Algae battle - and I seem to be losing.

  • #1
I've got a 55G planted community tank and a persistent algae problem. By the end of a week, my glass is covered with a green algae. I wipe it off every week and then it comes back. This is what it looks like after about 1.5 weeks.

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1463413560.172474.jpg

And I also have black spots/growth on my plants which I assume is algae - I don't/can't wipe these off.

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1463413610.895849.jpg

ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1463413620.317128.jpg

I'm wondering:

1. are these the same type of algae?

2. what am I doing wrong?

This is my first tank, set it up in Aug 2015. I dose weekly with Seachem Flourish (when I do water changes. I dose intermittently with Flourish Excel (1-2 times a week). I've used root tabs in the past, but haven't for a few months. I do 20-30% water changes weekly. My LED lights are on 9am-7pm, and encourage plant growth. NH3/NO2/NO3 levels are good, but I haven't tested for phosphates, etc. I feed every other day and am careful not to overfeed (try to make sure to give as much as can be eaten in 3-5 mins).

Any advice much appreciated - I'm ready to try anything!
  • #2
Try excel daily and cut the lights back or offer a two hour siesta.
  • #3
Not sure if they're compatible with whatever your stock is, but otocinclus catfish love that kind of algae. Taking care of the root of your problem is definitely your no1 solution.
  • #4
That green stuff you are wiping off the glass looks like Green Dust Algae and the other black stuff on the plants is Black Beard Algae. The lower leaves on the Ludwigia are unhealthy and that is why they are getting covered in algae. Phosphates isn't the issue, so don't worry about testing.

There is an imbalance with light, CO2 and fertilizers. Fun part is figuring out what it is. Light is the plant engine, more light there is faster plants grow and demand more CO2 and balanced fertilizers. Except Anubias are slow growers regardless.

You need to be dosing Excel daily and dose the Flourish 2x week. NitrAtes need to be around 10-20ppm. I would also reduce the hours the lights are on to 6 hours and dimming down if you can; help get a handle on things. Increase circulation around the tank with adding a powerhead. Remove badly infected leaves. Cut replant the tops of any stem plants that are unhealthy on the bottom part like the Ludwigia. I would also add Seachem Potassium to the ferts as Flourish Comp provides mostly Micros and very low in Macros (NPK). I would also insert root tabs.

You may want to consider looking into dry fertilizers for that size tank. Cheaper, last longer, easy to dose either dry or mixed into solutions, and easy to tweak the dosages.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks everyone! This forum is such a great resource due to everyone's helpfulness - I've learned a lot - still a long way to go!
  • #6
I don't dose any additives but in my planted tanks the algae you mention are very much reduced as long as plants are actively growing.

I can pull out a handful of plants daily with my largest planted aquarium.

If you have a new aquarium it can take months for things to settle down though.
  • #7
I have found success by switching out Floursh Comprehensive and going fully to dry fertilizers. N,P,K can be purchased individually and dosed (3x per week) all at the same time (macros). Plantex CSM+B is what I use to provide micros (2x per week) and since switching that out with Flourish, I've seen a massive decrease in algae. I would dose Excel daily to the recommended amount, and reduce light to 6 hours with a siesta in between. Perform 50% partial water changes weekly. Use this regime for a month or more , then adjust the lighting period, or increase light intensity. If you start noticing more algae, then cut your light back until you get to a point where the algae stops growing.

Also, come to terms with the fact that algae will be present in some form or another, regardless of your efforts. Controlling it is the key. There will be people that tout that they have never had a speck of algae in their tanks, but I'm ok with a little algae.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Thanks SwissCheeseHead, I'll try your suggestions and will report back!

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