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_ReApEr's 29g: An Algae Saga

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by _ReApEr, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    I'm starting a new thread for my algae games.

    Please see my previous thread for background: Bad mix: green water + brown algae
    Tank specs at the bottom of this post.

    Upon a very close inspection of my tank over the last hour or so, I've come to the conclusion that I have 5 types of algae right now. Some of you might get a kick out of this one, so let the games begin.

    As some of you may or may not remember, I just got over a rather serious green water issue, but that's gone.

    Here are pictures I just shot today.

    CONTESTANT #1: Green Spot Algae (GSA)
    [​IMG]
    This is attacking every plant in the tank, as well as the tank glass. I've had it since I set the tank up, but it very recently exploded.


    CONTESTANT #2: Green Dust Algae (GDA)
    [​IMG]
    I've only seen this start popping up the last couple weeks, and it's very mild except in some "streaks" that you can see in the pictures, where it's a little thicker.


    CONTESTANT #3: Fuzz Algae
    [​IMG]
    Slightly difficult to capture with my phone camera. This is the first time I've noticed this. It's only on this one Amazon leaf and there's a tiny spot on the glass that's growing out, into fuzzy-ness.


    CONTESTANT #4: Staghorn Algae
    [​IMG]
    This one was incredibly difficult to capture with my phone. You can, however, make out its structure, pointing towards staghorn. This is the single occurrence I can find in my tank at this time. It's about 1/2" long.

    POST CONTINUED...
     
  2. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    ...CONTINUATION OF PREVIOUS POST


    CONTESTANT #5: Brown Algae
    [​IMG]
    This is still plaguing me. Not sure how to get rid of it.


    Okay, in all seriousness: what gives? I know, I know, too much light and at this point, I can't argue that. But I've had the same lighting for a year. Why now? Why after I start injecting CO2? I also recently switched to EI dosing, could that have, with the already-present light, triggered the proper settings for algae? And, if so, how can I reduce my light? It's already up on legs, I can't hang it, and there's no wall behind the tank to mount brackets of any sort on. Also, I know CO2 distribution, lack of it, could also be a factor. Watching bubbles float around my tank, I feel like there's flow to all parts of the tank, though I'm not experienced and do not know what "sufficient" flow really is. I was planning on getting a Koralia Nano for Christmas, would it be recommended that it's important to just get it now?

    Seeing as these things could point to deficiencies, I'll point out a couple things. I have a plant in my tank that I've not been able to ID, it just came in a ball of java moss I bought at a LFS. Here's the best shot I could get:

    [​IMG]

    I checked plantgeek.net's database and could not find a match. What it is? Anyway, it's been in the tank almost since I started it and it never really did well. It hardly grew at all until I started injecting CO2. Now it's about doubled in size in a couple months' time and it's bright green. However, the tips appear to be yellowing. Perhaps a sign. Also, some of my crypts are melting. I know that's usually just because crypts are picky and don't like change, but perhaps it's a deficiency? Finally, my swords' leaves always sprout very pale, then darken up. Is that normal or a sign of some deficiency? Now and then, one will sprout almost transparent and die off within a few days, too, and I'm pretty sure that's a sign of a deficiency.

    So, please, I ask for help. I don't know what fell apart in my tank or why this all exploded since I switched to EI dosing and CO2 injection and I don't know how to fix it. I've already got my CO2 injection up to the brink of my fishes' tolerance. I genuinely need some help and sincerely appreciate any I get. Thank you.

    Specs:
     
  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Those look like the same stems, with the same algae as before on the bacopa. Have you been trimming off the algae covered leaves? It's hard to get algae to regress, and it's even harder once you've got it cultured into your tank. The stuff doesn't just let go of leaves affected by it like it's no big deal; I tend to remove them all together, I find it prevents the problem at the source. Right now you're fighting WAY more of an established culture than you need to be.

    Top the stem plants, clip off leaves on non-stems, and treat the tank almost like you've just done an overhaul. Dose high, water change 50% twice a week, spot treat with excel, etc.

    I found it took me a couple of rounds of doing this at the start. The real trick is to start with good conditions; with the algae gone, and the CO2 balanced. You're fighting a harder battle than most of us do by trying to fight such a large presence.

    What's your PO4 looking like right now?

    -Philosophos
     
  4. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    No, I haven't. When you trim leaves off a stem plant, I thought they didn't grow back. Is that not true?

    You mean cut the tops off them and replant, removing the rest of the stem?

    I think it's likely that every leaf of the crypts is affected by either GSA or brown algae. ;/

    How much higher should I dose? As far as Excel, I was thinking of using it, just not sure which way. Normal dose, overdose, put some in a syringe and spray it directly on affected areas, or the 1 part Excel : 3 parts water in a spray bottle, drain most of the water from the tank, and spray on leaves approach. Any suggestions?

    With my fish at their tolerance level for CO2, should I still be concerned with CO2? Do you think it would be best to buy a Koralia Nano now or do you think that's probably a small factor in this all, at this point, and can wait until Christmas?

    I don't have a kit for that one, so I can't be sure. All I know is what I'm dosing, EI with KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, and CSM+B. I've searched for reports on the water here in town to get an idea for the "stock" levels of things, but I can't seem to find anything. Should I experiment with increasing/decreasing the KH2PO4?

    Thanks so much, Philosophos, you've been fantastic since my troubles began.
     
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    This is exactly what I mean. Cut off the bottom area that's covered in algae, uproot it, and toss it. From there, bare the stem of leaves over an inch or two, and plant the barren section of the stem in the substrate. If you don't have sharp scissors, get some; it makes all the difference. I swear by tissue scissors or good quality nonserated fly tying microtips.


    Ouch... cut off the worst of it and leave the rest; more leaves should regrow. After you've got some new leaves, trim off the old ones; repeat.

    When dealing with algae, I usually dose the level recommended for just after a water change every day. Excel has an 11 hour half-life so ODing this way is pretty much impossible. I use a small plastic pipette to spray the excel at affected algae. Don't bother trying to treat the GSA with it; I've found it's unresponsive.

    If your fish are maxed out, then all that's left is distribution. Even one small ViaAqua would help. A koralia nano may do an even better job, though I haven't played with those much. Right now you've got a good variance of current along one axis, so I'd put the koralia/powerhead aiming across the tank rather than front to back. It's not necessary to get this thing right now; plenty of tanks run on filter alone and your out-take provides more variance than most.

    If it's default EI levels, you're probably doing fine. These levels of PO4 won't prevent GSA completely, but it'll slow it way down. This is why I'm suggesting mechanical removal; the new growth shouldn't have the same problems that the old growth did.

    -Philosophos
     
  6. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    The problem is, that's exactly what I just did. That picture of the Bacopa I posted was 100% clean three weeks ago, now it's covered. In addition to that, even the tops of what I just topped and replanted have brown algae on them. I'm really starting to question its being brown algae. It's kind of paradoxical, from my understanding. Brown algae is supposed to be triggered by too little light, yet I have 4 other algae types that are triggered by too much. Brown algae is also most common in earlier tanks and goes away. I've had mine practically since build day a year ago, and it just seems to be getting more voracious. I just realized something, though. Are those little generic, green airstones made of silica sand? That's what I've got running at night. Perhaps it's leeching silica. I'll remove that and just let it bubble straight out of the tubing during the night. But anyway, with that knowledge, what would you suggest I do with the Bacopa?

    Similar issue as the Bacopa. The crypts are finally sending runners out with the CO2 injection, but they sprout a new leaf and it's got brown film on it within a week or two.

    Okay, well tomorrow's maintenance day, so I'm going to cut back all GSA affected Amazon leaves and I'll wait for your response for what I should do with the Bacopa and crypts. Monday will be my first Excel day. I'll dose the 12.5mL (5mL/10g) every day. I don't have a ton left, but it should get me at least a week of doing this. That should be enough time to tell if it's doing any good, I suspect.

    You know, I'm thinking I'm just going to get it, just to rule that out as a factor if for no other reason. I've read a lot of good things about the Koralia series on TPT, so I think I'll go with that. I'm sure I'll experiment with a ton of different placements/directions before I decide on one I like, and I'm sure it's going to be on the left wall, pointing to the right. I'm thinking at the top, back of the left wall, slightly pointed towards the bottom, front, but mostly towards the left. Perhaps that'll create a sort of eddy on the right side of the tank, where the filter intake is. Regardless, it should add a ton of extra flow to the tank, just to rule circulation out as an issue.

    Yeah, it is default levels. 1/16tsp three days a week for the KH2PO4.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. The Rockster

    The Rockster Guru Class Expert

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    We Feel Your Pain!

    Hi,
    I am not really experienced enough to solve your problem. However, I have gone thru what you are. Although your photoperiod stats were not listed, I think you have every algae, known to man, for a reason. :)
    I did too, and seemed to stem (no pun intended) the problem, by comprehensibly eliminating mitigating factors.

    What I would do is:

    1. Look at your filtration/flow rate...................I bet its less than 177 gph.
    2. Check your circulation/flow rate...............both rates should be >10X the tank

    3. Check method/coverage/amount of Co2 dispersion.

    4. Reduce photo period and wattage.

    5. Do blackouts, water changes, and any other treatments recommended on this site, and you will definitely see an improvement. It worked for me, thanks to these folks!!!

    Good luck!!! :D
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    1/16 3x a week would be 1.05 grams by fertilator's estimates:

    =1.05*94.9714822/136.0856722/65
    =~11.27

    That's some high ppm's... GSA shouldn't be the problem it is for you right now.

    How long since you stopped adjusting the CO2 and flow dinamics?

    -Philosophos
     
  9. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    I stopped messing with the spray bar a couple weeks ago, the CO2 just about a week ago.
     
  10. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    One week? Give it a couple of weeks at least. It takes time for the plants to adapt.

    Check the flow near the base of your bacopa; is it better since you adjusted things? Intuitively speaking, I see those symptoms being associated with poor CO2 distribution. I've had the same look in the past on some of my stems, and flow fixed it.

    -Philosophos
     
  11. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    Yeah, the flow has gotten better around that particular patch of bacopa, no doubt. I'm thinking I let things grow out another week or two and then start topping again, what do you think? The crypts, though, I'll start hacking away tomorrow, same with the Amazons. What are your thoughts on that matter?

    I'll be ordering the Koralia Nano Monday, so it should get even better.
     
  12. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you still can't drop the lighting levels by moving the fixture you can tweak it a couple of ways...

    Those eggcrate light diffusors may help. They'll make the light more directional so the light is more "down" and spreads less to the sides so that cuts down a bit. Home Depot has them.

    You can get shade cloth from a nurserie.

    I've read someone used toilet paper strips layed across a sheet of plexiglass. I don't see why you couldn't do the same with some gauze or cheese cloth.

    Floating plants. You may try to just let some of your cut stems float around for a bit and see if that helps as well.

    Hopefully that gives you some ideas.

    -
    S
     
  13. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Two weeks or now depending on how fast that algae is spreading. If it seems to be in stasis, it can wait. When possible I prefer to top from a larger stem on the grounds of common sense.

    Take the worst leaf or two off every crypt; pushing it too far might land you with crypt melt.

    -Philosophos
     
  14. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    The problem with that is just that it'll wind up cutting probably too much light to the sides of the tank since it's a 24" bulb over a 30" tank.

    That's not a bad idea, I'll have to look into that, though all the local nurseries are closed for winter.

    That sounds like a fire hazard. O_O

    I've thought about that, too, but it'd only be a temporary fix because I don't like the look of them and wouldn't want them for more than a while.

    Thanks for the ideas!

    I ended up leaving most of the bacopa and when I did mess with it, I just pulled up entire stems and tossed the whole thing. I butchered the hell out of the Amazons, though, I hope I didn't push it too far. I figure I need to get over my fear of scissors around plants.

    Here's the aftermath:
    [​IMG]

    67 sword leaves, 37 crypt leaves, 2 whole crypt plants, and 12 entire bacopa stems. The bacopa that I pulled out was looking pretty bad and I just wasn't happy with where it was placed in the tank anyway. So out that went. 1 or 2 leaves off every crypt, 3 off a couple of the really big ones. One of my swords had 10 leaves and now has 2, which I'm really sad about because it was a gorgeous plant.

    I feel like I've committed genocide. The bright side is I must have cut the GSA presence down by something like 65%. The brown algae is still all over the crypts and bacopa. The fuzz and staghorn algae are gone (the one leaf they were on are no longer in the tank). The GDA I scrubbed off the glass as best I could and promptly followed that with a 90% water change. Funny, though, I did notice the vast majority of it was on the front glass, where there is a diminished flow since I pointed my spraybar towards the bottom rather than the top. Regardless, I just placed my order for the Koralia Nano, so if that was the cause, it'll be fixed soon.

    Now, Philosophos, you suggested I dose heavier. How much so? I'm doing normal EI levels. How much should I increase that? I'm also going to be dosing 12.5mL/day of Excel by spraying it from a syringe directly on affected areas. Does the time of day matter? I plan on doing it in the morning when I dose the dry ferts. Also, should I still be considering double 50% changes during the week?

    I'm determined to overcome this, let's get it knocked out. ^.~
     
  15. nipat

    nipat Guru Class Expert

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    For GDA, there is a method from Tom.
    Aquarium Algae ID (updated 16th Spet '08): Green Dust Algae (GDA)

    This is strange. Because if it is about the concept of ‘just let it complete its cycle’.
    Why doesn't it come back after water change? Since a water change should be
    a restarting/renewing point (of newer generation of GDA).

    But I've tried it and it worked. Really, because it has been months now and
    still no sign of coming back.
     
  16. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    The trim you just pulled is similar to a small overhaul; change the water every other day if you can, twice a week at 50% as a minimum. Do it for about a month and you'll notice a difference. The plants should be established enough by about this time, though some are faster than others.

    Default EI is just fine; I thought you might've been low on PO4 but you dose plenty.

    Doing excel with ferts in the morning is good timing. Consistency is the main thing; don't dose the night before and the next morning. Odds are it won't be a problem even if you did, but I'm not sure of the % glutaraldehyde in excel.

    -Philosophos
     
  17. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I meant that he had a sheet of plexi over the tank and then layed the strips of it on top of that and not to suggest winding TP or anything else around the light fixture. Reading it again I'm not sure if I was all that clear on that part lest anyone decide to try mummifying their lights. :)

    -
    S

    "
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shoggoth43 View Post
    I've read someone used toilet paper strips layed across a sheet of plexiglass. I don't see why you couldn't do the same with some gauze or cheese cloth.


    That sounds like a fire hazard. O_O"
     
  18. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    LOL, of course! Duh. I just thought, you know, my splash guard is plexiglass, sooo... XP

    Anyhow, I'll be doing water changes Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays (maintenance day), 50% each. We'll see how it goes.
     
  19. _ReApEr

    _ReApEr Prolific Poster

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    Okay, so, an update:

    The GDA, staghorn, and fuzz alga all seem to have disappeared. This was the first week with the Koralia Nano in the tank and I must say, flow is much better. When I refill the tank after water changes, I get a massive amount of misty micro bubbles, so much so that it looks like fog or clouds in the tank. I hit the Koralia and watch where those bubbles go and it is impressive. I'm super confident in flow now, I have no doubt that it's fantastic. Now, again, I question my CO2. I realized that it was always the same Cardinal that was gasping at the surface. I also noticed he looks kind of... uh... not like the rest. He doesn't look normal. Perhaps he's got some deformity that hinders his ability to pull oxygen out of the water. So, I'm very slowly turning CO2 up until the other fish start showing effects, then throttling back again. This, in addition to the Koralia, should leave absolutely no question about CO2 or circulation. If nothing else, it'll be nice to have ruled those out.

    In other news, I've added 7 new plant species to experiment with. HC and dwarf hairgrass are what I'm most interested in right now, but I also added Riccia, Microsword, HM, Brazilian Pennywort, and the below plant, whatever it is:

    [​IMG]

    I was told that it was growing immersed, if that's any clue. Anyway, all the plants seem to be doing quite well, although I'm having quite a time trying to keep the freaking HC in the substrate. Otherwise, this experiment of mine looks promising.

    Oh, also, I'm officially out of Excel, so I hope the algae doesn't come back. I still have brown algae (still not 100% sure that's what it is) and GSA running rampant, though. Another precaution, I guess you could call it, I've taken is I'm now using "rounded" 1/4 and 1/16 tsp measurements as opposed to flat ones, just to make sure the nutrients really are non-limiting. I also did another butcher round on the Bacopa this week and am continuing to slowly hack the algae-infested crypt leaves.

    Other than that stuff, nothing else much to report. I'm glad to see three of the five alga disappear, but I'm still fighting a losing battle with the other two. I call it a losing battle because no matter how much I chop the leaves infested with them away, new ones come up and are quickly infected. Both the brown algae and GSA are still growing on brand new growth, and growing pretty fast.
     
  20. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    With GSA there is some delay. Maybe you need a little more patience.

    After I had a sudden GSA explosion (caused by my Ph sensor being off) it took like two weeks after I fixed the CO2 before new growth slowly came to a halt. I pruned off the infected leaves last weekend.

    I started with high PO4. It seemed to slow down somewhat, but more CO2 really made the difference.
     
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