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Old 11-30-2014, 04:32 PM   #1
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Algae Growth

Been having a bit of an algae problem and need some advice. Pic of algae here:

I cleaned the entire tank including cleaning the driftwood and its back now and growing fast. I did have my light on a little too much but have since cut it back a lot. I have live plants in the tank and add flourish once a week. Was thinking of getting a pleco to help eat some of it but not sure if that will help. Water changes weekly, chemistry good. Tank population consists of 2 firemouths, 2 other cichlids, and a catfish. No sunlight gets to the tank. 55 gallon. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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In my opinion common plecos don't really tend to much algae, unless on glass..... I also think they add un necessary amount to your bio load, as there are other ways to take care of that algae. I always recomend a 4on 4off 4on light cycle. I haven't had any major algae out breaks and I start all my tanks with that cycle.

I'm not quite sure how they would get along with cichlids (I feel the cichlids will destroy them) but Siamese algae eaters are GREAT for any type of hair algae. Even black beard algae!! Also, American flag fish are really good at keeping down hair algae, but they are a killifish so I don't know how they will do with cichlids.


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Old 11-30-2014, 10:41 PM   #3
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Get a pleco if you like plecos, not to due a job. You run the risk of it not behaving the way you expect and then your stuck with it.

Algae usually happens when there is an imbalance of light, fertilizer and carbon.
You mentioned that you reduced the amount of light, but you didn't say how long the photo period is currently,
I think Flourish is meant to be dosed twice a week.
You didn't say anything about carbon. Are you dosing liquid carbon or injecting CO2?

It can take a while to figure out the right balance. Try not to get discouraged.


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Old 11-30-2014, 10:50 PM   #4
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I was thinking about getting a pleco anyways just cuz they are interesting. having one to help keep a tank clean would be a plus. I'm not dosing co2 or carbon and i was using flourish 2x a week but reduced to one due to an increase in algae. I have kids that turn the lights on all the time and i'm sure that was the main reason for the huge growth i had. I have since instructed them to leave the light alone. It's been about 3 weeks with the light on only when i'm home...about 6 hours a day. I've also taken SFAquariums advice and put my light on a timer and set to 4x4.

btw, the light is an LED, Marineland.

Thanks for the input. Hopefully the light cycle helps.
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:01 PM   #5
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So probably the lack of carbon is playing a big factor. Without carbon to work with, your plants wont really utilize the fertilizer. So the nutrients is left in the water column for the algae to make use of.
Depending on the plants you have, you can get away with using liquid carbon like Excel. This can get kind of expensive in the long term though. You can also set up a CO2 injection system if you have a mind to.
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Old 12-13-2014, 08:31 PM   #6
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light cycle isnt really improving anything so i'm going to try carbon. hopefully this works.
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:18 AM   #7
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The light cycle won't improve anything unless you scrubbed down the tank. You need to do some bigger than normal water changes, scrub the glass, and once it's clear start the new light cycle


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Old 12-14-2014, 10:22 AM   #8
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I scrubbed all the wood and rocks and glass. It took longer for it to come back but it's back. Just cleaned it again last night but didn't scrub the wood down. Glass gets bad quick. Did an 80% wc last night.


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Old 12-17-2014, 12:19 AM   #9
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Any chance you have a salt water led setup?

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Old 12-17-2014, 12:31 AM   #10
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not salt water as far as i know. I have the Marineland Double Bright LED Light. I also have a flourescent that I was using at first for the plants but the algae went crazy and its been off ever since. so now just the LED light 4 on 4 off. I would be surprised if the carbon worked, but it would be pleasantly surprising.

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Old 12-17-2014, 01:02 AM   #11
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If you're going to add a fish to help with algae, I suggest a couple Siamese Algae Easters, make sure they are true SAEs and not flying foxes.

Plecos eat less and less algae as they get older.

Also, you could look into getting a UV sterilizer.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:41 AM   #12
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Controlling Algae
Lights on timer .. Check
Weekly PWCs
Not overfeeding
Ferts and Carbon dosed correctly.


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Old 12-17-2014, 08:57 AM   #13
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This may have been previously stated. But what is your substrate? Dirt capped with sand? Gravel? Eco complete?


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Old 12-17-2014, 09:58 AM   #14
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Not over feeding ... Check
Weekly pwc ... Check
Not dosing carbon but ferts twice a week.

Substrate is sand only.

Plants are some Java fern and swords. Nothing crazy.


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Old 12-17-2014, 04:05 PM   #15
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Do you have root tabs for Swords ??

Your Crypts will need them as well. You need some Crypts


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Old 12-17-2014, 04:24 PM   #16
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I'll check out the crypts.

I have some homemade root tabs from my local aquarium shop. Good for three months. The Java fern is tied to a rock and not in the sand.

The plants seem to be living still, not growing very fast although there has been some growth. But they are covered with hair algae. I have a big manzanita branch and several pieces of driftwood that I got from a high elevation lake. They get covered with green stuff and hair algae. Scrubbed it all off and it's coming back. I don't mind it so much on the wood, looks kinda cool. But when it's all over my plants and glass, makes the tank look unkept.

FYI, first time keeping live plants.


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Old 12-17-2014, 04:56 PM   #17
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was just reading up on CO2 injection when i read that airstones arent good for plants. i guess i should have mentioned that i have two large airstones in the tank. Should i take them out before i start loading CO2? Can you run airstones with CO2 injection?
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:35 PM   #18
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You can run your air stones when the CO2 is turned off at night


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Old 01-02-2015, 01:57 PM   #19
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I don't know how valid the advice is, (coming from a big-box store), but I was told that adding aquarium salt is helpful for this sort of problem. I have the same problem, and so far, I have cut back on the LED lighting, and have started adding Excel. I am hesitant in adding aquarium salt, until someone (or more than one someones...) tell me that it's absolutely okay.


I have a 55 gallon freshwater with live plants, driftwood dragon rock, and eco substrate. We don't have a fancy CO2 setup, just a standard filter. We do use root tabs, and ferts, and keep a close eye on the ph, but the 'black skirt algae' remains.
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:06 PM   #20
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Plants don't like salt. Some people add a little, but I don't. You'll get varying recommendations.

If you search for BBA on here and on TPT you'll get lots of stories on what works and didn't work.

Here is a link that may be helpful also.

http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/plant...38/topics/2286


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