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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I'm a total newbie to planted tanks. Apologies in advance for all of my questions!!

Background Info
I recently got some Frogbit from a local aquarium store to help combat the algae in my 5.5g tank. I also had my water checked at the store and the only issue was the ph was a little high (typical of the water in my area). The guy at the store told me to cover my tank with a towel for a week and that should get rid of the algae. He also said that I didn't need to quarantine the Frogbit but I could for a week if I wanted to. Because the Frogbit came from a tank with guppies (and a few snails), I chose to quarantine.

Questions
  • I used some of my tank water from a water change to quarantine the plants, and now there is algae on the roots of the Frogbit. How do I get rid of it??
  • I've read about using a bleach dip (19 parts water 1 part bleach for 30 sec - 2 min), but wasn't sure if that was too harsh. I also want to make sure that there are no snails/eggs/parasites/etc. on the plants. Should I do a bleach dip?
  • How much light does the Frogbit need per day? I'm using the LED light from my tank while it's covered.
  • Is one week of total darkness going to negatively affect my betta? I took the towel off the tank to feed him and left it off for about 20 minutes before covering it again.

He really had a rough time with fin rot last year and I don't want to do anything that might stress/hurt him!!

Thank you!!!
 

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Hi there!

Do you know what kind of algae you have? Can you post some pictures so we might try to identify what kind it is?

Bleach dips aren't recommended for delicate plants like frogbit, duckweed, or dwarf water lettuce so definitely don't do a bleach dip. Have you tried taking a soft toothbrush and gently brushing the frogbit to remove the algae?

You can do a Potassium Permanganate dip to kill hitchhikers. Some recommend it for algae also, but I've never used to to kill algae personally so can't say how well it actually works for that. You can buy Jungle Clear Water at Walmart in the pet/fish section or from Amazon. It is pure potassium permanganate. Mix a half-teaspoon per gallon of water. You want it to be a dark pink color. Of course, do this in another container - not in your aquarium - and don't get it on your clothes as it will stain. I always wear gloves when using it. Soak the plants for 20 minutes, then rinse and then rinse thoroughly in another container of water until all of the pink water has been washed away. After that, I'll even run my plants under the faucet to make sure it is completely rinsed.

You could also try a hydrogen peroxide dip. It's less harsh than the bleach dip. Be sure to use 3% hydrogen peroxide. This is also supposed to kill algae although I've never used this method either. You mix 2-3 ml of the 3% hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water (again, of course, in a separate container - not in your aquarium) for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

An alum dip is another recommended dip for plants to kill snails. Alum is sold in the spice aisle at grocery stores. Dissolve 1-3 tablespoons per gallon of warm water and soak your plants for 2-3 hours, then rinse thoroughly. This is supposed to be effective in removing snails but not so much snail eggs.

The only treatment for algae that I've ever used was overdosing Flourish Excel in the tank and that can be risky depending on what plants you have. This method will kill anacharis and jungle vals I know for sure. I'm not sure how frogbit would react as I've never had frogbit. You could research and see if it is recommended.

How long are you leaving your light on? Anything over 8 to 10 hours is too much and will cause algae growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi there!

Do you know what kind of algae you have? Can you post some pictures so we might try to identify what kind it is?

Bleach dips aren't recommended for delicate plants like frogbit, duckweed, or dwarf water lettuce so definitely don't do a bleach dip. Have you tried taking a soft toothbrush and gently brushing the frogbit to remove the algae?

You can do a Potassium Permanganate dip to kill hitchhikers. Some recommend it for algae also, but I've never used to to kill algae personally so can't say how well it actually works for that. You can buy Jungle Clear Water at Walmart in the pet/fish section or from Amazon. It is pure potassium permanganate. Mix a half-teaspoon per gallon of water. You want it to be a dark pink color. Of course, do this in another container - not in your aquarium - and don't get it on your clothes as it will stain. I always wear gloves when using it. Soak the plants for 20 minutes, then rinse and then rinse thoroughly in another container of water until all of the pink water has been washed away. After that, I'll even run my plants under the faucet to make sure it is completely rinsed.

You could also try a hydrogen peroxide dip. It's less harsh than the bleach dip. Be sure to use 3% hydrogen peroxide. This is also supposed to kill algae although I've never used this method either. You mix 2-3 ml of the 3% hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water (again, of course, in a separate container - not in your aquarium) for 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

An alum dip is another recommended dip for plants to kill snails. Alum is sold in the spice aisle at grocery stores. Dissolve 1-3 tablespoons per gallon of warm water and soak your plants for 2-3 hours, then rinse thoroughly. This is supposed to be effective in removing snails but not so much snail eggs.

The only treatment for algae that I've ever used was overdosing Flourish Excel in the tank and that can be risky depending on what plants you have. This method will kill anacharis and jungle vals I know for sure. I'm not sure how frogbit would react as I've never had frogbit. You could research and see if it is recommended.

How long are you leaving your light on? Anything over 8 to 10 hours is too much and will cause algae growth.
Thanks so much for your response!! I definitely was leaving the light on for too long. I also didn't think to use a toothbrush! I'll try that. Here are some pics of the algae. I have all silk plants in there and have not put the frogbit in the tank yet. Also, I took this picture a couple of days ago before I did a water change (50% per week). I'm not sure if I have two different kinds of algae or if it is the same. The guy at the fish store said it looked like hair algae...?


Water Vertebrate Nature Organism Fish supply
Green Plant Art Aquatic plant Rectangle
Green Botany Plant Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant
Terrestrial plant Vegetation Grass Aquatic plant Plant
 

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I find your store worker's advice to be extreme. I wouldn't put a betta in the dark for a week because of some algae here and there. Algae is part of the aquatic environment and unless it gets out of hand, I'd suggest letting it be or, as Sylo suggested, removing it with a toothbrush. The best defense against algae is introducing more plants, which will compete for nutrients, keeping the amount of light moderated, and maintaining your water change schedule which will keep nitrates in check. Algae loves nitrates.
 

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Ahh, if they are silk/artificial plants, I would just remove them and scrub all of the algae off. Imall is right; no need to black-out your tank and keep your fish in the dark. You could even boil the artificial plants for a short time (maybe 10 minutes or so) to kill the algae and then give them a good scrubbing. Keep an eye on them while they're boiling so they don't melt or warp or something! LOL

You don't have a lot of algae so it should be pretty easy to bring under control. Like imall said, get more fast growing plants to compete for nutrients in the tank. Anacharis (or Elodea) is bomb-proof and will grow like a weed. You don't even have to plant it, you can just leave it floating. Wisteria, Hornwort, or Pennywort are other easy, fast-growers that can be planted in gravel or left floating. Any of those, along with your Frogbit, will be sucking up the nitrates and starving out the algae in no time. Keep in mind, when your live plants have grown and are taking up most (or all) of the nitrates/nutrients, they may become deficient and you will probably have to start dosing a liquid fertilizer at some point. That's simple though, just get some Flourish or other liquid fertilizer and dose weekly. I add liquid ferts after each water change.

I looked up the light you said you have and it is comparable to what I use (Nicrew SkyLED) so any of the plants I mentioned should do really well with your light. Just start it out at 8 hours per day and then increase it slowly if you want. If you start noticing any algae, just cut it back again to find the length of time that is appropriate for your set-up.

Also, like imall suggested, be sure to keep up on your water changes. This is also a major factor in preventing algae outbreaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I find your store worker's advice to be extreme. I wouldn't put a betta in the dark for a week because of some algae here and there. Algae is part of the aquatic environment and unless it gets out of hand, I'd suggest letting it be or, as Sylo suggested, removing it with a toothbrush. The best defense against algae is introducing more plants, which will compete for nutrients, keeping the amount of light moderated, and maintaining your water change schedule which will keep nitrates in check. Algae loves nitrates.
Ahh, if they are silk/artificial plants, I would just remove them and scrub all of the algae off. Imall is right; no need to black-out your tank and keep your fish in the dark. You could even boil the artificial plants for a short time (maybe 10 minutes or so) to kill the algae and then give them a good scrubbing. Keep an eye on them while they're boiling so they don't melt or warp or something! LOL

You don't have a lot of algae so it should be pretty easy to bring under control. Like imall said, get more fast growing plants to compete for nutrients in the tank. Anacharis (or Elodea) is bomb-proof and will grow like a weed. You don't even have to plant it, you can just leave it floating. Wisteria, Hornwort, or Pennywort are other easy, fast-growers that can be planted in gravel or left floating. Any of those, along with your Frogbit, will be sucking up the nitrates and starving out the algae in no time. Keep in mind, when your live plants have grown and are taking up most (or all) of the nitrates/nutrients, they may become deficient and you will probably have to start dosing a liquid fertilizer at some point. That's simple though, just get some Flourish or other liquid fertilizer and dose weekly. I add liquid ferts after each water change.

I looked up the light you said you have and it is comparable to what I use (Nicrew SkyLED) so any of the plants I mentioned should do really well with your light. Just start it out at 8 hours per day and then increase it slowly if you want. If you start noticing any algae, just cut it back again to find the length of time that is appropriate for your set-up.

Also, like imall suggested, be sure to keep up on your water changes. This is also a major factor in preventing algae outbreaks.
Thank you both!

@imaal - I think the guy at the fish store suggested covering the tank for a week because I have been dealing with this algae for a couple of months. The pictures I posted are from after a week of consistently turning the light off after 8 hours, and the algae looks a bit better than it usually does! I just need to be better about turning that light off! I need to get one of those timers.

@sylo Ha! That's funny that you mentioned to keep an eye on the plants in the boiling water... I melted my last batch of silk plants because I left them in the water too long! This is my third set of silk plants ugh!!! The first set started falling apart after a couple of weeks of scrubbing/rubbing the algae off and the second set melted 🤦‍♀️

I hesitate to add a bunch of live plants all at once because I don't want to stress my betta out with all the changes and I worry about the upkeep and having to keep an eye out for rotting leaves and all that. My LFS and the large pet stores (Petsmart, Petco, etc.) don't really have a great selection of live plants. Any suggestions of where to safely buy live plants online? Meaning that there aren't snails/parasites/bad things lol that tag along on the plants...
 

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I asked that very question a while back! Moderator, RussellTheShihTzu, recommended aquariumplantsfactory.com as selling pest-free plants and at the time, said they had a coupon code for them. I don't know if it was a one-time/limited coupon thing or if it is good for any time. You might contact RussellTheShihTzu to ask about a coupon code for aquariumplantsfactory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I asked that very question a while back! Moderator, RussellTheShihTzu, recommended aquariumplantsfactory.com as selling pest-free plants and at the time, said they had a coupon code for them. I don't know if it was a one-time/limited coupon thing or if it is good for any time. You might contact RussellTheShihTzu to ask about a coupon code for aquariumplantsfactory.
Good to know! Thanks for the tip. @RussellTheShihTzu do you have any advice/thoughts/suggestions? Thanks!
 
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