripple move over the surface, but nothing that breaks it in order to maintain adequate CO2 levels.

    3) 4 T5's is not enough information to determine how much lighting you have. Are they 48 watts? 24 watts? 56 watts? Secondly, 12 hrs is too long of a photoperiod. 8-10 hours is best. If you must drop to less than that you are running too much light. If you have to use a siesta period ie turn the lights off for a few hours mid day...you are using too much light. Or conversely you don't have enough CO2 to go with the light levels.

    4) Fertilizers. When using high levels of light, good CO2 is important as are adequate levels of nutrients. If you limit a nutrient you limit plant growth, algae then takes advantage of abundant light and available nutrients. Your tank cycles naturally and plants can utilize ammonia. It is best to plant as densely as possible in the beginning to ensure you have plenty of plant growth to out compete algae. Non of this matters however when you are short nutrients and CO2. Generally speaking standard store bought solutions are not enough for CO2 enriched tanks running high light. I suggest looking into EI (estimative index) style dosing or increase your dosage. Check this dosing calculator for help: http://rota.la/

    In conclusion, your tank has been low on nutrients and CO2 and high on light. It was planted at a moderate density. As a result you find yourself struggling with algae that are typical of high light low CO2 situations. To go from here I would do as best of a manual removal of the algae as I could, change the water 80%, dose double Seachem Excel for a week and continue with 50% water changes twice a week. Water changes will not prevent the cycle from taking place, it will merely deal with the ammonia spikes making it a more gentle transition. It will also help while you get your CO2 right. You need to cut your lighting period to 8 hrs daily (6 while you fight things is fine) and get the CO2 right. I suggest switching to an atomizer provided your CO2 regulator can provide 30 psi. Increase your CO2 slowly each day and observe. Keep increasing until you see a positive response from the plants or a negative response from the fish. You may want to consider adding a pump to improve flow.

    Best of luck to you!
     
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  6. Shokan Yamadori

    Shokan Yamadori New Member

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    i did test my water maybe it will help you give me some advice

    NO2: 0
    NH3 / NH4 : 0
    GH: 200 (i really dont understant why) (my hanna ppm metter tell me 440ppm)
    KH: 70
    pH: 6.8

    i run 3 54w 6,4k tubes and 1 54w 16k tube

    i did mixt 50% tab 50% RO water for my tomorrow water change.

    I will receive some new plants tomorrow do to suggest me to plant them right away ?
     
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  7. Theos

    Theos New Member

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    Shadow is right, however every person runs their tank differently, some believe in high maintenance and others in balance.

    High maintenance will yield better results but I find it to detract from the experience. Some people create art, while others create an ecosystem. I think Shadow is more versed in your paradigm of tank maintaining.

    I would make sure my macros are in order, and as Shadow suggested light and CO2 aswell. If your plants are being bottle necked by any of those factors the excess of the others will result in algae.
     
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  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    It isn't a matter of belief, there are proper ways to run a tank to meet the person's goals. Our OP is running a tank with higher light and pressurized CO2. His goals are not to create an "ecosystem" (although we are kidding ourselves if we think it is anywhere close to a natural ecosystem). Most of what attracts people to ASW and aquascaping in general are the beautiful tanks seen in the IAPLC or AGA among others. These types of aquascapes are higher maintenance, but maintenance does not need to be unpleasant.

    Had the OP's goals been one of a low maintenance I would have suggested the Walstad method, reducing light to two tubes, among a couple other things. However, the advice to clean up the algae would have been the same. It will not simply leave the tank now that it has established. You must manually remove it and fix things so it does not grow back.

    I have done both types of tanks with success. I do prefer to run a high light pressurized CO2 tank with a bit more maintenance. When things are running smoothly it really isn't much more than weekly 50% water changes once a week, daily fert dosing when I feed fish, and cleaning the filter and equipment every 3-4 weeks. The filter cleaning should be done regularly in any method tank, it is simply good practice. Water changes are an important part of good husbandry. In a natural system the water is turning over constantly. An ecosystem in our aquariums? What ecosystem keeps the same water in it without any outside fresh water for a month? NONE. Paradigm? philosophy? it is simply what methods bring most people success.

    For what its worth, the spikes in ammonia during the cycling phase do not have to do with only insufficient bacteria. It is an ecological cycle. The bacteria can multiply very quickly to respond to high nutrient levels as they deplete the supply the population crashes and their food increases again. The food levels and bacteria population oscillate until finding a stable level. Water changes simply remove the excess that can be harmful to fish or encourage algae, it does not prevent the cycle from occurring, it simply mitigates the swings.

    Shokan-

    Your Kh is about 4 degrees, which is actually pretty good. Your GH is around 11, however we are not sure what it is comprised of and I would guess that you are short on Calcium and Magnesium if you are using 100% RO. Switching to 50% should definitely help. You can always check your local tap water report to see what is in your water and if you even need to use RO water. It should tell you a good deal about your tap water.

    Given that your nitrates are zero I can safely say that is not good. You need to improve your dosing of fertilizers. If you are short on nitrates you are probably also short on potassium. Again I encourage you to use the dosing calculator I linked to in my last post to develop an adequate dosing routine.

    Most of your algae eaters will not eat the BBA or the staghorn. Seachem excel combats that stuff very well. In the future it is best not to add fish until the tank cycles and you get the CO2 dialed in. Unfortunately only bad things happen quickly. If you keep at it and make the adjustments to light, CO2, and ferts in time you should see improvement.

    I would plant your new plants after you clean out as much algae as possible. Cut off infected leaves, use a small tube to suck out bits of it. Use a toothbrush to remove the hair algae. The hair algae will prove to be the toughest to get rid of as it is more plant like than the others and can do well even when plants do well. If you do not have shrimp or you can remove your shrimp for a time API's algaefix may be an option to help kill the algae. It will only come back if you are unable to get the other things right.
     
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  9. Theos

    Theos New Member

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    Dude chill I wasn't attacking you or anything. I said you were right. Just that a WC every two days is excessive. And walsted vs. Pressurized co2 isnt high vs low maintenance its high vs low tech.

    I've kept many tanks, from ei to walsted. And I think you're right. Just saying sometimes you don't have to be overbearing in maintenance.

    And sure you can't build a completely self sustaining ecosystem but it doesnt mean you shouldn't try achieve a semblance of one. :)

    My current tank is high tech I run 8x t5 10 000K and 8 000k with daily ferts and CO2. I had the same issue as the OP and I got rid of it completely so I was just sharing.

    Anyway I'm out good luck OP!
     
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  10. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    I am chill :D just responding. I apologize if it came off harsh it was not my intention. I'm sure the forum could benefit from your experience, so please share your tank or start a journal. I don't want to discourage anyone from sharing.

    The WC every couple days is temporary ( a week or so) and meant to help get a hold of things and prevent another burst of algae while the OP deals with things. High tech and low tech are synonymous with their required maintenance. Light is really the driver for maintenance.

    As a regular routine, I agree, constant maintenance shouldn't be necessary. However when tackling an algae outbreak like pictured above the best option other than starting completely over is rigorous maintenance until the problem is solved. I also agree that when the right balance has been struck there is little to do in the way of cleaning algae from the glass, none on plants, little on the hardscape. Balance is the term I would use not ecosystem, semantics I guess.
     
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  11. Theos

    Theos New Member

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    Agreed! And I think I do have a tank journal. Although I have no scaping skills! It's titled 90P Unstyled. I look forward to advice from you!
     
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  12. CatfishSoupFTW

    CatfishSoupFTW Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I have been fighting similar issues of BBA and other algae on my rocks and equipment, that I had no other option but to take down the tank and redo it all (currently working on that) I tried excel etc, but no dice. I got a 55 with 4x 54 t5ho so similar to your case. tank has been running for years, and the nitrates were at zero which didnt add up. I think my co2 levels were too low. Now that im redoing it, removing all that algae off dragon rock and equipment seem impossible so my only hope is when the tank is set up again, my co2 should be done right and hopefully it will die off in the tank.

    a nice excuse to redo the scape, but a frustrating thing to experience. set up my first reef tank too, which has had great success than my fw atm. lol Reading these responses have helped me out, and hopefully I can make things work again. :D
     
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  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Shokan Yamadori

    Welcome to the word of Algae, at least you can identify what you have fixing it, is a totally different matter its finding the cause first then correcting it that is what takes the time.

    I have had an Algae concern for many years but nothing to worry about I had to change a few things then all of a sudden Mr Algae slowly start to disappear, without changing any thing (which I will not) in a few more months I should be close to 100% Algae free.

    Keith:):)
     
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  14. RaRdEvA

    RaRdEvA Aspiring Aquascaper

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    That fish is called something like golden algae eater but it is not good algae eater. Just when young. Is just a fake like others
    (E.g. flying fox).

    A good algae eayter for your algae problem would be a siamese algae eater (crossocheilus siamensis). It is the only one that will eat both of your algae.

    I have a big one, here a picture. Note it doesnt have a flat belly, nor red fins, nor golden line on top of the black one, nor sucker mouth. Many fish providers dont even know the difference.

    1411618059653.jpg


    Hope it helps.
     
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  15. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    In addition to what RaRdEvA said, I would add that identifying it can be difficult, but use the color banding on the lateral lines. Ra is right, many fish providers don't know the difference and I've been shipped flying foxes in place of siamese algae eaters...there are a few look alikes.
     
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