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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!
Well, I'm back at this awesome website... I've spent quite a bit of time browsing through this website, but especially nearly 10 months ago when I brought home my first-ever Betta, an awesome red and blue veiltail, finally named "El Duendecillo" but Theo for short. :) I am happy to report he's doing quite well, and has moved up from his 3 gal. to a nice 5.5, which he shares with a fairly sizeable mystery snail.

Anyhow, enough of a ramble. I was given a few plant cuttings about a month ago by a co-aquarium-enthusiast. Up until then, I had only a moss ball and a few cloth plants, and I know very little about plants. They seem to be doing fine (one in particular), but over the past week or two I have seen a good deal more of a certain algae (or what looks like it).

So, I have a few questions. First, could anyone help me identify which plants I have?
And also, the attached pictures should show a sort of bright-green algae/slime (to which I was referring) growing all over the place... I've tried to do some research, and my gut tells me it's blue-green algae :shock:... but could anyone tell me for certain? (and also what, if anything, I need to do about it). It comes off easily, in chunks, is slimy but stringy, and grows quickly. Not sure if the snail eats it? (I do get green/brown algae on the glass, but not so much, and it scrapes off easily. The glass is clean in the pics only because I just cleaned it.)

Here are some params:
Tank size: 5.5 gal
Temp: 78 F
Filtration: Tetra Whisper 3i, powered by Tetra Whisper 10-gal pump
pH: can vary between 7.2-.4
Ammonia: close to 0
Lighting: spiral fluorescent lightbulb- 450 lumens, 120V, 60Hz, 9W, soft white, about 2 months old. Lately I've had it on about 12 hours or longer, but will probably lessen that.
Substrate: gravel, around 1 1/4 inch deep
Water changes: 40% weekly
Water treatment: AmQuel Plus Ammonia Detoxifier

Thanks so much if any of you knowledgeable fish people can help me out! :)
 

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The long stems in the background is some type of rotala I'm thinking rotala indica. The grass looking ones in the middle are dwarf sag. And the other plants are different types of cryptocorne species.

You may have blue green algae but I'm leaning towards diatoms also.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks a lot for the info! (and sorry for taking so long to say so ;) ) That'll definitely make researching these guys a little easier - a lot of plants, especially sword-type plants, look mostly the same to me. Anyhow, they seem to be doing pretty well as-is - the rotala has grown a few inches at least since I put it in there, and the others have put out new plants as well.

As for the algae, I'm still not entirely sure about it. Like I said, it grows pretty quickly and the tank develops what looks something like bright green cobwebs, mostly in places getting the most light. I'm thinking probably the light is too strong and I need to find a different bulb. Ah well, at least the stuff is not too difficult to clean out, just really time-consuming!
 

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As for the algae, I'm still not entirely sure about it. Like I said, it grows pretty quickly and the tank develops what looks something like bright green cobwebs, mostly in places getting the most light.
"Bright green cobwebs" sounds like either hair algae or staghorn algae (though I think staghorn algae is usually brown). Do you mean it's like long thin filaments? I have the same problem. CO2 is supposed to help get rid of it, but my DIY CO2 system failed so I haven't really tried it yet. I just mostly manually remove it. The long thin filaments can be vacuumed with my gravel vacuum, but sometimes it builds up on the leaves like fuzz and that's harder to remove.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, that sounds like it. You can definitely see the filaments where it grows on the glass, and also on the parts near the filter, with higher current. They're probably, oh, 3-ish millimeters long? It does clean up decently well out of the gravel, but for the plants I have to spend a bit of time elbow-deep in aquarium water. :p

I am kind of wary of those DIY CO2 things... only because I remember when I was a kid my dad did one for his 55 gal tropical tank (which was really beautiful)... and it worked great until, well, I don't remember exactly what happened - I think something was knocked over - but there was a gigantic yeast explosion in the tank, and everything died. :(

I guess I need to (gulp) invest in a full water test kit, so I can see what's abnormal. Hadn't really felt the need for one before, besides just pH and ammonia.
And, probably, I need a light that isn't so strong. A guess, anyway, I'm a plant noob. But not really sure what kind I need to get.
 

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How long do you leave the lights on? I think that's the main issue related to algae growth. You need lights of at least 6500K for plant growth, and the wattage should be 2 watts per gallon for medium light, I believe.
But your lights should only be on for 8-10 hours per day.
 

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It's quite likely that's the problem...!:oops: They had been on every day for 15 hours or so, last few days (since the algae explosion) have been down to 12. But yeah, I'm thinking it would be a good idea to cut back even farther. :cool:
 

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The brown algae that you describe on the glass, is most likely diatoms. Diatoms bloom when a tank is newly cycled usually, and will clear up on their own when the tank is stable. I had diatoms really bad in my 5 gal after it cycled, so I got a nerite snail in there and he ate it all up in 12 hours...it was amazing. He keeps the glass spotless!

I get that green algae growing in my 5 gal also, it's on the tips of my plants, a little on the top water line of the glass sometimes and it tangles in the roots of my floaters. I don't know what to do about it either, short of removing it by hand. But it doesn't get out of control in my tank, so I really just let it be. I also have shrimp in my tank and ramshorn snails. I don't know if they are keeping it under control or not though. Mine looks like bright green stringy clumps on the plants, just like yours.

Are you using any fertilizers? I use Flourish liquid fert in mine. And the bulb I use is just a regular compact fluorescent, 6500k daylight bulb. 12 watts I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh yeah, the brown algae isn't really a problem... my snail seems to keep that fairly well under control. The green stuff, though... I'm not sure if the snail eats that but my water changes tell me he's definitely eating a lot of something!
As for fertilizer, I haven't really done any of that yet. How can you tell if you really ought to be using one? My plants are growing, so I'm not sure. I guess their color could be better.
 
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