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Sand Substrate Blackening
December 7, 2010
8:26 pm
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Saxodave
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Having had a question regarding my Java fern leaves blackening I now have the situation where the sand substrate (beneath my newly-installed GroLux tube) is turning black. Is this algal growth caused by increased light levels? If so, can I can get rid of it or will I have to replace the sand? If it isn't algal growth what might it be? Thanks.

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December 9, 2010
1:29 pm
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Bluedave
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it's algae growth mate - just syphon it off when you do a water change, if it get quite bad then just take the sand out and wash it.

Probably caused by increased lighting - are you adding CO2? It may be that it sorts itself out in the long term, it's caused by an imbalance of light/CO2 and nutrients - if you've got too much of one or more of these then the algae will use it. Strong plant growth is the best combat against algae.

December 9, 2010
5:02 pm
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Saxodave
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The algae growth is clearly below the GroLux tube and not on the sand at the back of the tank. If I siphon off the algae I suppose I will lose the top layer of sand as well.

I'm not adding CO2 yet but was thinking of making my own yeast/sugar version. I have increased the lighting and started liquid feeding so do you think adding CO2 will balance things up a bit?

December 10, 2010
9:01 pm
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Bluedave
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yep, I'd add something like easycarbo - relatively inexpensive and will balance things up.

You can go DIY but I find that the inconsistency of DIY CO2 leads to more problems with algae.

December 10, 2010
9:45 pm
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Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
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You should be able to siphon the sand without losing much. It takes a bit of practice but i've gotten pretty good at it. You can kink the tube to regulate the flow. The size of the hose & the size of the siphon tube will make a difference. If sand does end up in the bucket, I just rinse it good & poor it back in. Personally, I don't mind a little algae on top like that. It looks natural.

December 11, 2010
3:12 pm
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Saxodave
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I had a go at siphoning it earlier today and ended up with a a lot in my bucket! I need to practice a bit more. I also don't mind a 'bit' of algae on the sand, I was just a bit concerned that it might get out of hand. I will try some easycarbo as you suggest Bluedave and kink my hose like you say, Plaamoo. Many thanks.

December 11, 2010
9:02 pm
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Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
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Remember also that wider diameter siphon tube will have less pull when all else is eqaul. The height of the outlet end of the hose can also affect the pull. I've seen where people have attached a piece of nylon stocking to the bottom of the tube for sand siphoning but I haven't tried it myself.

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