Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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higherme 05-12-2009 01:16 PM

Hair Algae

Anyone know how I can get rid of hair algae. I got green ones and black ones, and they are sticking to my plant leaves and roots making them look black :-?. I am cutting down on the lighting right now and see if it's getting better. Is there anything else I should do that get rid of them faster?

I also have some green hair algae on my java moss. At first, I thought they were java moss growth. Its making my java moss sticking to my other plants b/c of those hair algae. Its hard to separate the hair algae from my java moss. Picking them out would take forever. :shock: What should I do? The java moss is already attached to my wood.

I got amano shrimps and cherry shrimps, but i don't think they eat hair algae.

Unrulyevil 05-12-2009 01:21 PM

yes, besides cutting down light you need to do 50 % water changes 2 times a week to wash out all the excess nutrients out of your tank, remove heavily effected leaves.

Byron 05-12-2009 02:51 PM

There have been several threads on algae in the last few days, so to give you more of a background here's a link to one of them and explanation how to keep it at bay.


higherme 05-12-2009 03:31 PM

so the only way to get rid of the hair algae right now is to remove by hand? But there are a lot sticking to the java moss. its hard to separate from the java moss without throwing some java moss away....

If i do 50% water change per week, will that affect my fish?

Byron 05-13-2009 09:29 AM


Originally Posted by higherme (Post 194804)
so the only way to get rid of the hair algae right now is to remove by hand? But there are a lot sticking to the java moss. its hard to separate from the java moss without throwing some java moss away....

If i do 50% water change per week, will that affect my fish?

Java moss being the fine filamentous plant that grows on wood and rocks (as opposed to Java fern which is the dark green longish-leaved plant that also grows by attaching the "roots" to wood and rock) is so delicate it would have to be discarded if it is covered by hair/brush algae. You must really have the algae; I've known it to appear usually on wood and rocks and then more slowly on plants, some more than others (Anubias I read is particularly prone to brush algae).

The more water changes the better. Discus keepers often change 50% of the discus tank water every day. Most aquarists would find that a challenge, and the important thing is to stick to the routine, so it should be one you can manage. I do 40-50% of my 70g and 90g tanks every week. I can always see the difference, and I mean in the fish behaviour more than tank appearance. So yes it will affect your fish--but in a most positive way. It may be useful to explain why.

In nature, fish live in water that is either constantly moving past them (streams, rivers, creeks) or in a lake that has considerably more volume that will be affected by the fish population. In both cases, the water around them is not static but changing, which means the toxins the fish expel (ammonia through respiration, excrement, urine) is not staying where the fish is forced to live in it, but moving away. At the same time, the water is bringing minerals and oxygen to the fish, and there is no danger of the fish using all the available minerals or oxygen because of the water movement. There is a gas exchange at the water surface, where CO2 is given off and oxygen is absorbed. In a lake the thermal currents constantly keep the water in motion to avoid stratification. The African rift lakes are a good illustration. They are so deep that the lower water strata never mixes with the upper surface water. It is no surprise therefore that the cichlids do not live in the lower levels which are devoid of oxygen. They would in fact asphyxiate if they moved into those regions.

The aim is to maintain consistent water quality permanently in your aquarium. This is not as impossible as some may think. There are fluctuations that occur naturally, in nature and in our aquariums. Fish have evolved to adapt to these minor fluctuations. This involves temperature and pH (there are diurnal fluctuations in temp and pH both in nature and in an aquarium), hardness, and dissolved organics in the water. Fish are very closely tied to their environment. As an example, fish take in water through their cells by osmosis. The fish must adjust its internal pH to equal that of the water passing into its cells in order to maintain its physiological equilibrium--that is, the complex chain of internal chemical reactions that keep the pH of its blood steady, its tissues fed, and its immune system functioning. When pH and/or salinity stray outside the ideal range for any given species, or fluctuate more than minimally, the fishes' bodies must work harder and use more energy to maintain this equilibrium. Having fluctuating water conditions means the fish is constantly having to adjust its metabolism, and this stresses the fish and can lead to poor health, disease, and even death if not corrected. The point of regular water changes is establishing an equilibrium in the tank and therefore in the fish, resulting in healthier and happier fish.

As explained above, the replacement water cannot be significantly different from the tank water in terms of pH and hardness. If it is, it could be a shock to the fish and therefore be stressful, causing other problems. A small variation in water chemistry and temperature is OK as the waters mix and particularly a 1-2 degree drop in temperature stimulates the fish (often into spawning) because this replicates the effect of rainstorms in the tropics. But the larger the amount of the water change, the closer the water parameters should be.

SinCrisis 05-15-2009 12:20 PM

you can always invest in an SAE, they enjoy most of that tough algae that other algae eaters wont touch. They're just super hard to find and grow up to 6 inches later on.

Katydid 05-15-2009 05:37 PM

Flag Fish eat hair algae quite well. they dont grow that large, but can be aggressive if you have fish with frilly fins.

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