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What can I do about algae...

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Carissa, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I just recently started dosing fertilizers to my 10g, non CO2 tank. I have 2 - 9watt 6500k bulbs and they have been on for 8 hours/day. I do 50% water changes every week. The algae that I had a terrible run in with in the past is back again. All the edges of the leaves of the plants have algae and it's growing with a little more vengeance on the tank walls. Undoubtedly this is partly due to the increased lighting that I have now (before starting to dose ferts, I only had one 13w bulb, 6 hours/day). So what I'm wondering is, is there anything that I'm NOT adding that I need to add, or anything I'm ADDING that I need to increase/decrease to give the plants more of the upper hand?


    Also another problem, I bought a Vals and the edge of one leaf was kind of yellow when I bought it. It spread up the leaf so I cut the leaf off. Now many of the leaves are turning yellow on the tips and dying. What is this a symptom of?
     
  2. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Ack ! Edited in horror: I forgot about your low light limitations. Your choice of Val seems very appropriate under the circumstances. I have done this in micro systems, but I started with no less than 30 small Italian Val W/ 7 watts of light in a 2.5g hex (Presently a vigorous little jungle W/ little or no algae at all). I'd perhaps gently clean the algae off, and maybe give them a spritz of peroxide for a few minutes, and maybe increase the number of val,but stick with smaller varieties. I'd keep the nutrients a bit lean and fall back on fert plugs for the swords (Only if neccessary !) HTH, Prof M
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    First, stop doing the water changes. For non-CO2 tanks water changes mean fluctuations in CO2 content, and that tends to induce algae to start growing. You should be able to get Vals, especially, to grow without much trouble. Just dose about half the EI quantities and only once a week. For a ten gallon tank, your 18 watts of light is low light intensity, and probably alright for non-CO2 and non-light demanding plants. Everything will happen slowly with that kind of tank.

    Is the algae growing on the leaf edges black or green? Growing on the tank walls sounds like green dust algae. If it is that you could attack it by wiping down the walls and changing most of the water every day for several days in a row. It is hard to get rid of no matter how you try to do it. The other method is to ignore it for 3 weeks, let it grow until it changes color and thins out, indicating that it is at the end of its life cycle. Then wipe it all off, change most of the water and repeat the wipe down and water change every day for a few days. At worst, this would leave you with a lesser amount of algae to deal with. I found when I did this the plants thrived as the algae hid everything from view, so it was rewarding to finally wipe it off and see the results. But, that was with a higher light intensity too.

    But, once you get that GDA under control, then stop doing the regular water changes. Just top off the water when evaporation losses require it.
     
  4. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    I know in the past that if I held off on water changes, bga would just grow like crazy. But I can try going every two weeks for water changes and see what happens. Or should I stop completely?

    Also I'm treading a fine line with water agitation. If I slack off with agitation, bga takes over. But too much agitation and I'm losing what co2 I may have. Right now I have one hob filter plus an internal corner filter (air powered). Both are in the same corner of the tank so agitation is high there but lower on the other half of the tank. Should I remove the corner filter and just try the hob by itself?

    The algae on the tank walls is a lighter green color and it's kind of growing in streaks, you can see where I scraped it off before so it's growing back where I didn't get it totally clean last time. The algae on the plants is a dark color. It looks like black edging on the leaves. Also the algae is sprinkled over the faces of the leaves too in small dark green spots. It doesn't come off freely. It's attacking my Hygro and now my Vals. Maybe I will also try the peroxide thing. Does that work on bga?
     
  5. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you are not injecting CO2 you won't lose CO2 with water agitation. You will pick up more, just as you pick up more O2 by agitating the water surface. So, that isn't a problem.

    BGA seems to start when there is a lot of light and too little nitrate. If sunlight strikes the tank BGA almost always will start at those locations.

    The algae on the glass sure seems like Green Dust Algae. And the spots on the leaves might be green spot algae, which generally means not enough phosphate.

    Why not use Excel? In a 10 gallon tank Excel isn't terribly expensive, and by dosing at 1.5 times the recommended dosage you can kill off the black brush algae, if that is what is on the leaf edges, plus supply more carbon for the plants. And, you can increase the dosages of nitrate and phosphate a bit to see if that helps with the BGA and GSA. Using Excel might make doing water changes a little less risky too.

    If the algae on the glass is green dust algae - if it wipes off easily it most likely is - I still like the method of leaving the algae alone for 3 weeks to make it live out its life cycle, then wiping it off and doing heavy water changes for a few days.

    Look at all of this as one more way to enjoy your hobby! What fun would it be if there was never anything to do?
     
  6. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    "Why not use Excel" ?

    Can't use Excel with Vals !!! :eek:
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well now, I guess I should have re-read the first post a little more carefully. That is a pretty good reason to bypass the Excel. On the other hand, I did use Excel with vals and while they all died back, they also all came back after I stopped using so much Excel. I suppose one could just develop an admiration for black edged leaves? Remember, some beautiful red plants are only red because they are stressed out.
     
  8. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Well...I don't recall the exact numbers, but I'm reasonably certain everyone has botched Excel dosing at least once, and a few of us have done it repeatedly ! :rolleyes: LOL.

    Now that I think about it, Many of my best show plants were either Diebacks or Runts at one time. :p Never write off a plant until it begins to smell Really Bad... ;)

    Funny you should mention red plants ??? I have one Italian Val set smack dab in the center of a field of at least 100/200 that has always been a lovely rose color. Go Figure ? :confused:
     
  9. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Ok. So I will try increasing the amount of phosphate I'm dosing and nitrate. I guess it all depends on what kind of algae I'm dealing with here. The stuff on the faces of the leaves I think is green spot algae. It doesn't come off easily or at all. The algae on the tank walls is lighter in color than what I have had in the past with bga, so it probably is green dust algae. It scrapes off easily with a credit card. What about the Vals leaves turning yellow? Or maybe this is normal when you replant it?

    Actually I am looking into getting Excel, I went to the lfs yesterday and she's seeing if she can order it in for me. The reason I'm doing this though is because I'm setting up a new 32g next week and don't want to invest in co2 yet. By the way, any suggestions on the planting of a new tank, what I should get etc. would be great since I've never set up a tank of this size, planted, from scratch before. I'm ordering in a bunch of plants next week for it so I can basically order whatever I want and the lfs will bring it in. The tank has 40w of light.
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    40 watts of light will not be very effective on a 32 gallon tank. The first thing I would do is try to increase that to at least 55 watts, which can be done with an AH Supply kit. And, as much as I enjoy vals I wouldn't use them or Egeria Densa, since both are sensitive to Excel. If you do go to 55 watts with an AH Supply kit, you should be able to use almost all other plants, except those specifically needing very high lighting. The best plant guide I know of is at: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/plantfinder/.
     
  11. Crazymidwesterner

    Crazymidwesterner Guru Class Expert

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    In my experience excel works wonders for tanks but it will kill your vals or any egeria densa you have . I know this from experience. I do intentionally OD excel though also. I overdose excel regularly and my plants have been growing strong with little to no algae for months now. I tryed the completely no CO2 approach for a while but the Excel provides better growth and less algae. Plus I like messing in my tank and the no co2 approach isn't really conducive to that:)

    Pet mountain and Big Als Online have good prices on two Liter bottles which has lasted me about 3 months in my 75 gallon so far with quite a bit still in the bottle. I'll be able to use excel for over two years before I even get close to the price of pressurized CO2 System.

    I was unable to keep healthy looking vals prior to excel anyway. They would send out shoots like crazy but would never get very long before breaking or turning brown. I am still a novice so I am sure I was doing something wrong.

    As far as new plants with that amount of light. I have Wisteria, Green Hygro, Ozelot swords, assorted crypts, java moss, Brazilian Pennywort, moneywort, Rotala rotundafolia, and watersprite. They all grow very well with 80 watts of shop lights over my 75 gallon. I use 6500K bulbs. About a month ago lowered the wattage from 160 watts to 80 due to me only being at the house once a week (Construction on the house). The Hygro, Watersprite and Wisteria seem to grow faster with the less light. They are pratically trees and often grow out of the tank. A guy at my LFS is going to be getting me some Asian Ambulia. Hopefully that will fill in where my ludwigia repens are now. I can't seem to keep them alive. I just did a cutting but if you would like cuttings from any of the above except for the swords or the rotala, I could send you some in a few weeks for the price of shipping.

    Sorry for the long post :eek:
     
  12. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Great responses. I am still kind of trying to figure out what kind of algae I have. I just decided to change my substrate (I didn't like the gravel I had) so I went ahead and took out each plant and cleaned off the algae on them to give them a fresh start. Anyway when I cleaned off the Val, it STANK so swampy, if I had had noseplugs I would have worn them. The Hygro and all the other plants did not smell like this. The algae was really tough on the Val and didn't all come off, even though I gave it a good beating and used peroxide. Maybe whatever is on this is different from my other plants? What kind of algae stinks like this?? The algae on the edges of the leaves of my Hygro wipes off really easily. Not so the Val.

    The algae on my tank walls can be a bit tough to get off. Like I have to go over it with a credit card a few times with a little pressure.

    So what do you think all this stuff is? Maybe two different kinds of algae?

    Also it's worth noting that I had probably too much gravel in the tank and it had been harboring detritus for years. I didn't ever vacuum it very deeply. Well it's all gone now, plus several big yucky chunks of dead bga that were hiding down there too.
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    The worst smelling algae is blue green algae. So, that was probably on the Vals. I never noticed mine smelling at all when I had some.
     
  14. jeff5614

    jeff5614 Prolific Poster

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    I couldn't smell it either but my wife would gag as soon I took the top off the tank, lol.
     
  15. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    The tank doesn't smell, but when I took the plant out of the water, look out!

    Also I noticed some of the leaves on my Hygro plants dying on the edges. It was probably where I wiped them with peroxide, since it is the leaves with algae on them that are dying along the edges. Hopefully the leaves will grow back quickly. I'm going to try to get some co2 going now to help them out. If anyone has any good recipes for yeast concoctions that would be a great help. I have quick rise yeast so hopefully it will work ok.
     
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