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How do I get rid of hair algae?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Carissa, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Lately I've been having trouble with this in my 32g tank. I get rid of bba first, and now this stuff starts. It's very, very fine light green threads. They are about 1/16" long and grow on my front glass which doesn't bother me, but it also grows on my hygrophila leaves that are closest to the light, which does bother me. Nothing ever used to grow on that plant even when algae was on other things, so it's very annoying to me.

    Here are tank specs:
    32g tank
    Aquaclear 50 HOB with biomedia, course sponge, and finer sponge
    Internal Aquael sponge filter doubling as a co2 diffuser (rated for 50g tank)
    ~60 watts of T8 lighting (40 watts overdriven 2x), poor reflectors, 9 hours/day
    1/2" sand substrate covered with about 1.5" of course gravel
    30% water changes weekly with gravel vac (I'm changing over to spring water, don't want to shock the fish too much with the much higher pH and KH)
    About 2x/week dosing 1/4 tsp KNO3, 1/16 tsp KH2PO4, 1/8 tsp K2SO4, 1/8 tsp Plantex CSM+B; up until the change to spring water I was also dosing 1 tsp each of calcium chloride and epsom salts per water change
    Nitrates always test non-zero (~5-10 or thereabouts)
    diy CO2 measured with a drop checker around 20 - 25ppm (light green - as soon as it gets to green I change a bottle)
    Temp around 80
    medium sized chunk of driftwood

    Plants - hygrophila which grows very fast, pruning every week
    a few crypts
    a bunch of anubias
    loads of java fern
    some ludwigia
    I would say it's moderately planted, with slow growers dominating the scene

    Fish - 2 juvenile angels, 7 female bettas, 2 neons, three oto's pretty light stocking I think

    I've had this hair algae for a few months and it didn't bother me too much because the bba was bothering me more. :) But now that I've got my co2 fixed, the bba is basically gone except for what I need to finish pruning out, but this stuff is still going nuts. I have to scrape my glass about 2x/weekly to keep it off. No other algae to speak of. Maybe it's just my mind, but it seems like I get more of this stuff every time I do a pruning/fertilizing.
     
  2. tedr108

    tedr108 Lifetime Charter Member
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    Never heard of thread algae on glass ... and thread algae gets a whole lot longer than 1/16" really fast.

    I looked thru the following article by Dusko: Aquarium Algae ID (updated).

    I'm thinking either fuzz algae (nutrient deficiencies) or green beard algae (low CO2 or low NO3). It's hard to tell without a picture -- post a pic, if you can. I'm not sure either one of these algaes grows on glass either.
     
  3. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Ok, yes I think I have it identified wrong. My algae doesn't seem to fit any of those types. It looks a lot like fuzz algae, but the strands aren't nearly that long (maybe they would get there eventually, though, but it would take weeks). Plus it says that oto's eat it, and I have three oto's and they don't seem to make a dent in it at all. The second one is the green beard algae, but that looks way too thick to be this stuff. This doesn't grow in tufts, but you can see each individual strand with it's own 'rooting' point on the leaf or glass. Also the algae I have only grows in the highest lighting areas of the tank, and it says that gba can grow in lower light areas (probably something like bba, which in my tank has no problem growing anywhere at all if my co2 goes out of whack). I'll see if I can get a decent picture.
     
  4. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Here are some pictures - kind of hard to see but just look on the surface of the leaf.
     

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  5. guy tillmans

    guy tillmans Guru Class Expert

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    I also think , fuzz algae, probarbly caused by co2 and/or macro deficit. I would do a big waterchange and "reset "the tank. The dose again your micros and macros. Are you sure your co2 is 20 ppm.?
     
  6. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    Drop checker with 4KH water is light green, plants are growing rapidly and pearling where the light is brightest, and in the recent past when the drop checker has gone from light green to dark green/bluish green, bba has started with a vengeance. So no I'm not 100% sure where my co2 is, but I know it's high enough that the plants like it and the bba doesn't. Also it seems that it grows most rapidly when my co2 is at it's peak - after I change a bottle. My co2 has probably been consistently higher for this past little while than ever before (I've had this tank a year) but I've never had problems with this type of algae before, especially growing on plants which is what bugs me.

    I did do a 40% water change with spring water which I'm gradually changing over to, and redosed everything. Since I did this the plants are now growing extremely fast, but the algae has not yet gone away or stopped growing. But I will keep doing this weekly and see if it gets itself straightened out eventually, not sure what else to do.
     
  7. Mooner

    Mooner Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Carissa,

    Why the spring water?? Something wrong with the local water supply?

    Your pics look like plants are Mac and/or Mic deficient. Jump up to the next EI level for three weeks and see what happens. Also I wouldn't mess with the substrate at all unless the tank is very old and only then the very top layer to reduce mulm. I have two such tanks with substrate older that a year that I haven't touched yet. Healthy plants can and do use aged substrate to there benefit. Ever started a new tank and see how long it takes things to stabilize? The matured substrate is in effect. I've also used tap water no matter where I have lived. Grown a lot of weeds:)
     
  8. Carissa

    Carissa Guru Class Expert

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    My tap water has 0 KH and GH, and very high levels of copper (~.75ppm). Not good for plants or fish. I've been reconstituting the GH for a long time and I'm sick of it. The copper has killed a few fish too, probably more than I realized at the time, since doing a 50% water change really dumps in a lot of copper. Tank tests 0 on copper.

    I would prefer to remove organics and dose extra fertilizers since every single time I slack off on vacs, I get algae problems. I don't know if it's my water or what but it never fails, in any of the tanks I've had.

    None of my plants are rooting types except the crypts, and they are doing well, so I'm not too worried about taking stuff out of the substrate. I have a layer of sand about 1/2" that rarely gets touched, when I vac I just do the gravel part.

    I'll continue to bump up dosing and see how it goes. Probably is something or another that's too low.
     
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