How To Find The Cause Of Algae Question 

RHONDA PIMENTEL

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I had similar probs in one of my tanks recently. Blue/green algae and hair algae. Tank was cycled for a year. I got a phosphate tesdt kit from Amazon for 12.50. I thought I had a phosphate problem, well I did, but it was because I had almost no phosphates in Tank! Balance was way off. I just manually removed most of the algae and did big water change, adjusted my ferts and viola! No more algae. Its just a matter of balancing act, get a test kit to see where you sit, it's worth it imo anyway.
 
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jake37

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I use the default setting for plants. This is a tall tank (24 1/2 inches). I turned off the 3 hour of 10% blue (for night viewing); which i think is when the algae started so let me give it a week. I also added a bit of thrive+ - twice what I normally added but 1/2 of what they recommend for 120 gallon. This weekend I'll replace the root tabs with a new set (i've been using flourish which recommend once every 30 days but the new set will be thrive (ngo?) - so i'll update this thread in 2 weeks to see if these changes have helped - the biggest issue is how to tell if the plants are under nurished. One of the poster said that in the image it was obvious that the plants needed more fertilizer but i don't know how to tell - or what he saw that trigged that opinion. THe weird thing is the plants are doing much better in the 29 which has only been setup for 25 days and has had almost no feritlizers or excel and very low fish load (4 very small kuhli, 2 snails and a gold ram). The 29 has one 24 inch fluval with the same settings and no algae and very fast plant growth - image (the bulbs were purchased at the same time as those in the 120 if you want to compare the ulvaceus - in the 29 they have that magical swirl and in the 120 they are small leaves with holes - i think the holes might be from the clown loaches) - i normally don't change the water in the 29 (well 5% to 10% once a week - to vacuum the surface of the sand) but this morning i did a 50% change because the gold ram is unhappy (too many bloodworms yesterday ?)
 

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jake37

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Turns out i had a seachem phosphate kit. In the 29 i get around 1 and in the 120 (the one with the alage) I'm getting close to 2.5 - does that mean too much fertilizer ?
 

Nick72

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tjander said:
IRT Seachem Excel as a CO2 source. I found this on there website
FAQ: Is Flourish Excel a replacement for CO2 in a planted aquarium? – Seachem Laboratories

It’s sort of is a substitute but as the article reads. It’s only 60-70% effective as CO2.
If you take this at face value, then yes.

I know many, including myself, don't. Seachem are pushing a lot of pseudo scientific claims for Excel.

They claim it contains photosynthetic intermediates (which would still require CO2 no matter that Seachem claim otherwise) and later they pull back and say the chemicals in Excel are 'quite similar' to photosynthetic intermediates'.

I wouldn't replace the C02 in my pressurized system with a gas 'Quite similar' and expect the same results.

Putting the science to one side - there is plenty of evidence on this board and others that CO2 injection is the way to go.
 
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jake37

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CO-2 injection might be the way to go but right now I'm not sure I want to spend $300+ for a decent system - it isn't just about the money - it is also lack of understanding why I'm having the issue (i.e, throwing money at a problem without understanding the problem). Also when I read up on these injection system most of them seem to be a headache - that doesn't mean there isn't a good one out there but I don't know where they are - anyway I'd like to first identify the current issue and why the 29 is doing well and the 120 is falling apart. I did mention above that the phosphate in teh 120 seems pretty high relative to the 29 so maybe that is the problem - but then why is it that high and how to lower it (I'm doing 50% water change a week - 2 30 gallon changes) and i'm not really prepared to do more than 30 gallon per change for a lot of reasons (one of which is that it takes 2 hours just to pump the water in and out and each time and i have to pay attention to avoid spillage making it a bit tedious). Yes i envision a future tank with water connections below the tank and a trickle system to change the water - but that is tomorrow - today this is what i have and it isn't something i can change until i move.

Nick72 said:
If you take this at face value, then yes.

I know many, including myself, don't. Seachem are pushing a lot of pseudo scientific claims for Excel.

They claim it contains photosynthetic intermediates (which would still require CO2 no matter that Seachem claim otherwise) and later they pull back and say the chemicals in Excel are 'quite similar' to photosynthetic intermediates'.

I wouldn't replace the C02 in my pressurized system with a gas 'Quite similar' and expect the same results.

Putting the science to one side - there is plenty of evidence on this board and others that CO2 injection is the way to go.
 

Nick72

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Vishaquatics

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@Nick72 is COMPLETELY correct. This is a lighting and CO2 imbalance entirely. Too much light and not enough CO2 being injected. Reduce the light significantly or start CO2 injection. I’ve written a member article on algae and how to battle it properly without the use of algaecides. Please take a look at it to understand you why you need CO2 injection

Just a side note too: excel is not a CO2 substitute in any shape or form. It’s a biocide. It’s quite diluted, but that’s why sensitive organisms like algae will die if it is used in high enough doses consistently. Pressurized CO2 is irreplaceable in the planted aquarium. There is no product I’ve found that will substitute the effects of CO2 even up to 10%.
 
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jake37

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Is there a cheap reliable non-diy method of adding co2. Most of the system i see on places like amazon have horrible reviews. Also does ThriveC serve as a CO2 subsitute as they suggest on their website ?

Vishaquatics said:
@Nick72 is COMPLETELY correct. This is a lighting and CO2 imbalance entirely. Too much light and not enough CO2 being injected. Reduce the light significantly or start CO2 injection. I’ve written a member article on algae and how to battle it properly without the use of algaecides. Please take a look at it to understand you why you need CO2 injection

Just a side note too: excel is not a CO2 substitute in any shape or form. It’s a biocide. It’s quite diluted, but that’s why sensitive organisms like algae will die if it is used in high enough doses consistently. Pressurized CO2 is irreplaceable in the planted aquarium. There is no product I’ve found that will substitute the effects of CO2 even up to 10%.
 

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IMO, a DYI CO2 system is not a good idea, mostly due to the lack of control of the gas. Too much CO2 and you kill your tank, too little and your doing no good.

I personally have been in aquatics for 20 years and have never done CO2. That is not to say I have not wanted to nor do I think that my tanks would not benefit from it.
I just don’t have time to setup the system and monitor it as required. To me It adds a new level of complexity to the hobby. I therefore have elected a low tech setup no CO2. A lot of aquatic plants do not need CO2, chose the right plant for your setup.

IMO to tell someone who is having an algae problem the only way to solve it is with CO2 injection is putting that person’s aquatic life at risk. CO2 injection is not for beginners, and a lot of research is required before going down that path.

I stand by the fact based on personal experience that Excel when used as directed can and will aid your aquatic plants. Also Algae problems can more then likely be traced back to over feeding, poor tank maintenance, over stocking, too much light, wrong type of light, tank placement ( direct sunlight )
 
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jake37

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Well I change the water and the tank is not near the sun so that's two down. I might be overstocked - not sure - the clowns are in the 2.5 to 3.5 inch range and I think as long as they stay small I'm ok. I might be over-feeding. I've been feeding three times a day because the angels were small - they are now nearing adult size and i should cut down to once or twice a day - it is really hard to tell if i am over/under feeding. The food all gets eaten and quickly but that isn't a great indicator. I sort of feel like if the cardinals come to the top to feed i'm under feeding and if they wait for the food to drop i'm ok or a bit over. The sterbai are good at getting into the floating plants and sniffing out food that get trapped in the plant jungle (left side which has no algae). That jungle at the top probably also helps control light. I'll wait a week with the correction i've already taken and then see what happens. I would do co2 if i had to but prefer not to.
 

tjander

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I feed my fish once a day every other day. You do know that clowns will get much larger 5-6 inches. Angles will more then likely go after cardinals at some point.
I am sorry I realize stocking is not your main concern, I just wanted to point it out.
You might want to go lights out for a few days to see if that helps the algae issue.
I had problems early on, after I got eliminated the algae, I started off with lights on for 3 hours and increased the time they are on by 30 minutes a week until I found a good balance of lights on to algae growth or lack of it better put.
 
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jake37

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The clowns will be moved to a larger tank in 20 months; i don't think the angels will eat the cardinals as long as they are large (these were regular size cardinals but are approaching jumbo size as they age). I've never had angels go after cardinals but yes it is a concern as these angels are getting much larger than the last breeding pair i had (in the 1990's). Part of the reason i purchased the angels as small is i've heard if they are raised with cardinals they are less likely to treat them as snack.
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So to answer your question yes i've considered the issue of the clowns and the angels and I've hoped I have them addressed. In a rush I could move the cardinals to a 29 until i can rehome them in 20 months.

tjander said:
I feed my fish once a day every other day. You do know that clowns will get much larger 5-6 inches. Angles will more then likely go after cardinals at some point.
I am sorry I realize stocking is not your main concern, I just wanted to point it out.
You might want to go lights out for a few days to see if that helps the algae issue.
I had problems early on, after I got eliminated the algae, I started off with lights on for 3 hours and increased the time they are on by 30 minutes a week until I found a good balance of lights on to algae growth or lack of it better put.
 

Chanyi

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In summary for controlling algae:

Use Excel / Glute at the "after water change" rate or equivalent every single day. Excel has nothing to do with being a CO2 replacement, or a CO2 source (in any significance). It is a decent algaecide and also breaks down protein film on plant leaves allowing them better access to ambient CO2 levels naturally occurring within the water.

Clean the filter and substrate during every water change, or every other water change. Decaying organic material trapped in the filter and substrate are buffets for algae spores. Prune or remove all sick plant tissue, dead plant tissue or stunted plant tissue.

Fertilize. Plants require 16 essential nutrients, they need all of these to SURVIVE. They need all of these in a balanced and consistent manner to THRIVE. Healthy plants are key in reducing algae, and staying on top of algae.

Thrive, PPS-Pro and E.I. are dosing regimes to research into.

CO2 is a huge limiting factor in plant growth. The higher the lighting (PAR) the more CO2 is needed to satisfy plant growth. Without their CO2 needs filled, they suffer and algae takes advantage.

Plant growth is the same as a car engine. Light is the throttle, CO2 is the air, and nutrients are the fuel. If you floor it (high lighting), your engine (plants) needs more air (CO2) and fuel (nutrients) to accelerate (grow). I hope that makes sense.

Lighting. Run 5 hours a day max if you are having algae issues. Slowly over the course of a few months, ramp it back up some only when you are ahead of the algae.

Water changes are essential in removing old organic material, dissolved solids etc. etc. Minimum 50% weekly to keep things clean. I can't stress it enough, uber clean tanks are less likely to succumb to algae. And throw some effort into manually removing as much as possible whenever you can.

Spot treat with Excel / Glute / H2O2 once a day if you so wish.

Add all of these strategies together, and you should have no worries.

In your case, drop the lights down or invest in a CO2 system and follow what I've summarized here.
 
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jake37

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Is there any negative to using a phostate remover in my canister filter ?

Chanyi said:
In summary for controlling algae:

Use Excel / Glute at the "after water change" rate or equivalent every single day. Excel has nothing to do with being a CO2 replacement, or a CO2 source (in any significance). It is a decent algaecide and also breaks down protein film on plant leaves allowing them better access to ambient CO2 levels naturally occurring within the water.

Clean the filter and substrate during every water change, or every other water change. Decaying organic material trapped in the filter and substrate are buffets for algae spores. Prune or remove all sick plant tissue, dead plant tissue or stunted plant tissue.

Fertilize. Plants require 16 essential nutrients, they need all of these to SURVIVE. They need all of these in a balanced and consistent manner to THRIVE. Healthy plants are key in reducing algae, and staying on top of algae.

Thrive, PPS-Pro and E.I. are dosing regimes to research into.

CO2 is a huge limiting factor in plant growth. The higher the lighting (PAR) the more CO2 is needed to satisfy plant growth. Without their CO2 needs filled, they suffer and algae takes advantage.

Plant growth is the same as a car engine. Light is the throttle, CO2 is the air, and nutrients are the fuel. If you floor it (high lighting), your engine (plants) needs more air (CO2) and fuel (nutrients) to accelerate (grow). I hope that makes sense.

Lighting. Run 5 hours a day max if you are having algae issues. Slowly over the course of a few months, ramp it back up some only when you are ahead of the algae.

Water changes are essential in removing old organic material, dissolved solids etc. etc. Minimum 50% weekly to keep things clean. I can't stress it enough, uber clean tanks are less likely to succumb to algae. And throw some effort into manually removing as much as possible whenever you can.

Spot treat with Excel / Glute / H2O2 once a day if you so wish.

Add all of these strategies together, and you should have no worries.

In your case, drop the lights down or invest in a CO2 system and follow what I've summarized here.
 

MileyMorkie

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If the water is tinted with algae particles, has build up on the glass (this includes a clear-ish slime-like coat on the walls) or anything really just turn the lights off for several weeks or months. Use a glass scrub or your fingers to remove the algae, clean your filter once every <recommended times on manual> and do 30% water changes once every week, other week or 10 days or something. If you don't want to buy shrimp or more fish to fix it. Algae doesn't like flowing water, try using some aeration. Thrive+ and Flourish Excel doesn't JUST boost your plant growth it also encourages algae too.
 
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jake37

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There is not a lot of algae on the glass or in the water; just on the stem plants. I already do TWO 25% water changes a week (pail is 30 gallon - tank is 120 gallon).
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Is there any harm of negative to the plants/fish to do use a phostate remover in the filter ?

MileyMorkie said:
If the water is tinted with algae particles, has build up on the glass (this includes a clear-ish slime-like coat on the walls) or anything really just turn the lights off for several weeks or months. Use a glass scrub or your fingers to remove the algae, clean your filter once every <recommended times on manual> and do 30% water changes once every week, other week or 10 days or something. If you don't want to buy shrimp or more fish to fix it. Algae doesn't like flowing water, try using some aeration. Thrive+ and Flourish Excel doesn't JUST boost your plant growth it also encourages algae too.
 

MileyMorkie

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jake37 said:
There is not a lot of algae on the glass or in the water; just on the stem plants. I already do TWO 25% water changes a week (pail is 30 gallon - tank is 120 gallon).
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Is there any harm of negative to the plants/fish to do use a phostate remover in the filter ?
No there shouldn't be any issues but phosphor/phosphate is caused by overfeeding or excess food in the water (it's that foul stench and murk in the water you'll sometimes notice). Check the ingredients and look up if that branding, targeted tank size dosage, or ingredient can harm each species of fish. Since you've got ottos, you may loose them since they are not captive bred and not built to deal with some chemicals or medications. I'd look it up though just to be sure.
 
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jake37

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Confused. It is phosguard by Sachem - my understanding is water flow through it (in the filter) and it absorbs phostate - it doesn't actually add a chemical to the water.
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there is no foul smell or scum on the surface of the tank. The nitrate run around 15-25 ppm and the tds is 140. It is hard for me to tell if i am over-feeding - i do feed a lot but all the food is usually gone in 30 to 90 seconds (well most of it - some of the flakes escape but the cory and zebra loach seem to walk through the floating plants collecting missed food.

MileyMorkie said:
No there shouldn't be any issues but phosphor/phosphate is caused by overfeeding or excess food in the water (it's that foul stench and murk in the water you'll sometimes notice). Check the ingredients and look up if that branding, targeted tank size dosage, or ingredient can harm each species of fish. Since you've got ottos, you may loose them since they are not captive bred and not built to deal with some chemicals or medications. I'd look it up though just to be sure.
 

MileyMorkie

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jake37 said:
Confused. It is phosguard by Sachem - my understanding is water flow through it (in the filter) and it absorbs phostate - it doesn't actually add a chemical to the water.
Yeah it adds chemicals for sure, also double check those instructions because some products say to remove the internal stuff from your filter. I've never used Phosguard or any phosphate/phosphor remover product but I do know the precautions that come with these things are mandatory/required.

Edit: Nitrite is the good things because it's the BB. Nitrate is the stuff that is good for terrestrial plants but not good for aquariums.
 
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