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A study in bad alage


BadAlgae
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Hi all,

 

This is going to be a journal of my 20 gallon long tank.  I've had it set up for about a month and a half now and I'm starting to get it where I want it.  That being said, this seems like a good place to track my progress and maybe ask questions along the way if people are willing and able to answer them.  So I'm just going to get into it!

 

Equipment:

  • Dimensions:  20 gallon long; 30" x 10.5" x 15.5"
  • Filter: Sun-Sun HW-302
  • Light:  30" Finnex Planted+
  • Heater:  Via Aqua 100w heater
  • Regulator:  Aquatek Premium CO2 regulator
  • In-line CO2 via UP Aqua inline atomizer

Photoperiod: 7 hours daily; on/off

Dosing:  EI dosing

  • Macros: 3/16 KNO3, 1/16 KH2PO4 3x/week
  • Micros:1/32 K2SO4, 1/32 Plantex CSM+B 2x/week
  • 50% water change every week

Current algae:

  • Blackbeard or staghorn algae
  • Cladophora.  This was the undoing of my last tank and if anyone has any ideas of how to combat it please let me know!

 

Currently the tank looks like this:

 

post-3082-0-89581700-1447051079_thumb.jp

 

A few different angles:

 

post-3082-0-59752700-1447051093_thumb.jp

 

post-3082-0-31242600-1447051106_thumb.jp

post-3082-0-89495700-1447051113_thumb.jp

 

Apologies for the lacking quality of the images, they're going to be a little rough for a while until I can find better equipment than my older S4 to take pictures with. 

 

I had planned on adding shrimp to it this Tuesday from a PRL breeder but unfortunately I had to cancel that buy as I tested my TDS meter arrived today and I discovered that my TDS is too high for what I would feel confident keeping PRLs in.  Maybe a less risky CRS to hold me over until I figure things out.  Oh, current parameters are below:

  • Ammonia: 0
  • pH: 6.0
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: 10
  • Phosphates: 5
  • kH: 4
  • GH: 8 (143.2)
  • TDS: 350

As you can see my water isn't the greatest right now because I have been changing it with tap, but I am considering looking into an RO unit.  This also means that I will need to buy remineralizer which I am also in the process of doing. 

 

Well, that's it for now!  Any and all  advice, feedback, and input is welcomed!  I hope that this is the first of many entries in my journal.  I'm going to leave you guys with pictures of what the tank used to look like and hence why I've chosen the username I have ;)

 

Old tank at its best:

post-3082-0-90997700-1447051598_thumb.jp

 

And at its not so best.  To be fair this is after an extended period out of time:

post-3082-0-89438500-1447051719_thumb.jp

 

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Photoperiod: 7 hours daily; on/off

Dosing:  EI dosing

  • Macros: 3/16 KNO3, 1/16 KH2PO4 3x/week
  • Micros:1/32 K2SO4, 1/32 Plantex CSM+B 2x/week
  • 50% water change every week

K2SO4 is a Macro. There's no need to dose KH2PO4 as you see your plants are most likely not even utilizing it. KNO3 is not required as well unless your using Purigen. K2SO4 can be dosed if needed. There's been some cases where Plantex CSM+B killed shrimp so it's up to you to stick with this dry fert or use Seachem Flourish.

 

 

 

Current algae:

  • Blackbeard or staghorn algae
  • Cladophora.  This was the undoing of my last tank and if anyone has any ideas of how to combat it please let me know!

 

American FlagFish is great with hair algae and clado. This fish has a few names so do some research. Most of this algae was probably created by the P that you added. Get your P to 0 first.

 

 

 

  • Ammonia: 0
  • pH: 6.0
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: 10
  • Phosphates: 5
  • kH: 4
  • GH: 8 (143.2)
  • TDS: 350

 

Are you using API pH test? KH is too high, get it to 0-1 KH. GH should be 4-6. TDS is super high, lower it back to 100-150s. Phosphates should be 0 or algae will keep coming. You are probably new to the hobby so I highly recommend you remove the CO2 before you gas your shrimp or kill them with pH swings. 

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I'm trying to battle some clado, too. The only upside is I guess it's one of the few species that neos will eat; my shrimp tanks are the only ones I don't have to manually pull out giant mats every few days. I've even seen them eat it like spaghetti. My snails won't touch the stuff.

 

I thought I learned my lesson with quarantining new plants after a hydra outbreak. Now I know to keep the quarantine tank at high light!

 

FYI, rooibos definitely doesn't work on clado if you were thinking of trying that.

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I'm trying to battle some clado, too. The only upside is I guess it's one of the few species that neos will eat; my shrimp tanks are the only ones I don't have to manually pull out giant mats every few days. I've even seen them eat it like spaghetti. My snails won't touch the stuff.

 

I thought I learned my lesson with quarantining new plants after a hydra outbreak. Now I know to keep the quarantine tank at high light!

 

FYI, rooibos definitely doesn't work on clado if you were thinking of trying that.

Are you sure you have clado?

I don't think there is any shrimp that actually eats clado.

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Photoperiod: 7 hours daily; on/off

Dosing:  EI dosing

  • Macros: 3/16 KNO3, 1/16 KH2PO4 3x/week
  • Micros:1/32 K2SO4, 1/32 Plantex CSM+B 2x/week
  • 50% water change every week

K2SO4 is a Macro. There's no need to dose KH2PO4 as you see your plants are most likely not even utilizing it. KNO3 is not required as well unless your using Purigen. K2SO4 can be dosed if needed. There's been some cases where Plantex CSM+B killed shrimp so it's up to you to stick with this dry fert or use Seachem Flourish.

 

 

 

Current algae:

  • Blackbeard or staghorn algae
  • Cladophora.  This was the undoing of my last tank and if anyone has any ideas of how to combat it please let me know!

 

American FlagFish is great with hair algae and clado. This fish has a few names so do some research. Most of this algae was probably created by the P that you added. Get your P to 0 first.

 

 

 

  • Ammonia: 0
  • pH: 6.0
  • Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: 10
  • Phosphates: 5
  • kH: 4
  • GH: 8 (143.2)
  • TDS: 350

 

Are you using API pH test? KH is too high, get it to 0-1 KH. GH should be 4-6. TDS is super high, lower it back to 100-150s. Phosphates should be 0 or algae will keep coming. You are probably new to the hobby so I highly recommend you remove the CO2 before you gas your shrimp or kill them with pH swings. 

 

 

Thanks for your feedback, Poopians that gives me a lot to think about. I think that I will probably have to stop dosing the sulfate, but I would still like to continue dosing some kind of ferts for my plants.  Is there something that you would suggest that will allow me to keep plants and shrimp together?  It seems like a lot of people are suggesting that I stop EI dosing so I'm hoping maybe you or someone else can suggest a compromise.

 

As for the GH and KH I know that they are both too high and I'm looking into getting an RO unit.  Is there any reason why I shouldn't look into RO/DI as opposed to just RO?  Not sure that I quite follow your logic on the phosphate because from my knowledge phosphate should be okay as long as it doesn't exceed levels of 10 ppm.  I would also really like to keep the CO2 for my plants and it's my understanding that CRS require more acidic water which my CO2 can help me achieve.  The pH swings are something that I'm concerned about so any insight that you have would be appreciated.

 

You are correct in that I am fairly new to the hobby, I've already learned a lot in the year that I've been doing this and I'm looking forward to learning more here!

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I defer to the experts w/ferts, but want to warn you that you will probably not be able to continue to do 50% weekly water changes without killing your shrimp.

Hi Sarah,

 

You are probably right.  Do you have any experience keeping plants and inverts together?  It's looking like my dosing regimine might not be the right one for keeping plants and invertebrates. 

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Thanks for your feedback, Poopians that gives me a lot to think about. I think that I will probably have to stop dosing the sulfate, but I would still like to continue dosing some kind of ferts for my plants.  Is there something that you would suggest that will allow me to keep plants and shrimp together?  It seems like a lot of people are suggesting that I stop EI dosing so I'm hoping maybe you or someone else can suggest a compromise.

 

As for the GH and KH I know that they are both too high and I'm looking into getting an RO unit.  Is there any reason why I shouldn't look into RO/DI as opposed to just RO?  Not sure that I quite follow your logic on the phosphate because from my knowledge phosphate should be okay as long as it doesn't exceed levels of 10 ppm.  I would also really like to keep the CO2 for my plants and it's my understanding that CRS require more acidic water which my CO2 can help me achieve.  The pH swings are something that I'm concerned about so any insight that you have would be appreciated.

 

You are correct in that I am fairly new to the hobby, I've already learned a lot in the year that I've been doing this and I'm looking forward to learning more here!

What substrate are you using?

Unless you have one of those CO2 regulator+pH Meter thingy combined as one, you'll most likely gas your shrimp or kill them with pH swings.

KH should be 0-1 so the pH swings WILL happen.

Not sure where u got the phosphate is okay if it doesn't exceed 10 ppm from but I'm sure this is what's causing your algae issues.

 

I dropped maybe 0.03 ppm Phosphate in a 4 month old established tank with some plants and hair algae started growing on tank sides within 3 days.

 

I would suggest Seachem Flourish.

 

Pretty sure your substrate is a inert substrate so keeping PRL is not ideal.

With your current parameters, I highly recommend neos.

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Are you sure you have clado?

I don't think there is any shrimp that actually eats clado.

 

Then I guess I'm wrong about either the ID or the shrimps keeping it at bay. :V

 

Is there another type of branching filamentous green algae that grows as thick mats and smells awful when dry?

 

Thanks for the help!

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What substrate are you using?

Unless you have one of those CO2 regulator+pH Meter thingy combined as one, you'll most likely gas your shrimp or kill them with pH swings.

KH should be 0-1 so the pH swings WILL happen.

Not sure where u got the phosphate is okay if it doesn't exceed 10 ppm from but I'm sure this is what's causing your algae issues.

 

I dropped maybe 0.03 ppm Phosphate in a 4 month old established tank with some plants and hair algae started growing on tank sides within 3 days.

 

I would suggest Seachem Flourish.

 

Pretty sure your substrate is a inert substrate so keeping PRL is not ideal.

With your current parameters, I highly recommend neos.

Thank you again for your feedback, Poopians.  I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to answer all of my questions.  I'm starting to think maybe neos are the way to go, at least for now.  Any neos that you're particularly fond of?  I'm kind of digging carbon rillis at the moment.

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Then I guess I'm wrong about either the ID or the shrimps keeping it at bay. :V

 

Is there another type of branching filamentous green algae that grows as thick mats and smells awful when dry?

 

Thanks for the help!

Corbie, I think you might have the ID right, but I don't think that shrimp or anything will touch clado.  At least not from what I've read :/ 

 

I think that you have the right ID because I think the smell is pretty indicative of clado, at least what I thought was clado did the same thing for me too.  Did yours get into the substrate because that is pretty much what happened with mine and what is happening again right now. 

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Corbie, I think you might have the ID right, but I don't think that shrimp or anything will touch clado.  At least not from what I've read :/ 

 

I think that you have the right ID because I think the smell is pretty indicative of clado, at least what I thought was clado did the same thing for me too.  Did yours get into the substrate because that is pretty much what happened with mine and what is happening again right now. 

 

Hmmm. Then I guess what I've seen is probably just the shrimp stripping off biofilm like corn on the cob? It's definitely their favorite grazing spots. :stuff:

And, nah, it originally snuck in on some süsswassertang and I must have spread it between tanks before knowing what a pain it was. In the minorly infested neo tanks, it's mostly growing sparsely into the substrate but there are also a few clumps on floaters and non-anchored egeria. If I let it grow in the other tanks (picos with just ramshorns and MTS), it blooms into huge mats that totally fill the tank. When it's scraped out, the plants seem happy and healthy underneath. Probably a sign that I'm over-doing the lighting.

 

Maybe it's just something different I'm doing with the shrimp tanks compared to the snail-only ones, but I can't think what. They're all set up the same way with mostly the same plants on the same light and water change schedule. Also, I had a clump of flame moss go from completely overtaken to almost clean a couple weeks after upping the shrimp population.

 

I'm a relative planted tank newbies (April of this year) and I've only had this algae issue for a couple months. This week I started experimenting with shortened photo periods. Maybe I'll see some progress in a few weeks.

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Hmmm. Then I guess what I've seen is probably just the shrimp stripping off biofilm like corn on the cob? It's definitely their favorite grazing spots. :stuff:

And, nah, it originally snuck in on some süsswassertang and I must have spread it between tanks before knowing what a pain it was. In the minorly infested neo tanks, it's mostly growing sparsely into the substrate but there are also a few clumps on floaters and non-anchored egeria. If I let it grow in the other tanks (picos with just ramshorns and MTS), it blooms into huge mats that totally fill the tank. When it's scraped out, the plants seem happy and healthy underneath. Probably a sign that I'm over-doing the lighting.

Maybe it's just something different I'm doing with the shrimp tanks compared to the snail-only ones, but I can't think what. They're all set up the same way with mostly the same plants on the same light and water change schedule. Also, I had a clump of flame moss go from completely overtaken to almost clean a couple weeks after upping the shrimp population.

I'm a relative planted tank newbies (April of this year) and I've only had this algae issue for a couple months. This week I started experimenting with shortened photo periods. Maybe I'll see some progress in a few weeks.

Do keep us updated.me too facing the same algae
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Hmmm. Then I guess what I've seen is probably just the shrimp stripping off biofilm like corn on the cob? It's definitely their favorite grazing spots. :stuff:

And, nah, it originally snuck in on some süsswassertang and I must have spread it between tanks before knowing what a pain it was. In the minorly infested neo tanks, it's mostly growing sparsely into the substrate but there are also a few clumps on floaters and non-anchored egeria. If I let it grow in the other tanks (picos with just ramshorns and MTS), it blooms into huge mats that totally fill the tank. When it's scraped out, the plants seem happy and healthy underneath. Probably a sign that I'm over-doing the lighting.

 

Maybe it's just something different I'm doing with the shrimp tanks compared to the snail-only ones, but I can't think what. They're all set up the same way with mostly the same plants on the same light and water change schedule. Also, I had a clump of flame moss go from completely overtaken to almost clean a couple weeks after upping the shrimp population.

 

I'm a relative planted tank newbies (April of this year) and I've only had this algae issue for a couple months. This week I started experimenting with shortened photo periods. Maybe I'll see some progress in a few weeks.

Huh, that is pretty interesting because mine has gotten into the substrate.  It really is like a plant so I've been having a lot of trouble with it.  I'm starting to think maybe that I might have another kind of hair algae that has gotten into my substrate.  I will try to get some pictures in the next couple days that might show it better.  I'm pretty new too so hopefully we can both learn from one another!  The algae never seems to stop

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I had something similar, and once it buried into the substrate, it was game over. As far as I could tell, it did not smell and was unlikely to be cladophora, but who knows what it really was. I hope it didn't just invade my current tank, because I know of nothing that works short of breaking down the tank and throwing out everything in it.

Best of luck!

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I've had to breakdown and throw everything from two tanks due to severe clado. I assume high light low co2/nutrients is to blame. Sorry to say but if its clado you'll have to learn to live with it cause there is no way you'll get rid of it. But if your shrimp arw eating it, it may be hair algae. I've seen my amano and rcs eat dying hair algae before but they only graze on clado.

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