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Causes of an Algae Bloom

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by blue_martian, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    Hi All,

    Sorry if this is under the wrong topic but I couldn't find a better one to post under.

    I keep running into the problem of the infamous Algae bloom in my tank and was wondering if these are generally caused by something specific that I can try to prevent.

    My tank is:
    50G
    2 watt per gallon lighting
    diy co2 (4 2 liter cannisters in parallel that goes into a diffuser, approx 2-3 bps)

    dry ferts:
    mon, wed, fri- 1/2 tsp of No4 + 1/16 tsp kh2po43
    tues, thurs, sat - 1/16 tsp CSM

    I previously had all these ferts doubled as per the 'EI light' article but testing showed all my ferts were off the scale and I realized that the EI light recommendations were for 'high' lighting and heavy planting, where I have medium light and medium/medium-heavy planting.

    over 2200 gallons/hr of circulation in tank

    So of course the biggest problem is getting rid of the bloom, the only way I know of that works is to completely blackout the tank for 3-6 days. Of course the plants just love that! My Roseafolia almost didn't make it back after the last time.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    NO4? Are you sure you don't mean NH4 or KNO3? If NH4 is the case then dumping ammonia directly into your tank would do a great job of kicking off an algae bloom.

    2wpg of what kind of lighting? Pretty much anything but T8 or CF is going to be too much for typical DIY CO2. 8L of DIY CO2 is pretty impressive; you may want to try using a drop checker as BPS is a very relative measurement. Any BBA showing up?

    You can dose full EI on any tank and it's not going to hurt anything, you'll just be wasting ferts after a certain point. Starting with packed out plants does make life easier though.

    Your flow rate is pretty high, is there a lot of surface disturbance to go with it? You may be gassing off fast.
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    By bloom, do you mean green water? Or GDA, or GSA?

    What kind of lights? If it's T5HO then you're right into the high light area. What kind of schedule are you on with the CO2? 4 bottles with what changed out and when?

    What does the surface look like? If you have that much flow you may just outgas your CO2 without doing a whole lot. Not that having that flow is bad, but you may not need to do as much with the surface depending on what you've got.
    -
    S


     
  4. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    err.. yeah should have proof read my post, that would KNO3 not NH4. :p

    the lighting is T5HO, I went with this because of the Alternanthera reineckii (roseafolia) in the tank. From what I read it seemed like any less light would be too little for this plant. I still have a ton of trouble with that plant and I was actually going to add more light until I discovered this site and realized that more light is very often a very bad thing.

    I was getting some BBA and still get a bit between the glass and the substrate, but since I upped my CO2 from about 3 liters to 8 it seems to be much less of an issue. I'm trying to have this setup so I'm changing two bottles every 15 days. I also use fermaid about 7 days in to reinvigorate the yeast which does seem to do a pretty good job (shout out to 'Tug' for that tip)

    By Algae bloom I mean green water, however I also get GSA. Although I can live with the GSA, the green water however got so bad the last time that you literally couldn't see any deeper into my tank than about 3 inches.

    you're right about the flow rate.. it's pretty 'breezy' in the tank. Most of it is Hydor Koraila pumps and I've set them up to have as little surface agitation as possible but I suppose with that much current in the tank there's bound to be some, but there isn't any rippling of the water or anything. Athough when I feed my fish the food moves around the top pretty good.

    I forgot to mention I also just recently started adding 1 capful of excel to the tank daily. I started on March 15 so I don't know if I would be able to notice any results from that yet



    Thanks
     
    #4 blue_martian, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  5. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    T5HO is going to land you with around the equivalent of 3wpg T8; that's tricky to manage long-term even with compressed CO2. I'd look for a way to raise or reduce your lighting.

    People talk about some plant or other needing high light all the time... I've never seen evidence of it. Usually people blame lower leaf shed on not enough light, but sure enough when the light spread is proper and the CO2 distribution/levels correct, the problem goes away without adding a single watt more. I'm sure if you ask around here or look over the blogs, someone will have an example of your plant being very happy in lower light.

    So is this just a water column bloom or do you have other algae? Pictures are handy if you're not 100% sure of your algae ID.
     
  6. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    I didn't realize that the T5HO where that much more powerful, so I guess that may be the root of my problems.

    I guess I'll try using just one light for awhile and track the algae. Do you think I should keep all the dosing and CO2 the same or should I cut it some of it back also?

    Thanks again
     
  7. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Free Floating Single-Celled Euglenoid Protista.

    Hi blue_martian,
    I have to say a shout out feels good right about now.

    Some protista have the capability to be heterotrophic so blackouts might not be of any use. Small water changes every day until it is clear and/or UV filters seam to help. Try the water changes.

    There should be microorganisms in your tank that eat this form of algae. Medicating your tank can cause a bloom if the medicine affects the biofilter. You should also clean your filter in the water from the water change or dechlorinated water when you clean it. Another option might be fun. If you can get some, place daphnia in a breeder net and the they will consume the algae.

    Keep trucking,
     
  8. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    It depends on what and how many plants you have, but you should be alright with the amounts you are dosing. It wouldn't cause algae.
     
    #8 Tug, Mar 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2010
  9. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Do one bulb. If you can alternate them for morning/evening, all the better.

    Keep your CO2 as is. I keep mine nice and high regardless of light level.
     
  10. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Hi blue_martian,

    I had a 53 gallon before on which I used 70 Watts of T5HO with reflectors. Rosaefolias were 20 inch tall plants in that tank and very red.

    Regards,
    dutchy

    IMG_1652x1.jpg
     
  11. blue_martian

    blue_martian Prolific Poster

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    Ok so I tried to go down to one 54 watt bulb... but the geniuses over at Hagen designed my fixture (Glo double T5HO) to only work with two bulbs :mad:

    But the fixture did come with a couple of... braces I guess you'd call them that raise the light up. So I attached them onto the highest setting and the fixture is now about 5 1/2 inches above the tank (probably about 7 1/2" above the water itself)

    My tank is 20" tall, do you think this may be good enough? I've always had my fixture right over the tank so I don't know how much of a difference raising the light makes. Although the tank does look a fair bit dimmer than before.

    thanks again
     
  12. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    There are several ways to drop light output. See where you are at in a couple of weeks time. If that doesn't work floating plants are always an option. Whether this means something like salvinia or duckweed which will grow to cover the surface or just some uprooted stem plants floating around this will also drop the effective lighting. Some fish really appreciate the "branches" in the water as well.

    -
    S

     
  13. Steven

    Steven Guru Class Expert

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    I was attacked by green water too before, from 10-90% water change even every 3 days won't help, it will come back and also the blackout method. An UV sterilizer is almost always the last option, though I almost tried the method like Tug mentioned, live daphnia but if you have high fish load, the daphnia will get eaten first to empty before they can do their job (eating the green water cells).
     
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