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Update on the Algae

So, ever since my last post on algae I have been trying to get rid om them. Here's a short update of the method I chose, that seems to be working so far. 

My first wish was to use as little 'medicine' as possible. I read some articles that reminded me of biology class in secondary school: photosynthesis...the magic word. It appears that, as many of you will remember, plants produce O2 (oxigen) in lighted conditions and use CO2 to both produce it and in order to grow. In dark condition the proces reverses and CO2 gets produced through O2 usage. Algae on the other hand appear to use O2 (produced by plants) in daytime conditions in order to grow.

So: Lots of light will result in an overproduction of O2, which gives algae plenty of opportunity to grow. I live in a house very well lit by daylight and the shrimptank can't get away from the daylight as well, although it is pushed back as far away as possible. I also had the Aquatic Nature Solar Boy Duo running 12 hours a day...

Here's what I did:
  • I pushed back the timer of the Solar Boy Duo to do only 4 hour sessions, twice a day. 
  • I darkened the tank throughout the daytime.
Every morning after breakfast, I put a magazine on the shortside (held there by the cleaning magnet) and pulled a trashbag over the front and upside. (Remember the backside is covered with black foil already). I turned the light off to avoid heating and potential fires. With the filter on the opposite shortside and the ligth coming from the oposite direction, darkening that side is hardly worth the effort. 

When I got home from work, I removed the foil and started switch the light back on. 

Every week I refresh abouth 30% of the water, and along with it I try to remove as much of the algae I can get my hands on. Usually those were back the week after, but that proces has stopped now!

The anubias nana is almost completely algae-free after three weeks of treatment. The valisneria seems to be getting better, although growth has slowed down significantly!

Only the plant in the back, the Echinodorus, seems to have stopped growing and, although algae are leaving it alone, seems to slowly die on me. 

As a side-effect, the moss seems to be enjoying these conditions a lot better as well! It grows better and looks more 'green'. There is also no longer a rag of algae in between the moss.

Here's a picture of my 'darkening method'


Review Aquatic Nature Cocoon

While I'm currently battling a plague of algae, I suddenly realised I still need review the Aquatic Nature Cocoon nano tank. This particular review covers the Aquatic Nature Cocoon nr. 6, although I expect the other numbers of the cocoon series to be similarly equipped. 

The 'showcase' please note light & filter!
Please note that I found a way to order the 'tank only' of the Aquatic Nature Cocoon 6. Due to a bod choice I ended up with the (almost) full set articles that the set usually consist of. 

The specs of the full set:
  • Tank: 40x26x30 cm (31,2 litres)
  • Biological Hang On Filter 'Flow 200'. (I don't have this article)
  • Solar Duo Boy 26 watt; reviewed on this blog here
  • Glass plate for on top
  • Plastic edge pieces to fit the glass plate
  • Rubber matt to put the tank onto
The Tank:
The tank looks very solid and has nice rounded edges at the front. The back has regular 'sharp' 90 degree angles. The back glass is transparent out of the box. There is no foil that can be put on the back. A bit of a downside, although it at least give you options as an owner. I purchased it separately to create a black backside.
The empty tank, but with foil on the back
The Filter:
This is the piece that I don't own, so I hereby summarise some Dutch reviews on other sites.
A part on one of my favourite forums ( states that the filter is slightly noisy and has a relatively small biological filtering capacity. Other google results also note the noisyness...seems like a downside to me, but luckily I have my HMF which is silent and has plenty of capacity.

The Light:
Enough has been said here: it is brilliant!

The Glass Top:
This is where the pain starts with this tank! I had the setup in mind that Aquatic Nature advertises, with the light on the shortside. The glass top has a few downsides:
- It has no rounded edges. This means it does not slide up all the way to the front but sticks in the rounded edges in a strange way
- It is less deep than the tank, meaning there will be a 4-5cm wide gap at the back of the tank. This can be used for the filter normally, but it's too bad it goes across the whole width of the tank.
- It is just as wide as the tank (or slightly smaller). This means there is no space to accommodate the light on the short side, as demonstrated by Aquatic Nature. 

This was no viable solution for me at all! It is not aesthetically pleasing and it is impractical as shrimp can escape easily. 

I went to a local glass supplier and had a similar plate crafted for me. The expensive, but pretty solution. I had initially cut a plate of plexiglass that exactly fitted my setup. The plexiglass becomes week and bends though with humidity and warmth. The plexiglass was a nice pattern for the craftsmen.

The plastic edges:
Come in two cornered pieces and four straight pieces. Plenty of material to keep the plate steady. The material used is good, but the plastic could have been slightly more clear.

The rubber mat:
Does what it should do; no more no less. Is is coloured black, so fits most of the soil types. 

All in all I am happy with the tank. It provides a good alternative to the typical nano tanks made by Dennerle and comes with good materials such as the Solar Duo Boy. The one big downside that Aquatic Nature should really work on is the glass plate on top, which doesn't fit at all. They should also be honest and show the tank in the way it can actually be setup. Mine is currently setup as showcased, but that needed glass cutting by a few craftsmen.


Bad case of Algae

After getting back from a holiday I found my tank in a bad state :(

In a way that is no wonder, I had not cleaned or maintained it for 10 days. But still I was a bit disappointed in the amount of algae that covered the filter and mostly the valisneria (that are usually growing really well). The valisneria are particularly weak and 'slimey' at the tips. Some cary a whole load of algue (see the picture below). The algae have also spread across the other plants and seem to have a similar effect. Only the anubias seems to tolerate the algae a bit better. It also seems to be a combination of different sorts of algae.

I am a couple of weeks further down the road now. I have done regular water changes, have done regular cleaning of both windows and where possible plants and I have started to add a daily dosis of easycarbo. (10-20 drops per day on the 32 liter tank)

The big problem:  The algue are still here!!!

Who can help me solve this problem???

Please provide your suggestions below!! Your help is much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
Whole load of algae on tip of baby valisneria

Algae on tips of Echinodorus
Algae on tip of (larger) valisneria leaf

Combination of algae on Anubias nana