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Algae outbreak

BillyBass

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I recently added a few plants to both of my tanks and they were all free so I didn’t mind that they had some algae on them but it’s getting pretty bad now because all my plants have algae growing on them now. I believe it’s hair algae but I’m not sure. How should I go about removing it? I had highfin sharks which kept the algae down in my cichlid tank but they both died so it’s getting worse now
 

Byron

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I personally would not worry too much about this algae, but you do want to keep it in check. "Problem" algae is caused by an imbalance of light/nutrients, nothing else. Once you have the light and nutrients in balance to benefit the plants but no more, algae will be disadvantaged.

We need some data on your lighting, and what fertilizers if any, and a photo of the entire tank so we can see all the plants which helps deciding how much light/nutrients.
 
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BillyBass

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I personally would not worry too much about this algae, but you do want to keep it in check. "Problem" algae is caused by an imbalance of light/nutrients, nothing else. Once you have the light and nutrients in balance to benefit the plants but no more, algae will be disadvantaged.

We need some data on your lighting, and what fertilizers if any, and a photo of the entire tank so we can see all the plants which helps deciding how much light/nutrients.
The lights on my 55 are just two clip on led lights that I have no idea what wattage they are and on my 20 gallon I have a 15 watt planted aquarium light from China
 

AbbeysDad

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Byron is correct that most algaes can be controlled with less light and/or lower excess nutrients in the water. BUT I'm seeing Black Beard Algae (BBA), one of the toughest algae's to get rid of.
Manually remove what you can. Plants that can be removed may be treated with a hydrogen peroxide dip or spray. In the end I was forced to use some Excel to kill it!
 
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BillyBass

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Byron is correct that most algaes can be controlled with less light and/or lower excess nutrients in the water. BUT I'm seeing Black Beard Algae (BBA), one of the toughest algae's to get rid of.
Manually remove what you can. Plants that can be removed may be treated with a hydrogen peroxide dip or spray. In the end I was forced to use some Excel to kill it!
My 55 has an Oscar and Jaguar cichlid in it so all plants are removable so I’ll definitely try the hydrogen peroxide out and I may just have to buy some excel
 

Byron

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My 55 has an Oscar and Jaguar cichlid in it so all plants are removable so I’ll definitely try the hydrogen peroxide out and I may just have to buy some excel
This is not the way to go about this. First, using Excel in the aquarium will harm the fish. It contains glutaraldehyde, a highly toxic disinfectant. Second, even if you did manage to remove the algae by some means, it is only going to keep coming back if you do not deal with the cause, which is the light/organics balance.
 

PheonixKingZ

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I suggest leaving the light on for about 3 hours less than you normally would. That should eventually get rid of it. :)
 
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BillyBass

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This is not the way to go about this. First, using Excel in the aquarium will harm the fish. It contains glutaraldehyde, a highly toxic disinfectant. Second, even if you did manage to remove the algae by some means, it is only going to keep coming back if you do not deal with the cause, which is the light/organics balance.
The algae was brought into my aquarium on New plants I got. But since it’s in my tank now it’s spreading. I’ll try leaving my lights on for 8 hours instead of 10 but the lights in my 55 I feel is barely enough for the plants so I’m worried it might kill my plants
 

AbbeysDad

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This is not the way to go about this. First, using Excel in the aquarium will harm the fish. It contains glutaraldehyde, a highly toxic disinfectant. Second, even if you did manage to remove the algae by some means, it is only going to keep coming back if you do not deal with the cause, which is the light/organics balance.
My point was that with BBA you can turn off the lights off and flush the tank with multiple water changes and it will hang on like a bad habit. I found I had to do those things AND KILL the BBA to be rid of it.
 

Byron

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My point was that with BBA you can turn off the lights off and flush the tank with multiple water changes and it will hang on like a bad habit. I found I had to do those things AND KILL the BBA to be rid of it.
Interesting observation. I have battled BBA several times, and found that only correcting the light/nutrient balance was necessary; the BBA stopped increasing, which was my signal I restored things. I do not worry about what is already there, it is rather attractive on wood or rock, and on plant leaves it won't come off without removing the leaf which I sometimes do after I see new leaves are free of it.

Over several years I experimented a bit and found light intensity as well as duration were a factor (it can reappear when the tubes are low light emitting and due for replacement, or from additional daylight in summer) and liquid fertilizer also could encourage it.
 

Byron

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The algae was brought into my aquarium on New plants I got. But since it’s in my tank now it’s spreading. I’ll try leaving my lights on for 8 hours instead of 10 but the lights in my 55 I feel is barely enough for the plants so I’m worried it might kill my plants
There may be a misunderstanding here. Duration is not going to affect higher plants provided it is not below the minimum. Duration does not compensate for low intensity in the lighting. Plants need light of a minimum intensity to photosynthesize, and this minimum intensity varies with the species. If they receive this minimum intensity (or more) for six hours (or any longer period, but minimum six) each 24 hour period, they will do very well (as far as the light intensity/duration is concerned; spectrum is another factor along with nutrient availability).

The six hour minimum was taken from George Farmer's articles; you might manage with five, I've not experimented. But you certainly do not need to worry about 8 hours as opposed to 10 hours as this has no effect on plant response; it is important regarding algae. My tanks are on 8 hours daily; my former 70g was on 7 hours daily for reasons of algae control. I use algae as the guide; I reduce the light if algae is problematic, down to where it (algae) is no longer problematic, when light is the likely issue. Fertilizer can be too.
 

Byron

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In my case, as in the case of the OP, the BBA came in on some plants rather than developing as the result of excess light or nutrients. This may be the difference.
It is the light/nutrient balance that allows it to spread; controlling that stops the spread, so no more algae problem. And in my cases, I believe most of what was present died off. It certainly comes off wood much easier afterwards, and it doesn't look as "glossy" as live BBA.
 
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