Algae problem

N13

Hello! I am here to ask about some algae that has been growing on my aquarium plants, it has mainly been growing only plant leaves but it also goes on the aquarium glass and gravel as well, the main type of algae growing on the plants is brown spot algae, this algae is also the main algae on the glass and on the gravel (it always takes over my tank at the end of the week), the second type of algae growing is green spot algae but it only takes place on the glass, are there any ways I can get rid of the algae? I really want to get rid of the algae on the plants because it's making my tank look dirty, I can't pick up a cleaner crew as I have tiger barbs (like to eat shrimp) and I am maximized on stocking, so any tips / solutions on getting rid of algae?
 

inari

what are your water parameters? How about light? Depending on this could be partially the issue as well. I don't know how many fish or how big your tank is, but some great cleaners are Otos and Plecos (I would go for something other than common plecos as they can get MASSIVE)
 

AggressiveAquatics

How long is your light on?
 

N13

How long is your light on?
My light is on for about 13 hours, tank is 20 long, ph is about 7.5 to 8, and the tank is 0,0,0 most the time
 

AggressiveAquatics

That’s probably your problem. You usually want around 8-10 hours
 

inari

Do you have more intensive lights? does your tank sit near a window? 0,0,0 almost looks like an uncycled tank, but someone please correct me if I am wrong.
 

N13

Do you have more intensive lights? does your tank sit near a window? 0,0,0 almost looks like an uncycled tank, but someone please correct me if I am wrong.
Tank is cycled with freshwater bacteria, has been set for about a year by now
That’s probably your problem. You usually want around 8-10 hours
Will the algae start going away if I put less light hours? Or will I have to do something else?
 

MyFishAddiction

nerite snails are great for algae and they have like no bioload. They also don't show much of them selves under the shells, and most fish don't really have problems with.
 

N13

nerite snails are great for algae and they have like no bioload. They also don't show much of them selves under the shells, and most fish don't really have problems with.
They lay down eggs however, so I dont wanna create more mess so any options that dont involve animals please?
 

inari

Depending on your bio load get some Otos or a smaller species of Pleco. They are algea vacuum cleaners
 

N13

I was thinking on getting nerite snails, do you think they can clean the algae off of plant leaves, also how can I get rid of their eggs?
 

demetredanio

I was thinking on getting nerite snails, do you think they can clean the algae off of plant leaves, also how can I get rid of their eggs?
Hi, I'm new here, but i also have a bad case of some incredible green hair algae, I bought these little discs of algae killer that will be here today, I can use them and if they work I can recommend them to you if that helps
 

gray_matter16

Unless you only have a little algae here and there, you really shouldn't pick up more animals to solve an algae problem. That would just be adding to the bioload which may or may not be a contributing factor. So I wouldn't advise more snails, shrimp, plecos, etc. If you want to fix algae, you should target the source- which is a balance of light, co2, and nutrients. There are a ton of different variations of those three things that will work. Some beautifully planted tanks have super high tech (co2 injection, expensive lights, fertilize every day), and other beautifully planted tanks have super low tech like a walstad tank (no co2 injection, basic light, no extra fertilization).

So you just need to figure out what your tank's balance is/what you're willing to do or not do. Lighting duration is a good start. 13 hours is high. Dropping it between 8-10 is a good start. At one point when my tank wasn't heavily planted yet, my lights were only on for 6hrs a day- since, with my tank's balance of co2, lights, and nutrients, any longer would start to produce algae. Also 0/0/0 isn't necessarily good for the plants. Your plants do need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You don't want a lot, but you probably want some to know that your plants are getting the nutrients they need. Unhealthy plants suffer from algae almost exclusively over healthy plants.

If light is the issue, you don't have to do anything else than decrease the duration. The algae won't have as much energy to survive and thrive so they will just die away.
 

N13

Unless you only have a little algae here and there, you really shouldn't pick up more animals to solve an algae problem. That would just be adding to the bioload which may or may not be a contributing factor. So I wouldn't advise more snails, shrimp, plecos, etc. If you want to fix algae, you should target the source- which is a balance of light, co2, and nutrients. There are a ton of different variations of those three things that will work. Some beautifully planted tanks have super high tech (co2 injection, expensive lights, fertilize every day), and other beautifully planted tanks have super low tech like a walstad tank (no co2 injection, basic light, no extra fertilization).

So you just need to figure out what your tank's balance is/what you're willing to do or not do. Lighting duration is a good start. 13 hours is high. Dropping it between 8-10 is a good start. At one point when my tank wasn't heavily planted yet, my lights were only on for 6hrs a day- since, with my tank's balance of co2, lights, and nutrients, any longer would start to produce algae. Also 0/0/0 isn't necessarily good for the plants. Your plants do need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You don't want a lot, but you probably want some to know that your plants are getting the nutrients they need. Unhealthy plants suffer from algae almost exclusively over healthy plants.

If light is the issue, you don't have to do anything else than decrease the duration. The algae won't have as much energy to survive and thrive so they will just die away.
Thanks, I cant afford a co2 system right now, but how can I increase the nitrates to the level my plants need?
 

gray_matter16

Thanks, I cant afford a co2 system right now, but how can I increase the nitrates to the level my plants need?
I would start with one thing at a time. That way you're attempting to change only one variable at a time. Try the light decrease first. Give it a couple weeks to see if algae is still an issue.

Then if that doesn't work (keep lights between 8-10 hours still, this is just a good rule of thumb), you can add nutrients via liquid or dry fertilizers. Depending on the type of plants, if they prefer their nutrients from their roots (like a crypt for example) a dry fertilizer. Or if the plant prefers their nutrients through their leaves (like most stem plants) a liquid fert.
 

N13

I would start with one thing at a time. That way you're attempting to change only one variable at a time. Try the light decrease first. Give it a couple weeks to see if algae is still an issue.

Then if that doesn't work (keep lights between 8-10 hours still, this is just a good rule of thumb), you can add nutrients via liquid or dry fertilizers. Depending on the type of plants, if they prefer their nutrients from their roots (like a crypt for example) a dry fertilizer. Or if the plant prefers their nutrients through their leaves (like most stem plants) a liquid fert.
Alright, wouldn't liquid fertilizers make algae grow? Last time I did it it took a couple days for the algae to bloom, the plants are feeding in the water column.
 

gray_matter16

Alright, wouldn't liquid fertilizers make algae grow? Last time I did it it took a couple days for the algae to bloom, the plants are feeding in the water column.
Possibly, yes. But again it's all a balancing act. It's not as simple as fertilizer = algae. There's your lighting, the co2, AND the nutrients. There's a decent amount of other considerations in addition to those, but those are the big 3 in my experience.

And we change small at a time to hopefully prevent that. If you have only a few plants, then you probably don't need to dose the full instructed amount. If you have a very densely planted tank, you might need to add more than the instructed amount in order to get the necessary amount that your plants will consume.

I can speak to my vallisneria tank as an example. It's heavily planted. Not only with vals, but with emersed pothos which are notorious nitrate suckers. I dose the full instructed amount of Thrive+ liquid fertilizer for the 75 gallons once every 5 days. This schedule keeps my nitrates between 5 and 10, and my phosphate between 0.5 and 1. But the nitrate/phosphate level also are impacted by fish/shrimp/snail waste and plant decay. I learned this balance over months of testing and changing. I was doing every other day at one point, but that seemed to create a lot of algae. I was dosing once every 7 days, but that seemed to not make my plants grow as healthy and my params were very low.

Alls that to say, in my experience, find the balance of your specific set up. It'll take time to find it. And you may have to trim off algae-ridden plant leaves in the process. But it's better to find the root cause (pun intended) than to spend a bunch of money on band-aid fixes throughout the tank's life.
 

samz

What if you add some algae eaters to your tank? You can control the algae with some lighting and other conditions that talk in the most important comments here, also try to some algae eater fish into your aquarium. I guess that will be a good solution as well.
 

EricGolembeski

I have a 45-50 gallon hexagon aquarium. It has been up and running for about 2.5-3 months now. Fully cycled and i have 5 corys and a pleco. Along with 5 rasbora an angel and a red parrot cichlid. I missed water changed for 2 weeks and this matted brown algae/sludge formed within the gravel. Any ideas how to fix this. here are some pics. My gravel vacuum would not pull it out of the gravel because it is connected to multiple pieces of gravel and suction is not strong enough. I just performed roughly a 40% water change.
 

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