Algae... Journal ?

Allwissend

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Hi all,

So, as a newb to the forum I thought it would be nice to post a journal as a way of presentation and to get to know each other better. However, me being me... and in the "why have something nice when you could tinker with it" mentality, I decided to torture my algae farm a little longer and document a case study.

So I introduce you to my algae farm, a 30L nano cultivating GSA, GDA, BBA, hair and cladophora algae.Maybe some staghorn also hidden in there. No BGA or green water but can't have it all.

Water changes are minimal, fertilization is random, CO2 is way low and flow is just a suggestion. However light is strong, feeding of the corries is done abundantly with live food. What can I say, I really try guys. But now let's bring on the pain. Pain is knowledge, or was it the other way ?

Day 1
blackout (1 of 3).jpg


blackout (2 of 3).jpg

GDA, GSA with a healthy munching from the snails. Some BBA also visible.

blackout (3 of 3).jpg
BBA and hair algae in the front. Cladophora in the back.

Now what should I do ---- It seems popular to do a blackout, so let's start with that

3 Day blackout

Rules of the game: As the blackout has to be the only factor that destroys the algae no other change will be done to the aquarium. This means: no water changes, no cleaning, all the crap stays in, all the filters and CO2 keep going. I will compromise on not feeding though so as to avoid any light contamination.

For 72h from time of complete coverup, the aquarium will not get any light or intervention. Just utter darkness. During this time algae may or may not be alive.

We will find in 3 days the results of this case-study. See you then.

PS. This is not a how do I get rid of it thread. That is relatively easily fixed by fixing the CO2 and fertilization regiment. I am just trying different methods of "fast fix" to see the effects, photo them and have fun.
 

Greggz

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What else do you do for fun? Shove bamboo splinters under your finger nails???

Just kidding........I will be watching too.;);)

P.S. You should warn people before they scroll down to those pics, some may have just eaten, and could get a little queezy!:D
 
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slipfinger

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Oh man, I wish this was Netflix. I don't want to wait 72 hours to find out what happens. I just want to wait the 15 seconds for the next episode to start automatically....

Jokes aside, looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. If this ends up working out and is well documented it could become one of the most linked posts on sites like Facebook and TPT. Not a day goes by without at least 2 dozen or more posts from people asking for help because their tanks look just like yours.
 

Allwissend

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I will have to follow this one.

Thanks for the warm welcome guys and following this thread. I have to say I am a bit curious myself...

This is day 1 and I think I hear the monster in the aquarium shuffling around, algae screams echoing in the dark....:confused:

Before I forget. Tank with lid is covered by cardboard, blanket and aluminium foil. Probably more than needed but want to be sure no light gets in. Nice piece of decoration...
blackout (4 of 1).jpg


What else do you do for fun? Shove bamboo splinters under your finger nails???
No, usually I count moss leaves and riccia bits that are stuck in it...After that you have to have some understanding...

P.S. You should warn people before they scroll down to those pics, some may have just eaten, and could get a little queezy!:D
Fair, it's not gonna get better :p

Oh man, I wish this was Netflix.
Speaking of Netflix, is my algae garden now in The Upside Down ?

Not a day goes by without at least 2 dozen or more posts from people asking for help because their tanks look just like yours.

Yeah, don't forget about people not even bothering to ask why they get the algae. They simply buy an anti-algae solution or a woo-woo gadget. Some proudly said "they don't talk about algae", I understand their point, but I do not think ignoring one of the 3 groups of organisms capable of photosynthesis is a good long-term strategy. Plus, I'm curious :eek:
 

toads74

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Sounds like this is going to be interesting! ;) I’ve always found it easier to grow algae than plants. Except for green water. Never was able to grow it so I could start a daphnia culture... :p

Are you going to be monitoring ammonia and nitrite levels? More for the sake of the livestock, but curious as well to see how much the die off produces.
 

Allwissend

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Hey all,

The results are in, 72h on the dot have passed, the aquarium came back to reality. This is after 3 days of complete darkness:
blackout-14.jpg



I can see the plants having elongated their cells, maybe light deficiency response.

blackout-13.jpg

The GDA is a little bit reduced and discoloured. Snail having eaten most of it no doubt. GSA is in perfect health. From what I see there is enough GDA to recolonize rapidly. We will see in the next few days.

blackout-12.jpg

Hair, cladophora and BGA is pretty much the same. Ignore the white worms, my cories were starving.

Conclusion:

A 3 day blackout did not remove any algae species from the tank. Nothing disappeared. GDA algae seems to be a little affected by predation but still enough to recolonize.

So for me it did not work. I cannot think of a reason why it should have worked. Algae, like plants, have energy resources. They will not run out of carbohydrates/energy very fast, and when the adult cells sense environmental stress the algae will produce spores. They may stop growing and vegetatively reproducing in the dark. If there are many predators and they do not reproduce as fast, this may rise to the appearance of algae reduction. Even if I have a population of pond snails in the aquarium, this was not enough to get rid of the GDA. Well now the failure is documented at least.

This is not the first time a short blackout (3 days vs 3 months) did not work for me. I do not doubt that for some people it produced some sort of a result. However, I think the results observed were because of the water changes, cleaning, increased predatory stress and general better husbandry before and after the blackout, rather than 72h without light.

I try to find some photos of a longer blackout later this weekend.

Next step:

The karate kid approach: one-two punch.


I’ve always found it easier to grow algae than plants. Except for green water. Never was able to grow it so I could start a daphnia culture...
Are you going to be monitoring ammonia and nitrite levels?

Funny, I had the same problem. My daphnia is full of yeast and flour waiting for summer to come around. They are somewhat easier to culture than plants but you need a nice pure inoculum, otherwise hard to predict which sp. you will get.

No tests this time around. I am not really worried about the fauna, the PH is mostly acidic, the aquarium is cycled and was only 3 days. Of course one would need to adapt the method to their own requirements. The main focus for me was to check the effects of a 72h period without light.
 
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Greggz

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Very interesting. I was expecting a bit more.

You may inadvertently be creating a thread on how to grow algae.

Whatever you are doing, it is working quite well!:D:D

Now let's see what the 1-2 punch does.

Looking forward to seeing the results.
 

Tom Barr

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Trim, remove each plant, clean, wipe entire non live rock, tubes, glass etc.
2-3 days later, a couple of water changes.

You could nail it with Excel, peroxide, Algaefix as well, but the main purpose for those are for minor bits, leftovers..............

19834.jpg


19835.jpg
 

Allwissend

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You may inadvertently be creating a thread on how to grow algae.
Whatever you are doing, it is working quite well!:D:D
Thanks, who knows maybe we could create an aquascape with only algae and forget about those fancy plants.

Trim, remove each plant, clean, wipe entire non live rock, tubes, glass etc.
2-3 days later, a couple of water changes.

You could nail it with Excel, peroxide, Algaefix as well, but the main purpose for those are for minor bits, leftovers..............

Thanks for your input Tom. What you provide is a good and rational way of getting rid algae in the tank. I think most members of this forum will be wise and use the path you indicate. In the end it is about mechanical removal of most of it and giving the plants some breathing room to grow. How long did it pass from cleaning the aquarium to taking the picture ? Did you do just the cleaning or did you also do a chemical treatment ?

I am not trying to kill the algae per se, just to see the effects of different popular treatments. As such I started with the weakest. Lack of light (blackouts) should have killed algae no-matter the size as it is not a dose based treatment.

Hydrogen peroxide is dose dependent and the matter is complicated by the amount of things it can react with. For example 0.001 mL/L H2O2 worked even against cladophora in a "sterile" environment. If you put a bunch of moss with high organics, even 10x did not work.

The One Two Punch - Preparation


So I'm reading H2O2 is next?

Yes, coming up next will be a dose of 0.045mL/L H2O2 (Note: not the x% solution but the actual H2O2. 100mL 3%H2O2 is the equiv. of 3mL H2O2). Followed by a liquid carbon dose.

For documentation purposes I will use 12%H2O2 and Easy Carbo (instead of Excel)

I will respect the original dosing of DarkCobra. The original dose can be estimated to aprox. 0.045mL/L H2O2 in standardized units. The procedure is described here: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/23-algae/203684-one-two-punch-whole-tank-algae-treatment.html

A brief description of the method:
1. stop filter, produce high flow with powerhead (Koralia nano 1600L/h in my case )
2. dose 0.045mL/L H2O2
3. After 15 min do a 50% or more water change
4. Return tank to normal operations
5. Dose Excel according to Seachem's instruction or according to the normal dose

I will take my fish out of the tank for this treatment. No need to experiment on them with H2O2.

Limitations:

As the aquarium just had a 3 day old blackout, the results we see may be the result of the combination of the two treatments. This is the case for all experiments that take place in the same aquarium, with the same plants and no control. I cannot ignore the timeline of events so this is a point of discussion. I did allow the plants/algae a full day of light and CO2 and some fertilizer to bounce back.

Now to catching the cory cats, always fun
 
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Allwissend

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Hey all,

I went ahead and did the peroxide treatment followed by a normal dose of Easy Carbo.

One two punch - the experience
There was less bubbling then I expected, perhaps due to the higher flow/de gassing. Although there we no immediate changes, 24h later you could see massive decoloration in hair algae and GDA. BBA also has a grayish color. GSA is mostly unaffected.

No fauna was left in the tank. But as adverse effects of the dosing, Egeria densa and Najas sp. Also seem affected. Not a major side-effect for me, but worth a mention

I will post photos when I get home.
 
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Allwissend

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One two punch - The Outcome

In the photo things still are a little green but in reality most algae is grey and yellow:
onetwopunch-3.jpg


I discovered another plant that was damaged by the treatment, my riccia stone ( on top of the filter).

onetwopunch-2.jpg


As I said , GSA pretty much unhurt.

onetwopunch-1.jpg


Staghorn got all red/ dead. Some younger BBA colonies did the same, some seem to have survived. I will report in a week or so and see how it goes.

Conclusion

I think the algae in this tank are pretty much cooked:(. They killed them, the innocent little algae...

The one two punch at the initial recommended dose is an aggressive approach to cleaning your tank of algae. GSA and BBA may survive this treatment (to be confirmed). I strongly suggest removing all fish and shrimps from the tank before attempting this treatment. Most real aquatic plants (eg. egeria) may be affected. Nevertheless, compared to the blackout, it is fast ( one evening) and you can monitor the progress Be aware that the initial poster changed their suggestion to half of what I dosed.

I will go on and clean the dead stuff, plants and algae and start reviving the tank.

Step 1. Flow and CO2

Now although not as much fun, I may have other aquariums or sources of algae. What should I try next ? What popular, quick fix treatment do you know ?
 

Kyalgae

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What popular, quick fix treatment do you know ?

100 Amano shrimp for 3 days :D can you find them cheap? Or even 50! You can kill it all you want, but something has to be able to mechanically remove the dead plant corpses.
 

Allwissend

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100 Amano shrimp for 3 days :D can you find them cheap? Or even 50! You can kill it all you want, but something has to be able to mechanically remove the dead plant corpses.

Sure, that is a quick fix...I can see the legions of shrimps marching through a 30 nano, crushing all, eating all. But can you imagine how many algae tabs you will need to feed them afterwards.

Well, I put on my shrimp suit and took things into my own claws. Cleaning the glass and removing dead ( white or yellow) algae. It was a breeze to do after the algae were dead.

One week after the 1-2 punch, most of the algae are dead and gone.What remained are GSA and some most of the BBA. I also discovered that the Sußwassertang was damaged by the treatment.The main blades are now brown but new plantlets are growing .

Meanwhile, I managed to take some microscope images of some algae and protozoa present in my aquariums. Let's start with the classy Cladophora, massive chloroplast , thick cell walls... a true survivor to decorate your mosses
green_hydra_intuitiveaqua.net-1-2.jpg


Next we have an unidentified hair algae. The width, cellular separation and lack of branching makes it easy to distinguish between the two. This is definitely not Spirogyra, although at the macroscopic level it looks just like it. Goes to show the diversity in our algae. It also easy to understand how breaking the strands will result in new colonies growing... just imagine separating right at the cell joints.


hair_algae_intuitiveaqua.net.jpg
 

Allwissend

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Thank you slipfinger.

I went to the fishstore and got some lemon tetras. As a freebee I also got this in the bag :)
microbial_aquarium_life_intuitiveaqua.net-5-2.jpg


1. I wonder if the fish will introduce this algae into their destination aquarium. Hopefully the system is robust enough to prevent an BGA takeover
2. Yey now I have a nice sample of BGA to grow and experiment with. I want to do the the same treatments as above, given that BGA was not present in the first round of trials, plus extended blackout, increased nitrogen and other recommendations found on other forums. Let's see.

Meanwhile:
I looked at some debris from a pre-filter from a high energy planted aquarium. Surprisingly you will find some things that are more likely to be associated with a lower trophic level in environmental samples. Notice that the samples are not very clean as a lot of dirt from the filter was still present

A mix of diatoms, unicellular algae and dinoflagelates
microbial_aquarium_life_intuitiveaqua.net-1.jpg



microbial_aquarium_life_intuitiveaqua.net-2.jpg

No this is not an algae spore, it is actually a heliozoan. This is an algae eater :)

microbial_aquarium_life_intuitiveaqua.net-3.jpg

I also managed to capture a very active Gastrotrich. They also eat bacteria and algae .

As a small conclusion
1. even in the pre-filter there is a very high diversity which lives from the bacteria and algae we provide with nutrients. The impact of these microorganisms on our aquariums is hard to quantify or even observe.
2. wash your hand before and after working in the aquarium. :rolleyes:
 

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Short update. I had a small 12L aquarium in the office that was infested with cladophora and hair algae. Last night I tried the 1-2 punch method on it but with half the dose in the original post. It is still too early to tell if it was successful but cladophora does not seem to bothered. Nevertheless, it may take more than 24h to see the full effects of the treatment. I am also interested to see how it impacted the Fissidens moss and the other mosses.

The 12L aquarium has been re-purposed into a journal aquarium 12b_1of9
 
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burr740

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Algaefix >> peroxide/excel for hair types including clado
 

Allwissend

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Almost 3 weeks after the half dose treatment, I can say that cladophora survived and is now growing strong.... Its like a moss for the wood :D. I will try the full dose this weekend, if it does not work I will try what you suggested burr.

In the first aquarium I did the full 1-2 punch I only have some minor GDA and BBA. So overall it works quite well at full dose.