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Re: algae war

John wrote:
> I am almost exactly one month into my new algae infested planted tank.  Ever
> since about the first week (when I over fertilized) I have had a ton of algae
> in my tank.  First off, here are the particulars:
> - 75 gallon freshwater
> - 404 fluval canister filter with floss and bio max media
> - DIY CO2, one bottle going into a Barr CO2 diffuser (just set up this
> weekend).  I am only running one bottle right now because the seal broke on my
> second one but I had that going through the fluval intake.

You'll need 3 bottles of 2 liter capacity at least. Say 1 teaspoon of yeast
to one cup of sugar in each.

> - 2 x 96 watt light with 6500k (I think) running about 12 hours per day via a
> timer
> - Test kit readings the last time I took them:
> - Current tank occupants:  6 otos, 1 flying fox, 5 mollies of various type and
> a bunch of ramshorn snails that I am slowly removing by hand.
> -  Water conditions:  76 degrees F, 1/4/01  PH 7.4, NO2 0, NO3 0, GH 179, KH
> 89.5, CO2 6

Need more CO2 to get your pH down. Nothing is going to help out until this
is done. I'd say about 6.8 to 7.0 and try to keep it there. If it goes to
7.2 or so right before the lights go off that's fine. But not in the middle
or early morning when the lights come on.
BTW, you'll need some source of N. KNO3 or/and fish. Add some K as well.
This won't cause algae. you can get some from trace element mixes light
Tropica master grow, Seachem's Flourish + K+, K2SO4 etc.
Shoot for 2-5ppm of NO3 by adding KNO3. Don't let it go to zero!
> Current Algae Control Methods
> Well, all of the fish in that tank are for algae control purposes only.  I
> don't really want to have mollies in the tank but I got them to go after the
> algae, and they seem to be doing that so far.  I have not noticed a huge
> decrease in the amount of algae in the tank but it seems to be less.  I have
> not been feeding them so that they have some incentive to go after the algae.
> :-)  Also, each evening

Snails and shrimps do great as well.
> The Algae
>> From what I can tell I have four different types of algae growing in my tank.
>> I have had a little bit of difficulty identifying them since I am color
>> blind.  Anyway, here are the types that I have identified using the
>> information from http://faq.thekrib.com/algae.html.
> Algae 1
> http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~pflum/pics/ALGAE1.JPG
> http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~pflum/pics/ALGAE1a.JPG
> I think that this one is Beard algae.  It is all over the tops of my driftwood
> and very few other spots.  None of the fish currently in the tank seem to
> touch it.  It is very hard to remove by hand.

SAE's will eat most of this stuff.
More types of algae etc

> Option 1:  I figure that I can but a bunch more otos and mollies until the
> algae has been wiped out.  Then remove the extra fish leaving enough to keep
> the stuff under control.
> Option 2:  Use chemical means to remove the algae but I am VERY concerned
> about this path since I do not want to damage my plants.
> Option 3:  Reduce the lighting level/duration so slow the algae growth and
> allow the fish to make headway on the algae.  Or I suppose that I could go for
> a total blackout but I fear that would have devastating effects on my plants.
> Option 4:  ????

Here's what I do when I see a tank like yours. I take out the plants and
trim off any algae wipe it off by hand etc. Trim the plant up nicely and
replant. Now if it's sword or a crypt I might leave it and just clean it off
by hand in the tank. After I've done this I'll do a nice water change
getting any leftover algae pieces that remain out of the tank. Clean your
glass first before you do the water change.
Clean the mechanical filter section only perhaps the next day or so. I'll do
50% water change a week typically and remove all the algae I can each time.
After doing this for 3 weeks, the algae tends to submit and give up being an
issue. When you do a water change this is a great opportunity to make sure
your levels are back up to snuff. CO2 is the first thing to look at every
time you have an algae problem. Make sure you have enough. Get a gas tank
set up for a bigger tank like this. You can get a complete set up for around
120-150$ complete depending where you get it. It(CO2) is so important that
it's worth it. You can do it with the yeast method(I did for many years) but
you'll need to be on top of it all the time and clean out the bottles and
change them. Not much peace there. If you have a 20 gallon tank then the
yeast set ups are good idea but not for a multiple tanks or over 55 gallons.
After you see what your CO2is then move on to NO3. Use KNO3 if it's low. I'd
add about 1/2 teaspoon on your tank after the water change. I'd also add
more K+ in the form of K2SO4 again about 1/2 teaspoon or so. Next I would
add enough trace elements to bring your Fe level to at least .5ppm.
I add mine daily when I feed my fish/shrimps/snails. My levels are quite
high(1-2ppm) but as long as there's some in there you'll be alright. Just
don't it go to zero for long. Get a kit to see where your at there. Add more
as your plants take off and the algae declines and watch your NO3.
Add a moderate fish load and feed well. Do this 3 x (once a week) and most
algae will die off. Yes, it's a lot of work but it does the trick. If it
doesn't, then you are not adding the CO2 or the nutrients right. Go back and
double check to see. The first week you'll see a big decline in algae, the
second it will mostly gone, the third week you'll have it under control
pretty much. You may have to pull some algae out here and there during the
week. Any opportunity to attack the algae - have at it!

One thing in the start of any plant tank that many folks don't realize is
that you need to **pack** the tank with plants from the start.
Even good plant people fall prey to this. I'm as guilty as anyone here.
But if you add more than you think will fit, that about the right amount.
So you may want to go get some fast growing stem plants that are cheap or a
friend will give you and add these to your tank. Worry about the layout etc
You can play with lighting to get an algae outbreak reduced. I'd lower your
amount to 10 hours for now. If the lights have a different switches for each
light do a 10 : 5 hour split. One on for 5 hours and one on for 10 hours for
a high noon effect etc.
You may try a blackout for a couple three days then go through and do all
the other things I suggested. That would hurt the algae some(the plants not
as much) and then add a bunch of fresh plants right after.
Adding some SAE's will help any BBA problem and more algae munching critters
will help out.

It does get much easier later, I promise:) Even folks who have been doing
this for many years will get an algae issue. Some folks don't mine a certain
level of algae presence, some learn to like algae even. I don't like algae
in my tanks of any kind. Well, some Cladophora is good and some marine
species but not the normal types.
Basically, cater to the plants and give them what they want. This is by far
the best method to reduce algae problems.
Light, CO2 and nutrients. That's all you need to deal with pretty much.
Patience helps lots too. Try it for three weeks. Get a  good NO3 test kit.
It'll be worth it for you.
Illka's comments are right on target also.
Tom Barr