Green hair algae & cleaning tips

ellamay

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Before I start, I realize I should've taken a 'before photo' of my algae situation, but I didn't think about posting here until I'd finished cleaning. So the photo attached is the after photo.

So a couple of weeks ago I noticed green hair algae growing on a couple of my plants so today I removed one of the plants completely then removed most of the other two plants that are left as they had algae on the leaves (some of it im 100% was green hair algae and then some of the leaves had thick fuzzy algae which was slightly darker). It wasn't a huge amount but it was noticeable and I've never had any issues up until now. I've only been fishkeeping for about 6 months. A week ago I reduced the timer that the light is on to 7 to 5 hours a day as I know too much light can contribute to algae growth.

Then today after trying to remove the algae from the leaves and realizing it was all tangled up and stuck, I just removed all the affected plants. I'll go get some more tomorrow. I've not changed anything in my routine so I'm just wondering why I've suddenly got an issue! From looking online, some sources say plants not being very healthy can cause it? I'm maybe letting it get a bit too overgrown in there before cutting the plants back so when I do, there are some dead bits of the plants which I remove. Could that be a factor? Should I get some bottled algae treatment or is it harmful to fish?

Ive attached a photo of about how much I feed a day for the tank which has 1 betta, 6 blackfin corys, 8 ember tetras. Am I overfeeding causing too many nutrients in the tank? They normally finish eating in about 2-3 mins.
 

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sam_mitchell98

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I have just logged on as I have found I have the same problem in my tank. and was hoping someone would be able to help me in getting rid of the green hair algae. I think I may have the algae from having the light on for too long
 

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ellamay

ellamay

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I have just logged on as I have found I have the same problem in my tank. and was hoping someone would be able to help me in getting rid of the green hair algae. I think I may have the algae from having the light on for too long
This is what lots of my leaves were like!
 

Myraan

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Problem with taking the affected plants out is that the algae now have less competition and may grow back even faster.

Sometimes it's easier to ignore unless there's so much it looks ugly or it's literally killing the plants.
 
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ellamay

ellamay

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Problem with taking the affected plants out is that the algae now have less competition and may grow back even faster.

Sometimes it's easier to ignore unless there's so much it looks ugly or it's literally killing the plants.
Oh yes I can see how that could happen 😂 well I’m getting some more plants ASAP. There was quite a lot on the leaves so I couldn’t really ignore it.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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A week ago I reduced the timer that the light is on to 7 to 5 hours a day as I know too much light can contribute to algae growth.
Good plan. ..and don't forget that your tank will get light from the room as well. ;;)
From looking online, some sources say plants not being very healthy can cause it?
Of all the things you found online about algae control, this would be the weakest. Most clearly state that overfeeding is the main cause, as you end up putting far too many nutrients in the water and the algae just laps it all up. That said, it is true that higher plants will outcompete algae for resources, so less plants is a Bad Thing.
Ive attached a photo of about how much I feed a day for the tank
That looks to be a lot of food.
Rather than them eating their food in 2-3 minutes, under a minute is generally a better figure. Feeding can occur once, to several times a day...and a weekly fasting day is always a good plan.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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Looking at your tank, lots more plants would be a good idea. These would also give your Betta more security and create more line-of-sight breaks between the fish in the tank.
 

alistairw

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I’d mirror Bruce on this. I thought that looked an awful lot of food, especially for the Cory. That’s more than one wafer a fish!
As others have said, I would reduce your lighting times a bit too. Hopefully reducing those 2 variables will help.
 

Byron

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Problem algae, whatever the species, in a planted tank is caused by the same thing, an imbalance of light and nutrients. And the only way to deal with it is to restore or establish the balance. The aim is to prevent it from increasing, and once you achieve that, you're set. BTW, the darker fuzz is black brush algae, I can see it on some of the plant leaves in the photo.

Light involves intensity, spectrum and duration. Each species of plant has a certain requirement when it come to intensity, but in general we have high light and low light plants. Duration will not compensate for problems with the intensity. Spectrum is fairly easy to deal with, if you have a Kelvin rating in the 5000K to 6700K range, the light is OK so far as spectrum. Duration obviously we can control, and using a timer so it is consistent (the same six hours or seven hours, etc) each 24-hour period is a good idea. I'm a bit confused by your 7 and 5...but five hours a day is as low as I would recommend, and here with so few plants it should help. Once you have more, you can increase the light an hour at a time, depending.

Daylight in the room, not just direct sunlight (very bad) but diffused daylight, can factor in a lot. I used to see an increase of brush algae inn the summer, and it took me two or three summers to realize it was the increased intensity and duration of the daylight entering the room. Blocking most all of the daylight solved the problem; this is easy to do in a dedicated fish room, but in "livable" rooms, may not be feasible. But it has to be factored in.

Nutrients occur from fish being fed, water changes, and plant additives. Are you using any plant fertilizers?

Floating plants can be a big help. They lessen the light getting to the lower plants, and they are incredible nutrient assimilators, both of which discourages "problem" algae.
 
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ellamay

ellamay

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Good plan. ..and don't forget that your tank will get light from the room as well. ;;)

Of all the things you found online about algae control, this would be the weakest. Most clearly state that overfeeding is the main cause, as you end up putting far too many nutrients in the water and the algae just laps it all up. That said, it is true that higher plants will outcompete algae for resources, so less plants is a Bad Thing.

That looks to be a lot of food.
Rather than them eating their food in 2-3 minutes, under a minute is generally a better figure. Feeding can occur once, to several times a day...and a weekly fasting day is always a good plan.
Thank you so much for your advice. I’ll definitely reduce the food then 😂 I thought I was doing alright because I do have a small snail population that aren’t over breeding so I assumed I was feeding the right amount!
 
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ellamay

ellamay

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I’d mirror Bruce on this. I thought that looked an awful lot of food, especially for the Cory. That’s more than one wafer a fish!
As others have said, I would reduce your lighting times a bit too. Hopefully reducing those 2 variables will help.
I’ve found it hard to judge how much food to give because everyone says different things 😂 will definitely reduce now
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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I’ve found it hard to judge how much food to give because everyone says different things 😂 will definitely reduce now
If you scour Thinternet, you'll find some even go as low as 30 seconds for the food to be eaten.
Personally, I look at a minute, depending what I'm feeding. Lobbing a cube of frozen can last as long as 5 minutes, maybe even more, before the cube finally melts at the outflow from the filter scatters it all over the tank. (I usually do a fasting day after).
 
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ellamay

ellamay

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Problem algae, whatever the species, in a planted tank is caused by the same thing, an imbalance of light and nutrients. And the only way to deal with it is to restore or establish the balance. The aim is to prevent it from increasing, and once you achieve that, you're set. BTW, the darker fuzz is black brush algae, I can see it on some of the plant leaves in the photo.

Light involves intensity, spectrum and duration. Each species of plant has a certain requirement when it come to intensity, but in general we have high light and low light plants. Duration will not compensate for problems with the intensity. Spectrum is fairly easy to deal with, if you have a Kelvin rating in the 5000K to 6700K range, the light is OK so far as spectrum. Duration obviously we can control, and using a timer so it is consistent (the same six hours or seven hours, etc) each 24-hour period is a good idea. I'm a bit confused by your 7 and 5...but five hours a day is as low as I would recommend, and here with so few plants it should help. Once you have more, you can increase the light an hour at a time, depending.

Daylight in the room, not just direct sunlight (very bad) but diffused daylight, can factor in a lot. I used to see an increase of brush algae inn the summer, and it took me two or three summers to realize it was the increased intensity and duration of the daylight entering the room. Blocking most all of the daylight solved the problem; this is easy to do in a dedicated fish room, but in "livable" rooms, may not be feasible. But it has to be factored in.

Nutrients occur from fish being fed, water changes, and plant additives. Are you using any plant fertilizers?

Floating plants can be a big help. They lessen the light getting to the lower plants, and they are incredible nutrient assimilators, both of which discourages "problem" algae.
I’m not using fertilisers. And it’s summer here so that makes a lot of sense!! I work nights actually so a lot of the time my blinds are closed during the night. I’m not sure what intensity my bulb is, it came with the tank. I’ll try and find out. It’s been fine up until now though so hopefully it’s the time of year 🤞🏼 I used to have floaters but I found they just grew out of control so fast and it was hard to clear the floating bits out of the tank with the net because they were all in the way
 

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