Able to replace established but algae-infested plants, should I?

attheworld

Some who've seen my recent threads may know I have a bad algae problem going on in my tank. I'm fairly certain it was caused by a combination of unbalanced/limited nutrients, bad flow, and not planting heavy at the start. By bad algae problem, I mean for 3 weeks I have seen no new growth on my plants, algae re-covers everything I clean in the tank in a matter of days, and it's so thick on the limnophila in the corner it's like webbing between the leaves. But I'm going to (hopefully) fix the issue soon. I'm buying root tabs on the weekend so I can give my plants consistent nutrients (the only epiphytes are java moss and anubias) and before I insert the tabs I'm planning to do a full tank clean-up.

Before you suggest; I'd like to avoid adding SeaChem Excel if I can, since I'd like to try without algaecides first.

The root tabs are DIY, made with osmocote+ fertilizer and gel capsules. They have all the nutrients needed for plant growth and may cause a nitrogen spike when I first add them, but all the inhabitants of my 10 gallon tank are hardy; only one betta fish and a nerite snail. I will be able to remove the excess nitrogen via PWC and I have plenty of plants to soak it up.

I'm purchasing the root tabs off of facebook marketplace so while I drive to pick them up I could pick up new plants along the way, which would replace the suffering plants. Alternatively, I could try to save the algae-infested plants by cleaning them thoroughly, trimming dead leaves and inserting root tabs beneath them. The question is in the title; should I try to save established but algae-infested plants, or should I replace them with new, healthy plants? I would like to save the algae-infested plants mainly because they have been established for months now and I'd hate to rip out their extensive root systems. The roots are all healthy, only above ground are the plants suffering due to algae.

I wanted to mention one more thing. There is new growth on the bacopa caroliniana in my tank since I started dosing liquid fertilizer twice a week. It's a bit crazy to me - I dose about 15ppm nitrates after a water change and within a few days it's down to 0 ppm. Do you think it'd be a good idea to hold off on the liquid fertilizer for a week or so when I add the root tabs? The whole idea is to limit column nutrients, therefore placing strain on the algae, while feeding my plants through their roots. And, as mentioned, there might be a nitrogen spike since they are osmocote+ root tabs.

TIA,
- Att.
 

Stripedbass

I would try a peroxide dip. The algae is already in your tank. When you plant a new plant in the new tank it will take the plants a week or so to get out of the shock. Not much growth will happen until the plant is established.
 
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attheworld

I would try a peroxide dip. The algae is already in your tank. When you plant a new plant in the new tank it will take the plants a week or so to get out of the shock. Not much growth will happen until the plant is established.
A peroxide dip, which would involve uprooting the algae-infested plants and taking them out of the tank to do it? Or something else? And is it straight hydrogen peroxide or a mix of water and H202?

A couple weeks ago, on June 12th, I planted some new ludiwgia. It took hold in the second week of being planted and is growing nicely. It doesn't have any algae on it, and never did, because the plant was healthy and not stressed from restrained nutrients; when I planted it I was dosing liquid fertilizer weekly already. Due to this, I don't think the acclimation would be an issue for the new plants, especially since I know they'll come with roots and were grown submerged. The water shouldn't be much different either, since I would buy from local hobbyists. But to avoid algae taking advantage of the new plants, I would replace only a few plants at a time, with enough time in-between to see new growth.

Honestly, I'm tired of fighting algae and I just want to rid of it, start the way I would've now if I could go back and transfer all my information to February me. But I don't want to go through the effort just to look at a new, fresh tank for a few days, before algae returns and feasts on the stressed new plants.

With all the above words, I think I'll hold off the new plants for now and try to save my current plants. Seeing new growth on the bacopa has given me hope. But if the algae-infested plants don't improve after adding root tabs / after a few weeks, and especially if they become worse, I'll switch them out and/or try an H202 dip. I still would like to hear anyone's thoughts on using DIY osmocote+ tabs? I did some research and it seems 50/50. But I'd rather try the cheaper option first.
 
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Netti

I can't tell you much about that specific root tabs. I used Seachem Flourite as a substrate so I use seachem root tabs. What I can tell you is that the root tabs definitely help.

One thing to keep in mind is that once algae go out of control it becomes hard ro rear it back without actually finding the root cause. If you can't understand why or are in a hurry to get rid of the problem, algecide will be your best bet. Move all the live stock and use a good algecide. Or try something like tetra algumin which is supposed to be natural. But if you do use a algae killing product, make sure you have food oxygenation.

Another thing I can tell you is that algae does not like fast growing plants. So most of your fast growers are less likely to have algae on them. I have green spot algae (I like the look, I'm OK with it) and I never see it on my valiseneria, rotalas, limnophilia, Ludwigia or hairgrass. But it is on my montecarlo, bucephalandra, java fern and altherantera reineckii (or however you write that).

One thing you can do is add some duckweed or water lettuce. I know that they do an amazing job filtering water which helps again algae. The duckweed does grow out of control once introduced to the tank.

Finally, try having a team of cleaners. I have four amanos, a nerite snail, two otocinclus, and a hillstream loach (which I doubt does any cleaning but she's pretty). These guys really help manage algae. It takes them time to actually make a dent, but after a few weeks you'll see the difference.

I'd also try to cut back on the fertiliser doses for at least 2 weeks just to see how the tank reacts overall. You do need 2 weeks to see any change from changing ferts, CO2 or lights or whatever else you do. So don't be in too much of a rush.
 
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Slapp

Well if your nutrients are balanced, is it your lighting perhaps? Even surprisingly low light can cater better to algae than your plants. For example, a high light plant will get drowned in low light algae, and a low light plant will get covered in highlight algae.

What I like to do with a new tank or an infested tank is to dim lights if you can, I once had to dim mine to 33%. Then get nitrates to the 5ppm to 15ppm range. Algae has a tough time there. It allows for heavy root feeders like swords to suck in the small amount of nitrates and get ready to take more. At least that's my theory.

You could also try products like aquarium co-op's easy carbon. It inhibits growth, but it's not necessarily an algaecide.

Because you have such low nitrates, I would pin it on lighting. Make sure your root tabs are deep deep down.

Algae eaters IMO, unless they're amanos, will manage algae, but you will always have it in the form they don't eat. The more important thing is solving the problem, and then preventing it.

Good luck, have fun.
 
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mattgirl

Some who've seen my recent threads may know I have a bad algae problem going on in my tank. I'm fairly certain it was caused by a combination of unbalanced/limited nutrients, bad flow, and not planting heavy at the start. By bad algae problem, I mean for 3 weeks I have seen no new growth on my plants, algae re-covers everything I clean in the tank in a matter of days, and it's so thick on the limnophila in the corner it's like webbing between the leaves. But I'm going to (hopefully) fix the issue soon. I'm buying root tabs on the weekend so I can give my plants consistent nutrients (the only epiphytes are java moss and anubias) and before I insert the tabs I'm planning to do a full tank clean-up.

Before you suggest; I'd like to avoid adding SeaChem Excel if I can, since I'd like to try without algaecides first.

The root tabs are DIY, made with osmocote+ fertilizer and gel capsules. They have all the nutrients needed for plant growth and may cause a nitrogen spike when I first add them, but all the inhabitants of my 10 gallon tank are hardy; only one betta fish and a nerite snail. I will be able to remove the excess nitrogen via PWC and I have plenty of plants to soak it up.

I'm purchasing the root tabs off of facebook marketplace so while I drive to pick them up I could pick up new plants along the way, which would replace the suffering plants. Alternatively, I could try to save the algae-infested plants by cleaning them thoroughly, trimming dead leaves and inserting root tabs beneath them. The question is in the title; should I try to save established but algae-infested plants, or should I replace them with new, healthy plants? I would like to save the algae-infested plants mainly because they have been established for months now and I'd hate to rip out their extensive root systems. The roots are all healthy, only above ground are the plants suffering due to algae.

I wanted to mention one more thing. There is new growth on the bacopa caroliniana in my tank since I started dosing liquid fertilizer twice a week. It's a bit crazy to me - I dose about 15ppm nitrates after a water change and within a few days it's down to 0 ppm. Do you think it'd be a good idea to hold off on the liquid fertilizer for a week or so when I add the root tabs? The whole idea is to limit column nutrients, therefore placing strain on the algae, while feeding my plants through their roots. And, as mentioned, there might be a nitrogen spike since they are osmocote+ root tabs.

TIA,
- Att.
A photo of your algae might help. Since you say it covers your plants so quickly I think I may know what it is. Is it kinda slimy feeling and can come off in sheets? If so it isn't a true algae but is in fact cyanobacteria. Often called blue green algae. I had it show up in my tanks. I got some UltraLife Blue Green Slime remover. I followed the directions and added it twice. The ugly stuff was gone with the first dose but I went ahead and added it again 48 hours later. It has not come back. No plants, fish or snails were hurt during the eradication of this slimy stuff.

BTW: I have Seachem Excel. To be perfectly honest I haven't seen it do anything for me other than killing off some of my plants.
 
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attheworld

One thing to keep in mind is that once algae go out of control it becomes hard to rear it back without actually finding the root cause. If you can't understand why or are in a hurry to get rid of the problem, algaecide will be your best bet. Move all the live stock and use a good algaecide. Or try something like tetra algumin which is supposed to be natural. But if you do use a algae killing product, make sure you have food oxygenation.
I'm trying to find the root cause but I feel like so many different factors (possibly including some I'm not aware of) could be affecting the situation that maybe I'll have to turn to chemicals. The only issue is I have no where filtered to move the livestock. All I have on hand are buckets and the old fish bowl my betta used to live in. But it's only a nerite snail and a betta, so they will be fine for a few hours. What do you mean by food oxygenation? And could you share any good algaecides?

Another thing I can tell you is that algae does not like fast growing plants. So most of your fast growers are less likely to have algae on them. I have green spot algae (I like the look, I'm OK with it) and I never see it on my valiseneria, rotalas, limnophilia, Ludwigia or hairgrass. But it is on my montecarlo, bucephalandra, java fern and altherantera reineckii (or however you write that).
Thing is I do have limnophila, and I also have bacopa and an unidentified sword plant, that may be vals. But those are the plants which are being overwhelmed.

One thing you can do is add some duckweed or water lettuce. I know that they do an amazing job filtering water which helps again algae. The duckweed does grow out of control once introduced to the tank.
I have dwarf water lettuce, but ever since the algae began to take over I keep finding dead leaves and they almost seem like they aren't able to hold their leaves above water anymore.

Finally, try having a team of cleaners. I have four amanos, a nerite snail, two otocinclus, and a hillstream loach (which I doubt does any cleaning but she's pretty). These guys really help manage algae. It takes them time to actually make a dent, but after a few weeks you'll see the difference.
I have a nerite snail, who isn't bothered by my betta, and I'd love to add amanos but I'm afraid there's not enough cover for them in the tank. There's certainly enough food, but will they feel safe with my betta in there? My tank is 10 gallons.

I'd also try to cut back on the fertiliser doses for at least 2 weeks just to see how the tank reacts overall. You do need 2 weeks to see any change from changing ferts, CO2 or lights or whatever else you do. So don't be in too much of a rush.
On the weekend (most likely Sunday) I'm heading out to pick up root tabs. I won't fertilize after my weekly water change Saturday, since on Sunday I'll be receiving root tabs which are made with osmocote+ and may cause a nitrate spike anyway. I guess I'm a bit rushed because I feel like my planted tank is collasping in on itself.

Well if your nutrients are balanced, is it your lighting perhaps? Even surprisingly low light can cater better to algae than your plants. For example, a high light plant will get drowned in low light algae, and a low light plant will get covered in highlight algae.
I am using one LED Gro-bulb made for terrestrial seeds & greens. It measures 16 PAR in the air, but it doesn't say at what height. It is a balanced, full spectrum light. I keep it on for 6 hours a day due to the algae.
Instructions for use:
For high light plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, flowering/fruit production): Place a lamp 6 inches above the plant. Keep on for 18 hours a day. Space additional lamps 9 inches apart for uniform coverage.

For low light plants (leafy greens, herbs, seeding, budding): Place a lamp 9 inches above the plant. Keep on for 18 hours a day. Space additional lamps 15 inches apart for uniform coverage.


You could also try products like aquarium co-op's easy carbon. It inhibits growth, but it's not necessarily an algaecide.
Unfortunately, I live in Canada and Aquarium co-op does not ship here. If they did I'd be using their liquid fertilizer, root tabs, and sponge filters.

Because you have such low nitrates, I would pin it on lighting. Make sure your root tabs are deep deep down.
Do you think my lighting is too low? There's no way it's too high, I'm using a maybe 16 PAR bulb which I keep on for 6 hours a day as mentioned previously.
I'll ensure the root tabs are pressed against the tank's glass bottom.

A photo of your algae might help. Since you say it covers your plants so quickly I think I may know what it is. Is it kinda slimy feeling and can come off in sheets? If so it isn't a true algae but is in fact cyanobacteria. Often called blue green algae. I had it show up in my tanks. I got some UltraLife Blue Green Slime remover. I followed the directions and added it twice. The ugly stuff was gone with the first dose but I went ahead and added it again 48 hours later. It has not come back. No plants, fish or snails were hurt during the eradication of this slimy stuff.
Mattgirl, I think you may be my savior. I went to take photos as you said and my algae isn't algae after all. It's cyanobacteria. It's slimy and coming off in sheets. It attaches anywhere and is indeed blue-green. I'll look for the UltraLife product you've mentioned in stores around me, it sounds like it could help out my tank a lot.


Alright, per mattgirl's suggestion, I have taken a ton of photos of my disastrous tank. It looks especially bad right now since it's almost water change day. But that's how the limnophila looks after 1 week, and it just gets worse.

I've heard of cyanobacteria before, and I thought I had it, but it went away for a while. Recently I've been confused because sometimes the 'algae' is green, sometimes it's brown or grey, sometimes it's stringy and sometimes it is a blue-green sheet. Whatever is happening, it's killing off my limnophila, and it won't be long before my other plants go too. Hence why I have turned to FishLore.
 

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barbiespoodle

I can only speak from my personal experience.

At one time I had a BIG time algae problem in my 55 gallon. It was before I made it a planted tank, but the theory here worked when the tank was plastic and still works now that the tank is all live and natural.

I did everything I could to keep the algae under control and still the algae beat me. If I let up even a week, it got so thick I couldn't see the fish.

I did my research and started adding algae eaters. First thing I learned was not to add chinese algae eaters, they only eat algae when they are young. I also had bad experiences with plecos because of my stupidity and got common plecos. I have since learned that there are many plecos that do not grow into logs that hang on the side of your tank with yard long strands of excrement hanging out so you might want to research some of the smaller ones, bristlenose being and example.

First I got some otto cats. They are the cutest little darlings, but were just too small for my 55 gallon, they have been rehomed into one of the 20 gallon shrimp tanks where they happily keep my plants clean. Then I got siamese algae eater for the 55 gallon and they have been wonderful in the tank, eat the algae without harming the plants in the least, they are one of my fav fishes.

And snails also eat the algae and will not eat healthy plant leaves, thus also getting rid of dying plant leaves. But many can be problematical as far as being very prolific. I have ramshorns, nerites and my ever present blasted bladder snails. And I had added assassin snails to keep the other snails population under control.

A less prolific snail would be mystery and nerite.

Depending on your tank size and residents, shrimp are fantastic algae eaters. I have 3 planted, mostly shrimp tanks, neo caradinas, aka, cherry shrimp. They are constantly grazing the leaves and side of the tank. The nice thing about them is that in the right conditions, they are very prolific so you have a constant and ever growing population of them. Plus they are fun to watch.

My fix didn't happen over night, but in the end, it worked. Actually worked too well. I now have to feed the algae eaters, but small price to pay for clean plants and tank sides.
 
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Netti

Wow you have lots of different algae.. From what I see on the picture you definitely have green spot algae, staghorn, maybe diatoms and hair algae. The blue-gree definitely looks like cyanobacteria. Does your tank give off a smell? If it does then cyano is definitely there.

So I'm sorry for the typo. It was supposed to say "good oxygenation". So lots of surface movement from either an air pump or outflow directed to the surface. The reason for that is that algecides will consume oxygen in the tank when killing algae. I can't really suggest a good algecide. I bought two of them but always felt like I was hurting my fish so I stopped. That's why I was suggesting you could put your betta and snail in another tank. That way worst case scenario you kill off some plants (the unidentified plant is valisenaria by the way). That Tetra AlguMin came highly recommended by a friend who does aquascapes as well but I haven't tried it yet. Remember that cyanobacteria requires different treatment to normal algae as it is a bacteria and not a plant life form. Also make sure your invertebrates like your snail are out of the tank when using algecides. They are more fragile than fish.

I do have CO2 in my tank which makes the plants I mentioned grow a lot faster so that might be why there's a difference between your plants and mine.

Regarding the amanos, since it seems like you have cyanobacteria and nowhere to put your fish. As I mentioned, inverts are fragile and you'll definitely need to treat with erythromycin or a chemical agent like chemipure for the cyano and shrimp are really susceptible to have issues with chemicals. If you have a fairly peaceful betta, you could be okay with amanos in the tank. They aren't cheap so maybe buy one to try first and if all goes well after 2 weeks buy another 5 so you have 6. 10gal is more than enough for your nerite, 6 amanos and your betta. Once you get your algae problem under control you can always feed an algae wafer every 2 or 3 days. Your nerite will also like it.

I wouldn't put root tabs just yet. Maybe get the issue sorted out first and then you can put in your tabs.

So regarding your light, I'm not an expert and can't really talk about PAR value and all. But I can tell you that 16 PAR sound really low to me. I remember that the Fluval Plant 3.0 has something like 400 PAR at the top of the tank and gradually loses PAR as the light reaches the bottom. This is of course an expensive light but the difference is immense. Check MD Fish Tanks' channel on YouTube he gives good recommendations for cheap lights on Amazon.com and he explains how high to put them. He gets great results.
I do think you can let your betta and your snail stay in the bowl for some time like a week or two while you dose algecide and erythromycin or chemipure in your tank. The aim is to kill off all algae and start fresh. I am assuming that your lights are the reason why you have so much algae. Perhaps buy a cheaper LED aquarium light and set that up as well in/on your tank. Just make sure you do water changes every day other day on your fish bowl so you don't build up amonia. And make sure the temperature is fine as well..
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

Mattgirl, I think you may be my savior. I went to take photos as you said and my algae isn't algae after all. It's cyanobacteria. It's slimy and coming off in sheets. It attaches anywhere and is indeed blue-green. I'll look for the UltraLife product you've mentioned in stores around me, it sounds like it could help out my tank a lot.


Alright, per mattgirl's suggestion, I have taken a ton of photos of my disastrous tank. It looks especially bad right now since it's almost water change day. But that's how the limnophila looks after 1 week, and it just gets worse.

I've heard of cyanobacteria before, and I thought I had it, but it went away for a while. Recently I've been confused because sometimes the 'algae' is green, sometimes it's brown or grey, sometimes it's stringy and sometimes it is a blue-green sheet. Whatever is happening, it's killing off my limnophila, and it won't be long before my other plants go too. Hence why I have turned to FishLore.
It looks like you have some algae but also cyanobacteria. The thing about this stuff is it comes in various colors, not just blue green. Once you get rid of this stuff your plants should start growing again so might help combat the other forms of algae.

I was hesitant about adding anything to my tank for fear it would affect my plants and even more importantly, my fish. I did a lot of research before I finally made up my mind to get and use it. I have no qualms about recommending it now that I have used it and the only thing it did was get rid of the ugly stuff.

I ordered my UltraLife from Amazon. Hopefully you can too. :)

BTW: My mystery snails do a fantastic job on keeping any other algae from growing in my tank other than black beard algae. That is another story :D.
 
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FishPlanet

I read that if your plants are infested with algae, it's best to start over. You could try to brush it of with a toothbrush, but you take risk of destroying the plant itself.
 
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attheworld

Alright, it sounds like I should hold off fertilizers and amanos after I've treated my tank with chemicals for the cyanobacteria. I can take out my water lettuce and put it in the bowl with the nerite and my betta, then turn up my filter to have optimum surface agitation and filtration. Where I live there's a summer heat wave so it won't be difficult to keep the bowl warm for my nerite and betta. I'll look for Ultralife on Amazon and the other chemicals y'all have mentioned.

Netti, I'm a big fan of MD's videos. I've seen the results with his lights so maybe I'll find one of his nano low tech builds and see what light he used. If it's not for me, or unavailable, I've been looking at NICREW lights. Do you think one of those could be a good investment? I won't change my light until the algae's under control.
 
Upvote 0

Netti

Alright, it sounds like I should hold off fertilizers and amanos after I've treated my tank with chemicals for the cyanobacteria. I can take out my water lettuce and put it in the bowl with the nerite and my betta, then turn up my filter to have optimum surface agitation and filtration. Where I live there's a summer heat wave so it won't be difficult to keep the bowl warm for my nerite and betta. I'll look for Ultralife on Amazon and the other chemicals y'all have mentioned.

Netti, I'm a big fan of MD's videos. I've seen the results with his lights so maybe I'll find one of his nano low tech builds and see what light he used. If it's not for me, or unavailable, I've been looking at NICREW lights. Do you think one of those could be a good investment? I won't change my light until the algae's under control.

Honestly I'm the worst person to ask about brand lights. I've spent very little money on mine because I DIY'ed most of them. On my fluval flex 15 I just used a 17 watt LED strip of 3 meters with SMD 5050's to add on to the LED that was already inside. And I only added on because I have CO2 injection. On my other tank I used 10x2Watts waterproof LED cobs. Just remember to go with cool white if you decide to go the cheaper alternatives like me. It cost me next to nothing and my tanks are doing fine. This is to say that it really doesn't take much. Of course results will most definitely be better with a proper light like an ADA, Odyssea, Twinstar, ONF, etc...

But, in all cases, a good aquarium light is for sure a good investment. You should still try to find some decent light for your tank even now. Maybe spend some small amount on a 10 Watts LED flood light and mount it on a 2 by 4. That way you don't keep a hospitable environment for Algae.
 
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fishnovice33

Multiple types in those pics. There is absolutely no purpose in replacing the plants without finding what the issue is and all I know is poor water flow/circulation at this point but because you have many different kinds there is likely a boatload of issues going on.

Personally if you can move livestock I’d start over. Trash it all and dry out the tank for several days, clean it real well. I’d get a proper quality aquarium full spectrum light strip, not a bulb, and get the flow on point. All plants should be moving from top to bottom even just slightly. If there are dead spots, fix it or do not plant there. Don’t overcrowd plants and restrict flow.

Get a few pond snails to start and as many plants as you can, then react to issues. Light dose ferts and do not slack on water changes. I do them every 3-4 days. 6 hours of light is good.

If you can’t remove livestock I would remove everything you can with algae, dose ultralife, and black it out for a few days, then start again with new plants with a light strip and better flow.

I don’t like excel or algacides personally.
 
Upvote 0

attheworld

I found Chemipure and Ultralife on Amazon. Are these the right products?
Ultralife
Chemipure
And I found this NICREW aquarium light. It is similar to the LED strip light MD uses in some of his tanks. I am considering purchasing it.
NICREW aquarium light
I searched for a cheaper option and came across this LED flood light. Using an approximate lumens to PPF calculator (link), the 30W light is about 60-70 umol/s while the 10W version is about 20-30 umol/s. Even the more expensive, 30W version is half the price of the NICREW aquarium light. I don't think I can dim it, but I could simply raise/lower the light or cover part of it with black tape. What do you think Netti/others?
10W/30W HannaHong LED Flood lights

A few hours ago I completed a large water change on my tank. I had to do two 50% water changes since I scrubbed all the plants, trimmed dying leaves and scraped the front glass. In addition to the algae mess I stirred up a ton of decaying matter and nerite feces, and I didn't want to leave much for the cyanobacteria to feast on. One of the vals' roots and crown were rotted so I decided to take it out. The other vals' roots and crown are nice and healthy.

I'm thinking of switching to a sponge filter, for oxygenation and better filtration. Currently I have the TopFin HOB that came with my 10 gallon, which we all know is low quality and probably contributing to my algae problem. All the media within is DIY (1 coarse sponge before poly-fil) and I added a pre-filter sponge for added filtration and to protect my water pets. I would use a fine sponge filter (since the only coarse sponge filters I can find ask for $25+ shipping) with hopefully a tetra whisper air pump and an airstone. If I can't find a Tetra air pump I may use one of Fluval's. Alternatively, I could see if I can find the cheap internal filter MD uses or something similar.

I found an adult bladder snail in my tank. I hope it will reproduce after I need to dose the tank with chemicals for cyano. I may not be saying this if bladder snails take over my tank but it's so adorable!!

I'm going to up my water changes to twice a week, so it doesn't take an hour and a half to complete PWC's on Saturdays and I can stay on top of the algae.

Final update - I'm sticking with my last post. I won't dose liquid ferts this week and I won't add root tabs until the cyano is gone. I'll treat the tank by doing as fishnovice33 suggested; dosing Ultralife and blacking out the tank for a few days. I won't be removing algae-covered plants. Once the cyano is eradicated I will add root tabs, upgrade the light and wait for a couple weeks to see if anything changes. And if the chemicals don't work, I'll most likely restart my tank. At least then I can give it the re-scape it needs.
 
Upvote 0

Slapp

I like nicrews.
But in response to lighting.
Terrestrial lights have a different preferred spectrum than aquatic. Also measuring by wattage per gallon is better for Freshwater.
 
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attheworld

Terrestrial lights have a different preferred spectrum than aquatic. Also measuring by wattage per gallon is better for Freshwater.
I've heard that terrestial vs aquatic plants have different preferred light spectrums, but it doesn't make sense to me. Most aquatic plants are in a margin where they like to keep their roots underwater, but enjoy having their leaves at the water surface and sometimes poking several inches out of the surface. I've seen it in many tanks, especially with ludwigia and hygrophila. Aquatic and terrestial plants grow beside each other in the outside world, under the same sun, so why do they prefer different lighting spectrums? Just my take on it.

I'm not measuring by wattage, since they are LED lights and that method isn't accurate for LEDs anymore. Most people measure LEDs by PAR; Photosynthetically Active Radiation. It's daunting at first, but to my understanding 10 - 30 PAR is low light, 30 - 60 PAR is medium light, and 70+ PAR is high light.

I ordered UltraLife on Amazon, it will be arriving on Friday. Would it best to dose UltraLife before or after a water change?

About lighting... I may have snagged a great deal on a 35 gallon that came with more than anticipated, including a 18-24" NICREW Classic Gen 2 aquarium LED light (that's a mouthful)! Now I don't have to decide which light to purchase and I have a free LED for my 10g (the 35 was bought by my parents and is a tank for the family).

I found 2 more adult bladder snails, and a few babies. I'm sure there's more to come. They've already done a terrific job cleaning up my tank! :)
 
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mattgirl

I ordered UltraLife on Amazon, it will be arriving on Friday. Would it best to dose UltraLife before or after a water change?
I really makes no difference since it doesn't affect the water quality. When I used it I used it just as directed. I made sure I added exactly the amount recommended. It recommends dosing again 48 hours later if needed. I don't know if I needed it but went ahead and did it just in case. So far I've not seen another speck of the cyanobacteria come back in either tank I used it in.
 
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attheworld

I really makes no difference since it doesn't affect the water quality. When I used it I used it just as directed. I made sure I added exactly the amount recommended. It recommends dosing again 48 hours later if needed. I don't know if I needed it but went ahead and did it just in case. So far I've not seen another speck of the cyanobacteria come back in either tank I used it in.
May as well dose after the water change then, so I don't remove the UltraLife from the water. Would be less die-off too since I'd manually remove some cyano.
 
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attheworld

It's been a while since I updated this thread, mainly because a day ago I returned from a 1-week vacation. Before I left home, things were already changing for the better in my tank.

All my thanks is owe to the bladder snails who hitchhiked on my plants and joined the tank. Ever since I let them populate my 10 gallon, algae and cyanobacteria have disappeared almost completely. Only scraps of green spot algae remain. For the first week I somewhat regretted it, and removed a few adult snails, for the only thing I could see on my gravel was feces. But now, I am so glad snails snuck into my tank. I didn't even need to dose UltraLife, the snails helped my tank naturally recover from the algae infestation. It has proved the root cause of all my algae/cyano was from too many dissolved solids in the water, and debris in the tank. Snails combat this problem by racing around, eating all the decaying plant matter, and mulm (which was stuck to my driftwood forever!). I'm telling you, ever since my tank became densely planted it has never looked so clean.

A few days after snails were prominent in my tank, I couldn't wait any longer and headed to my LFS to pick up 3 amano shrimp. UltraLife hadn't arrived yet and my plants weren't looking their best yet, but I was too impatient. I drip acclimated the amanos and the day I added them to the tank 2 of them raced around, exploring, while 1 explored a little before hiding underneath the driftwood. The next day, I couldn't find them anywhere, but when I looked under the driftwood I saw one. I didn't see any shrimp for the days leading up to my vacation.

When I returned from vacation, the moment I stepped foot indoors I raced up to my room and analyzed my tank. I immediately noticed 3 things:
1. Algae is gone.
2. There is new growth on all my plants.
3. Two amanos are out and about, and they have grown a lot!

I tested the water and found these results:
pH: 6.9
KH: 3.2 dKH
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0-5 ppm
At last, the pH in my tank has dropped, along with the KH. I've been trying to get it down from 7.6 since I learned tropical fish and plants enjoy a lower pH, using catappa leaves and the chunk of malaysian driftwood seen in my tank. It was difficult since my tap water is very hard (~12 KH, 7.6 pH), but nature has worked its magic.

I spotted two amanos cruising along, but I haven't seen a third to this day. Of the two, one of them is a huge female, and the other a smaller male. It's like they doubled in size while I was absent! I'm assuming the third is still hiding, jumped out, or my betta had a snack while I was gone, though I don't think my betta ate one of my shrimp. Since adding them, I have seen zero aggression from my betta, only curiosity. No flaring, no chasing, and the amanos don't flinch. I've watched some swim by my betta, and he doesn't move an inch.

Moving onto equipment, I set the NICREW LED up on my tank the day I received it (I was so tired of seeing the eyesore which was the gro-bulb lamp) and dimmed it to the second lowest setting. My tank settled in for a week at low lighting and before I went on vacation I bumped it up another level of brightness. It's still low-light, but closer to medium now. I can definitely see improvement - the ludwigia is redder, and all the stems are denser. Next I want to try the 24hr cycle setting, and see how that goes.

Fertilizer - I dosed liquid ferts the day before I left for vacation, and I've dosed once since I came back. I still don't have root tabs, but I only see possible signs of nutrient deficiency on the crypt becketti in the foreground.

My 10 gallon may not have the best aquascape, the greatest filter, heater, or the easiest start, but to me it looks beautiful, and I am so glad I didn't give up on it. Look at how much better everything looks! :)

10g planted 21.07.18.JPG
(Attached pictures of new plant growth)
 

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mattgirl

Quite often the less we do the better things turn out. This is one more testimony to the place snails have in our hobby. They eat, poop and at times the numbers explode but if given time things normally balance out.

I will have to rehome some before long but the mystery snails in my tanks keep them sparkling clean.
 
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Waterboy1650

I don't have the cyanobacteria, but I seem to be going through a very similar issue, and feel like I am flailing about trying to find a resolution (photos attached).

What was your ultimate solution here? It seems like from the above your steps were:

1) large water changs, at least two 50% water changes, twice a week
2) Scrub all the plants, trim dying leaves and scrap the glass. In doing this you stirred up as much of the algae and other junk to get as much as possible out in the filter and water change, to starve algae as much as you could
3) Hold off on new root tabs or other fertilizers
4) Dose Ultralife
5) Blackout the tank for a few days
6) Slowly restart liquid fertilizer lighting and add a root tab

Did you switch to a sponge filter? Did it seem to help?
 

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attheworld

What was your ultimate solution here? It seems like from the above your steps were:

1) large water changes, at least two 50% water changes, twice a week
2) Scrub all the plants, trim dying leaves and scrape the glass. In doing this you stirred up as much of the algae and other junk to get as much as possible out in the filter and water change, to starve algae as much as you could
3) Hold off on new root tabs or other fertilizers
4) Dose Ultralife
5) Blackout the tank for a few days
6) Slowly restart liquid fertilizer lighting and add root tabs
I completed large (50%) water changes twice a week until the algae began disappearing, then I was able to take it down to one large water change once a week. Before I removed any water, I scrubbed the algae off all the plants and glass and trimmed dying or algae infested leaves, to stir up debris and algae. I would also clean out my filter media and pre-filter sponge once a week. Speaking of my hang on back filter, hanging it on the side of the tank with the flow going through the foreground and sweeping around the back increased circulation in my tank. If you have a hang on back filter, I'd advise you to try it.

I held off on liquid fertilizers, as dosing would add nutrients in the water column which the algae could feed off of, until I saw a decline in algae. Due to a variety of issues, I never received root tabs, but if I had I would've added them.

I didn't end up needing to dose UltraLife, or blackout the tank. I'll explain why once I'm through the steps.

I restarted with a new planted tank LED (NICREW Classic Gen 2) and frequent liquid fertilization (my plants are hungry and I haven't gotten root tabs yet).

There is one key factor I haven't mentioned yet: Snails. At the very beginning (February), I used to have an issue with diatoms until I added a nerite snail; I haven't seen diatoms since. Bladder snails hitchhiked on some of the new plants being added to my 10 gallon and they have worked wonders. At first, they began breeding like crazy due to all the organic debris and algae in the tank. Every time I looked into my 10 gallon I saw at least 10 snails. But eventually, their numbers disappeared as they ate all that food, and after two weeks of siphoning out a crazy amount of feces weekly, I can only see 3 or 5 snails at a time. These bladder snails have completely cleaned my tank. My plants are now growing algae free, and I don't even have to scrape down the glass anymore. All that remains is some green spot algae which is nearly impossible to scrub off my plants. I didn't need to blackout my tank or dose UltraLife.

Keep in mind my tank is 10 gallons and densely planted. My method worked for me, because with lots of experimenting and struggle, I figured out what works for my tank. Everyone's tank is different.

For now,
I'd advise adding a nerite snail and/or "pest" snails to your tank and see how your betta reacts (unless you already have one or have tried before), planting some tall, fast-growing stem plants (I truly recommend to add some limnophila sessiflora in the back section behind that skull, or take a look at ludwigia, rotala or hygrophila species), add some floating plants, and continue manual removal. Do not slack on water changes. If you've been dosing liquid ferts, stop or cut the dosage in half. Too many organics in the water column was the root cause of my algae infestation, hence why adding snails worked so well, but my solution may not be yours.

Depending on how long you've been struggling and how you are feeling, it is a definite option to scrap your tank and start over anew, as fishnovice33 suggested to me.
It looks like your tank is smaller than mine so it wouldn't be much of an expense, and you could truly prepare this time. Do lots of research beforehand, nail lighting, substrate, plants, and filtration, and begin with a tank full of fast-growing plants (a few slow growers is fine).

Did you switch to a sponge filter? Did it seem to help?
I did not end up switching to a sponge filter, but for your smaller tank it's a great option, considering you have a betta in there and especially if your current filter isn't good quality.

I hope this helps, I'll try my best to answer further questions. Don't give up! Many aquarium-lovers quit the hobby due to algae issues. Don't be one of them!
 
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