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Hair Algae, Ugh!

Discussion in 'The Planted Aquarium' started by Randall, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Randall

    Randall Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Hello all,

    This topic has come up before, but without a sure fire resolution. Short of taking down a tank, cleaning it with bleach, and starting over, what is the best way to keep hair algae under control? Some forum members recommend C02 infusion, while others recommend adding rosy barbs, Siamese algae eaters, or bushy-nosed plecos. I've heard that Jordinella floridae eats hair algae, but mine is a Hemichromis tank, so sweet little killie fish won't cut it. I've added three rosy barbs that totally ignore the nasty stuff. Any suggestion's, please?

    Thanks!

    Randall Kohn
  2. Zapisto

    Zapisto New Member 5 Year Member

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    my answer with this things will be bleach bleach bleach and rebleach

    sorry but Hair Algae is just a pain
  3. Cumb Dunt

    Cumb Dunt New Member 5 Year Member

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    Algae is caused by ammonia, which is the result of overfeeding or your tank's filtration system being unable to cope with the ammount you feed.

    My advice to you is to get some sort of floating plant (Pistia, Phyllanthus, Limnobium (BUT NOT Lemna)) to a) block the light and b) use up the extra ammonia that you have floating around in your water column.

    Odds are your rosy barbs are not eating the hair algae because they aren't hungry for it. Do they get fed as often as your Hemis?

    I would cut back on the food a little bit, get some floaters, and see what happens.
  4. Cumb Dunt

    Cumb Dunt New Member 5 Year Member

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    Stupid question:

    Is this a planted tank?

    If it isn't, there's no reason you can't just do a two week blackout.

    Your fish won't care and the algae will die.

    (But I would still cut back on feeding)
  5. Randall

    Randall Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Hair Algae

    Thanks for the responses, guys.

    The tank was planted, but after a two-month blackout, the plants died, and the hair algae grew back. There is no ammonia whatsoever, and the poor fish are starving from being underfed. Any other ideas, or do I open a bottle of bleach (I loathe this option).

    Thanks!

    Randall
  6. IndianaSam

    IndianaSam Member 5 Year Member

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    Have you tried using some Flourish Excel? It is purported to have some algaecidal effects. I have used it in the past for those purposes and it has worked pretty well.

    Sam
  7. Andre

    Andre New Member 5 Year Member

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    Hey Randall

    Actually CO2 has worked the best for me against this algae in the past. A friend of mine recommended it and it worked like a charm. You will need to get the CO2 levels up to about 20 ppm and add some fast growing plant like Hygrophila polysperma or something similar. This worked for me but I am lucky enough to have presurised CO2 to do this. DIY might be a bit more of a pain.

    Hope you can beat this stuff.
  8. Cumb Dunt

    Cumb Dunt New Member 5 Year Member

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    I would try the floating plants before investing your money in CO2-related items. Far cheaper, IMHO.

    You can also try squirting hydrogen peroxide at the individual tufts of algae. Some people have had excellent results with this.

    You sure your ammonia is at 0? What test kit are you using? And have you calibrated it?

    Fast-growing plants do indeed help. Hygrophila polysperma was an excellent suggestion.
  9. Nebraska_cichlids

    Nebraska_cichlids Member 5 Year Member

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  10. Fatts

    Fatts New Member 5 Year Member

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    No one else mentioned it so I will, I have3 found that PO4 is a good reason for hair algea. I had a bad outbreak of it so I raised my CO2 to 25 ppm and then I started to reduce my PO4 (the water company here addes it in the summer months). That killed it all off for me, but it took about 3-4 weeks before I could see a real change.
  11. aspen

    aspen Active Member 5 Year Member

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    randall, what sized tank are you dealing with? maybe some more info would help. what kinds of fish and how many do you have?

    rick
  12. Cumb Dunt

    Cumb Dunt New Member 5 Year Member

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    PO4 could be the issue.

    Any particular nutrient in excess could be the culprit, IMHO.

    Floating plants should help alleviate this.

    Not to beat a dead horse :(

    What is your substrate? Have you called your water company and gotten your official out-of-the-tap readings? Your tap may be high in something.

    If this doesn't work, try the Excel, particularly with some fast-growing plants.
  13. Cathy G

    Cathy G New Member 5 Year Member

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    Potassium Permanganate

    I pulled my plants and dipped them roots and all into a solution of potassium permanganate for 10 minutes. It killed all the algae, didn't loose a single plant (Wisteria, Java Fern, Java Moss, Ludwigia, Sword...) Then I replanted. The stuff has not grown back on anything save the java fern which is getting too much light - I am waiting for the sword to shade them. It took a couple of hours all told, but it was worth it. The other option is a Siamese Algae Eater - make sure you get the real thing and not a pretender!

    I finally got my plants to 'pearl' last night. Yea! Took a few weeks fiddling around with everything, but success - at least temporary success - is sweet!
    DIY CO2, just isn't that much work once you get it going. Finding the right yeast mix/recipe and then a good diffuser was really all it took. I highly recommend the $1.20 Ebo Jager airstone for a diffuser - you can adjust the size bubbles and I have a steady stream of the tiniest bubbles that they are totally dissolved by the time they reach the surface of my 20g. It is working sooo much better than my expensive diffuser!

    Beard algae is gross, hope you triumph over it!
    Cathy G
    P.S. Once the sword is shading the ferns, I plan on dipping the whole piece of driftwood they are attached to into the potassium..
  14. farm41

    farm41 New Member 5 Year Member

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    Randall,

    What is your light cycle? What are you using for lights?
  15. apistoireland

    apistoireland New Member 5 Year Member

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    I used to have hair algae. You don't mention your stocking levels but I would try a uv clarifier and a layer of zeolith in your filter. The UV will kill the spores and the zeolith will take the nitrates and phosphates out of the water. Additional CO2 might help but watch your pH if your water is very soft
  16. Xanathos

    Xanathos New Member 5 Year Member

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    Floating plants are a defitive, if slow, solution to get rid of algaes. The fact that they are floating, gives them access to a lot of CO2 in the surronding air, thus they litterally pump most nutrients available in the water in at blazing fast speed ( giving you have decent lightning, of course ). By doing so, they are privating your algaes to grow on these nutrients and slow the invasion. Plus, floating plants are always a good seller at any fish auction you'll attend !! :p

    The key thing to remember is that hair algae will always be present in your tank but you can slow their growth considerably.

    I dont think amonia has anything to do with those algaes. Maybe you were referencing to nitrates ?

    Another common source of hair algae is bad lightning. They just LOVE the spectrum of overused bulbs or inadequate bulbs. For example, if your bulbs spectrum are a lot in the purple, green and yellow of the color chart ( it's usually written on the bulb's package, it looks like a X-Y axis graphic ), you're litterally feeding your algaes with good stuff while your plants dont get anything they need. If your bulbs are more than 1 year, 1 year and half old ( usually the tips tend to become darker with age ), throw them away and put a new set.

    Phosphates can be a cause of algae growth as well but since you said you werent feeding this tank too much, I doubt that this may be the source of your problem.

    Remember that whatever you do, no matter how hard you try, you'll always have a patch of algae of some kind growing somewhere in your tank. But getting too much is another matter :p

    Good luck

    Phil
  17. lhforbes

    lhforbes Guest

    Randall,
    First off PO4 does NOT cause algae, this is nothing more than a myth. An imbalance is the most likely cause for almost all algae, whether it is from too little or too much light, fertilizer, CO2 etc. The easiest way to prevent almost all algae is after a water change run either a UV or diatom filter for a day (as Apistoireland suggests). I started doing this and I have no algae in any of my 4 planted tanks, and I used to have every type known to man and most known to woman. The way to get rid of hair algae (black brush algae or BBA) is to do a massive over-dose with Seachem Flourish Excel. You didn't mention the size of your tank but, in a 29 gallon, I would use 2 tablespoons a day for 3 days. You will have zero BBA in about a week. To keep it away permanently use either of the filters.
  18. The reginator

    The reginator New Member 5 Year Member

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    My male ancistrus eats absolutely ANYTHING icky that grows, including some strange white furry stuff that grew all over my bogwood, but leaves any "proper" plants well alone, is totally harmless to other fish and is armour plated so is not bothered by aggressive tank-mates either.
  19. Capt. Hooked

    Capt. Hooked Guest

    PO4 does not cause algae but like you said an imbalance will cause it. Too much po4 will cause an algae problem. Hence Fatts suggestion. I agree with him and po4 was the cause of my algae problems....

    I run a diatom filter every weekend. I still had algae to clean up every weekend. Now that Ive taken notice to my high PO4 and taken care of it I dont have algae issues. UV filters work great for floating algae or "green water".

    The flourish excel is adding carbon to your tank. I wouldnt not recommend over dosing with this product, especially out of nowhere like that. If this fixes your problem you most likely have too much light and not enough co2. After the effects wear off then the algae returns to be cleaned by the DE filter in your senario. Fix the imbalance and dont have an issue.
  20. faewyn

    faewyn New Member 5 Year Member

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    Stick a BN into the tank and you will never see algae again! They are great and make great tank mates, except when spawning they may eat the apistos eggs.