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I have a 46gallon tank with live plants and a fluval light at 25% for about 1 1/2 hours a day and at about 70% for about 4 hours a day. I dose the tank with Thrive twice a week.

I have hair algae I keep plucking out of the tank... It even started to grow on my moss balls (see picture). It appears randomly growing out of the gravel, attached to some of my plants (especially the anacharis). I have three Ottos and a bunch of guppies in the tank, and they basically ignore the stuff. Does anything actually eat it? If I turn the light way down for a few days will it go away without killing off the live plants? Should I turn the light to 100% for a five hours and off the rest of the time to grow the plants to try to outcompete the algae? Will black mollies eat the stuff? Any other suggestions?

PS I do 33% water changes weekly, so that's not the problem.

PS One other idea I read about online (because the internet is ALWAYS right).... Does anyone have any idea of AlgaeFix is safe to use in this kind of tank? I also have a slight problem with a baby snail explosion - some of the plants I bought must have had some eggs I couldn't manage to clean off before putting them in the tank. If AlgaeFix kills hair algae, is ok on live plants and livebearer fish (and Otos) AND can harm snails that would be useful.
 

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I have an organic planted tank, with soil under the gravel. I get pretty good plant growth and use no fertilizers. What little algae Ive had I could add plants and do water removals so I can spray with 3% H202- rarely, and I introduced it by feeding mosquito larvae and daphnia. Mine is about 27 gal with a fluvial 207 and some aeration. Personally I think its much better and easier to do a natural tank than go chem.
 

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I would let the snails go to town on the algae! They can be incredibly effective at algae control. You will still have to pull off the strings of algae but the snails will usually eat the blooms as they start on a surface.

How often and how big of water changes are you doing?

If you want to get rid of the snails get an assassin snail.
 

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I have a 46gallon tank with live plants and a fluval light at 25% for about 1 1/2 hours a day and at about 70% for about 4 hours a day. I dose the tank with Thrive twice a week.
Lighting and dosing are both good, provided you're supplementing carbon. I've got the Fluval Nano plant, and before I started dosing CO2, I had to run it at LOW settings - Fluval doesn't mess about when it comes to lumens. Are you supplementing Carbon, and if so, how?

It even started to grow on my moss balls (see picture). It appears randomly growing out of the gravel, attached to some of my plants (especially the anacharis).
What's your plant load like? Can we get a wide-angle shot? Your plants are looking nice and bright in that pic, but I can't tell the density. You really want to pack (more of) them in there - it may seem counter-intuitive, but you want them to compete against one another if they're not already. When there's barely enough room for plants, there isn't enough room for algae!

I have three Ottos and a bunch of guppies in the tank, and they basically ignore the stuff. Does anything actually eat it?
Ottos are a good start, and I would recommend some Amano Shrimp as well. They're not magic, but they're amazing at spot cleaning the stuff us giants can miss. Get like 5 or more of them for a tank of this size. Hell, I've got 2 in a 3 gallon which already has ottos and cherries. Also make sure that your water level isn't up to the edge, as unlike fish they're not totally helpless outside of water. Word to the wise, they're ninja like, so unless you've got a lot of them, you likely won't see all or even many of them out at the same time.

If I turn the light way down for a few days will it go away without killing off the live plants? Should I turn the light to 100% for a five hours and off the rest of the time to grow the plants to try to outcompete the algae?
You can severely hamper it by turning the lights down (or even off) for a few days. The plants are a bit more robust than it is. Make sure to pull as much algae out before hand as you can and to back off on the ferts. If the lights are down, then ferts aren't being pulled out of the water column, and algae will bloom again when the lights come back up.

PS I do 33% water changes weekly, so that's not the problem.
You are having algae problems, so for the time being at least, yes it is. I'm a 33%er myself, but until the outbreak is under control, water changing is your most powerful tool to combat it. At least temporarily I would recommend either upping it to 50%, or perhaps do a couple of 25% changes per week.
 

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I have had good results dosing Metricide (cheaper version of Seachem Excel)
It usually kills my hair algae...........but the other things need to be in balance........plants taking up the fert. from the water column, not too much light, Optimum CO2 levels etc.
 

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That little bit? Easy to use a toothbrush and twirl it out on change the water day. Seems very minor and If you were to add more plants,it might just disappear altogether.
I'm seeing some really brightly lit plant tanks these days...but not enough plants to make use of all that light.
 

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I resigned myself to using a toothbrush regularly to keep this under control. I don't know what changed but it seems to be gone- for now.
  • CO2 injection, minimal
  • explosion of bladder and ramshorn snails
  • otto's and siamesis
  • Flourish once a day plus ferts- plants are taking off now
  • baby molly's always grazing
  • knuckled down and learned how to change programming on led and cut lights way back
So take your pick.
 

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That's all good stuff. Some plants have a hard time with Flourish..like Vallisneria..just be aware.
 
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