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Hair algae and dwarf lily issues

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My planted 20L has been up and running since beginning of March.  I've got a trident java fern that melted back end of April, corkscrew val that is going nuts, a crypt wendtii, crypt balansae, and an anubias golden that are growing well, a hygrophila araguaia that has been trying but not thriving, and a dwarf aquarium lily that has been doing great until recently.  I'm dosing twice a week with 3 pumps of Easy Green and potassium.  Lights are on 4 hours in morning and 4 hours in evening. PH is 8.0, GH and KH are around 200 ppm.  I have 2 adult platies and more than I can count platy babies in there at the moment.

About 5 weeks ago, I spotted some hair algae growing on the hygrophila.  It has been spreading and getting worse ever since, even with manually removing what I can every week.  I've reduced the lights about 3 weeks ago by 1/2 hour and am giving an extra pump of Easy Green each feeding since my nitrates were down around 5-10 (assuming val was eating it up). Picture of hair algae in tank isn't the best.

My dwarf aquarium lily in the last two weeks has started to fall apart (I guess that is the best way to describe it).  Huge chunks of the leaves are breaking off.  Today, I found three leaves still on it that were growing crinkled instead of smooth. 

I'm not sure if the hair algae and the lily collapsing is a deficiency or something else.  Does anyone have any ideas?




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I hope you get better feedback than this -- I'm a pretty poor plant NERM. Having said that . . . my question: do you think that _less_ light is really helping / resolving the issue?

Algae grows whoever it can find a "fuel source" that is available. So, for example, when there is more light than plants can really absorb, algae sets up shop to fuel its growth off of the excess. But could this possibly stand true for the fertilizers as well? It seems like perhaps your extra fertilization could be contributing to its growth. If plants are unable to process all of the nutrients you're adding, perhaps the algae is grabbing the extra?

I guess, however, that if your Nitrates are low, perhaps you're right to think that the Val is consuming a lot.

Another random thought . . . is your light featuring blue spectrum? Maybe algae can process that much faster than plants (which favor the red side of the spectrum). You could try turning off any blue blocks you have, and operating without the blue for awhile.

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It looks like you have staghorn algae, if so you can just pluck that off by hand pretty easily.

I'm not sure if you just have the one sponge filter but try moving it around different areas to see if you can get better water circulation. As you val and dwarf lily grows, the leaves will start affecting the flow pattern in your tank.

I would remove any of the stunted or tattered dwarf lill leaves too. By decongesting that area, it might help with better circulation and allow any leaves that are getting shaded more light.

Try dosing easy green to reach 20 ppm nitrates and just see in next few weeks if the problem still persists. Hopefully you will be able to rule out some possibilities then.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was waiting to reply to see if I was making any progress with all your suggestions.  So far, it hasn't gotten better, BUT it isn't getting worse. 

@Fish Folk I have left the light level alone, but I did go back to my original fertilizing schedule and made sure to have the right amount of Nitrate.  This is my first time really having to work at balancing a planted tank, so I was just trying out the most common solutions lol. I didn't block off the blue lights because they aren't in a nice row that would be easy to do.  I did stumble on another post you replied to that had a link to some info on algae. It mentioned too much iron as one possible cause.  I haven't gotten an iron test kit yet, but my well water is very high in iron.  I've changed my ratio of well water to RO water when I do water changes to see if that helps. Went from 66/33 to 50/50.

@Koi I had never thought of poor water circulation as causing algae.  I added an air stone to the other corner last week, and my cypts are loving it!  They grew overnight the first day I put it in, I swear.

I'm also suspecting my overpopulation of platy babies is contributing to my problems, so I'm trying to patiently wait it out until they are big enough to either take to the LFS or put in the 75 gallon.

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Glad to hear you are seeing progress! Even if the algae isn't going away, plant growth is still a good sign.

If you enjoy light reading, I recommend looking up plant respiration at night. It might explain the increased growth you're seeing.

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