I have come across a brown hair algae outbreak that I need some help with. I have gone to several LFS and have been given conflicting advice and have become rather frustrated. Some tell me its just part of the cycling process and it will take care of itself and others tell me it needs to be treated. But first, the basics:
- 55 Gal
- Pressurized CO2
- 216W T5HO @ 12000K (4 x 54W)
- Flourite Substrate, Brown
- Micro Sword Narrow Leaf
- Green Myrio
- Red Temple
- Amazon Sword
- Java Moss
- one plant I can't recall the name of (I'm sure somebody can help out!)
- 3x Serpae Tetra
- 4x Endler
- 3x SAE
- 3x Red Eye Tetra
- 10 mL Flourish Comprehensive 3x/week
- Prime & Stability with every water change (based on water change amount)
- Soon to start EI dosing after algae has been dealt with
First off, I will say that I am not new to keeping an aquarium, but I am new to having a planted tank. This is still a newly establish tank, only 3 weeks old.
Initially, the tank was treated with Stability to initiate the fishless cycle. It was treated as per the instructions on the bottle. The plants were added at the beginning of the stability dosing. After the first week, the fish were added to the tank and the CO2 was started at approximately 1-1.5 bps.
There were no problems during the second week. Tank treated once per week with stability as per instructions on bottle. Small water changes were done every 2 days after being treated with Prime and Stability.
During the third week the brown hair algae appeared on the micro swords and the java moss. The photoperiod was initially 10 hrs/day. I cut it down to 7hrs/day and cut the lighting in half from 216W to 108W. I also increased the CO2 to 2-3 bps. The brown hair algae continued to appear despite hand removal.
Next I brought a water sample to the LFS to test it. They gave me the following:
Ammonia - 0 ppm
NO2 - 7 ppm
NO3 - 40 ppm
pH - 6.2
They then suggested treating the tank with Stability on a daily basis (for the second time) until the nitrite levels diminished. They also recommended using an alkaline buffer to raise the pH. I was not convinced that my pH was as low as it tested. They also told me that my algae problem was from excess nitrates in the water.
I arrived home and tested the water using a 5 in 1 test strip to replicate the results. I obtained the following:
Ammonia - 0 ppm
NO2 - 4 ppm
NO3 - 60 ppm
pH - 6.8
gH - 160 ppm (~10 dkh)
kH - 120 ppm (~6.7 dgh)
I then tested the water using a liquid pH tester and obtained a pH of 6.8, verifying the test strip results.
I have been using filtered tap water for my water changes. I then tested the filtered tap water and got:
NO2 - 0 ppm
NO3 - 30 ppm
pH - 7.2
gH - 160 ppm (~9 dkh)
kH - 180 ppm (~10 dgh)
Not sure if this is a problem or not. Haven't had the chance to test the water after it has been treated with stability and prime.
And here I sit. Frustrated from conflicting advice and just trying to figure out how to remove the hair algae from my tank. Anyone would could shed some light for me would be greatly appreciated. Attached is a photo of the algae and an overall photo of the tank.
(P.S - The plant that I cannot remember the name for is in the back right corner of the tank, seen in picture #4)