Black stuff growing? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-06-2006, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Black stuff growing?

Some of you may recall that I recently posted about brown algae, but now there seems to be black algae? I don't think it's really a form of algae, but I don't know what it is. It has started growing on a front peak of a fake rock formation and on the very top of one of my fake plants. Is this some kind of fungus? I cannot supply pictures right now, but I will do my best to find some soon.
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-06-2006, 08:53 PM
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Sounds like Black Brush Algae to me.
Here is the information I retrieved from one site.

Black brush or "beard" algae (Audouinella and other species) are Red Algae, or Rhodophytes. Black brush algae is the frustrating bane of some well-managed long-running aquaria. It's slow to get started, but so tenacious it can't be removed from its favored sites along the edges of broad slow-growing leaves (Anubias is a favorite) without damaging the leaf. Bit by bit it can swamp a tank.

Brush algae are troublesome when aquarium waters are high in nitrate and phosphate, and free iron in the water encourages problem algae too: keeping your iron fertilizer in the substrate, not in the water, is part of the answer.

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-06-2006, 09:28 PM
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THis is the stuff I had growing on my plastic plants that I can't get off. I haven't got a phosphate test kit yet, but the water is the highest in nitrates of all my tanks, around 40. It is the oldest tank set up.

Its funny, I have a diffent type of algae that dominates each tank -- the 46 gallon with bristle nose plecos mostly has what I think is blue-green algae (okay, I guess this isn't really an algae?) that grows on the glass.

The 5.5 gallon with an chinese algae eater has dark green fluffy patches that grow on the driftwood.

The 20 gallon with no algae eater, almost no live plants and practically no snails, has the black fuzzy stuff (It used to have this long, stringy, almost fern-like stuff, but maybe that was a plant?)

And finally, the 29 gallon has the most prolific green mats that would grow on a large rock decoration, its pretty easy to pull off, but it clogs my filter's intake (since I removed the decoration, the algae is practically gone)

The black stuff is the worst of them all, cause it will grow on live plants and kill them.

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post #4 of 7 Old 11-07-2006, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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I brushed the stuff off (it seemed to flake off) and underneath the dark greenish decoration was white... I'm going to guess this was the paint or some really nasty growth.

Turns out it was just the bad lighting that was making the plant decoration look like that, after cleaning off the lighting fixture it is just brown.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-07-2006, 01:27 PM
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How old are the lightbulbs on these tanks? What many people don't know is that after a period of time, the spectrum put out by a bulb will change as the light ages. The different algaes will thrive more under certain spectrums of light.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-07-2006, 03:15 PM
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It is definetly algae.

chances are its a mix, high phosphates in the water, lack of water change problem with filter bacteria, is the filter flow working?
You should check the phospate levels of your water. I never heard about the free iron in the water but this makes sense, it might be worthwhile switching from iron based fertilisers to magnesium based ones as i have heard magnesium only benefits plants...
Check you timing of your lights, you could try intorducing aquraium mineral salt to help the plants intake of nutrients from the water. Introduce snails they are the only life form that you can introduce that feed on it- shrimp will not touch it.

What fish are you stocking in the tank, if you have high polluting fish they will add to problem, plecs for example produce so much waste.

My dad has it in his tank and it is at last retreating we have tried all of the above, apparently once its dead it stays in the tank, it takes along while to dissolve once dead, but you know when you are winning as it is easier to clean.

if yo have introduced any ornaments lately you might want to remove those, as new objects that have not been cleaned can introduce problems in to you tank.

I have also read that if you break up your day time hours then this will disrupt the algae growth, but not damage the plants- havent tried this with my dads tank yet but i might soon.

Let us know how you get on, its a bad problem and there is no simple answer i am afraid, just keep attacking it.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-07-2006, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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I just changed the filter yesterday (whole new setup, explained in another thread) so I don't expect this to be much of a problem anymore. The other filter was doing a piss poor job of doing anything really other than circulating water.
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