Finding It Difficult To Control Algae

Bj259

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I have a 105 litre (27 gallon) tank containing plattys, Cory’s, angels and 2 bristle nose.
Had no problems with the tank at all except for the last 6 weeks I’ve had algae on the pebbles and fake plants! I’m cleaning the pebbles every other day and do a 20% water change every week. Two weeks ago I did a big water change, probably about 80% and it didn’t work. All the levels in my tank are perfect. The algae seems never ending. I’ve attached a photo of what it looks like when it’s been cleaned and photos of the algae. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

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CaptainAquatics

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Bj259 said:
I have a 105 litre (27 gallon) tank containing plattys, Cory’s, angels and 2 bristle nose.
Had no problems with the tank at all except for the last 6 weeks I’ve had algae on the pebbles and fake plants! I’m cleaning the pebbles every other day and do a 20% water change every week. Two weeks ago I did a big water change, probably about 80% and it didn’t work. All the levels in my tank are perfect. The algae seems never ending. I’ve attached a photo of what it looks like when it’s been cleaned and photos of the algae. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Get some ottocinclus. They will take care of that in a week. They complete rid my tank of algae in two days. They are fragile but should be fine with your other fish.
 

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Just remember Oto's need to be supplemented with veggies and algae wafers once the algae is gone and prefer tanks that are well planted with live plants. Nerite's do a good job too!
 

kallililly1973

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Getting a cleaning crew is a good start but at the same time it’s good to find out why it happened in the first place. Lights on too long.. should do about 8 hours. Live plants will help out compete the algae by taking nutrients from the water plant moderately to heavily . Good water flow can help so the algae doesn’t have any dead spots to rest and reproduce.. just a couple thoughts to start with
 
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Bj259

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Thanks guys, my tank was completely planted. No fake plants at all but the algae got so bad I took them out as the plants were covered! I’ll look into getting the fish you recommended and once I’m all clear I’m hoping to get the tank planted again.
 

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Algae is a product of two thing's, ... To much light AND to much nutrient's in the water.

This WILL Temporarily solve the problem until you find the balance of those two thing's

1). Cut down on the amount of food given per feeding. This is causing the high nutrient level's.
2). Reduce your light to 6 hour's a day or less if you have a naturally lighted room with lot's of window's or the tank is near one.
3). Add living plant that are known to consume high levels of Nitrate's and Potassium. They out-compete the Algae and starves it.
4). Double your water changes to rid the tank of nitrogen.

There are quite a few Youtube video's on the subject of getting rid of algae. Try watching a few of them from the usual big fish Youtube people and it will all fall into place.

The biggest mistake made by fish keeper's is they are only concentrating on keeping the fish alive and is wrong way to look at it. Don't worry about any of your fish unless their some specialty fish known to be problematic. The key is to keep the tank alive, if you do that, ... Naturally the fish will be healthy because of that.

Regards
Bill
 
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Bj259

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Thanks for your advice.

the lights are on a 6 hour timer and the tank isn’t in direct sunlight.
I feed the fish once a day, every other day.
I’ll look into plants, any you can recommend that will do the job?
 

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Captianaquatics,

Actually Oto's are tough little bugger's once established. The problem is you have to get them established.

The reason they have a high death rate is they stave to death before they have a chance.

This is how it happens:

Most Oto's are wild caught and need algae to feed.

Caught = No Food
Sent to shipper to be re-bagged = No Food
Sent to destination country Custom's = No Food
Sent to Importer and re bagged = No Food
Sent to LFS who has clean his tank's = No Food
Sold to you and you have a clean tank = No Food
DEAD FISH

Since they are wild caught they will not eat anything except natural algae so prepared food's are useless. The only way to bring them in with a high success rate is to set up a tank 2 month ahead of time for the Diatom Algae to grow or to get an Algae bloom going for them to go right into. It is ALSO important to only pick fish with the biggest bellies, if they are sunken in, ... it's already a dead fish it just hasn't stopped swimming yet, ... but it will die.

They are one fish that can have a dirty tank within reason with constant CLEAN WATER In my tanks with Oto's, I never clean any surfaces, Only gravel vac and water changes.

Regards
Bill

Bj259 said:
Thanks for your advice.

the lights are on a 6 hour timer and the tank isn't in direct sunlight.
I feed the fish once a day, every other day.
I’ll look into plants, any you can recommend that will do the job?
Cut the light to 4-5 hr's per day or 6 hrs every other day. The fish don't need the light only plant's do.

Pathos or Sweet Potato's work best. There is a lot of information is on Youtube regarding both plant's. I use them both myself and have no issues with Algae at all.

If your having Algae and your light is on for 6 hrs a day and your feeding every other day your getting nutrients from somewhere else. What substrate are you using and what decorations are inside the tank?

Regards
Bill
 

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Too much nutrients is a myth in a planted tank, within reason. I'm willing to bet your water changes aren't enough. What is your "perfect" level of nitrates? When your nutrients are out of balance, that is when algae strikes. Usually when you're missing an important nutrient so the plant stops uptake and algae takes advantage. Now you have no plants, so the issue is likely much worse.

Lighting every other day may help, but I doubt it. You likely need to do a few large water changes back to back, get your nitrates and phosphates down, then add plants back.

Conversely, you can just do a blackout and buy stock in excel and dose it every other day. It's better and cheaper to figure out exactly what's going on though.
 
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Bj259

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BillCNC said:
Cut the light to 4-5 hr's per day or 6 hrs every other day. The fish don't need the light only plant's do.

Pathos or Sweet Potato's work best. There is a lot of information is on Youtube regarding both plant's. I use them both myself and have no issues with Algae at all.

If your having Algae and your light is on for 6 hrs a day and your feeding every other day your getting nutrients from somewhere else. What substrate are you using and what decorations are inside the tank?

Regards
Bill
I’ve used aquarium gravel, I have a selection of caves and fake plants. My tank was fully planted but the algae got too bad and overtook the real plants

Wraithen said:
Too much nutrients is a myth in a planted tank, within reason. I'm willing to bet your water changes aren't enough. What is your "perfect" level of nitrates? When your nutrients are out of balance, that is when algae strikes. Usually when you're missing an important nutrient so the plant stops uptake and algae takes advantage. Now you have no plants, so the issue is likely much worse.

Lighting every other day may help, but I doubt it. You likely need to do a few large water changes back to back, get your nitrates and phosphates down, then add plants back.

Conversely, you can just do a blackout and buy stock in excel and dose it every other day. It's better and cheaper to figure out exactly what's going on though.
Just done a water test:

No3: 0
No2: 0
GH: 14
Hardness: 125
KH:6
PH: 7.6
Cl2:0
 

BillCNC

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Some gravel and some pottery/caves might be leaching nutrient's into the water. Are these specifically made aquarium's or is this stuff you gathered up yourself?

I have a 75 gal with Tiles on the bottom. The tile has a extremely high level's of silica in them resulting in a tank that has a Diatom Algae growth like never seen before. Instead I chose to keep it and clean the glass and tile's off and filtering the water change to recover the Diatom Algae and I dry it out on cookie sheet's. I then scrape it up and use it to mix into my Repashy fish food. I took the problem and benefited from it.

regards
Bill

NO3 at 0

How long ago was your last water change?

Regards
Bill
 

BillCNC

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Hmmm, After 2 day's you shouldn't be at 0 with no plant's unless you were way overfiltered and even still... To grow plan't well, you need a steady 20ppm.

What's the stocking?

Regards
Bill
 
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Bj259

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BillCNC said:
Hmmm, After 2 day's you shouldn't be at 0 with no plant's unless you were way overfiltered and even still... To grow plan't well, you need a steady 20ppm.

What's the stocking?

Regards
Bill
3 adult plattys 1 baby platty, 2 angel, 3 Cory’s, 2 bristle nose
 

Wraithen

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Your nitrate test is wrong. Likely a #2 bottle precipitated and wasn't shaken enough. The only other way would be if you had a stout anaerobic bacteria colony.
 

angelcraze

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I agree, water changes! More water changed out. Doing one large water change won't fix it. Get into a routine of removing more water at a time. I would aI'm for at least double like already suggested 40% each week.

Just curious, is there any odor to the algae? Like a odor that you don't recognize? Algae smells like dirt or plant matter.

How long after cleaning does the algae reappear? Does it take over quickly?
 

BillCNC

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Got me stumped. You should't be having algae or even live plant's unless you were dosing with fertilizer's and since you have fake plant's that can be ruled out.

Try hitting the Youtube videos on what is causing the issue because with that stocking your easily within limit's even with the 2 plecos.

I have a 29 gal. that has 8, 3" Cory's, 3 breeding pair's of Stripped Panchax and a breeding pair of Bristlenose in there and my No-3 is at 20PPM and I have a hard time with growing plant's in that tank let alone a speck of Algae.

One more question, ... How mamy watt's are your light's, how many K's and LED's or not?

Regards
Bill
 
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Bj259

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angelcraze said:
I agree, water changes! More water changed out. Doing one large water change won't fix it. Get into a routine of removing more water at a time. I would aI'm for at least double like already suggested 40% each week.

Just curious, is there any odor to the algae? Like a odor that you don't recognize? Algae smells like dirt or plant matter.

How long after cleaning does the algae reappear? Does it take over quickly?
It does smell like dirt, the day after a water change the tank still looks clean so it starts to get bad on the second day after a clean. By day 3 it’s all over the gravel again.

BillCNC said:
Got me stumped. You should't be having algae or even live plant's unless you were dosing with fertilizer's and since you have fake plant's that can be ruled out.

Try hitting the Youtube videos on what is causing the issue because with that stocking your easily within limit's even with the 2 plecos.

I have a 29 gal. that has 8, 3" Cory's, 3 breeding pair's of Stripped Panchax and a breeding pair of Bristlenose in there and my No-3 is at 20PPM and I have a hard time with growing plant's in that tank let alone a speck of Algae.

One more question, ... How mamy watt's are your light's, how many K's and LED's or not?

Regards
Bill
It’s very frustrating because I have no idea why it’s happening!

The light is 16 watt LED.

Could it be possible that because I used to have plants that algae was still present when they were removed and has continued to grow and now has taken over?
 

angelcraze

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Bj259 said:
It does smell like dirt, the day after a water change the tank still looks clean so it starts to get bad on the second day after a clean. By day 3 it’s all over the gravel again.
Ok, just ruling out cyanobacteria. Typically it's blue green, but can be other colors. It's kind of gelatinous. But when you remove it from the tank there is a distinct spicy odor that almost burns your nose. Idk, hard to expain, but ites noticeable. It's good it's not cyano!

But yeah, I do 50-75% water changes in all my community tanks. I change 80-90% out of growout tanks because excess nutrients build up fast. Some floating plants like water lettuce or emersed plants growing out the tank would help suck up some leaving little for algae.
 
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Bj259

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angelcraze said:
Ok, just ruling out cyanobacteria. Typically it's blue green, but can be other colors. It's kind of gelatinous. But when you remove it from the tank there is a distinct spicy odor that almost burns your nose. Idk, hard to expain, but ites noticeable. It's good it's not cyano!

But yeah, I do 50-75% water changes in all my community tanks. I change 80-90% out of growout tanks because excess nutrients build up fast. Some floating plants like water lettuce or emersed plants growing out the tank would help suck up some leaving little for algae.
How often would you recommend doing 80-90% water change?
 

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If your using Blue LED's, ... Find a way to turn them off, THEY DO grow Algae, just ask anyone that uses blue night lighting for their tank. 16w shouldn't be an issue, but then again I have one 10 gal. tank that has an 8w Current Satellite LED that does grow some Algae on the surface leaves of my Pennywort. It's not an issue as my Oto's climb right on it.

Perhaps a week long test of putting a piece of paper of notebook paper or two to defuse the light a little so it's not so strong is in order.

Regards
Bill

The only good thing about Cyano is that once you smell the Cyano, ... You will never forget that smell, ... ever. You will be able to tell if it's starting and you can fend it off pretty easily at that point.

Regards
Bill

Just keep in mind, Doing anything over a 50 % water change get's risky. The more change, the more the risk.

The water chemistry might be to much of a change all at once. I have changed out 100% of water in a day, but it was through 3 water changes in 24 hours. One change about every 6 hour's. This gives them time to acclimate to the difference in PH, KH and GH. There are some fish that are sensitive enough and would croak on a 40% water change.

Regards
Bill
 

angelcraze

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Bj259 said:
How often would you recommend doing 80-90% water change?
That's not necessary unless you have a tank full of baby BN plecos. Just saying I'm not shy about changing water, and as much needs to be changed out in each situation. In yours, I would do at least 40%. 50% would not be harmful either....
 
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Dennis57 said:
HI either a Siamese algae eater and or a few Nerite Snails and your tank will be spotless in a few days. I wish I bought them years ago.
How will my angelfish get on with the snails? I’ve heard they tend to nip or even eat snails
 

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BillCNC said:
Just keep in mind, Doing anything over a 50 % water change get's risky. The more change, the more the risk.

The water chemistry might be to much of a change all at once. I have changed out 100% of water in a day, but it was through 3 water changes in 24 hours. One change about every 6 hour's. This gives them time to acclimate to the difference in PH, KH and GH. There are some fish that are sensitive enough and would croak on a 40% water change.

Regards
Bill
True. But if you're diligent about keeping a frequent water change schedule, with changing that much water, parameters should stay very close.

Every tank is different though. And if the tap params are different than the tank's, a large WC like I mentioned could be detrimental especially when first starting, it's true. But for the average tank without tannins/blackwater or coral substrate, it should stay constant enough. And 40%-50% is a good goal for you IMO. But I don't suggest anything I don't do! You could even do two 25-30% water changes a week.

I struggle to keep tannins in my 120g. But the only reason I do 75% weekly WCs is to keep nitrates at 10ppm. Just saying it really helps keep algae away in my tanks.

Bj259 said:
How will my angelfish get on with the snails? I’ve heard they tend to nip or even eat snails
What type of snail? Do you have full grown angelfish?
 

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When I had an angel, it never bothered my nerites on the least. Stock won't solve your problem though.
 
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Bj259

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I’ve had the angels for over 4 months and was thinking of Nerite Snails
 

angelcraze

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None of my angels ever bothered with nerites. The only time I saw them eating snails, it was ramshorn snails dropped in a tank with adult angels that never saw them before.

OP Bj259 Did you shake nitrate bottle#2 for 30 sec before adding? And then shake the test tube for one minute?

It's important to shake well. The drops from bottle#2 should be crystallized or like little air bubbles. Then you wait 5 minutes and take your result because it could get darker with more time.

To take your result, natural lighting is best. But bright daylight bulbs work too, like in a bathroom or kitchen. Hold the test tube next to the nitrate color chart, but in the white section. Have the card in behind the light so the test solution is kind of lit up.

Pls try it a second time and let us know

Regardless, there are other "nutrients" besides nitrate that can encourage algae growth. Water changes are never a bad idea.
 
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Bj259

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angelcraze said:
OP Bj259 Did you shake nitrate bottle#2 for 30 sec before adding? And then shake the test tube for one minute?

It's important to shake well. The drops from bottle#2 should be crystallized or like little air bubbles. Then you wait 5 minutes and take your result because it could get darker with more time.

To take your result, natural lighting is best. But bright daylight bulbs work too, like in a bathroom or kitchen. Hold the test tube next to the nitrate color chart, but in the white section. Have the card in behind the light so the test solution is kind of lit up.

Pls try it a second time and let us know

Regardless, there are other "nutrients" besides nitrate that can encourage algae growth. Water changes are never a bad idea.
No3 is now at 25 after leaving it to develop for 5 mins.
 

angelcraze

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That sounds more like it It's still not that bad. But if your 20% WC was a couple days ago, I have a feeling without plants to consume nitrate, it would build up if you continued with 20% WCs. The large 80% WC flushed them down low like a reset.

Anyway, like I said, there's more than nitrate that causes algae. And my fish always seem to really appreciate all the fresh water.

But my advice is to diffuse the light as suggested earlier, get some water lettuce floating on top, start with 40% regular water changes or two 25% WCs a week (your preference).

Oh and one more option. A siesta or split photoperiod. It would still grow your water lettuce. Ex. Light on for 2-3 hours, off for two hours, on for 4 more.

Without plants, I would still split the photoperiod 3-2 or more-3. And I'd definitely add something to diffuse the light.
 
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Bj259

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angelcraze said:
That sounds more like it It's still not that bad. But if your 20% WC was a couple days ago, I have a feeling without plants to consume nitrate, it would build up if you continued with 20% WCs. The large 80% WC flushed them down low like a reset.

Anyway, like I said, there's more than nitrate that causes algae. And my fish always seem to really appreciate all the fresh water.

But my advice is to diffuse the light as suggested earlier, get some water lettuce floating on top, start with 40% regular water changes or two 25% WCs a week (your preference).
Thanks for your advice, I’ll start with the water changes and I’ll invest in some water lettuce
 

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It's probably more than 25.

If you have doing the test wrong and not shaking the bottle every time, your test will always be wrong from that bottle. The solution separated and now the solution ratio's are incorrect. Think of it as if you mixed 50/50 oil and water. Unless shaken every time you pour some out, you'll be way short on oil in no time.

Probably getting a new test solution would be the best thing to do and from this point on, make sure the direction's are followed to the "T", lesson learned. Lord know's Iv'e been guilty of this more time's than Id' like to admit.

Regards
Bill
 

Wraithen

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BillCNC said:
It's probably more than 25.

If you have doing the test wrong and not shaking the bottle every time, your test will always be wrong from that bottle. The solution separated and now the solution ratio's are incorrect. Think of it as if you mixed 50/50 oil and water. Unless shaken every time you pour some out, you'll be way short on oil in no time.

Probably getting a new test solution would be the best thing to do and from this point on, make sure the direction's are followed to the "T", lesson learned. Lord know's Iv'e been guilty of this more time's than Id' like to admit.

Regards
Bill
While that's true, the error would go to the high side, not the low side.
 

angelcraze

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Bj259 said:
Thanks for your advice, I’ll start with the water changes and I’ll invest in some water lettuce
With it being pond season, it's usually more available. It may be banned in some locations due to its invasive nature though. Other floating plants are salvinia natans, Amazon frogbit, Giant duckweed (because the reg variety is too hard to control).

Also you can use pothos clippings and grow them out the tank or filter. Or you can also grow Dracaena BrauniI (lucky bamboo) this way with leaves above the water line. They won't help shade like floating plants will, but they would use up the excess nutrients before algae can get at them, essentially starving it out. Again light diffusers (even colored ones like light blue or pink) help a lot if there's no live plants in tank to grow.
 

hedgiemom

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BillCNC said:
Algae is a product of two thing's, ... To much light AND to much nutrient's in the water.

This WILL Temporarily solve the problem until you find the balance of those two thing's

1). Cut down on the amount of food given per feeding. This is causing the high nutrient level's.
2). Reduce your light to 6 hour's a day or less if you have a naturally lighted room with lot's of window's or the tank is near one.
3). Add living plant that are known to consume high levels of Nitrate's and Potassium. They out-compete the Algae and starves it.
4). Double your water changes to rid the tank of nitrogen.

There are quite a few Youtube video's on the subject of getting rid of algae. Try watching a few of them from the usual big fish Youtube people and it will all fall into place.

The biggest mistake made by fish keeper's is they are only concentrating on keeping the fish alive and is wrong way to look at it. Don't worry about any of your fish unless their some specialty fish known to be problematic. The key is to keep the tank alive, if you do that, ... Naturally the fish will be healthy because of that.

Regards
Bill
 

hedgiemom

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What specific plants to your recommend for good for using high levels Nitrate's and Potassium?
 
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Bj259

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HI guys, just wanted to update you on my progress.

I invested in some top floating plants and I bought 3 ottos (they are brilliant) I’ve been algae free for over 3 weeks now and my tank is back to normal again (phew)

So thank you for the advice it’s really helped.

 

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