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Staghorn Algae - Amano shrimp

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On 4/19/2023 at 8:59 AM, Ryan1988 said:

Lately i have been changing the water once per week but ideally with a planted tank i'd like to not change it at all or only 1 per month. the light starts coming on around 6am and shuts off completely by 6pm, No blue light. Its a fluval 3.0

I'd recommend turning the light off at 10:00 am and back on at 2:00 pm.  With less light you're likely to get less algae, and the 4-hour break will also allow the carbon dioxide to build back up so the plants can utilize it when the light comes back on (I've seen several sources that say aquatic plants use up all, or almost all, of the available carbon dioxide in the first few hours after the lights come on).

I made that switch some months ago, and it has definitely helped with the black beard algae and/or staghorn algae that I was battling (it also pretty much eliminated the hair algae).

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On 4/19/2023 at 5:30 AM, Ryan1988 said:

Do Amano shrimp eat Staghorn Algae?

Yes and no.  My tank has had some pretty nasty BBA/Staghorn algae.  Sometimes it's just too difficult for them to eat.  Will they, YES!  The question is can they.....

You may need to start with a blackout.  Bentley suggested on his stream that doing daily water changes to remove spores should also help during the blackout period, typically 7 days.  That technique of also doing water changes wasn't one I had heard before. 

Once you get the blackout done, then the algae should be dying off a little bit and then the amano might be able to pull it off of where it's attached. 

The second thing you would need to do (no matter if you have SAE or Amanos) is to go ahead and starve the tank for a little while.  amano shrimp, generally, should always be grazing and if they are constantly going after pellets and other things then they are just being lazy.  They have their moods, but out-stubborn the fish/invertebrates and encourage them to graze on the algae on the tank and they will.  This usually takes about 5-7 days for it to be fully effective.  You can do it in bursts as well.  Feed them, then starve the tank, or simply cut back on feeding.  If you're feeding 2-3x daily, cut it back to once a day while you fix the algae issue.

My advice is to keep the nitrates low.

On 4/19/2023 at 6:59 AM, Ryan1988 said:

the light starts coming on around 6am and shuts off completely by 6pm, No blue light. Its a fluval 3.0

Please feel free to post in the Fluval 3.0 thread (top section on the forums) and show us your light settings.  We can tune things in there if you'd like any help!

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On 4/19/2023 at 6:31 PM, TOtrees said:

Siamese algae eaters?

Oh yeah - they might too!

On 4/19/2023 at 7:44 PM, Pepere said:

60% water changes every 7 - 10 days

Another thing I do that helps is kind of lightly beat/shake the plants (I use some planting tweezers) every few days to get any food/etc off the leaves, and when I water change I do that and suck up whatever falls off them. This seems to help with algae as well. 

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Re @Peperes comments about light levels… I’m hugely over-simplifying it, but think of white light as consisting of many different colors; put them all together, and you get what we see as daylight. Higher plants need all of those color ingredients to grow well, while algae can make do with only 1 or 2. I know, it’s not entirely true, because greens and yellows aren’t super important for the higher plants (eg hort grow lights are mostly red and blue), but my point is... 

If the light reaching the plants is “complete” (has all the colors that plants need), and assuming all the nutrient needs of the plants are met, higher plants should out-compete any algae. Where algae gets ahead is when the light isn’t sufficient or appropriate or correct to support plant growth, but is good enough for algae, or, similarly, when the nutritional needs of the plants aren’t met or are incomplete.

This is why, for freshwater plants in aquariums, most people choose light that is around 6400K. Those lights include all the necessary color ingredients for higher plants. It’s not the only way to get there, but it is the easiest way, short of direct sunlight.

so it’s not so much that algae will outcomplete the plants in lower light, but rather the lower light in question probably doesn’t have all the right colors or wavelengths.

Same reasoning with fertilizer: for plant health/growth you need to either use a “complete“ fertilizer, or provide all of the macro and micro nutrients individually (unless your tank and its inhabitants provide it all naturally). If any elements are missed, the plants will suffer, and algae may opportunistically jump in.

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