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Staghorn and thread algae rampant!!

Discussion in 'Talk to Tom Barr' started by dougz, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Ok, firstly here's all the particulars:

    I set up the following tank about a month ago:


    75g Perfecto Aquarium with stand

    Filters: Eheim 2217 x 2

    Light:

    Current USA Nova Extreme 48" 2x54W T-5

    (one SlimPaq 10,000°K bulb and one SlimPaq "Freshwater" bulb 6700K, I guess.)

    220W, or 3.9wpg. 9 hours a day.

    Air pump: Tetra Whisper 100 Air Pump) with air stone.

    C02 set-up:20lbs cylinder, regulator, solenoid, needle valve, 1 diffuser (one on each end of the tank planned. Another on order now) , Pinpoint pH controller.

    Substrate:

    (Cable heater)
    20lbs of Caribsea Tahitian Moon Sand
    25lbs of bagged laterite
    80lbs of Eco complete

    Temp: 77F, pH 6.6 (w/CO2 addition), GH around 10-11. KH, the API test kit solution turns yellow right away, so either I have a KH of zero, or the test kit is suspect..

    With every WC (20% once a week), I mix tap water (pH 7.8) with demineralized water to get a pH of approx 6.6, and I add it slowly, 3 gallons at a time.

    The pH controller is set for 6.6 (HI-6.8, LOW 6.7), and goes on at the same time the light does (lights are on for 9 hours a day), and the air stone goes on for 5 hours a night.

    The pH goes from 6.6 when the CO2 and lights go on, to a 7.0-7.2 at night when the air goes on. Swings in either direction are gradual, with the addition of air or CO2.

    The drop checker is reading GREEN, but I am thinking of getting a Lamotte test kit to see what my actual ppm is..

    I add a capful of Flourish every day, as wll as a capful of Fourish Iron and I have peat and Boyd's Chemipure Excel (on the advice of a freind, even though I'm told that sucks up the liquid ferts you add) in my filters..

    Here's a recent shot of the tank (admittedly before the staghorn REALLY took hold):

    http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll54/dougzdanivsky/tankoct16082.jpg

    And here's some close-ups of the string and staghorn algae issues I'm having (more recent pic of the staghorn infestation):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here's the current stocking: 1 BN, 4 otos, 6 pandas, 2 yo-yos

    Oh, and there is INDIRECT sunlight in the room, coming from a NORTH facing window..

    Now that I hopefully have all the details covered..

    Why am I having algae issues????


    I was told on another forum (Plant Geek) it's because I haven't been adding macro ferts, and that I should start immediately with an EI dosing regime..

    Is this right?

    I had always thought that that the more nutrients in the water, the more algae..

    Can someone explain why this is not the case?

    I was also told that the more fish I have in the tank, the less I need to worry about macros, as they will supply them with their waste, etc..

    Is this true?

    And if so, once I'm fully stocked should I discontinue or scale back with the ferts?

    AND I was told I have WAY too much light on, and way too little CO2..

    Is this so, do you think?

    I also plan on adding 2 SAE, 4 dwarf cichlids (cockatoos), and 15 cardinals.

    Regarding the tennelus:

    I have no idea how I'm going to get it off them....

    They look to be too forgone for anything except snipping them out in their entirety..

    If I cut the affected tips off however, I've noticed, it grows back a reddish-yellow.. :(

    The other plants I can take leaves off and they'll grow back the same, but not with the tennelus..

    Hope to hear from you soon, Tom!! :)
     
  2. phanmc

    phanmc Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plants need macros and micros in order to grow, kind of like how we need a balanced diet to stay healthy. When the plants don't have the available nutrients, they can't absorb ammonia efficiently, so algae takes over. At your light level you're going to need a lot of macros, simply relying on fish waste is not going to cut it.

    Flourish Excel is effective in dealing with BBA and Staghorn, include that along with the full range of ferts and you should see results in a week or two.
     
  3. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    How much Excel? Spot treat with it, or just add to the whole tank?

    The algae will die off? Or will I have to keep cutting the algae out till and hopefully the new growth won't be affected?

    Should I cut away the tennelus? Or just spot treat it with Excel?
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    That's hair grass right?

    Add macros, do more water changes, 2-3x a week, add Excel, add more CO2.
    Hair grass is an easy plant to grow if the CO2 is good.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  5. phanmc

    phanmc Lifetime Charter Member
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    That's E. tenellus, even easier to grow than dwarf hairgrass.

    Spot treatment will show quicker results but you don't have to, just use the recommended dosage, 1ml per 10g, to the entire tank. After a large water change add 5ml per 10g.
     
  6. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Ok, so don't cut.. Got it..

    Should I wait till I start adding macros and the Excel before I start manually removing leaves here and there from the A. Reineckii, taking a toothbrush to the riccia, etc?

    Currently trying to source macros for Canada..

    Unfortunately you can't ship ferts across the border... :(

    I brought my pH set point (and thus the amount of CO2 pumped into the tank) from 6.8 to 6.5.

    After I did that my riccia started to pearl, finally..

    When my other diffuser gets here I'll bump the pH down to 6.5.

    Lamotte CO2 test kit on order as well..

    Like I posted earlier, here is the tank a week ago..

    Algae hair algae and thread algae was present, but not bad.. And the staghorn algae came out of nowhere right after my last 20% WC (I've done 3 WC since starting the tank at the start of August.. Didn't do any water changes while I was cycling the tank).

    [​IMG]
     
  7. phanmc

    phanmc Lifetime Charter Member
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    Didn't notice the riccia, Excel killed my riccia pretty quickly so that's going to be a problem. You can risk it and use Excel, which will get rid of the staghorn pretty quickly without trimming. Or you can exclude Excel and manually remove as much as you can while adding ferts.
     
  8. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    I used Excel for the first month while I was putting together my pressurized CO2 system..

    Didn't seem to harm the riccia.. Mind you it was pretty small back then..

    Has really taken off with the CO2 injection, as have the stem plants..

    But I'll keep an eye on it this time..
     
  9. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    PS

    Won't I be wasting Macros if I'm adding them and changing the water 3x a week?

    And won't the levels be all out of whack if I do this?
     
  10. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Dougz,

    You shoud dose after each water change to replenish the tank.

    BTW, I don't see how you got to almost 4 wpg???

    If so, you may want to cut this back some, as high light drives high demand for ALL nutrients. If they are not there in sufficient amounts for the higher plants, the algae will take advantage.

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Ooops.. Typo..

    Should be 2.9wpg..

    (55w x2 = 1 light strip. 2 light strips = 220w. 220w/ 75g = 2.9wpg)

    Should I shut off one light strips till I get my macros, and have been dosing for a while?
     
  12. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Woohoo!

    My ferts are here already!

    Gotta love shipping it on the bus!

    Question:

    With the EI dosing, can I half the doses, and do a 25% water change weekly, instead of a 50% one?
     
  13. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    PS

    I'm going to remove the Anubias and OD it outside of the tank

    How much should I dilute the Excel? Or should I just use full strength?

    How long do I leave it in the solution?

    Will I need to treat it more than once?
     
  14. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Best to treat like bleach dip for Excel, it's pretty strong at full strength.
    Try about 1:4 dilution with water, dip for 4-5 min.

    Stick with 50% weekly water changes, maybe 2-3x a week till things get back on track, you can sub 25% changes if you do 3x a week etc, but that's a lot or work.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  15. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Ok, thanks, Tom..

    One treatment will do it?
     
  16. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Just an update..

    Been doing weekly 50% WCs, and dosing as per EI.

    The Excel bath I gave my anubias.. I must have used too strong a mix, or left them in too long, or both. I have had to trim off alot of dead leaves, and it will be a long time coming back, but I hope they WILL recover eventually..

    The Staghorn isn't as bad a s it was, but it is still present..

    I got 2 SAE, but they haven't been eating much algae at all, from what I can see.. They are both about 1" in length, and I have been careful to keep them away from fish food as much as possible..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    nov08SAE2Large.jpg
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Looks like more CO2 will help the most.
    Give it aweek or two, it should clear if the CO2 is good.

    Regards,

    Tom Barr
     
  18. dougz

    dougz Junior Poster

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    Thing is, how do I get more CO2 into the tank without taking the pH too low?

    I've already brought it down the controller set point from 6.8 to 6.3..

    Does harder water make the pH MORE resistant to swings, or less?

    I my tap water (7.8 pH, GH hardness 11) to demin water (0 hardness, 6.0pH) ratio when doing WCs is about 70:30.
     

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