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Algae from hell - aggressive growth of basically every type in a 4 month old tank

spleenharvester

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Ok bad news, found an echinodorus mostly coated in thin BBA. Not a huge thick infestation, but enough for me to scrap the plant.

Only thing I can really think of doing is swapping the bulbs around - currently the 6500K bulb is the one covered up at the rear of the tank, and the 9000K bulb is uncovered/providing most of the lighting - would swapping the 6500K into the front position possibly help to attenuate the growth?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Further update, I've removed a plant (looks a bit like creeping jenny but unsure exactly what it is?) that kept growing a bit of BBA despite pruning,
Update - found BBA all around the edge of this plant that I can't remember the name of (left, can't really see it in the picture). No others are affected so I'm not entirely sure why this one. Going to remove it.
I ripped the tank apart today, pulled the filter out, fully cleaned both baskets and thoroughly vacuumed the sand. Added a ton of plants and some new mopani wood (hopefully I've planted them correctly this time!):
Not a huge thick infestation, but enough for me to scrap the plant.
I'm not being funny, but if you keep scrapping every plant as soon as it has some algae, you are going to struggle to ever get any stability in the tank, and <"stable tanks with a large plant mass"> are much more likely to be trouble free.

It is less than a month from your "I ripped the tank apart today ......" post. No-one wants to have a tank full of algae, but most of us will have experienced it <"at some point">.

cheers Darrel
 
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spleenharvester

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Hi all,




I'm not being funny, but if you keep scrapping every plant as soon as it has some algae, you are going to struggle to ever get any stability in the tank, and <"stable tanks with a large plant mass"> are much more likely to be trouble free.

It is less than a month from your "I ripped the tank apart today ......" post. No-one wants to have a tank full of algae, but most of us will have experienced it <"at some point">.

cheers Darrel

Hi, thanks for this - I am scrapping them under the impression that BBA can't be removed once it has embedded themselves into leaves, with the thinking that removing BBA that has taken hold reduces the risk of it spreading to other leaves - is this not the case? I've tried various "in vitro" experiments with diluted H2O2, Fluorish Excel treatment etc... the leaves always died long before the BBA started to suffer.

Ta
 

alto

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I think adding a more complex algae crew will help

Japonica/Amano shrimp

Short nose algae shrimp - seems to be various species that ship under this label, this is fairly typical appearance Denticulata

Red nose/long nose shrimp - often listed a Caridina graciliostris sp. though again various species may ship, these seem to be the best BBA shrimp, but some report poor survival of these shrimp in freshwater aquaria
These usually startle easily and are extraordinary jumpers

Elongata (may occur as contaminants in both the short nose and long nose shipments)

Tiger shrimp - these are better algae “eaters” than most cherry shrimp (which still help as they consume biofilm and clean up melting plant material) Tiger

SAE - Siamese algae eaters - look for juveniles as they are most effective, again a few species may ship, while all consume algae as juveniles, some become predominantly fish food consumers as they mature
Seriously Fish offers profiles on several species https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/crossocheilus-langei/ (Notes)

Garra species - Filipe Oliveira is keen on the “panda” variant Panda garra, Garra flavatra

Nerite snails - these may bless your aquarium with loads of tiny white eggs, though the “batik” Nerites don’t release any eggs in my tanks

Clithon corona snails - best BBA consumer in the snail group (but seem more sensitive to improper shipping)
 

alto

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Plants that have healthy roots systems, rhizomes, rosettes, tubers, thick stems will often overcome BBA and various algaes as long as they have supporting environments

Glancing back, it seems you removed a Cryptocoryne sp. rather than just cutting back the leaves
I’d do the same with the Echinodorus (ie, keep in the tank and provide supportive care)
Large daily water changes and physical removal of algae will go a long ways to limiting algae

Seachem Excel - this seems to have variable results, it’s most effective as an algicide when used occasionally
But depending upon water conditions may provide some CO2 (degradation process in water), also some plants can use the cyclic glutaraldhyde compounds directly (as an adaptation)

As you don’t have a nutrient rich substrate, you should dose the water column daily with a suitable aquatic plant fertilizer
You can also place aquarium suitable root tabs near plants that are heavy/preferred root feeders (eg, Cryptocorynes, Echinodorus) - rather than going the DIY route, I’d buy Tropica Nutrition Capsules (as they only breakdown via bacterial process and won’t just dissolve in water)
 

spleenharvester

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Thanks for your guidance all - I will avoid discarding the BBA affected plants from now on and see how it goes, will look at getting a more advanced clean up crew too.

Cheers
 

spleenharvester

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Hi all, does this look like BBA or staghorn growing on my vallisneria? It's only on the areas directly under the tank light. There are small BBA growths around the tank - haven't touched any of the plants since my last post per previous discussion. Will be purchasing a proper CO2 system shortly so I can ditch the liquid carbon (or should I keep dosing the liquid carbon for a longer period of time instead to prevent stability issues?).

IMG_20210219_162455.jpg


I'm also starting to plan on replacing most of the sand substrate at the rear of the tank with soil.
 
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alto

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growing on my vallisneria?
I’d just cut those leafs back to the base, though if it’s on most leafs, only trim the affected part + 1-2cm margin, these leafs will (slowly) die back as Vallisneria doesn’t like to be trimmed midleaf, but new growth will happen meanwhile

I’d continue with the Excel (or whichever brand) until you have the new CO2 system
I’ve never had any issues with Excel and Vallisneria but I always dilute the Excel (in 100-200 ml water) before adding to the tank

If adding “soil” at this stage with livestock in tank, I’d recommend an aquarium soil (Tropica gets my vote as it maintains its structure very well and I’ve never observed any ammonia release (Seachem Ammonia-Alert and some sort of filter or loads of plants)

I’d run the tank with the 6500 lamp instead as I find it visually more appealing (I’ve always run my Juwel Rio’s with both lamps (T5 HiLite Day) and reflectors, but find what works for you)

What’s your water change schedule?
 

spleenharvester

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I’d just cut those leafs back to the base, though if it’s on most leafs, only trim the affected part + 1-2cm margin, these leafs will (slowly) die back as Vallisneria doesn’t like to be trimmed midleaf, but new growth will happen meanwhile

I’d continue with the Excel (or whichever brand) until you have the new CO2 system
I’ve never had any issues with Excel and Vallisneria but I always dilute the Excel (in 100-200 ml water) before adding to the tank

If adding “soil” at this stage with livestock in tank, I’d recommend an aquarium soil (Tropica gets my vote as it maintains its structure very well and I’ve never observed any ammonia release (Seachem Ammonia-Alert and some sort of filter or loads of plants)

I’d run the tank with the 6500 lamp instead as I find it visually more appealing (I’ve always run my Juwel Rio’s with both lamps (T5 HiLite Day) and reflectors, but find what works for you)

What’s your water change schedule?

Ah I had trimmed those two worst strands midleaf, I'll cut them back to the base, thank you.

Installed the new CO2 system today, it's a JBL ProFlora 160 yeast system - so not as good as a pressurised kit but I figure it's still better than liquid carbon - hopefully that'll help drive the BBA back a bit as it seems to be spreading from leaf to any other leaf in close proximity now. A lot of the anubias are coated with it again, not severely though.

Tropica is the soil I've bought actually :) it spiked ammonia at 2ppm in an 8L bucket, but in a 180L tank I suspect that would be barely measurable if at all. I'm just quarantining it a bit to be on the safe side, I've had a lot of oto deaths lately and so don't want to stress them further.

Also actually changed to the 6500K lamp the other day. I change about 30% weekly with gravel vac, then pre-heat and dechlorinate the new water.
 

alto

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I change about 30% weekly with gravel vac, then pre-heat and dechlorinate the new water.
I’d suggest changing more water and more often - not so easy with buckets, but simple with a Python style water change system (George Farmers version )
Daily water changes of 50-70% can really help sort algae issues
Also check that your filter media is “clean” of debris - which filter media are you using?
(note that with that pump upgrade there are some reports of sponge media “collapsing”)

Yeast CO2 system can be quite effective, just monitor the CO2 production and change out the bio-mix as needed, watch out for a lag time when you set up the new mix, also temperature effects on yeast growth
One company sells a warmer that can be placed under the yeast solution (perhap Aquario Neo CO2)
 

alto

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I've had a lot of oto deaths lately and so don't want to stress them further.
My suspicion is that these are linked to bacterial infection, and possible gut damage done if they have gone without food for several weeks - at least, that is quite often conjectured ... though shipments that one lfs brings in direct from Peru have very low mortality rates, Otocinclus in these shipments (1500 - 3000) are young, somewhat thin fish that are active and quickly gain weight (before being sold) )
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
My suspicion is that these are linked to bacterial infection, and possible gut damage done if they have gone without food for several weeks
Agreed, <"they are poor little things">, and would probably get my vote for the most frequently ill treated fish.

I think, even after any travel relayed mortality, they are generally quite tricky if you have <"a very "clean" tank">. I wouldn't ever add them to a tank that wasn't biologically mature, and even then you are reliant on <"supplementary feeding">.

cheers Darrel
 

Soilwork

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Hi all,

Agreed, <"they are poor little things">, and would probably get my vote for the most frequently ill treated fish.

I think, even after any travel relayed mortality, they are generally quite tricky if you have <"a very "clean" tank">. I wouldn't ever add them to a tank that wasn't biologically mature, and even then you are reliant on <"supplementary feeding">.

cheers Darrel

one of the reasons I don’t use mechanical filtration is because I wan’t as much natural food as possible to be in the tank and not on a filter sponge where it cannot be accessed. I like to keep a ‘mulmy’ tank which feeds my collection of shrimp, snails and otto’s.

regards
CJ
 

spleenharvester

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I’d suggest changing more water and more often - not so easy with buckets, but simple with a Python style water change system (George Farmers version )
Daily water changes of 50-70% can really help sort algae issues
Also check that your filter media is “clean” of debris - which filter media are you using?
(note that with that pump upgrade there are some reports of sponge media “collapsing”)

Yeast CO2 system can be quite effective, just monitor the CO2 production and change out the bio-mix as needed, watch out for a lag time when you set up the new mix, also temperature effects on yeast growth
One company sells a warmer that can be placed under the yeast solution (perhap Aquario Neo CO2)
Ah okay, I'll give that a go - I've started replacing soil (going to do it gradually over 3 weeks to avoid sudden parameter shifts) so I'll have to do a lot of WCs in the next few weeks anyway.

Filter media is ~1kg biogravel in the lower section, medium/course sponges in the upper section. With each WC the sponges are wringed out in tank water (changed every couple months), and microfibre cloth temporarily added for 24 hours to catch most of the floating crud. I haven't noticed any signs of the sponge media collapsing with the 1000lph pump.

Yeast CO2 has started producing bubbles as of yesterday and is working pretty well, up to 12mg/L at the moment (original reading was 0mg/L).


My suspicion is that these are linked to bacterial infection, and possible gut damage done if they have gone without food for several weeks - at least, that is quite often conjectured ... though shipments that one lfs brings in direct from Peru have very low mortality rates, Otocinclus in these shipments (1500 - 3000) are young, somewhat thin fish that are active and quickly gain weight (before being sold) )

Hi all,

Agreed, <"they are poor little things">, and would probably get my vote for the most frequently ill treated fish.

I think, even after any travel relayed mortality, they are generally quite tricky if you have <"a very "clean" tank">. I wouldn't ever add them to a tank that wasn't biologically mature, and even then you are reliant on <"supplementary feeding">.

cheers Darrel

one of the reasons I don’t use mechanical filtration is because I wan’t as much natural food as possible to be in the tank and not on a filter sponge where it cannot be accessed. I like to keep a ‘mulmy’ tank which feeds my collection of shrimp, snails and otto’s.

regards
CJ

What's really frustrating me about these otos is the tank has a healthy amount of biofilm and they're supplemented 2-3x weekly with blanched vegetables (mostly romaine lettuce but occasionally broccoli and courgette), so I'm convinced food isn't the issue here. They all have big plump bellies. I seem to have three different species in this tank, not 100% sure I've ID'd correctly but:

O. vestitus - All bought from a local shop four months ago, 4/6 are still alive and thriving (two died a few weeks after purchase).
O. vittatus - Bought from ebay a few months ago, 4/5 are still alive and thriving (1 DOA).
O. macrospilus - Bought from two different ebay sellers within the past month, these are really struggling. I've only got 3 still alive out of 8 now (two died in the last few days), each time they've become very lethargic and developed a hunched appearance. They always die within a day of this.

I'm not sure if it's just questionable ebay stock but it's getting so frustrating, I can't see anything wrong with the tank's parameters and they have ample food. They'd probably be my favourites if it weren't for the constant random deaths. The ones that make it past a couple months seem to be hardy.

Cheers
 
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