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Old 02-23-2008, 11:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Staghorn Algae ? and advice

What does Staghorn NOT like?

I recently got a burst of this after adding too much phosphate too fast. My levels were low and I think I added way too much all at one time twice with in a week and this stuff came on. (My PO4 remains low at ~0.05 to 0.1ppm using a Seachem test kit) I have been pruning like mad and this morning did some plant bleach dip and equipment dip. I have read it doesnt like high water flow but this is where I am seeing the most: right on the spray bar and onto the Vals that are right in front of it.

My CO2 is high 20's to 30ppm, NO3 is between 5 and 10ppm, K is ~20ppm, NH3 and NO2 are zero, Fe is ND. I do weekly water changes (`15%) and water testing.

Any advice will be welcome.

Last edited by Newt; 02-23-2008 at 08:22 PM..
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

The staghorn algae shows up when there is a spike in Ammonia. Reducing the Nitrate to an actual, real 0 for a few days usually makes it disappear. This is what has worked for me every time. Some people actually suggest raising the Nitrate levels but that is not my experience.

I'd say start changing 15% of the water every other day. Your goal is to reduce the Nitrate to 0 for a few days. Don't test for Nitrate - test kits provide inacurate, barely useful snap-shot picture of the parameters, calibrated or not. Make sure you use water that will not impact the bacteria negatively or you will be shooting yourself in the foot. I suggest using water ran through activated carbon, not just dechlorinated. If you are cheap and don't want to spend $40 for an active carbon water filter then use only Seachem Prime, all other dechlorinators are inferior.

Remove all dead leaves, all staghorn that you care to remove, don't feed the fish, vacuum with an air tubing if you have to. Basically keep absolute hygiene and frequent small water changes for about a week - minimum organics is your goal.

Staghorn does not care about the flow. I've had it explode in a very low flow tank, and my neighbour had it develop in a 75 gal. tank with about 800 gph total actual in-tank flow. In both cases frequent water changes and better hygiene lead to the staghorn demise.

--Nikolay
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

Thanks for the advice but going to zero nitrates can bring on BBA and BGA. My ammonia is and has remained zero. I do weekly water changes. I have my CO2 up near 30 ppm and have been dosing Excel at about 2 to 3 times.
Carbon contains phosphate. I have a whole house water filter system that gets me down to 1 micron after the acid washed carbon block filter (any phosphate is quickly flushed away with filter use).
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

I'm talking about an Ammonia spike - here now and gone shortly. This is not a sustained level of Ammonia that hangs there and waits to be detected. Such "fluctuations" of the Ammonia level happen as a result of plants or fish dying or something affecting the bacteria. It's hard to catch the spike when it happens, but often if you look back you can remember that something went just a little bit wrong and you didn't think much of it.

If we look at the problem from another perspective... We should agree that there must have been something that allowed the staghorn to develop, right? I believe that was an Ammonia spike, others will say it was something else. Whatever the reason is I have succesfully fought that algae with what I described above. This is my experience and that's all I can offer.

Note that I suggest bringing the Nitrates to true 0 only for a few days, not more. After these few days it's "back to our regular programming".

BBA usually shows up when organics increase or are constantly present. BGA often shows up for similar reasons, but cleaning up the tank doesn't get rid of it and usually cleaning + antibiotics take care of it. Overall in the effort to combat any algae one needs to make sure that the tank is very, very clean from organics for at least some time.

That's what I suggested - keep an ultra clean tank and water for some time and see if the staghorn will last.

--Nikolay
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

I kinda feel it was my phosphate spike. I have read several articles on phosphate being a limiting factor. I got rid of BBA and hair algae this way when I first set up the tank 6 years ago. I actually put PhosGuard in the filter inside a filter bag. I was thinking of doing it for this crud.
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

I think I may be winning. I did the water changes and vaccing per niko's suggetion (but not the NO3 to zero) and I used the Seachem Dosing Guide that Left C posted (sticky) in the Advanced Fert section. I also let my Pennywort grow very long and added some hornwort floating on the surface which Diana Walstad recommends in her book.

I only am seeing a little on a few of the the Vals tips that are at the surface and directly in front of the spray bar. This is very light grey and may not be Staghorn. I will have to take a closer look.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

Thank you newt! This advice worked a charm for me. I've been battling what I believe to be "Spirogyra - Silk Algae, Water Silk". By following these tips and being ruthless, I've slowed it to a near stand still. Another week and it should be all gone.

Brian
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

You are welcome.

It may not have been staghorn. It didnt look like any of the pictures. Most of what was growing on leafs such as swords was only along the edges and look to be a dark fuzz algae BUT it did have some branching...........one or two strands and only one branch, typically. What was on the Vals was light grey and longer. Not much left. I got two juvenile SAE's and they have been busy.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Staghorn Algae ? and advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by niko View Post
The staghorn algae shows up when there is a spike in Ammonia. Reducing the Nitrate to an actual, real 0 for a few days usually makes it disappear. This is what has worked for me every time. Some people actually suggest raising the Nitrate levels but that is not my experience.

--Nikolay
Unfortunately (and yes, I know I'm late to this thread by a few years ) I haven't had detectable Ammonia (API Freshwater Master Test Kit - all fresh) in my tank since well before the stagorn attack came on (followed on the heals of bba "bloom"). Started treating with double-dose Excel and just as the bba started to look kind of bleached-out, the staghorn started and has gone nuts.

I manually remove as much as I can, have continued the Excel dosing, use Flourish root tabs, Flourish Comprehensive, and iron supplement; have cut my lighting down (split photo period for a total of 8.5 hr per day, only running 1 of my two T5HO tubes (29 g. tank). Plants are doing well - but stagorn shows no sign of going away.
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