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..