Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Each week now I have crap-loads of green spot algae showing back up in my tank. Before last month I had never even gotten GSA before (2 years of the tank).

I can only suspect that my additional Iron dosing is the culrprit, but just incase, any help would be appreciated.

My PO4 is always extremely high. 10ppm+. I dose 4.8ppm/week anyway.
I dose 2x the recommended dosage of CSM+B (not the kind with extra iron).
And I dose 5ml of Flourish Iron 3x per week.
Total Iron dosage = 1.1ppm per week (.16ppm/day).

Could this be the cause?
 

imatrout

Prolific Poster
Apr 4, 2005
96
0
6
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

I think high phosphate causes GSA. You should check Chuck's calculator or the Fertilator on APC (Aquatic Plant Central) Those tools will tell you recommended dosage and how much to add to your tank to effect an outcome target concentration.
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

i think it is low PO4 that causes GSA, not high. There is no way to reduce it in my tank though. Had high PO4 for 2 years... no idea what is causing it. 75% weekly water changes doesn't even help.
 

Simpte

Prolific Poster
Feb 17, 2005
76
0
6
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

I would tend to think your CO2 is low and or you need more Nitrates. Well I would guess your co2 is low. Someone once told me 95% of all algae issues are CO2 related. (Just cant remember who said that) lol
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

co2 is at 60ppm (maybe even higher)
NO3 is normally at 20-40ppm (I dose KNO3 heavily for my Java Fern)

keep the suggestions coming! i am sure there is something that I am either forgetting or something I never knew.

i hate scrubbing this crap off. maybe it is the acrylic, but both algae's I have are absolutely awful hard to scrub.
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
743
113
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

It has to be from CO2 or the PO4 or both.

Something else is going on and you are not catching it.
Rehash these two and make sure the other bases are covered.

I'd really focus on these two parameters.

I almost never get any GSA and I have supposedly the same ranges you do.........

Are you relying solely on the tap water for the PO4 source?

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Tom Wood

Guru Class Expert
Jan 24, 2005
139
0
16
Kerrville/Austin, Texas
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

I've seen a correlation between excess trace/iron dosing and fuzz (Oedogonium) algae, but my tank tends to green dust (real name?) that then evolves into fuzz. Since Oedogonium can travel in the water, I recently installed a UV sterilizer that has slowed it down quite a bit. I've also read that copper will kill it, so I was considering a treatment of Coppersafe to see if it would knock it completely out. (Warning, such a treatment will kill invertebrates.)

TW
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
743
113
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

Tom, I've heard this for over a decade, many folks have said there is a relationship between high traces and thread and about 1/2 dozen other algae but I've routinely been adding huge amounts of traces for many years as have many aquarist here with any such algae, it's present, but it does not grow.

This is the same argument that folks said high PO4 caused algae, yet when I address the other parameters, I do not have any issue when I add lots.
The same is true for sfbapps group, we have been adding lots of traces since 1997 at both Claus and my suggestion.

Copper will knock it back, but not eliminate it over the long term.
Some plants are copper sensitive so getting the right amount by adding more ppm slowly will be the best(only) approach and watching. Copper demand and plant health per individual tank is different as well as hardness(copper is much more effective/toxic with soft water).

But you can scrub the algae off and use a UV/Diatom, mechanical fine filter etc to remove it or a large water change right afterwards etc.

But back to this.
The GSA is curable.

As far as hardness etc, I recently moved to Davis which has good old rock hard water from Fair Oaks which has super soft Sierra run off.
Plants, all of them, are doing fine.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Tom Wood

Guru Class Expert
Jan 24, 2005
139
0
16
Kerrville/Austin, Texas
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

Dunno then, but it -seemed- to be correlated. After some misfires trying to reconstitute RO water I'm at about the same 160-180ppm TDS that I was in Austin, and the tank is far easier to manage than using the 430ppm out of the tap. I recently added a 650GPH external pump to my 90 gallon, just for water movement and now to run the UV. It is good to know that any time I remove algae from a surface that it will be killed.

TW
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
743
113
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

In some tap waters folks seemed to have some issues. I've only had 2-3 squirrlely species do poorly due to what I presumed to be the tap.

I've been doing the CO2 misting and I now have that high GH/KH tap water here and am still growing all these wimpy plants very well.

In harder water, the metals should be less available, meaning you should need more, not less to get good plant growth.

This is a well known issue with metals and water hardness.

UV's are good after a good scrub!
I'd like to make a nice little 500gph variable flow Micron filter + UV that takes the 9 3/4" cartiage filters that I can take tank to tank. Lifegaurd makes a large one and you have to use their cartiages etc but they cost a lot and the 900gph is too much for many tanks as well as being very large.

I could get all the mulm and algae out, then do the large water change.

A good micro filter cartiage will do this, 5 micron sizing works very well(it clogs up fast and gets even smaller particles(green water-2-3 micron sizing)).

If you have Oedogonioum, that would be a sign of CO2 issues as well as some nutrient problems.

That is likely from your move and should/has go/ne away.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

Tom Barr said:
It has to be from CO2 or the PO4 or both.

Something else is going on and you are not catching it.
Rehash these two and make sure the other bases are covered.

I'd really focus on these two parameters.

I almost never get any GSA and I have supposedly the same ranges you do.........

Are you relying solely on the tap water for the PO4 source?

Regards,
Tom Barr

co2 is too high as is, so I will assume maybe it could be the PO4.

My tap water has 0ppm PO4, so my 75% weekly water changes should be pulling it down quite a bit. But for some reason I always test at 10ppm+ for PO4. I would argue a faulty testkit except that it always reads 0 for my tap water, as expected.

I also dose about 1/4 the recommended amount of KH2PO4 3x per week in my tank... always had the possiblity of faulty testkit in the back of my mind. I could bump that up, but I bet I see a even larger increasing of PO4 build-up.

maybe something is keeping my plants from utilizing PO4? I have Java Fern (lots and lots of it), Jungle Val, Corkscrew Val, and Red Tiger Lotus.
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

weaverr3 said:
Perhaps, you don't have enough fast growers? I see no stem plants on your list there.
Tiger Lotus is a stem, right? It is by far the fastest grower in the tank. Followed by the Jungle Val.

I am about to make a new post about my corkscrew val. seems to be dieing a lot recently. turns fully brown. not sure whats up.
 

weaverr3

Junior Poster
Jun 12, 2005
26
0
1
44
South Carolina
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

Spar said:
Tiger Lotus is a stem, right? It is by far the fastest grower in the tank. Followed by the Jungle Val.

I think Tiger Lotus is a bulb isn't it? I personally don't consider any bulbs or rooted plants as algae busters (even though they may grow relatively fast). They get most of their nutrition from the substrate, not the water column. I would guess you simply don't have enough plant growth to "out compete" all your algae.

Btw, Tom, I still can't wrap my head around the "out compete" thing I posted about a week or so ago (http://www.barrreport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1076). You can still have elephants and mice! :p
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

This may make sense then. I used to have Water Spite in my tank. About the time I took it out is when all this algae crap began.

I don't want to do water sprite again, but what else is recommended a good algae-buster? I have plenty of room in my tank for more plants.
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
743
113
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

Spar:

The plant biomass should be the only thing to worry about.

Lotuses are weeds, Val is also.

It sounds like the CO2 and PO4.
Go a head and add the extra PO4, it's not going hurt anything.
Bump the CO2 up a tad also.

W- yes, we still have Elephants and mice livging together, but do you have massive mice infestations? Environmental and biological constraints place limits on their growth and fecundancity. The same is true for the slower growing/reproducing elephants.

If you limited food resources, which would be the first to die off? Elephants have more reserves, but they would die and take a very long time to recover.
Mice will die rapidly, then bounce back at whatever resource level is provided way way down to near zero. As soon as any resource became available once again, the mice would rapidly bounce back and become well established.

Meanwhile there are no elephants left(or they are hurting and not able to down much).

Algae need far less than plants do the live and grow.
But algae are not dumb, they wait till things are going sour(increases in NH4, variations in O2/CO2, low CO2 levels, high light, low NO3, sudden increases in organic matter etc).

They respond much faster than plants do to these variations.
The focus should be on what helps the plants grow.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

I decided to test my NO3 today just to make sure that I wasn't bottoming out. I already dose 55ppm per week, so figured that wasn't possible.

On Sundays I do a 75% water change and then immediately dose 30ppm NO3. I did the test tonight, and it was at 5ppm. That means over a 2-day period, 25ppm NO3 was utilized!

I tested my testkit out on a 1g pitcher, and it appeared to be measuring correctly. 0ppm out of tap, tested correct. Dosed 25ppm (1/32t KNO3), and it read correctly.

Could this really be happening? That much NO3 consumption? I guess I can up my mid-week dosings even more, but I will end up adding near 75ppm per week, and the K will out the roof as well.

The other issue I am still wanting to grasp is why my PO4 uptake is so weak. Did we decide it was the plant-choice? if not, then what else could it be?

I really don't want to bump up my co2 anymore. 60ppm seems risky enough. I have already upped my PO4 dosage the other day.
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
743
113
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

I'd worry more about the look of the tank with CO2 rather than the measurement. Turn it off at night also, adds a margin of safety.

PO4 consumption is rapid.
It's not 25ppm of NO3.

That much I can tell you.

Something else is wrong in the methods.
Especially given poor PO4 uptake..........

Try the CO2/PO4 and see.

I'd stick with 30-40ppm or so of NO3, not 55.
Fed fish etc

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Spar

Guru Class Expert
Jun 5, 2005
123
0
16
41
Dallas, TX
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

is there a chance that my high PO4 is causing my pH reading to be thrown off?

As of right now, I have 6.2pH and 3kh = 57ppm co2.

I have tested the pH with all 3 of my digital pH readers (2 pinpoint, and 1 Milwaukee), and also by liquid tests. All show near 6.2. And 2 KH testkits.

So... if PO4 could be throwing it off low, then maybe I have much lower co2 than I measure?

Also, what reasons could there be for this large NO3 decrease between dosings?
 

Tom Barr

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Jan 23, 2005
18,696
743
113
Re: Can't stop GSA - quite annoying

NO3 test kit issues.
There's something going on, what brands are speaking of for NO3?

Most are poor at the higher ranges beyond the narrow range types resolution of 15ppm-20ppm or so.

You might want to make a several series of NO3 to test it against.
8-15 ppm per day is not going to happen.
3-4 ppm is a lot. That's the max as far as plants will take up, unless starved and some luxury consumption is factored in.

P04 will not cause any issues to 4-8ppm or so.
Certainly far more than we need to worry unless trying to control pH in a large way with pH buffers.

I still think you need to rule out PO4 then work on CO2.

GH, NO3/K/Traces are all that is left..........

Regards,
Tom Barr