Hair Algae Starting - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Hair Algae Starting

I have a bit of hair algae appearing on the tops of my tallest plants leaves. I am wondering if anyone could help me identify why this is happening and how to remove/prevent it. Here are some details of my tank:

The tank is a Biube, i.e. cyclinder of 33cm diameter and 57cm tall, 35 litres volume (9 US gallons), surface area is 855 cm sq. It has an Eden 501 external filter with bio sponge, ceramic noodles and ammo chips. Substrate is flourite and aquagrit mixed. Lighting is 11w arcadia arc-pod. CO2 from one nutrafin natural plant system into filter return. Ferts are Seachem liquids, Flourish, Iron, Trace, Excel, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium according to Seachem schedule. I do a 20% water change weekly.

Fish: I have 5 cardinal tetra, 2 otocinclus and 2 sterbai corys.

Plants: Amazon swords, cabomba, micro swords, pogostemon helferi, utricularia graminifolia.

Stats are pH 6.7 KH 5.0 (CO2 c. 30ppm), NH4 0ppm, NO2 0ppm, NO3 c. 5ppm, temp is 26 deg C.

I am wondering what I can do to provide good conditions for my plants without encouraging this algae growth, too much / too little light, too much / too little CO2, too much / too little fertilisation?

My otos won't touch the hair algae, are there any small shrimp that will?

Any help hugely appreciated.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 06:23 PM
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The only critters I've ever actually seen eat hair algae are SAE's, and those will be, or will grow to be, far too large for a nano. Perhaps someone else knowns of some shrimp or snails that'll do the job without mowing down your plants...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 06:27 PM
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I've got a couple little patches turning up in my new-ish 5 gallon and am going to try shortening my light cycle and bumping up Excel dosing a tiny bit...

SAE's are one option for algae-eatin' critters; so are Rosy Barbs I hear.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 07:53 PM
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I hear is that many poeciliids (livebearers) would gob up the algae in no time (many on this forum are recommending black mollies). I'm looking at my pico starting on the hair thread algae and wondering about getting an Endler male there...

Some swear by the Amano shrimps... Haven't tried those yet...
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-21-2006, 09:02 PM
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<slight laugh> My planted quarantine tank is now a sea of hair algae. All over the sword, the anubias, the madagascar lace, the living world stump....makes interesting ripples with the waterfall effect. Fortunately I'm getting ready to move the three angels out of there into larger tank so maybe I'll establish a guppy colony there. I'd say the guppies will be thrilled.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 10:35 PM
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Flynn, I've heard somewhere that excess iron can be a contributing factor to green hair/thread algae. Maybe try easing back on the iron dosing and let us know how it goes. You'll need to try and remove what you can by hand and probably ive the gravel a vac if you can. I've heard rosy barbs don't mind nibbling on it, but they're most likely too big for that tank.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 01:02 AM
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Phosphates and potasium may be your issue not necessarily the lighting I think, to much unused nutrients.

Keep playing with your dosing and your tank for a while to see what changes the growth rate, then manually remove. Increase additional plants to compete.

Most of the fish that were mentioned will opt to eat whatever you are feeding the other fish rather than the algea so adding them while feeding the other fish will just increase bio load.

You can keep swapping out SAE as they get larger with a LFS that you gain a relationship with if they will allow you to. I do this with my 20 gallon reef tank when something I need for natural balance outgrows the tank, it goes back to the store and I get a smaller one to replace it. SAE are so cheap though that I would just get a new one or two and then give the old one away to fish enthusiasts nearby.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the excellent ideas guys.

I think the initial outburst of hair algae started when I forgot to refill my CO2 for a few days, so that was silly. In the mean time I am going to try adding more plants and a few amano or red cherry shrimp, and maybe knock my photoperiod back a bit (it was 14hrs).
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 11:59 AM
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11 watts over a 9 gallon is actually not that much light, especially for a tank of that height.. I would think that it's actually over fertilization.. and it would make sense why it occured after you forgot the co2, since the plants would start to absorb less nutrients.. try to fertilize less and add more light if you can.. I would shoot for a 10-12 hour photoperiod.. good luck
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 01:07 PM
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 01:47 PM
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i was able to fight off alot of algae by adding phosguard to my filter.
lfs employee suggested it, and it couldn't hurt to try.
now the only algae i get is spot algae.

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