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Green Spot Algae Treament Suggestions

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Homer_Simpson, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    I hope there is no problem in me posting this here as I don't know if this is the right section of the forum to do so, but here goes.

    Hi, I have a 40 gallon tank that was overrun with just about all kinds of algae imaginable.
    Substrate: Schultz Aquatic Soil and Fluorite Mixtue
    Pressurized C02: 30 PPM as measure with drop checker
    Filter: Overflowfilter + Hagen Submersible for added circulation and UV sterilizer.
    Plants: Jam packed with plants, cardamine for floaters(15-20% surface area), rotala indica, hygrophilia polysperma, ton of java ferns, anubias.
    Lighting: AH Supply 2 55 Watt bright kit with split photoperiod of a total of 8 hours.
    Fish: 3 black skirt tetras, Siamese Algae Eater, Albino Bristlenose Pleco, Oto, Giant Zebra Danio, a whitecloud minnow, and 2 Kribensis.
    Fertilization: EI for 40 gallon dosing scheme with 50% weekly water changes.

    After a 3 month fierece battle which the algae which included, manual removal, increased water changes, tweaking of ferts, monkeying around with photoperiod and even lighting intensity, adding floaters, 2x dosing with excel, and adding algae eaters. The tank appears to be heading towards a balance and is finally on its road to recovery with the the exception of the nusiance Green Spot Algae. I know I could scrape the Green Spot Algae off with a credit card, but I am afraid to do this. The tank is 9 years old and as weird as it sounds I am scared that if scrape real hard with a credit card to remove the GSA I could inadvertently loosen the old silicone which could lead to a major leak. The tank was custom made by the person I bought it from and I think it may be nearing its lifecycle and I don't want to do anything to speed up the process.

    I have heard that spot treatment with a phosphate solution could help with GSA, but no one seems to know the proper amount to mix in a solution of water. Any ideas??

    I have read that a nerite snail is known to clean GSA. The problem is my tank does not have a tight fitting lid and the snail will likey escape and end up in my overflow filter media.

    One more thing, my P04 calibrated test kit indicates that both my tap and aquarium water have phosphate levels of 5+. I know the tap water is treated with the orthophosphate form of the phosphates, but if I understand correctly plants will also readily utilize this form of phosphates. So, this really puzzles me as it is difficult to explain this being caused by a phosphate deficiency. That leaves c02. I thought that with the circulation being provided by the filters that the c02 drop checker reading of 30 ppm would be pretty accurate. The last thing I want to do is mess with the bubble count or increas c02 levels. The last time I did this, I killed my elderly Siamese Alagae eater due to c02 poisoning and just about all my other fish. I could leave the c02 on 24/7 but am not sure what effect this would have on my fish.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think adding a concentrated spray on the sides of the glass when you do a water change(do a larger than normal) can hit it good.
    You can still use the credit card, just not around those seam edges.

    You can turkey baster the rest of the way down below the water level with a concentrated PO4 solution.

    I'd add about 1 table spoon in 200 mls of water.

    After the treatment, do a water change in a day.

    Also, doing more water changes, cleanings etc more frequently and seeing what happens after is a good idea anytime you have an algae issue.
    Green water cannot be beat that way, but most of the others can.

    Excel really helps to resolve a CO2 issue.
    I'm talking about the plant, not the algae there.

    How's the surface current and tank mixing?
    Tried CO2 misting?
    What type of filter is this?

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  3. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Thanks for responding Tom. This is what the tank looked like on Sept 12 2007.
    Picture016.jpg


    After the redemial actions, this is what the tank looks like as of today(first picture is top view of the tank).
    DSCN1637.jpg
    DSCN1635.jpg
    DSCN1634.jpg

    I know the tank needs a major trim, but I am in the process of setting up a 15 gallon high tech Amazonian II substrate tank for experimental purposes and wanted to coordinate the trim with the new setup. As you can see from the second picture the Albino Bristlenose Pleco is trying to make a dent in the green spot algae. Unfortunately, he seems unable to penetrate it. You have to admire the guy's tenacity. What are the blue things. At one time they held nitrifying bacterial colonies and while I know they are not necessary in a planted tank. I kept them in there as I did not see them doing any harm and I was just too lazy to dig through my tank and remove them.

    I am bad at using words to describe filters, so I was going to try with pictures but I am limited to only 4 images, so will try my best with words. The tank was designed to use an overflow filter. Water overflows to a compartment with filter media(bioballs and floss), the filtered water enters another chamber that houses a powerhead with a hose that shoots the water back into the tank. The guy who made the tank used a pipe with tiny holes so the returning water is released through the holes. The tank was not designed to house live plants and I think he did this to create a highly oxygenated tank, which would be great in a non-planted setting. I don't know how it would work in a planted tank setting. He claimed the tank was designed to never require water changes(don't know about that never tried but the tank has had fish that have survived over 9 years).

    In addition I have a fluval 3 plus submersible filter for added circulation and filtration(I was able to use a purigen insert in it, fine polishing fibre, and sponge). I also have a 9watt AA UV sterilizer with a powerhead running in the tank.

    For a C02 reactor I use Co2 Reactor 200 With Rio Pump.

    The tank is still not where I want it to be but the improvement is sufficient that I don't see any need to tear it down and start over, so I am going to continue to plug away. The fact that there was significant improvement in 3 months gives me some hope.

    Thanks for any suggestions or recommendations Tom.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I think using a credit card should pose no issues for you and the GSA here.
    Keep at it.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Many thanks Tom :) I can honestly say that when I seriously took your suggestions and put them into place it made a huge dent in the algae problem. I have also had great success setting up a low light tank as per your suggestions. Thanks for sharing and helping.

    On an unrelated topic, would you recommend frequent water changes for a tank with ADA Amazonian II or based on your experience is this only need for ADA Amazonian I substrate. For my ADA Amazonian Subtrate setup, I don't plan on adding any inhabitants in the tank for a month and out of curiousity I was going to use two DIY c02 bottles to provide extra c02 for a month to give the plants a headstart. I was going to remove one bottle and check the c02 level with a drop checker to ensure 30 PPM max before adding inhabitants after a month. In both cases, the yeast brew would be changed every 1-2 weeks max to keep c02 levels consistent.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    You really need to stay on top of the CO2 with ADA.
    Generally, visually is perhaps one of the better methods with the plants.

    I do not think there' much difference with II vs the first type, they just want something that does not react with hardwater or cloudiness.

    Some colloid suspensions can occur, so the II will likely replace the I type as time goes on.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  7. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Update and Big Thanks To All

    Hi, just wanted to post what that tank looks like today. Many thanks to all, especially Tom Barr for all the help. The green spot algae problem has resolved itself and there is no major algae currently. The tank is a jungle but that is the way the fish like it and I don't mind so I have no plans to do a major rescape. I only need to find a good carpeting plant that to fill some empty spaces in the subsrate.

    These are some pictures of the tank today.
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Just focus on CO2, that and less light. the PO4 is addressed by heavy PO4 dosing in EI, you can add more than EI suggest also.

    This rules out PO4.

    Then all you have left is CO2 really.

    Less light = less CO2 demand so that becomes easier to target.
    It's not because the algae are beaten out by less light, rather, the plants are no longer CO2 limited.

    Big difference in why/how is going on in the tank and why algae appears.
    Allow the plants to dominate, then there's little if any algae issue.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Tom. Such progress would not have been possible as I not applied your recommended solutions to the problem. Drop checker readings indicate 30 ppm and I implemented a better diffuser. That and regular EI dosing made the tank take a turn for the better. I have since been able to lower the light fixture without any major issues, but I am keeping a close watch over this. I want to be able to get some decent carpeting plants to fill in the gaps in the substrate and it seems that as I raised the light the substrate was not getting a lot of light. I wish I had a par meter to conclusively check if enough light was really penetrating to where carpeting plants would need it most. I tested half as* by tieing some riccia to rocks and laying it on the bottom. From the way the riccia on the rocks is growing it would seem that it is light starved.

    Thanks again for all your help.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Let me ask you this.

    If you thought that the CO2 was fine, maxed out, or otherwise "just fine", no matter what I said, would you still think this?

    Not everyone will solve their issue this way, so keep this in mind. Folks have their own notions about things, even if I or someone else presents the strongest case for the solution, they will often have something they overlooked etc.

    I tend to use algae, as it's one of the better "test kits".
    It does not lie, it does not assume etc, it does not over look and has none of these human factors.

    I'm not blaming anyone, just saying we are all human and all have thought it "....must be something else" a dozen or more times. That's just how we are. But we need to realize it and keep up on things, take steps to reduce, minimize that evil, side of ourselves:p

    I go back and try and confirm what I see and fine.
    I have kept doing this for a many years.

    I suggets the same for any and everyone.

    Try to really confirm and rule out a few things. This way you are only left with a couple of dependent variables, which makes resolving an issue much much eaiser than 10 different things.

    Problem is, some do that, some don't, some think they have, but have not.

    That, more than the method/s themselves, are the issues.
    We are out own worst enemy:cool:

    Adjusting light will be as much as your friend as CO2, if you cannot find success with CO2/measure etc, then light is a good next step. If that works, then you know it's a CO2 issue most likely.

    So then you can go back, tweak and see if you can improve upon that
    A few iterations, later, you start to get a pretty defined clear picture.

    If the Riccia pearls decently about 1/2 through the day, you are fine.


    But if not, then you think I'm crazy........



    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. livionakano

    livionakano Lifetime Members

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    Nice to hear about this PO4 spray, on WC.

    Could it work as well on GS on Anubia leaves?
     
  12. Homer_Simpson

    Homer_Simpson Prolific Poster

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    Sorry for the late response, I had to have some time to digest this and think over what you said.

    Yes, you are probably right, limitation of c02 was more likely at the root of this. The simple act of changing over the c02 diffuser seem to spark explosive plant growth and I have had difficulty keeping up with trimming. I find myself trashing lots of cuttings because the frequency of trims is to the point where I cannot sell them, or give them away faster than I can trim them. I was using a drop checker to approximate hitting close to the target rate and now I realize it is not the most accurate way of measuring c02. The other option would have been to slowly crank up the c02 and eyeball the fish. This is something I am reluctant to do as I killed two fish to excessive c02 by doing this when I first started. That leaves me with the option of using a PH controller, but as I understand a PH controller is also the most accurate. The only other thing left is a accurate c02 test device, costing thousands of dollars. Lol, I cannot really afford that.

    As you say, then the option left is to monkey around with light intensity. This is about the only feasable alternative I can target if I need to balance/rebalance the system.

    By the way, the riccia tied to rocks and placed in the foreground of the substrate is pearling but not for 1/2 a day, only towards the last 2 hours before the lights go off.

    Thanks.
     
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