Algae Help

cody2posh

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First off hello everyone, Im new to the hobby (and forum) and was wondering what sort of advice you guys had with dealing with algae on your glass.

I have a 10g stocked with 7 adult guppies and their countless fry, and then maybe 4-5 cherry shrimp at this point (had 8, added them before nitrite had totally bottom out and I think I know I lost a few, those left are happy and berries), an African Dwarf Frog from another tank I moved in and a few assassin snails to cut down on the pest snails. the tank is heavily planted and I have a nice grow light on the top that runs for about 14-15 hours a day right now.

Anywho, I've recently confirmed the tank had finished cycling, no sooner had this happened than an algal bloom popped up, about 5 days later now and the algae on the back glass is actually starting to "beard" up.

Basically I was wondering what the consensus is on algae in tanks, preferred cleaning/maintenance methods, possible aesthetic ideas, etc.

For what it's worth, I put this setup together as my first attempt at a visually pleasing aquascape that doubled as a breeding tank for the guppies and shrimp.

Thanks for any input
 

Brannor

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I ran my planted tank for around 12 hours a day at first. I had to clean the glass quite often from greenish algae. I then dropped it to under 8 hours (2 x 4h with a 5 hour break) and that ceased. I'm now running it at 4-3-5 (4 on, 3 off, 5 on) and it hasn't started up again. I can feel the glass is still a bit rough, but it's not going crazy.

That said, I do have a staghorn algae problem (tank is maybe 3 months old). I've trimmed leaves and I've target double-dosed Flourish Excel which definitely works - but I'm always concerned of the impact on the fish. So they're being given less food in the hopes the nutrients drop enough to stop their growth.

Unfortunately, my little grasses are being coated in it as I think there's not enough light at that depth...so the algae is winning there. I think the AR980 tank with plants needs low-light plants on the strata...anything else needs to be able to reach up closer to the surface...

Weekends see me do targeted double-dose of the staghorn, with a standard dose every day.

-G
 
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cody2posh

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@Kyleena696

From what I've read with the guppy fry lighting under 12 hours a day can lead to developmental problems (i.e. curved spines and the like). My #1 priority is the health and well-being of the fish and inverts, so if it's a matter of the lesser evil, I'll take the algae. Again I'm EXTREMELY new to the hobby (several months) so the best info I've gotten has been from browsing forums like these
Brannor said:
I ran my planted tank for around 12 hours a day at first. I had to clean the glass quite often from greenish algae. I then dropped it to under 8 hours (2 x 4h with a 5 hour break) and that ceased. I'm now running it at 4-3-5 (4 on, 3 off, 5 on) and it hasn't started up again. I can feel the glass is still a bit rough, but it's not going crazy.

That said, I do have a staghorn algae problem (tank is maybe 3 months old). I've trimmed leaves and I've target double-dosed Flourish Excel which definitely works - but I'm always concerned of the impact on the fish. So they're being given less food in the hopes the nutrients drop enough to stop their growth.

Unfortunately, my little grasses are being coated in it as I think there's not enough light at that depth...so the algae is winning there. I think the AR980 tank with plants needs low-light plants on the strata...anything else needs to be able to reach up closer to the surface...

Weekends see me do targeted double-dose of the staghorn, with a standard dose every day.

-G
Same thing for your suggestion Brannor, any idea the effect that light period would have on the fry? Also where do you source the stuff you're using as spot treatment?

Also has anyone had luck with any fish/inverts that can work as a cleanup crew? I know the neocaridina aren't gonna be a huge help, but what about something like a hillstream loach that wouldn't mess with the fry? I know oto cats like groups and are super finicky, and like I said the priority for this tank is breeding guppies/RCS so I don't wanna stick in a couple otos just to overload the tank
 

Brannor

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In the nearly 100 fry we've had (currently), I've noticed only 1 with a spinal issue (he disappeared, so either hiding well, or eaten or dead). As we've never raised fry to adulthood before, it's hard to know if their growth is slowed or not. But there are plenty and they all look quite healthy - the bigger ones spend their spare time surfing the inlet port from the filter...

And I'm new too... so we all learn.

The stuff I use is Seachem Flourish Excel. It's not meant for killing algae, but it can be used to combat algae. It's just one of those that comes with a big warning about overdosing. I turn off the filter and anything that moves the water, put 10ml (55G tank) in a syringe and then gently apply a little hear and there right on the algae while the water is still. If yours is a glass-covering algae, you'd probably do best with less light and an algae eater or two before trying Excel.

We have 2 Bristlenose Catfish in our main tank that do clean the tank a bit, but they're small < 4" at present. They do add a bit to the bio load, but as long as you keep on top of water changes, we've not found it to be an issue.

-G
 
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cody2posh

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Any clue on the algaes effects on the water quality? The more I look at it the more I like (not like per se, more like tolerate) the way it looks on the back wall of the tank. I have a black matte background and have been debating installing a wall of moss along the back, the algae might even help me anchor it a little more naturally.

Other than obviously occluding my view into the tank, any clue if the algae will have any sort of negative impact on the fauna? If not I may just deal with scraping the glass then and letting it build up for a bit more of a "natural" look, who knows?! That's most of the fun I have with this anyway, getting to experiment and try new little things and hopefully get something rewarding out of it.
 

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Algae is actually great for your tank. Its a plant after all. The more of it, the more nitrates it will eat up and it pearls SUPER easy. I only clean it off the front glass for viewing purposes..... and only when my wife complains about it.

If you want a ton of algae, keep lighting your tank for long periods. But the length of light youre running is causing it. Thats a LOT of light.
 

Kyleena696

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cody2posh said:
@Kyleena696

From what I've read with the guppy fry lighting under 12 hours a day can lead to developmental problems (i.e. curved spines and the like). My #1 priority is the health and well-being of the fish and inverts, so if it's a matter of the lesser evil, I'll take the algae.
Do you mind providing your sources for that information? I just did an article search and the only thing I could find was a paper by Ruchin et al. stating that 24 hours of lighting leads to the highest growth rate and 24 hours of complete darkness just gives a much slower growth rate. They mentioned nothing about any physical deformities from developmental problems caused by complete darkness. I think you've been misinformed.

Edit: Title of the paper - Influence of Photoperiod on Growth and Intensity of Fry of Some Fish Species. You might be able to find it if you'd like to read it for yourself.
 
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cody2posh

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Are there any downsides to letting the algae just kinda bloom then? I figured it should at least help with making sure the guppy fry and young RCS have a constantly accessable food source when I'm off at work and can't feed them as frequently as I'd like.

Also any experience with lighting for fry? Like I said, most everything I've read says to err on the side of too much than too little, but then again experience is usually the best teacher!
 

SFGiantsGuy

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Early mediocre to fair algae blooms are a GOOD thing, as DuaneV stated; it demonstrates that your tank is "alive" and processing nitrogen. But yeah for now, longer lighting IS good thing for plants trying to adjust, but in the long run, yeah I'd eventually cut the light down. All of my medium to heavy planted tanks run 8-10 hours, tops. (many varieties of plants included, either way it's 8-10 hours)
 
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cody2posh

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Kyleena696 said:
Do you mind providing your sources for that information? I just did an article search and the only thing I could find was a paper by Ruchin et al. stating that 24 hours of lighting leads to the highest growth rate and 24 hours of complete darkness just gives a much slower growth rate. They mentioned nothing about any physical deformities from developmental problems caused by complete darkness. I think you've been misinformed.

Edit: Title of the paper - Influence of Photoperiod on Growth and Intensity of Fry of Some Fish Species. You might be able to find it if you'd like to read it for yourself.
It's been entirely anecdotal, and my first fry drop most of them had developmental issues that the lighting had cure. A quick search of "guppy fry problems lighting" brought up a bunch of hits off of Google, a bunch from fishlore itself!

Usually I'm against speculating like this, but the lighting change DID fix my issue like it had with some of the stories I read, can't argue with the results.

Also for what it's worth, I know at least with the irregular light cycles you're going to mess with the circadian rhythm of the fish which is never good for any animal much less young.
 

Kyleena696

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cody2posh said:
It's been entirely anecdotal, and my first fry drop most of them had developmental issues that the lighting had cure. A quick search of "guppy fry problems lighting" brought up a bunch of hits off of Google, a bunch from fishlore itself!

Usually I'm against speculating like this, but the lighting change DID fix my issue like it had with some of the stories I read, can't argue with the results.

Also for what it's worth, I know at least with the irregular light cycles you're going to mess with the circadian rhythm of the fish which is never good for any animal much less young.
How long did you have the light on before? If you just recently finished cycling the tank that could be why you were having developmental issues with your guppies if they were in the tank as it was cycling.

Yeah, messing with circadian rhythms isn't good. Especially if any blue lighting is involved. It can actually lead to problems such as obesity and cancers. I'm just saying that I couldn't find any research stating that short photoperiods leads to developmental problems in fish so I'm thinking its a correlation not causation going on there.

Edit: for the algae causing problems - I think too much algae can suck up nutrients before your plants can if you have/decide to plant the tank. Not 100% on that one though.
 
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cody2posh

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The light I had before was a standard LED lamp like would be used for reading. I was running on an 8 hour cycle, had the guppies in an old 5g setup that had been established for a few months, all the water parameters were good. Literally as soon as I bought a decent grow light the problem fixed itself, now I've just got the algae.

It's worth noting that the tank is set up in my bedroom, and being in Texas my gf is determined to keep the blackout curtains up for temp reasons, so the tank gets virtually no external lighting.
 

Kyleena696

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cody2posh said:
The light I had before was a standard LED lamp like would be used for reading. I was running on an 8 hour cycle, had the guppies in an old 5g setup that had been established for a few months, all the water parameters were good. Literally as soon as I bought a decent grow light the problem fixed itself, now I've just got the algae.

It's worth noting that the tank is set up in my bedroom, and being in Texas my gf is determined to keep the blackout curtains up for temp reasons, so the tank gets virtually no external lighting.
You said in your first post that you just
cody2posh said:
recently confirmed the tank had finished cycling, no sooner had this happened than an algal bloom popped up
so when did you add the guppies in? Before or after it had finished cycling? You said you added shrimp when the nitrites were still present so I assumed you cycled the tank with the guppies. That being said, that's why I assumed the developmental issues were actually due to water problems and had nothing to do with the lighting.
 

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Algae basically indicates one thing: Imbalance. Live plants WILL inevitably help--the more, the merrier. What you should do, is take it slow and steady. Don't fluctuate your newly established eco system too drastically. Always push forward towards it's natural balance using the appropriate tools and knowledge, and try not to impulsively succumb to anything overly erratic, biological, (live plants) chemical (Water chemistry) or physiological, (fish/animals) as those correspond to each other in very specfic and rather complicated ways. Every tank is different, plants or no plants, LED or no LED, inverts or no inverts, fish or no fish--they key is to focus your efforts on emphasizing and also maximizing it's NATURAL potential and affinity. Exercise your affluence and single out the cause of the algae, therefore to achieve that natural balance of things.
 
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cody2posh

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Sorry I may have worded that a bit oddly, I had the guppies originally in a 5gal that was cycled and being run with the old light and same issues, transplanted the whole setup to a 10g about a month ago after committing to trying to raise guppy fry, had a drop about 3-4 days after dropping the fish in the new tank, had the same issues in the new (uncycled) tank as the old established tank, got the new light a day before another fry drop and it totally fixed the issue even with nitrite still out of whack.

Reading finally came out fully cycled over the weekend, had another fry drop this morning, things been going swimmingly since

SFGiantsGuy said:
Algae basically indicates one thing: Imbalance. Live plants WILL inevitably help--the more, the merrier. What you should do, is take it slow and steady. Don't fluctuate your newly established eco system too drastically. Always push forward towards it's natural balance using the appropriate tools and knowledge, and try not to impulsively succumb to anything overly erratic, biological, (live plants) chemical (Water chemistry) or physiological, (fish/animals) as those correspond to each other in very specfic and rather complicated ways. Every tank is different, plants or no plants, LED or no LED, inverts or no inverts, fish or no fish--they key is to focus your efforts on emphasizing and also maximizing it's NATURAL potential and affinity. Exercise your affluence and single out the cause of the algae, therefore to achieve that natural balance of things.
Excellent post, thank you
 

Kyleena696

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cody2posh said:
Sorry I may have worded that a bit oddly, I had the guppies originally in a 5gal that was cycled and being run with the old light and same issues, transplanted the whole setup to a 10g about a month ago after committing to trying to raise guppy fry, had a drop about 3-4 days after dropping the fish in the new tank, had the same issues in the new (uncycled) tank as the old established tank, got the new light a day before another fry drop and it totally fixed the issue even with nitrite still out of whack.

Reading finally came out fully cycled over the weekend, had another fry drop this morning, things been going swimmingly since
I wonder if it was the poor quality of the light you were using and not the length the light was left on? I'm still leaning towards correlation not causation but I honestly don't know. The research I found stated that it just slows growth rate and doesn't cause developmental problems. Glad the light fixed that for you though

In regards to the algae I always take mine off of my front and right side panel as I find it really interferes with tank viewing pleasure. I leave it on the left side and back wall though.
 

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I'm pretty new at this fish business. I have a 20-gallon aquarium and added two small fantail goldfish in early February. A slightly larger aquarium coming shortly. Fish tank water is filtered through a media bed(s) with various herbs and green leafy vegetables. Nitrates fell from 20 ppm to nearly zero by early March. I harvested a lot of the plants in late April, early May and with the fall in nitrogen demand from the plants, the nitrates have risen to 20 +. With the rise in nitrates, has come a rise in brown algae, especially at the end of the tank closest to a window. I've increased the quantity and quality of fish food because zero nitrates are less than optimal for vegetable production. Also, have supplemented the water with iron, potassium, and magnesium. All this, intended to benefit basil and lettuce, also helps algae. Where practical the algae source of light has been eliminated. Black flexible tubing replaced clear for instance and no light is necessary inside the housing that surrounds the grow bed standpipe. But mostly light can't be eliminated from a living system.

I am pleasantly surprised by the pet-like affection developed for Sara & Maybelle, the two goldfish, even Slim and Minnie, the snails, but the biggest challenge is managing and balancing the needs of the whole little ecosystem, I guess including algae.
 

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I bought the tank from a pet store that was about to close. I loved it it was just beautiful.I had no clue that they were going to break everything down for me to take. I was horrified!. The tank is a 10 gallon tank with soil of which I have no idea of what kind it is, it is reddish. I now wave algae growing in the soil...
A local biologist said no water changes and it was fine to use tap water. I checked the tanks numbers and some were high. I will compare them again in the morning. Once a month I add a biological powder to the tank . I don't think we have very much chlorine in out water here. I have seen the betta eat shrimp when he was in the tank. He was very happy in there however. I have 4 blue shrimp, I just don't want to loose them. I just bought some more blue shrimp. I have them in a breeder tank in the shrimp tank. I'll fine some more plants to toss in for them. I have one plant that gets a stringy algae on it and is a mess, I have been removing it and getting rid of most of the algae and tossing the plants in to my 50 gal tank for the fish to chew on. I have water lettuces as a floating plant it grows like crazy, and some other plant with leaves that grows from the bottom. That needs to be trimmed all the time I have all the cuttings growing rots in a dish on my counter. I have to make time to make bundles and plant them in my 50 gal and a new tank I am starting. Do you have any suggestions for plants for a shrimp tank?
Thanking you in advance for any help,
Kylecc
 
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cody2posh

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Kyleaz said:
I bought the tank from a pet store that was about to close. I loved it it was just beautiful.I had no clue that they were going to break everything down for me to take. I was horrified!. The tank is a 10 gallon tank with soil of which I have no idea of what kind it is, it is reddish. I now wave algae growing in the soil...
A local biologist said no water changes and it was fine to use tap water. I checked the tanks numbers and some were high. I will compare them again in the morning. Once a month I add a biological powder to the tank . I don't think we have very much chlorine in out water here. I have seen the betta eat shrimp when he was in the tank. He was very happy in there however. I have 4 blue shrimp, I just don't want to loose them. I just bought some more blue shrimp. I have them in a breeder tank in the shrimp tank. I'll fine some more plants to toss in for them. I have one plant that gets a stringy algae on it and is a mess, I have been removing it and getting rid of most of the algae and tossing the plants in to my 50 gal tank for the fish to chew on. I have water lettuces as a floating plant it grows like crazy, and some other plant with leaves that grows from the bottom. That needs to be trimmed all the time I have all the cuttings growing rots in a dish on my counter. I have to make time to make bundles and plant them in my 50 gal and a new tank I am starting. Do you have any suggestions for plants for a shrimp tank?
Thanking you in advance for any help,
Kylecc
I find my shrimp love anything that they can really get into, like Java moss, cabomba or even water sprite if you trim it to keep it bushy. Definitely be careful with the tap water, even if there isn't chlorine there's probably no buffers in your water so pH will swing wildly, plus the trace metals from pipes will nix your shrimp if it enters the tank at ALL. But yeah typically shrimp won't be too picky, the more plants the better. ****, if it's an all-shrimp tank, you might even be able to plant it enough that you can run it with 0ppm nitrate, basically the bioload from the shrimp is so low that the plants snag all the nitrate and you have a tank where you never (well not NEVER) have to do water changes
 
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