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Brown algae onslaught...

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by tefsom85, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    I apologize in advance for the lengthy post...

    I am currently fighting a brown algae infestation on a new tank startup and wanted to get feedback on my plan of attack.

    My tank is a 120G tank which was setup 3 weeks ago. It is sufficiently planted with fast growing plants to get the tank up and started. Currently I have no fish or shrimp in the tank.

    Substrate is Aquasoil Amazonia. CO2 is pressurized into a dupla reactor driven by an Eheim 2213 (more on this later). Additional water movement is provided by an Eheim 2028 and a RIO180 powerhead. Lighting is 2 250W Metal Halides - 6500K Iwasaki bulbs - photoperiod 8 hours - once again, I know too much, but fell for the more light is better trend a few years back.

    Now to the issue, ever since startup I have been seeing a lots of brown algae. It is fairly loosely bound to the plants and comes off easily but there is alot of it and its hard to stay ahead of it. The plants are growing good and look healthy - had an initial partial melt upon planting but plants are picking up. Even my Rotala Wallichi looks good and has new pink growth.

    I am following EI dosing. Current schedule is as follows:

    Sun/Thurs Waterchange and add in 2tsp GH booster
    Mon/Wed/Friday 1.5 tsp KNO3 .25 tsp H2PO4
    Tues/Sat 30ml TMG

    I am assuming that I need more CO2 (although the drop checker using Bill's 4dKH solution is showing green). I have purchased a 1/2" Mazzei injector (model 384) and am trying to figure out an inexpensive way to hook this up. I also have a Rhinox 5000 diffuser that I was going to experiment with.

    The following link has an overall pic of the tank, a closeup of the algae, and the drop checker. I apologize for the less than great pics but my camera is autofocus and doesn't work well on the tank.
    See my algae farm here!! :D

    So.. too my questions.
    I am assuming CO2 improvement is my best bet for improving conditions. This seems to be confirmed by Tom in another post I made about CO2. I am going to try to get the mazzei installed as the CO2 delivery method. May or may not keep the reactor depending on the success of the mazzei. Does this seem reasonable to folks?

    Any thoughts on how to inexpensively hook up the mazzei? Can I hook it to the RIO180 or do I need something more powerful?

    What kind of algae is this? I always see brown algae referred to as diatom but have never seen pics of it in long 'strings' like are in my tank. If it is diatom, many articles attribute it to low light or silicates. I doubt it is a light issue (even though my bulbs are 2 years old, I'm sure there is still plenty of light). If its silicates, no idea what to do about that since that would be a water supply issue.
     
  2. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    Quick update.. brown algae appears to have taken a break for the last couple of days. There is still some but it seems to be retreating. Only change is I have cut back on the phosphate from 1/4 tsp to 1/8 tsp and moved a power head from one end of the tank to the other. I also have been knocking the brown algae loose and trying to mechanically remove it at water changes. Perhaps its the lower phosphate or perhaps I just needed to wait out the brown algae...

    Most plants are growing well. A couple of varieties are struggling a little. Namely, the hygro corymbosa has curled leaves.. guessing a calcium deficiency and one of the red ludwigia species. But... I'm happy with the progress. Hope my luck holds :)
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have some filamentous brown diatoms attack for a about 1-2 weeks there when I did the first EI+ powersand, but not with plain ADA AS.

    But it was transient and went away easily.
    The tank looks like you have a CO2 issue, the Dupla reactor has about a 3/8" dinky little hole for in/out flow.

    That's fine for 50-70 gal tank perhaps..............not a high light 120 gallon.
    You need about 500 gph running through here.

    I'd suggest selling that little 2213, getting a 2250 etc, the big classic, and use that for the main and use the other to run the CO2 reactor/venturi.

    You can use a Rhinox 2000 and have it placed about 2ft away direct downstream from the Ehiem + add a venturi as well. That would give you two different methods to address the CO2 and with very little pressure/flow drop.

    I would certainly add more filtration/flow. Get the Rio out of there.
    Also, you can add some Zeolite and Activated carbon in the start up and never see the algae. So if you clean or add a new canister, add some. The tank will clean up nice real quick.

    Purigen (seaChem) seems to work well also.

    It's less due to PO4 and much more due to NH4................
    We add tons of PO4 later= no algae
    Add NH4 - algae

    Correlation does not imply cause.
    We often think that way but we must be careful not to.

    PO4 may slow a plant or algae down, but the difference between 1/8 vs 1/4 is not going to limit the algae in this tank.

    Amano uses about 1/3 of the light.

    Since they are MH's, try raising them up higher.
    Add some house plants, emergents etc to soak up the over spray of light etc.

    Lighting:
    Hopefully each lamp is independent.
    Turn on #1 at 9am and off at 3pm
    Turn 2# on at 12 noon and off at 6.

    This will help a fair amount as well.

    Sounds like the tank has just gotten over the hump.
    Also, when you do a new tank, change the water 2-3x a week, 50-70% for the first 4-6 weeks.

    I do it. Amano does it, Jeff Senske does it.
    Probably good idea if you do it.

    After the tank settles in(actually, the substrate), then you go to weekly.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. tefsom85

    tefsom85 Lifetime Members
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    Thanks Tom - I know you're right.... I have been resisting buying a bigger filter as I have been holding on to my 2213 as its been a good little filter. I guess I'll have to buy another small tank so that I can keep using it :) I'll start looking into bigger filters of the same size as the 2250. You mentioned using the 2028 to drive the venturi. Is there any reason to not drive the venturi with a large filter such as the 2250?
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The flow would be wasted on the 2260 etc, than the smaller 2028.
    Use one for good CO2 flow through current and the other for good flow in the tank.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
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