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Grey Slime Algae ????

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by apalsson, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. apalsson

    apalsson Junior Poster

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    Firstly, let me say I have just subscribed to this site and am looking forward to all the information available here. Now to the issue at hand .......

    I have just set up my planted tank again after moving house.
    The tank is a 160Gal 6' tank with the following parameters:

    dgH - 6
    dkH - 4.5
    pH - 30ppm (pressurised)
    Light - 3 x 150W Metal Halide + 100W fluoro
    UV Steriliser running 24 x 7

    My tap water was quite soft so I increased the gH with Equilibrium and kH with baking soda. My nitrate test kis showed 20ppm nitrates which I battle with believing but this is the best I could get.

    After setting up the tank, I planted the usual bunches of fast growing plants like wysteria, ambulia, hygrophila etc. At first, plant growth was excellent but shortly after, grey slime algae seemed to take foothold.
    This algae looks like snot in the tank - it's grey or brown, slimey and forms long strands and carpets in areas.

    I am fertilising with a local PMDD solution consisting of:
    6 part K2SO4
    2 part KN03
    4 part MgSO4
    1 Part Trace Elements (similar to Plantex)
    1 Part chelated Iron

    I have been syphoning out the algae the best I can and disturbing it in any way possible as well as increasing the dosing but the algae doesn't sem to give in.

    What can I do to get on top of this?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Ari
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Start by dumping the PMDD solution! Then start dosing KNO3, KH2PO4 and a trace element mix three times a week, with the traces on alternate days to the others. You need nitrates and phosphates for the plants to grow and use the CO2 you have provided. Read up here about the EI method of fertilizing, really the best way for relatively inexperienced aquatic plant gardeners, such as me, to succeed at growing more plants than algae.
     
  3. apalsson

    apalsson Junior Poster

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Thanks Vaughn,

    I guess I was trying to gain an understanding as to what the best methods of getting rid of this are but also what are the conditions that lead to this kind of an outbreak.
     
  4. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    I agree with vaughnH - dump the premixed solution -- its ratios are nuts. You need more KNO3, which will also sub for some of the K2SO4 which can drop some. You must have Phosphates which could well be your algae problem, assuming you have enough CO2.

    Assuming your 160g is about 150g of real water, here is a suggested combination of nutrients, to be dosed in the amounts shown 3x per week, always dosing the trace on alternate days with the macros since they don't do well together:

    1 1/2 tsp KNO3
    1/2 tsp K2SO4 (much of your K will come from the 1.5 tsp KNO3)
    3/8 tsp KH2PO4 (for the phosphates, and provides a bit of K)
    2 tsp MgSO4 (assuming your source water has none, mine has 8ppm which reduces that to 3/4 tsp)
    Trace using CSM+B 1/2 tsp
    Trace using TMG 30ml

    (Trace you will use one or the other, not both!)

    Remember that those numbers should be dosed 3x a week, say Sat/Mon/Wed for the macros, and Sun/Tue/Thu for the Traces -- You get a rest on Friday :D

    All of the above assume none or almost none in your source water.

    Note the ratio of N (KNO3) to K (K2SO4) compared to the premix you are using. That premix does not give you enough N at all, and it gives you no Phosphates which in a tank with CO2 is bound to give you some GSA (Green Spot Algae), if nothing else.

    If your source water starts out with significant N,P,K or Mg -- (if you are in a city you can ask for a report), then you may need to lower some of these. If you find out, post it and I will run the figures through my EI calculator.
     
  5. apalsson

    apalsson Junior Poster

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Hi quenton,

    Thanks for the reply.
    I have recently moved into a small rural town where I haven't been able to get a water report. My nitrate test kit (not very good) indicated around 20ppm nitrates in the water which is also quite soft.

    I live in Australia where we don't get Plantex CSM+B but we do get another trace mix which I believe is similar. I haven't either been able to get hold of KH2PO4 yet. I could order this from Greg W but customs give us all kinds of grief when we order chemicals. I suspect I could swap out the KH2PO4 with Seachem Phosphorus?

    I do have KN03, K2SO4, MgSO4, Chelated Iron and the Trace Mix.

    You mention an EI calulator? What figures do you need to run an accurate calculation?

    In order to get rid of the grey slime algae, you recommend increasing NO3?
    I can dose dry directly into the tank. What NO3 levels should I maintain?

    Regards

    Ari
     
  6. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Re EI calculations. First, you can use it yourself if you like, its available as a Windows install here (has only been tested in Win-XP, but should be fine on just about any recent windows -- sorry its a 5Mb download).

    If you want me to do it, need to know your base ppms. I would not trust a nitrate test kit unfortunately, mine shows about 80ppm, which would likely kill off my fish -- given my starting water (0ppm, according to the city and to my tests with 2 different kits), my Nitrate should be about 20ppm, not off-scale.

    Tom Barr suggested I ignore the test kit -- that creates a bit of a problem for you since you are in a small town. Will the town run a test for you? I remember when we moved from Toronto into "the country", we had a well and the municipality would test our water if we took a sample -- I was about 6 years old, so its just a vague memory).

    Anyway, here is the calculator -- its my own, but its based on comparisons to a couple of other calculators, and then its biased towards Tom's recommendations, so it takes into account reasonable uptake (if you set the EI-Dosing flag).

    http://www.cherniaksoftware.com/homepage/Data/NutriCalc.exe

    Its a simple windows installer. Feel free to use it, or pass it on to friends. I prefer it NOT be posted on other forums. It is posted here now, and on www.aquafacts.net.
     
  7. apalsson

    apalsson Junior Poster

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Quenton, Thanks for the calculator.

    I have increased my NO3 to 30ppm and other parameters are the same except I cannot detect any Phosphate. I still don't have KH2PO4 or Seachem Phosphorus.

    The slime algae is relentless - actually increasing. Tomorrow, I am going to try to syphon out all traces of it and do a large (50%+) water change.
    Short of that, I'm at a dead end.

    Tom, any tricks in your magician's hat?
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    If you want, you can post a link to your calculator etc. ;)

    Ope! You already did it.
    Thanks.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Several folks have gotten this vile pest.
    I've gotten samples, but the stuff goes to spores by the time I get it and I've never been able to get it growing nor gotten a sample that was ID able.

    Some have assume it's a BGA, so they tried both blackouts and antibiotics. I don';t recall if that had much effect, I think it did not.

    If it's photosynthetic, a blackout would beat it back very well, it never made a 2-3 day mail trip so.........

    Water changes, back to back and a mild copper or H2O2 dose after, perhaps an Excel bombing might provide some selectively in killing it, without too much plant growth penalty.

    I also wonder if high PO4 might have some anti grey slime snot algae.
    Unless I can keep the algae, it's hard for me to mess with them.

    I'd like to get a hold of some intact, it never ships well though.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Plants will grow at a pace that matches the limiting nutrient or the light level, which ever is the most limiting. So, if you aren't dosing phosphate all the phosphate that is available has to come from the fish, the fish food and the tap water. And, that isn't usually enough. That leaves the tank with a surplus of nitrate and traces and a shortage of phosphate. If you can get Fleets enema that is a good source of phosphate. If not, check the ingredients of the enema preparations you can get and find one that is all phosphates. People have used that successfully.
     
  11. a1matt

    a1matt Prolific Poster

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Hi Ari,

    Quenton's dosing schedule includes a 50% water change once a week.

    I'm fairly sure you knew this already but thought I would mention it to be on the safe side as it is very important :gw

    This is as per the 'EI method' that Tom developed - I recommend printing and reading the article through at least 3 times!

    Also, don't underestimate the power of algae eating fish and shrimp in your battle - Otocinclus and Siamese ALgae eaters do a wonderful job in my tank :)
     
  12. apalsson

    apalsson Junior Poster

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    a1matt,

    Thanks for mentioning that. I realised that this was the case. Yesterday, I syphoned out as much of the algae as I could and did a 50% water change. I also addred some 6 SAEs and two large bristlenoses.

    Since the tank is only recently established, I have been using Seachem Stability in it. The odd thing is that when I dosed stability yesterday, I noticed some stuff in the liquid, looking very similar to the algae. I'm probably barking up the wrong tree here because even though the liquid was well past use-by date, there is no light getting to it and therefore nothing should be able to live there but for a while, I was wondering if this was the source of the algae.

    Anyway, the SAE's were hard at work all day and we will probably never know what caused this

    Ari
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    Stop using SeaChem Stable.

    Use only baking soda(KH) and a GH booster to "stablize" the tank.

    Good ferts, PO4, CO2 etc and lots of plants will dot eh rest.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  14. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Grey Slime Algae ????

    What else would one be doing :D
    I will add that as a visible note on the window -- thanks for mentioning it!
     
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