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Persistent Hair & Other Algae Issues - What Next?

jagillham

Member
Joined
6 May 2015
Messages
343
Location
Kent (UK)
Hi all,

I have a persistent algae issue in my tank which really is getting me down now!

The tank is 450l, has been running for years and has a 90l sump. Flow is very good, the sump return pipe comes up through the base of the tank in the front bottom left, there is a powerhead in the top back right.

So this is the tank in November. I was getting some super long string algae in places stretching across most the tank from the power head etc, and small green hair algae on the hardscape, but had taken it all out and scrubbed it off. The plants were not thriving, but certainly doing OK.

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Since then I thought I was going to be able to fix my issues by finally getting my EI and CO2 set back up. I'm dosing 90ml of EI, and getting around the 1ph drop for CO2. Lights are running 3pm-10pm daily. 50% water change weekly. I've added some root tabs, and the amazon swords have finally started to grow, and the crypts are bigger.

Whilst this has been added to the tank in the last few months I was expecting the algae situation to get better, but it seems to be worse. The short hair algae is now absolutely everywhere, and on everything. New growth is quickly either covered in the hairs, or some kind of brown muck type stuff. I also seem to be getting an amazing amount of algae on the glass in a short amount of time (Under 2 weeks the image where you can see it).

I don't really know where to go next on this. I feel like everything is set up "right", but for whatever reason I'm not getting the benefit. I want the algae gone, but don't really know what I should change next.

Any help very much appreciated.

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PARAGUAY

Member
Joined
13 Nov 2013
Messages
2,034
Location
Lancashire
Nothing scientific just my experience. A couple of years ago in the 55g the external 2000l/h developed a fault .l had to order a new o ring.So temporary put a large internal in as a stop gap. Hair algae seemed to explode all over the tank. I put a couple of powerheads in another fluval internal filter in to increase turnover. Pleasingly the hair algae all but disappeared. Also instead of 50%wc weekly l did water changes at about 30% daily remobed any dead leaves or cleaned them. The conclusion l thought is flow. Not enough nutrients Nuetro+ and CO2 getting all around the tank .It looked pretty ugly with the internal filtration and random powerheads but the end result was good. Not scientific just MOE. Hope this helps
 

Tom Michael

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2014
Messages
235
We have been there don’t get down it’s all resolvabl!
my first observation is that 450L is a large tank to get Co2 right- have you done a ph profile to make certain you have the drop lights on? How are you diffusing the co2? I’m not sure your flow is sufficient, what is the Lph turnover of your power head and filter? What is in your filter media wise?

also most of the plants you have are slow growin. Once you get the fundamentals right you need a lot of fast flowing stems and I would suggest floating plants.
 

jagillham

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Thread starter
Joined
6 May 2015
Messages
343
Location
Kent (UK)
Lighting could be a issue?too
Forgot to say I've got 2x 54w T5's.

We have been there don’t get down it’s all resolvabl!
my first observation is that 450L is a large tank to get Co2 right- have you done a ph profile to make certain you have the drop lights on? How are you diffusing the co2? I’m not sure your flow is sufficient, what is the Lph turnover of your power head and filter? What is in your filter media wise?

also most of the plants you have are slow growin. Once you get the fundamentals right you need a lot of fast flowing stems and I would suggest floating plants.

In terms of CO2, the pH pen I have does seem to have some random readings. However my tap water is 8.4 (after degassing), and I was getting down to around 7.5 prior to lights on. Not sure if relevant, but CO2 was about 7.8 at midday... so it was not degassing back to natural level prior to the next 'gas on'. The CO2 set up is an inline atomiser which is attached to the front of the return pump in the sump. The tank is full of micro bubbles, but I was happy to wait until things had sorted before getting a reactor set up.

The flow is pretty decent I think. When I drop food in the tank, once it hits the low level return, it is blasted across the length of tank within a second or two. The return pump is a Compact 3000, and the Powerhead is a 3000 too. Theoretically I'm exceeding the 10x turnover. The sump is all sponge, but as the return pump is on full power (and not emptying out), I know the water is moving through it at a decent speed.

The slow growing plants I could swap out some something else if needs be. The entire point of the low level pump return where it is was to be able to ensure great flow across the substrate for a carpet of something like the DHG I'm trying to get to grow now. I'll happily ditch the EI and CO2 if I can carpet the tank anyway. The other plants as you say are slow/easy (Crypts, Anubis and Swords).
 

Tom Michael

Member
Joined
16 Nov 2014
Messages
235
From what I can see in the pics the plants are growing and I think I can see the flow on your hairgrass, which looks strong. If you want to continue the co2 route (I do) I would get a lot of cheap fast growing plants (I like some floaters) cut all of the leaves off which have algae currently and undertake as many water changes as you can tollorate over the first month. Ideally you would get a full 1 ph drop, so I would suggest upping slightly if your fish don’t show any il effects.

is that algae on your front glass? If so clean all of this off before you water change.

you will beat the algae but long term a high energy set up is more work and will be mucho Co2 in 450l, it’s really what your aims and willingness are
 

PARAGUAY

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13 Nov 2013
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Lancashire
Just to add 2 54watt lights is considered high lighting. Far better, most of the members agree of this,to start lower light or if you cant raise it . If your CO2 as @Tom Michael says is maybe not correct as seems the case and with too high lighting then you have algae.
 

PARAGUAY

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13 Nov 2013
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Location
Lancashire
I think t5 s esp.HO can grow any plant. T8 cant So with the algae problem in this tank either use/and have floating plants or/and raise lighting. At least as mentioned everything until everything is in balance ie fertisers CO2 flow etc. A few year ago before LEDs Metal Halides and T5s were the lighting Advantage of a lot good quality LEDs they can be ramped up or down with a controller
 

foxfish

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11 Oct 2009
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Location
Guernsey
Two T5s the length of the tank should be perfectly adequate and as Paraguay points out, was the hobby standard for many years.
However some floating plants might well be a good idea and I also like the idea of fast growing stems even as a temporary measure.
As usual with many of the post on the forum... when there is no blaringly obvious issues, we can only offer ideas.
I like your method of injection but are you sure all the bubbles are going into the pump and not rising to the surface of your sump?
Would it be possible to reduce the flow over the overflow by recirculating some of the sump pump flow within the sump?
 
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