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Plant Diseases and Diseases (Overview of Algae Species)

James Clark's review is currently the best for an aquarium with plants, and indicates the most accurate reasons for the appearance of all types of algae. Thanks to this, the review is an excellent guide to keeping the aquarium with plants in general. Follow these recommendations, and you will greatly facilitate the fight against algae and speed up the development of the technique.

Algae guide

This guide to the causes and methods of algae control applies to the aquarium with plants with high levels of illumination and the dosage of liquid fertilizers with water changes using the Estimative Index system. [1]

A low CO2 concentration is almost always the cause of algae problems in an aquarium with plants with intense light, but measuring its concentration can be problematic and misinforming. There are three common methods for determining the concentration of CO2.

The most common method for determining CO2 concentration is from the KH / pH tables. It can give false results, especially if you have snags in your tank. The results tend to make you think that the CO2 concentration is higher than it actually is. This is a common reason that you have readings of 100mg / L or more.

The method of dropping the pH involves putting aquarium water in a glass and monitoring the readings after 24 hours. If the pH of the aquarium water is one point lower than in a glass, it is believed that you have a CO2 concentration of 30 mg / l. This suggests that in a glass of aquarium water CO2 3mg / l, which is very rare.

The drop checker method when a calibration solution with KH = 4 and a couple of bromotymol blue drops are poured into it. When the solution is green, the CO2 level is good, when blue is too low, when yellow is too high. I like this method. I use it as an early warning system in my aquarium, but it requires getting used to the color changes in the solution.

If the CO2 supply is turned off at night, turn on the supply 1-2 hours before turning on the light. Check the CO2 concentration to ensure that it is sufficient, and compare the readings in the morning and evening. You need a stable CO2 level throughout the lighting of the aquarium.

Recently, Seachem Flourish Excel ™ has been used to control algae and it seems to work very well against certain types of algae. To inflict a heavy blow on the algae, you can dose according to the instructions, or twice or three times more in two weeks. Excel mainly kills red algae (BBA, black brush algae), but has an effect on Cladophora, Staghorn, thread.

Excel ™ adversely affects some plants. I am aware of Egeria densa, Riccia, Vallisneria and Fissidens. Some report the effects of Excel on shrimp and otocinclus.

Another trick is to dilute Excel 1: 3 with water and pour into a garden sprayer. Make a large water change, and while the water level is low, spray areas affected by algae. Leave for 5-10 minutes and fill the aquarium with water.

Black Beard (Black Brush Algae, Black-Beard Algae, Red-Brush Algae, BBA)

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Description
Often grows on leaf edges of slowly growing plants, driftwood and mechanical equipment. Sometimes grows in areas of the aquarium with the rapid movement of water. Grows in bunches or groups of black, about 0.5 cm long.
Cause
Indicates low CO2 in an aquarium with intense light, or sharp fluctuations in CO2 in an aquarium with low light.
Delete
In an aquarium with intense lighting, you need to increase the CO2 supply. First scrape and cut as much as possible. In the case of the growth of a black beard, I always found that an increase in CO2 supply will save you from these algae. SLOWLY increase your CO2 concentration to 30mg / L or more, but be careful not to breathe too hard. If you have a low-tech aquarium without CO2, stopping water changes will help. This is because there is a lot of dissolved CO2 in tap water, which causes CO2 fluctuations in the aquarium. Algae respond to changes much faster than plants. Siamese algae eater eats these algae. An increased dose of Excel reliably destroys red algae. [2]

Blue-green algae (Blue Green Algae, BGA)

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Description
These are not algae, but colonies of Cyanobacteria bacteria capable of photosynthesis. Covers all surfaces with a blue / green film. It easily exfoliates but recovers very quickly. It emits a rather unpleasant odor. Often grows on a substrate, especially along the front wall of the aquarium where there is a lot of light.
Cause
The reason is usually very low nitrate levels. Sometimes appears in new aquariums in the presence of ammonium and nitrites, even with a high level of nitrates. The cause of the appearance may also be a silted substrate or filter. Poor water circulation.
Delete
The best method is the Dimming Method. Clean the aquarium as much as possible of algae and make a 30-50% water change. If the nitrate level is low, add a little potassium nitrate KNO3 to bring it to 20 mg / L. Turn off the CO2 and turn on aeration. Turn off the light, and cover the entire aquarium so that the light does not penetrate into it at all. Leave it on for 3-4 days. No peeping and no feeding of fish - it feels great without food. After 3-4 days, open the aquarium and make a 30-50% water change. Turn off aeration and turn on CO2. You should dose nitrates so that the concentration does not drop too low again. Make sure that the substrate and filter are not silted.
Another option is the Maracyn antibiotic. It works well, but can affect biological filtration. (additionally see section Cyanobacteria)

Cladophora (Cladophora, Blanket Weed)

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Description
Cladophora is a branching green filamentous algae.
To the touch a little rough and sometimes rather rough.
Cause
Low CO2 concentration. Few nutrients (NO3 and PO4).
Delete
Disposal can be quite difficult. Make sure that the dosage of macronutrients (NO3 and PO4) is sufficient and maintain a good level of CO2. Manually remove every scrap that you find until you completely get rid of them. This can take quite a lot of time.
An increased dose of Seachem Flourish Excel ™ can eliminate them.
Sometimes they are eaten by Amano shrimp.

Diatoms, Brown Algae

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Description
Dark brown coating on glass, substrate and plants.
Cause
Often happens in aquariums with a low level of illumination and a high release of silicates from a new substrate. Often in new aquariums.
Delete
Increase the light intensity. It is easily sucked off by a siphon and wiped from leaves and glass with a soft cloth. Usually disappears after a few weeks. They are eaten by otocinclus.

Green Dust Algae, GDA

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Description
Appears on the glass in the form of green dust. Sometimes so intense that nothing is visible through the glass.
Cause
Low CO2 concentration. Few nutrients (NO3 and PO4).
Delete
Easy to remove by magnetic, etc. scraper. Often reappears very quickly. Let them go through their full cycle leaving them alone for 3 weeks. Through the glass, nothing can be seen, but bear with it. Then scrape them off and make a large change of water. Sometimes you need to repeat, leaving them alone for 4 weeks. It is recommended to slightly reduce the dosage of macronutrients (NO3 and PO4). [3]

Green Spot Algae (GSA)

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Description
It forms hard dark green round dots on the glass and leaves of slowly growing plants.
Cause
Low levels of PO4 phosphate lead to an outbreak of these algae.
Low CO2. The lighting period is too long.
Delete
Increase phosphate levels by adding potassium monophosphate KH2PO4 to 2mg / L per week. Check CO2 level. They can be scraped off the glass with a blade or a good magnetic scraper. 9-10 hours of lighting is enough for plants. If the lighting was longer, a decrease can help.

Blooming water (Green water, Algae bloom)

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Description
These are unicellular algae. Water becomes opaque. Sometimes it’s just a green tint, sometimes - like pea soup.
Cause
High ammonia NH4. There may be a surge in the ammonium concentration that the test did not register. Another possible cause may be an imbalance in nutrients.
Delete
Large water changes do not always seem to help. Correct the imbalance of nutrients, and after a while they will disappear. Darkening for three days, followed by a large change of water will inflict a serious blow on them and can sometimes destroy them. A UV sterilizer or diatom filter removes them very quickly and is often the only way.
A new method is to take a one-two-year-old willow sprout about 1 cm thick. Place it in the aquarium vertically by sticking it into the substrate so that a few centimeters stick out above the water. After a few days, they will begin to take root and the flowering of water will begin to disappear. When it disappears, remove the branches.
Do not confuse the flowering of water with a bacterial outbreak that looks like a whitish haze in the water. (additionally, see flowering water section)

Nitchatka (Hair, Thread, Fuzz, etc)

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Description
This is a very generalized name for a large number of filamentous algae species. Usually green, different lengths. I have listed several species in a separate section on this page.
Cause
A number of reasons include low CO2, lack of nutrition (low NO3 and PO4), and a surge in ammonia NH4.
Nothing to do with elevated Fe levels, as is commonly thought.
Delete
It is sometimes difficult. Large plant biomass and good CO2 supply, a good dosage of macrocells NO3 and PO4, along with the constant removal of algae over time, leads to success. Remove by rotating them with a toothbrush. An increased dose of Excel may help. They are often eaten by Amano shrimp, Puntius barbus (Barbus) conchonius and mollies.

Oedogonium

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Description
Pretty short filamentous algae that give the plants a “fluffy” look.
Cause
Inadequate CO2 supply; lack of macrocells NO3 and PO4.
Check CO2 concentration. Add macronutrients. An increased dose of Excel may help.
They are often eaten by Amano shrimp, Puntius (Barbus) conchonius, and mollies.

Rhizoclonium

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Description
Thin green or brownish threads, soft and slippery.
Cause
Inadequate CO2 supply; lack of macrocells NO3 and PO4.
Poor aquarium care.
Delete
Increase CO2 supply and check if the dosage of NO3 and PO4 macronutrients is sufficient. Clean the aquarium well.
An increased dose of Seachem Flourish Excel ™ may help. They are eaten by Amano shrimp.
(note naman: hydrogen peroxide is also very effective against these algae)

Spirogrya

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Description
Strands of thin green algae, sometimes very long. Slippery to the touch.
Under the microscope, chloroplasts are arranged in a spiral, respectively the names of algae.
Cause
Often appears a couple of weeks after the aquarium is disturbed, causing a surge in NH4 ammonia levels. It can be anything from anxiety of the substrate to not seen during the dead fish. Loves high light intensity.
Delete
They can be very difficult to remove, as they thrive under the same conditions as plants. Remove as much as possible and darken for three days with the CO2 supply turned off and doing daily water changes. After changing the water, add macronutrients to restore concentration. I eventually found that a higher dose of Seachem Flourish Excel ™ helps. They are eaten by the barbers Puntius (Barbus) conchonius (Rosy Barb, Red Barb). Try to reduce the lighting.

Staghorn (Antler)

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Description It grows in branching strands. A bit like deer horns. Black or gray-green, sometimes with a red tint.
Cause Low CO2 concentration. Aquarium with a lot of silt and overfeeding fish. Dirty filter.
Anxiety of a dirty substrate without subsequent water change.
Delete Check CO2 level. Reduce feeding or the number of fish, clean the ground. An increased dose of Excel usually helps. [4]

[1] The Estimative Index is a system for keeping an aquarium with plants “with water changes and applying fertilizers only to water” for a long time that was known to everyone by assigning it such a name by the author of the article Tom Barr who best explained how and why it works and clarified many of its points.

[2] Black beard (Red algae) appears from an excess of organics dissolved in water and organic suspended matter. The riccia method helps a lot.

[3] I had to read about cases of dealing with these rare but very unpleasant algae before. Indeed, no (!) Measures help, just leave them alone. Something similar can be observed with the flowering of water - the more you change the water, the longer you will fight it. The GDA will go through its breeding cycle and stop growing (leaving spores?). If the conditions in the aquarium are optimal for the plants, there will be no inoculation of spores, and they will no longer appear.

[4] As stated in the review of The Freshwater Red algae: Rhodophyta, Barr Report, Volume 3, Issue 3, the so-called "red algae" are predominantly the species Audouinella and Compsopogon. In addition to the so-called Black Brush Algae (black beard, Vietnamese, red algae) Staghorn algae ("deer horn") are also "red algae" (red algae), despite its color. The main conclusion of the Tom Barr tests described in this review is that an excess of PO4 (1 mg / L) does not in any way stimulate the growth of red algae, and a strong restriction of PO4 does not contribute to getting rid of them. For example, in my aquarium there were several bundles of Spirogrya, and the complete absence of a black beard (although there were a lot of them three months before). I do the test: PO4 = 1.5mg / L (JBL). That is, I overdosed a little macro (CO2 was limiting), which did not lead to an outbreak of red algae, despite the fact that CO2 is supplied by the fermentation method with much less stability than the balloon system.