Is a uv sterilizer a waste of money to fight hair algae? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Is a uv sterilizer a waste of money to fight hair algae?

Hello. I have a 40g planted tank with a 20g sump (for added filtration), an aqua clear 110, pressurized Co2 and some small fish. It's been immaculate for 5 years now, but suddenly I have a bloom of brown hair algae that has attached to only one plant (on leaves) and on the drift wood. Recently I switched out my dual 65 watt compact fluorescent (one 10000k and one atinic) for what I was told was an equivilent led setup ((6500k/800ln/royal blue @450nm)*3). This is the only change I've made in five years. Well that and eliminated excel from my treatments. I figured that with the pressurized Co2 liquid carbon was unnecessary. I should mention that I've been lucky with this tank and my reef tank as I do water changes only once every couple of months. I just top off the tank from evaporation. I have about 25 or so fresh water clams which help with the nitrates, I think..

Anyway, long story short (too late I know), will a UV sterilizer help eliminate some of the algae attached to the fixed objects or does it only help with water born spores? Or am I just fishing (pardon the pun) for an easy way out? Many years ago I had the same problem and had to transfer the fish and trash everything else in the tank to get rid of the algae.

The local fish store said I can dose the tank with ordinary hydrogen peroxide, but I'm suspicious of the advice. One kid told me to dunk each affected object/plant directly in the peroxide rinse and put back. Another said to scrape the algae off without taking anything out of the tank.

I used to prune my tank once a month and donate the clippings to the store, but now my plant growth is a bit slow... anyone have any ideas?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 12:47 PM
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UV only fights free floating algae/parasites

hair algae usually comes w/ ammonia (id check that the clams are alive)


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Clams are doing great. All are open. Ammonia is between 0.0 and 0.25ppm. I always thought I was good until 0.50ppm. Have I been wrong? Geese, I better rethink my procedures. Nitrite are 0ppm of course and nitrates are very low. Does anyone know what the clams help with?

Not sure what kind of algae this is. Looks like black/brown fur in a few little tufts on only one plant and a small tuft on the wood. I'd say the tuft spots are no more than a quarter inch in diameter.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 04:12 PM
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I won an algae battle as follows:

- push CO2 as much as possible (i.e. 24/7 up to the limit where it affects inhabitants)
- Excel 3x dose for 15 days
- black out for the first 3 days
- almost every day after teh blackout, I went in an manually removed algae, scraping it and pulling algae covered leaves, etc.
- make sure ferts are at a good level, consistent
-adjust the circulation if necessary and remove any dead spots in the water
- 3/week 50% water changes for about 2 weeks

Using that technique (which is a PITA) the algae slowly went away. About 30% of my plant matter was gone by the end. But, at the end of the 2+ weeks you have a nice algae free tank and you can start working on how to make the tank stay algae-free, which is another matter entirely!



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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. Sounds like work, but I didn't expect this hobby to be easy. I've got to get more excel and will try this today. Would you recommend just removing the affected items before I start? Just take a small loss and perform the steps? Should I add the UV sterilizer or is that a waste of money if I follow your steps?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-14-2011, 06:56 PM
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Some people swear by them, some people think they are a waste. Mine never did much except add something else to impede filter flow.
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