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Thread: What to do about Algae...
10-16-2012, 05:52 PM #1
What to do about Algae...
I am new to the hobby and have a 29 gallon freshwater tank. I started this tank August 29th. It is still trying to cycle. The question I have here is about algae. I have brown algae starting to grow on the plastic plant tops and the decorations in the tank. Should I be concerned? Anything I should do about it?
Thanks for all your help.
10-16-2012, 05:59 PM #2
What type of substate do you have? What type of lighting and how long are they on for? Is it spotty on the glass as well? What are your water parameters? Is this tank planted? Sounds like diatom algae to me.><((((º> ><((((º> ><((((º> ><((((º>
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10-16-2012, 05:59 PM #3
Questions: are you cycling with fish or without? That's a long time to be cycling no matter what method you are using.
The brown algae is probably diatoms which are common in new tanks - they are harmless and should disappear after a few months.46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
10-16-2012, 06:50 PM #4
What amount of ammonia are you feeding (if fishless)? Have you had nitrItes yet? What type of filter are you trying to cycle? Your nitrates are likely high and if lights are on for a long time, algae can grow.
10-17-2012, 12:51 AM #5
I will try to answer all your questions.
I have small and pea sized gravel as the substrate. I also have plastic plants and a couple aquarium decorations. The cycle is getting there, I hope. I have 4 neon tetras, 2 cory cats, 2 guppies and one platy in the tank. They have been doing fine.
The water tested today with API test kit: Ammonia - .75 to 1.0; Nitrite - .15; Nitrate - 35 to 40. I also use Prime and test with Seachems Free Ammonia test kit.
The Free Ammonia was at .3 at 15 mintues and the Total Ammonia was at 4.0 at 15 minutes. I dosed the tank with 1 tsp Prime today and usually every other day. I understand the Free Ammonia when using Prime should be at Zero. But my Free Ammonia is not at zero and hasn't been since 10-5-12.
I am in a tropical aquarium yahoo group where a gentleman there who is very experienced (over 50 years in the hobby) is advising me how much PWC I should do and when. Since I have fish in the tank (I know, hind sight is great, I should never have tried to cycle the tank with fish) he has been cautious to be careful of the fish and not letting the ammonia get too high. I have been doing a lot of PWC and they started out with almost 50%. Now I am down to doing 15% every 2 to 3 days.
This cycle is acting strange if you ask me. But then I am not the expert. LOL! But during these last weeks the nitrite spiked first and went down. But the ammonia never seemed to really spike like I thought it might. Now the ammonia is spiking and the Nitrite isn't and the Nitrates are climbing as well.
I should tell you my tap water has .25 ammonia in it and 25 ppm Nitrate as well. So when I do a PWC I am using water with some ammonia and Nitrate in it already.
The lights on this tank are LED with the blue moon lights. I do keep the light on all day and the moon light on at night. Maybe I should be turning off the lights at night or some during the day.
Yes there are some spots of brown algae on the glass too, but not much yet.
Hope I got all the questions answered...thanks so much for the help.
10-17-2012, 01:11 AM #6
OK, I too have been in your situation! I too did a fish cycle (with discus!) so I know what you are going through.
First and critically, your nitrite is the most dangerous waste - try and keep it as low as possible. The free ammonia reading is just too high for neons. Try and reduce but frankly, with a baseline of 0.25 ppm ammonia in your water, I don't see how you can keep readings under 0.5 ppm without twice daily near 95% water changes. Since your free ammonia is only 0.3 ppm, the filter must really be doing a good job with that waste.
For tap water with ammonia you have two options: live with it and after your filter cycles, it will quickly clear all the ammonia every time but will also increase your base nitrates even higher (not good). Or, get an algae scrubber (small uint - people sell them.) These use an air pump and will quickly clear ammonia AND nitrates.
I strongly suggest option two because your nitrates in your tap water are rather high for neons. Also, a scrubber will tend to clear phosphates and prevent algae growth if your lights are not kept on for more than 8 hours a day.
By the way, the nitrates climbing is good since it means the filter is cycling! I am sure the nitrite will fall within the week ... ok, I hope it will.
I think your cycle is approching a critical phase but you will, within two weeks (maybe this week) get the ammonia to zero and the nitrites also to zero.
Use of prime will really protect your fish but I am confused (won't be the first time) why you are reading any free ammonia? The prime should neutralize all free ammonia if you dose enough - strange. Others may have better ideas.
Last edited by Cermet; 10-17-2012 at 01:19 AM.
10-17-2012, 01:51 AM #7
Thanks, Cermet, yes I have been puzzled by the Free Ammonia reading while I use Prime too. I have a 29 gallon tank and I have put as much as 2 tsp of Prime in this tank and still get a small free ammonia reading. I have even taken pictures of my test results to show others at the yahoo group. I don't think I am reading the test wrong.
The Nitrite is the lowest of the values at this time. After a 4 to 6 gallon PWC the Nitrite is at zero. The Ammonia and Nitrate are the higher readings.
BTW the filter I have on this tank is the Penguin 200 with Power Wheel. I have one filter pad in the unit. I have not changed the pad at all and I know not to do anything with the power wheel.
Funny you mention the neons....they are doing better than any of the other fish in the tank. I was stupid and didn't know any better and had 20 fish in this tank in the first week of starting it. I am down to 9 now. I haven't lost another fish since September 27th. The neons have really grown and are as large as I have ever seen neon tetras.
Never heard of an Algae scrubber. I will have to look into that.
Hope you are right about this cycle about to happen. I didn't think it would take this long. :) It will be 7 weeks tomorrow!
Thanks for your help!