First of all, it's been a long time. Hello, how is everyone? Remember me? :P
Anyway, getting to business, Robert is doing fine in his tank despite being shuttled back and forth between cities every so often. The problem is, the tank is rather unhappy. It has quite the algae problem - the green kind that's impossible to scrub off. It's a five gallon and I change the water 50% every week, which seems to keep the fish perfectly happy, and I've tried scraping it off when the water is low during that process, but it doesn't really help. The tank is planted, it has three anubias, one green temple plant (hygro angustifolia, I think?) and a smattering of java ferns. It's fairly low light because I can't get any high light fixtures that are reasonably priced for a five gallon tank. :P
Oh, I used to use fertilizer occasionally to help the plants, but since the algae bloom I've stopped it. That didn't seem to bother the algae, but my plants are rather upset. :/ I'm afraid to start it back up because I don't want the algae to get any worse.
Anyway, how can I get rid of the algae without killing all my plants or risking my fish's health?
How old is the light bulb, kelvin, watts, photoperiod, is there a partition between the light bulb and water, how far is the light from the water, what kind of substrate and how deep, is this glass or acrylic tank, how long has the tank been running, any filtration-what type
Its normal and expected to have some algae in a container of water that has both light and nutrients, however, since its a closed system we have to control it with manual removal on occasion-
With live plants its important to balance the system so that the plants can out compete the algae-when you have an excessive of algae-sometimes adding more plants can help, change the light bulb if its nearing 12months of age, proper kelvin to support photosynthesis, clean the partition for best light to plant penetration or remove it all together, increase photoperiod 10-12h/day, provide more nutrients for the plants....
You need to get the plants happy and actively growing to out compete the algae......If this is a glass tank-use a razor blade to remove as much algae from the walls that you can-make water change to remove the spores daily for a few days.
I'll try to get a pic for you tomorrow. :) Right now the bulb is 3 or so inches from the water, the bulb is maybe 6 months old or so, there is a glass lid between the water and the bulb. I turn the bulb on when I get up around nine and when I go to sleep around midnight. The tank is glass, I believe. There is a filter, I'm not sure what type you would call it but it's mounted over the side of the tank and is motorized (but baffled to reduce the noise and flow for the fish). The tank's been running continuously for... wow, it must be at least two years now. I had Friedrich in it, the fish that I had when I first joined up here. This is the first time the tank has had such bad algae problems.
Another thing I noticed is that the algae starts at the bottom of the tank rather than the top closest to the light, does that mean anything?
Sounds like the hard algae that is in little green spots on the glass? The kind you have to use a glass scraper to get off. OFL can help you best on how to prevent the algae but as for getting the existing stuff of: glass scraper and elbow grease.
If you are leaving the light on from 9am to midnight-15h a day...thats most likely the problem....get a timer and get on a 10-12h/day photoperiod and see if that help.....also, make sure the glass between the light and water is really clean...
Adding to what everyone already mentioned probably add a faster growing plant that does good in low light. Personally I recomend water sprite it looks awesome and sucks amonia and will control algea... Hope it gets better :)