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Discussion Starter #1
Any help in identifying the algae in the attached pictures would be greatly appreciated.

this is in my 22 gal tank I do have two glass catfish (?) and a silver tip pleco in this tank, the tank was already established with fish for a couple months before I added the plantsn and it was very green for about 2 months and the plants were regenerating nicely. Then some of them started looking like this and at first I just trimmed all the parts that were covers, then it just exploded!

I do a 75% water change every 2 weeks as my platys breed in this tank and the fish really like it very clean. I treat it with Plant Gro liquid fertilizer every week (10 ml) as per the instructions and I have checked the lighting and it is more than substantial for the amount of plants I have, well as per the directions on the box... This is my first planted tank and I am just going off the directions on the packaging and what I have been told by the employees in store when I got them...

Also, I guess there were some snail eggs on the plants and now the tank is, well, infested, and I was told at the aquatic store that the best thing I can do is just continually scoop them out, this I do every night... While it is relaxing for me and a great way to end the night it would also be nice to just be able to watch them... Haha

any advice would be great, again this is my first planted tank, please be gentle :)

DSC_0524.jpg DSC_0521.jpg DSC_0518.jpg DSC_0515.jpg
 

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The pic of the algae on the driftwood looks like Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae
gross stuff and annoying as hell.

Can i ask how many watts your light is, also how long is your light on per day.

Planted tanks are fun but they are a good challenge and great learning experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is a lifeglo 20 watt T8, it's on for about 10 hours a day. Also after I turn it off the sunlight does shine through my window in to the tank.
I was thinking of just taking out the driftwood and scrubbing it down and then putting it back into the tank, my pleco enjoys munching on it.

thanks
 

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Did you read all the stickies? The first pic looks like cyano. The other three, not so much. If it is cyano, you can treat it with erythromycin. It's what is in marycin 1. Not marycin two though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I read all the stickies... I found that link on how to treat it, but it's a little difficult when I don't know which is which... I thought the algae on the driftwood looked like the blue-green algae, but I really want to be sure before I go getting stuff to put in this tank...

I am normally not good with plants because I don't water them so I figured if the plants are submerged I should be okay with all the other maintenance steps, but now I am a little scared I am killing these plants too... Call it over cautious hahaha

Did you read all the stickies? The first pic looks like cyano. The other three, not so much. If it is cyano, you can treat it with erythromycin. It's what is in marycin 1. Not marycin two though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay so I will only have the curtains open for half the day instead of the whole day, see how that does.

But ummm... I gotta ask a dumb question... What is BBA?

It's not your aquarium light but the sunlight that's causing you problems. Way too much. I agree with the BGA (Cyanobacteria on the first pic), but I think the others are BBA.
 

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If i may add to what the other members here said, decrease the lighting period you use to about 7-8 hours a day and don't let so much sunlight hit the aquarium this feeds the algae you have.Evaluate the fertilizer your using for your plants and see if all the the proper ingredients are there for the species you have.Ease up or skip any feedings(one or twice a week ain't bad) food not eaten or excess of causes water issues and adds more fuel for your algae to grow.Run a few water tests to see where your sitting at (PH,Ammonia,Nitrite,Nitrate,GH,KH etc) these will tell a lot about whats going on in there.You may also consider adding a few more plants, they all compete for the nutrients, leaves little behind for algae to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Okay so if I feed the fish 2 times a day, and have the light on for 10 hours... I should first cut down the feedings and the amount of time my light is on? I have already blocked the sun out. I will cut down the feedings to once a day and not so much and get my light on a timer for 8 hours... I do have those sinking tablets for my catfish and pleco, should I do those only once every 2 days?


Wow, everything I was told at the aquatic shop I went to is a little backwards, I suppose that is partially because they want to make a profit...


thanks everyone! <3 appreciate it!
 

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Sinking tablets for your bottom feeders is alright, they don't need to have them every day so skipping out a day or two wont hurt them.What i forgot to mention in my other post was, when your comfortable with your planted setup, try to introduce a form of Co2 which is a must for any success in keeping plants alive and healthy.Root tabs are another option for feeding plants if ain't happy with the ferts your using now(This of course depends on the species you have growing). I don't recall the bulb/unit your using now for your plants, but you may wanna look into acquiring one for plant growth, or investing in a lighting fixture suitable for your use.Classifieds or sponsors here on BCA are a start, many options to be had.

Okay so if I feed the fish 2 times a day, and have the light on for 10 hours... I should first cut down the feedings and the amount of time my light is on? I have already blocked the sun out. I will cut down the feedings to once a day and not so much and get my light on a timer for 8 hours... I do have those sinking tablets for my catfish and pleco, should I do those only once every 2 days?

Wow, everything I was told at the aquatic shop I went to is a little backwards, I suppose that is partially because they want to make a profit...

thanks everyone! <3 appreciate it!
 

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Hi Kit,

Before you start treatment, please get a positive ID on the algae your treating. Although your pics are very clear, the only person who can postively ID your algae, would be you :) (plus it really helps to cut your learning curve).

Based on what you've wrote and the pics, I agree with the others about the blue green algae (cyanobacteria) on your driftwood, but I believe the next 3 pics are brown algae (diatoms).

I'm glad you liked my posted link to Rex Grigg's algae treatment chart, but here's a more in-depth explanation on algae: Algae in the planted aquarium

A quick perspective: Algae is your aquarium's coping mechanism to deal with imbalance and is ultimately beneficial for your fish. It's a friendly reminder that your plants will benefit more if you tweak your regimen a bit.

Here's the skinny:

-ID your algae. Pull out driftwood, if the algae smells kinda like sewage or a bog, it's BGA. Scrub off as much as you can. Keep your nitrate levels up and don't reduce feeding, stick to healthy regular feeds.
-Your massive water changes every 2 weeks depletes your nitrate by at least 75%. This is likely what sparked the BGA. Try to spread your water changes more evenly throughout the 2 weeks i.e. 30% a week or even 10-20% twice a week.
-BGA is truly tough to eradicate without blacking out your tank. Once established, it thrives on nitrates so it's self-inflating :(. Hopefully it hasn't spread too much. As it is a bacteria, it can spread to other tanks you have by virtually any infected media (sharing water, plants) so be wary. Hopefully keeping good nitrate levels will make it subside. Last resort is to black out tank and use Maracyn 1 coupled with beneficial bacterial colony supplement like Seachem Stability or Hagen Cycle.
- If you have a nitrate tester, keeping your nitrates above 20 ppm will ensure your plants grow well and keep BGA at bay.

-ID your brown algae (diatoms). Black beard algae is more common in high light settings and does not grow on fast growing plants like your stem plants, brown algae is common in lower light. If you can scrape or shake the algae off your plants, it's brown algae. BBA sticks like super glue :).
- Caused by low light and excessive silicates from tap water. Scrub off as much as you can. Spread out or lessen water changes. Don't reduce your lighting period in my opinion and don't worry about indirect sunlight, it's likely helping your cause. The silicates will deplete in time and this algae will die off.
- Otocinclus and shrimp love eating this algae and are wise additions to any planted tank.

Read up on Seachem Flourish Excel and decide if it's right for you. Your LFS should have this.

Hope this all helps. Looking forward to seeing more pics of this tank down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well I went down to the new petsmart, opening weekend, and talked with some of the people there.... I noticed that they did recomend the tablet fertilizer first and then it hit me!! All the algae started when I finished my tablet fertilizer that I got when I bought the tank off craigslist... So I am going to be getting some of those for my tank and then I am looking at getting a bottle of CO2... Has anyone used this before?
otherwise I am going to get one of those pressurized CO2 units...

I took out my driftwood and scrubbed it down, finally looked up my old biology notes and it definitely was BGA... The other algae I identified as BBA... It sticks like hell! And I cleaned up a bit of the access food that was left on the bottom the tank is already starting to look 'happier'!


just looking to add some shrimps and a loach or two to take care of the algae and those pesky snails!!

any suggestions on the liquid CO2 vs. Pressurized unit. And where is the best place to find shrimps and loaches? And the best breed for either...

Thanks so much everyone!! There is hope after all!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well just updating here... I have changed the feedings to once a day and the sinking pellets every other day, I also only let about 2 hours of sunlight into the room and have lowered the amount of time the tank light is on to 8 hours a day and ... drum roll please...
the algae has almost completely disappeared!!!! the tank is cleaner and brighter looking, there aren't as many of those pesky snails and the fish are even more lively!!

I will still be getting either the liquid Co2 or a full system and more of the fertilizer tablets, they seemed to help the plants grow a bit bigger...


Thank you everyone! I will post a couple of pictures as soon as it has completely cleared up!! you are all so awesome!!
 

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Just a little info, excel and metricide, etc., aren't co2. The Actuve ingredient is glutaraldehyde, a chemical used typically for biological cleanup, etc. sounds scary, but in very weak doses the plants are able to use it as a carbon source. It's not co2 though and while it's helpful, it has much less dramatic effects than co2. Co2 injection is far more effective, but if you don't want to go that direction glut is still helpful. Some plants don't like it, typically vals and some mosses. Some crypts tend to melt too. I've used it with many plants and never had issues. It's also effective for treating bba by spot dosing the glut with a syringe straight at the algae. Peroxide works well too.
 

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Just a little info, excel and metricide, etc., aren't co2.
Agreed. I don't like the popularity Excel or glute has gained as "liquid CO2" because it isn't. The carbon bound in glute is not as readily taken up by plants as the C in CO2. CO2 injection is more effective and more flexible and there are no plants which are adverse to it. One reason why glute has gained popularity is the fact it is a disinfectant which kills algae (and fish and plants as well if dosed in high enough concentrations). CO2 doesn't do that, so a lot of people think that glute is as effective as CO2 because the algae disappears. The fact that it kills algae doesn't make it grow plants better then CO2. Properly lighting applied in the right amount and time, along with CO2, and the judicious use of glute, can result in a beautiful tank that is vibrant and algae. I do have some tank that I use glute alone in but that's because the tanks are higher temperature (discus) or have rheophilic fish (plecos that are from white water environments requiring high flow). The tanks are NOT algae free, but are pretty close to it, but the plants don't grow nearly as well. But the risk to the fauna is too high for me to inject CO2. For me, it's not a cost factor, as the daily cost of CO2 is relatively low, but the risk to the fish more than anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
here are pictures after all the algae has been taken care of.

Again I would like to thank everyone who helped me clear up this problem and keep my planted tank looking great!!

<3 u all! :eek:
 

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