Algae Eater for Green Hair Algae? - The Planted Tank Forum
View Poll Results: Hair Algae Eater?
True Siamese Algae Eater 4 66.67%
Panda Garra 0 0%
Whiptail Catfish 0 0%
Otocinclus Catfish 0 0%
Amano Shrimp 0 0%
Nerite Snail 1 16.67%
Other 1 16.67%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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  • 1 Post By Surf
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Algae Eater for Green Hair Algae?

I am looking for a tank inhabitant that would eat hair algae and would be peaceful for a 40 gallon breeder. Some of the more trusted pet stores in the area carry true Siamese Algae Eaters, Panda Garra, Whiptail Catfish, Otocinclus Catfish, Amano Shrimp, and Nerite Snails but I'm not sure which of those would go best in my tank and which would specifically eat the hair algae.

The tank is heavily planted and currently contains 1 Longfin Bristlenose Pleco, 6 False Julii Corycats, and 4 Platies. At some point I am for sure going to add some Harlequin Rasboras and a German Blue Ram as well. I'm toying with the idea of a Honey Gourami, but am not sure on that, and it may depend on the amount of current the new algae eater would be comfortable with. So the new tank mate would have to tolerate other bottom dwellers and other catfish, not be eaten or harassed by the German Blue Ram, and be gentle enough not to bother small schooling fish.

Why I am turning to an algae eater:
Because my tap water has 1 ppm Ammonia in it, I always have some algae problems in my tanks. I never had any problems until the tap water company changed from chlorine to chloramine and all this blasted Ammonia got into the water. But once they made the switch even though I do weekly water changes, don't overstock, do thorough gravel vacuuming, overfiltering, use tons of biomaterial, and live plants in my tanks there is always just going to be algae because of the source water. I use Prime as my dechlorinator, which detoxifies the Ammonia for 24 hours till the beneficial bacteria can convert it to less harmful forms, but the algae still forms. So each of my tanks has an algae eating resident that usually takes care of the problem. In all my other tanks I've had brown algae or green algae, but in my 40 gallon planted tank conditions seems to be right for the dreaded green hair algae. I have a beautiful, beloved Longfin Albino Bristlenose Pleco in there named Zeus, but she is completely uninterested in the hair algae. It's like she doesn't even see it, she ignores it so completely.

Tank specs:
The tank is a 40 gallon breeder, with a temperature in the low 70s, a pH of 7.4, a hardness of 11 dGH, a bubblewand that provides a fair amount of current, and a smooth sand substrate. The plants are Windelov Java Fern, a couple types of Anubias, Subwassertang, Bacopa, Hygrophila, Mini African Water Fern, Dwarf Lily, Anacharis, Ludwigia, Water Sprite, Dwarf Sagittaria, and Amazon Frogbit. Duckweed also hitchhiked into the tank. The hardscape consists of a large piece of aquatic Spider Wood boiled so it won't release tannins, a resin cave, and sandstone rocks. I use Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer as well as Flourish Root Tabs, no CO2. It has been set up and cycled for over 6 months, has an adjustable Aquaclear 70 filter, a Beamworks DA 6500 LED light, an Aqueon Pro Heater, and quite a variety of foods.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 02:12 AM
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I had to vote "Other"
Having a bad dose of green hair algae I just blasted it with AlgaeFix, one slightly heavy dose and all gone/melted away in 3 days.
Not safe with shrimp in the tank!

Amano shrimp are real workers though.
My other tank has no algae and 12 amanos in a 75G.

Your tap water NH3 issue could be resolved with a very dense planting.
Plants prefer NH3/4 over other forms of nitrogen.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2019, 03:33 AM
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Didnt vote, have nerites, otos, amanos, and daphnie (if they live) who all tag team algae of most any kind except GSA. The GSA is the hardest IMHO to get rid of.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 04:18 PM
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I had an outbreak of hair algae when I first set up my tank--grew so fast it was sloughing off the walls, and completely smothering the java fern. The MTS & ramshorns didn't seem to be touching it. Was leaving town for a few days right after it finished cycling, so threw 4 otos in there, and when I came back all the hair algae was gone. I wasn't there to actually see the otos eat it, but they were so fat they looked pregnant, so.....

Now that it's cycled, it's turning into pea soup with GSA covering the walls, and green water. Ammonia, nitrites & nitrates are all testing zero, so not sure what it's feeding on. But I've afraid my plants aren't getting enough lite or nutrients--the val is starting to look unhappy. Found the last two ghost shrimp they had at Petco (LFS is an hr RT from me), and some of the plants must've had bladder snail eggs hitchhiking on them, as they've suddenly exploded.

What do people do for GSA & green water? Have considered some daphnia--but it's hot here now so shipping might be iffy. Any differences between magna, pulex, and moina in algae consumption, and general hardiness in the tank? Only fish are the otos, whom as total vegans shouldn't touch them. Would that be right?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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For green water, you can get some water polisher for the filter, which can capture very fine particles like the algae particles of green water. You might also consider doing a blackout to kill the green water and other algae. Usually the plants can tolerate it, but the algaes can't. If the green water keeps coming back, the big guns to prevent it would be a UV Sterilizer.

If the bladder snail egg colony has exploded, you are likely overfeeding the tank and that might be part of why you are having trouble with the algae, too. So cut down quite a bit on how much food you are putting in.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akeath View Post
For green water, you can get some water polisher for the filter, which can capture very fine particles like the algae particles of green water. You might also consider doing a blackout to kill the green water and other algae. Usually the plants can tolerate it, but the algaes can't. If the green water keeps coming back, the big guns to prevent it would be a UV Sterilizer.

If the bladder snail egg colony has exploded, you are likely overfeeding the tank and that might be part of why you are having trouble with the algae, too. So cut down quite a bit on how much food you are putting in.
Thanks, I can try replacing the sponge in one of the compartments of my Jebo sponge filter with some filter floss. Are there polishing pads that can be cut to size to do the same thing? Just cleaned it, and it didn't look too bad. Certainly when I first planted everything and had a lot of melting it was a gooey mess, but there's not much gunk in there at all when I clean it now.

I've been repeatedly told that the more plants the better, so I've planted heavily, trimmed & planted more of the H. polysperma that was growing fast, and also threw in a bunch of rooted houseplant cuttings on top to soak up any ammonia/nitrites/nitrates. Must be working because all tested zero, but now my plants seems to be sulking--likely because they're not getting enough nutrients. Would root tabs help the rooted plants Had planned on using osmocote gel caps, but from what I'm reading it seems that can leak into the water column pretty readily--definitely not what's need right now.

Actually I haven't fed anybody anything so far--just letting them feed on all the algae. My only livestock right now are the otos, a burgeoning snail population, and a couple of ghost shrimp (which I haven't seen since getting back, but assuming they're still in there somewhere.) So no feeding to cut down on.

I hear Flourish Excel can help with algae--will it work on green water & GSA? What about dosing phosphate? I hear mixed reports on whether it helps, or makes it worse.

Will large water changes help, or just exacerbate the problem?

Anyone have experience using daphnia? They feed on green water after all. If I can get this cleared up, I'd like to start adding more fish finally--so that'd give them something to eat....
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Amano shrimp are real workers though.
My other tank has no algae and 12 amanos in a 75G.
Yes Amano shrimp do eat hair algae. But in a 5G with Hair algae and about 10 Amanos they could not keep up with it. In a tank with perfect conditions for hair algae growth Amanos will probably not be able to keep up with it.

Quote:
Now that it's cycled, it's turning into pea soup with GSA covering the walls, and green water. Ammonia, nitrites & nitrates are all testing zero, so not sure what it's feeding on.
It is never good to have zero nitrates in a planted tank! Algae only needs trace amount of nitrogen to grow. levels so low test kits will not detect it. Algae love nutrient deficiencies. Plants however need a lot more. So for healthy plants and less algae you need to keep your nitrogen level stable at a level above zero. In fact you should be striving to keep all your macro levels (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and S) above zero. I target 10ppm NO3 and 1ppm PO4.

In my experience GSA and green water algae but appear to like high micro nutrient levels and thrive in when low Macro conditions are present with high micro levels.. Quite often GSA is resolved by adding phophates. but it can also be caused by a combination of low Nitrate and low phosphate. I have had some success against green water with more frequent macro doses and one dose per week of micros.

Seachem Comprehensive has low levels of nitrogen and phosphate so deficiencies in these nutrients are common with this fertilizer. Also it has a lot of iron and manganese but extremely low levels of several other micro nutrients. The fertilizer is formulated with the assumption that most of your nutrients come from a high Bioload (overstocked tank) and your tap water.

UV sterilizers work very well on any algae floating in the water . Since UV light will also harm plants and animals the UV light is encased black in plastic so no UV light reaches plants or animals. A small pump then pump water through the sterilize so that theUV can kill any bacteria, algae, and parasites floating in the water.

large water changes work better since the nutrient levels in the tank will stay more stable. Especially for nutrient that are not in your fertilizer. Most fertilizers don't have calcium, nickel, chlorine and often don't have enough copper and zinc and magnesium. the manufactures assume you tap water has these nutrients from natural sources (Ca, Mg, Ni), additives added by the water utility (Cl), or from metals leaching for water pipes (Cu, Zn).
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Last edited by Surf; 06-08-2019 at 07:29 PM. Reason: text correction
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surf View Post
It is never good to have zero nitrates in a planted tank! Algae only needs trace amount of nitrogen to grow. levels so low test kits will not detect it. Algae love nutrient deficiencies. Plants however need a lot more. So for healthy plants and less algae you need to keep your nitrogen level stable at a level above zero. In fact you should be striving to keep all your macro levels (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and S) above zero. I target 10ppm NO3 and 1ppm PO4.

In my experience GSA and green water algae but appear to like high micro nutrient levels and thrive in when low Macro conditions are present with high micro levels.. Quite often GSA is resolved by adding phophates. but it can also be caused by a combination of low Nitrate and low phosphate. I have had some success against green water with more frequent macro doses and one dose per week of micros.

Seachem Comprehensive has low levels of nitrogen and phosphate so deficiencies in these nutrients are common with this fertilizer. Also it has a lot of iron and manganese but extremely low levels of several other micro nutrients. The fertilizer is formulated with the assumption that most of your nutrients come from a high Bioload (overstocked tank) and your tap water.

UV sterilizers work very well on any algae floating in the water . Since UV light will also harm plants and animals the UV light is encased black in plastic so no UV light reaches plants or animals. A small pump then pump water through the sterilize so that theUV can kill any bacteria, algae, and parasites floating in the water.

large water changes work better since the nutrient levels in the tank will stay more stable. Especially for nutrient that are not in your fertilizer. Most fertilizers don't have calcium, nickel, chlorine and often don't have enough copper and zinc and magnesium. the manufactures assume you tap water has these nutrients from natural sources (Ca, Mg, Ni), additives added by the water utility (Cl), or from metals leaching for water pipes (Cu, Zn).
Thanks for this. Yes, the 0 nitrates surprised me. I had been running 0 ammonia, trace nitrites, and about 10ppm nitrates. Maybe putting in all the rooted cuttings to soak up nutrients was overkill? Again, I kept reading that more plants is better in fighting algae, so.... Will take those out & see if it makes a difference. Having read multiple places that hornwort can have an alleopathic effect against algae, I put in a couple of bunches of that to see if it makes a difference. But maybe it'll be just like the rooted cuttings and just soak up all the macros?

My dechlorinated tapwater tests at: 0 ammonia/nitrites/nitrates also. Though I wonder if the API test can detect the ammonium from the treated chloramine? Surprisingly it shows 0 iron--even though I have iron pipes and rusty water will come out if it sits awhile. My JTT test strips don't test for P or other micros like CA or MG, so don't have those values for you unfortunately. Total alkalinity is ≈20, total hardness 120.

So given that I've got such a low bioload, what combination fertilizer would you recommend to boost the macros for the plants, and hopefully bring things back into equilibrium? The nearest LFS is 1 hr RT from here, otherwise I'm stuck with Petco/smart, or ordering online (Amazon Prime comes in handy here)

In the meantime, will do daily 20% WC, take out the rooted cuttings, and see if adding the hornwort does anything.

Finally, is green water the kind of thing that is part of a new tank and eventually goes away? Don't wanna go messing up everything if patience will help, if not solve the problem.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
The GSA is the hardest IMHO to get rid of.
Pleco will eat it. Get an appropriate sized one for your tank.
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