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Algae growth at 1 wpg

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Trivr, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. Trivr

    Trivr Prolific Poster

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    Hi,

    After trying my hand at the planted tank for a couple months, I've backed off it a little bit. I enjoyed Toms article on considering what your goals are and I've decided I want to move away from the expense and time required educating yourself enough to successfully manage a heavily planted, higher light tank.

    My goal is to create a beautiful low maintenance tank with some live plants, rock, and driftwood. My problem is that I've dropped from 2wpg to 1 and I'm still having algae issues.

    Here's what I've done: After having massive algae issues due to not enough co2 in my tank, I've moved from two t-5 ho 54watt bulbs to one on my 55g tank and I've reduced the photoperiod from 10 hours/day to 7. I've reduced the plant mass by about 40% (all hornwort). And I've reduced the fish quantity from 15 to 12. I've kept the one 2L diy co2 bottle and everytime I test, it usually falls between 10 and 20ppm. I've also moved from 4 water changes/month to two.

    I successfully removed pretty much all the algae from the glass and driftwood but it's now growing back on both. My anacharis and pennywort are growing nicely and the pennywort is pearling alot. All the other plants that don't appear to be growing, still look healthy but are taking on algae. No ferts added.

    Everything I read says you don't need co2 at these light levels, but it certainly won't hurt, so...my question is: could this algae be a result of transition and changes I've made, or is my t-5 ho, even at 1 wpg still to much for my diy co2 in a 55g?

    Thanks

    Trivr
     
  2. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    You should go non-CO2 if that is your goal and not no dosing while still with CO2 enrichment. Plants grow 10-20x faster with CO2 enrichment and no dosing means limitation and thus poor growth. Plants that are not growing makes excellent substrate for algae.

    Regards,
    Peter Gwee
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm guessing that you have green dust algae, from your description. You can get rid of that, but it is hard work. I suggest that you start by allowing it to grow unmolested until it turns brownish, starts to fall off the glass in splotches, and is clearly at the end of its life cycle. Then work hard to remove all of it from the glass, and hardscape, and, as much as possible from the plants. Change about 75% of the water to get rid of the debris from the algae. Next day, do the same thing. Next day do the same thing again. Keep the filter as clean as you can during this time. Dose Excel as a further aid against the algae. Then see if it comes back.

    If it comes back, it should be much less dense than before. But, repeat the above again. It might even take going through that three times before it doesn't come back again.
     
  4. Trivr

    Trivr Prolific Poster

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    Thanks guys,

    Peter-
    I was under the impression it was the lighting which determined if ferts were necessary. Even if my inadequate co2 (10 to 20ppm) allowed plants to grow faster, they're still only growing under 1 wpg. Enough to need ferts?

    Yeah, I'd prefer to eliminate the co2, but am a little hesitant to do so until I can be certain it won't make the problem worse. I don't ever recall having algae growth with the original 36w of light hood, algae only started after I went more than that. Straighten me out if need be...

    Vaughn-
    Actually, I read through that great algae article linked by Ted. I'm pretty confident I have BBA, Green beard algae, and the other one is either silk, or hair algae (my gourami loves it whatever it is)! Mine doesn't look like dust algae from the picture, I think it's green beard algae on the glass. But regardless, I already removed almost all of it previously and it has started to regrow on both the driftwood and glass AFTER I've reduced light to 1wpg and made other changes. My question is why am I still having algae growth with this much light?

    Trivr
     
  5. PeterGwee

    PeterGwee Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants needs fertilizers (food) and it has to come from somewhere be it the substrate or water column. If you supply enough via the substrate, then it is fine. I cannot account for what you are using for the substrate thus I will advice you to add some to rule it out. Remember that plants still need food and not dosing doesn't mean it didn't need fertilizer but rather it came from some other source.

    For the algae, you need to go in and remove them and then correct conditions necessary for good plant growth. Not sure about the light but it might be too intense at one particular spot even at 1wpg. You would need a better spread of lower wattage light vs 1wpg of high light bulb. (eg. 2x20w NO FL over a 20gal vs a 55w PL).

    Regards,
    Peter Gwee
     
  6. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I'm not sure if this will apply to your situation, but I had a terrible outbreak of algae one time and the only thing that cured it in the end was the complete removal of the substrate (which I didn't do to fix the algae problem...but it fixed it). I had been lax about gravel vacuuming and it led to a huge buildup of organic nutrients in the substrate which was just feeding the algae. Once I did that, and started dosing ferts, things settled down into a much better pattern and I was able to cut back and virtually eliminate dosing after it got straightened out. Getting it straightened out once it goes wrong is the hard part and eliminating organic nutrients by gravel vacuuming a lot and then dosing inorganic nutrients may be what you need to do to get the algae situation under control. Personally I would continue with diy co2 if you can keep it stable, until the algae situation gets better. Removing it will probably make things temporarily worse as the plants readapt to non-co2, and it's better to make things worse when they are semi-under control than to take a bad situation and get it even more out of control, if that makes sense.

    Also if you have bba, in my recent experiences with it the only thing that kills it is bleach. A 1:20 ratio and soak the plant for 3 - 5 minutes, then rinse well. This may kill the plant but it works as a last resort for plants you don't want to have to throw out. I would imagine this will kill most types of algae.
     
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