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Thread: Green hair algae\N03

  1. #1
    Bumple
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    Default Green hair algae\N03

    Hi,

    Been having a heck of a time with green hair algae. Well I contacted this really interesting shrimp guy I met awhile ago, and this is what he told me

    'Green hair algae is the most common type of algae that we find in the aquarium. It comes from a imbalance of nutrients, but mostly because of too little NO3. Check your NO3, I bet you have 0. Add some NPK and pluck away the hair algae that you see.'

    Is this the same experience that you guys have had? If hair algae comes from too little NO3, how can you get more? Isnt NO3 supposed to be very low in a shrimp tank? Does anyone have experience with getting a balanced level so that the hair algae stays away, but the shrimp are still safe?

    Also, anyone have any idea what 'NPK' is? Ill ask him next time I talk to him

    Thanks a lot everyone

    Nat

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    Senior retardo's Avatar
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    Your guy is right about your tank being out of balance, but there could be a number of other factors causing the hair algae. Algae (all types) love imbalanced tanks and will take any opportunity to overrun your tank. Different types will show up depending on the conditions.

    NPK refers to the macronutrients plants need to thrive--Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and K (potassium)--in addition to CO2 (Carbon - C). Micronutrients (Ca, Mg, Fe, B, etc.) will also affect the balance but to a much lesser degree. Lighting intensity, photoperiod, and height of light to your plants also may be part of the problem. Due to time constraints, I cannot write up a detailed attack plan. I will try to get back to it tonite.

    Do you inject CO2? I'm guessing that you don't dose NPK and micros.

    Meanwhile you can check out these websites on algae:

    Algae Guide
    Aquarium Algae Blogspot

  3. #3
    Bumple
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    Thanks for the reply and links Retardo.

    No I havent been dosing macros or micros, I really wouldnt know where to begin.

    I should give more details.

    My lighting is 2x T5 56w, and 2x T8 36w
    Aquarium is 450l Juwel Vision

    I do dose Co2, for 4 hours a day, at maybe a bubble a second. I use a ceramic diffusor (which I heard isnt up to par considering the aquariums large size).

    I have the lights on a timer, 12 hours a day.

    One thing I learned from one of those websites you sent, was that my Co2 should be on a couple hours before the lights come on, I didnt know that. Will change that immediately.

    Also, I have a soul substrate, under the sand. And it has been stirred up a little a few times, perhaps that has something to do with the problem.

    In the tank, 21 CRS CBS, bunches of malaysian trumpet snails, 8 zebra nerite snails, some Assassin snails, and 4 otos.

    Should also add that the plant growth has been very slow. I have some HC Cuba in there that is almost not growing at all.

    Thanks for the help Retardo, I really appreciate it. Sucks when you have a gorgeous aquarium in your mind, but in reality you have a hairy mess. Im such a noob that it hurts.

    Nat

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    Senior retardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumple View Post
    Thanks for the reply and links Retardo.

    No I havent been dosing macros or micros, I really wouldnt know where to begin.
    Google "estimative index" or "EI dosing" and study up on it. There is a wealth of information. EI is based on the premise of providing NPK and micros so that any plants you have are not nutrient-limited and, therefore, balanced. It is also a good long term cure for algae. I've been using EI for about 2 years and all my plants are algae free.

    I should give more details.

    My lighting is 2x T5 56w, and 2x T8 36w
    Aquarium is 450l Juwel Vision

    I have the lights on a timer, 12 hours a day.
    450L is approximately 120G (US). With the amount of wattage you have about 1.5wpg, which is considered low-moderate lighting with T5s and T8s. Given this, I do not believe lighting is the main issue. I suspect that the light intensity drops off significantly as it reaches the bottom of the tank. BTW, how high is the tank? 20-24"?

    12 hour is a long photoperiod. With the rest of the tank out of balance, it is driving more algae growth.

    I do dose Co2, for 4 hours a day, at maybe a bubble a second. I use a ceramic diffusor (which I heard isnt up to par considering the aquariums large size).
    I assume your system is pressurized CO2. DIY in general cannot create enough back pressure to push CO2 through the ceramic disc. And, yes, that is a very low bubble rate for the size of the tank. Diffusing it directly into the tank is not enough. You should have a powerhead or other mechanism to blow the CO2 all around the tank.

    The amount of time that CO2 is injected is really a personal choice. I schedule mine to turn on/off with the lights. Some folks run it 24/7. Still others turn it on 2 hours before and leave it running 1 hour after lights out. You will want to figure what works for you.

    The bubble rate can probably be significantly increased without harm to fish or shrimp, but you want to be able to gauge how much CO2 you are injected. A CO2 drop checker with 4dKH solution and pH reagent will help you in this respect OR you could determine the pH and KH and use a table to determine the ppm of CO2 you have in your tank. There is a direct relationship between pH, KH, and CO2 concentration. You want to target 20-30ppm of CO2. Most folks I know target 30ppm.

    Not enough CO2 in a tank is a good recipe for algae. Algae loves poorly circulated tanks and will grow where they want.

    One thing I learned from one of those websites you sent, was that my Co2 should be on a couple hours before the lights come on, I didnt know that. Will change that immediately.
    Commented on above. However, one big thing to note. If you up CO2, you should be upping NPK and micros at the same time. If CO2 goes up with no other changes, you will see a lot of deficiencies showing up in your plants (e.g., holes in leaves (K deficiency), dieoff of plants, etc.). Everything needs to be tweaked at the same time, and not one thing at a time. I would suggest possibly turning off the CO2 until you figure out exactly how to proceed.

    Also, I have a soul substrate, under the sand. And it has been stirred up a little a few times, perhaps that has something to do with the problem.
    Not sure what a soul substrate is? If you do stir up the substrate frequently though, you may be pulling things that were "locked" in the substrate out and indeed may have something to do with algae blooms and also bacterial blooms (cloudy water). Don't disturb the substrate if you can help it.

    In the tank, 21 CRS CBS, bunches of malaysian trumpet snails, 8 zebra nerite snails, some Assassin snails, and 4 otos.
    With life forms in the tank already, you will want to make these adjustments slowly. Increasing ferts will increase the TDS of the tank, and if done too suddenly, may be catastrophic.

    Should also add that the plant growth has been very slow. I have some HC Cuba in there that is almost not growing at all.

    Thanks for the help Retardo, I really appreciate it. Sucks when you have a gorgeous aquarium in your mind, but in reality you have a hairy mess. Im such a noob that it hurts.

    Nat
    Plant growth is slow for many reasons, but mostly the lack of consistent CO2 and the nutrients to grow. Re: HC, it will grow in lower light (likes higher light though) but likes CO2 to grow well.

    Once you figure out how it all goes together, the algae will go away and you will have a beautiful lush, planted tank. Good luck.

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    In the meantime, you could try a 3-day black out to eradicate/lessen the hair algae.

    CO2 off. Lights off. Cover tank with towel or something else so that no light enters the tank whatsoever. Remove as much of the hair algae as you can manually/mechanically (i.e., toothbrush). If you need to cut off the tips of some plants, do it. Using a pipette or other apparatus, spot treat with Seachem Excel or similar product. Use more than the recommended dosage (2x or more). With a tank as large as 120G, the dilution will be significant and not likely cause any harm to your fauna. Increase NPK if you have it.

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    I recently did a 3 day black out on my 300L with a bad hair algae problem, it has worked a treat. 98% went.

  7. #7
    Bumple
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    Ok going to read up on EI

    For now,
    -decreasing lighting to 10 hours per day,
    -uping C02 to 6 hours, 4 bubbles per second, also placed diffuser under intake so that the bubbles get sucked in and spit out all over the tank
    -adding fert, not sure exactly what Im adding, but I asked the guy and he said its shrimp safe

    I really dont want to do a full blackout at the moment. Would be up for it any other time, but my CRS are berried right now, for the first time ever, and Ive been waiting like a little kid before Christmas for 2.5 weeks now and I just cant bear to put the stress of a blackout on them. I desperately want to see those little guys hatch and grow a bit first.

    Thanks for all of the help!

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    Bumple
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    Quote Originally Posted by retardo View Post
    I suspect that the light intensity drops off significantly as it reaches the bottom of the tank. BTW, how high is the tank? 20-24"?
    Forgot to answer this, yes, tank is 64cm high, about 25 inches

  9. #9
    Bumple
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    Ok I think I am finally getting to the bottom of this.

    Lighting is now from 8-12, then 5-10.

    CO2 is running from 8AM to 10PM. Maybe 4 bubbles per second.
    Also diddled a bit with the CO2 diffusor. Before I had it placed under the intake for my filter. Some of the CO2 would get sucked in there and then spit out again. Now I ran the CO2 diffusor inside of the filter box right by the intake. Seems like CO2 is being much better distributed now. I think this might have been key to this hair algae problem.

    That is really all I have done so far, but am noticing that the algae isn't growing as fast. I think I am on the right path. I may not get the amano shrimp to help with hair algae afterall.

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