Black stuff on plant leaves - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Black stuff on plant leaves

Can anyone identify this black stuff? It is on many of leaves of my Bacopa and Anubias.


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post #2 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 12:05 PM
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That is algae, a type of what we commonly call brush algae. It is common in many aquaria, but when it is on the plant leaves, it needs to be controlled or it will eventually kill the leaf and the plant if it continues to increase.

Light and nutrients have to be balanced for the needs of the plants. Anubias is not good in direct overhead light, and should be grown under the cover of other plants or floating plants. Bacopa is different, it needs good light as it is a stem plant and thus fast growing. But this means it also needs more nutrients.

Now the questions. What is your light (be specific) and how long is it on daily? And what fertilizers are you adding and how often? And how often are water changes performed, and how much volume?

Byron.

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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post #3 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Byron for your reply. I have a 50 gal tank which is about 19" deep. The lighting is 2- 28W T5 NO 6500k bulbs that are on for 10 hours per day. I dose once per week with Flourish comprehensive. I do a 30% water change weekly.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Goose54 View Post
Thanks Byron for your reply. I have a 50 gal tank which is about 19" deep. The lighting is 2- 28W T5 NO 6500k bulbs that are on for 10 hours per day. I dose once per week with Flourish comprehensive. I do a 30% water change weekly.
I'd be fairly certain the light is the issue here. T5 HO tubes are quite intense, compared to the older T8 type. Get some floating plants, and consider reducing the light period. I have to keep my tanks at 8 hours max, even with T8 tubes, or this algae becomes a nuisance.

The light period can be anytime you like, when you are generally home to view the tank obviously. Just so long as the tan gets several hours of complete darkness. A timer is a good way to provide consistent lighting periods, which is beneficial to plants and fish.

Hope this is of help.

Byron.

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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post #5 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, The T5 lights are normal output, not the HO ones. I will cut the duration down to 8 hours and see if that helps. I did buy some water sprite a couple of weeks ago, but it only covers less than 1/4 of the water surface right now. I have noticed that only the lower leaves of the Bacopa have the algae on them. The upper 1/2 of the plants are algae free. Perhaps that is because the upper portions are rapidly growing, whereas the lower parts are not?
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Goose54 View Post
Thanks, The T5 lights are normal output, not the HO ones. I will cut the duration down to 8 hours and see if that helps. I did buy some water sprite a couple of weeks ago, but it only covers less than 1/4 of the water surface right now. I have noticed that only the lower leaves of the Bacopa have the algae on them. The upper 1/2 of the plants are algae free. Perhaps that is because the upper portions are rapidly growing, whereas the lower parts are not?
Yes, that is likely. Slower growing plants attract this stuff more.

Having NO will help then, that's good. So this equates somewhat with my 70g which has two 4-foot T8 6500K tubes, and 8 hours is max. And in the summer, the longer days and brighter daylight can do it too, I found out.

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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post #7 of 10 Old 05-27-2013, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help, Byron. I will give it a couple of weeks and report back on the situation.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-29-2013, 12:30 AM
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I have it, a bit darker, on a large anubia and a few (now cut off) leaves of a java fern... I have absolutely avoided cutting off the large leaves (2) effected by this algae on the anubia but am afraid that it will spread further - it's better shaded now than when the black spots first appeared - so my question is: is there any alternative to trimming this very pretty and otherwise health plant back or is it a must to get rid of this stuff???
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-29-2013, 11:01 AM
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I have it, a bit darker, on a large anubia and a few (now cut off) leaves of a java fern... I have absolutely avoided cutting off the large leaves (2) effected by this algae on the anubia but am afraid that it will spread further - it's better shaded now than when the black spots first appeared - so my question is: is there any alternative to trimming this very pretty and otherwise health plant back or is it a must to get rid of this stuff???
You can leave the leaves; the brush algae is very difficult to remove, but you can pull some of it off when the plant has tough leaves like Anubias, but this isn't necessary. The important thing is to correct the cause so it does not spread. And with Anubias, this usually means putting the plant in indirect light, not direct overhead light. Remember too that daylight from a window can add to the "light." And not over-fertilizing also can help though with Anubias it is usually the light.

Byron.

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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post #10 of 10 Old 06-13-2013, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Just wanted to give an update on the black algae situation. I cut the lighting period to 8 hours from 10, and the algae is definitely dying off. It really is an improvement. Thanks!
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