The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My tank has been up over a year now and I have fought various types of algae overtime including diatoms and slime but now I am facing my greatest foe. I am getting this black hair algae on anything hard and now it has started taking over some of my plants. I initially thought it was due to low flow but I have since corrected that issue and it is still thriving. I even went so far as to take all the plants out of the tank and scrub everything and vacuum the gravel but even using new stems and keeping the tank low on nutrients hasn’t seemed to help.

I could really use some suggestions here. I will upload photos shortly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
My tank has been up over a year now and I have fought various types of algae overtime including diatoms and slime but now I am facing my greatest foe. I am getting this black hair algae on anything hard and now it has started taking over some of my plants. I initially thought it was due to low flow but I have since corrected that issue and it is still thriving. I even went so far as to take all the plants out of the tank and scrub everything and vacuum the gravel but even using new stems and keeping the tank low on nutrients hasn’t seemed to help.



I could really use some suggestions here. I will upload photos shortly.


Pretty much all issues with algae involve excessive nutrients and lighting issues. So many varying factors within those two ranges. You can spend lots of time in the trial and error game, or you can simply buy a few Siamese Algae Eaters and forget about it. Be sure to get the real deal, and your problems will be over.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
Turn off your filter and hit it with peroxide directly from an eye dropper. I've managed to kill it that way the one time I've gotten it before. Leave the filter off until it has stopped bubbling. You'll have to repeat this at least 4 times before you can expect real results. You'll know it's dying because it'll turn pink.

For good measure, run some excel after turning the filter back on.

Here's a great image that details how to deal with various algae

http://www.theaquariumguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Aquarium-Algae-101-600x3900.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for the replies. I wasn’t aware that an SAE will eat black hair. Is this a guaranteed solution? In the meantime, I’ll try the peroxide and see what happens. If it matters, I use EI and strictly adhere to dosing and water changes. I use LED lighting but nothing has really changed over the year the tank has been up. A few pics:





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Wow. I know what you’re going through. I had the same thing happen to me in my mature, planted tank. It’s also called black beard algae, or BBA. Siamese algae eaters, or SAE’s are the very few types of algae eaters that actually eat the stuff. I added a couple to my tank and they wiped it out in a few weeks. I don’t know your current stocking situation, and I’d normally never suggest adding a species just to solve an issue rather than finding the root issue, but with BBA I had no success with peroxide. My outbreak had gotten worse than yours though. Word of caution...there are stores that sell Chinese algae eaters as SAE’s, these are not the same at all. Please research the difference so you’ll be sure you know what your getting if you decide to go that route. I had to order mine online because I couldn’t find true SAE’s anywhere. Good luck with your fight!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,942 Posts
Nothing really has to change to start seeing algae. It's a build up over time until a threshold is reached where the BBA spores (everyone has them, but are dormant) and then they become active. BBA as mentioned is almost always a light and organic issue.

Besides water changes and EI, are you running co2? how heavily planted is your tank? how long where the lights on for?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Nothing really has to change to start seeing algae. It's a build up over time until a threshold is reached where the BBA spores (everyone has them, but are dormant) and then they become active. BBA as mentioned is almost always a light and organic issue.

Besides water changes and EI, are you running co2? how heavily planted is your tank? how long where the lights on for?
Yes, I am running co2 and maintaining a daytime ph of around 5.9. Over the past year, the plant has had varying densities of growth. As you well know, the CO2 creates a lot of growth but I found that with a 23 inch tank that I would have great growth on the top app but much of the bottom half lost its leaves and grew very poorly. what I ended up having to do is take 15 inch trimmings and replant the entire tank and remove the existing plants that had lost their leaves. My photo. With these LED lights is about nine hours each day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
In my case I had a former planted tank that I wanted to make planted again but it had a BBA problem. It was on the rocks, sand, and all the surfaces of the filter equipment.

I removed all the plants and I scrubbed them under hot water. If they were really bad I soaked them overnight in a diluted bleach solution. I siphoned up as much of the sand with BBA as I could (this went on for a few months and as far as I can tell I finally got it all out). I was going to just scrub all the filter tubes under hot water but in the end I decided to replace them with new.

I started dosing Co2 again and I do a daily triple strength dose of Flourish Excel (I am still doing this 3 months later just to be safe. I could probably try toning it down).

I got some new plants but one thing I had that I wanted to use was some driftwood completely covered with Anubias nana and Anubias nana petite and the edges of the Anubias had BBA on them. I waited about 6 weeks until the Anubias had some new growth (it was coming from a low tech tank into this high tech tank so it started growing at a much more rapid rate) and then I took out the wood and meticulously snipped off every leaf that had BBA on it. Then I made up a solution of Excel and water and squirted that with a pipette onto the stems and wood where I saw any BBA. It looked much skimpier after this cleanup but has come back nicely and currently I only see one or two leaves with any sign of BBA and I will clean them up next time I do tank maintenance.

My lighting on this tank is on a dimmer and believe (if I am remembering correctly) I substantially lowered the intensity at first and then as the new plants started to grow I raise the intensity bit by bit.

Of all the new plants added to the tank the fast growing ones have no signs of BBA. Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Red' does have some tiny tiny bits of it growing along the edges of older leaves that I will trim off at next maintenance. New leaves look pretty clean.

I did have to remove the carpet of Cryptocoryne parva I attempted. It was growing well but overall just too slow growing a plant and was the only thing in the tank repeatedly getting infested with algae (other types too).

Anyway the point of this long rambling post is that it was a lot of work but I did beat it back into submission. It can be done but some things may need to be sacrificed.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,300 Posts
Yes, I am running co2 and maintaining a daytime ph of around 5.9. Over the past year, the plant has had varying densities of growth. As you well know, the CO2 creates a lot of growth but I found that with a 23 inch tank that I would have great growth on the top app but much of the bottom half lost its leaves and grew very poorly. what I ended up having to do is take 15 inch trimmings and replant the entire tank and remove the existing plants that had lost their leaves. My photo. With these LED lights is about nine hours each day.
When bottom leaves die off and new growth still appears it is possible indication of a nutrient deficiency in the water. When the plant is short on a mobile nutrients it will strip the older leaves of this nutrient and use it to support the new growth. The older leaves then die.

Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, chlorine, zinc, Molybdenum are mobile nutrients.Now most fertilizers have most of these nutrients. However many fertilizers don't include chlorine. If your water is soft with low salinity a chlorine deficiency can occur if non is in the fertilizer. Also if your tap water has a lot of calcium this can cause a magnesium deficiency to develop. This kind of deficiency can slow plant growth causing a mineral imbalance to develop in the water. Eventually the imbalance gets bad enough for algae to start a take over.

In magnesium deficiency older leaves develop chlorosis and then die. In your pictures Most of the older leaves are covered in algae so I don't know if this is occurring. Another common symptom is the shape of new leaves will be distorted. For chlorine deficiency (when I had it) it caused stunted roots. Just looking at your photos I am not sure if either is present. But it might not take much of a deficiency to slow plant growth enough to give algae an advantage.




Mobile and Immobile Nutrients - Aqua Rebell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
Yes, I am running co2 and maintaining a daytime ph of around 5.9. Over the past year, the plant has had varying densities of growth. As you well know, the CO2 creates a lot of growth but I found that with a 23 inch tank that I would have great growth on the top app but much of the bottom half lost its leaves and grew very poorly. what I ended up having to do is take 15 inch trimmings and replant the entire tank and remove the existing plants that had lost their leaves. My photo. With these LED lights is about nine hours each day.
Light intensity is much stronger as you approach the light source. The upper leaves will block the light from the lower leaves so the plants will shed them. You can actually up your light intensity but decrease your photoperiod to reduce that issue. For you BBA I would take out all of your fish and do three things: excel dose into the water column (5x), H2O2 spot treat (2 ml/gallon of water), and manually remove as much of the BBA as possible. Plants without a strong root system I would leave but anything that you can pick up I would H2O2 dip. The BBA blocks the light from reaching your plants so they weaken over time which further feeds the BBA. The three pronged approach kills BBA on the surface, but more importantly it prevents the spread by killing it in the water column as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Interesting that you bring up the chlorine yes you as I have never heard that ever. I use strictly RO water just to avoid the nutrient issue but I prepare 25 gallons with equilibrium every week to replenish whatever it needs. I just assumed that lower leaf loss was due to lack of light.

Getting back to the black beard algae for a moment, can anyone point me to a store online where I can buy one reasonably?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
If you’re referring to SAE’s, I recently ordered a pair from That Pet Place to go in my latest goldfish tank. I’ve noticed small tufts of BBA starting on some plants and my spray bars. They arrived in great shape and are doing well. They were reasonably priced too....the painful part was the shipping. Nearly $50 for next day air. It was worth it to me though. My local fish store couldn’t seem to get them, and I wanted to get true SAE’s, which are hard to find. You’d need at least 2. I think they were $5 or $6 each.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
Thank you for the replies. I wasn’t aware that an SAE will eat black hair. Is this a guaranteed solution? In the meantime, I’ll try the peroxide and see what happens. If it matters, I use EI and strictly adhere to dosing and water changes. I use LED lighting but nothing has really changed over the year the tank has been up. A few pics:





damn you got a pretty bad case of bbc.

main cause is co2 levels being inconsistent. keep your co2 levels at a high enough level for a long time stable. Like 2-4 weeks without any change.

but since you have so much volume of bbc, you should do a hydroproxy nuke in your tank. take your fishes out of your tank and good bacteria out of the filter. pour hydrogen peroxide into your tank and let it swirl for 20 min. it should kill/weaken the bbc. do a big water change.

over the next couple days, you should see the black turn red, pink....clear....gone. use some excel during this nuke to upgrade it to a hydrogen bomb. wipe out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
My co2 can’t be more steady. It’s been set to 5.9 since I set it up and it’s controlled with a ph controller. I regularly clean the probe and test for accuracy.

I’m working on getting the SAE x2. Who would have ever known how difficult it is to find these locally. I live in CA with access to Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County but can’t find this fish anywhere. Yes, I can order it but this $50-$100 for shipping is some BS. I’m working on using Live Aquaria because they will wave shipping with a $100 fish order. Even though $4.50 seems very high for Cardinal Tetra, I may still buy 15 or so.

I hate the idea of trying to remove small fish from a planted tank. There are so many places to hide but yes, I still may try it. I want to try the spot treatment with hydrogen peroxide first and see how it works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Hi, getting any critters will not actually help unless you pinpoint the root cause of the BBA. Too much light, high organics and week plants are to blame in most cases. The pH controller controls the pH and that means it calibrates the co2 concentration so I don't think it is really consistent at all. The sole fact that you have all this algae means that sth is wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
355 Posts
The addition of some algae eaters in the tank is always a debate.

I can see that once any of these three choices of small Stiphodon gobies, Whiptail cats and Stick cats (Farlowella) were added to some of the tanks, changes for the better happened real quick.
With driftwood issues, various algae species on the glass, and fuzzy plant issues the addition of new fish helped.
There has not been any algae issues since.

Some of the Stiphodons are tiny dwarf species (very pretty) and won't crap too much.
Also, one of the small species of whiptail catfish is the Red lizard catfish (Rineloricaria sp.), and they likely don't make a mess to the fish load either.
The Farlowella cats are the largest choice here of the 3. They do a great job, but I can't quantitatively measure the load they add.
Search away, these are all great oddball choices.

I can't put my finger on it, but again, none of the driftwood, glass or plants have issues any longer, so i'd like to take a good guess that one of these 3 species (Goby, Whip-cat, or Stick-cat) are the best choices for a tank with issues.

- Find some good looking cleaners and let them have at the biodiversity theme for some easy help on the algae.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Hi, getting any critters will not actually help unless you pinpoint the root cause of the BBA. Too much light, high organics and week plants are to blame in most cases. The pH controller controls the pH and that means it calibrates the co2 concentration so I don't think it is really consistent at all. The sole fact that you have all this algae means that sth is wrong.


The combination of adding the SAE’s and a little extra cleaning plant debris absolutely did the trick for me. I added a circ pump for a bit, but removed it due to the flow being too much for my angels. My BBA outbreak was worse then the op’s. I was ready to tear down my tank and start over when it was suggested to me to try out the SAE’s. I enjoy having the algae eaters, they are nice looking fish. They keep my plants clean too. No regrets, and no BBA.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top