Need help controlling algae

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Flare4123, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Flare4123New MemberMember

    Hey all, so I have a planted tank and had a massive outbreak of algae growth all over the glass, driftwood, and plants so after researching and reading around here I found out what my problem was:
    I recently purchased a LED grow light that is meant for greenhouses for my tank trying to upgrade the previous light fixture for better plant growth. But what I did not know was that it uses blue spectrum lighting which apparently encourages alage growth, causing this outbreak all over my tank.

    Now my question is, is there a way to control the alage without having to get a new light fixture?
    I like the lights as I have had AMAZING plant growth while using it (I propogated some rotala and they grew almost 2-4 inches in a couple days!! Pretty soon I'll have to trim them again lol).

    I do use injected co2, and also dose with plant food/supplements. My lights are also on a timer which keeps them on for around 12 hours a day. I also have tons of ghost shrimp in the tank but I doubt they can keep up with the algae growth since they also have plenty of dead plant matter to eat. ( They probably are in heaven right now with the feast they have to eat xD)

    I have read that increasing the co2 dosing could help control the outbreak by increasing it to just under the point the fish would start suffocating but since I don't measure co2 and I keep the system always on at a rate of about 1 bubble every 2-4s I'm afraid that I would wake up to all my fish bottoms up x.x

    I have also thought about getting an algae eater but with my current stock I only have enough room for 2-3 more fish max. ( 20g Long)
    Also since the algae eaters are bottom dwelling they would not eat the algae off the glass right? Also worried the shrimp or the algae eater might bother one another.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
  2. FallenOwl

    FallenOwlWell Known MemberMember

    From what I have read, ghost shrimp don't do much for algae, I would cut back on the amount of hours the light stays on. Also, what kind of algea is it? I wouldn't rely on algea eaters to fix your algea problems, but Amano shrimp and otocinclus seem to do a good job at cleaning some of it for you. Otocinclus and Amano shrimp clean algae off everything, and don't eat your plants. If you plan on getting otocinclus, you should get as many as your tank will allow. What fish do you already have in the tank?
  3. OP

    Flare4123New MemberMember

    I think its either green dust or green spot algae, I also had a tiny little bit of hair algae on some anarcharis but since I moved it over to my molly tank they picked it clean lol

    Hmm, none of my lfs have amanos but they do have otos.
    I currently have 9 head and tail light tetras , 8 diamond tetras, 1 dwarf gourami and lots of ghost shrimp. Originally stocked around 30 or so (with somw berried) but who knows how many there are now lol

    I will definitely cut back on lighting, I'm planning on 8-10hrs depending

  4. FallenOwl

    FallenOwlWell Known MemberMember

    I would get 5+ Otocinclus, they like to be in groups :)

  5. OP

    Flare4123New MemberMember

    Hmmm I have a couple concerns about the otos
    Would the shrimp and otos be compatible? I'm not too worried about the tetras bothering them since they like to stay near the surface.
    Do otos eat the algae off the glass?

    and would the otos have enough floor space? There isn't a whole lot of open areas since the tank is heavily planted along with a huge driftwood piece taking up a majority of floor area.
    I don't know if otos require some open space to swim freely or they'd be fine hiding inbetween all the plants.
  6. superbutterfly12Well Known MemberMember

    Otos will go for algae on the glass. They are pretty strictly vegetarian so shoould be fine with shrimp. They are also really small so at worst might eat baby shrimp butcany fish will.
  7. superbutterfly12Well Known MemberMember

    The ones at my lfs don't sem to do much open swimming they skim along the glass and the decor mostly. I dont actaully have any yet so I can't say how they behave once they are settled in and less crowded.
  8. PaulieWoz

    PaulieWozValued MemberMember

    I don't think that otos will touch green spot algae. They might attempt to, but if it's stuck on good then they won't be able to get it off. They prefer softer algae like diatoms.

    I would definitely cut back on the amount of hours you have your light on. In my experience the sweet spot is between 6-8 hours.

    You just have to find the balance between the lighting, co2 and fertilizer.

    What fertilizers are you dosing?
  9. PaulieWoz

    PaulieWozValued MemberMember

    And otos are one of the most peaceful fish I've ever seen. They like to be in groups, they don't need a lot of swimming space as they are pretty small and they usually stick to driftwood and plants anyway. When there is small school of them they'll occasionally chase each other around along the glass. It's pretty funny.
  10. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    How it works is the more light there is the faster plants grow and the plants demand more fertilizers and CO2.

    So you increased light but did you also increase co2? You can't increase light without increasing the other two; CO2 and fertilizers or you get an algae outbreak. All 3 of these need to be in balance. You also need to cut way back on how long the lights are on; 6-8 hours is plenty. I would cut back to 6 hours right now. Or you need to raise the lights up.

    Green Spot is a sign of too much light. You can use a plastic card to scrape it off the glass during a water change.
  11. OP

    Flare4123New MemberMember

    Hmm I had just left everything as is without really bothering the rest too much.
    I did bump the co2 dosing up yesterday since I created a system that gives me 45 gallons give or take some, essentially doubling my water volume.

    Oh wow I didn't know about trying to keep the balance in check, that would explain alot! Now I know what to do in the future!

    I have the lights sitting about 4-5 inches above the tank since the tank is on a utility shelf and I attached the light onto the underside of the shelf above it.

    Would cutting the light cycle down to 6 hours mess with the day/night cycle of the fish? or would it not really affect them? The tank is not near a window so it receives little to no ambient light.

    Using Aqueon Plant Food as my fert. would I just dose more than is reccomended on the bottle since I increased my light? How much more should I dose?

    Glad to hear that the otos would be easy to incorporate into my tank, I will look more into getting some of them.

    The algae is still relatively new so I don't think it would be stuck on very hard. Hopefully the otos will eat it haha xP
  12. fishfanmanValued MemberMember

    What's your phosphate reading. Controlling that will help minimize algae growth also.
  13. PaulieWoz

    PaulieWozValued MemberMember

    After looking at the guaranteed analysis of that fertilizer it looks like it's only micros, I don't know why they advertise is as both macros and micros.

    This will not be sufficient since you are running a high light with co2. You should add nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium or your plants are going to suffer deficiency's and algae will completely take over.

    For the beginning i would suggest you try the Seachem line of fertilizers. They have flourish and aquavitro. This comes out expensive, so eventually you can move onto dosing dry ferts. Check out this website  .
  14. OP

    Flare4123New MemberMember

    Hmm okay, I'll see what I can get for additional ferts. Are those the main 3 nutrients I need? First time with a high-tech planted tank so I'm not sure what else I may be missing.

    This hobby is so addicting haha, when you want to upgrade 1 thing you end up upgrading everything xD

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