Rampant algae in a new set up

SumoC

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HI folks,

I'd really welcome some help from the knowledgeable on here. I'm a long time fishkeeper but this is my first foray into high tech planted affair.

Tank: 6ftx2ftx18", Eheim Pro 3 filter, Hydor inline heater, stable 28 degrees (final plan is discus)
Substrate: ADA Amazonia (no other ADA additives)
Ferts: EI using aquariumplantfood.co.uk EI salts at their recommended doses, macros every other day, micros every other day (no rest days as auto dosing with Jecod pump), pressurised CO2 with in line atomiser from 2 hours before lights on to 1 hour before lights off
Lighting: 3x Kessil 160WE Tuna Sun, 12.30-19.00, max 50% intensity for about 5 hours of that photoperiod.
Stocking: 5 neon tetras and 3 penguin tetras (the pathfinder fish to make sure that everything was ok!), 10 amano shrimp added 7 days ago and seen for approximately 30 seconds, not seen since!
WCs: 50% at least weekly, more recently every couple of days as I've needed to address the algae

Story:
All set up with first water on 18th October, soaking wood and substrate. Planted 28th November. Initially the photoperiod was way too long, but all went well for a week or two but since mid December I've been fighting some lovely brown hair like algae. I reduced the photoperiod and have been religiously removing the algae as best I can. The tall and stem plants are doing really well, the carpetting ones are doing ok but they must be being affected by this algae stuff. I've been unable to give the tank the attention it needed over the last week (dad got taken into hospital....) and the algae has gone nuts - bad - but it has allowed me to take some photos and finally think 'I've got to ask UKAPS about this!' - good!

So I spent this evening removing what is in the photos in a 50% water change...so it's nowhere near as nasty as it was. I'll go over it all again tomorrow.

Thank you for any help at all about how to get everything to settle down.

Cheers

Paul
 

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Kalum

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That's pretty rampant but hopefully easy to fix, hope your dad's OK as well

If you are 100% following the EI dosing for your tank size then it's more than likely too low co2 for your light levels, drop your lighting and up co2 (set via drop checker and/or cheap pH pen and do a profile and obviously not above tolerance of fish etc.. )

Keep up frequent water changes and make sure you have good flow around the tank, not sure what size eheim Pro 3 it is?
 

alto

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Sorry to hear about your Dad - hope he’s feeling better soon

Stocking: 5 neon tetras and 3 penguin tetras (the pathfinder fish to make sure that everything was ok!), 10 amano shrimp added 7 days ago and seen for approximately 30 seconds, not seen since!
You need to add at least another 10 of each species, poor fish are likely very stressed at being the (apparent) lone survivors in a large universe - if you’d added 15 penguin tetras they likely would’ve done much better

If you want to introduce a low number of (test) fish, then choose a less shoal oriented fish such as a few mollies - black molly’s can be good algae eaters if not being fed a constant supply of fish food and are easy to net out afterwards (though I’d leave a nice group in a tank of this size ;))

With a big tank, small fish additions tend not to work the same as the same fish added to a smaller tank - just imagine the different dilution effect from water volume on ammonia etc produced

A group of 12-20 otocinclus will happily help with that diatom algae - and you’ll be doing some (likely) scrawny fish a Big Favour - otos are much so happier in large groups in big tanks

Snails - nerites (& mystery snails) will also happily get to work on those yummy diatoms
Again it’s a big tank , so get at least a dozen nerites (Clithon corona are one of the “best” species but tiny and not as readily available as the bigger nerites) and (maybe) a few juvenile mystery snails (not applesnails which get substantially larger)

Add more Amano shrimp as well if available - again for this tank size, try a minimum of 30-50

Daily water change and physical removal is also important - at this stage, there’s a lot of algae but as it diminishes your algae crew will keep it in hand

Pull the filter as soon as you can, and thoroughly rinse media: replace that white fine pad and make sure the coarse blue foam is also well rinsed (there should be enough “biolife” on the other ceramic type media to maintain the tank “cycle”)
If possible, check/replace that white pad weekly, check the blue foam (for debris) - you should be able to leave the rest of the filter for monthly checks

While it’s possible to rinse that white filter pad, it tends to be more effort than efficient - it’s pretty cheap to replace

You can also chose to add Liquid Carbon such as Seachem Excel for (significant) algae control, eg,
From Filipe Oliveira Youtube channel

 

alto

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Lighting: 3x Kessil 160WE Tuna Sun, 12.30-19.00, max 50% intensity for about 5 hours of that photoperiod.
I’ve been running these lights since they hit the market (4? years I think)

My tanks
90cm x 45cm x 53cm tall - 2 Kessil A160 Tuna Sun
I just measured water column height 46-47cm, 9-10 cm distance from water surface to Kessil lens
Aside from a ramp ON/OFF I run mine at 100% for ~8h photoperiod (even from Day 1 ;))

60cm x 45cm x 53cm tall - 1 Kessil A160 Tuna Sun

Tap water is soft, so I start CO2 maybe 30min before lights switch to 100%

While you’re combatting algae, I’d drop the tank temperature to 26*C, then 24*C (over a couple days)

Note with the 2 tetras you’ve added, 28*C is the max
Cardinal tetras actually “handle” the heat better than neons, so you might consider a switch
I’d choose green neon tetras though as they are far more heat tolerant than either of the above AND look stunning in large shoals
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/paracheirodon-simulans/
 

SumoC

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Thanks both for your advice,

Kalum - My drop checker always shows yellow, I've upped the CO2 til (honestly) I got scared by the rate the bubbles were rocketing through the bubble counter. I'll see about pushing it a bit higher at the weekend when I can keep a close eye on the fish.

Alto - Thanks for your advice about further cleanup crew and the numbers of each, that's really helpful - I'll get on it. I'm very aware of how many tetras should be kept together - in truth, those guys are the only survivors in a massive universe - they are remnants from previous larger shoals in other tanks. As I am still learning and finding my feet with the high tech side of things I didn't want to put 50-70 pristellas in (as is the final plan) on day one and come down to 50-70 floating ex-tetras on the morning of day two. I wasn't really testing the filtration - the tank was cycled pre fish - it was more just making sure that I hadn't done anything daft with the planted / CO2 / ferts side of things. I'll up my filter maintenance but to be honest I'm not far off your regime already :)

Thanks again both! I'll keep you updated :)
 

SumoC

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Ooh - I hadn't considered green neons....I might have to think about that! 28 is top whack for pristellas too, hence setting there rather than the 29 or 30 that the discus would probably prefer. I started at 9 hours with ramp up and down, 6hrs 100% then this all kicked off so I dialed it back a bit. I'll have a go with new cleaners and upping the CO2, dropping the temp and see how it goes.

Cheers
 

alto

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50-70 pristellas in (as is the final plan)
I’ll keep pushing my green neons at you :D 35*C vs 28*C suggested for the pristella’s - though these are certainly hardier than neons so I’d expect them to manage rather better

This PFK reprint from a Heiko Bleher article is worth reading re discus and temperatures
https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co...at-temperature-is-the-water-where-discus-live

If you’re buying from a breeder, I’d follow his recommendations for the first several weeks - same food, same water temp etc
and DAILY 50% water changes (no matter how well everything seems to be going) for the first couple weeks, if all seems fantastic, move to alternate day water changes etc

Sorry, I keep tossing suggestions without asking after your plans :oops: :oops: :oops:
 

SumoC

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I’ll keep pushing my green neons at you :D
Please do! I won't take much convincing!

If you’re buying from a breeder,
The guys came from Devotedly Discus at 2", now at 5-6" in their grow out setup and starting to form pairs like nobody's business! They should look great in this setup when it's ready.....but only when it's ready! I'm a little interested in how they'll take the pH change when moving to a tank with injected CO2, but I'll acclimatise them slowly and keep my eyes peeled.

Sorry, I keep tossing suggestions without asking after your plans :oops: :oops: :oops:
Where else do good ideas come from! Just cos I have plans doesn't mean they can't change.....!!
 

alto

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I started at 9 hours with ramp up and down, 6hrs 100% then this all kicked off so I dialed it back a bit
I agree, decreasing light can slow things down, but care also needs to be taken not to suddenly “shock” plants with light withdrawal ;)
My preference is to reduce the photoperiod from say, 8h to 6h
Decrease light intensity to 80-90% (I don’t happen to agree that these are high PAR lights :p - unless your tank is only 36cm tall)
Note that as you alter the intensity on these lights (any point source is more notable in this effect than a long array), the dimensions of the “light cones” also change significantly - this is easily noticeable with the lights set up on a dry tank during scaping while looking for shaded areas

You can also leave the lights off for a day here and there as well - I usually leave some CO2 running as plants can photosynthesize under surprisingly low light conditions

I’m not much of a “blackout” fan - I think Excel etc use as outlined in Filipe Oliveira’s video is more effective
 

SumoC

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care also needs to be taken not to suddenly “shock” plants with light withdrawal ;)
Yup.....the few cryptocorynes in there pointed that out to me in a kinda leaf melty way! They're cool again now though.

Decrease light intensity to 80-90% (I don’t happen to agree that these are high PAR lights :p - unless your tank is only 36cm tall)
Note that as you alter the intensity on these lights (any point source is more notable in this effect than a long array), the dimensions of the “light cones” also change significantly - this is easily noticeable with the lights set up on a dry tank during scaping while looking for shaded areas
Cool - I'll bring it back up from 50 to 90.....SLOWLY!
 

SumoC

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Hi all,

I promised you a photo when it was all settled and stable, but I'm afraid I've got a 'here we go again' call for help first.

Since your last help I got on, plants got on, I put fish in and thought 'I'll send a picture soon, once it looks a little better' - since then BBA, now BGA, with a bit of a crossover in the middle. So here goes:

Tank: 6ftx2ftx18", Eheim Pro 3 filter, Hydor inline heater, stable 28 degrees
Substrate: ADA Amazonia (no other ADA additives)
Ferts: Pressurised CO2 with in line atomiser from 1 hours before lights on to 1 hour before lights off - drop indicator steady on the yellower side of green. Until 2 weeks ago EI using aquariumplantfood.co.uk EI salts at their recommended doses, macros every other day, micros every other day (no rest days as auto dosing with Jecod pump). 2 weeks ago increased phosphate and nitrate by one third (so dosing 4/3 recommended dose)
Lighting: 3x Kessil 160WE Tuna Sun, 11.00-19.00, max 80% intensity 12.00-18.00
Stocking: 40 black neon tetra, 15 adult discus, 15 otocinclus, 5 nerite snails
WCs: 50% at least weekly

Story:
Set up October 2018. Problems with diatoms shortly after - thanks for your help sorting that little issue out. Grumbling along with BBA since, but great plant growth. More recently I've been watching BGA take over the carpet, mechanical removal once or twice a week. Two weeks ago i thought 'screw it' and mowed the lawn, carpet is now roots but at least the BGA hadn't any carpet plants to grow on - now it's slimed over the substrate instead. Did some reading and found BBA = low phosphate, BGA = low nitrate so increased phosphate and nitrate. Nitrate tests showed 0 then, about 5 today, but after reading I know that isn't accurate - fish are happy, plants are 'ok', BGA is 'bloody marvellous'. Holiday last week so it's been 8 days since a WC, if you want to see the mess it's on youtube -
. The good news is that the BBA on the glass and plants seems to have calmed down a bit since changing the fert regimen.

Plan:
Carry on mechanical removal including trimming and removing plants with BGA. Increase nitrates to 1.5 times recommended dose.

I'd really welcome your thoughts on my fairly minimal plan. It feels a bit bold to be taking the nitrate up that high but that's probably just cos I'm new.

Thanks so much for your help :)
Paul
 

Kalum

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You shouldn't need to go over and above the EI dosing if the mix is at it should be as it should have more than enough of everything for even the most demanding high light and heavily planted setup

What size eheim pro 3 do you have?

My own personal issues with BBA have been down to tank cleanliness, when my maintenance and cleaning of the filter slips it appears, even if you have a 600 filter you're fairly under filtered for that size of aquarium, adding another filter and more frequent cleaning of them will help a lot
 

SumoC

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It's the 1200XL. I could probably be more frequent with filter maintenance though. Cheers for the nudge :)
 

Edvet

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I would give it a clean and do a blackout 4 days no peeking. Do a waterchange and add KNO3, then tape it close.
 

SumoC

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That could be arranged. I assume turn off the auto ferts and CO2 in that time as the plants won't be doing much? How much KNO3 would you dose before lights out?
Thanks for the advice :)
 

SumoC

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Good clean inside the aquarium tonight, complete filter maintenance done, weekly dose of KNO3 after a 50% WC. Blackout til Sunday.

Wish me luck!
 

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