Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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scottysgirl 02-10-2007 11:10 PM

Black beard algae
I am having a terrible problem with this algae. I love live plants but I'm starting to think they are more trouble then they're worth! I now have black beard algae growing on most of my plants. Tank is 29 gallons, nitrates 25, nitrites and ammonia 0, pH around 8.2, temp 78 degrees, 2.5 watts per gallon. I have heard siamese algae eaters will eat this type of algae, is this true? Any other advice?

musho3210 02-10-2007 11:20 PM

Lower the nitrate levels to below 10, this will help starve the algae. Give the tank less lighting, this will also help starve the algae :)

fish_4_all 02-11-2007 12:30 AM

Well A blackout will kill the algae all together. Nitrates levels do not cause Algae nor does any other level of nutrients. There is an imbalance of nutrients in your tank. The balance needs to be fixed in order to control and eventually eliminate the algae. With that much light, you will need to be dosing everything, PO4, No3, K, Ca, Mg and some kind of trace fertilizer for Iron and other needed nutrients. I dose 30pmm of NO3 weekly and it does not cause algae. I also dose everything else to keep the balance so the plants are using the nutrients and outcompeting the algae.

What do you dose, how often and how much? What are the other plants in your tank?

As for fish SAE will eat it when it is new and soft, so will FFF and rosey Barbs but a fish won't fix your problem the will only help to control what little you will have once you get everythng balanced the way it needs to be. Let me know what you are dosing and the rest and I will hopefully get you on the right track to getting rid of it.

scottysgirl 02-11-2007 04:08 PM

I fertilize once weekly with kent freshwater fertilizer, 0-0-3, with trace minerals including iron and copper and manganese. Today I bought Flourish Excel organic carbon for the planted aquarium. I don't want to set up a CO2 injector--too much money for a college student. I have been thinking about putting root tabs in, do you think that would be a good idea?

scottysgirl 02-11-2007 04:23 PM

Plants in the tank are--1 anubias, 1 crinium, 2 vals, 3 corkescrew vals, 1 amazon sword, 2 crypts, 1 lilly plant, and two unkown plants. Fish--3 german rams, 3 otos, 3 raspboras, 2 khuli loaches, I cory, 1 dwarf puffer, 1 dwarf botia. It is a 30 gallon tank. It also gets indirect light during the day.

fish_4_all 02-11-2007 05:06 PM

With the indirect sunlight, you may be helping the algae but it shouldn't be the original cause. I would aos suggest getting some KNO3, KH2PO4, some K like K2 SO4 and some form of Calcium and Magnesium.

This site has dry ferts which are very easy to dose. I know initially it can be $30-50 but the amount you get for that will last for a LONG time. Get double the amount of K2SO4 of anything else if you decide to go this way because it goes the fastest. If you decide to go that way, I can help you with what to order and how much.

Andrew 03-18-2007 10:00 AM

black algae is caused by high levels of phosphates. Back your lights off to 6 hours, it will be sufficient for plant growth but will be a short a period to damage algae.
Regular water changes are a must 2x 50% water changes a week. try to use R/O water or rainwater. Dont use tap water to condition it.
There are filter media packs that do help in the cause against black algae - i used them on my fathers tank, eventually after 2 months hard work we beat the algae- it dissovled into the water and has not returned.
You might want to look at the stock levels of your tank- waste will lead to phosphates. Look at your feeding intervals. too close>?? do you remove excess food?
No fish will eat black algae why would they? snails will tackle it - but you would need an army, still they help keep it at bay once it has cleared. This is why black algae is associated with loach tanks- loaches love snails.
Anyway thts all i can think of at the moment- good luck, your certainly going to need it.

fish_4_all 03-18-2007 02:12 PM

I dose .88ppm PO4, (phosphates) 3x a week and have never gotten BBA from it. The only time I did get it was when I stopped dosing from being ill for a week and my nitrates bottomed out. Yes my phosphates were 1.2ppm but my nitrates were 0. Once I started doing my water changes again and regular dosing it was gone in less the 3 weeks.

Yes algae can be and is caused by a surplus of one nutrient but it has to be accompanied by a lack of one or more other needed nutrients. With a balance of all of them and never bottoming out one should never have algae unless your tank gets direct sunlight.

I have seen the levels that are dosed doing experiments. I did one myself. I set up a 10 gallon tank with just elodea and wisteria, dosed everything triple what it would be in a tank with fish and I never had algae. NO3 -120ppm, PO4 15ppm, Iron 6ppm, MgSO4 100ppm Magnesium, Calcium Citrate 400ppm calcium, K2SO4 to 250ppm Potassium. This tank ran clean and clear for 3 months and never had a sign of algae. Tap water for water changes and dechlor added after changing the water. BTW, plants grew at a rate triple that of my tanks with fish and were under 40 watts of screw in compact fluorescents.

To combat algae, the balance is the key. If you ever run out of something and have an excess of anything you WILL get algae. This goes for PO4, NO3, Mg, Ca, and K bottoming out and an excess of any of them. Run out of nitrates and have excess iron get algae, run out of phosphates and have excess nitrates get algae, etc, etc, etc...

scottysgirl 03-19-2007 12:12 AM

Thank you for the replies, since I posted this thread I increased number of plants in tank, increased watts of light, and started dosing CO2 and ferts, and added 3 amano shrimp. This has done the trick, no more BBA and the tank looks great!

Andrew 03-21-2007 03:29 PM

Thats good news, keep on top of it and post some pics.


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