Page 3 of 3

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:18 am
by PVT-Kanaka
At 48 hours...

...fish are fine.
...high end plants are fine. I anticipated my Val would start to melt. It was pretty melty, anyway, so maybe I just didn't notice a change for melty to meltier. Crypts seem OK. The java fern that survived the algae plagues seems unchanged.
...black beard algae seems stringier, but this may be wishful thinking. Possibly saw some thinning on the green spot and film algae on the glass but, again, that is hard to say.

Oh, the lights PAR rating. Hard to say, Diana, as this has all sort so buttons that let you mix and match colors. There is a spectral graph on the packaging. Is there any particular color band to which I should default?

Updates to follow! Have a great week!

Eric

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:48 am
by Diana
Our eyes see the yellow and green part of the spectrum best. Plants use the red and blue ends of the spectrum most. Lights designed for plant growth have a lot of the red and blue wavelengths and very little of the other colors. Lights intended for people have more of their wavelengths in the yellow and green parts of the spectrum and less in the blue and red ends.
Your fixture ought to be able to be tuned toward either use so the plants do well and the tank looks good with the fish and other features the right color.

Plants use a significant amount of the light waves between 600-700nm (red) and between 400-500nm (blue). They use other wave lengths, too, including a certain amount of green.
If you told your light fixture to only use the wavelengths favored by the plants the light would look sort of pink-purple, and some fish colors would look sort of weird.
I would make sure that those wavelengths are on, then add enough of the white (all wavelengths) to make the colors look natural to you.

I am still using fluorescent bulbs, and I usually use a 2-bulb fixture. One bulb is a 'Plant and Aquarium' specialty and the other is a general purpose either 'Daylight' or 'Cool White'.
To me, this combination makes the colors in the tank look right while making sure the plants get what they need.

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:09 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Diana,

Thanks. I will fiddle with the light; might as well use the features this thing came with! I used to use fluorescents as you described, but I thought I'd try the LED when my old fixture gave up its ghost.

As for the treatment at 72 hours...
...fish are fine. A Colombian tetra jumped from the tank and died. I think the event is time coincident, and not otherwise related.
...plants show no change.
...algae shows no change. Admittedly, I was expecting a "magic wand" effect.

Now to dicker with the light a bit!

Aloha,
Eric

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:13 pm
by PVT-Kanaka
96 hours after treatment...

...I think this stuff is recovering!!!! :rant:

I plan to step back and see if the "one-two" punch at least slows the return. This has been the "nuking." I fear a full knockdown and sterilization may be all that is left to me, though, absent threat to the fish, that'll wait until after the New Year.

Eric

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:29 pm
by Diana
To totally sterilize everything, including the filter media, means you will also kill the beneficial bacteria.
There are 2 ways to regrow the bacteria.
1) Fishless cycle. This will regrow a very large bacteria population without any starter culture, so no risk of algae.
2) Bottled bacteria. This will take a few days to establish themselves in the filter. If you go this route make sure you get the correct species of bacteria: Look for Nitrospira species on the label. Do not waste money on anything does not specify this species.

You can combine these methods, if you want.
Set up the fishless cycle, then add as much as you want of the bottled bacteria. Then continue the fishless cycle until it is complete.
I would not use anything from the current tank to jump start the bacteria. This would bring with it the spores of the several species of algae you are trying to get rid of.

I have done the fishless cycle in a 5 gallon bucket, keeping the water circulating though the media which I will place in the filter when I set up the tank.
---------------------------------------------------------
Fishless Cycle

Set up tank and equipment.
Fill with water, including dechlor.
Optimum conditions to grow these bacteria the fastest:
GH and KH at least 3 German degrees of hardness, and higher is just fine.
Add some other minerals, for example plant fertilizers: KH2PO4, trace minerals.
High oxygen levels.
Warm is better, but remember that warmer water holds less oxygen. Make sure there is plenty of water movement that exposes the water to the air so the oxygen level stays high.
Good water movement.
A place to grow. They grow on surfaces, not drifting free in the water. Filter media is great. Sponges, floss, bio-media are all good places for these bacteria.
You can add a starter culture of the right bacteria if you want. It is optional. The cycle can go faster if you add something. Media from a cycled, healthy filter. Bottled bacteria containing Nitrospira species of bacteria. Do not waste money on anything else.

Add ammonia (no surfactants, no perfumes) to test 5 ppm.
Test daily. Add more ammonia to keep the test at 5 ppm through the first few days.
Test for nitrite. When nitrite shows up allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.
Test daily, adding enough ammonia to bring the test to 3 ppm once a day. If you are growing plants that do not like this level of ammonia then test twice a day, and add enough ammonia to bring the test to 1 ppm twice a day.
If the nitrite gets to 5 ppm do a water change. Perhaps add less ammonia for a few days. The nitrite removing bacteria (Nitrospira species) are slower growing, and the ammonia removing bacteria might be making more nitrite than they can deal with.

When the ammonia returns to 0 ppm after 24 hours, and no nitrite shows up at that same 24 hour mark, then the cycle is done.
A fishless cycle with no plants might have VERY high nitrate. Do a BIG water change, or even a couple of them to get the nitrate way down before adding the fish. You can fully stock the tank.
A fishless cycle with lots of plants might show almost no nitrate. The plants are part of the bio filter, and are removing a certain amount of the ammonia before the bacteria even have a chance to turn it into nitrate, and then the plants are removing some or all of the nitrate produced by the bacteria. I would still do a big water change.

If the fish you want to keep need water different than the hard, alkaline water that grow the bacteria so well, now is the time to change that to softer, acidic water. While you were trying to grow the bacteria as fast as possible you wanted optimum conditions for the bacteria. Now that the colony is well established you can change the conditions. They might not grow so fast, but that is OK.

You can do the fishless cycle in another container, if the tank is not ready, but you want to get a head start on the bacteria population. Fill the alternate container with filter media, and (if there is room) some of the decorations you might be using in the tank, for example driftwood or porous rocks. Anything with a large surface area. Make sure there is good water movement through this container.
I have done the fishless cycle in a 5 gallon bucket, actually running a large canister filter with media and some lave rock (a few chunky pieces) in the bucket.

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:34 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Thanks again, Diana.

I would have to re-house the fish in the tank (not an issue), of course, but such is life.

If I have to go this route, should I leave the driftwood in the tank as sterilize it? It seems to be my algae "friends'" favorite home.

Again, I am going to take some time to weigh this route. I am hoping that the H202 treatment did the trick. Fingers are crossed!

Aloha,
Eric

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:55 am
by Diana
Anything that you do not sterilize will act as a reservoir for the spores and can reinfect the tank.
Of course, algae spores are all around, anyway, so the tank will get reinfected even if you sterilize everything.
Still, I would sterilize it all, then you will know you are starting with a clean slate.

I would start the fishless cycle in a bucket, soon, knowing it takes about 3 weeks, so that when you move the fish you can have a fully cycled filter to give them. Then you can also sterilize the filter media in the current filter, too.

Re: Algae - Knockdown, Nuke, or Adjust?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:03 am
by PVT-Kanaka
Diana,
Thanks. We will have to wait until after the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years holidays for space reasons if we go the knock-down route. IN the meantime, I am going to double back on the remove, scrub, and spot-treat method you described earlier with some direct application to in tank stuff. It might be easier to stay ahead of the algae, after all, and keep trying to win the nutrient war with other plants.

Oh, no joy sourcing root tablets locally yet. The price of paradise...

Aloha,
Eric