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I feel like a broken record today (I have submitted several posts to this effect) but here goes... I had that same brown slime, especially all over my driftwood, and you could see it disappear more and more everyday after I added three Farlowellas to my 400 gallon aquarium. The driftwood looks excellent (four large pieces) now and the Farlowellas devour that stuff wherever they can find it. They do work the plants and seem to have a much softer mouth than plecostomous. Just as with otocinclus, don't get too many as they aren't happy without their natural foods. And why not add additional variety by using SAEs instead of more otocinclus? You would be more likely to control a wider variety of algaes in the future as well.
I guess I'm a natural ecosystem kind of guy. If I can use a fish or additional higher plants to deal death and destruction to algae and have a more permanent and natural solution I would prefer that to the manipulation of artificial chemicals. Heres to the influence of Diana Walstad.
Beasts
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles. I think that just about every recommendation has been given in this thread, haha.

I get this algae every single time I start a tank. It always goes away on it's own after a couple weeks. After reading this thread, I think a big difference between yourself and I, is that when a tank isn't doing well I tend to ignore it. Other than feeding the fish I usually try not to look at it, haha. Stems grow to the top, curve over and start blocking light. I usually keep the light down to a couple hours a day. By the time I trim the stems down, things are back to normal. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Again, I appreciate everyone's input.

OK, 3 medium-size SAE's, 100 Amanos, & 24 Otos are already in the tank. I'm starting to see lots of ramshorn snails too and they actually seem to be eating the stuff.

If I add any more critters I'll have nothing but algae eaters in there. I did check substrate phosphate levels and they were equal to the water column levels at about 2 ppm so I don't think I have contaminated Eco Complete.

There is no chlorine as the water is from a private well.

New this week is chlorosis on the new growth and older leaves are turning yellow with some green veins. I have been adding more and more RO water and the GH and KH are gradually coming down. The goal is GH 8, KH 5, maybe lower eventually. My absolute Mg level is still around 6 or 7 ppm, but the Ca/Mg ratio is now up to about 6:1 or 7:1 from it's original 3.5:1. I might try some additional Fe and Mg, but I want to make changes slowly. Changing too many things at once can make it very hard to sort out what's going on. Currently GH is 10, KH 9, NO3 25, PO4 2.0 (all per Lamotte), dosing ~ 1ml TMG and 0.5ml Flourish Fe/gallon/week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
No reason except that's about what I had in Massachusetts after adding a bit of Equilibrium. It's also about what my other tank is at and it's doing quite well at the moment. Getting back to something familar seems to be a good idea.

Probably I'll end up going with KH 3, GH 5 or 6 eventually. I keep mostly tetras and just about all of the "harder" plants do slightly better at the lower KH values.
 

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I did check substrate phosphate levels and they were equal to the water column levels at about 2 ppm so I don't think I have contaminated Eco Complete.
Again a long shot, but when you tested the eco did you simply take some tank water from the lower water column? When I had contaminated Eco I scooped some out and added some of the tank water and let it sit for a day or so in a cup. When I did this my po4 levels were off the charts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
I used a syringe & spinal needle (6" long) to slowly draw off water from the bottom of the tank.

One thing I've learned from testing phosphate is that a very small quantity of contaminant can give you VERY high PO4 readings. If you used a household cup, the phosphate residue from dish soap could easily falsely elevate the reading.
 

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I used a syringe & spinal needle (6" long) to slowly draw off water from the bottom of the tank.

One thing I've learned from testing phosphate is that a very small quantity of contaminant can give you VERY high PO4 readings. If you used a household cup, the phosphate residue from dish soap could easily falsely elevate the reading.
Well that's good to know. I personally have my own "aquarium only use" plastic cups that have never been exposed to soap, etc. The wife doesn't want me using the "human use" cups for the aquarium.

At least you can eliminate the eco from the equation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
An update. Things are slowwwwly starting to improve. Plant growth is noticably healthier. There isn't any algae where the plants are really taking off. One exception would be the fine-leaf plants such as Didiplis that always seem to catch the floating debris and algae. The moss still looks awful. Slow-growers like Crinum calamistratum & anubias still have a thick layer of slime junk hanging from them.

What changed? It's hard to say, since I've currently got lots in flux. My theories: #1 - Time. It takes new setups a while to find the "sweet spot". #2 - slow change to reconstituted RO water. The eco complete is still raising the KH and GH by 2 or 3 degrees over a week. Hopefully this "bonus" fades soon. #3 - CO2 levels are much higher than before. Probably this is the main reason for any improvement. #4 - the MH's are now only on for 3.5 hrs/day (total 3.3 wpg). The T-5's (0.7 wpg) cover the other 7 hours.

Is nirvana approaching? I can only hope so.
 

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oh no! After a long time away, I was so sad to read this tale about your beautiful tank.

Not to be a hippy, but what about floating a willow branch? It wouldn't block too much light, depending how you position it, and it secretes natural algaecide, no? At this point it would seem anything is worth trying....

Good luck and condolences,
Heidi
 

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Not to be a hippy, but what about floating a willow branch? It wouldn't block too much light, depending how you position it, and it secretes natural algaecide, no? At this point it would seem anything is worth trying....
That sounds like SUCH a GOOD IDEA.

Guaiac_boy, you can't resist that idea, can you? Wouldn't that be great, if that did it for you and your beautiful tank? (Yes, still beautiful. I just hate hearing you torture yourself.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I feel compelled to share an update with everyone. Hopefully this is the final chapter on the brown-slime algae.

It's 100% gone.

I attribute my success to 4 things:

1. I increased CO2 levels
2. I started using reconstitued RO water
3. I started doing 20% every-other-day WC's
4. I increased my macro dosing significantly

I'm not sure which thing made the biggest difference, but I suspect they all helped. I made the changes sort of all at the same time, so it's a bit hard to sort out. Deep down, I think maybe I was under-dosing the macros. The actual quantities required by a tank this size are surprising. 1/2 pound of KNO3 will only last two months - amazing isn't it? So much for my "lifetime supply."

The value of using reconstitued RO water is debatable, but the water around here is known for high iron, flouride, and phosphate levels.

Once I made the above changes, the brown algae went from slowly receeding to completey gone in 2 or 3 days. I've never seen something turn around so quickly. I'm still not sure how it would have vanished so quickly.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your help. Hopefully this journey will be of some value to somone else "out there".
 

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The actual quantities required by a tank this size are surprising. 1/2 pound of KNO3 will only last two months - amazing isn't it? So much for my "lifetime supply."

The value of using reconstitued RO water is debatable, but the water around here is known for high iron, flouride, and phosphate levels.

Once I made the above changes, the brown algae went from slowly receeding to completey gone in 2 or 3 days. I've never seen something turn around so quickly.
I am very glad that things turned around for you. It would be nice to know for sure what fixed it for you. I would hate for someone else in the same situation to have to re-invent the wheel and try it all.

Can we see a photo? :photo: or a link to the new photos of it all?
 

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Just curious to see where you ended up at as far as dosage of your macros and micros? I am also curious to see what levels of Ca and Mg your reconstituting your RO water to?

Thanks ;) and glad to hear that things are turning around..... I know how frustrating it can be, i can only hope I have such luck....
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
MrSanders,

At present, I'm doing this:

Mon, Wed, Sat: 20% WC with RO water, then 8.0 ppm NO3 and 2.0 ppm PO4
Tue, Thur, Sun: 60ml of TMG & 30 ml of Flourish Fe

I'm adding NaHCO3 to keep KH between 3 and 5 dH.
I add Greg Watsons GH booster to Keep GH between 5 and 7 dH.
I occasionally check the Ca/Mg ratio and add MgSO4-7H2O when the ratio gets above 5:1.

As soon as the quantities of NaHCO3 and GH booster become consistent, I'll check levels much less often. For now, the Eco Complete is still adding quite a bit of CaCO3 on its own.

Jimbo,

I'm doing a bit of a re-scape at the moment. When it's done, I'll post some photos in the journal thread.
 

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So in the final defeat of the algae you did nothing with your light levels?

I have only managed to control and get rid of it by lowering the light. The problem with this is some of my plants start to suffer. I hope I can find a cure like you did. I tried the extra macros. I was adding a tsp and a half of kno3 and decent 1/2 of po4 every other day. I dont think thats going to be the key for me. I also dont think its the tap water because there are no problems in your other tank or my other tank. The two that probably helped and i am trying is boosting the co2, and more partial water changes.

I can't wait to see some algae free pictures of your tank. I am glad you succeeded in defeating this algae and hopefully your struggle will help me conquer my own algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 ·
Yeah, the light never changed much. I cut it back to 9 hours of T-5's (39x4W) and 3-1/2 hours of MH's (150Wx3), but that was several weeks ago. It was almost as if the tank decided it suddenly wanted to be healthy. The change took place over no more than a 72 hour period. The frustrating part about all this is that there is still quite a bit of art required when we're all running around asking science to provide the answers. There are simply too many variables to allow for the "solution".

Just yesterday I increased the light period to 10 hours of T-5's and 4 hours of MH's. We'll see what happens. I'm having a minor issue with green thread algae, which I've never truly eradicated from my other tank. It isn't too bad, but it does get annoying. At least the amanos seem to be keeping the lower 1/2 of the tank mostly clear of it.

What I do know is that if you keep after it, and stay to a few simple principles, you'll eventually win. The trick is to not be satisfied until it's how you want it. I always knew it would eventually come around.
 

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It was almost as if the tank decided it suddenly wanted to be healthy.
Do you ever feel like the answer is staring you right in the face?
I keep reading about all this chemistry and physics with the water and the lights. But....
I also dont think its the tap water because there are no problems in your other tank or my other tank.
It's right on the tip of my tongue and I can't find it currently in my books about cycling.
But somewhere I read that a new tank will never finish cycling until you just stop messing with it and leave it alone. I wish I could find where I read that......

Honestly, I paid a REALLY GOOD price for Diana Walstad's book. I would post the actual price, but am afraid if I did that the incredibly good price would change.

Honestly, I would love to hear or read your thoughts, feelings and opinions about her ideas in her book.
With your background especially, I would to hear your reaction. I think there are answers in the field of Biology and Microbiology that Chemistry and Physics do not quite do the same job with.

As always, I look forward to hearing (and seeing) the success in your tank and in your attempt to find answers to the 'mystery' of your tank.

:photo:
 

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Congrats !!!

I'm fairly new to planted tanks, but I'm also trying to follow the Walstad book of low tech planted aquariums. However with that being said, I don't think an aqua-scaped tank with specificly featured *stuff* is going to work well with the low tech approach outlined in this book.............. mind you that's only my in-experienced take on it so far after getting most of the way through that excellent book. But one think I've noted is that the headaches of those setting up and achieving stable NPT seem to be a lot less then the high-tech tanks........... then again, it all depends on your goals and what you want for your tank.
 

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This latest stuff is what I described earlier when I thought I was winning vs. the brown algae. The classical stuck-on-the-leaf diatoms that are a pain, but easily rubbed off turned into this junk. There are still a few diatoms around, but this is the main issue at the moment. It looks like a filamentous, very soft, brown algae. It kind of looks like snot strung all over the tank, pardon my french.

It doesn't have a real strong smell - certainly nothing like BGA. It's not foul, but not exactly plesant either. It's certainly most prevalent around the substrate in areas with little light. I'm starting to wonder if the eco complete isn't somehow a factor. My SMS tank is perfectly happy at the moment.

I'd much rather get the tank transitioned over to something that I recognize like GSA or even BBA (never thought I'd say that!). I know how to kill that stuff.

I'll try massive light and CO2 for a few days. Worst case scenario is that I need to do a 3 day blackout at the end of it.

Per the algae finder - grey slime supposedly shows up with low nitrate levels and poor curent. I suppose this is possible, but it would mean that my Lamotte kit would need to be off by a considerable margin. I haven't calibrated it in an age. I just got all new reagents too. The tank hasn't been under 15 ppm NO3 since being set up and I've been checking 2-3 times per week. There is enough current in the tank to impress just about anyone - I don't think that's it.

Maybe I'll get some distilled water to do a little test kit checking.

My suspicion is that things will eventually work themselves out. As far as I can tell, the tank parameters should be ok:

CO2 - just calibrated my controller again, should be plenty
circulation - WAY more than in my 46g, which looks great at the moment
nitrates - between 15-20 ppm per Lamotte
phosphates - between 2 and 3 ppm per Lamotte
KH - 14 at the moment, moves upward after WC's - probably due to eco complete
GH - usually about 3-4 degrees more than KH, Ca/Mg ratio is about 3.5:1 per Lamotte
Temp - 76
light - 7 hrs/day 3.3 wpg
micros - TMG & Flourish Fe every other day 0.5 cc/gal/week TMG and 0.5 cc/gal/week Flourish Fe
UV sterilizer 15W which runs 24/7 - helping or hurting - who knows?
go figure.....
I'm tired too fight with this algea :D

Possibly You are right about Eco Complete substrate.
I have diatoma where Eco substrate present with gravel and with same water(not so bad tap water) in second tank just with gravel no any diatoms.

Maybe Eco Complete is full with silicates ?
Also they don't tell, but thsi substrate realy buffer water and raise PH, can last over 1 month and more.
 
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