What type of algae is this?

Scmelik

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Sep 12, 2023
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South Dakota
I have been fighting this for the past two or three months. Plants will grow very well for awhile and then they start getting covered by these black spots which eventually spread across the whole leaf and then the leaf will melt over the next week.

I’ve tried cutting my C02 down to about 20 ppm, I’ve cut my ferts in half (I am using the PPS pro method). I am running an AI Freshwater Blade (Red-110%, Cool White- 110%, Blue-30%). I just changed them last night to (Red-80%, Cool White-80%, Blue-5%). Lights are on from 3-9pm with a half hour ramp on each side.

I just tested my parameters tonight and this is what they look like. I did a 50% water change and trim on Saturday.
TDS-371ppm
PH- 7
FE(non-chelated)-0
FE(chelated)- 1+mg/L
GH 7
KH- 4
NH3- 0ppm
N02- 0ppm
N03-10-20ppm
P04-3+ppm
Ca-
Mg-1500+ppm
 

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Scmelik

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Sep 12, 2023
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South Dakota
This a picture of the entire tank. It is a dirted tank with a sand cap. I hate it and I believe it’s what’s causing the issues. I want to rip it all down and change it out to aquasoil but that a project for a few months from now.

I’m running a Oase Biomaster Thermo 350 with Ehime substrat pro in every basket.
 

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Allwissend

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Yes, capped soil tanks are difficult to evaluate and control. That's a big downside, and it's no coincidence that you hear people who promote the soil method recommend to just throw plants at it, and keep what survives... because most won't do great. For example from PPS-Pro you should never test 3+ PO4. The limit for high-light dosing is "This limits water column nutrient levels to 28 ppm NO3, 2.8 ppm PO4, 36 ppm K, 2.8 ppm Mg, 1.4 ppm Fe(TE)." . The extra comes from the substrate and fish food most likely.
Mg - 1500+ ppm and GH 7 : That's impossible. Your Mg test is likely false, could it be for saltwater only ? See the lack of trust in test kits mentioned in the Estimative Index article.

I don't have first hand experience with the light but from what I have seen in the hobby, given the shape of your tank and the plant choice/density -> your light is too intense. I would adjust everything to half the original values and slowly increase the light duration to a total of 8h.

Lowering CO2 is not a algae fighting strategy. You are just putting more stress on the plants.

Eheim Substrat pro is mainly a "biological media". Not great at mechanical filtration. Add some sponges or floss, it will also help to get rid of the layer of debris on the top of the sand.

I see several types of algae. Green dust on the Althernanthera, some staghorn , green spot algae on the bacopa and a type of red algae on it as well. I had that in one aquarium and it can be difficutl to get rid of but with growing plants and increased maintenance/cleaning you get completely get rid of it. It is usually associated with high light and high organics ( from the soil, fish food, plant waste). Do a superficial cleaning of the substrate, put filter floss in the filter and change it often, increase water changes, brush the wood and blow any settled detritus. Together with increasing your plant mass and lower light intensity it should be brought under control over time, but it will take several weeks or more (also depending on what comes from the soil).
 

Scmelik

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Sep 12, 2023
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South Dakota
Allwissend,

Thank you for the response. I will have to test my tap water for P04 and see what it is from the start. As far the Mg goes, you are correct. I checked my test set again and I could have sworn I bought the freshwater test but turns out I didn't because I am a dummy, so disregard the Mg numbers.

I do have mechanical filtration in the filter with the pre filter that is part of the Oase Biomaster. My plan is to take the top tray of media out to seed my filter for the new tank that I am slowly getting together and then adding filter floss to the top tray.

The algae that is on the Althernanthera that is black is that the same green algae just later in the life cycle, or the leaf just dying? Same with the black spots on the bacopa? Where are you seeing the red algae and the staghorn ( not trying to be combative I just don't see either), there are a lot of roots that are coming out of the stems of both the bacopa and the Althernanthera.

I have been doing weekly 15 gallon water changes every Friday or Saturday morning, would you increase that even? I do try to get as much detritus as I can vac'ed up when I do my water changes but will add a baster to my tool box to see if I can get more out.

I have been thinking about adding some stem plants but I just haven't been able to decide on what and where to put them. The back left is full of swords that are starting to come back since I cut them all off a few months ago. I know there are way to many fish in there right now (I need to get rid of some of the diamonds but am struggling to find anyone local to take them, they went crazy for awhile breeding and got out of hand real fast). I have been trying to keep it a South American themed tank and while it was a good idea in my head I am not liking it and feel like it needs a change. I just need to wait for one of the fish to pass (it was one of the original fish we bought my daughter and she is pretty attached to it), once its gone I plan on ripping the entire thing down and start over with a good cleaning and some aquasoil.
 

Scmelik

New Member
Sep 12, 2023
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South Dakota
Had some time tonight so I tried to clean as well as I could for the time that I had along with getting rid of as much of the algae covered plants and replanted what I could of the good tops. Scrubbed the driftwood a little bit and sucked up a bunch of detritus.

Next major water change will be even more cleaning, I knew the detritus was bad but I didn’t realize just how bad it was. I also plan on doing something with the Limnophila and get rid of the lower stems and replant what good healthy tops that there are.

I feel like I need to add some more plant mass in the back behind the driftwood but I’m not sure what. The flow is pretty high right there and what I have had back there did not do well. So I am up for any suggestions for the spot of anywhere else in the tank.
 

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Allwissend

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Looking better. Keep at it and you will get a handle on the issue. Vallisneria can do ok with how you have the flow setup back there. Hygrophila corymbosa or polysperma may be be able to withstand some flow, especially if you are on top of trimming.