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Algae id and help

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Gerryd, May 6, 2008.

  1. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi all,

    I could use some help with this please.......

    I checked Dusko's algae article and saw only the blue/green slime algae that was similiar to mine, but this seems a bit different, but close. Plus, the cure for that type does not seem to meet my specs, but we'll see. I'm sure I am missing something, else I would not have an issue, no?

    Here is a link to an album of pics:

    gerrydirish/Algae Issue - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    I just vacuumed the entire bottom yesterday morning and it was clean as a whistle. It grew in a day in the gravel pics. The wood shot was not cleaned but shows it well I hope. The riccia was also cleaned the day before.

    It gets on the wisteria, cabomba, Riccia, and Rotala but seems to leave the Java fern and Mexican Oak alone.

    It comes right up by stirring the water or vacuum or by running fingers gently through the plant or rubbing the leaves....

    Cabomba needs to be uprooted and shaken gently in a bucket of tank water until clean. This works for about 2 days before it is back.

    So specs:

    10 hrs of 3X175w 6500k MH - 9" above surface
    auto c02 - drop check nice green
    EI 1.5-2.0 TSP N 3x a week
    .75-1.5 TSP P 3x a week
    60 ml TMG 3x a week
    80% weekly WC with Prime
    PH: 6.6
    good current and flow. Even just added a 250 HOT Magnum. Have a 1800 gph to twin returns from the sump......
    nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia tests all are okay at 0 for the latter two.
    GH: 40-160 MG/l CaC03
    KH: 90-100 mg/L

    All plants seem healthy otherwise and are producing very good growth. Leaves are large, etc. Good pearling on all plants top to bottom and left to right.

    Please advise what other specs would help.

    Thanks much in advance.
     
  2. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    I would vote for the blue/green slime algae, but honestly don't know.

    But, slimy stuff like that? I'm fairly certain that otos, nerite snails and SAEs (and probably shrimp, which your Boesmanis would probably enjoy) would eat that stuff like candy. :)
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It sure looks like blue green algae to me. And, is this a 180 gallon tank? If so, that is a lot of light for it. I suggest first decrease the time the lights are on to 6 hours, and wait a couple of weeks to see if that corrects the problem. If so, and you want the lights on longer, try just running 2 lights for 8-10 hours, with the third one on for only 2 hours or so in the middle of that time. Or, possibly better, raise the lights another 6 inches. BGA really digs light!
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    All,

    I think it is the blue/green slime. Tank doesn't smell as sweet either. I had this issue years ago before EI with my crypt gardens, but went away magically when I went away for a week and hadn't been back since, at least 2 years.

    Ted,

    The slimy stuff noone seems to like. I have all you mention but the Nerite snails.
    Not killing me yet, but is a PITA and is very manual effort to remove. The bosemani won't eat it either and they eat ANYTHING, esp floating plant material in the water column........

    Vaughn.

    Yes a 180. It is 2.5 wpg @ 450 \ 180. I do have auto c02 and EI to use that light.
    Still think it is too much? Tank is 24" deep...........

    I don't have 6" to raise but will raise at most 2" as I am almost at the top adjustment as it is.

    I can also redo the hardware to give myself more height. I will play with this and see. Should be easy to re-affix to give myself another 6-12" in adjustable height.

    All 3 lights are in one fixture with one on/off switch so cannot vary as you suggest....

    But will try reducing duration by 1-4 hours over the next couple of weeks and see what happens..........

    I will say that the amount of c02 going into the tank is high to keep my DC nice lite green, no yellow at all, no fish distress I can see. No bubbles per second can be counted as it is turbulent in the bubble counter.

    Could I be giving too much c02 to cause the algae, but enough for the plants to grow/pearl nicely, and not enough to distress the fish??? That doesn't seem likely from what I have learned.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Will keep you posted of developments.
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi,
    BGA is linked to low nitrates and/or low flow under high lighting. It can also result from poor filter maintenance. In big tanks I've found that doubling the nitrate dosing makes this go away.

    Cheers,
     
  6. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Maybe that big 80% weekly water change takes too many nitrates out of the water, as ceg4048 mentioned low nitrates as a possibility -- Dusko's article also said low nitrates is a common cause. Seems BGA has the ability to grab N out of the air somehow, so it can do well in a low nitrate environment. You would think that your plants would be suffering or growing very slowly in a low nitrate environment, however.

    Be sure to calibrate your nitrate testing kit -- I did this recently. It was easy to do.
     
  7. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    ceg4048,

    Thanks for the tip. I used to dose about 4 tsp of N 3x a week, but reduced by about 1/2-2/3 per a Tom suggestion awhile back on another thread......

    I will keep an eye on it. My plant mass is growing, but not overwhelming yet. I have been cutting/planting a lot of tops to replace the older algae covered stems, and they are coming in nicely.

    Ted,

    I agree with your point. If my growth was poor I could understand it, but growth is really good. Nice pearling all over......I can reduce the WC volume, but I have a decent fish load and they LOVE the WC volume. Much more interaction and they look/act much better.

    So, based on growth and the possible low nitrates for the algae cause, I should expect to need more nutes anyway, so will keep this in mind and see how the algae reacts.

    I think I will bump up 1/2 tsp per dose of N and see how it goes from there...............

    Thanks again to all who responded............

    P.S. ceg, like the Pink Floyd avatar..........we ALL had that album when we were kids.........
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    A good cleaning+ pruning are likely in order. Make sure good flow is available by doing the good pruning.

    Then do the KNO3 dosing up higher.

    If the BGA is mild(it's not looking that way here), this takes care of it.
    You can blackout if you want for 2-3 days, clean, remove the BGA that's there etc.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    That's definitely bga. If it smells like a swamp, that's the clincher.

    I had awful infestations of this stuff. It was caused by:

    1. Lack of water changes with thorough gravel cleaning
    2. The higher the light - the faster it would grow
    3. No dosing of ferts

    Once it set in, it was NOT cured (for me) by:

    1. Increasing circulation
    2. Reducing light (unless reduced to almost nothing)
    3. Dosing anything
    (tried it all, extensively)

    Eventually, it WAS cured for me by:

    1. Manual removal which in my case involved removing and replacing all the gravel, as it had stuck to it and was impossible to totally remove from each piece of gravel even if it was dead, plus removing all plants/leaves that were infested
    2. Regular (at least 2x/week) 50% water changes with deep gravel vacs

    Dosing ferts and reducing the light intensity prevented it from recurring, once it was almost gone.
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Carissa,

    Yep, does smell like a swamp.............nasty......

    All,

    Thanks for the great advice.

    Filters are cleaned regularly so good to go there..............

    I plan on finally changing 40-50% of my gravel bed this weekend. I have 90 lbs of rinsed black flourite ready to go.

    Based on the responses, my plan of attack is as follows:

    Until the gravel swap is done beginning tomorrow or Friday:

    3 day blackout with daily 50% wc with prime and gravel vac. I will see if I can get some excel at the same time.

    That takes me to Sunday or Monday.

    1. Swap 40-50% of gravel.
    2. Perform at least 2 (or more) large 60-70% wc during the swap.
    3. Clean all plants, trim and prune as needed. Replant only healthy uninfested stems. A lot of this was just done this weekend, so should be a bit easier.
    4. Clean all wood, stones, etc well. Gravel vac the old side while all this is cleaning is going on.............
    5. Increase N dosing to 3 tsp 3x per week.
    6. Reduce light duration to 8 hrs per day.
    7. Increase height of lights by 2-4".
    8. Execute daily 30-50% wc for next 10 days with gravel vac of old gravel.
    9. Investigate more current. Seems okay to me with plants swaying all over, but I guess another pump hidden away can't hurt. I have a 250 HOT magnum and an 1800 gph from the sump...........

    See how all of that goes. Adjust as necessary.

    Two weeks from now, I will replace the rest of the substrate. More daily wc until I feel the tank is not cycling in any way, which I expect with the swap.

    Thanks again to all.

    Will post developments.
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Last question :)

    So, since I have low N as part of the problem, should I dose N during the blackout or any EI or ferts? Or wait until the blackout is over?

    I assumed no and no co2 either.

    Please advise if my assumptions are incorrect.

    Thanks again!
     
  12. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I don't think there's much point in dosing anything during the blackout....I can't see how it would help in any way.

    Also you could bleach dip your rocks and decorations if you really want to kill that stuff, if they are hard to clean.
     
  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Well, if one of the causes or enhancers is low N, I thought dosing N at this time might help.....

    Thanks for the bleaching tip!

    BTW, where are you located? Some of your recent threads make mention of 'can't get that here'.

    Just curious.

    Can we send you a care package of excel, prime, and some fish food? :)
     
  14. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    :)
    Newfoundland, Canada. I can get fish food here....well at least the flake stuff. Excel and Prime....nope.

    It is my understanding (and I could be wrong) that low N can contribute to algae, because the plants don't have enough N to actually grow and make use of other nutrients.... and bga can fix (create) their own nitrogen so they don't really need it. So a deficiency issue is being fixed, enabling the plants to gain the upper hand once again. Having high nitrogen does not kill bga, at least it didn't for me. BGA is a little different from other algaes, inasmuch as it is not really a plant but a bacteria, which doesn't always play by the same rules. That is why some people report success in using antibiotics to kill it. Personally I wouldn't risk killing all the good bacteria in my tank just to get rid of it, unless all other options were exhausted.
     
  15. orion2001

    orion2001 Guru Class Expert

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    Well if Maracyn (Erythromycin) works to kill BGA I can definitely vouch for the fact that it doesn't affect the biological filtration (good bacteria) in the tank. I've double dosed for 15 days (I had a crazy killer infection taking out my betta girls...never did manage to beat it, just postponed the inevitable) and my tank was still cycling fine. I'm sure it was cycling because the day I did a 50% gravel change after I stopped dosing, I saw an ammonia spike, which thankfully went away in a day or two (since my filter still had enough of the good bacteria).

    I know that antibiotics aren't the answer to everything and shouldn't be used lightly, but if it does work with BGA, it could be a lot easier than all the things Carissa had to do for her tank. Then again, you'd probably need to do some of that anyways to get the dead BGA out of your tank.

    Good luck!
     
  16. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Prior to the blackout do a 50% water change and apply two doses worth of KNO3 and turn off the CO2. At the end of the blackout do another 50% water change re-initiate CO2 and resume EI.

    Cheers,
     
  17. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    ceg,

    Too bad my blackout started yesterday PRIOR to your response. :)

    So, c02 is OFF. Did NOT add a double dose of N PRIOR.

    Too late now? Into day 2 of the blackout...............

    50% WC on day 1 plus gravel vac. Will repeat on all 3 days of blackout. Adding excel at normal dose as well.


    Thanks again!
     
  18. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Gerry,
    Yes no worries just dose the NO3 when you add the other stuff. You are doing all this at night without any lights right?:rolleyes:

    Cheers,
     
  19. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    You are correct sir.......:D

    Tank is completely surrounded on all sides. Just the top is open (as usual) as I have no cover.

    No lights or c02..........

    Room blinds are shut tight. No light is getting in there. Even now at noon, not much light in the room.........

    fish are probably wondering what happened to the 'sun', hope they don't start piscine sacrifice lol

    so,

    50% WC every night of the blackout with gravel vac.
    Dose normal excel and last night I did dose N as well.

    Will do the same for today and Saturday and we'll see what we have on Sunday!

    Then on to the start of the gravel swap...............
     
  20. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Even if antibiotics were to kill it, it would still need to be removed and the root problem that caused it to start growing would need to be fixed. The dead stuff that stuck to my gravel was just feeding the live stuff like crazy as it was breaking down. It's not easy to get off of some things, dead or alive.
     
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