Black Hair Algae - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 06-21-2011, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Black Hair Algae

I have recently found on my java fern and driftwood small traces of what i believe is black hair algae. It doesnt seem to be bothering the fish and if anything it makes the tank look more natural and aged. I have other plants in the tank and it doesnt seem to be on them.
They are tiny tufts of what looks like black/gray hair only about 1cm long, is it something to be concerned about ? The tank has been running for about a year now and they are only just appearing.
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post #2 of 2 Old 06-21-2011, 12:47 PM
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This is a very stubborn type of algae, Black Brush [actually, it is a red algae but so dark it appears black]. I have it in some of my aquaria. I agree, on wood or rock it is very natural. Once it starts getting on plant leaves, it can kill the leaf and eventually the plant.

It frequently occurs on slow-growing plants such as Java Fern. Anubias is another favourite host. In both cases, this is probably due to the slow growth and toughness of the leaves. Something that might help is to have either of these plants in semi-shade, not directly under the tank light. They do better with shade anyway, so floating plants are easy to solve this problem. I find this algae often increases first closer to the light.

The danger is that it will spread to other plants. I have found reducing the light helps to keep this under control. I have previously seen it increase in summer, undoubtedly due to longer and brighter days, so I now keep my fishroom windows heavily covered during summer.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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