Help me identify these algae and how to get rid of them

Mr-Furious99

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Hey all,

Tank has been up and running for over a year. There are gouramis, rasbora, danios and corys in the tank along with a bristlenose and a few snails. I get some algae on my glass which I clean off during water changes, but my plants and drift wood have all kinds of things going on. See pics.
drift.jpg
swords2.jpg
grass.jpg
swords.jpg
Is there anything I can do to curb this algae infestation? I have heard of using flourish but wont overdosing that hurt the fish in the tank?
 

Byron

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The algae in the photos is black brush/beard. It has a couple of different-looking forms, but that is what you have here.

First, algae is natural and normal and will be present in any healthy aquarium. "Algae" here means any species; where there are nutrients and organics (as in any fish tank) some type of algae will be present depending upon various factors. It can make use of just about any light, unlike higher plants that are very particular with light intensity and spectrum. In planted tanks, we aim to keep algae under control, as it can coat plant leaves and lead to the death of the plant. It is really not possible to eliminate all algae, as to do so would mean a unhealthy aquarium since it is a natural part of the ecosystem.

Black brush/beard algae is controlled by ensuring the balance of light and nutrients is suited to the needs of the plants. If the light is more intense, or on longer, or is the wrong spectrum, for plants, algae will take advantage. Same holds for excess nutrients.

Never use any form of algicide as these will without question harm fish and possibly other plants. Which brings me to the Flourish, which I assume is Flourish Excel, a so-called liquid carbon that does at least sometimes kill black brush/beard algae. This product contains glutaraldehyde and water, and glutaraldehyde is a highly toxic disinfectant that is used in hospitals to sterilize surgical instruments, in embalming fluid (to kill bacteria), and similar places. Regardless of what Seachem or anyone else says, adding such a substance to an aquarium with live fish is dangerous. It does impact fish, period. And if overdosed it could kill plants, fish and bacteria.

To establish the balance of light/nutrients, we need to know the light specs (type, wattage, spectrum, duration) and what if any plant additives are being added. Also a photo of the entire tank so we can see the plant species and numbers would help.
 

The Lumpfish Guy

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As Byron says this is caused by an imbalance in the aquarium somewhere.
If you post what Byron asked for on here we can help you dial in any issues.
But consider the following;
Reducing the "daylight" hours, eg if your light is on for 12 hours reduce this to 10
Increasing you water changes, eg if you do 40% twice weekly try 50% instead (It also helps to keep track of your water perimeters)
Reduce your feeding. Most fish do not need to eat a lot, in aquaculture we feed 3% body weight per day, for high growth rates, but in the aquarium you don't need this. if you consider a 10g fish that's only 0.3g of food! Consider cutting down the amount you feed your fish.
Increase your maintenance, eg filter sponge cleaning ( in old tank water), gravel clean the substrate ect
 

seangee

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The whole balance thing is quite complicated. Having more plants, especially fast growing ones will help.

I struggled with this particular algae (BBA) a few months ago and, strange as this may seem, in my case adding fertilizer helped. In short there weren't enough nutrients for the plants so they didn't grow fast enough. The algae is less fussy and used whatever was available. As soon as I got the plants growing properly they took up all the available nutrients leaving nothing for the algae
 
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Mr-Furious99

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Here is a picture of the tank, I apologize for the light reflections.
whole-tank.jpg

I have an timer on my lights and just reduced the time it comes on from 9am-7pm. I don't generally use any fertilizer, but I have used and do have Flourish Excel here at home. I don't exactly know the questions about wattage and spectrum as the lighting for the tank is 5 LED lights that are built into the topper for the tank.
 

essjay

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Flourish Excel is a 'liquid carbon' product which, like most of these, has glutaraldehyde as the active ingredient. A lot of us refuse to use this chemical - a powerful disinfectant - anywhere near our fish.

However, most people with plants in their tanks do use a plant fertiliser, in the same way that you would use a fertiliser on garden plants to make them grow better. I have slow growing plants so I use Seachem Flourish 'comprehensive supplement for the planted aquarium' at half the recommended dose.
 

seangee

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For the plants you have root tabs would be best. I use the seachem flourish root tabs. I also use comprehensive the same way as @essjay, but I do have a lot of floating plants.
 

essjay

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I have plants attached to wood (Java fern, anubias, bolbitis etc) as well as water sprite as a floating plants which is why I use liquid fertiliser rather than tabs :)
 

AbbeysDad

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BBA is a tough algae to get rid of. I "inherited" BBA from some jungle val I got from Florida thru "the bay"...and once it gets a foothold, killing it can be tough. In addition to less light and increased water changes (that just didn't work for me), manually remove as much as you can. Some plants may need to be discarded. On plants you can easily remove (like java fern, anubias) I'd temporarily remove and spray with hydrogen peroxide.
I don't like Excel even though many hobbyists swear by it...but it does kill algae as a last resort.
 
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Mr-Furious99

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Thanks for all the tips folks. I'm going to pick up some tabs and try that. I've noticed that my very frequent water changes seem to be helping as well. I was doing daily changes all last week.
 

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