Green Hair Algae in mature tank - dumb question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2020, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Green Hair Algae in mature tank - dumb question

Hi - I tried searching this forum before posting this kinda dumb question.

I've never had an algae issue of any kind in this 10 gallon planted betta tank. Now I've got green hair.

The only thing I've done differently is I haven't ferlitized it in a while (Easy Green ran out, just reordered).

I noticed the circulation isn't that great so I just increased it. I barely get nitrate readings so I don't change the water that often, but did a 20% yesterday even though params were normal. I've removed as much manually as I can.

I have a clip on Finnex light that I just cut back to 7 hrs (from 10).

I read Amano Shrimp are helpful, and will try and find a couple. I also read that "Easy Carbon" is supposed to be useful?

Is there anything else I can do to deal with the algae?

Thanks so much for any help!


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2020, 04:10 AM
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Green Hair Algae in mature tank - dumb question

Here is what I would recommend. Get back to your dosing routine, restore the photoperiod that was set, more frequent water changes and things should go back to normal.

Getting some Amano shrimp (bigger ones) should help, the betta will leave them alone. Amanos are fun to watch. I like them when they graze along the hardscape, substrate and plants. Need to be be more cautious with water changes when having invertebrates in the tank. Water conditioners for one and maintaining temperature is the other that has helped me.

I would stay away from any chemical treatment for now for the green hair algae problem. Looking at your tanks pic I was not able to spot any as well. So I assume the problem is not severe. May be itís just starting.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2020, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your Helpful reply!

Ferts are on the way, and I'll follow your suggestions.

I've been wanting to get a couple of Amano for a long time. My LFS doesn't have them. There's a Petco and even PetSmart nearby; I could try them.

Time flies - the problem happened in recent months - after that pic. I removed a lot of it manually. It was long and slimy. I can still see it in places (like in front of the heater) but it doesn't show up well on photos.

Lesson learned if things are going well, keep doing what you're doing.

Thanks again

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2020, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a close up from today. If you *zoom* in you can see the thread like hair algae all over the place.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2020, 01:00 AM
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eeek, yeah, the best thing is manual removal to start off with.

Then just continue with the water changes, equipment maintenance such as cleaning filters/pump and keep the lights low/less time until it clears up. Algae eaters are great but if you didn't have an issue with algae before and you can get it stabilized then they might not be needed
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2020, 05:55 PM
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Is it long and silky, then it is not hair algae but green thread algae or spirogyra. Amano will eat soft hair algae, but not tough spirogyra. You have to remove by hand which comes off easily in strands, though it may entangle some plants.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-20-2020, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't see these new msgs till just now.

I think you're right it sounds more like spirogyra.

What's funny is I have a vague memory of a band called Spirogyra Lol who knew they were named after algae?!

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-20-2020, 11:44 PM Thread Starter
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I got as much out as can be manually removed. I'm wondering if maybe it's not that big a deal? Maybe I jumped the gun assuming something was wrong? Algae is natural and common in nature, right?

Anyway, I ordered a couple of snails and some shrimp. The shrimp are big orange ones (sorry forget the name). Used to have some "pest" snails but something happened I don't see them anymore.

I don't "vacuum" the Aquasoil substrate and there's a pretty good mulm build up.

I dosed with Easy Green and trimmed any unhealthy leaves I could find. I also added some hygrophilia and ordered more dwarf sag. In this tank either it dies or does really well. Go figure

Hopefully all of this will help balance the tank - I'm not sure why it took a year to see algae, but I'm going to try and focus on better management.
Due to "events" since summer I haven't paid as much attention to the tank as I should.

What's odd is for the longest time I don't get any Nitrate readings (API test kit). I usually base water changes on Nitrate levels, so I haven't changed the water in a long time (just topping off). The fish have never been sick (ever) so I don't mess with the tank.

I don't mess with the filter either. It's a HOB stuffed with blue foam, presumably packed with BB bcs post cycling I've never detected ammonia. I should probably take it apart once in a while.

Sorry for the rambling...I'm giving away some fry...put an ad on neighborhood app - been slammed with bizzare responses. It's been tiring. Today I took down the ad and will take them to LFS.

Thanks for the help with the algae - yet another "fishy" thing to learn about!



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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-13-2020, 07:38 AM
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I had an outbreak of green hair algae (I think) and in a few weeks the algae formed a thick mat several inches thick floating on top. It developed out of nowhere, even though I have Amano shrimp and nerite snails.
After removing as much as I could manually several times, I added duckweed and water lettuce to float on top. The floating plants block some of the light and compete with the algae for nutrients. I also noticed that quilted melania snails seem to like eating the hair algae.
After a couple weeks of manual removal, the hair algae was under control. Now I just have to control the duckweed and water lettuce.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 07:43 PM
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How are those shrimps doing?
Amano's definitely do the most work, but it sounds like you got some neocardinas which I favor anyway since they usually breed and give you more shrimp and they are smaller which looks more appropriate in a nanotank in my opinion.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2020, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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"Now I just have to control the duckweed..." LoL.

I bought some frogbit and am pretty sure it's duckweed. I was scooping it out by the handful. For some reason it died out (I dose Easy Green) and the tank was totally free if it! But just recently I've noticed these tiny floaters so a bit of it survived.

Speaking of hair or thread algae, here's a photo of a giant natural tank in a local Japanese restaurant. It takes up a wall. I don't know what the big orange fish is, but there's a couple hundred small fish and fry (guppy, Molly, Platy etc).

This tank has so much thread/hair algae it looks like the Milky Way galaxy Lol. Thing is, it looks really cool. The owner says he doesn't mind it, and anyway he can't be bothered trying to control it because it just grows back very quickly.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-30-2020, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @Roboto thanks for asking. Yes you're right they're neocardinia, and they're perfect for the tank size. I need to read more about shrimp care. It seems like people have TDS meters and monitor GH/KH. Opinions vary, but it seems like shrimp are sensitive and require a lot of work, such as drip method water changes (I don't have time for that).I put a piece of cuttlebone in for them, and they like to eat the Betta's food (right in front of him Lol). They're really cool;, I'd love a separate tank just for shrimp

I also picked up some small horned nerite snails but they didn't last long and I don't know why. I didn't supplement their diet bcs there's 14 months worth of mulm, tons of plants, and whatever algea is hanging around that I can't see.
They started out actively cruising the glass, but then they crawled under some wood and vanished. I feel really bad. :/

What's also weird is there was a small population of "pest" snails in there for a long time. They never got out of control and I didn't mind them. They also vanished. Again I don't know why.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 06:34 PM
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Yes, shrimp can be a little harder to keep. Neo's have a pretty wide range of parameters where they will do well and once they're settled and acclimated they are hardy which is nice, but the key is keeping the tank consistent and avoiding any major swings.

I do keep a separate tank for shrimp with a sponge filter and have a little colony going and it's really a lot of fun. My next move is to remove some of the shrimplets that aren't quite up to breeding standards (I have blue dreams and some are more blue than others) to my community tank where any offspring they make will likely get eaten by the fish and then let the highest quality ones breed in the shrimp tank. I'm lucky to live in an area with quite a few shops and two of them have said they have trouble keeping their shrimp in stock and will give me a pretty good store credit for any I bring them so that will help fund this hobby.

Since you're having trouble with some livestock (nerite and pets snails) it may behoove you to start testing gh/kh. If you already use liquid tests for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates it's not much different of a process. The TDS meters are pretty cheap ($20) and are sort of helpful but they don't give you a very complete picture of what's going on in the tank. They are good for quick daily readings and if you notice something unexpected than it helps to let you know that you need to do more accurate tests to figure out what's going on (ammonia spike, high nitrates, etc.).

I assume you have an ammonia test kit and that's your first check when you have some unexpected deaths. That you've lost your pest snail population makes me a little worried that your neo shrimp might be in jeopardy so I'd be sure to have the two basics in order and that's ammonia and that you don't have chlorine in your water.


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