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And Now Green Spot Algae


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My 75 gallon appeared to be in pretty good balance for a number of months, but once I introduced two tiger lotus to the setup I began to loose control. It started with some green spot algae, but the black beard algae quickly began to show up on the endow of leaves and in my gravel/rocks. 
 

I have tweaked my lights and and pushed my ferts to the point that the bba is dying, but now the green spot algae is covering leaves. I had hoped solving one would solve the other, but the GSA is getting bad. My research leads me to believe lighting is the number one factor for GSA? 
 

So now I am trying to determine where to adjust to find balance. Here is a snapshot of my tank. 
 

Temp 76 degrees

Nitrates 40 ppm (before yesterday’s water change)

pH 8

 

I am currently dosing Easy Green 8 pumps on Sunday after the water change and on Wednesday morning. I also have root tabs for my Swords, Crypts, and Vals. 
 

Light is a 48” Nicrew with a timer. The current settings were tweeked while trying to get rid of BBA. 
 

10:00 5%
12:00 20%
13:00 100%
16:00 20%
18:00 5%
20:00 0%
 

That is a total of 12 hours at various intensities. I can’t find recommendations online for how the lower intensities may be impacting the algae growth. I’m considering cutting it down to 10 hrs total. With you not 30 min of 5, 30 mins of 20, and 8 hours of 100%. 
 

But at this point I would live to hear from some of you. Oh! I do have algae eaters. I want some algae, but not GSA because the otos don’t want the hard lettuce. LoL

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I made some changes on my lighting. I’ll be cutting the overall light period to 10 hours. 1 hour ramp up and ramp down and 8 hours of full light. 
 

If the GSA doesn’t begin to recede I will lower the full light period. 
 

11 am 5%
11:30 am 20%
12 pm 100%
8 pm 20%
8:30 pm 5%
9 pm Off

I’ll be testing water parameters on my lunch break. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I hope you were successful in your GSA treatment! I am finally deciding to tackle mine and have reduced my lighting which helped with other algae but not GSA.

 

What deets do you use? I have root tabs but my nitrates will rarely rise above 5ppm even with sparse water changes, I expect probably in thanks to the algae farm. I've heard adding phosphorus can help so that's next on my list.

 

All the best 🙂

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I think one thing you can try doing is to cut back on dosing easy green. From what I could gather from your profile picture, majority of your plants are root feeders. I would personally cut back on the easy green and let the plants get nutrients by the root tabs. Maybe aim to be at under 20ppm, maybe even less for nitrate. The algae won't be able to access the nutrients from the root tabs, but can easily use the fertilizer in the water column. 

Also, if you have some leaves that are just too covered in algae, I would recommend to just trim/cut that leave off. That way the plant can use that energy to grow new healthy leaves, instead of trying to repair that one.

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I am having the exact issue - try adjusting the easy green first but am getting impatient as now the black beard is growing hairs and my hard scape has green dots. I have a Fluval and the highest setting is warm light at 13% - I am trying to make one change at a time and just keep cleaning and trimming weekly. Maybe will go to just root tabs since I have dwarf sag/crypt wendii, amazon sword, anubias and java fern. Can't wait to see what other feedback comes through

 

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On 12/4/2020 at 2:35 PM, lefty o said:

nerites are about the only thing that seem to touch green spot algae. i know it has been a while since the original post, but i would cut back some on the easy green for a while. when nutrients in the water are more than what the plants need, it seems to me that is when algae becomes problematic.

I think you are on to something here. Some of my plants weren’t doing so great, so I thought I needed more easy green. But after evaluating my life pant stock, I think I need more root tabs and less easy green

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On 12/4/2020 at 3:31 PM, test.tin said:

I think one thing you can try doing is to cut back on dosing easy green. From what I could gather from your profile picture, majority of your plants are root feeders. I would personally cut back on the easy green and let the plants get nutrients by the root tabs. Maybe aim to be at under 20ppm, maybe even less for nitrate. The algae won't be able to access the nutrients from the root tabs, but can easily use the fertilizer in the water column. 

Also, if you have some leaves that are just too covered in algae, I would recommend to just trim/cut that leave off. That way the plant can use that energy to grow new healthy leaves, instead of trying to repair that one.

Thank you for the advice. I think you are correct. I took inventory of my plants and most are root feeders. The nitrates being so high is most likely feeding the algae. 
 

I have: 

Ludwigia Repens

Rotalla Indica

Dwarf Chain Swords

Cryptocoryn Wendtii

Amazon Swords

Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus

Tiger Lotus

Anubias Barteri

Bacopa Carolinia 

Brazilian Moneywort

Jave Fern

Anubias Nana Petite

Dwarf Sagitteria 

Jungle Val

and Water Sprite floating

 

So, yeah, there are a lot of plants.  I need to order some more root tabs from the co-op. I think I like those best. I added more root tabs this week and some ludwigia. I also did a water change yesterday and I am not adding Easy Green yet. I’m going to try to lower the nitrates before dosing again. 
 

Thanks again for the suggestion!

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Edited by Mitch Norton
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On 12/5/2020 at 10:02 AM, Tami said:

I am having the exact issue - try adjusting the easy green first but am getting impatient as now the black beard is growing hairs and my hard scape has green dots. I have a Fluval and the highest setting is warm light at 13% - I am trying to make one change at a time and just keep cleaning and trimming weekly. Maybe will go to just root tabs since I have dwarf sag/crypt wendii, amazon sword, anubias and java fern. Can't wait to see what other feedback comes through

 

I have cut back on the Easy Green. It might take a couple of weeks to get the nitrates down. I don’t want to do a big water change. I added some more root tabs yesterday as well as some more plants (Ludwigia). I’ll keep the thread updated. 
 

I have also trimmed a bunch of leaves off my plants to remove the BBA and GSA. Slow and steady. 
 

I have all of the plants that you have. All but the Java Fern prefer root tabs. I have a lot of trouble with Java Fern, but it’s my water. Everyone in my area has trouble with it. 

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Just did a water test. Nitrates are down to 10ppm and pH is 8. Goal reached, now to hold. 
 

I just added root tabs last weekend, but I’m ordering more next week from the coop. I’m going to try to keep the substrate full of them. 
 

I believe my main water column feeders are the pogostemon, anubias, water sprite, and Java fern. So I’ll be watching them to make sure I am providing enough nutrients for these plants. 
 

I have noticed more of my fish munching on the BBA so I hope it is continuing to die off. 

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Ok, so I have made some changes and I’m watching to see what happens. 
 

I removed my overrun stem plants and put them in an excel bath (bucket of water with regular dosage of excel) for four days closed in a five gallon bucket. Most of them survived and they are pristine. I also bought six new bunches of stems to add. I loaded the substrate with 10 root tabs and everyone is doing great. On Sunday I half dosed the tank with Easy Green (4 pumps in 75 gallon). 
 

I have ordered root tabs from the Co-op to load my substrate with this week’s water change. 
 

My nitrates tested at 10 ppm just now. This is my current goal so I will be watching the parameters closely this week. I tested before the Easy Green dose. 
 

I currently have BBA on my anubias, Java fern, Jungle Val, Amazon swords, and pogostemon stellatus octopus. I’m considering dipping these in an excel bath (not the Val)....I’m trying to make corrections, but I would also like to remove the BBA now. Thoughts?

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1 hour ago, Mitch Norton said:

Ok, so I have made some changes and I’m watching to see what happens. 
 

I removed my overrun stem plants and put them in an excel bath (bucket of water with regular dosage of excel) for four days closed in a five gallon bucket. Most of them survived and they are pristine. I also bought six new bunches of stems to add. I loaded the substrate with 10 root tabs and everyone is doing great. On Sunday I half dosed the tank with Easy Green (4 pumps in 75 gallon). 
 

I have ordered root tabs from the Co-op to load my substrate with this week’s water change. 
 

My nitrates tested at 10 ppm just now. This is my current goal so I will be watching the parameters closely this week. I tested before the Easy Green dose. 
 

I currently have BBA on my anubias, Java fern, Jungle Val, Amazon swords, and pogostemon stellatus octopus. I’m considering dipping these in an excel bath (not the Val)....I’m trying to make corrections, but I would also like to remove the BBA now. Thoughts?

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If it were me I would cut all leaves that have the algae off on your next water change. Your tank looks healthy otherwise so I doubt they'll have problems growing. Now I realize maybe you don't want to trim the anubias leaves since they take so long to grow so if you could, take the anubias out of the tank and you can spot treat with excel with a pipette or syringe (you can save more excel instead of having to dip).

If you can't take the anubias out of the tank, lower your tank water so that the plant is out the water (if possible) and treat it that way

 

 

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I haven’t treated the anubias yet because I’ve been treating the tank for a Corydora infection. 
 

But my nitrates are down to below 5 ppm and it appears that most of the algae is dying. I am watching the plants to make sure I don’t starve them. So far everything is still growing with no major discolorations. I did recently add a lot of root tabs, and ai have a fresh pack ready to go once the meds are done. 

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I tested the water today before feeding. Nitrates are a solid 5. I would normally do a water change today, but I did one mid week because of some meds. I will watch the parameters to decide if I should do one on Tuesday or not, which got me thinking. 
 

Where should my nitrates goal be for starving out black beard algae and feeding anubias and Java Fern. I’m more concerned with my anubias. I have plans to take it out and treat it with hydrogen peroxide... sometime this week. I guess I need to do that and watch how it does. I have one Barteri and a few nano petites. All have algae in them, and all currently have new growth. 

Edited by Mitch Norton
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  • 2 weeks later...

During this week’s water change I found a lot of Ludwigia leaves in my water sprite. The Ludwigia is getting thin and needs nutrients. For some reason I thought they were root feeders, but after a quick search I found that they prefer to feed from the water column. 
 

My algae has continued to receded, but now it looks like I need to start dosing easy green again. I did 7 pumps on Monday and BAM! my nitrates went from 5ppm before water change  to 10ppm. I’m sure it didn’t increase my nitrates by five. The API test kit goes from 5 to 10 to 20. So I was probably a little higher than 5 before. 
 

I want to starve off the algae so I am going to try to keep the nitrates around 10 ppm rather than 20 ppm, but I love the Ludwigia and really want it thick and gorgeous. 
 

Oh! I also turned down my light intensity to 75% since I am also dosing Easy Green again. Hopefully we are closing in on balance. 

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You are on the right track with the BBA. Finding the balance is key. Usually although not always the most common imbalances for BBA growth is high oxygen and high iron in you water column. Nitrates and other fertilizer chemicals also play an important role as well, but iron and oxygen are usually the main 2 culprits. I have use 3% peroxide on anubias and java fern with great success. Soak them in peroxide for no more than 5 minutes maximum exposure. Rinse well with tap water first, then rinse very well with dechlorinated or used tank water. In 2-4 days it will turn red and take about 2 weeks to fully die off. This trick seems to only work with thick leaved plants such as anubias and java fern. I tried it on bacopa and the bacopa shed all its leaves wilted and died. So i would be carefull what types of plants you do the peroxide trick with. Maybe test it out before you commit to dunking everything in your tank like i did. Just remember fighting unwanted algae takes a long time to see the results from the adjustments you make. Dont get discouraged when you dont see results right away. You might be doing the right thing and not know it for several weeks out.

Edited by Will Billy
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm still seeing progress. The low light plants appear to do be doing amazing. The anubias and anubias nana petite seem to be happy. I cut so many leaves off my large anubias over the past year fighting this algae that I made the decision to cut the four inch rhizome in half.... and I see new leaves on one of the new ends! I'm excited because I was afraid that middle would never grow in. The new leaves look great and now algae along the edges. 

I'm still trimming a little black beard off of some java fern and crypts. It's not a lot, but I'm pretty sure it has been new and not something that I've missed in the past. 

I am seeing less black beard algae on my pogostemon stellatus octopus. Before dialing back the lights from 80% to 60% and now 35% I was seeing black beard in the middle growth of this plant, but not anymore.

I did notice a couple of amazon sword leaves with black beard algae near the surface of the water. I hate cutting off these large leaves so I am going to try spot treatment with excel tomorrow evening. The patches aren't very large and I hope I can get rid of it that way instead of losing the 20" leaves. 

Overall, I feel like I am seeing improvement. I am still trying to balance my fertilizer now. Most of my stem plants are beginning to melt at the base of the stems, and I am still losing a lot of leaves. The past couple of weeks I have been dosing 4 pumps of Easy Green, but one week (maybe two weeks ago?) I accidentally did 8 without thinking. That week my nitrates went from below 10 ppm to 20 ppm. I meant to test my water before the water change today and forgot (I was in a hurry), but I plan on testing tomorrow evening to see if I need to hold back the ferts... what is strange is I have nitrates and I have phospates (2 ppm) and that is the kind of deficiency I am seeing... 

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Good job Mitch, sounds like you're almost there. 10-20 ppm nitrates is absolutely fine, I would stay the course how you're dosing. I'm a little unsure as to what you're seeing as a deficiency, could you elaborate on that?

Are you referring to the lower leaves  coming off of the ludwigia in the picture? It looks to me that its just being shaded out from its top portion. I read that you reduced your light more so I would suspect that not enough light is penetrating towards the bottom if thats what you're seeing as a deficiency.

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Thanks @Koi. Yeah, I do think I am having some issues there, but I am losing a lot of leaves all over the stems. Old growth is turning yellow and brown and falling off. I'll try to get some pics tomorrow.

It might be that I lose the stems before I get the tank balanced, but right now I am pulling out a handful of ludwigia leaves with every water change.

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As long as you are seeing new growth, I would focus on that. You can't bring back leaves that are already lost, and plants can't really heal themselves if they are damaged. If the plants are still growing you can always cut the tops and try again. Usually when the lower ends of stems start losing leaves, they are giving up those leaves to give their remaining energy to the new growth. You're almost there though, you just need to figure out the minor tweaks you need to make to keep the algae at bay.

And if I could just share with you they way I try to combat algae(something to think about I'm not saying you have to do it this way)

Try not to think of "balancing a tank" as the end of algae in your tank but more so the point where you give the plants the best environment for them to grow in. Algae will always be present in your tank what I aim for is just that isn't visibly noticeable.The way I see "balancing a tank" is that you're not necessarily starving out algae but you are providing enough food for the plants that they can grow faster than the spores are able to attach to their leaves. As I said earlier plants can only grow, they can't regenerate. So rather than having a plant spend energy trying to keep an old leaf alive, I take the leaves off so that energy is better spent on producing new leaves. If the plant is healthy and growing, when I see any older leaves not doing well, I just take it out because the longer I leave it there the more likely it will die off anyways and grow algae.

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