Melting? Rotting? Hair Algae! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 05-05-2012, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
Melting? Rotting? Hair Algae!

These hygrophilia corymbosa have been in an established 20 gallon tank for about 2-3 weeks now and they were doing great. But in the last week, this has been happening. What is wrong? Are they melting or rotting? Is a fish eating them? And despite having pretty low nitrate levels (never higher than 20), I am having another wretched hair algae outbreak. The stuff lines the edges of the plant leaves and I can't get it off without damaging the leaves. What can I do to stop the hair algae? It was the cause of my last planted tank teardown.

The tank gets 2 ml of Flourish once a week, 2 ml of Flourish Excel once a day with 5 ml given after water changes. The light is a T5 HO 48w on 12-14 hrs a day. Water is ridiculously soft thanks to household water softener. Seachem Equilibrium is added with each water change to bring GH from 0 to 3. KH is 8. pH is 7.8-8

Help and advice would be much appreciated.

Sakura8 is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-05-2012, 10:54 PM
I think your lights may be too powerful. Maybe cut the time the lights are on down to 8-10 hours. This should help with the algae issue as well.
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-06-2012, 12:21 AM
I'am sorry about your plant trouble, I agree with ladayen. Your light may be to strong, as for the algae problem. 12-14 hrs of light per day is to high, I would drop it to 9-10 hrs? One other thing from the pics are you sur that is a hygrophilia corymbosa? The leaves look to big to me, I'am pretty new to plants my self. Just passing on info I have learned.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-06-2012, 10:33 AM
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I think there is also a nutrient issue here, which I will come too.

First the algae. I suspect you mean brush or beard algae, this is common on leaf edges. And light is the cause, period. Reducing the duration may help, once you get the duration balanced with the nutrients, but if the intensity is still beyond the balance you might have to consider removing some of the light. But the nutrients issue has to be solved too or this still won't help rid the algae.

The water is too soft for plants, I have this same problem out of the tap. If GH is below 4 dGH plants will struggle, some won't make it, and Hygrophila is one of these. Calcium, magnesium and potassium are likely too minimal.

Your house water softener also likely adds salt to lower the hardness, and this can cause trouble for plants and certainly for any fish. This will raise the TDS (total dissolved solids) but in the wrong way, plus there is the serious issue of the sodium chloride. I would look into how your softener works and consider bypassing it for aquarium water. If you need to soften it for the fish species, there are safer ways we can discuss.

Rather than just dumping this or that in to deal with the plant issue, I suggest we get all the data and go from there. What is the GH of the tap water pre-softener? And do you want to lower it for the fish?


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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