All kinds of algae

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New Member
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1 year
First off, let me apologize for the length of this post. I wanted to be as thorough as possible. I am having a problem with algae in my 5 gallon betta tank.

About 6 weeks ago, my betta passed away. I decided to upgrade his old tank to a planted tank. When he died, the tank had some algae growing in it. I gave it a good cleaning and put everything back together. I did not change the filter media, and I was feeding the cycle with pure ammonia. At the time, I was using the incandescent bulb that came with the tank. I upgraded the lighting to a screw-in compact fluorescent (10 watt, 6500k). I ordered some plants (brazilian pennywort, java moss, and a marimo moss ball). I found a new female betta, and added her to the tank.

Within 2 weeks, the moss ball turned white and fell apart. I removed it from the tank, as it had gotten messy. Then, I noticed that all the algae had returned. There is more than one kind.

First-I noticed this yellow dusty stuff on my gravel.


Then, there was this brown algae growing on the glass.


Then, this green algae in various places.


Finally-this black algae growing around the rim-


I perform 50% PWCs weekly. My light is set on a timer for 8 hours a day. The gravel is vacuumed every 2 weeks. I feed my betta 6-8 Hikari Betta Bio-Gold pellets a day (these are split into 2 feedings), so I don't think it's overfeeding. I do not use any CO2 or ferts. I checked my water parameters today-they have consistently been 0,0,5. I have hard water, and the ph is 7.8. Temp is 78 degrees. This tank has been running for over a year.

What should I do to get this to clear up? Should I add fertilizers or something like Excel? Perhaps a nerite snail? Any advice is much appreciated.


Well Known Member
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2 years
I have had issues with a 10 watt cfl over my 5 gallon. So I just added a nerite and wiped walls down and it abated. In a five gallon, one nerite will do well. Two will do fantastic, but may eat their way out of food unless the algae is kept growing.

Also, bettas like a little light, but don't need a ton of it. Often, the room light/window light is enough. I would definitely cut down the light time to maybe a few hours during dark hours and allow the room/window light to do the rest. Of course, your plants could suffer because of this... Your Java moss should do ok with less light, since you have a lot of light when it is on (2 watt per gallon). A tad bit of fert may help, but shouldn't be necessary with these plants.

Or you can jsut let the algae grow and go with the 2 Nerite Snails. Keep the algae growing and they will stay happy and keep your tank clean. Of course, they won't get every little bit and you may have to wipe tank down once every 1-2 weeks in some trouble spots, such as the black by the rim. BUt that's minimal work and can be done during water changes.
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