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 Algae discussion.

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Liz
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PostSubject: Algae discussion.   Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:51 pm

Nuisance algae.

I get it too. I currently blame the high phosphate in my tap water (which I suspect is very much like yours, Ron), and I'm hoping this level fluctuates with the seasons. Since I do such large and regular PWCs it can actually work against me.

I've tried phosphate removing resins and such, which work, but I don't follow up and change them out like they need. The way my schedule is currently I need my tanks to basically run on autopilot!

I'm sure if I injected CO2 I could boost the plant growth quite a bit and solve the problem, encouraging the plants to suck up the phosphate. I have everything I need, sitting there waiting on me!

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:13 pm

I'm always struggling to prevent high nitrates. I think that is what has been causing my Watersprite and other plants to melt. Usually if I get the Watersprite to do well my general tank health is excellent. I'm doing a lot of PWCes hoping to get some help from the Watersprite which has been doing better lately. Am I right to assume you guys have very low nitrates levels? scratch 

I seldom have a problem with Algae...  shrug

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:42 am

I have low nitrate levels, yes.

There can be so many factors involved with algae proliferation, but mainly you're looking at light and nutrients. Algae can take advantage of either factor much more readily than plants, so things have to be geared towards plant health so they get first crack, so to speak.

However, my tanks these days are low light, and I can't rely on the plants to be going to town. I'm thinking about cutting back on my PWC schedule and seeing what happens. It has been many, many moons that I've done 50% weekly changes, so that would be a major switch, but just as an experiment.

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:48 pm

I also have pretty low Nitrates <5PPM, Ammonia 0PPM, Nitrite 0PPM, PH for some reason still at 6.6, my dKH is 2, and GH PPM 89.5. The amount of light daily has remained the same. I did get some plants a few months ago from someone who had BB Algae visible in their tank. Hence I'm fairly sure that where I got it. It appeared in my tank about 1 month later and has gotten worse in last couple months. I've read that decreasing light not necessarily the correct answer. I just started adding Flourish Excel which I have read will kill the BBA even though SeaChem does not deny nor confirm. Guess because of the high Carbon content sort of like adding CO2 as Liz described. Since I don't have a CO2 set up I thought I would give it a try before removing all plants and rinsing and scrubbing. My lighting could be at bit strong, using 2 normal output 48" T-5 6700K and 2 T-5 10000K. Any thoughts?

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:22 pm

Yes, once you've got the algae you could kill the lights altogether and the little guys would hang out and patiently wait. I'd try only one thing at a time, though, so you can truly isolate the issue. Give the Excel a few weeks and see what happens, and carefully dose it.

I may try this myself.

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PostSubject: Nitrate concentration   Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:55 pm

Keep in mind that in a planted tank the nitrate you measure in the water may be just a fraction of the nitrate in the tank. Much of the nitrate is held in the cells and vascular tissue of the plants and algae. Just because your measurable free nitrate is near zero doesn't mean your plants are starving for it. They may be very efficient at absorbing it, and have plenty stored in their tissues waiting to be used.

Think of it like a fish storing food in its stomach. Your fish aren't necessarily starving whenever there's no uneaten food floating around. (Although very young fry of many fish do need a nearly constant food supply - and its possible some plants do too).

The correlation between water sprite die-off and high nitrate might be the opposite of what you think: The sprite might be dying for some reason other than excess nitrate, and the high nitrate may result from the plants losing it, or not being able to uptake and hold it.

@JohnnyAMH wrote:
I'm always struggling to prevent high nitrates. I think that is what has been causing my Watersprite and other plants to melt.
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PostSubject: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:23 pm

Gerald has some great information about how plants can store nitrate (NO3) so that what's available to them may not be measurable in the water column, and I'd like to get more into what can cause measurable nitrate spikes. Johnny has some concern about his levels perhaps contributing to melting of water sprite, and that's how we got going on the topic.

When I see higher levels of nitrate I always think overcrowding (heavy bioload) and overfeeding, as well as a filter that could use a good rinsing out. Nitrate present in tap water for PWCs can also contribute, in some municipal systems, though I think that is relatively rare.

Light will trigger a bloom, for sure, but cutting the lighting often won't cure the problem, which needs a multifocal approach to management. I don't mind a bit of algae in my tanks, since it can contribute to a natural look to my display, provided it isn't killing off the leaves of plants.

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:08 pm

I have not had an algae issue for a very long time. I have 2 other tanks using the same water and close to same lighting with no issues. My 75 has has  an increasing problem with BlackBeard Algae. I heard and read tnat you can kill with double or triple dosing with Flourish Excel. X
Has anyone anyone tried this method. Seachem on their Q&A site will not confirm or deny, only saying some users claim that this works. Further web searching claims Seachem refuses to admit Excel works due to having to report and file with Feds.
Has anyone tried using  Excel to kill it?

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:16 pm

I have tried it, and I'm sure I have been able to do it, but it was years ago and I'll have to check notes to be sure. You can target it with a pipette or a turkey baster, provided no fish are investigating.

There are reports that you can kill your fish by overdosing Excel (I think I did this myself, accidentally, so I'm a little leery of it) but these are also debated. I may try it on my own algae but I won't triple dose.

I used to have a lot more info on algae at the front of my brain, but I'll have to brush up on the topic! I'm interested to see how things go with the Excel, Ron.

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:59 pm

Recently I started a thread titled "Pearlng".

I mentioned in that thread that I was having a terrible time achieving a balance and as a result I was experiencing Cyanobacteria.

Through the responses of that thread and other research I felt like the cyano was thriving in conditions that were lacking in the basic necessities to sustsain plant growth and provide balance to the tank.

Specifically CO2, but I didn't want to spend the dollars on a CO2 set up and decided that a carbon substitute like Excel would be a better option than CO2.

A week ago I began dosing Excel at the recommended levels, my cyano disappeared within a few days and I have tons of new plant growth.

This is my first exeperience with Excel and I'm really very satisfied with the results of the product. My only real suggestion is to follow the manufacturers directions and to be patient through the process.

I know a lot of hobbyist have had success in algae elimination through the use of Excel, which tells me there is a lacking of CO2/Carbon in a great many tanks.

For algae control we need to understand that algae thrives in poor conditions and when we correct those deficiencies we regain the balance.

Just my .02 and that's about whats it's worth!

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:11 pm

Thank you, Tracey! That is exactly the kind of accounting I was looking for here. Its hard to argue with those results!

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:57 pm

Thanks both Tracey and Liz. I recently read another article explaining use of Flourish Excel. The author did say what I mentioned above about Seachem neither confirming nor denying their product kills BB Algae. Most of the online posts have suggested using 3 times the directed amount. The author I mentioned felt may be a bit risky and said he has used twice the recommended dosage with no harm to his fish and invertebrates and the product did indeed rid his algae issue.
Like you said above Liz, he used a syringe to apply more locally. He recommended turning off the filter and pumps while applying to try and concentrate the Excel on the algae itself. Then he waits 5 minutes and turns everything back on. He did mention that most people just add to water and reported good results. I am in day 2 of using Excel so I will certainly keep posting progress or lack of.
Another thing I read was not to dose at night as can possibly decrease oxygen. (plants shut down at night and do not release oxygen nor absorb CO2 while at rest) CO2 can cause oxygen depletion in the water. I also read that you should increase aeration if you use a bubbler, or lower the water level slightly to cause the filter return to create some bubbles oxygenating  the water a bit more.
I can say I have seen a big difference with my Hygrophila (not sure of spelling so don't scold me Deb..lol). It had not recovered well after I trimmed and gave Deb some starts. Tonight I have seen it nearly double in size. Also seeing some new leaves beginning on some of my Crypts.

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:23 pm

@Liz wrote:
The topic of algae has reared its (ugly, or not so ugly!) head in Deborah's 55 lighting thread, so I thought I'd start another discussion. I know there is a ton of info available online, but I'm interested about our own members' experiences, lessons learned, etc.

Gerald has some great information about how plants can store nitrate (NO3) so that what's available to them may not be measurable in the water column, and I'd like to get more into what can cause measurable nitrate spikes. Johnny has some concern about his levels perhaps contributing to melting of water sprite, and that's how we got going on the topic.

When I see higher levels of nitrate I always think overcrowding (heavy bioload) and overfeeding, as well as a filter that could use a good rinsing out. Nitrate present in tap water for PWCs can also contribute, in some municipal systems, though I think that is relatively rare.

Light will trigger a bloom, for sure, but cutting the lighting often won't cure the problem, which needs a multifocal approach to management. I don't mind a bit of algae in my tanks, since it can contribute to a natural look to my display, provided it isn't killing off the leaves of plants.

Guilty, guilty and guilty. I know I contribute to my own nitrate problems. I stock too heavy and feed too heavy. I like breeding the few fish I have and that requires conditioning and feeding for growth.

Usually, I can balance things off by growing my favorite plant, Water Sprite. My observation has been that if I am able to keep my nitrates low enough for the Water Sprite to take off growing the plant will help to keep my nitrate levels in check. In fact healthy and vigorous Water Sprite growth signals to me that my tank is healthy. My Water Sprite is looking better than it has in a while but I'm struggling to keep it that way. In contrast I have experienced periods when it has grown so fast that it became a task to keep it thinned out.

I'm responding because my name was mentioned in this thread but I really don't have an Algae problem. I am often asked by people viewing my tank, how do I control Algae? The truth is that I don't control Algae. I have some Algae but seldom a problem. I think some Algae is good. Somewhat Algae related, the last few years I have been keeping Bristled Nosed Plecos in most tanks. They eat some Algae and help with maintenance. I do avoid placing my tanks in direct sunlight and limit artificial lighting.

I have tried products like Flourish Excel and some liquid fertilizers but have not been overly impressed to the extent that I use any routinely. Plant tabs seem to work well on plants rooted in the substrate. In general, I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to meds, additives and stuff. I try to avoid using them. CO2 injection is out the question. Those are just my personal choices and I'm just sharing...  Neutral

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:24 pm

The concept of plants storing nitrates is a new revelation for me. I assumed they (nitrates) were just used up. Thanks for sharing that. Is there an explanation for the improvement I see when nitrates are reduced? It too seems like the opposite of what one might expect ...  shrug

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PostSubject: split topic   Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:35 pm

Here's some good reading on Nitrate uptake:
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/nitrate-chart.html
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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:01 pm

Well I'm in day three of using Flourish Excel (double dosing) and actually see a change, hopefully for the best with the BB Algae. I see it changing from greenish black to a brownish red. I read that that was a sign of dying off so keeping fingers crossed. All fish, invertebrates, and plants look healthy and fine so I plan on continuing the dosage each day. I will let you know what I find.

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:15 pm

Ron, it sounds like you're doing it right! Pictures, pictures, pictures! I'm going to try this myself. However, I do have a very large CO2 tank, controller and pH monitor sitting under the 150 as we speak.......

Johnny, someone with NO algae is just the kind of person we need hanging out on our algae thread! Maybe with your participation and responses we'll figure out what we need to change in our own setups.

I AM very interested in your observations about the nitrate versus the water sprite.

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:58 am

@JohnnyAMH wrote:

I'm responding because my name was mentioned in this thread but I really don't have an Algae problem. I am often asked by people viewing my tank, how do I control Algae? The truth is that I don't control Algae. I have some Algae but seldom a problem. I think some Algae is good. Somewhat Algae related, the last few years I have been keeping Bristled Nosed Plecos in most tanks. They eat some Algae and help with maintenance. I do avoid placing my tanks in direct sunlight and limit artificial lighting.

They really are amazing algae eaters. I have a tank in my son's room that gets a lot of light and not as many water changes as it should. I threw a group of baby plecos in their and the inside of the glass was clean in a couple days.

I visited a pet store in Mass that had large BNs(albino lf I think) and they would move it from tank to tank and sell out of fish in the tank it was in because the glass was so clear.

For a few of the African cichlid tanks I use nerites, they more keep it in check rather than eradicate it. I might try water sprite in the sump.
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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:54 pm

@Liz wrote:

Johnny, someone with NO algae is just the kind of person we need hanging out on our algae thread! Maybe with your participation and responses we'll figure out what we need to change in our own setups.

I AM very interested in your observations about the nitrate versus the water sprite.

I have Algae, just not an overgrowth of it or Algae problem. I think Algae comes with the territory...  Rolling Eyes 

Right now, I am committed to lower my nitrates levels. I'll keep you guys updated as to how the Water Sprite responds...  Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:14 pm

@Liz wrote:
Ron, it sounds like you're doing it right! Pictures, pictures, pictures! I'm going to try this myself. However, I do have a very large CO2 tank, controller and pH monitor sitting under the 150 as we speak.......

Here's some pics after day 3. If you look closely you can see the red/brown starting. Hoping this is the beginning of the end.



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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:21 pm

That's quite a horrifying infestation, Ron. *lol* I'll be watching this thread with interest.

Liz, have you decided what approach to take with your "bad" algae?

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:32 pm

@Deb wrote:
Liz, have you decided what approach to take with your "bad" algae?


Busa says I should use the CO2.


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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:44 pm

Busa is right - good bye to algae.....


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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:28 pm

I agree!  with Busa! How can you argue with that?  lol! 

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PostSubject: Re: Algae discussion.   Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:51 pm

I need to test the regulator tho. It's been sitting unused for a bit.

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