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Thread Algae

Discussion in 'Advanced Strategies and Fertilization' started by DavidR, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. DavidR

    DavidR Prolific Poster

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    Over the past couple of weeks I've been taking a stand against my algae woes. I've had major issues with thread algae, with minor issues with green dust, BBA, and fuzz algae. The EI method has not been working for me. I've decided that eutrophic water conditions have contributed to the algae issues. Why? I believe that due to my slower growing plants, they can't uptake nutrients fast enough to effectively combat algae.

    Since I've changed my dosing regimine, green dust, fuzz, and BBA are all in remission and are fading away. However, I cannot get the dang thread algae to leave my hairgrass alone. I just ripped out a softball sized portion (or more) out of the hairgrass.

    Here's what I've done so far: Added a Coralife 18w UV sterilizer (mild effects, mainly on dust algae, and possibly destroying BBA spores), switched traces from Flourish to TMG (I like this fert better), stopped all NO3 and PO4 dosing, increased water changes to 2x weekly, began dosing K2SO4, added Flourish plant tabs, pulled out all plants (pruned & preened) & sucked up all mulm & wiped the tank down good.

    As a result, plants are growing very well, and their coloration is much improved. Since stopping the NO3 & P04 dosing, I've noticed no deficiencies. The thread algae is really killing me though. Am I going to be forced to rip out all of my hairgrass to get rid of it? I have noticed that every time I added Flourish, thread algae and green dust algae would explode with growth. Since dosing TMG, this has stopped. When I dosed Flourish Iron, algae growth would explode again. So I stopped that too.

    I'd appreciate any tips or ideas. Here's the tank details:

    75g
    216w (4x54) T5 6500K lighting, 11 hrs/day
    Pressurized C02 (24/7)
    Eheim 2028 & Hagen 802 powerhead (w/ qf)
    Water parameters: 13KH, 18GH (I don't test nutrients or pH, I just watch the plants)
    Dosing (current): 10mL TMG daily, 0.75 tsp K2SO4 at every water change, about twice per week
    Plants: P. Stellata, E. Stellata "broadleaf", Hygro siamensis, L. Glandulosa, hairgrass, Nesea "red"
    Very low fish load
     
  2. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Thread Algae

    Did you forget to list the nitrate and phosphate dosage you use?

    Oops, I re-read that. Sorry.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator Social Group Admin

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    Re: Thread Algae

    Try a comb, be gentle, and slowly work the algae up and out.
    Crank up the CO2.
    Hair grass grows very fast with good CO2.


    The advice I'm giving is also based off some other considerations you mentioned in another post.
    You have many plants that tend to do better in softer water, I've done very well with hari grass in hard water.

    You are adding too much trace.
    Add KNO3 and KH2PO4, with no fish load and water changes, this is causing you issues and not from the algae, all this says is that you are not adding the CO2 correctly.

    So fix that, then add the ferts.
    Plants will hang out and not do much, algae will not grow for awhile, but that does not mean the KNO3 dosing etc was why you failed.

    EI simply targets the CO2, if there is an issue, it's virtually always CO2.

    Since you do not prefer to test, you need to eyeball CO2, bubble counters can help, so can plants and algae: too little: BBA
    Too much fish gasping, increase surface movement anyway before adding more CO2.

    CO2 mist is useful here.

    RO cut with 1/4 tap will do nicely.
    Adding a 1/2 teaspoon of 2x a week of MgSO4, epsom salt should do the rest for KH/GH.

    Use the RO for drinking and the reef tank.
    Or add a refugium(plants are good at removing nutrients if you keep them pruned) to the reef or a huge skimmer.

    Plant color improved due to less NO3, plant health will not last. They have reserves, but you will soon drain those.

    EI is never going to work, nior is any routine until you either reduce the light or add more CO2.

    Those have to be taken care of first before KNO3 etc is going to work, same for the traces..

    I add Flourish etc, there is no correlation with algae at any dosing level I've found and I've gone very high.

    But TMG is more suitable because the chelator is optimized for the pH's in the range you are interested in, Flourish is not good for hard waters. TMG is, and EDTA Kent etc, is good for Marine tanks.

    A good goal for you is figuring out the CO2 visually.
    Pearling: you want pearling no less than 2-4 hours after the lights come on to be visible. Champangne style 1 hour before the lights good off.

    CO2 mist method is relatively simple and easy, does not seem to gas fish either.

    Add CO2 only during the day.
    Not at night.

    This will be less stressful on your fish and allow you to add more when you need it, and not build up high amounts at night.

    This is 95% of the issue. You likely helped the BBa by adding more, you need to add a little bit more.

    FYI and most anyone else here, good CO2 really will knock about any algae way way back.

    CO2 mist allows you to do that better than any method I've seen to date, although CO2 reactors are great too when used right.


    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. DavidR

    DavidR Prolific Poster

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    Re: Thread Algae

    Well, I got rid of the thread algae, albeit by "cheating." I injected some H2O2 (hygrogen peroxide) underneath the pillows of thread algae, and the next day it was almost dead. Today, it's dead and rotting off. Time for another water change. It's also taking a serious toll on the remaining BBA.

    The good thing is is that I must have my CO2 at proper levels. Proper circulation of the CO2 mist is crucial in a tank this size. There is no new growth of algae. This is what I've been waiting for. Now I think I can bump up my nutrient levels for the plants. Full steam ahead! :)
     
  5. jonathan11

    jonathan11 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Thread Algae

    David, could you describe how you injected the peroxide under the pillows to rid your tank of hair algae? Sounds like an interesting technique, something all of us might be able to use when necessary. Strength of soltion, exactly where, how much, etc. Thx in advance.
    Walter :gw :D :D
     
  6. DavidR

    DavidR Prolific Poster

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    Re: Thread Algae

    Sure! I took a miniature version of a turkey baster (found it at Wal-Mart), stuck it in a big bottle of Hygrogen Peroxide (3%), and stuck the thing into the hairgrass pillow, close to the substrate, and squeezed the bulb. It was kind of hard to tell if you did it correctly, so I just repeated and waited. After a minute or so, there were all kinds of bubbles on the algae. I commenced "treatment" of all algae! A couple more minutes resulted in the entire tank bubbling. I had read that it wasn't bad for fish, so I let it bubble for about 20-30 minutes.

    I went ahead and did my usual water change (40%) and while the water level was down, I squirted some H2O2 on my powerhead and spraybar. They still had some BBA on there. It was kind of neat because it looked like you were squirting Hydrochloric acid on it...lots of "smoke" was coming from the treated area. I refilled the tank as usual and added ferts. The next morning, there were several patches of BBA that turned red, and the hairgrass was listless. I let it ride throughout the day, and the thread algae in the hairgrass was under attack from my already fat SAE's (I have 3). It was literally hanging on by a "thread." The BBA that wasn't red turned from black to almost grey. I didn't notice my SAE's picking at it too much; it just seemed to fall off. Since I got off work today, about 5:30, 3 hours later it seems that the BBA quantity has again been cut in half. WOW!

    I know I'll here some folks that say I didn't solve the underlying algae issue. And I say BS. I'm not a plant noob. My CO2 is where it needs to be. I have a lot of plants. I know how to dose ferts. I just happen to have some resident algae that needed to be kicked out of the neighborhood in order for the rest of the folks to show their true beauty. Any so far, all is well. It's now up to me to keep the CO2 and ferts in order. I'll keep you updated.
     
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