Why do I keep getting black beard algae

Nikn

I have a 180l plannted tank with 2 angelfish, 5 columbian teras, 3 bristelnose plecos, 1 gourami and a pair of appistogrma. I had a black beard algae problem a couple of weeks back and I used hydrogen peroxide to get rid of most of it. Now they are coming back and I don't know why? Is there a nutrient imbalance or is something lacking from the tank. There is very little flow in the thank could that be the reason why?
 

ruud

Algae issues:
- not enough plants
- not enough water flow
- light too long, too strong
- specific nutrient(s) are missing or too much overall
 

Nikn

I have 5 amazon swords and a couple of anubius in the tank. the flow is almost non-existent as the filter moves the water around very slowly. I have my light on for about 6h a day and I feed 1-2 a day. I do a 50-60% water change every week or two
 

ruud

so very little plant biomass (compared to surface area); not a lot of flow; and your lights ...I would actually increase to 8 hrs to make optimal use of plant photosynthesis, but perhaps less intenste; I have no idea what the current intensity is; a picture would help...

it also helps to have plants that have similar light demands or provide conditions where there is enough shades for plants such as Anubias

you refer to nutrient imbalance; given the current plant biomass, your livestock, and your 50% waterchange every week or two, I assume you don't release any plant nutrients?
 

Nikn

what do you mean by releasing plant nutrients?
Here is a photo of the tank, it doesn't seems like a small bio mass but I would not be opposed to adding more plants. I had ludwigia super red but it never seemed to thrive, the bottom leaves would often die and only the top few would look good.

I don't know the intensity of the light, I bought it together with the tank years ago.

Do you recommend adding more plants? Will adding more plants help with the algae problem (they will definitely take more nutrients and the lighting levels can stay the same but the algae wont grow?)

My tank currently isn't very well designed (in fact it isn't designed at all. I wouldn't be opposed to adding more plants I have a lot of "dead zones in the tank".

I know I'm moving houses this summer, and I'm taking the tank with me but this will mean breaking it down and transporting it to another place. I will set it up again, because I want to keep the fish, but this time I will re designed it and make it look like an sought American style tank +anubius and a blue gourami.
 

ruud

Everything is relative of course; I can imagine you consider this a planted tank. But in my book it is only very modestly planted. The plants do look gorgeous though; I have the impression they have been planted in your tank fairly recently.

Your plants seem to get all all the nutrients they require from your water changes and fish poo. So I question whether it is related to nutritional imbalance. In fact, I think your fish produce a surplus and this is food for your algae.

Less livestock and/or more plants and much better water flow. Now I'm sure not all fish, like those angels, appreciate water flow; here too, more plants can help to break the flow. And so does the use of a spraybar.

In the meantime, increase the frequency of water changes till you have less livestock and/or more plants. Floating plants can really help consume nutrients fast; so do emersed plants (pothos is an often used example).
 

GlennO

The light looks plenty bright enough for swords. What does your nitrate level usually run at? You may need to add some macro nutrients and/or root tabs to get them growing better and competing better with the BBA.
 

ryanr

Hi, BBA is typically related to unstable CO2 levels.
Have a search in this forum, plenty of threads relating to BBA, both causes, and how to treat.
 

Redshark1

I beat this algae by having wall to wall plants and fewer fish. This way I believe the plants soak up all the nutrients, which are removed when they are pruned. Algae cannot compete.
 

Nikn

Everything is relative of course; I can imagine you consider this a planted tank. But in my book it is only very modestly planted. The plants do look gorgeous though; I have the impression they have been planted in your tank fairly recently.

Your plants seem to get all all the nutrients they require from your water changes and fish poo. So I question whether it is related to nutritional imbalance. In fact, I think your fish produce a surplus and this is food for your algae.

Less livestock and/or more plants and much better water flow. Now I'm sure not all fish, like those angels, appreciate water flow; here too, more plants can help to break the flow. And so does the use of a spraybar.

In the meantime, increase the frequency of water changes till you have less livestock and/or more plants. Floating plants can really help consume nutrients fast; so do emersed plants (pothos is an often used example).
I understand that the tank doesn't appear heavily planted, but because it was set up so quickly (I moved the fish with me from another country and wanted to get them out of the buckets as soon as possible). The tank has been set for more than a year now but most of the plants have been in there for about 9 months (except the 2 big swords) the other 4 are actually runners form the big one in the background. I would like to add more plants but I don't want the tank to look too crowded. I could try and create a jungle style tank, by adding more plants.

In terms of water flow, should I add a power head or?

Thank you for your feedback, I assumed it might have been the the PO4 levels
 

ruud

As long as plants look healthy, I would not recommend adding more nutrients. If you'd like to stimulate plant growth, you would need to know your lights, your CO2 and your nutrients. If you don't know what is needed AND your plants look healthy, I would leave it as it is and simply add more plants. Once you have more plants, and, for instance, the leaves of certain plants start to become yellow-ish, then it might be time to dose additional nutrients. Not necessarily all ingredients, considering the plenty of fish you currently have. So in sum, add more plants and in the meantime increase water change frequency to remove my assumed surplus of maconutrients.

A powerhead; not sure if your angels will appreciate it. Im a big fan of spraybars to create more even flow. Alternatively, you could add an additional filter to create better flow as well, without creating a strong flow in one area. I prefer canisters as they are much less visible than waht you currently have, and can you direct water movement any way you like. Not all canisters are big machines with heavy tubing. A small canister filter (~10 watt) sitting next of your tank would be something to consider. And even the small ones come with integrated heaters; a bit less efficient than internal heaters, but provided plenty of wattage, it gets the job done.
 

Nikn

As long as plants look healthy, I would not recommend adding more nutrients. If you'd like to stimulate plant growth, you would need to know your lights, your CO2 and your nutrients. If you don't know what is needed AND your plants look healthy, I would leave it as it is and simply add more plants. Once you have more plants, and, for instance, the leaves of certain plants start to become yellow-ish, then it might be time to dose additional nutrients. Not necessarily all ingredients, considering the plenty of fish you currently have. So in sum, add more plants and in the meantime increase water change frequency to remove my assumed surplus of maconutrients.

A powerhead; not sure if your angels will appreciate it. Im a big fan of spraybars to create more even flow. Alternatively, you could add an additional filter to create better flow as well, without creating a strong flow in one area. I prefer canisters as they are much less visible than waht you currently have, and can you direct water movement any way you like. Not all canisters are big machines with heavy tubing. A small canister filter (~10 watt) sitting next of your tank would be something to consider. And even the small ones come with integrated heaters; a bit less efficient than internal heaters, but provided plenty of wattage, it gets the job done.
I prefer canister as well, but because of an accident that was not my fault (my family member who was supposed to take care of the tank for a week somehow detached the return pipe and the water was being emptied on the floor) we agreed that I will use an internal filter. I agree with you a 100% internal and hang on the back are better, but its wasn't possible for me at this time.

I think I figured out the root of the problem. The anubius was at direct light, and compared to the one shadowed by amazon swords got overwhelmed with BBA. I will add more plants to the tank to help with that.
 

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