Happy plants but diatoms and green hair algae >:(

Auroraaaa

Last week I set up a 10 gallon dirted tank with rotala rotundifolia, ludwigia repens, hornwort, moneywort, cryptocoryne, and dwarf sag. It's starting to grow a lot of diatoms and green hair algae on my plant leaves (mostly on ludwigia repens). My lighting is 840 lumens, on for 10 hours a day and no ferts. The plants are growing pretty well. The algae seems to be mostly on the older leaves, Brand new leaves don't have algae. I thought it was healthy plants = no algae?? Is the algae part of the process or do I need to change something?
 

Mudminnow

When folks say healthy plants = no algae, I feel they are oversimplifying things. It is true that healthy plants are much more algae resistant than struggling plants, but this is not the whole story. Plants still create waste. They don't poop like animals do. Instead, they drop leaves. And, these old/dying/dead leaves are algae food. Furthermore, newly introduced plants usually have an adjustment period. They need to create new growth suited to their new environment. Old useless growth is left to die or melt away entirely. Therefore, this old growth also becomes algae food.

The above is compounded by the fact new tanks are still cycling and settling in. As the tank cycles, ammonia will be in the water column. Excess ammonia stresses plants, and it feeds algae like nothing else. So, how do you combat algae in a new planted tank? First, you will need to do a lot of water changes. Typically, it's recommended to do 50% every day for the first week, 50% every other day for the second week, a few 50% water changes the third week, and settle into your normal routine there after as your tank allows. Second, you will need to diligently remove any dead/dying plant growth from the aquarium.
 
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Auroraaaa

When folks say healthy plants = no algae, I feel they are oversimplifying things. It is true that healthy plants are much more algae resistant than struggling plants, but this is not the whole story. Plants still create waste. They don't poop like animals do. Instead, they drop leaves. And, these old/dying/dead leaves are algae food. Furthermore, newly introduced plants usually have an adjustment period. They need to create new growth suited to their new environment. Old useless growth is left to die or melt away entirely. Therefore, this old growth also becomes algae food.

The above is compounded by the fact new tanks are still cycling and settling in. As the tank cycles, ammonia will be in the water column. Excess ammonia stresses plants, and it feeds algae like nothing else. So, how do you combat algae in a new planted tank? First, you will need to do a lot of water changes. Typically, it's recommended to do 50% every day for the first week, 50% every other day for the second week, a few 50% water changes the third week, and settle into your normal routine there after as your tank allows. Second, you will need to diligently remove any dead/dying plant growth from the aquarium.
TYSM!!! So I don't need to change anything except for extra water changes? Should I pluck off the leaves that have algae on them? The algae should start to go away after the first month or so right?
 
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Mudminnow

So I don't need to change anything except for extra water changes? Should I pluck off the leaves that have algae on them? The algae should start to go away after the first month or so right?
Yes. Provided you have good source water (some tap water isn't so good), more water changes early on is the main thing you can do to help your tank.

Yes. Pluck off algae covered leaves, and remove as much of the algae you can when you do water changes. I find a tooth brush to be helpful.

Yes. The algae should start to go away after the first month or so. If it doesn't, don't despair. It just mean you have to find the thing that's triggering the algae and remove it.

Furthermore, just a tip, once your tank cycles, get some algae eaters. A bunch of amano shrimp can do wonders in keeping most algae to a low/invisible level.
 
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TClare

All the advice so far is good, but I believe you should also reduce the lighting to 6 hours a day at first. This what I was told in a lfs and it was correct, the algae virtually disappeared in just a few days. As the plants start to grow more and the tank becomes more established you can gradually increase the hours of light.
 
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Freshfishguy

Also you are getting into planted tanks, you should be aware that PAR is the measurement that is currently best for judging how much light you need. PAR stands for photosynthetic active radiation; it refers to the specific amount of light a plant will receive at difference distances from the light. You can find the PAR for most commercial brand lights by googling. Many even have the info in the attributes/specification details of their lights.

Low light plants: Anything from 10-30 PAR

Medium light plants: 30-50 PAR

High light plants: 50 or more.

The higher the lighting requirement for a plant, the more CO2 becomes necessary to combat nuisance algae.

Everything said so far is great advice. I’d just add that you should definitely be fertilizing. I recommend either APT Zero, NilocG Thrive C, or Aquarium Co-op Easy Green. Plants simply cannot get all of the macro and micro nutrients that they need to thrive only from fish waste. Also, planting densely really helps. The more plants you have, the more competition there is between the plants and nuisance algae.
 
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coolio3991

TYSM!!! So I don't need to change anything except for extra water changes? Should I pluck off the leaves that have algae on them? The algae should start to go away after the first month or so right?
I recommend getting shrimp or snails. I have both and they really keep everything clean. I'm loving seeing the snails and shrimp cleaning the dead plant matter up and I no longer have algea problems. Okay well I have a very small bit of hair algea. but I pluck it and remove it. But I think I over fertilized for a while. But I've lowered it since and had a lot less trouble. And my plants still grow like crazy.
 
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coolio3991

Yes. Provided you have good source water (some tap water isn't so good), more water changes early on is the main thing you can do to help your tank.

Yes. Pluck off algae covered leaves, and remove as much of the algae you can when you do water changes. I find a tooth brush to be helpful.

Yes. The algae should start to go away after the first month or so. If it doesn't, don't despair. It just mean you have to find the thing that's triggering the algae and remove it.

Furthermore, just a tip, once your tank cycles, get some algae eaters. A bunch of amano shrimp can do wonders in keeping most algae to a low/invisible level.
I dont recommend amano shrimp they wont breed in fresh water. But cherry shrimp will. And they do just fine controlling algea. my shrimp wont eat package foods the prefer natural food that's grown in the tank.
 
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