Algae Beginning To Grow.. Now What?

Discussion in 'Algae' started by andrearamirezo91, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. andrearamirezo91

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    Hello everyone :)

    Some of you may have been following my journey so far with my new 6 Gallon tank. Long story short, it's been running for 5 weeks approximately. Fishless cycle for the first two weeks, and still in the process of cycling, but now with fish and a few shrimp in there. I know fishless cycling is better but I had no other choice as my fish had a set delivery date and my tank took way longer than expected to cycle.

    Last time I attempted a planted tank was a few years ago and I failed terribly. The algae and issues with my plants got so bad that I eventually got discouraged and just tore the whole tank down. This time, I decided to take it slow and start easy.

    So... My parameters are Ammonia 0.25, Nitrites 2, Nitrates 0, ph 6.8.

    One betta, and a few cherry shrimp. The shrimp might have to come out because the betta is tormenting them a little too much. I think they look too much like a colorful and tasty treat! He did better with ghost shrimp but I noticed they were starting to reach out for his tail and ended up shredding it pretty bad which is why I switched to cherries. I might give amanos a try instead since they're also clear and less aggressive.

    Plants: Flame moss, Christmas Moss, Anubias Petite, Moss balls

    Substrate: Regular substrate since none of my plants have to be rooted

    Lighting: 13W LED for planted tanks. I turn it on for 2 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night when I get back from work. The rest of the time, I turn on the "moonlight" mode blue LEDs. (

    Fertilizers: I add 10 drops of this fertilizer every other day. ( Recommended dose is 10 drops per gallon but I don't want to overdo it with the nutrients as i'm afraid it will encourage algae growth. I'm performing daily 40% water changes so I'm assuming a lot of the fertilizers get taken out too with every wc.

    CO2: No CO2 injection at the moment, but dosing daily with flourish excel

    Maintenance: Daily 40% water changes. Vacuuming the gravel is hard now because I have sand in one part, and a freshly planted moss carpet that will get ripped out if I vacuum it too hard. I have a little soft brush that I use to run over all the plants and agitate the bottom before vacuuming. I agitate the moss quite a bit to make sure any old dead plant matter gets lifted up so I can extract it with a net or the gravel vacuum.

    My plants have been growing beautifully and I think the tank looks great. When I first inserted the plants, they all melted a little but I have tons of new growth on my mosses and the anubias have new leaves as well, so I'm really happy! However, I'm starting to see some small dark specs on my anubias and I am afraid it might be the beginning of spot algae.

    Given my last experience with planted tanks, I'm terrified of algae lol.:nailbiting::lurking: I expect a little bit of uncertainty and ups and downs at the beginning while I find the perfect balance, however I'm not sure how to proceed or what to adjust from here on.

    - Is my lighting schedule okay? I understand dividing the photoperiod into two helps discourage algae growth.
    - Do the blue lights encourage algae growth as well? Or is this purely for decoration?
    - How about supplements? Am I dosing enough? Am I dosing too much? it says 10 drops per gallon, however I dose only 10 drops for my 6G every two days, plus the excel daily which supposedly helps control algae.
    - I read that nitrates are a big cause for algae and my tank is not showing any nitrates yet since the cycle hasn't completed. I'm afraid if I'm starting to see algae now, what's gonna happen once the nitrates go up?! :bigtears:
    - I've heard something about taking your plants out and dipping them in bleach or peroxide (I think), however I would like to avoid having to take the plants out. I feel like this would be more of a temporary fix and not a long-term solution. Also, my anubias are attached to rocks so I feel like they would absorb the chemicals and end up hurting my fish. But I'm open to all suggestions.

    Thanks for reading this far :)

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  2. oldsalt777

    oldsalt777Well Known MemberMember


    A small tank is going to be a challenge. The water chemistry can change quickly because there's not enough water to dilute a mistake if it happens. So, there will be a problem with algae because it feeds off dissolved nitrogen in the water like ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. The higher the concentration of nitrogen, the faster algae grows. To control it somewhat, you change out half the water a couple of times a week and feed the fish or whatever very sparingly. Floating plants like, Anacharis, Hornwort and Water sprite will help keep the nitrogen level a little lower. Just get some, separate the stems and drop them into the tank. They'll grow fine without planting.

  3. OP

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    Hey thank you so much for your response! I actually bought some frogbit a couple days ago that’s currently being shipped. What’s alarming to me though is that i’m currently already performing one water change (or two) a day and I’m already starting to see algae. How’s it gonna be once I go back to once a week changes when my tank finishes cycling?
  4. Dechi

    DechiValued MemberMember

    I’ve heard blue lights cause algaes. I don’t know how long you use them, but I would either stop using the blue mode altogether or male sure I don’t use it for long.
  5. OP

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    Wow I had no idea. I thought people used those blue lights to be able to enjoy their tanks after the necessary daily hours of sunlight were satisfied. Am I supposed to just keep it completely dark the rest of the time? I love looking at my tank so I do turn the blue one on quite a lot :(

    Should I maybe add some type of snail too? I have a little bit of sand at the front of the tank so maybe one that burrows and moves the sand around wouldn’t be a bad idea?
  6. Mcsprutz

    McsprutzNew MemberMember

    Get some snails , the small free ones. Your tank is cute but your shrimps are as good as dead if they live with a beta.
  7. Dechi

    DechiValued MemberMember

    You have to decide what you want to do with your light. You could set a timer, so it’s on when you can enjoy it, maybe a few hours in the morning, then at night when you’re home, or whatever your schedule is. Do some tests, to find out how much blue light the tank can handle without algaes blooming. For now, you should reduce the light to almost none, until you’ve gotten rid of the green monster.

    If you don’t want hundreds of them, get a nerite that won’t reproduce (you’ll still have eggs though). Get a big one, so iit eats more algaes.
  8. fishes were wishes

    fishes were wishesValued MemberMember

    No insights for you, but I love your setup :)
    (fixed typo)
  9. clovervalley

    clovervalleyValued MemberMember

    Yes, algae will still grow in blue light as it still provides light albeit a different color. The nerite snails are a great idea, I love mine! They can be colorful and they are algae eating champs. As long as you don’t get the ones with spikes on their shells your Betta should leave it alone. I also suggest you set up a light timer that way you can play with the different photoperiods to find out what discourages algae growth!
  10. OP

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    Thank you! :)

    @Dechi and @clovervalley I actually really love the red racer nerite snails! One thing that concerns me is that I can’t really have a lid on my tank :/ I already tried and the water condenses in there wayyy too much. It’ll keep the frogbit soaked and ultimately end up killing it. The lid is also clear with black in the middle which completely blocks out the light so my plants wouldn’t really be able to grow well at all. Keeping a lid on this tank is not really an option for me. Will I have issues with the little guy getting out of the tank?

    Also will the nerite help keep my moss clean as well?
  11. Dechi

    DechiValued MemberMember

    Some snails like to rest where there isn’t water, on top of the tank. My nerite does. I would be afraid he wold escape. Although I do have an opening he could get out of, maybe he never saw it...

    About Java moss, not sure. My nerite goes everywhere, even on tiny branches of my spider wood, so maybe. But clean from what, food debris ? I don’t think he would be into that. A cory would be better, if your tank is big enough.
  12. clovervalley

    clovervalleyValued MemberMember

    Honestly it depends on the nerite for climbing. Usually the rim on the tank prevents them from getting all the way out but it’s up to you if you want to risk it. They would eat the detritus from the moss (and wouldn’t eat the moss itself unless there’s no algae) but you would still need to do your maintenance as usual. They can’t get all the algae and they don’t usually eat the waste
  13. oldsalt777

    oldsalt777Well Known MemberMember


    Small tanks under 20 gallons, really need half the water removed and replaced a couple of times a week. This is the only way to keep dissolved waste material out of the water. A larger tank doesn't need more than a 50 percent water change weekly, because there's more water to dilute the nitrogen from the dissolving fish waste. If you're good about changing the water regularly and don't feed the tank inhabitants too much, you'll be able to keep algae under control. Floating plants will definitely help keep the tank water cleaner.

  14. OP

    andrearamirezo91Well Known MemberMember

    Ok so regarding the light, I have completely stopped using the blue light. I'm gonna buy a timer today and try two hours in the morning (I love looking at my fish when I'm waking up and getting ready for work) and four at night. It sucks that there's no way of having the tank constantly illuminated so it can be appreciated any time of the day, but it is what it is! :meh:

    Well my biggest concern is algae starting to grow on my moss, especially now that I'm starting to see a little bit on my anubias and rocks. It hasn't happened so far but based on what I learned through research, things like hair algae tend to be a persistent issue in tanks with moss? Would a nerite take care of that? And would it eat decaying plant matter ? A lot of the moss I inserted in the tank melted so there's a lot of dead moss now under the new stuff that's growing in. Eating debris and waste is always a plus, but not my biggest concern as I'm usually pretty good with water changes.

    A good cleanup crew is always useful.. the problem is that I only have a 6G so it's hard to add much to it. Someone said to add a couple otto fish but I think that would be an overstocked tank already. I still haven't crossed out the amanos off my list. I know he's not doing very well with the cheries but he wouldn't even bother with the ghost shrimp that I used to have in there and I have successfully had bettas with ghost or amanos in the past.. It all comes down to what the fish will let me do lol. I think the red is just too appealing for him!