Algae wars

            This part of my life is called "Fighting Algae".No aquarist can escape from this and I am in a way glad that my turn came in at a very early stage of my planted aquarium venture. You must have enjoyed the beautiful picture of Riccia fluitans that I posted a few days back. This is the sad state of the moss now.

Why did this happen? Quite simple. It all boils down to the basics.

The first and most important mistake is maintaining the levels. A newly planted tank always takes its time to get the balance right. If you thought you got the levels right, you cannot just maintain that in the initial stages. Because, your plants are growing, your nutrient levels are changing, you add more fish, you feed them. With so much going on, one has to be alert and keep a watch on the plant growth levels and keep a lookout for algae. The first and most basic solution to most problems is a regular water change. I guess I neglected it a little too much. With 4 X 54 watt lights on, CO2 at 2-3 bubbles per second, I should have kept a watch on the nutrient levels and did weekly water changes.

Leaving all the analysis aside, here is the problem in hand. How to get rid of them? Damage control begins! I have got a lot of suggestions from folks in indianaquariumhobbyist forum and here is what I am doing right now.

- Did a 20% water change
- Brought the CO2 level up a little
- Brought down light intensity ( only 2 tubes on now) and reduced photoperiod to 6 hrs
- Added an initial 20 ml of Seachem Flourish Excel and 5 ml on alternate days
- Did a manual scraping of some algae on glass and most of the hair algae using a brush.
- Some pruning of plants
- Added some micro and macro nutrients to boost plant growth

After all this, there is a fair amount of progress. The hair algae have cleared up on one side of the tank but my Riccia still has a long way to go. But such big change in water chemistry always comes with a cost. In my case, it was the death of 2 of my Amano shrimps and 2 Red Cherry shrimps. :( I hope there is no further damage and things get restored soon.

This too shall pass..

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So far so good

          It has been 4 weeks now. Quite a satisfying progress. The plants have established pretty well. There was some algae attack to take care of in between but it was not all that serious. Some green dot and hair algae had shown up ( which I believe is quite expected a new planted setup) but my algae eaters have done the job quite well and kept things under control.

        I now have populated the tank with Siamese Algae Eaters, Cherry Red Shrimps, Rummynose Tetras and Neon Tetra. Did a mistake of getting a pair of Bolivian Rams. They were not supposed to be good companions for the shrimps and I got feedback from folks to get rid of them. Dejection or loneliness seems to have got to them before me. They quit the aquatic world shortly and brought the shrimps out of their hideouts.

        I am continuing to do weekly 10% water changes and regular trimming of plants. The only worry right now is the carpet grass not getting spread on the left. I see some grass budding out but nothing significant. Got to do something about it...

       Here is how the tank evolved so far:

    Day 1:

    Day 4:

    Day 7:

     Day 22:

    Day 24:

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