ARRH! There be BLACKBEARD in my tank!
(Sorry, couldn't help tossing the pirate reference in there!)
Blackbeard, black bush, black brush, red algae. . . Rhytophyta? Whatever it's called it's this stuff:
And I don’t like it one bit! (Sorry for the bad image quality - I think you get the idea, though?) There isn't very much of it - yet. The image above shows pretty much all of it. But it needs to be gone before it gets worse!
I’ve done some reading, but am running into a lot of opposing information (as usual) on why this particular type of algae occurs - and how to get rid of it - so I thought I’d beg you all for some advice.
At the moment, this particular type of growth is restricted to my African Fern (Bolbitis heudelotii). Being a slow-grower, I understand that this is a common problem this plant - especially in tanks like mine with low nitrates and soft water. So I really want to get this under control before it gets out of hand. I’m also seeing a small amount of this - probably related algae on the tallest of the Vals:
In the past I had a different type of hair algae appear, and cutting the lighting back to a strict 10 hours daily solved the problem - so I suspect this to be a lighting issue. Two weeks ago I added some new fish to my tank. Being wholly enthralled with the new arrivals, I have been lax and have allowed the lights to be on a few extra hours a day. . . as of today, we’re back to 10 hours max. . . Also, my water-sprite has failed, so for the first time, I really don't have any floating plants to 'shade' the fern - this is going to be fixed asap!
But I’ve also read that this growth can have to do with an imbalance of CO2 (which I do not add to my tank), or a nutrient (usually iron?) imbalance, so I want to be sure I’m covering all the bases here. I dose my tank 1x weekly with Flourish Comprehensive, but recently added a root tab to that area of the tank for my Crypt that’s living there. I’m not sure how much of an effect the added nutrient to the sand bed has on the water column, or if this could have something to do with the algae growth in that area?
Now. . . if lighting isn't the only issue, what do I do? I've read everything from stopping ferts to overdosing ferts to bleaching the plant as a way to deal with this. . . but I'm not inclined to do any of the above, as my other plants have been doing so well until this point - I don't want to 'fix' something that might not be broken. However, all sources say that this algae is tenacious, and tough to get rid of. . . *some* people may like the look of it, and maybe on some driftwood I can understand that - but not here!
All of the leaves that are affected by the algae are old leaves, original to the plant when I brought it home, so they’re not in the best of shape - but still green and living (I think). The tips aren’t as happy as they used to be, but the plant is bouncing back, and I have a tiny bit of new growth at the base - one fully developed small leaf, and a few new sprouts. The rhizome seems unaffected. Should I just remove all of the older leaves and keep the fresh, or would that be too traumatic to the plant? I never pruned this one when adding it to the tank, as it’s a slow-grower - perhaps I should have? It is attaching to a stone just beneath the filter, where the water movement is highest.
If it helps, I have a single 24" 20W Life-Glo 2 bulb (it's a 29 gallon tall tank), and my ammonia, nitrites, and phosphates are all consistently at 0. Nitrate sits at 2.5ppm, PH 7.6, Kh 2, Gh 6 . . . images of the full tank are in my album.
Thanks in advance for any tips you have to offer me! I appreciate your input, as always! :-D
dose the area on the leaves that has the BB with Exce (with a small syringe), after a day it should "bleach" it and depending on what type of fish you have they will take care of it from then. Just repeat if it comes back.
I had a lot in my tank, i took my fish out and put 50 cherry shrimp in, 2 weeks later i had none left and my leaves were shiny again :-)
Thanks for the input!
I've seen this advice given before, too - I don't have Excel, and don't really want to. . . unless I really NEED it. The question I have with regard to Excel is though it may kill the algae, using it once won't solve the underlying problem in the tank - so wouldn't it just come back eventually? I use Seachem Flourish Comprehensive - could I add my weekly dose of that via syringe directly to the leaves with similar results?
Shrimp are awesome, but I have Rams, so I might not have good luck with them surviving in my tank. I've read of other creatures that can help with algae problems, too - but I really do want to stay far away from adding creatures to 'fix' an algae problem - the underlying issue still needs to be addressed, and then the new additions are here to stay.
Too much light exposure ches :P
Do you have any algae eaters in that tank? They will only help a little.
if it really gets to be a problem then cover the tank with a thick cloth and not let light in it for 2 days. Not even tank light.
What I recommend is lowering the light exposure. This is happening in my 5 gallon but with green algae and I lowered the light exposure. I just recently did it so im waiting to see results.
This is to permanently fix the problem, what stevenjohn21 suggest is great to get if off immediately. You could even take the plant out and clean if you want.
oh and i found this online: http://www.aquariumgarden.com/info.p.../faq/algae.php
but who knows how reliable that really is hahahah.
Thanks, Termie! I'm pretty sure you're right, since I've had the tank lights on for a few extra hours a day whilst drooling over my new babies! I'm back, as of today, to keeping a strict 10-hour lighting routine, and looking into finding a different type of floating plant to replace my *almost* nonexistent (at this point) WaterSprite, and shade the tank. I've had floaters since day 1 - so this is the first time there hasn't been much there in that department, and I'm sure it's adding to the problem. Plus. . . the days are getting longer, and the tank is in a sunny room. All of these things can be playing a role. We'll start with going back to 10 hours, and see what happens from there.
I have snails and Mollies as my algae cleanup crew, the Molly fry have been picking at it, so I'm sure it'll be gone before long! It literally appeared overnight - I have photographic proof! Crazy!
But do I have to do anything with the stuff that's already growing, or the plant that it's growing ON?
You might want to just clean the plants or try what steven said. If not just black out the tank for 2 days.
Any of those methods will take care of the immediate problem and then the lowering of the expose will help from there.
I still need to get rid of the green algae if my 5 gallon. It looks so disgusting I don't want to touch it :shock::shock::shock:
I can almost guarantee that the extra couple of hours of tank light has caused this. There is (or should be) a balance between light (intensity and duration) and nutrients. If there is, plants will photosynthesize full out and algae will not be a nuisance. If the tank is balanced this way, you will never see algae beyond the normal algae in any aquatic system. It is only when the balance is broken that algae can take advantage.
Light is the key; light should be the limiting factor, meaning the first factor in the light and nutrient balance that stops--before any nutrient runs out. Without light, algae is out of luck. But if the light continues after an essential nutrient is no longer available--and CO2 is often the first to go--algae has the advantage.
I battle BBA in my tanks now and then, and reducing the light always controls it. The tank light is easy to control. You increased it beyond the nutrient availability and BBA is the result.
Thanks! So good to actually be right about something from time to time! The lighting has been cut back as of yesterday, so things should take care of themselves again from here on out. Just had to double-check the other possibilities, cuz' I don't want a battle with this stuff on my hands!
Should I trim off the old/original leaves of the affected fern? Or just leave them? They aren't in the greatest of shape, but the rhizome seems very healthy, and there is a small amount of new growth coming in.
Thanks, Byron!The bushy stuff was only on the African Water Fern in a few spots, and is already almost gone. I fasted the tank yesterday and fixed my light - I think my mollies snacked on it - though I've read that they don't prefer that type *shrug* Either way - problem solved!
Since the fern is only funky around the edges of the leaf (which is very dark green no brown at all) and it was that way before the algae - I'll continue to let it grow. It's a really cool plant, I wasn't sure if it would do well in my tank, so I'm really excited to finally be seeing a bit of growth out of it, and don't want to mess with it just yet!
Thanks again for all of your help, guys!
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