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Thread: Algae, plant, and light problems
04-07-2013, 06:47 PM #1
Algae, plant, and light problems
Here is my situation. My thirty gallon tank currently has a brochis splendens, a bolivian ram, 5 black neon tetras, and 1 clown pleco. It is planted with wisteria, anubias, java moss, and crypt wendtii. I have a good weekly water change schedule of about 40-50%, and has good filtration. I run an airstone at night. Now, about algae. I have had an algae problem for awhile. I would run my t8 lights from 6 am to 9pm, because that is what my daily schedule was. At first, it was just brown algae, and I had no trouble getting it off the glass, but it was just plentiful and annoying. I am not dosing anything except occasional root tabs. I know it is really hard to keep a thriving planted tank with the low lights I have at the moment, and that it what I am finding out. More on that at the end of the thread.
Then, once I propagated my anubias and moved its leaves closer to the light, the leaves not only started to die off, but also developed black beard algae and I think green dust algae. It is mostly if not 100% my fault for the leaf die off, because I don't think I left enough roots on the rhizome in proportion to the number of leaves that section of the rhizome had. I also started to develop a bit of cyano bacteria, but it has never spread and taken over the tank, which I have happen in the past in my ten gallon which isn't so densely planted. The black beard algae spread to the upper part of my driftwood, but has never spread to the lower reaches to the tank, just the higher parts.
So I cut back on the lighting. I try to never let natural light in, and turn my lights off as soon as I get home, so now the lights are on from about 6 am to 6 pm. I am seeing a noticeable difference, especially in the brown algae on the glass of the tank. I am also pretty sure my black beard algae has disappeared. But I still have some cyano bacteria, green dust algae on a lot of the plants, and some brown algae on the glass. I also forgot to mention that the brown algae is probably from a little silica sandbox I introduced awhile back for my cory and ram. The brown algae isn't too much of a priority in that case.
As for my plants: the anubias near the light is almost dead. Much of my wisteria goes through a quick life cycle in the low light, growing and dying, and I remove the dead plants as soon as I can. But the wisteria always grows back, and so I have a steady, sustained wisteria population. Though much of it is covered in green dust algae, others may have a bit of cyano, depending where the wisteria group is located in the tank. I have never observed cyano to cause a massive die off in a wisteria group, just in individual leaves that I cut off and eventually grow back.
Now, about the crypts. since I got them last December, They have been growing slowly and strong, which is what I expected them to do. They are planted in 2 groups of 2: 1 by the driftwood, the second by some rocks. The one by the driftwood has had cyano for awhile, but again not enough to overwhelm it, and so the leaves have stayed dark green (not from the cyano) for a long time. That group seemed to also benefit a lot from the new lighting schedule, with less cyano appearing on its leaves.
The group by the rocks has been a lighter shade of green, with no cyano to speak of. However, the cyano has recently spread slowly to a group of wisteria between the two crypt groups. I have only seen individual die offs of leaves there. But I went on an overnight trip awhile back, telling someone I trust to turn off the lights around 6 and turn them on when he gets up. Also told him not to open the window. I returned and he said all went well, and the tanks looked it. But: the group of crypts by the rocks was decimated. a couple measly leaves remained. My theory is that the cyano was being outcompeted for nutrients, especially with the new lighting schedule. Its population was receding. So, once it spotted a weak plant (hence the lighter green color), it jumped on its chance and killed the plants: keine gnade! They were unable to fight back because they were low in nutrients, hence the lighter green color. Once the dastardly deed was fulfilled, the cyano receded. Is this theory valid?
My plan is to upgrade the lighting to T5 and buy a timer to go with, to dose ferts at the same time and to add more fish. But I must get this algae problem under control, and I must ask: will I have the same trouble with algae if I upgrade? Will the lighting make my problem worse, not solve it? And what do you suggest I do to get this problem under control?
04-07-2013, 06:54 PM #2
OK, you don't dose ferts and you have the lights on for a very, very long time. I'm not surprised you get algae. Try 4.5 hours in the morning when you rise and another 5 hours in the evening when you're home.
Quite a few of these algae are linked to poor flow as well but that would require a decent tank shot to determnine.
Green spot on the window is often related to low phosphor.
Your tank seems to be unbalanced, there's a lot not quite right and fixing all that will take time
04-07-2013, 07:02 PM #3
Of course it's unbalanced! lol I want help balancing it, that's why I posted the thread. I won't have the lights on for as long then, it's good to know that I should be doing even less. As for the flow, I assume you mean the current? I have 2 HOBs and they make the plants' leaves flutter on the lowest reaches of the tank.
I agree it will take time to balance. If lighting is the first step, then it willl be done. WHat do you think about upgradiing the lighting then and dosing ferts? Will it help, or worsen the problem?
04-07-2013, 07:17 PM #4
04-07-2013, 10:41 PM #5
This was awhile back, but nothing has changed in the scape since then. Thanks for the help!
04-08-2013, 05:16 AM #6
Yes, there's definite room for improvement there. I'm assuming there's nothing beneath the gravel? OK... I can't determine how bad the cyanobacter is from this. I do know crypts don't take changes in water values well, they lose leaf if anything changes.
My advice for now
1. start dosing ferts, don't max out but a normal and regular dosage. If your bottle comes with a weekly recommendation try to divide that over the week
2. Do get your lighting in order, 2 periods of 4.5-5 hours each day with a 90-120 minute siesta at least.
3. remove that dracena/lucky dragon, it's not an aquatic.
4. Try to get a rythem in your water changes, if possible twice a week half instead of a big one once a week. While changing syphon and wipe away what algae you can.
Stick to this for the next 2-3 weeks and see what happens.
04-08-2013, 01:11 PM #7
Sounds reasonable and wise, I'll try mybbest to follow it. It might be awhile until i can get a timer (a week or so), and it might be tough to fit 2 per week water changes to my schedule, but it can be done. I'll see what happens after 3 weeks! I'll probably post an uodate in my journal or something. Thanks for the help!
04-17-2013, 03:11 AM #8
Update! PLease reply. My algae is now nonexistent, I got 6 otos and the lighting schedule has worked a ton. I now have the funds to get this light http://www.petsolutions.com/C/Aquari...FQnznAodjgwA4Q
Should I pull the trigger and get it? Does ayone have personal experience with the aqueon brand of T5, or does it really matter? Does it need any kind of adapter to plug in? I am leaning toward aqueon because I have an aqueon tank, and it looks like the lighting fixture will just fit right in on the hood I have now. It's 24". Thanks!
04-17-2013, 03:38 AM #9
You shouldn't need to upgrade the lights with the anubias and java moss. I'm not sure about the other two plants, if you can float any of them at the top they will grow like crazy!
Even if you did upgrade the lights you wont see much more growth than your getting now. If you add ferts you wont get much more growth either. You can settle for slow growth or you could try adding the one thing thats missing. Co2! plants need it, algae doesn't. You should buy a bottle of flourish Excel or look into a DIY Co2 setup. You will get slightly faster growth with less chance of algae building up on it. It also kills BBA.
Either way you have gotten the algae under control and that's the main problem, congrats!
I have a couple tanks loaded to the brim with java ferns and java moss and I don't do much of anything. They have t8 plant grow bulbs and a timer is on 12 hours a day, with no algae at all. I change the water every few weeks or so.
Last edited by openbook; 04-17-2013 at 03:43 AM.
04-17-2013, 03:55 AM #10
Thanks for the input. Question: how much CO2 does my fish produce? Enough to balance out ferts and lighting? Probably not, but how much? I have 9 glowlights and 9 black neons, 1 bolivian, 6 otos, 1 clown pleco.
The other plants are Wisteria and cryptocoryne. The wisteria grows like crazy off a new shoot, but dies somewhat quickly because it doesn't have the light and nutrients it needs.