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Hi all. Long time lurker and first time poster. I'm having trouble identifying this algae. It is very dark red to purple or brown in color and is made up of millions of tiny less than inch long filaments. My closest guess is beard algae but pictures I have seen seem different than the one I have in my tank. It is hard to remove but I have tried to pull them off my hair grass with some success but as I pull more and more I end up uprooting some of the grass. However they grow back rather quickly.

Initially it started on a rock and spread thru the grass. I have removed the rock since but I really do not want to get rid of the plants as it took months to get the DHG the way it is now. The hair grass under the algae looks healthy. I have not trimmed the grass hoping the increased plant material will out compete for nutrients but with no avail.

Water parameters are:
ph 6.8
ammonia/nitrite = 0
nitrate <10
co2 injected around 25 ppm rough estimate (drop checker is light green almost yellow green)

tank is 10 gallon and stocked with:
10 neon and rummy nose tetras
6 red cherry and yellow shrimp
6 amano shrimp

plants:
DHG, couple amazon swords, cryptos, anubias, java fern, jungle val

dosing:
flourish excel everyday
flourish trace and flourish comprehensive recommended dose spread out through out the week
flourish tabs through out the tank
half dose weekly of sera mineral salt for shrimp

maintenance and feeding:
30 percent weekly water change
12 hours of light with zooMed 18in HO leds
2x small feeding of shrimp cuisine
1x small crushed flakes for fish
additional 3rd of a cube of tubifex when i feel generous

the amanos, cherry shrimp or some of the MTS snails will not touch this algae and I feel like I am destroying the tank trying to fix this problem as much as the algae is. Please help!

Link is to the picture.

https://goo.gl/photos/URKNcqMqd5utRR1r5
 

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Looks to me like a form of bga, blue green algae. Yes it also comes in red. Does it feel slimy when you rub btw the fingers?

What substrate do you have? Your nitrate level is low and is a known factor that leads to this algae.
You need to increase your nitrates to 10-30 ppm and keep them there.

To treat BGA, in my experience, only a full treatment of erythromycin works.

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Looks like black beard algae, which can have a red variety. I'd also say less light, but even if you cut back, I think you'll want to trim the tops off the worst looking plants in there.
I agree with this. Less light, I would drop it down to 8 hours, trim off as much of the algae as I could, then try and use a syringe to direct the Excel dose onto any remaining algae. It is best to turn off the filter when doing this. Leave the filter off for about 15 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looks to me like a form of bga, blue green algae. Yes it also comes in red. Does it feel slimy when you rub btw the fingers?

What substrate do you have? Your nitrate level is low and is a known factor that leads to this algae.
You need to increase your nitrates to 10-30 ppm and keep them there.

To treat BGA, in my experience, only a full treatment of erythromycin works.

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I was also wondering if it is BGA but couldn't find a picture to match what I have. When I rub it between my fingers it is slippery or slimy but I'm not sure how I would describe the difference between the two feelings.

My substrate is eco-complete I think.

I think I will try the trim and keep light to minimum method first before I move on to medications. Will erythromycin harm inverts and beneficial bacteria?

Also, what is the best method to increase nitrates?

Bump:
I agree with this. Less light, I would drop it down to 8 hours, trim off as much of the algae as I could, then try and use a syringe to direct the Excel dose onto any remaining algae. It is best to turn off the filter when doing this. Leave the filter off for about 15 minutes.
I can turn on the light before I leave for work and turn them off when I get back which will be 9 hours. Sadly this means I won't be able to enjoy my fish while I'm at home until I can get a timer :(

I am a little reluctant to trim them of fear of spreading this stuff to all over the tank. DHG is really hard to trim even with having a net over it.

When researching lighting for DHG I saw that 8-12 hours is recommended. Do you think it will significantly reduce the growth? I suppose you can't avoid collateral damage when in battle..
 

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I am a little reluctant to trim them of fear of spreading this stuff to all over the tank. DHG is really hard to trim even with having a net over it.
When you go to do your next water change, just trim the plants with the siphon running right above them. Everything you trim will get sucked right out.

Also, I'm 99% sure that's black beard algae, not blue green algae. Compare pictures of the two and see what you think.
 

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My substrate is eco-complete I think.
I think I will try the trim and keep light to minimum method first before I move on to medications. Will erythromycin harm inverts and beneficial bacteria?
Also, what is the best method to increase nitrates?

When researching lighting for DHG I saw that 8-12 hours is recommended. Do you think it will significantly reduce the growth? I suppose you can't avoid collateral damage when in battle..
New eco-complete is nitrate poor. Since what we are really talking about is a bacterial infection, once it is visible it can be reduced and contained but not eliminated without antibiotics or starving it out. I have a BGA sample stored in RO water for several months ... so complete starvation is unlikely. Blackouts did not work for me in the case of BGA, not once. When you do decide to treat with Erythromycin please do the complete treatment... no need to build antibiotic resistance.

Reducing light duration to 6-8h is good advice. It will help reduce the demand on CO2 and NO3.

Erythromycin was designed to target gram positive like Staph. and Streptococcus. We are lucky it also interacts with cyanobacteria. It will do nothing to fish and inverts. Most nitrogen oxidizing (good) bacteria should be alright. Depending on the size of the infestation, once BGA starts to die it will release alot of organics including NH4 into the water. This concentration of NH4 is potentially dangerous for animals in immature aquariums. Monitor the levels of NH4 and be ready for a water change.

KNO3 is probably the safest way to increase N conc. in water.

I am (and encourage you to be as well) skeptical when I read numbers like Plant X requires 8-12h of light, 3-6 Gh and between 22-26°C. These numbers are good ballparks, mostly derived by a handful of readings at the collection area. It is not as if having a temp of 21 will melt your plants. Many people here grow plants with just 6h of light so I would not worry.

Also, I'm 99% sure that's black beard algae, not blue green algae. Compare pictures of the two and see what you think.
The algae in the image has interwoven threads and is rather flat. BBA has 'source points' and also grows in height. The distribution of the algae also indicates BGA, localized dense growth covering everything. The fact that it is slimy and cleans easily is another argument towards BGA.
 

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Although the most common type in freshwater is blue and red in marine tanks, the red form can also be present in freshwater.

I understand the confusion, I thought the same at first but after a little research I found out that the red can also be in freshwater.

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