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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Running 2 tanks now. Both are 55g. And both constantly have green algae build-up on the tank and on the rocks. The water conditions are as follows:

pH 8
Nitrate 10-15ppm
kH 12-15
temperature 79

I have a large pleco in each tank. No plants. Lights run for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. The algae is green. I had the phosphates tested in the water, and they were low, but non-zero.

One tank has been established for about a year. The other for 6 months.

Is this "just the way it goes"? Or could there be an addressable cause here?

Thanks
 

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Algae in an established tank is very normal and difficult to avoid. Heavily planted tanks or algae removers like the plecos or nerite snails are about the only solutions. Some plecos are better at dealing with it than others. Bushynose plecos stay small and are very good at dealing with algae. What kind do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i have one small bristlenose pleco (3 inches) and one large common pleco (5-6 inches) in each tank. they don't appear to do diddly :)
 

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If you are getting heavy green algae buildup, I would blame the lights, but you said you only run them a total of 4 hours a day? I used to get HEAVY green algae on everything, was a pain to clean and even harder to keep clean. I was running my lights for 8 hours then. Changing the light cycle to 4-5 hours got rid of all my algae. My tank stays spotless now. What is the wattage and what kind of lights do you run? I have a 55Wx2 kit, so I have 2W per gallon on that tank. Maybe your lights are too powerful, even for the 4 hours they are on?

If you have algae like I think, no pleco or algae eater will get rid of it.
 

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It may be a type of algae that they just don't like. I've never seen bn plecos not dent algae growth regardless of how much is there. Or they may be getting and preferring other food, buth they're pretty much eating machines, so hard to believe that can't keep up.

Light intensity could be the issue, as said in the previous post. I'd be curious to know what you're running also. I don't like to llimit light duration to solve these things though bacause the whole point of having the tank is to display and enjoy it. That would be my last choice.

A pic or even a video of what you're dealing with would be helpful.
 

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Test for phosphate if you or your LFS can, tank or tap water. If it's high, you can try running a phosphate remover, like Phos-zorb in your filter.
If your lighting is ~6500k you can try 10,000 instead, remove actinic if you're using them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am using Hagen GLO 2 x 54 Watt, 48" units on both tanks. Whatever the standard bulbs were that come with them. I don't think the pair of bulbs is identical in each. I think they each have 2 bulbs of slightly different spectrum. Not actinic, though, as far as I know. I can double check tonight.
 

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GTZ said:
Test for phosphate if you or your LFS can, tank or tap water. If it's high, you can try running a phosphate remover, like Phos-zorb in your filter.
If your lighting is ~6500k you can try 10,000 instead, remove actinic if you're using them.
what gtz said, i used the phosphate remover that when in my canisters and it did the job within a week. i wasnt trying to get rid of it though. i like the green natural look but mine isnt over powering in my tank on my rocks. try it, it may work for you since it took over 50% of mine away.
 

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does your tank get sunlight? nothing makes algae grow like sunlight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The tanks both get sunlight, but I have horizontal blinds over the windows, so it's what passes between the slats of the blinds. Granted, they're still getting hit.

I do live in Seattle, where sunlight isn't exactly bright this time of year.

Also, the phosphate test done at LFS showed about 0.5ppm, which they felt should not be a contributing factor to the algae.
 

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prov356 said:
It may be a type of algae that they just don't like. I've never seen bn plecos not dent algae growth regardless of how much is there.
When I was reading into it when I had this issue, I read bristlenose only eat the brown algae. They prefer it at least. Mine would get hungry about once a month and take care of half the glass (green algae), but then I wouldn't see anything being eaten until about a month later. The problem was the algae only took about a week to infest the entire tank. My algae was truly an infestation and light was the sole contributing factor. 8-9 hours of 2w/g @ 6700K. I now run 50/50s and reduced light to 4-5 hours, as stated. Problem solved.

Light limitation does suck, I want to keep my lights on 24 hours a day.

The sunlight could be the culprit, but I wouldn't think so. I have my 110 by a sliding door to my atrium and it doesn't have any problems.

One other thing is to check your nitrates. Plants feed on them as well. If you're doing regular water changes, that's probably not it either.
 

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I am using Hagen GLO 2 x 54 Watt, 48" units on both tanks.

The tanks both get sunlight, but I have horizontal blinds over the windows, so it's what passes between the slats of the blinds. Granted, they're still getting hit.
The intensity is the issue. You can cut down to one bulb or get a better/more algae eaters. Not much you can do about the sunlight.

I read bristlenose only eat the brown algae
BN Plecos like all kinds of algae, not just brown, so what you read isn't true. I've had hundreds at times, and they'll eat anything, so I don't think it's the plecos, it's the light intensity.

There's no reason that anyone should have to cut tank lights to 4 hours per day because of algae issues. I have 25 tanks going 8 hours per day with nerite snails and BN plecos and they keep the tank pristine.

.5 phosphate is not your problem. Don't bother fighting that. You'll never win and it's not the issue. You'll just spend money on the chemical media.

Bottom line, get more/better algae eaters and keep the lights on so you can enjoy your tank.

That's just my .02 worth, and hope it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So... More/better algae eaters...

Suggestions?
 

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Something else I hadn't considered is that maybe your bn pleco is getting picked on by the cichlids and can't get at the algae. I have tanks like that where they just don't work for that reason. That's why I switched to nerite snails. I'd suggest giving them a try. Check Aquabid, or I have seen them in local shops also.
 

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Well the common plecos really do not eat much green algae. The snails might be your best bet. However some plecos will attach the green algae I am not sure which ones.
 

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My view is that sometimes Algeas appear for no apparent reason. Some sudden change that is hard to track down. It does not have to be a longterm situation that caused the algeas to start growing. And once they started it takes some effort to get rid of it. Then it depends alot what type of algea you have.

I get the feeling it is this thick clear green "algea" that is called Cyano. It is really a bacteria rather than algea, but closely related. If you have had an amonuium peak for some reason. That could happen if your water supplier used extra cloride a week and that killed a bit too many good bakteria in your filter which caused you to move through the nitrification process again until the good bakteria were enough number to handle the amonina coming from the fishes.

My solution in such a situation is to use Tetra General Tonic, which solves cyano issues in a kick. However it also kills a lot of good bakterias and you need to keep in mind to feed the fish as little as possible for the coming 5 weeks.

Generally I get kontrol of algeas by feeding very little. Use lots of quick growing plants and making the life good for these plants by using fresh light pipes (?) Also being careful when cleaning the filter. Try to clean the filter in aquarium water rather than tap water. In the tap you likely have cloride or "cloride-aminos" (not sure of name in English).
 

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+1 for nerite snails

I picked up a couple to deal with the algae in a newly established 10L grow out tank. They have pretty much cleaned off all the rocks and are putting a dent in the growth on the glass.
 
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