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bunny
Regular Member
Username: moonbunny

Post Number: 430
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, March 10, 2006 - 08:08 pm:       

Sorry, I started a new post because I realized I'm dealing with multiple types of algae: green water, spot, brush and diatom/brown algae. My oto is working hard on keeping the diatom algae down ant the bn's are doing their best with the spots, but it's tough. I've read upward of 20 kinds of treatments and I'm not sure where to start.

My tank would be full of plants to trying and out-compete the algae, but as the brush algae has decimated almost all the anacharis and most everything else, I've been removing the most affected plants & holding aside the most viable with intention to treat them. As of last night, all I have in the tank is some Hygro tropica with a touch of brush algae on it, about 40 sq inches of Java and some Ambulia and 6 Saggitaria with brush algae at the tips. The algae, in general, is sucking the life out of the plants--blanching and putting pinholes in the old leaves and melting leaves and leaf tips with slimy, black brush algae.

Where do I begin to tame this problem? I've read:

Add CO2 (either artificially or with more animals)(I don't want to go artificial since it's such a small tank)

Add more, quality light

Shut the lights off for hours at a time

Add trace elements

Add fertilizer only in small amounts

Bleach the plants in a 19 to 1 solution

Buy shrimp (which in time might eat the plants?)

Buy a SAE (which I don't have room for)

Pack the tank with fast-growing plants (which kinds grow esp. fast?)

Use copper as a last resort

Use a phosphate-absorbing resin

Fertilize the substrate

Add extra Potassium...

Where do I begin? Should I add shrimp--do I have room for shrimp and if so, how many and do they clean little leaves and leaf-tips? Do I buy a new light bulb? Do I bleach all the plants (which are weakened already by the algae)? Do I add more plants?--I can readily get Dwarf Lilys and Aponogentons.

Tank facts:

20 gal. long, gravel substrate

Ammonia: 0
Nitrate: 0
Nitrate: 0
Ph: 7.8

Lighting: 40 watts flourescent,; 1 GE Chroma 50, 1 standard 20 watt--on 10-12 hrs/day.

Cleaning: Weekly 50-60% water changes/gravel vacs.

Occupants:
4 platys
1 oto
2 bn plecos

Mechanics:
Penguin 200 filter
Neptune 200 heater-80 deg.

Exposure: By eastern window

Feeding schedule: Flakes in the mornings, algae tabs every 3 days at night.

Plants:

Ambulia
Anacharis
Java Moss
Hygro poly
Hygro tropica
Saggitaria

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Oh, I also have tiny pest snails again.
"There is a natural hootchy-kootchy motion to a goldfish." ~Walt Disney
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Erin
Moderator
Username: shay

Post Number: 1010
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 11, 2006 - 07:56 am:       

Bunny,

GW is problem that usually takes an entirely different approach from the other algaes. How old is the tank and how large are the ancistrus? How long have you been getting the GW?

For the GS (usually a sign of to little PO4 or low co2) I would add DIY CO2 or excel. First, I would trim all the algae out that you can get your hands on, do a large water change, add lots more plants (don't bleach anything), then I would add the co2. Keep doing this for a couple of weeks and cross your fingers.
Member of Delaware Valley Aquatic Gardener's Association (www.dvaga.com)
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bunny
Regular Member
Username: moonbunny

Post Number: 431
Registered: 02-2003


Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 02:36 am:       

Hi Erin,

Thanks so much for writing. Sorry about the delay--I've been having trouble logging on during the board change. Also sorry about the long posts.

The tank & substrate are 10 years old, but the tank re-cycled due to snails about 1 1/2-2 years ago. (oh, but they keep coming back...and, unfortunately, they don't seem interested in eating beard algae)

One ancistrus, Ish, is about 4" and his sister (I think), Minnie, is about 3".

The GW really just started in the last month. And I think the GS has been around for about 5 months. The brown algae improved when I added the 2nd 20 watt a few months ago, but it still hangs around the undersides of the leaves. The brush algae has really only popped up in the last few months, but it's been very aggressive. (Looks like we're all having trouble with brush algae this year.)

It sounds like CO2 can make a huge difference in strengthening the plants and out-competing the algae. The only reason I've been holding off is the tanks are so small I don't want to accidentally gas the fish. But the more I've been reading about it this weekend, it sound like a simple 2-liter CO2 or Flourish Excel would have a hard time being too much for fish in a small tank if used correctly. Is there a big difference between using DIY CO2 and Excel? The Excel looks easier, but I haven't checked the shops around me yet to see if they carry it. Also, to look at the Seachem/Flourish site, it looks like it takes at least 5 different additives to be successful with plants--is it really so complicated or can CO2, good lighting and good fert do the trick?

I took about 1/2 of my plants out Thursday (the ones with the worst brush algae on it) and I turned off one of the 20 watts in an attempt to keep the algae at bay. Tonight I noticed one of my platys has either missing scales, or an injured slime-coat (I'm hoping it isn't velvet brought on by the big plant/water change,) so I tested the water. I was surprised to see that in just four days the Ph went up by .2, so that may've caused the bad patch on my platy's fore-tail. So I changed out 10 gal. and went through the plants I'd taken out, scavenged/trimmed to get the least algaefied plants & plugged them back into the big tank. So I can't wait to get out tomorrow and some additional test kits and the stuff for CO2--whether it's DIY or Excel, and maybe some plant bulbs if I can't rescue the plants with all the brush algae on them (is there a way to rescue these plants?)

Thanks Erin!
"There is a natural hootchy-kootchy motion to a goldfish." ~Walt Disney
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Erin
Moderator
Username: shay

Post Number: 1011
Registered: 04-2004


Posted on Monday, March 13, 2006 - 08:06 pm:       

Co2 can make a big difference. Your right, DIY is hard to overdoes. You should add a lot of healthy fasty growing plants at the same time. Also, keep in mind you don't have to keep the co2. You can give your plants a boost and then back off. Aponogeton bulbs aren't going to do it alone. You need fast growing stems like hygros.

I'm sorry this is short and I don't think I've addressed all your questions. I'll try to take a second look at it tomorrow.
Member of Delaware Valley Aquatic Gardener's Association (www.dvaga.com)
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bunny
Regular Member
Username: moonbunny

Post Number: 434
Registered: 02-2003


Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 05:52 am:       

Hi Erin,

I found a store the carries Flourish Excel, so I'll pick some up along with a Kh test kit tomorrow. It looks like a 500 ml bottle could treat both the 10 gal and the 20 gal for a year. At just over $17/bottle, it's pricy, but it'll work out to about $1.35/month to have lush, healthy tanks. Hopefully it's rate/half-life in the tank is fairly consistant, too. Seachem's site says to initially add in 5ml/10 gal, then add 1 ml/10gal three times/wk (you have to add the initial dose again if you change more than 40% of your water...so I'm thinking that if I do two 25% water changes per tank per week instead of the 50% once a week I've been doing I should be o.k. I'll call the company tomorrow and double-check.) I think you're right, too. When I get the plants up and healthy and the water stable, I'll probably back off the CO2 a smidge, maybe cut down the number of times I dose/wk, just enough to keep algae at bay & keep everything stable.

A question, though--I see where people with DIY systems sometimes run an airstone at night so that the fish aren't overwhelmed by CO2, do you think it would be the same with a product like Excel (since it's just carbon)?

Thankfully, most of the Hygro tropica (about 12 6-8" stems) is unaffected, and I have about six 3" stems of the Hygro poly that are doing o.k. too. If I can figure out a way to get the brush algae off the most affected bits that currently are in a bucket, then I should be in-like-Flynn. There's also some Bacopa in the 10 gal. that I should be able to take a cutting of for the 20 gal.

Oh, my platy's doing better, too, with the water change. It really is amazing how much the Ph can go up by just removing the algified plants. I read one of your posts where you linked to an article on the basics of plant keeping & that's given me a good heads-up on monitoring the chemistry closely for the next week. BTW--Excellent article in general. I wouldn't have considered a tank with 2 watts/gal. to be low-light, but that just makes the need for CO2 more essential.

A Takashi Amano article I read on algae control also recommends shrimp. I love the idea that they like eating brush algae & are good at cleaning Java, but I think I have to learn a bit more about them & definitely have to wait until my little platy is fully mended before I think of adding any. I thought I read somewhere that they might have a penchant for picking on the slimecoat of sleeping fish & I'm not sure what to do should they hatch eggs in such a small tank.

Thanks, Erin. I really appreciate all the info...esp. guiding me toward Excel.
"There is a natural hootchy-kootchy motion to a goldfish." ~Walt Disney
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