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Help with this algae

Discussion in 'Algae Control' started by Skyfish, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. Skyfish

    Skyfish Prolific Poster

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    I don’t know how to beat this algae, posting a few pictures if anyone you can help. Looks like some sort of light to medium green hair algae that is stringy and smells too, when I use a brush most of it comes off but not completely, part of it sticks to the leaves. It gets to about 5 to 6 inches at times. Once removed, it grows back within a few hours. I have tried black out for 3 days, I have tried double dose of Excel. I pulled out most of the plants, vacuumed the gravel, and changed 90% of the water. Replanted some of the old unaffected plants, and added new ones, but it has come back again. Here are my tank stats:

    Tank 80G
    KH 4.7 83 ppm (raised using bicarbonate)
    PH 6.4 (fish gasping at 6.3)
    CO2 pressurized with controller. External inline Rex reactor.
    Dosing EI, cycling every 9 days, with 3 days off.
    Filter: Ehiem Pro-II 2028 and 2026
    Lights
    - 38w x 2 6,500K Narva (German – Labeled Oceanic Nature, for plants also)
    - 36w x 4 9,500K (Arcadia – Labeled HO marine lamp)
    - 36w x 2 Osram Fluora Grow (36W/77 pink light)

    1st, 4th, 7th day:
    KNO3 ¾ Tea spoon
    KH2PO4 ¾ Tea spoon (if I dose less I get green dust) Sometimes 1 Tea spoon.
    MgSO4*7H2O 1.5 Table Spoon

    2nd, 5th, 8th day:
    CSM 30 ML – 1table spoon/250Ml solution - (was dosing TMG 3 times 15ML before)

    3rd, 6th, 9th days off

    10th day 50% water change.

    CO2 is a good 56 ppm, plants are pearling really well and look healthy. As you can see in the photo, I have enough plants. The foreground is still not covered. I have pigmy chain sword and tenellus.

    Fishes are mostly tetras, thread fin rainbows, ottos. Not over crowed.

    One thing I suspect after trying everything, is the lights. The Arcadia is labeled as HO marine Lamp, this could be causing the problem. It is due for a change and I am going to use 6,500K HO arcadia or Zoo Med 7,000k, depending on what is available.

    What algae is this and how can I beat it? Should I just keep harassing it and wait for the plants to grow some more? Or can this algae be beaten somehow by increasing or decreasing something?

    Appreciate any help.
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help with this algae

    The algae looks like cladophora, which I don't know how to get rid of. I don't understand why it takes so much phosphate to stop your GSA, and I don't see the reason for so much Mg - don't most people dose that only at water changes, if at all?

    I had that algae for awhile, but when I got rid of all of the Java Moss and used a bleach dip to kill other algae on the plants and equipment, it left and hasn't returned.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with this algae

    That's Spirogyra.
    Cladophora is branched and darker.

    SG looks cool under a scope.

    Hard to get rid of, there's no issues with your nutrients/CO2 etc.
    This is very much like bladder wort..........

    I remove as much as I can, it's not easy, a toothbrush helps.
    Not sure anyone's done the H2O2/Excel etc methods on it.

    Shrimps seem to eat it well.

    Some aggressive pruning in the entangled plants will remedy mosty of it along with manuanl removal etc.

    Not sure about 3 days of blackout either. It's not nearly as tough as Cladophora.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. Skyfish

    Skyfish Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    Thanks for your replies.

    Well I have done 2 black outs in the last 2 months, one just a few weeks ago. It disappears completely then returns in a week. It seems to be everywhere now. Not only on the stem plants but sneaking around the grass, crypts as well. Excel did not do anything at 2 x overdose. I will have to prune heavy and nuke it!

    Thing is my ADA soil/power sand is on order and I was going to tare down this tank anyway, but keeping some of the plants. I guess now I may have to dump all the plants if I can’t get rid of the SG. Bleach the entire tank, equipment; perhaps even wash out the filter media, not happy about that, I wanted the good bacteria for a quick cycle.

    But keeping my hopes alive, I will first triple overdose with Excel for 10 days, failing which nuke it!
     
  5. quenton

    quenton Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with this algae


    Couple of things to beware of with Excel
    • the large bottles (2L/5L) for a time came with incorrect dosing instructions as the cap was 10ml and the dosing instructions were copied from the smaller bottles with a 5ml cap -- just struck me it could be a problem if you are overdosing.
    • if you have anacharis (elodea) it will likely kill it or badly damage it.
     
  6. colonel

    colonel Guru Class Expert

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    Re: Help with this algae

    Just curious to see why you are adding so much KH2PO4? I ran over to the fertilator to check that out, at 3/4 of a teaspoon in an 80 gallon tank, thats 10ppm per dose, at 3x a week. Your adding about 30ppm P per week.... that just seems like a huge amount that really is not needed.

    Though it is a really good example that excess phosphate does not cause algae :D LoL, though you are having a small issue, its really not bad at all.... something good to toss in peoples faces who still stand by that old false theroy I guess ;).

    Guess Im just with VaughnH, wondering what the reason is behind so much P and Mg, do you see some sort of Ill effects if that much is not added? Thanks!

    ~Matt
     
  7. a1matt

    a1matt Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    IMO Don't do a tear down just yet but buy some Shrimp!

    I had the same algae and it slowly but surely got worse over 6 months. Looked not dissimilar to your pics. Maybe a bit worse, and it loves to 'breed' in java moss.

    I put 6 Amano shrimp in one afternoon (in a 40 gallon tank) and they eat pretty much all of it overnight!

    Sadly, the shrimp then died straight after a 50% water change the next day (I suspect due to a combination of; acclimatisation to my tank, high nitrates in the tap water, and the shock of the water change).

    About 3 months later the algae is starting to creep back again.

    (My tank is growing in nicely and I now have enough plant biomass that I have signs of nitrate deficiency, woo hoo! I will attempt shrimps again soon...)
     
  8. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Help with this algae

    Nitrate deficiency - leads to - blue green algae, I think. We need to shoot for no deficiencies at all, in my opinion.
     
  9. a1matt

    a1matt Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    I do agree no deficiencies is what we should aim for.
    Apologies for mistakenly advocating nitrate deficiency.

    My tank has only been densely planted very recently (last 6 months or so out of 15 years). This has resulted in nitrates getting lower instead of higher for the first time ever which is a big step for me :D

    I just started dosing KNO3 to celebrate :p
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with this algae

    I'd try the shrimp personally.

    They address selectively removing the green algae that tend to do better in good overall tank conditions.

    You can remove a lot of green algae manually, but it does come like most weeds.

    Adding the herbivore might work well.
    I know copper can control the algae at .3-.4ppm for a day or 2 exposure and should not hurt things like Egeria/Myriophyllum which tend to be fairly senstive.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. Skyfish

    Skyfish Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    ~ Quenton

    I do have that 2L bottle with the incorrect dosing instructions. I saw that when I got the bottle. I still used the instructions from the 500Ml bottle, small cap. Maybe they noticed this after a 100 million bottle were ready? Lol.

    ~ Matt, Vaughn

    I know this is a high amount of KH2PO4!! When I started EI about 18 months ago, I was dosing less then 1 /2 Tspoon and I would see green spot on my anubias and green dust on the glass within 2 to 3 days, so I increased it to 3 /4 Tspoon. It slowed down the green spot a bit, but not that much. On a 9 day EI cycle, I now get green dust on the 7th or 8th day. I have seen no other ill effect what so ever. And yes it does prove Tom’s point that PO4 does not cause algae, since EI I have had no problems with BBA, BGA or any other algae except for Cladophora and now this NASTY Spyrogyra. As for Mg, again I have seen nothing adverse due to the high dosage; perhaps I did go over board. For a week now I have reduced the PO4 to 1/ 2 Tspoon 3 times, just to see what happens. Mg is now once a week at water change.

    ~ a1matt

    My main problem in this country is the heat, my tank on normal days stays between 84 and 86F and at water change, brace yourself, 96-97F!! I have to add ice to bring it down and keep the A/C at HIGH. When I add shrimps, they die within a few days. I love Amano shrimps but have lost 30 to 40 of them coz of this. So I can’t put them in. Along with my ADA AS/PS, I have also ordered a chiller from HKG, once that is up, I will add shrimps. This will be another 10 days.

    Why do your shrimps die after a water change? What’s wrong with your water? EI doses high nitrAtes in any case, so that should not be a problem. Only time I see shrimps die is when nitrItes are high and when the temps are over 84/85F.

    Black out beats it back for a while but it comes back. Excel does nothing really as such at 2 times overdose, I am trying 3 times now, but I doubt it will help. This is not your regular hair algae. This one thrives with your plants. I have very healthy plants, that pearl like hell and with it, so does this algae.

    I was reading Jay Luto’s post over at APC yesterday, he had the same algae, he added Rosy Barbs and did not feed them for like 6 days and they ate all of it.

    The thread is located here. If that does not work then here >>> http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/algae-specific-problems/12542-any-experience-with-algae-hairy-type.html


    Thanks everyone.
     
  12. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Help with this algae

    Rosies will shed anything furry.... moss etc as well.

    They are pretty good, you might want to check the APD, we knew about them 10 + years ago as effective hair algae eaters.

    The temp is big issue, this alga likes the warmer temps IME.
    I've never had it unless the temp was very high consistently.
    I lived in FL and saw a lot of it.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  13. a1matt

    a1matt Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    I'm a newby when it comes to shrimps and don't really know why they died.
    Your post is helpful, it's good to know that nitrates aren't a problem per se. Maybe it was water temperature - I could have added water that was higher than it should have been. It's a plausible explanation.

    Either way I'll definitely add some more Amano's in the future. Next time around I'll check and monitor my tank condition and water parameters carefully beforehand.

    Good luck with your chiller!
     
  14. rrguymon

    rrguymon Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    I have this algae now too. I had it last summer and it went away in the fall. I was changingmy dosing, co2 all kinds of stuff. It just went away in oct or so. I think it must be temp related. I have not changed anything for the last few months in my routine and summer is here its back again.

    Right now I am just pulling it out. I may need to look at a chiller I guess. However, they are pretty expensive.

    Rick
     
  15. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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  16. Skyfish

    Skyfish Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    I overdosed with excel since my last post, 3 times initial 105ML, then 30ML per day, water became a bit cloudy as expected, but so far it seems the spirogyra has slowed down. But we'll see after a week. It could be coz of the heavy hand removal I did, plus clipping off the infected leaves/stems.

    Rick, seems yours started in the summer as well, heat related I guess. Do you remember the temp at the time? I doubt that this comes due to nutrient deficiencies coz my nutrients are in excess. I think mine came with some plants that I had ordered at a LSF.

    Chillers can get expensive, mine is costing me $250. VaughnH, I did think about making one myself using a hot/cold water dispenser which are not that expensive if you buy a generic one, then using the compressor from that, but I opted not to. A proper chiller has a thermostat and a housing, neat and tidy.

    Not tried the rosy barbs yet, see if excel does anything at 3 times.
     
  17. rrguymon

    rrguymon Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    Temp was around 83 if I recall. I Have it down to 80 now and have some fans orderd to install in my hood. If that does not work I guess I will look at a chiller. Where did you find a chiller for 250? Most of the once I have found rated for a 50+ gallon tank cost alot more than that.

    Rick
     
  18. Skyfish

    Skyfish Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    Hi everyone,

    Just to update a little. I finally went out Thursday evening and got 4 rosy barbs and kept them in a bucket hungry for about 5 hours, fed the main tank then put the barbs in at 10pm. When I woke up in the morning, 80% of the Spyrogyra was gone! I did not feed the fishes all of Friday, just a pinch this morning. I have been seeing the barbs plucking at the grass, and the mid ground plants, looking for algae. I guess it worked.

    Just going to feed a pinch once a day, and by a pinch I mean a pinch. So I guess hungry rosy barbs work for Spyrogyra, so all those that need to know. Spyrogyra is a pain in the back side, a very nasty algae to have.

    Thanks to everyone who helped.
     
  19. Skyfish

    Skyfish Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    Rick, I ordered the chiller from Hong Kong, it's a China made job. I should be receiving it within a week. btw it's 220v.

    Try using large ice bottles, just leave them in till they melt, then back in the freezer.
     
  20. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    Re: Help with this algae

    I had this type of algae about a year ago. It drove me nuts for several months. My 55gal tank conditions at the time were:
    2wpg light
    5-10ppm Nitrate
    undetectable Phophate
    No CO2 added
    Some Tetra brand fertilizer that only added Potassium and Iron.

    I switched to a single DIY 2 Liter CO2 bottle,
    Purchased the Seachem Flourish line of products and began dosing
    Flourish, Flourish Iron, Flourish Potassium, and Flourish Phosphate, Flourish Excel as directed on the bottles.
    This brought my CO2 up to slightly above ambient and my phosphate up to 0.1ppm as well as adding Excel.
    The result was that the hair algae went away, but all of my Elodea in the tank died off, and almost all of my hornwort died.

    The rest of tank looked nice for a couple months then I had another type of algae to deal with and that was BGA. I then made some further changes. I stopped dosing Excel, and replaced the DIY CO2 bottle with a pressurized CO2 cylinder which brought my CO2 up to about 20 to 25 ppm. I also increased my phosphate dosing to bring it up to 0.5ppm. This cleared up the BGA almost overnight. The little fragments of hornwort that were still in the tank began to grow again.

    What I've learned from all of this is:
    I beleive it was the Excel that killed the hair algae, the Elodea, and most of the hornwort. However many other plants such as Water Sprite, Aponogetons, and Lillies will thrive with Excel.
    I also beleive that it was removing the plants nutrient deficiencies by increasing CO2 and phosphate that got rid of the BGA.
    I should have tried making one change at a time instead of multiple so that I could more easily have determined the cure and possibly even the cause to prevent this in the future. I was very impatient with the unsightly mess, because my wife complains when the display tank in the living room doesn't look nice enough to show off to company.
    Lastly I've learned how large of an effect that making small changes to the tank parameters will cause some plants/algae to die off and others to thrive.

    I have since upgraded to a 180 gal display tank with much brighter lighting and am trying a wider variety of plants. And am currently more or less using the EI method of dosing, however I'm not quite ready to completely part with the test kits just yet. No algae battles with the new tank yet, but its only about 2months old, so only time will tell.

    I posted this so that maybe some of the gurus can comment on as to the exact cause/cure for each.
     
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