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I understand that these things take time but my frustration is quickly getting the best of me. The Instagram pics and videos of beautiful algae free tanks doesnt help either...

My tank is cycled but I am fighting what feels like a losing battle to both diatom algae and now hair algae. I have two Oto Catfish hard at work on the diatom and I have recently cut back my light to 8 hrs. I don't want to take anything out to put chemicals on but this is getting ridiculous. I'd love some help on what else to do. If "be patient and stay the course" is the best option that is totally fine. Other things: should I get something to eat the hair algae? Should I get more plants to help combat the nutrients that algae is taking in? Should I just enjoy the messy beauty of my tank?

Pics below of my tank (20g Innovative Marine). Thanks in advance!

 

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If your tank can stand a few more Otos, they'll be even faster at the diatom. I started with 6 in my 20 gallon tank. The hair algae is harder, yes there are hair algae eaters out there but not as many. You said you cut your time to 8 hours on lighting. I found for me it wasn't so much time (I do 9hrs) as intensity. I could have programmed my lights to be dimmer but it's a pain to me, so I just added a dimmer to the line and kept dialing it back until there was enough light for the plants but not so much for the algae. I have no diatom just green algae (and not nearly as much as I did) and my hair algae is pretty much gone but for some bits of stubborn on a couple of plants that could be manually removed. 

My second bit of advice. Don't compare your tank, yourself, your life, to ANY pictures you see on Instagram, or any other social media for that matter. 

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Thanks Inked! Yes, I will definitely do my best to not compare my tanks to that on social 🙂 Thanks for bringing up dimming the light. Last time I was in Aquarium Co-op they had mentioned about cutting certain light (blue I think) to help inhibit algae growth. I'd also be totally fine adding something that would eat the algae that the Oto's dont eat but I might hold off on that for now.

 

Thanks again!

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I've also been battling hair algae in my tank and I found that lowering lighting intensity helped a lot for me. Also, what does your tank cleaning regimen look like? You can do a lot of damage to the diatoms with a gravel vac and water changes. It would definitely give your otos a chance to catch up as well. I have a 12 gallon long and I have 4 otos, so I would second Inked's suggestion to maybe get 6 otos total. Otherwise, increase your water changes to try and get things under control would be my suggestion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to quickly update this thread here. I got a amano shrimp and a Siamese algae eater. Very excited about both. The Amano went to town cleaning things but the Siamese algae eater went straight to hiding and hasn't come out for 2 days. I'm sure he's just unsure of the new environment but I also need him to get out and about and start eating my hair algae. Is this normal for a fish like this one?

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I would get some amano shrimp (the big kind) and a few more ottos. I've been making a nano tank and I've been coming across all kinds of different breeds of ottos, they are really cool to me. Maybe look into getting one twig catfish if your tank has room. 

How much light are you giving your tank? I had a problem with hair algae when I first started my tank and was giving the plants too much light and went a little over-board on easy-green.\

Also, how often do you feed your fish and how much? I used to over-feed my tank a little bit and it allowed algae to grow. 

Edited by BigRedd
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@Shmowgen I can't speak about the algae, but the losing fish situation is very real. @Brandyactually created a really funny thread about a portal to another dimension. I currently have four shrimp trapped in that portal. For a 5g tank, that feels excessive! 😆 Know you're not alone when you lose fish to another dimension. 

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How long has this aquarium been set up for? What are your water parameters? Could we get another picture showing the entire aquarium? 

I agree with @xXInkedPhoenixX about not changing too many variables at once. It is hard to determine what the true cause of something is or if something is helping or not if too many things are changing constantly. 

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