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Hello, all. I am new to this site and...well...while I'm not a grizzled old pro with tanks, I know a little bit, but I'm having a problem with my planted tank.

I have a normal 55 gallon tank. The substrate is 50% flourite, 50% inert black gravel. Tank decorations are three largish pieces of driftwood and a chunk of what looks like volcanic rock. These were purchased at reputable fish stores, not picked up at my local lake. *wink* The lighting is...well...I forget the brand name. It says 'GLO' on the light. It is a 110 watt light which provides roughly two watts per gallon. Plants in the tank are Anubias, Java Fern, two young amazon swords and a couple of other things that I forget the name of...and the sad remnants of some water wisteria that didn't make it. The tank has an Aquaclear filter with only sponge in it, rated for a 75 gallon tank.

It's a populated tank, and probably overpopulated, I'm sure. I have neons, a few cherry barbs, several sword tails, a few of which I will probably be putting up on Craig's list soon as they like to breed, of course, a couple of cory cats, a couple of dojo loaches and one young pleco.

Here's the problem. Water clarity, ammonia, and nitrite are pristine. The nitrate levels are acceptable for the most part, although I could stand to stay on top of the water changes better. However, I have fuzzy plants. I have algae growing all over my plants and I'm not sure what to do about it. The pleco takes care of the algae on the walls of the tank and is a fat, happy little sucker. Now, I am thinking it is one of two things, or maybe both, but I'd like some advice from those smarter and more versed in these things than I.

I think, first of all, that I might need CO2 for the plants I'm keeping and the amount of light I have. I went with two watts per gallon intending to keep medium to lower light plants, trying to avoid having to do CO2, but if it is needed I can look into getting something. The other possiblity is that there just may be too much nutrients in the tank from fish waste, maybe too much flourite, not enough water change, etc.

Any advice would be welcome. I'm moving soon and thinking about redoing some of the stuff in the tank, as well as putting myself on a stricter regime for water changes. I'd also like some advice on what can be kept in a tank with two watts per gallon plant wise. I love water wisteria, but I'm obviously doing something wrong as it never survives long. *sigh*

Thanks all, and especially for anyone willing to read my incredibly long post. :)
 

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Will I have a couple of questions first.

How long has the tank been setup?
How long do you run the lights per day?
Can you give a discription of the algea you have is it hair algea black beard aglea or brown algea?
You are not heavily planted so are you adding any ferts to the water?
what are the PH Temp KH of the water.
 

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The tank has been set up for a year. it had been set up prior to that, but we moved and that always triggers a mini cycle at least. The lighting is newish, though. It has only had appropriate lighting for about six months. I run the lights eleven hours a day. They're set up on an automatic timer. The algae is dark green and fuzzy, growing about 1/8 of an inch from the surface of the plant leaves. I do not use ferts besides the flourite in the gravel. The algae grows on the gravel, rocks and driftwood as well, but I am most concerned about the plants because the anubias at least is developing holes in the leaves as though the algae is eating it, not to mention it looks horrible. Java fern doesn't seem to like it either, although the amazon swords just look fuzzy and don't seem to otherwise care. lol

I am not sure what my PH and KH are. I think I have test kits for them, though. I will test them as soon as I find the kits. The temp is 23 degrees celcius/75 degrees farenheit.
 

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I would def say do more water changes, sounds like you may want to do a gravel clean too . and the algea, yes you need to find the source, but a great help is a true sae, or a few otoos do well too . I would say your plant list, and your lighting sounds very low light and you shouldent need' co2, but you could add diy co2 fairly cheap & easy and see if that helps the algea outbreak, another thing to get rid' of algea, if it is black , you can take a bottle of excel, and dose it straight on the algea like with a dropper, or you can pull the infected plants out, scrape as much off as you can, and you can dose it with perioxide, (yes I know sounds scary, but do a little research, I hear great things about it and black beared and other algea ..LOL If you do any liqiud ferts your plants like pottassium, and trace. excel is always good, and a double dose of excel helps rid of most algea too, but as I metioned, you really need to find your source' too. or it will just come back . are there any windows around any direct sunlight >? I would cut out any of that if you have any . a background, or whatever . for the wisteria to melt there is a lack of nutrient somewhere... so I would def do the gravel clean , get out alot of the yucky muck, not all ofcorse... then do 50% Water changes 2wice a week, and dose what you wish for your algea, see how this works after a mth . HTH ~~~
 

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OO< also I just remebered, ck your water flow, make sure the plants are all getting a fair amount of movement, add a powerhead for a few weeks see if that helps !!!
 

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I went through algae stages and found that most of the time once the tank balances out it will stablize....after a year though makes me think your nitrates maybe too much?? also check your tap water before doing lots of water changes as this will INCREASE algae.....i would NOT mess around with your gravel.....get close to it when water changing and only suck up what floats up....by disturbing the gravel you are taking the nutrients out that the plants need for roots...excessive debris on top is a problem. 110 watts of light you should be using C02 and then add some fast growing plants.


Doug
 

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the best way to grow great algea free plants is the water changes, this is the key.

It took me a long time to get it, but now that I stay on top of my water changes, 20% a week is the most used one . but when you have a problem and you have algea you sometimes need to dose more ferts, in which case at the emnd of the week would be alot in the water hence more water change would be nessisary . IMHO I have had many many tanks, and still have 10 set up and running . My plant tank gets algea every now & then mostly green spot from too much light' , and right now I can only afford the diyco2, so it doesent stay at a even level. I would think your tank would benefit from co2, and that should def be somthing you try . again , please do atleast' 20% water changes every week, then your plants can get rid of old, and grow new nice green leaves. please tell us where you are, how is the tank ? and can you upload a pic ? I am willing to help all I can . I am not a guru. but I have spent the last 15 years with tanks, and the last 5 years reserching planted tanks. hope I can be of some help .
 

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the best way to grow great algea free plants is the water changes, this is the key.

It took me a long time to get it, but now that I stay on top of my water changes, 20% a week is the most used one . but when you have a problem and you have algea you sometimes need to dose more ferts, in which case at the emnd of the week would be alot in the water hence more water change would be nessisary . IMHO I have had many many tanks, and still have 10 set up and running . My plant tank gets algea every now & then mostly green spot from too much light' , and right now I can only afford the diyco2, so it doesent stay at a even level. I would think your tank would benefit from co2, and that should def be somthing you try . again , please do atleast' 20% water changes every week, then your plants can get rid of old, and grow new nice green leaves. please tell us where you are, how is the tank ? and can you upload a pic ? I am willing to help all I can . I am not a guru. but I have spent the last 15 years with tanks, and the last 5 years reserching planted tanks. hope I can be of some help .
I agree with this poster except for the massive water changes....i would FIRST test your water supply...then you can follow suit the best way that will work for you. my water supply has high phosphates and is a major contribution to my algae blooms....for me LESS water changes and light feedings did the trick

Doug
 

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hi,

a newbie too, but this is what i did when an algae attack my 4x2x2ft tank past few mths. maybe u can give it a try. bought some ghost shrimps (a dozen i think), 3 golden algae eater (1 died) n 2 baby brown spot plecos. within days, algaes from plants, glass, driftwoods cleaned up. they also ate up all the leftovers fish foods.

shrimps now carrying her eggs, plecos and gae grown bigger and sure adds up to the variety of the tank and no algae prob. anyway mine is a laterite n gravel substrate, 2x55wat pl lights, 1000lph cannister filter, no co2 tank.

also add up some duckweeds (they multiply fast n i had to give them away when it looks looks like its a bit too much for me). good in absorbing those extra nutrients in the water.
jus my experience so far...
all the best!!

cheers!
 

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flybaits, have you witnessed the GAE eating algae? IME they don't touch it, grow much bigger than wanted, and end up eating the slime coat off of your other fish, eventually killing them and becoming aggressive towards everything. If I were you, I would take them back.
 

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yup seen them on the glass tank surface, my gravels (pebbles infected cleaned back to the original colours - n i ve seen them doin it meself) n driftwoods. so far so good n to date no fishes bein harassed. peaceful creatures. anyway thanks for the advice n i ll keep a watch. i mean if they ever touch my loaches etc, i ll make sure they pay!lol...

thanks again.

cheers!
 

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It sounds like you have hair algea.... you can treat it a couple of ways... Seachems excel fert does a great job on it after a couple doses... but it good for your plants. You can use a florida flag fish will clean that up in real nice. Also 11 hours is to long for the intense light. 8 to 9 works will depending on how much light come into the room. The problems with holes in the leaves from my experience are caused by fish nipping or the need for ferts for the plants.
 

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yes I only use my lights between 5 to 8 hours max, and the excel spot treatment will work great with the bba, I agree tottally !! and also the holes in plants usually in my case means I need to dose more pottasium, just my HO< HTH ~~~

O and I also agree about the gae, I would get a few true' sae's they do great !! I love these guys .. you are talking about a differnt kind then that right >? if it is the flying fox, those guys het huge, and lazy, and yes some get mean and territorial .
 

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I have found most algae is caused by an imbalance in the tank, ferts, light, co2 and water changes. Since I started EI dosing and using co2 (whether its diy, pressurized or just excel) and 50% water changes each week, all algae is basically nil.
 

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flying fox are great. flying fox and the TRUE SAE are the only "algae eaters" that actually eat algae. CAE and GAE dont touch the algae IME, and even though they have the sucker mouths, they dont really do anything to it.
 

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From my personal experience SEA work will for awhile but they quickly learn that you are going to feed them and then stop eating tank algea... also they become aggressive towards other fish, to the point they have taken a hunk of the body off other fish. Which is a great time from more problems. Try Otto Cats they do a better job and are so passive that in heavly planted tank they are hard to find. Also the bio load they put on the tank is so low. they work 23 hours at cleaning and sleep 1 hour. Thye are very common and can find them at any chain store as long as it the rainy season in the Amazon. These are a great fish and should be included in any tank maintenace crew.
 
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