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Discussion Starter #1
Help! My wife's 2.5 gallon puffer tank has been overtaken by some type of algae infestation. I thought it was BGA, but after a 5 day Maracyn (the original, e.g. erythromycin) treatment, no changes. We just returned from a short vacation, and the tank is much worse. :( She has a dwarf puffer in the tank as a sole occupant right now.
Whole Tank Shot

Close-Up of Algae

Jaws, begging someone on here to please help him. (or begging for a snail, hard to tell.)

Tank specs:

Ferts: spotty Seahem dosing regime (NPK & Flourish) that was suspended upon outbreak of algae. Excel daily, - .3 ml
Substrate - SMS
Temp. - 78° (pre-set heater)
Filter - Redsea nano HOB
Lights 27 watt home depot CFL desk lamp x 12 hours

Thank you for any help you can provide!
 

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Looks like Cladophora or staghorn. Manual removal by spinning a toothbrush in it can work to get some of it. They also say extra excel dose can kill it. Bleach dip is another way. that looks pretty bad!

One thing i can say is its not BGA. maybe someone who has dealt with it more will give a better way to get rid of it. I wouldn't change the fert regiment, that could stunt the plants and give the algae more time to get stronger.
 

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Yep. Not BGA. I agree that it might be clado. It also looks a bit like grey slime algae.

Whatever it is, the plants look very unhealthy. The dead & decaying matter is only adding to the problems. Your only chance at beating this will be to do a huge manual removal of all algae and any plant material that isn't absolutely healthy and actively growing. Be ruthless. Once you have that done, stay on top of ferts and make sure you're meeting the needs of the plants.

One principle to always fall back on: meet the needs of the plants and the algae will gradually become a non-issue.

Good luck.

If it makes you feel any better, my 180g tank looked like this 2 months after setup:



With a little luck and a lot of help from others, it looked like this a few months later:



Keep after it, don't give up. You'll win.
 

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It looks like a very 'fine' or thin-stranded type of hair algae. If the strands are easily broken, livebearers, such as guppies platys, etc., might feed on it and clear up the problem. These fish can't or won't feed on the tougher stranded algae, such as Cladophora or Rhizoclonium.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you to everyone for the posts. I've been fighting Clado in my 24 gallon for months now, and after recently switching to an EI regimen, it seems like its finally receding. It didn't look anything like this though, it was very thick and green.
But it makes sense, since the HM came from the 24 gallon. I put the plants into a weak bleach dip before transferring them over though. :confused:

BryceM - thanks for the advice, and the encouraging tank shots. It can be easy to feel like the best solution is just to tear the tank down and start over, and its helpful to see examples of perseverance paying off. Thanks again.

Tonight I will start the clean-up, i already gave the tank an excel O.D. this a.m. I will post some pics of progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Indignation, any progress on the elimination of the algae?
I made lots of forward progress, then unfortunately, made some negative progress as well. I work 48-72 hours at a time, so there was some grow-back in the tank, but not much.

I did as bryce suggested, and was fairly merciless with plant removal. As such, only a few stems of HM, some stubs of rotala rotundifolia and a couple anubias have survived. I followed up with a 4X overdose of excel, which looks like it is now halting growth, but not killing off the remaining algae.

A couple questions on which direction to go now -
#1. - Should I add more plants? the tank is non-co2, so I'm not sure which plants to add. For lower-light plants, I have: e. tenellus, rotala rotundifolia, bacopa caroliniana, java ferns, and (lots!) of anubia nana petite.

#2. should I continue the excel overdose, and if so, for how long? I've read some people suggest keep OD'ing until the algae dissapears, but i'm starting to worry about toxicity for the puffer.

#3. - Would adding an oto help?

#4. How much ferts should i add? I'm using dry/EI on my 2 high-tech tanks, and Seachem fert routine for my 12 gallon low-tech.

Thanks again for all the input, I really appreciate the help!
 

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Take out the puffer and put in a bunch of guppies, and I bet they will finish off that algae in a week.
 

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You can add to your guppies some mollies. They will eat it too! Just get some cheap ones and then when you're done you can give them away.

Excel dissipates after 24 hours. So at least it's not a build-up in your tank. When you dose can you use a dropper and squirt in right on the remaining algae. Each time you put it in do a different part of the tank. Turn your filter off for about 5 mins for the excel to stay in contact with that part. It works great. (I only turn my filter off if the part I'm squirting is right by the filter intakes or outputs.)
 

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...Excel dissipates after 24 hours. So at least it's not a build-up in your tank...
Overdosing Excel/gluteraldehyde is not a one time thing when used as an algecide. It usually needs to be done for 7-10 days (at 2-3x overdosage), depending on the algae. There have been some who have had success when accidentally overdosing (see this thread) but most people have the best luck by using the 7-10 day treatment.

As TexGal suggested, you can spot treat with Excel/gluteraldehyde by turning off your filters and using a syringe.
 
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