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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been struggling with this for months. I pull it out by the handful every week. It has taken over everything. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of it? It appears white and stringy. When I pull it out it has a rough feel and is green when clumped together. Even though I try to get it all, it still comes back as strong as ever. I have tried lights out, fertilizing, not fertilizing, CO2 fert to 6.0 pH, non-CO2 to 8.o pH. Not sure what else to try. Lighting is 2-4' T5 HO and 2-4' Actinic. Tank is a 90 gal.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
OK, I give up.

If I start again, how can I make sure that I have killed all of the algae that may still be in the gravel, driftwood, plants, etc. Is there a way to sanitize everything to make sure it is a clean start?
I had a tank once that every time I tried a new start it produced Spyrogyria every time! No other tank did this. I finally had to get rid of the tank. I don't want to do this as I have too much money tied up in this system and want to replace as little as possible.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. My low tech tanks do fine. This is the first high tech tank I have tried and so far it's a disaster!
 

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Don't give up just yet. To me it looks like a type of cyanobacteria, due to a chronic nitrate shortage. I had it briefly when I got lazy one week of not dosing. You need to dose Nitrogen, siphon out as much of that stuff possible. I'm sure at your stage over-dosing nitrogen might not work. I would get a UV sterilizer. And run that for a couple weeks. Hope that helps.

Grey slime does not appear to be an alga at all, but rather a cyanobacteria similar to the 'BGA' we all know and love. It varies in color from greenish to a dark grey.

Grey slime may appear as upward growing strands, as a coating on the edge of a leaf, and as what looks like floating mucus. It can pearl heavily and with its rapid growth, can totally smother a plant. When disturbed, this cyanobacteria disolves into a greyish haze in the water.
How to Treat: Grey slime is induced by chronic nitrate shortage, and one will often notice the presence of BGA preceding its appearance. Adding pressurized co2, replacing old light bulbs, and letting the total plant mass in the tank get out of control are all things that can make nitrate levels crash if care is not taken when these kinds of things are done. It is relatively difficult to combat once present, as raising nitrates to proper levels rarely works.

Prevention is the best medicine, so a good nitrate test kit and adequate fertilization go a long way.

If it does show up, there are not many ways to get rid of grey slime. The most effective method is to do a blackout lasting about four days. Doing that in conjunction with a diatom filter and several large water changes definitely helps.

An ultraviolet sterilizer may work, but it may have negative effects on trace elements in the water column. For that reason, it should only be left on temporarily.

A final option that does not work as often is to totally rescape and clean out the tank. It's somewhat of a mystery as to why that works, but it may be that it shocks the slime in some way.

Dosing the tank with erythromycin does not appear to be effective.
 

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Also the 2-4' Actinic bulbs are for coral reef tank applications. This most definetly could be also be contributing to your issues. Actinic Bulbs are on the wrong side of the light spectrum closer to 20k which plants can not optimize.
 

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The cyanobacteria I am familiar with grows in continuous mats like a piece of celophane plastic and has bubbles trapped under it. It usually doesn't grow anywhere near fast currents which results in it growing along the substrate 99% of the time. Cyano doesn't typically grow over plants more than an inch tall.

If this is a new type of cyanobacteria then it will probably be affected by antibiotics or higher nitrate levels (as the original cyano doesn't like higher nitrate levels).

The algae in the picture looks like thread algae to me though which is also nitrate related. Check your nitrates and other values and make sure they are at the recommended levels.

How are your plants doing and what is your dosing regiment?

One last thing: there is no way to sanitize a tank of algae, your will always have algae spores lingering in the tank even when there is no visible algae. This is fine and quite normal. The way to have no algae problems is to learn more about the nutrients that plants require for healthy growth. For some still not well understood reason when plants grow healthily and flourish algae remains dormant regardless of what the fertilizer levels are (within reason of course).

The first step to fixing this algae problem is for you to do some water tests and let us know what the nitrate, and phosphate levels are, and then what you are doing for CO2 and lighting. Don't be discouraged and shut down tanks - it isn't the answer!!

Oh and Jeff is correct the 20,000 K bulbs you are using aren't suited for plants, don't go above 10,000 K with freshwater plants.
 

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I have some Mopani Driftwood from Foster&Smith as well, in my 10g tank that I just set up. I have something growing off of it similar to what you have, just not as bad. On parts, it looks clear stringy like that, and on others, covers the drift wood like a web.
 

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I have been struggling with this for months. I pull it out by the handful every week. It has taken over everything. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of it? It appears white and stringy. When I pull it out it has a rough feel and is green when clumped together. Even though I try to get it all, it still comes back as strong as ever. I have tried lights out, fertilizing, not fertilizing, CO2 fert to 6.0 pH, non-CO2 to 8.o pH. Not sure what else to try. Lighting is 2-4' T5 HO and 2-4' Actinic. Tank is a 90 gal.
Try the hydrogen peroxide test. Hit it with hydrogen peroxide from a syringe. If it is a type of fungus, it should die within hours of being hit. If it is Spyrogyria , then the a few repeated shots of HP may weaken it enough to kill it. When I first set up one of my tanks, this stuff materialized in my tank but it was not as bad as your outbreak. I hit it with some hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide(few repeated shots over several days), appeared to weaken it and it eventually went away.
 

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I have some Mopani Driftwood from Foster&Smith as well, in my 10g tank that I just set up. I have something growing off of it similar to what you have, just not as bad. On parts, it looks clear stringy like that, and on others, covers the drift wood like a web.
You need to boil driftwood when you get it to kill whatever may be living on it.
 
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