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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Probably a few of you have been following my 180g setup on this thread.

Since putting the plants in and getting everything set up on September 10th, I've been getting my butt kicked by brown (diatom?) algae. It's very soft, easily rubbed off of the plants (at least at first), and it's covering EVERYTHING - substrate, wood, rocks, and plants.

Some of the more severely affected plants are starting to look pretty ragged with a bit of green fuzz algae starting to appear in very limitted areas. The HC has all but disappeared under a carpet of the stuff.

So far, I've tried the following:

1. Waiting it out (supposedly the new tank syndrome thing only lasts a couple of weeks - HA!)
2. 100 amano shrimp - fun to watch, but it would require a million of them as most of them are still pretty small.
3. 16 otos - fat, living on easy street
4. manually removing the plants twice now to "de-gunk" them. It only requires a light rinse and all the majority of the soft grunge gets washed away.
5. Cranking up the CO2. I'm using a Pinpoint controller, now ranging between pH 6.5 and 6.6. The plants are actually pearling under the brown grunge, but the algae is pearling too. Sigh :(
6. 50% WCs every other day over the past week.

I'm keeping NO3 at 15-20ppm and PO4 >2ppm. My GH is 15 and the KH is 11. All testing is per Lamotte. I'm dosing TMG 1 cc/gal/week and Fourish Fe 0.5 cc/gal/week. Lighting is HQI 150W 6,500K x 3 for 4.5 hours/day and 39W T-5 x 4 for 12 hours/day. Substrate is eco-complete over a light dusting of peat moss. Water flow is quite brisk with a closed-loop circuit and 2 Eheim 2217s.

The addition of the otos resulted in the majority of the wood being kept clean, but they haven't helped the plants yet. I could probably use another 2 dozen or so, but I wouldn't have a home for them once things settle in.

I'm not exactly out of patience yet as I expected a few algae "issues", but I'm growing tired of the brown grunge covering up everything in my new "8,000 lb elephant" in the living room.

On the brigher side, the fish look fantastic and seem quite happy.

Any thoughts besides what I'm already doing? My plan is to crank the CO2 down by another 0.1 units per day until the fish/shrimp start to show it. I'm thinking of a short, but heavy course of Flourish Excel too. Maybe a week or two at 2-3X regular dosing. Has anyone tried this for diatoms?
 

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I never see the stuff in my tank, but it attacks my filter to the point that with in 3 weeks, there is no flow. I would like to know some tricks too. I can't put excel in my tank.
 

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Have you tried reducing the photoperiod yet? I would shoot for 8 hours on the T-5s and maybe 3 hours on the MH just to see how it goes. I would give this a shot after your next "manual" removal and water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone. So far it all sounds like good advice. Anyone know what to do with 50 otos when the tank gets cleaned up? I don't mind having 20 or so for a permanent crew but 50 is a bit much. Besides, I think I've already purchased every otto within 100 miles of here.

I'll try knocking the light down too.

Does anyone have experience with Excel and diatoms? I've got enough excel lying around that I could probably do a 2 week course.
 

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I know it's only been a couple of days, but have you noticed any change in the Diatom Algae yet? Reducing the intensity and duration of the lighting has always worked pretty well for me in both CO2 and non-CO2 tanks. I guess it could be a coincidence though :D

As for the Otos, you can send the extra ones to me and I will distribute them among the SWOAPE members :confused:
 

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I would stop doing so many frequent water changes. Give the tank a chance to cycle properly and see if it settles out that way instead.
 

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I agree with Aaron but I also woul dtry lowering the trace a bit. I know, ferts don't lead to algae but I do believe there is a balance that is necessary as compared to plant mass. I believe TMG is more potent than Flourish also, so a little less would be fine. Cheaper too;) Uping the CO2 and lowering photoperiod are probably the best things you could do, IMO.
 

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I don't know if this will help you, but I once had this problem too. Not even plecos could make a big enough dent. It was a 10g tank that had about 5 bamboo shrimp in it. After I took all the shrimp out, bam! Diatoms! Put shrimp back in, no more diatoms.

Good luck!
 

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guaiac_boy (boy that's a hard one to spell),

I really do not know if this would apply, BUT; Hoppy helped me out with a green water algae problem in my tank by suggesting a 2 day BLACKOUT. It was very hard to do. I was visualizing taping paper or some such thing to the glass. Too much work. I found some bath towels that were very thick and just covered my tank with them and unplugged the timers. For you I guess you would need to use blankets (big ones!!).

It was very much worth it for me. My water is now crystal clear. I don't pretend to understand completely, but for me it worked. Would this work for your situation?

For an added kicker, the last day when I had removed the towels; I had forgotten to plug the lights back into the timers so the tank had an additional day black out.

I look forward to reading other suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, great responses today! I really appreciate the input. I've come to the same conclusion about backing off on the WC's. From personal experience and everything I read, I'm led to believe that the brown alage will eventually work itself out. Watching nice plants succumb meanwhile is the hard part.

The MH's are down to 3 hrs/day and I've turned off one bank of the T-5's. I'm still running them for 10 hrs/day at 39Wx2. This is about 0.5 wpg. CO2 is cranked as high as it will go without affecting the fish/shrimp - currently about 1.4 pH below degassed, (FWIW, KH 10, pH 6.5-6.6 on the controller). Stocking is 9 juvenile congo tetras, 13 rummies, 15 +/- otos, 90 +/- amanos and 3 german rams - seems pretty light for a 180.

Yesterday I took about 3 hours and manually removed as much algae as I could from the left half of the tank. My hope is that if I get enough of it, the amanos and otos will be able to keep up. It actually comes off of the plants pretty easily, but it really beats up the delicate stemmies (R. wallachi & R. vietnam) to manhandle them like that. I tossed the narrow-leaf P. stellatus and trimmed away about 1/2 of the anubias (old greenspot & old slight BBA).

The good news is that I now have an enormous mass of H. zosterifolia and H. polysperma 'ceylon' which are growing like crazy. After 3 hours of the MH's things are pearling nicely. Hopefully I'll outpace the algae pretty soon. Didiplis is growing well, but just staying ahead of the *&%^* algae. Even R. macranda might be keeping ahead of it now, so maybe things are improving - but I've thought this before, only to be disapointed. We'll see. I'll keep posting here for the benefit of someone else who may see the same thing someday. Three weeks of this was a little more than I'd expected.

I'll back off a bit on the traces too. With all the WC's I've been adding quite a bit lately.

I'm not sure the plants are in good enough shape to withstand a blackout but I have thought about it. I've never seen this recommened for diatoms though.

I'm still running a 15W UV unit 24/7. Does anyone think this is making a difference, either good or bad?
 

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Use a paintbrush on the delicate stems.
That sounds good!

Have you thought of using Giant Duckweed, Duckweed, Water Lettuce and 'Indian Fern', Elodea canadensis or waterhyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)?

I am cheating. I looked that up in Diana Walstad's book. Do you have any of those or easy access to any of those? I am curious if they would help like her book says. I hope so.

The black out worked for me. And today, I don't think my 27 Gallon's water ever looked so good. And for awhile there, I thought my tank was just very old. With the water it has now, mine looks brand new! (What could it hurt?).

Good luck Guaiac_boy ( I am getting better at typing that now.)
 

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I am addicted to excel. If I could shoot it up, I would...

seriously though, excel does a great job of combatting algea

I also second doing h2o changes less frequently, your water quality is probably pretty high, and the bacteria are being chopped down every other day.

I found it interesting about the floating plants...I'll ask someone at work about that.


Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see your dosing regimen???
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Currently dosing:
4-6g of KNO3 every other day (tapwater has about 10 ppm NO3 in it)
2.0g of KH2PO4 every other day
50ml TMG every other day
25ml Flourish Fe every other day

I'm currently testing with Lamotte kits every other day at present to verify that NO3 is above 15 (ranging 15-25) and PO4 is above 2 (ranging 1.5-3). So far, the above dosing is keeping it pretty stable.

I looked this AM and it appears (fingers crossed) that the areas that I cleaned up two days ago are staying fairly clean. I'll hopefully have few hours to dedicate to the right side today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, MiSo, I would have agreed with this statement, but I guarantee that in this case, the problem is not a lack of light. When the brown algae pearls all day long, it seems to be very content as it soaks up the rays.
 
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