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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I had a little problem with algae in my tank. There has been a bit of a recuring BGA on my gravel lately. Also, I had a problem wiht my CO2 taday and it was off all day so I left the light off. Its my 10 gallon, 3 wpg diy CO2(see post in DIY section) and all the necessary ferts, finally. I was unable to test my water tonight due to time restraints but as of sunday all were withing normally accepted levels. Today, I got home from work, turned on the light to check the tank an work on the CO2 setup and the gravel had three times the BGA and even what appears to be some green hair or maybe thread algae all over the gravel. I just dosed Saturday with a 50% wc and was goig to check nutrient levels, add as necessary and dose 1 ml of Flourish. I assume the sudden sturt in algae growth to be the correct amount of nutrients in the tank but lack of photosynthesis from the plant due to the lack of light. There of course, was still ambient light from the room although no direct sunlight. I there anything I should do or will a couple good days of plant growth slow down the algae. SHould I do a wc as soon as I can or base my wc on my fert levels. I generally do a wc i fmy nitrates hit 10ppm. I just got the flourish and my first phosphate test so this part is pretty new to me. Should I just bite the bullet and do a 3 day black out? I am sure that is what Tom Barr would say. Any suggestions?
 

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Hi Dennis,

Sorry that the algae has hit your tank so badly. Tom Barr hopefully will chime in if he has the time.

He recommends dosing 10 ppm NO3 twice per week. With 50 % WCs, that means a maximum concentration of NO3 of 40 ppm if the plants aren't taking any in. You seem to be limiting your NO3 to 10 ppm or less.

Tom usually recommends 5 ml flourish per 20 gallons. That would mean 2.5 ml of flourish for your tank (twice per week). This single dose gives about .23 ppm. Current thnking is that 1 to 2 ppm Fe is better. So I would aim for 1 ppm Fe twice per week (12.5 ml Flourish twice per week).

PO4 shoud be between 1 to 2 ppm, twice per week.

And all these nutrients are to discourage algae!

Most important is your CO2. Are you checking your pH and KH to determine your CO2? Keep it between 20 and 30 ppm. If your DIY CO2 is not reliable, use a cylinder. All the dosing should be consistent.

Test kits (except for the CO2 determination) should not be used to figure out how much of a nutrient to add to a tank. T. B.'s estimative Index (is that what it is called?) is set up so you just add the nutrients on a schedule and the water change prevents overdosing. It is far better to have more than enough of a nutrient, than not enough.

You will be far better off if you get into a good schedule of dosing and put all your test kits away (except for pH and KH). Test kits should not be blindly trusted.

Sorry for the long discourse. It took me years to get all this down right. Tom Barr is right but you must follow his recommendations completely for them to work. Also sorry I can't help with the algae problem. I think Tom Barr recommends some reduction in nutrients as well as the blackout. I would not do the blackout until you have all the details, so you have the best chance of success. It might be good to search the APD archives for "Blackout". Also Tom usually recommends to remove as much algae and decayed organic matter as possible before a water change. He feels good hygiene helps. Generally, I find that all these nutrients do not promote the growth of algae, but you have to remove what is there by trimming, etc.

Good luck.

Steve Pituch
 

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At least BGA is one of the easier algae to deal with. Make sure you have enough of a flow rate in the tank. I would keep the No3 to 10ppm target until you get things under control. After that you can reduce to 5 ppm to try to get reds out of plants, etc.
 

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Dennis,

Look here:http://www.aquatic-plants.org/fert/est_index/est_index1.html. This is a link to the Dallas/Ft Worth Aquatic plant club which has published Tom's article on his 'Estimative Index', which Steve referred you to in the prior post.

BTW, I seem to have trouble getting this url linkage to work sometimes. If it doesn't work do a search for 'estimative index' and it will get you right there.
 

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Simply do a good cleaning up and removal of as much algae as you can followed by a large 50-70% water change. After the water change, dose 1/8 tsp of KNO3 back into the tank followed by a 3-5 day blackout depending on the seriousness of the BGA. Once the blackout is over, do a large water change again and then dose back all the nutrients especially the KNO3. Make sure it does not get bottom out again. DIY CO2 is a PITA if you ask me. It takes a lot of work to keep up with things especially with high light (Constant changing of brew to keep up the CO2). Drop the lights down to 2W/G would give you more room for error if things go sour. Hope that helps... :)
 

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I have to throw up a flag here.

Do not dose 10 ppm NO3 and 1-2 ppm PO4 twice per week. This macronutrient blast will only hurt instead of help --especially since your tank, lighted with 3 wpg of NO Flos, will not be capable of absorbing so many nutrients. Perhaps this nutrient regime would work in a tank with 4 wpg power compacts, but not these kinds of tanks.

The Flourish, also, is way too much and should be spread out throughout the week since the chelators in the Flourish start to break down as soon as the lights turn on.

I admit it. I dose by the test kit and by calculations. I am leery of adding such large amounts of fertilizers without actually knowing how much I have in the water column. I also dose every day, every nutrient (NP, Fe/micros) when the lights turn off in small amounts. I like to be consistent. My 4 wpg tank 'eats' about 0.8 ppm PO4 and 8 ppm NO3 every week. At every water change, I set the water column at 2 ppm PO4 and 10 ppm NO3... and add small, consistent amounts every day to keep these nutrients at these levels. I test twice per week --once before the water change and once in midweek just to make sure everything is on target. Gives me something to do between little study breaks at night. Better than eating junk food. ;) I've learned that Anubias are good indicators of my "ideal" conditions --when conditions are good, the Anubias show no spot algae even though they are inches away from 4 wpg (thanks for the tip cS, the higher phosphate really works!). You don't have to do this... but this is where I am coming from.

Remove all visible algae.

I would recommend setting your nutrients at 10 ppm NO3 and 2 ppm PO4 at your water change, and letting those nutrients slide through the rest of the week. Test about midweek to see how everything is going (dose as necessary to raise them back up to your target numbers). Dose your Flourish in small amounts throughout the week (say, 1 mL 4x a week should be a good base... you can gradually increase this amount until you no longer see any improvement in adding more...my rule of thumb).

Keep up on your CO2. Keep us updated!

My two cents,

Carlos
 

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Hey Dennis how is that tank? I'm curious as my 10 gallon has black hair algae also and I am working towards getting under control. I trim the leaves off the sag that have it and might give my narrow leaf java a bleach dip today. But I also have the crap growing on gravel inbetween the sag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mike, I don't have BBA i have BGA blue green:) Anyway, I have had your problem in the past though and you will get rid of it. I bleached a few of hte heartier plants but in general I found it went away as soona s I started dosing KNO3 My experience has taught me wiht BBA that it seems to go away with that right amounts of N in th ewater column. I still have soom of the BGA so maybe I will do a blackout soon. I got someplants in the mail and they were in shipment for a while so I am running my tank high to get up their strength before I do that. Ironicall now my tnak is going in the other direction. Most of the algae I had seems to be going away and my plants are growing like mad, which I attribute to dosing P and flourish. Actually I am starting to get some hair algae, probably from the high nutrients I am using. Anyway, thanks for asking and let me know how yours is coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mike, I don't have BBA i have BGA blue green:) Anyway, I have had your problem in the past though and you will get rid of it. I bleached a few of hte heartier plants but in general I found it went away as soona s I started dosing KNO3 My experience has taught me wiht BBA that it seems to go away with that right amounts of N in th ewater column. I still have soom of the BGA so maybe I will do a blackout soon. I got someplants in the mail and they were in shipment for a while so I am running my tank high to get up their strength before I do that. Ironicall now my tnak is going in the other direction. Most of the algae I had seems to be going away and my plants are growing like mad, which I attribute to dosing P and flourish. Actually I am starting to get some hair algae, probably from the high nutrients I am using. Anyway, thanks for asking and let me know how yours is coming.
 

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Dennis,

That sudden appearance of bluegreen algae wasn't due to any growth spurt, but due to its climbing out on top of the gravel the day the lights were out. It was there before, but mostly hidden under the gravel. BGA is mobile. The long strands can crawl about. I get rid of it with long dark periods combined with ramshorn snails and guppies. After it has been in the dark for a week or so, it becomes more edible, and the snails and the fish will go to work on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There seem to be opinions abound as to the cause of BGA. What is it? What does it really need, or love, to survive. I only get it one place. On the bare gravel directly in the middle of my tank in full 4.5 wpg (its a 10 gallon) My CO2 and fert levels are good, I think, and there is not much old organic material in the tank. Only 7 neon tetras and I feed every other day lately. The BGa is also in the spot where the current from the filter is best. A HOB penguin 125. I am good about filter maintainance canhing it every few weeks. Is it the improved oxygen from strong current, although I have heard current helps keep it away? That also does not make sense because my [email protected] goes into the filter input so that area is where co2 contretations should be highest. Is it because this area of the tank tends to get hte full shot of ferts first because I try to dose in the stream of the filter to help disperse it more? Is it that it gets full light? I dont have the BGA on any of the plants or under the plants. Only in this one are of higher light and not plants. What you said about it coming out of the gravel makes sense because it seems there is more in the morning at lights on that the night before at lights out. Would planting some foregroung plants in this area help control it? I have been wanting to try using some difformis as a foreground and I have some extra so maybe I'll give it a try. I have a few branches that I keep very low and I think it looks nice:)

Anyway, thanks.
 
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