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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone this is my first post on this forum. I have been keeping planted tanks for almost a year now and fish since the early 90's. So now for the question.

How do I get rid of brush & staghorn algae?

In the beginning I had problems with hair algae and got rid of it by increasing C02 & maintaining nitrates at between 10-12ppm & P04 between 1-2ppm. Since then I have had a outbreak of BBA for about a month now & staghorn algae in the last two weeks. I recently started a 5 hour on 2 hours off 5 hours on lighting routine, because I heard this helps slow down algae growth. I also added one SAE to help out with the BBA & also have Amano/Tiger shrimps to help out with other algaes.

Tank specs:

20G long tank w/ JBJ PC fixture/ 65 watt 6500K bulb.
Fluval 204 canister filter
Tank set up since August 2003
Heavily planted/light fish load
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Water parameters:

PH 7, KH 6, GH 8, N03 12ppm, P04 1.5ppm
25% weekly water changes & filter cleaning.
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Ferts:

Kent Grow half dose twice a week
Kent Micro half dose twice a week
Potassium nitrate 2cc every three days
Iron 2cc once a month
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Today when I did the water change depending on the plant I removed all the algae I could by hand or cut affective leaves off.

What else can be done to stop these two algaes from coming back?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions :wink:
 

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Just increase your CO2 to no less than 20-30ppm during the light peroid.

This will stop the BBA from growing, then you can remove it.
If your CO2 varies during the day, check the pH right before the lights go out, if it's less than 20ppm, add more CO2.

BBA is pretty consistent about low or variations in the CO2 levels.
It will not appear or grow otherwise even if the alga is present.

Staghorn is more a NH4 induced alga. Once induced, it will bloom and you need to keep things in good shape until you can trim it all off.

Both algae need trimmed off and/or killed. Re set your tank conditions and this will prevent them from coming back.

So add more CO2, eg no less than pH of 6.8 at the end of the lighting peroid.
Do 50% weekly water changes.
Add more traces: 2x the rec dose 2-3x a week

As far as lighting routines, both algae and plants have the same machinery, don't bother, just do 10-11 hours of light a day.

Staghorn/Green water often appear when you have rearranged the tank or something that caused the NH4 uptake by the plants to decline.
If you do something like rearrange a tank a lot, always do a water change right afterwards.

Decreses in CO2 can also effect NH4 uptake and so can increases in plant biomass, an overgrown tank will use more nutrients and CO2 than a well groomed tank.

So keep things well maintained and this will help stabilize a tank.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tom, Thanks for the info.

This may be a dumb question but what does NH4 stand for? I have never heard this term used.

I will increase my traces per week & water changes. Also keep a better eye on the C02 output. I use DIY pop bottle method and it usually stays at 22ppm.

I started the on/off lighting because I have read on several different forums that this works because the algae is a lesser life form then plants and algae cannot adjust to this growth wise as the plants can. Is this a true statement?

About a month ago I did remove some stem plants and replaced them with some Crypts, this most than likely was the cause of the algae.
 

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NH4= ammonium.
You can look this acronyms up here I think(?) under one of the stickies.
Most sites have the list.

DIY are notoroius for declining CO2 and never seem to have enough CO2 especially with high light. You will need to stay on top of the DIY unless you like BBA.

As far a high noon lights off, the algae are not really a lesser life form in many respects, they live everywhere, produce most of the food for life on earth, produce 80% of the world's O2 and remove large amounts of CO2 from the air.
I've never found this to help algae. It will not do anything to BBA if you keep the other parameters constant.
The only thing that might help is allowing the insufficent CO2 system to build up enough CO2 to get 20-30ppm after a few hours of use by the plants.

If you have enough CO2, you do not need to do a lights out in the middle of the day and it's highly questionable if it helps or hurts the plants, as I said, both the plants and the algae have the exact same photsynthetic machinery.

So light is not going to favor one over the other. Algae can live on less light than plants can in natural systems.

My point is that it's not needed and will not really address the real issue, low CO2 and proper mainteance and nutrients.

Amano, myself, winners of aquascape contest don't use algicides or midday siestas.

Provide good conditions for the plants and then you do not have algae issues, it's that simple. Growing plants is your goal, with good growth there is no algae.

If you want to press the midday siesta issue with other people ask them this: how are the choloplast different between a plant and algae?
So why would one plant cholorplast respond faster than an alga? Algae generally respond faster,not plants.

Will it hurt the plants? Generally not, but the same can be said for the algae. If the algae goes away, it's not due to the lighting directly, it might be due to less CO2 demand.

Folks with algae issues seldom go back and make sure the CO2 or the NO3 etc was in good shape while they monitored the algae presence.

You need to isolate and make sure something works first before assuming a cause and effect relationship.

My other point is that I can cure any algae issue without ever doing a midday siesta. Will it help? Probably not. Will taking good care of the plants? Definitely.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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