Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Fishnerd101 04-21-2013 03:52 PM

Black Brush Algae
I recently switched from a single t8 tube light fixture to a dual t5ho fixture. I started dosing with flourish comprehensive the day after. I also saw some flourish excel on sale, so I bought it but haven't used it yet. About a week later, I have an outbreak of bba. It's not too bad, it's mostly on the driftwood, but there is a little on the leaves of my plants. I was hoping that the cabomba and water sprite I bought would grow fast enough to outcompete the algae, but I guess it wasn't enough. I've reduced the feeding and the photoperiod to about 8 hours. Does anybody else know of anything else to do? I know siamese algae eaters will help, but I can't get them locally, and I'd rather not have to add them if they're unnecessary.

Chesh 04-21-2013 04:50 PM

Though you'll see it recommended frequently enough, I'm not really a big fan of buying animals to 'fix' an algae problem. . . and am somewhat leery of using Excel. Neither of these methods will fix the underlying problem that is causing the algae to grow, and I really feel that it's important to correct the issue, rather than treat for the symptom.

when I had BBA, it was entirely due to too much light in the tank (in my case it was coming in through a window!), and once I cut back on the photo-period, I was able to re-establish the balance that worked for my tank, and the BBA has never been seen again! Hopefully it's that simple for you, too, and limiting the lighting will do the trick. Remember that it won't go away when you've got things right - you will have to remove the stuff manually. As your floaters begin to cover, and your stems begin to grow, you can start increasing your photo-period again until you figure out what works best in your tank. . . if the shorter photo-period is a problem for you, there are ways to physically block some of the light getting into the tank, or, if possible, you could try raising the lights higher above the tank which will reduce the intensity of the light that makes its way to the bottom.

Good luck! BBA can be so tenacious to get rid of once it gets into a tank. It can be done, though!

MoneyMitch 04-21-2013 06:00 PM

I had the same exact thing happen to me - from single t8 to dual t5 ho then got bba then hair then gwa...
I tried excel every other w/cs 5hr photo periods... everything but adding chems to the water to control algae. what ended up doing the trick for me was laying strips across the top of the tank. id say about 50% of the light was being blocked out. I slowly increased the photo period up to 10hrs on and have yet see any bba gha or gwa return. but I do have a good amount of floaters in there now so that I can eventually remove the carboard slats from the top.

Fishnerd101 04-21-2013 06:51 PM

Yeah, I'm not a fan of "clean-up crews" either. I knew that it was one solution, but I didn't want to use them because they take up more space in my tank. It's not very fair to the fish, either to just be used as janitors. Manual removal of the algae is gonna take awhile... I'll probably do it sometime next week when I have more time. I'll start dosing excel at the recommended dosage along with the photoperiod reduction and see if that helps. I'll let you guys know how it goes.

MoneyMitch 04-21-2013 10:25 PM

the photo period reduction isn't going to do much.. I went down to 5hrs at one point and still saw algae.. its nbot the duration but the INTENCITY. th5 are very very bright. your either going to need to raise the light or block some of it from entering the tank. excel wont help much and the shorter photo period definitely wont help much.

I went through the EXACT same thing, just trying to help you out here and save the headache. you can check my journal for some pics of what all I went through.

Fishnerd101 04-22-2013 06:58 AM

I'll try blocking it with some cardboard strips or some screen and see if that helps.

Fishnerd101 04-22-2013 07:00 AM

I'll try blocking it with some window screen and get more floating watersprite to see if that helps.

Chesh 04-22-2013 08:37 AM

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

beaslbob 04-22-2013 10:15 AM

kill the lights completely for a few days untill the algae dies off.

then resume with less lighting and feeding and adjust until the tank looks nice and the algae stays away.

my .02

Fishnerd101 04-27-2013 03:42 PM

Update: I cut back the photo period to 6 hours and got more floating plants, and the algae seems to be going away. With the reduced feeding, my mollies have been eating alot of it on the driftwood, but total eradication is still awhile away.

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