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can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:53 pm

Hi, so I've had my 75 gallon up for well over a year. About a month ago I noticed green algae growing on the sand. Now about two weeks ago, I went in a new direction with my fish and got a red devil (3-4 inches). When I got the devil I switched to natural river gravel. Today I just noticed spots of very bright green algae. I don't know what's causing it. I do 40-50% water changes. My lights are just the standard fluorescent light and are on for about 8 hrs daily. I tested my water tonight and nitrite, nitrate and ammonia look good. So can any of you help me before this gets out of control?
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby DJRansome » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:02 am

Blue-green slimy algae? Your nitrate is too low. Things seem to work better when it's between 10ppm and 20ppm. You would only need 8 hours of lights if your tank is planted...is it?
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:12 am

No it's not planted. Seems more of almost a neon green kind of. I did read somewhere that algae benefits from constant light as in 8 straight hours much more than it does if you spread out the lighting...So what if I do 4hrs on, 2hrs off, then 4 on again? How do I go about having "some" nitrates, but not to much?
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby The Cichlid Guy » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:22 am

I run my lights 4 on, 4 off, 4 on, and it has helped cut way back on algae.

Too leave more nitrate, just slightly reduce the size of your water change.
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby BC in SK » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:27 am

DJRansome wrote:Blue-green slimy algae? Your nitrate is too low. Things seem to work better when it's between 10ppm and 20ppm.

Levels of Nitrogen may favour one type of algae over another just as higher levels of Nitrogen generally favour plants over algae. But low or high levels of Nitrogen do not "cause" algae.
And the low levels of nitrate may be the result of the algae using up ammonia or nitrate.
Generally, the lower the nitrate, the better the water quality is for the fish......so don't go trying to raise the level of nitrate by doing less water change on the mistaken notion that a higher level of nitrate is somehow going to get rid of algae :roll:
IMO, choices are 2-fold. Cut down on the amount of light. While it may not eliminate the algae, it will slow it's growth down.
#2. Consider getting some type of algae eater. Common pleco, CAE, or BN pleco. All will have there pluses and minuses in a 75 gal. with an RD/midas.

If you have sufficient light in a non planted aquarium that has been set up for some time..... generally there is probably something wrong if you are unable to grow any algae!
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:24 am

BC in SK wrote:IMO, choices are 2-fold. Cut down on the amount of light. While it may not eliminate the algae, it will slow it's growth down.
#2. Consider getting some type of algae eater. Common pleco, CAE, or BN pleco. All will have there pluses and minuses in a 75 gal. with an RD/midas.

If you have sufficient light in a non planted aquarium that has been set up for some time..... generally there is probably something wrong if you are unable to grow any algae!


Thank you for your help! So if I read what you said correctly, the fact that I have algae growing is actually a good thing because it means my water is
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:39 am

Sorry, I hit the submit button by accident...So according to what you said, algae growth actually means my water quality is at an ideal spot for my fish? I had thought about algae eaters but wasn't sure what direction to go. I thought that a common might get to big along with a devil in a 75. Thought maybe a BN isn't "tough" enough to be with a devil. Not really familiar with CAE, I'll have ti look into them. Also, do I not need to worry about added bio load since I do fairly large weekly water changes? What direction would you recommend? I have had both common and BN in the past so I'm comfortable with either one, just want to make the right decision. Thanks again!
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby BC in SK » Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:20 pm

My preference would be for a common pleco. Much better able to deal with the aggression of large cichlids. Also there armoured, so difficult to injure. Bear in mind that a lot more attention is directed towards a bottom feeder, when it is the only other inhabitant; not like a community tank where it maybe largely ignored and cichlid's generally focus on other cichlids. At a younger size, your RD/midas maybe more tolerant of it, but as it grows older become more aggressive towards it.
I've housed common pleco with my dovii X festae hybrid for over 6 years now. Had him in a 75 gal. for along time but moved them into a 125 almost 2 years ago. As time went on he became more and more aggressive to the pleco. I added another large (10") pleco from another tank, and now with the 2 of them in there, it's much better. There out and about now; not getting attacked and bitten so much. Having had many RD/midas in the past, I would say my dovii X festae hybrid is a MUCH more aggressive fish. If a pleco can live with that as it's lone tankmate, I think it stands pretty good chance with RD/midas !
dwl0222 wrote: Thought maybe a BN isn't "tough" enough to be with a devil.

Sometimes they aren't. If it has to hide all the time, then it is not doing well enough. There a much smaller fish and you may need a few of them to eat the same amount of algae that a common is able to eat. Having a few might help things out so that your RD/midas does not single out it's only tankmate.
dwl0222 wrote:Not really familiar with CAE, I'll have ti look into them.

Problem with a CAE is going to be finding one that is large enough and then growing it fast enough that it does not end up being swallowed whole, by the RD/midas. Unless your CAE is over 6", it has insufficient girth to prevent it being swallowed by a large midas/RD. have had many swallowed whole in the past by RD/midas and JD....even with a tail sticking out of their mouth for over a day. There skinny, so even if they are fairly long, they can still be swallowed whole!
dwl0222 wrote: Also, do I not need to worry about added bio load since I do fairly large weekly water changes?

If the tankmates are eating primarily algae, then it's really not adding to the bioload. What there eating is already in the system!
That is, unless you are feeding the tank significantly more....it depends on what you feed the tank!
Of course it is still good to do large weekly water changes, regardless of what you deide to do.


There is a third option that I failed to mention. Fast growing plants like elodea or hornworth could out compete the algae. A lot of times floating plants are not bothered so much by CA. Had some success with both these plants in the past, with large CA. IME, hornworth is prone to boom and bust; grows like crazy to begin with, then starts to die off and then get attacked by algae. I end up having to throw it out; have had much longer term success with elodea. But it's hit and miss with CA and certain plants; with nothing else to do your fish might spend too much time biting it up. No real way to predict with out actually trying it.
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:00 pm

Wow thanks so much for your help! I also would prefer a common but don't know what I would do with it when it gets too big haha. But I also don't want to get BN and have them get abused. So I guys it comes down to if I want to get 1 common or maybe 3 BN to disperse aggression. You said you would prefer the common so maybe I'll go that route if I can find a nice 6 or so inch one. You think that's a good size to aim for? I do have 2 giant danios in there as dithers, so maybe they will help keep some attention away. Id like to get a couple more danios but I dunno that I can find full sized ones...
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby DJRansome » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:59 pm

Chiming in. Zero nitrates are good for the fish but blue-green algae is usually not. I've also gotten blue-green algae in a planted tank when a fast growing plant (vallisneria in my case) sucked up all the nitrate...then started to die off giving the blue-green algae an opportunity.

BC in SK...what causes blue-green algae (bacteria) in a tank with no nitrates and no plant die-off?
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:58 pm

Here is a picture of the algae on my substrate. It's not much yet but Im hoping to stop it before it gets too bad. DJRansome, is this the blue green algae you speak of?



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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby DJRansome » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:10 pm

I can hardly see it...hard to tell, that's very little algae. I'd probably wait a bit to see if it gets better or worse before taking any action other than reducing the lights. I think you are doing a fine job! :thumb:
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby BC in SK » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:15 pm

DJRansome wrote:BC in SK...what causes blue-green algae (bacteria) in a tank with no nitrates and no plant die-off?

If the plants continue to grow and do well....you would not expect to see blue-green algae starting to take hold. The plants are already there and have a strong foothold and the "algae" not being yet established have the disadvantage. As long as there are fish in the tank there is a source of Nitrogen (as well as other nutrients). It comes from the food we put in the tank. Zero nitrates doesn't mean there is no source of Nitrogen....just that all the ammonia and nitrate is being utilized. With very low nitrates, some of the plants are probably doing well, while others are starving and have probably stopped growing/thriving. With some plants no longer growing, nor thriving as they once did, it's going to provide an opportunity for some kind of "algae'' to start up.
Some types of blue-green algae can use atmospheric Nitrogen. In most aquariums, Nitrogen is seldom a limiting nutrient, but if it is, it's one big advantage to some types of blue-green algae.
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby dwl0222 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:20 pm

Yeah I know...it's not much but it showed up overnight it seems and there is more like that throughout the tank. Its not quite as easy to see in the picture as in person. Like I said just wanted to get some thoughts before it got out of control rather than waiting till after...i may still get a pleco of some sort as a preventative measure as I was considering that anyway. Thank you both for your help, I do appreciate it. I'll keep an eye on it, keep up my water changes and lower my lighting time to see if that helps.
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Re: can't figure this green algae out...

Postby BC in SK » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:27 pm

DJRansome wrote: I'd probably wait a bit to see if it gets better or worse before taking any action other than reducing the lights.

I agree. Try reducing the amount of light, and see if that is enough to keep it from growing "out of control".
dwl0222 wrote:Image

IMO, looks to be blue green algae, though couldn't say that for sure as there really isn't too much there.
One thing about blue green algae is that it does not attach to surfaces all that well,so if it takes off and starts to grow rapidly, a good part of it can be siphoned away with a water change.
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