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Old 02-20-2004, 01:24 AM   #1
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algae maybe? I don't know what it is...

I'm not sure if this description will come out very well... or doesn't ramble too much (I'm a bit tired but hopefully making sense).

I seem to have this brownish stuff on the walls of my tank. It takes a lot of hard scrubbing to remove (I use a damp paper towel, which may not be the best thing to use...) BTW the tank is acrylic . The odd part is that it seems to have settled on what looks like a spray pattern. Like paint splattered on the wall, or water hit the side of the tank going down. It's only on the front of the tank where the water may have hit or splattered while pouring it in when performing a water change. I don't know if I somehow scratched the tank and something settled in... And I'm having a hard time figuring out what it is. But then I'm not quick on the uptake either.

It sorta looks like flourite dust or something. Or hard water deposits with something brown on them? It kinda looks like that's what happened. It does seem to get whitish after scrubbing, but maybe it's the lighting in the room... ?

I'm thinking this manifested after I got lazy and started doing biweekly water changes, or it's just a coincidence. The tank has been running approx 1 year. Although brown stuff has gone on a month or two.

I also seem to have some thread algae as well. (The otos take care of the diatoms above the gravel line). I suppose maybe the thread algae is in existence because I may have od'd on the fertilizer? (I add flourish for the java fern, maybe 6 drops per water change, which might be a little high maybe, and pieces of flourish tabs near the roots of the crypts and sword when they start to suffer).

It's an eclipse system 12 (so about a watt/gallon).

I have an amazon sword, a few crypts, a chunk of java fern, and a small amount of water sprite floating around.

AP test kit params:
Ammonia:0
Nitrite:0
NitrAtes: 0ppm (I just did a water change yesterday. It will usually get no higher than 10.)
GH: 10 deg
KH: 5 deg
PH: 7.8
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Old 02-21-2004, 01:40 AM   #2
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Here are some primers on algae that helped me. But I have no clue unless its a diatom... Have you checked your phosphate levels? You want them around .5 to 1ppm according to Rex and other experts... Good luck
http://www.plantgeek.net/article_viewer.php?id=9
http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_algae.htm
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Old 02-21-2004, 10:58 AM   #3
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Actually I don't have a phosphate test kit. But I need to order some stuff online...

Thanks for the links.

I've attached a photo. I feel pretty stupid. (yes that's one chewed up plant leaf too.)
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Old 02-22-2004, 09:54 PM   #4
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After looking at your pH, I can say that Black Brush Algae likes a high alkaline like pH 7.8. A DIY CO2 might help bring down your pH to a decent pH 7.0 and, since its a small tank, at not much cost. And your plants will really benefit! You could purchase a Hagen ladder for like $6.00 and you can use a 2 liter 7-Up plastic bottle with some airline tubing with CCs recipe:
"On 2 liter soda bottles, I use 6 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and yeast. They last almost 4 weeks".

You'll see a tremendous difference with some CO2 in your tank. There are alot of posts on DIY CO2 if you search around this forum. Or Seachem's Excell is a great alternative solution for CO2 on your size tank and so easy and inexpensive to use too.

Also, IMO, you need to get up to 2 to 2.5 watts per gallon on the lighting. Check out AH Supply on the web. They are terrific. You'll see alot of progress if you get your light up. Check out Rex's FAQ for sure. Good luck.
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:33 PM   #5
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Do the otos clean the inside of the tank walls? I have found that algae eaters will actually scratch the surface of an acrylic tank, and your picture reminds me of this. It would provide a very slightly textured surface for any algae (diatoms included) to settle and be difficult to get out, whereas it might simply wipe off of a completely smooth surface.

Just a thought.

For the thread algae you might indeed have some phosphate if your nitrate is so low already. It is likely present in the tap water, so test that once you get your test kit. There are products to add to the filter to remove phosphate.
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Old 02-26-2004, 05:05 PM   #6
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Yes. the otos do clean the inside of the tank walls. I never thought they could scratch them!

I'm not quite sure what to do about the algae at this point. I guess I will get the phosphate kit and try the excel for a while and go from there. I actually bought excel a while back, although I don't remember why I bought it or why I decided not to use it. I should really write these things down in a log.

If I upgrade the lighting (if it fits under the hood) I'll end up w/a 36W light and have to inject CO2, I guess as it would be 3WPG (tho according to Rex's FAQ the rule breaks down on tanks under 20G, so I'm not sure where I stand with this). I'd like to skip the CO2.

Thanks for your replies guys!
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Old 02-26-2004, 10:45 PM   #7
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If you are able to grow plants like you are and don't want to add more complicated maintenance tasks then I would not upgrade your lighting, because when you do that you have to walk this very fine line of light vs. nutrients, and it can be tricky and time consuming to keep algae at bay. (not that I would know anything about that... )

If you are not happy with the plants you are able to grow and want more from this tank, then you could get a Hagen CO2 unit that is relatively inexpensive and low-profile, and is great in a small tank like that, to go with upgraded lighting.
Also, I have the same tank and the sword is going to have a difficult time growing in there. Crypts and java fern, as well as the water sprite, should do just fine. I have good luck with aponogeton as a low-light plant, as well, which is tall and leafy and would be similar in form to the sword. In fact, my tank has the same plants as you except for the swords. The only thing I do is put root tabs in for the crypts and that is it. No algae, even though I do have phosphate in my tap water. I do have algae issues from time to time in my other higher light tanks. I would start with increasing water changes to remove excess nutrients and shortening the light cycle a bit, just to keep it simple.

Good luck, and post back with what you decide to do, and if it worked or not.
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Old 03-05-2004, 12:47 AM   #8
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Drat lost another post. Grrr!

I didn't realize you had responded. Thanks! It is good to hear about your experience. I was driving myself crazy. Even considering swapping out the substrate for dirt and gravel (cuz dirt provides co2... ). But then I started thinking about what would happen if I moved plants around. And then it was all downhill from there and got lost in the dirt, peat, sand, eco-complete, co2, kh buffering, CEC, biogenic decalcification *@$#@$#@!

Unless I can find a creative workable way to get 2 WPG, I will keep the lighting the same.

As for the light cycle, the timer is set to 10 hours, but there's an hour or so of indirect sunlight from the window before the timer comes on. I like to see my fishies at night, but perhaps I should temporarily change it.

I think there are aponogeton bulbs at walmart, so that's good! I could use some taller plants. I guess I'll try to salvage the sword for now as I have nowhere else to put it...

And I will go back to my weekly water changing schedule.

Hopefully it will all clear up!

If not, thanks for the recommendation of CO2 unit!
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Old 03-05-2004, 09:23 AM   #9
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I think you will be happy for the time being with what you have, and unless you have a lot of experience I would not fool with soil substrate and that kind of thing. One day you might want to set up a killer planted tank with high light and high-tech substrate and all, but the cans of worms there are too numerous to mention, so you gotta be ready. I have been exactly where you are, and slowly, slowly over time as I learn more I add to my system and change this or that over. It is easy to get ahead of yourself with everything available. Especially in a small tank like this it is best to follow the K.I.S.S. principle, keep it simple, silly! Good luck!

BTW, if your timer can do it, you can set it to turn on for 4 hours in the morning, off for a couple hours midday (or whenever the sun is hitting the tank) and then turn back on at night when you want to see the fish. The plants can tolerate the schedule but often algae does not. Worked for me while I was getting my CO2 system tweaked.
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:53 AM   #10
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<<keep it simple, silly>>

Ay, you know that's not easy as it sounds.

Hmm. The room is light enough that it actually doesn't need any artificial light till near sunset even with the blinds mostly closed. But I don't think the sun actually would shine directly on the tank unless I were to open the blinds. Although I like that idea. I could try to shut off the light for a few hours in the middle of the day so I have it light the tank later on in the nite. Plus if it helps with algae, Why not! That's a cool idea! Thanks!
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