Accidental Algae Farm

ginkgomw

So, a couple months ago, I decided to try my hand at a planted tank for the first time. It's a 5.5 gallon tank with a java fern, an amazon sword compacta, crypts, anubias nana, and 3 little dwarf sag plants. It started off pretty well, and still is not a catastrophe yet, but there has been a lot of diatom and algae growth, particularly green hair algae, and black beard algae that came on the dwarf sag. The plants are all still growing, especially the java fern and amazon sword, and there have been new leaves on everything, but the algae is starting to get really unsightly, and I'm afraid it's starting to inhibit growth, especially on the dwarf sag and crypts. I use a Nicrew light (switched over from the very low kit light about a month ago, maybe more) and dose with Easy Green when I do my (around) weekly water changes. I tested the nitrates today and noticed that they were around 5 after about a week and a half since the last water change (don't worry - next one happening today). Knowing that algae is caused by a limiting factor, could the nitrates be too low? Could dosing more fertilizers help? Would trimming back the most covered leaves help too?

I should add - stocking includes 1 pea puffer that so far gets along with the 4 ghost shrimp. The light is on the 2nd lowest setting, with the lowest being practically off, and I have been keeping it on for around 8, sometimes a little more, hours each day. I also sometimes run an air stone at night.
 

Ghelfaire

A nerite snail should be too big for your pea puffer to kill. My nerites eat all types of algae.
 
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ginkgomw

A nerite snail should be too big for your pea puffer to kill. My nerites eat all types of algae.
I had thought about adding a snail, but I was worried that would make the tank overstocked with the 4 shrimp in there too. Should it still be okay?
 
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ginkgomw

Check out Algae Management & Algae Myths: Updated Version | Aquarium Plants Forum | 495705 (fishlore.com) I think this is a good general article on algae control.

Another place to find info on specific algae types is: .
These were both really interesting! It seems like I should probably put my light on a timer, plus I should do more trimming of my plants. I am terrible with plants, aquatic and land, so I was avoiding that step, but seems like it's about time, especially since some of the dwarf sag is pretty covered...
 
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Cherryshrimp420

So, a couple months ago, I decided to try my hand at a planted tank for the first time. It's a 5.5 gallon tank with a java fern, an amazon sword compacta, crypts, anubias nana, and 3 little dwarf sag plants. It started off pretty well, and still is not a catastrophe yet, but there has been a lot of diatom and algae growth, particularly green hair algae, and black beard algae that came on the dwarf sag. The plants are all still growing, especially the java fern and amazon sword, and there have been new leaves on everything, but the algae is starting to get really unsightly, and I'm afraid it's starting to inhibit growth, especially on the dwarf sag and crypts. I use a Nicrew light (switched over from the very low kit light about a month ago, maybe more) and dose with Easy Green when I do my (around) weekly water changes. I tested the nitrates today and noticed that they were around 5 after about a week and a half since the last water change (don't worry - next one happening today). Knowing that algae is caused by a limiting factor, could the nitrates be too low? Could dosing more fertilizers help? Would trimming back the most covered leaves help too?

I should add - stocking includes 1 pea puffer that so far gets along with the 4 ghost shrimp. The light is on the 2nd lowest setting, with the lowest being practically off, and I have been keeping it on for around 8, sometimes a little more, hours each day. I also sometimes run an air stone at night.

Needs a faster growing plant in there. Rotala rotundifolia, guppy grass are pretty good
 
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ginkgomw

Needs a faster growing plant in there. Rotala rotundifolia, guppy grass are pretty good
Thank you for the advice! Just so I can understand for myself, why? I would have thought that would only be if nitrates were high, but they've been pretty low. Is it just to have something to eat up what the algae has been consuming?
 
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Cherryshrimp420

Thank you for the advice! Just so I can understand for myself, why? I would have thought that would only be if nitrates were high, but they've been pretty low. Is it just to have something to eat up what the algae has been consuming?

Yes just to outcompete algae. Even some duckweed will help
 
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ginkgomw

Yes just to outcompete algae. Even some duckweed will help
Okay, cool. Probably going to pick up a cup of floaters or something from my lfs then.
 
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ginkgomw

Went out today and I got what looks to be Amazon frogbit. For floating plants, they just sell a bag of whatever they pull out of the tank, so that's what I got. Looks fine and healthy, but now that I'm reading about it, it seems like it may cause some oxygen depletion. I think my filter and other plants will make up for that, but does that tend to be a common issue? Would hate to hurt my puffer and shrimp in the process.
 
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JustAFishServant

I gotta be honest, I never used a "cleanup crew" for my algae (or rather aufwuchs) issue because I didn't like the thought of relying on tankmates when it's usually due to user error...but I finally decided to get a Nerite. After 4 days, half of the aufwuchs that covered the glass was gone! 3 weeks later and the Nerite is certainly doing his job! Maybe having a cleanup crew isn't so bad after all :)
 
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