Lifecycle of hair algae

dealt

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Sep 25, 2007
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Hi! I have this 50g tank with 4x36w light and pressurized c02 system. EI based ferts dosing with CSM-B and is been doing quite good for 4 months now:
topview.jpg


That was its pic 2 weeks ago...before severe hair algae took over the tank. For a while I thought it already reached its so-called "balanced" state, plants growing lush and healthy, but I made I mistake(s) of:

- overfeeding
- not removing dead fauna
- delayed trimming of plants
- experimenting with diy c02 (4L setups, not the common 2L yeast reactor)


Reading from lots of articles/threads about hair algae, the common suggestions are increasing c02, manual removing as much of it as possible, cut back on fertz...and these is what I'm doing now. I already purchased a drop checker and am trying to keep it on green-yellow green status (using 4dkh solution). Tried manual removal of hair algae, using common toothbrush, but I think it's not efficient for I can't make a visible deduction of total hair algae mass. Made a major trimming of stem plants for better circulation and reduced dosing of fertz to half. Black mollies, sae and otos aren't helping either.

Now my question is, am I on the right track? If I continue to 'over' dose on c02, how long till I can see visible progress? Will these strands of algae just wither away? or they'll just 'be gone' after a while? I know patience is a must in combating this but at least I've to know if I'm doing right and what to expect. Thanks!
 

Arana

Junior Poster
Oct 20, 2007
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You may need to dose with Excel and do a 3 day total blackout to get rid of it completely
 

dealt

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Sep 25, 2007
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Arana;21493 said:
You may need to dose with Excel and do a 3 day total blackout to get rid of it completely

oh...what are the odds? won't this harm the plants?
 

Arana

Junior Poster
Oct 20, 2007
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The plants and the fish will be fine and will soon pick up again, remember no peeking and no feeding!
 

Tom Barr

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I think the daily Excel dose+ daily water changes+blackout for 3 days will work, so you need to due a water change daily, add excel and have the lights/CO2 off.

Lot of work.

Prior to doing this: trim the plants that tend to get the algae caught in it the most. Very aggressively prune them!
Clean the tank well, pick out as much as you can.

Then do the above.

CO2 is critical, and in well grown in tanks without Amano shrimps, the hair algae can get a hold, I'm talking about Cladophora specifically here, you should see branching on the algae if it's Caldophora.

Do not play with CO2 once it's set well, unless you want to induce algae. I can get away with a week's worth of poor CO2 before things go bad.

You might see BBA in a week or two after Green hair algae, but the hair alga seems to always come first.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

rthomas

Guru Class Expert
Oct 25, 2007
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Tom Barr;21506 said:
I think the daily Excel dose+ daily water changes+blackout for 3 days will work, so you need to due a water change daily, add excel and have the lights/CO2 off.

Tom, can you detail out the Excel portion. On the first day with dosing Excel, dose it as per the instruction on the bottle? What about the 2nd and 3rd day ?

On the 4th day, do I need to do a WC before turning back the CO2 and light on ?
 

naman

Prolific Poster
Nov 12, 2005
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No advise in any way, but when I had hair algae (yeast CO2) I eradicated it increasing NPK and Mirco dosage.

May be Tom would comment wy that happend, but it worked that time for me.
 

atrixnet

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Feb 5, 2007
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My hair algae problem went away when I juiced up the CO2, for what it's worth. I used to have a substantial problem with it and GSA before that.
 

atrixnet

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Feb 5, 2007
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Oh, and what a lovely tank, BTW. Great work. Best of luck with this algae outbreak. I know what it's like to see a lovely tank waste away before a BBA onslaught and it's very disheartening. I am trying to get through some algae problems of my own with the BBA, and I can empathize with you that it is very frustrating. I really hope you are able to get rid of the algae before it takes out the more sensitive and the more slow-growing plants. Hair algae just hasn't been near a problem at all for me as the BBA; it is much less hardy. Take heart in that.
 

Tom Barr

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Yes, "CO2 juicing" will help.
You can cause an infestation via lowering the CO2, adding it intermittently etc.

If you keep doing that for sometime(weeks typically), you can induce BBA.
This is for higher light, well planted tanks that are doing well anyway(a control tank basically).

Hair will go away on it's own, I'm not sure why specifically however, but based on good CO2, inducement, it seems to respond well to CO2 changes, slightly poorer nutrient levels for the plants.

So over grown tanks, lack of pruning etc can cause this, CO2 declining........., leaving for a week or two without dosing/pruning, I've found hair algae in each case to appear. Smaller tanks with CO2 issues etc also.......I had a diffuser that just would not give me consistent CO2 and I never had issues in an identical tank with another good diffuser.

So some CO2 related mechanism seems pretty likely for a cause.
Excel might get rid of it for that reason(carbon addition if it was low via CO2 gas), rather than as an algicide........
Plants seem to perk up, start over growing the algae, pruning it out, and it goes into spore phases and the adults slowly die out.

Similar thing happens with BBA, takes longer and is more of an issue for many and BBA is much less limited by nutrients/less affected. Cladophora seems to like somewhat leaner nutrients.

In an ADA sediment tank, this is less likely to occur, but still can certainly......but then it's more CO2 related exclusively. With plain sand etc, flourite etc, you likely need more ferts as well.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

naman

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Nov 12, 2005
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Tom Barr;21604 said:
...leaving for a week or two without dosing/pruning, I've found hair algae in each case to appear.
In an ADA sediment tank, this is less likely to occur, but still can certainly... ...but then it's more CO2 related exclusively. With plain sand etc, flourite etc, you likely need more ferts as well.

…so if we have enough CO2 hair algae can be because of lack of NPK, and with rich substrate tank is far more stable?

Using yeast CO2 method more attention on CO2 stability, second is dosage of NPK.
With more stable pressurized balloon CO2 system first attention is to NPK dosage, second is effectiveness of CO2 delivering method?
 

Tom Barr

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That sound fair, but you still need to work on all, not just one of these.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

dealt

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Sep 25, 2007
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Thanks for your your encouragements and advice. Unfortunately I can't purchase Excel here in my part of the planet. That's why I haven't tried the blackout method yet. Here's what I've been doing for the past week:

- Ruthlessly prune affected leaves/stems.
- Large, as in large water change every 3 days (70-80%) During the process (when water is already removed), I manually remove the slimy green strands by rubbing carefully the infected leaves using my fingers, then throw away the 'harvested' algae. Seems to be more effective than using toothbrush.
- C02 overdose and EI dosing.

Although I made visible deduction of hair algae, seems that the remaining parts keeps growing. I don't know if I can keep up with the WC and leaf-scrubbing part, considering the holiday season.

Should I go with the blackout method without excel? I'm afraid to come back to an algae-infested tank after the holiday vacation.

One more thing, there's a newly planted HC in the tank (which seems to be doing good after 3 days) Won't they get affected if I'll go with the blackout? Thanks!
 

Tom Barr

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Where on the planet are you located?

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

Tex Gal

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Nov 14, 2007
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H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) Algae Treatment - AquariumBoard Forums
This thread is about killing algae with peroxide. There was posting on someone's web site with his tank and px. It was amazing what results he got. Peroxide is cheap. It worked like a charm. He dosed his whole tank with very limited peroxide. Wish I could find the link for you. I have it at home but am away. Hope your problem clears up. At least you know what you did to start it.

I found the link Eliminating Algae with H2O2 I did straight peroxide (store bought strength) on hair algae in spots and it worked great. Didn't harm any fish - not even my baby kribs. I have loaches and they were all fine too. I did a strong dip to some plants given to me that had BBA and it killed all that too. My ottos and mollies and SAEs ate the dead algae.
 

atrixnet

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Feb 5, 2007
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I tried hydrogen peroxide on my bba once. The result was not near anything I could describe as helpful in any way.

To make a point to myself that it was or wasn't effective I pulled out a few leaves of plants covered in BBA. I put each leaf in a loosely rolled form into thoroughly cleansed and sterilized perscription pill bottles from the local pharmacy. I filled each bottle to the brim with H2O2 and stored the bottles in a cool dry cabinet for a week...

A week later the algae had not withered and was not completely dead. I couldn't understand it, surely it was supposed to work! I mean I read it from that website didn't I? In frustration I emptied the bottles of the H2O2 and filled them with a water/clorox bleach solution. 5 seconds in that solution and the algae turned bleach white, detached, and floated off.

I also made the discovery while playing mad scientist that mixing hydrogen peroxide and clorox really makes for a spectacular show!

In short, the H2O2 did nothing for my BBA. However applying it to some cyanobacteria killed it off in 2 days after the application of the H2O2.

While these weren't lab tests in a perfect environment, I have concluded personally that treating bba with H2O2 is a waste of time and ineffective strategy for removal of the same.

I have yet to resolve my bba problems...but I am trying some new things now and am hoping for the best. Best of luck to you with the algae.
 

dealt

Prolific Poster
Sep 25, 2007
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Tom Barr;21636 said:
Where on the planet are you located?

Regards,
Tom Barr

PI. Yep, I can make purchases online but it's not practical since the shipping cost would be more expensive than the actual price of the product. :( If plans for HK vacation next year pushes through, I'll buy year-long supply of Excel :D
 

dealt

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Sep 25, 2007
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This is how my tank looks like today. (current pics)
whole-1.jpg

right-2.jpg

left-2.jpg


Close up infested part
infest6.jpg