string algae can't stop it?

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Postby hamburger » 2006-01-25 07:06

I'm sick of this string algae growing on my plants! I've tried pulling it off with my fingers and with a brush. My nitrate levels are great but it's getting worse. Someone must know how to stop it. PLEASE :gulp:
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Postby saracen » 2006-01-25 09:35

When I had this problem, I was advised to remove as much as you possibly can mechanically, pull off with your fingers, then get into it with a clean new tooth brush. Comb through it and twist the brush so that you are pulling and brushing at the same time.

If you have live plants, remove badly infected leaves that wont come clean from the brushing.

Then do a massive water change. 50-60%. Be careful doing this, and remeber to dechlor and perhaps something like prime or amquel would be good to use as well, because you may disturb your bacteria colonies doin huge water changes.

Hair/stringy algae grows really quickly, so you may have to do this every 2-3 days to try to kill off the growth.

It gets fed by an overabundance of disolved organics and nutrients in your water, so you should look at the feeding regime/plant fert regime to check that you are not overfeeding or overdosing.

Hope this helps, I did this for about a fortnight, and managed to get it gone. The next step would have been to black out the tank, but thankfully, it didn't come to that!

Good luck!
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Postby Indigo Blue Fish » 2006-01-25 09:36

More plants. A fast grower.
That's all I can reccommend.
Or maybe a snail - but that'll eat your plant too...
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-25 11:21

If you have a light timer, then four hours on and four off is suggested by some experts. The chances are it is a phosphate problem. This nasty comes in via your tap water. What this implies is that every time you do a WC you are replenishing the nutrients for the algae. You can get a test kit for it. I have one produced by Dry Tab. It would be a good idea to invest in one just to see if you do have a problem with phosphate. Going back to the 4 on 4 off method, this would involve a black out of the tank as exposure to daylight would defeat the object. At the end of the day what ever your cause unless eliminated at source the problem will be a recurring one, not what you want to hear. Here are some of the methods recommended by different sources. (in no order)

Replenished RO/distilled watter, heavily planted, algae eaters (fish, snails), UV sterilization, chemical absorption/filtration (phossorb, nitrasorb), reduced lighting levels and lastly, keeping to a regular maintainence schedule.
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Postby hamburger » 2006-01-25 11:40

Mick e. t. wrote:UV sterilization, chemical absorption

I do have that UV sterilizor that came with my new tank I think I will hook that up to this one if you think it will help? Can you go into a little more detail Mick as to how that would work and also how doing 4 hrs off and on lighting would help.

I have been doing very regular 20% water changes I will keep in mind the massive water change recomended and the fast growing plants.

Advice on snails would be good too. <span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:red'>thanks </span></span>Image
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Postby Indigo Blue Fish » 2006-01-25 11:51

Snails are easy - ask Kat.
She sent me some, I popped them in a tank with plants, feed them a chunk of cucumber every day, and voila - happy snails.

Canna snails get to about 3 in, apples about 2.
They are both either male or female, so you can keep one on it's own without ending up with millions!
Mind you, they appear to have voracious appetites, so be prepared to buy extra plants.
(But cucumber does appear to keep them distracted)
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Postby KittyKat » 2006-01-25 13:30

if you want snails that look nice and will deal with the algae, your best bet are brigs (apples). canas will eat the plants.
you can't keep ANY snails with loaches, so they can't go into the clown tank.
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-25 13:57

In the list of algae controllers there was of course the proprietary brands of chemical removal agents. They were omitted for the reason that they advocate the removal of plants whilst treatment is being carried out. What they do not say is that by putting the plants* back you are restoring the status quo. (*The original plants).

Now to elaborate on the use of UV. It will be found that manufactures of UV/S/C/F's all state there ability to control green water by UV radiation. Green water is cause by water born algae cells which are not necessarily related to the one in question, albeit the cells for that one will be there as well and will be destroyed/killed. What is often said by many is that UV's don't work in eliminating algae, correct, but only in as much that they wont get rid of established colonies of fixed growth. (The same applies to established bacteria). So why bother to install a UV, well it does act as a control and in a new system can prevent algae of all types getting a hold. Whether I've thrown any more light (pun not intended) on this subject, well that's for you to decide. I will say that in the short term use of UV's you are not likely to see any results. In the long term, yes you will.

Interestingly marine keepers are advised to maintain a growth of algae in/on one rock. Only suggested on the appearance of algae and done by removing and sterilising all rocks bar one but hey that's Kev's dept.
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-25 14:12

4 on, 4 off as a control for algae works as a disruptor to the life cycle. Dependant on what plants you have they wont be to happy with this method but as a rule will recover where as the algae is purported not to.
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Postby hamburger » 2006-01-26 06:59

Mick e. t. wrote: 4 on, 4 off as a control for algae works as a disruptor to the life cycle.

OK I've already removed loads of leaves that were badly effected now I'm going to try a massive water change and if that doesn't work do the 4x4. I've decided to install the UV clarifier in the new tank where I have a chance of fending it off before it begins thanks. :gulp:
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-26 11:24

Whoa, don't be to hasty with that WC, you said massive, make it no more than 40 to 50%, or you could stand a chance of upsetting your friendly bacteria
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Postby hamburger » 2006-01-26 11:37

Mick e. t. wrote: Whoa, don't be to hasty with that WC, you said massive, make it no more than 40 to 50%,

50% will be massive for me as I'm used to doing regular 20%'s. I got two apple snails this morning and put them in the tank (don't have any loaches in it thanks for that advice). I bought new pipe for my new tank and fitted the UV Clarifier and that brings me to my next question. I don't know if I should make a new post or just ask here. I'll start by just asking here..... It's a Tetratec UV400/UV5 when it's working should I be able to see a visable light and if I remove the bulb from the housing should it still be lit? I can't see anything and I've tried two bulbs! If not how do I know it's working? :gulp:
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Postby Mick e. t. » 2006-01-26 11:54

Not familiar with this make but as a rule they normally have an indicator light, other than that try it with tank and room lights out. <span style='color:red'>Warning!!!</span> Do not expose your eyes to the UV light.
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Postby -Rambler- » 2006-01-26 20:25

I agree with the mechanical removal first. PWCs every other day for a week to remove/dilute built up organics/nutrients. I have done a blackout for a week with a heavy, strong light plant load with no harm. To my supprise the plants actually grew quicker then normal. Photsynthesis ,technical scientific boring answer to that. Also Oto cats and especially "true" SAE will help. Stay away from other aisin algae eaters, they don't eat much algae and become aggressive. The True Siamese Algae Eater ( sometimes called siamese flying fox) is not aggressive and eats any and all algae. The hardest thing is identifying them because there are similar looking ones that are often mislabeled by pet stores. If you do a search I'm sure you can come up with a comparison chart. Another option is do what it takes to make your plants grow at a good pace so they out compete the algae. I think molly's also eat algae. One thing with algae eaters is let them do there work, no need to supplement the diet with wafers that overfeed them, they get lazy then.
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Postby Mike@AmazonAquatics » 2006-01-29 14:48

What level of nitrates have you got? 99 times out of 100 reduce the nitrates and the algae will go, simple as that...

Is it string algae (aka blanketweed, long green strands wrapped around everything in the tank), or hair algae (shorter brown, green, or black, strands growing all around and over the leaves of rosette plants e.g. Amazon Sword)?

String algae is most probably a nitrate problem, but could also be too much light, you often see it in ponds in the summer months.

Hair algae might be a lighting + nutrient problem, seems to occur most often where people are adding liquid plant fertilisers to the water, substrate fertilisers are much better... and more logical if you think about it.

Floating and/or fast growing stemmed plants might be a good solution to cut down light and/or nutrients, better that than spending lots of time and money on nitrate removing chemicals/sponges etc...
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