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Constantly Getting Algae on Hardscape Near Surface

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by DGalt, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. DGalt

    DGalt Prolific Poster

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    When I first started the planted tank journey about a year ago I went through the usual issues of those new to planted tanks (too much light, not enough CO2 = BBA, etc.)

    I have since become more experienced and don't see algae really anymore except in one spot....on my pieces of driftwood that have portions near the surface (and subsequently near my lights).

    Obviously, the closer something is to the lights the more intense the lighting will be on that spot. But I plenty of tanks don't seem to have this issue; what are they doing differently / what should I do? As I said, I'm not getting algae anywhere else, including the slow growers such as anubias or crypts that I have in there.

    I'm really at a loss about what I should do. CO2 levels are at about the point where if I increase them my fish start to get annoyed (been playing with CO2 a lot lately, think I have it at about the max I can without stressing the fish out too much). Currently I have 40W of CFL spiral lighting over the tank (which is 15 gallons), but I even had this issue when I was using only 26W, which is why I think it's a result of the wood being close to the lights.

    The algae is specifically BBA. I haven't had anything else in the tank since I cleared up my diatom issue about 4 months ago. I've tried removing it on several occasions as well as spot treating with Excel and H2O2. They all work, but only temporarily.

    I'm going to just give the tank conditions I had in the past since I just changed a whole bunch of things. The lighting was 26W CFL spiral (2x13W), Schultz aquatic soil substrate, no dosing ferts, pressurize CO2 system. Plants were mosses and anubias. Nitrates are generally around 10ppm. I have recently changed my substrate to ADA aquasoil and have added dwarf hairgrass, crypts, and dwarf sag to my plant list. And the lighting has increased to 40W, although I'm going to be switching to a new fixture soon.

    Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated

    thanks :)
     
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    A good part of the regulars have come and gone once since this was posted, so I'll take a shot at it just to get things rolling.

    I'm guessing everyone has to scrub a log sooner or later. It's just a matter of when. At the times when I've got better balance in my tanks, there is less algae on the logs, and they can go 6 months between scrubbing. If there's a disturbance to the CO2 levels, or I slack for a while on dosing, the logs get covered far more quickly.

    Given that algae works pretty close to the same as bacteria for doubling based on preexisting mass, I'd think that more algae in the tank would mean a greater amount drifting in the column. More algae anywhere means the potential for more algae everywhere.

    Just a shot in the dark.

    -Philosophos
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you have 100 micromols of PAR at the substrate level, you can have many times that at the water surface, depending on the height of the lights above the tank, and type of lighting. Avoiding algae with that much light is difficult. Even Amano gets algae on his wood, and he just spends a lot of time scrubbing it off.
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Perhaps more accurately, Amano pays other people to scrub it off. :D

    -Philosophos
     
  5. DGalt

    DGalt Prolific Poster

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    lol, alright. so it's more of "when I take pictures of my take I pick off all the algae first" than it is "I shouldn't have algae in my tank"
     
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    That or regular excel spot treating does the job every bit as well as on plants. I've got driftwood on occasion that I don't want to take out because it'll disturb half a dozen species of plants; excel usually takes care of it, a toothbrush does the rest.

    -Philosophos
     
  7. DGalt

    DGalt Prolific Poster

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    Oh I know how to get rid of it. Some H2O2, a toothbrush, and my pocketknife if it's really bad. But it never stays dead, which is why I thought I was doing something wrong.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    When you do a water change, say once a week simply add Excel directly on it.
    Works on rocks also.

    The excel will soak in a bit, then refill the tank after a few minutes.
    the excel will also kill the BBA, as well as add more CO2, and a 15 gal is pretty economical.

    Tweak the CO2 from there.

    Or stick with excel + other methods.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    I have never had algae on my wood once I introduced Bristlenose plecos into my tank, I wish I could say the same for the rest of the tank :). Those problems though I think are due to plant overgrowth cutting down the flow of CO2.

    The wood has been in the tank for 2.5 years FWIW.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Rubber lip plecos are great also

    Regards
    Tom Barr
     
  11. DGalt

    DGalt Prolific Poster

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    I actually have an albino BN pleco in my tank. But she seems to stay on the larger pieces (the places I'm getting the algae are the very ends of the "twiggy" branches in my tank).

    If I could only get my amanos to climb up there...:p
     
  12. fjf888

    fjf888 Guru Class Expert

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    You might try otos they go everywhere or a toothbrush :)
     
  13. DGalt

    DGalt Prolific Poster

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    I had otos for a little while but they didn't last (the place I got them from I try not to buy fish at, but they were the only place that was carrying them). If I could find some more then I would definitely try some of them

    Toothbrush, though, is the current method :)
     
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