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Black algae? Any tips?

Discussion in 'Algae Removal' started by MuppetThumper, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. MuppetThumper

    MuppetThumper New Member

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    I've got a 40 litre (10 gallon) tank that's been in continual use for 2.5 years.
    As you can see from the pic, there is an issue with some sort of black algae that covers my plants. Wondering if anyone recognises it and has any tips?
    [​IMG]
    Note: the plants are growing in spite of the algae. The java fern loses leaves as they turn brown/black but new ones appear. I dose liquid carbon at about half the dosage said on the bottle.

    It's been this way for a year but I put up with it as the plants were growing and the fish are unaffected, but it's not 'pretty' and I guess I now want to do something about it. First step I've taken is to reduce the LED light to 5 hours as there is increasing ambient light in the room (no direct sunlight).
    Cheers

     
  2. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Fish Addict

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    BBA?, tetras and barbs require a school of six minimum. and a longer tank, your tank seems taller than it is lengthier.
     
  3. MuppetThumper

    MuppetThumper New Member

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    thanks for the quick reply - appreciate the tank dimensions are not ideal but I can't readily change it (small apartment living). As for school size - I had a few casualties in early days, but current occupants unchanged in over 6 months and all seem pretty happy and unstressed.

    will look into BBA but have also decided to do a full change out of the sand which is quite old now.
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The black algae is a form of brush algae. There is more than one type, but what you have here is common especially on slow-growing plants like Anubias and Java Fern. It is caused by the light. I would recommend some floating plants. I have brought this under control more than once.

    I would stop the liquid carbon, it will absolutely not help these plants as they will easily manage with the natural CO2. And this is primarily from the substrate, so unless you have some reason to change it, I wouldn't. Vacuum it in the open areas at water changes, but otherwise it should be fine.

    Given the plant response in general, I wouldn't consider liquid fertilizers (the carbon as I said is not really helping anything) but if you do get some floating plants, or other faster-growing plants, you may need to use a comprehensive supplement.

    Last comment on the liquid carbon, is the likely detrimental effect on fish. Everything added to the water will get inside the fish, naturally, so the fewer additives the better. And this one may be toxic, if it is glutaraldehyde.

    Byron.
     
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  5. MuppetThumper

    MuppetThumper New Member

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    thanks that's very helpful. I'll look at some floating plants. I am assuming on your current advice that you probably wouldn't be a fan of hydrogen peroxide? Been reading up on that a bit. But I'll go the natural way, at least to begin with.
     
  6. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    Black Beard Algae or soemtimes referred to as Black Brush Algae.

    A particularly stubborn algae thats pretty unsightly, black/grey or even red in some cases, looks like a soft brush on edges of plants and can grow in clumps on wood / decor and can be hard to get rid of.

    Lots of variables can be a factor in BBA growth, usually down to light and/or nutrient imbalance.
     
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  7. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Fish Addict

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    idk if you knew or not, I was suggesting it was bba. Couldn't tell if you could tell.
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The problem with any "treatment" for problem algae is that without resolving the cause you cannot get rid of it, it will only come back. And some of these supposedly safe treatments are anything but, plus they are rarely effective anyway.

    Brush algae is the only real problem algae I have had to contend with in my 25+ years in the hobby. And balancing the light and nutrients/organics is the only way to prevent it from increasing. I have it in some of my tanks permanently, on wood which is quite effective and natural-looking, but keeping it off plant leaves is the goal, and finding the balance of light/nutrients achieves this.

    I have had this algae increase from too long a duration, too much light (additional daylight entering the fish room in summer for example), and from overdosing fertilizers. All of these are factors in the same actual issue, the balance.

    I frequently add a photo or two of my tanks to illustrate, and to show that I am not just talking drivel, since I practice what I preach. This tank is my 33g with primarily Java Fern, and it was running like this for 3-4 years. I pulled it apart last May-June and separated the Java Fern into three tanks.
     

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  9. Toney

    Toney Mostly New Member

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    I've used h202 for algae, it works very good.

    It did melt my vals...
     
  10. DutchMuch

    DutchMuch Fish Addict

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    Note that it will also kill mosses, but yes I agree its a great way to kill algae.
     
  11. NickAu

    NickAu Member

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    I agree Byron you know your stuff.

    My advice is to pay attention to what Byron says.
     
  12. MuppetThumper

    MuppetThumper New Member

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