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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
My aquarium is suffering from an infection of strange filamentous algae growing on the leaves of my anubias nana (edges of leaves) as well as my rocks and lilaeopsis mauritiana. I tried to use the tweezer to pick them off, but it keeps on spreading and is now threatening to kill off my a. nana plants. Can anyone identify what this is - it doesn't look like brush algae or hair algae and has a definite branching pattern. If someone can also give me tips on how to get rid of it, I'd really appreciate it. :) I've linked a photo here.

Regards,
Victor.
 

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Very nice photo!

That's staghorn, aptly named because it resembles antlers. A member of the red algae family, along with the more common black brush (BBA). If you're familiar with BBA, you're pretty much familiar with staghorn too. Generally controlled with the same environmental changes (less light, increased CO2/flow), and killed with the same treatments (H2O2 or Excel spot treatments, or Excel whole tank overdose).

And those are what I recommend you try first.

But know also that it also shares BBA's annoying tendency to sometimes laugh at what generally works. Mine was immune to the above treatments, and I had to invent a new treatment just to get it under control. Then it took another three months of experiments to find out why my previous attempts at environmental control were futile - in my tanks, instead of increased CO2 and flow getting rid of it, it only made it worse.

For now, assume that your staghorn responds normally though, as most does. Only fall back on my alternate methods if other means first fail you.

If you'd like to post some tank details (lighting, CO2, ferts, flow) we can look them over and look for obvious problems.
 

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And if you don't mind, please do a KH test. Anyonewho invents their own "cure" for an algae deserves respect so not trying to up-stage anyone here but I find a connection between some algae's and exceptionally low KH. I can't find this info on algae repair links so I am following up on if there actually is or just appears to be a connection between them. Especially as it pertains to Staghorn algae.
 

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No worries Raymond, it's worth checking into all possibilities. Since you're interested I'll provide my KH info as well. I use straight tapwater for 50% weekly water changes, KH is from sodium bicarbonate, and I've seen it vary from 8.0 to 9.5. It remains the same in CO2-enriched tanks. I've seen it as low as 5 in my tanks without CO2.

I'm curious what you consider exceptionally low. <1dKH?

Victor, if you have a KH test, please check it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks!

Thanks both of you, I'll do the water tests and report back before I try anything. Now I have a name for my problem! Will all the treatments listed above be safe for my freshwater shrimp? or do I need to remove them all while doing these treatments?

Regards,
Victor
 

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The simple answer for any chemical treatment and shrimp is - no, not safe.

You can get away with it sometimes, especially with small H2O2 spot treatments of no more than 1mL per 10G of tank water volume. Less so with the other treatments of Excel, or H2O2/Excel combined. But safety is never guaranteed. Some shrimp are incredibly sensitive.

Removing the shrimp prior to treatment, then totally removing the chemical prior to reintroduction, is best. But that will typically require a large water change, and some shrimp are even intolerant to that.

In which case the only safe option for a chemical treatment is to remove the affected plants/hardscape and treat them "dip" style in a bucket, then rinse before replacing.

So extra emphasis on using chemicals only as a temporary measure here, to keep algae managed just long enough to identify what environmental changes will prevent regrowth. Trimming is an option too, but those Anubia 'nana' leaves are not damaged past salvage, and so I'd be loathe to snip them off on such a slow growing plant. ;)

If you increase CO2 to see what happens, do so slowly, that's best for all livestock and not just shrimp. It's a current trend to try to hammer most algae problems into submission using CO2 alone, resulting in some ridiculous CO2 levels. Not necessary or livestock/biofilter friendly in my opinion. CO2 is only part of the equation, and if you find yourself pushing much past 30ppm, it's better to explore other options like light reduction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Water conditions

I have a 12 gallon long Mr. Aqua running the Current USA satellite freshwater LED+ (25W). I have the lights on timer from noon till 8pm.

Water tests show 0ppm or ammonia, 6.8 pH, and <17.9 ppm KH hardness (1 degree dKH).

I think I'll try the liquid carbon first.

Victor.
 

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Currently no CO2 or liquid carbon, then? And also very low KH (carbonate hardness). Raymond might be on to something there. Some plants can utilize carbonates as a carbon source, though I'm not sure if anubias specifically can do so.

I'm not good at estimating light levels from LEDs, but it sounds like you have at least medium light. So some supplemental carbon source would be quite beneficial, or even necessary. If you actually have high light, then CO2 specifically would be necessary (no substitutes possible), or you'd need to lower light levels to medium. If you can get someone to provide a better lighting estimate it would be helpful to you.

Unless you have some reason you desire your current pH/KH, you could boost KH one degree by adding 1/4tsp. of baking soda; although I consider carbonates the least available carbon source (compared to CO2/Excel).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks on CO2 advice...

Thanks again!
I bought some API CO2 booster and will give that a try in very small increments.
My aquarium is fairly well planted (I'll set up a section soon showing images of my tank). I'll let you know how things turn out!

Victor
 

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I battled staghorn for a couple months. I turned my co2 up slightly, placed a powerhead next to my diffuser for better distribution/flow, and started dosing API co2 booster 2x a week at approx. 1ml for my 20g long (half the recommended dose). this completely eradicated my staghorn issues.
 

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No worries Raymond, it's worth checking into all possibilities. Since you're interested I'll provide my KH info as well. I use straight tapwater for 50% weekly water changes, KH is from sodium bicarbonate, and I've seen it vary from 8.0 to 9.5. It remains the same in CO2-enriched tanks. I've seen it as low as 5 in my tanks without CO2.

I'm curious what you consider exceptionally low. <1dKH?

Victor, if you have a KH test, please check it as well.
Actually as I remember it, it was not staghorn. If I can find one of the pictures of it I'll PM it to you later but I think it went by by in a computer
virus attack that did in my pix as I did a complete restore.
But on that stuff it was named by my LFS owner who said to check the Kh and it barely registered. I brought it up to a 3 and the stuff disappeared.
Looked like small dark hairs on only dead plant matter. Not even wood.
Was about 3/16 long each and individual hair like pieces and the ones which grew from the bottom or sides of anything it grew from turned up towards the light. Never grew on new leaves. Old ordead leaves only
and stems too.
 
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