Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sharkbait23 11-30-2010 04:29 PM

Possible Black Hair Algae Problem
I just started noticing this stuff growing on some of my plants. My tank is pretty heavily planted, but has always been pretty green and flourishing. This just happened within a couple of days now. I have some algae killer stuff that I could add. But I also have a Mystery Snail in my tank, will the algae stuff hurt him? I have my lights on a timer set to stay on for 8 hours could that be the cause? Should I set it for 6 hours?

20% Water Changes Weekly

redchigh 11-30-2010 05:20 PM

Do not add algae killer.

How long has the tank been running?

sharkbait23 11-30-2010 06:38 PM

The tank has been running for about 4 months just fine. Everything has been stable so far.

SinCrisis 12-01-2010 01:17 PM

mmm looks like staghorn, dosing excel will help, cut off infected leaves, dose excel and it should clear up the leftovers. Just be careful with the excel dosage.

You still need to figure out what is not in balance in your tank, ie too much nitrates, too much light, not enough circulation, not enough co2, etc. The excel dose will help your plants way out compete the algae and the carbon added will slow the growth of the algae, but its just a temporary cure.

Byron 12-01-2010 06:09 PM

I know Excel is often suggested as a treatment for algae control but this is not something I recommend. And as has been mentioned, it is only a quick fix, the root of the issue must be addressed.

Algae occurs due to excess light. If the plants have insufficient nutrients to balance the light, algae will take advantage. Increasing carbon via Excel is affecting the balance you have (or should have) by adding a lot of one nutrient (carbon). Unless you also up the light and increase all the other nutrients, it will not be balanced.

Also, Excel does not always work on the algae; Seachem themselves do not recommend it for this purpose. There have been some members here who had issues and took my advice to discontinue Excel and noticed a vast improvement in plants and less algae. There are many biological issues at work in an aquarium, and adding as little "stuff" as possible and letting the natural biological equilibrium become established is usually better.

I see the light is on 8 hours, I wouldn't reduce that yet; what fertilizers are you adding, if any, and how often? Nitrates are OK, though in planted tanks often less; is the tank fairly well planted? Have you tested your tap water for nitrates? Last point on nitrate, if you use the API kit, shake regent #2 for 2 minutes, not just 30 seconds as the instructions say; false and high readings frequently result if the regent #2 is not shaken 2 minutes.


sharkbait23 12-01-2010 10:44 PM

Thank you all for the quick replies.....I have not been using excel at all. I am with you Byron about not adding too much to the tank unless needed. It is pretty densely planted, I keep clipping off healthy new growth when it is long enough and replanting and then letting that grow and everything has been taking off. I have a DIY (yeast and sugar) CO2 system set up and seem to be helping in keeping the plants green and making them grow rapidly. I have already set my timer to only 6 hours of light each day. Does it matter what time the light is on? I have it on from 5pm to 11pm as this is the time of day that I'm home and enjoy watching it.

I'm glad you told me about the API kit giving false readings as I have just been following the directions. I have not tested my tap water for nitrates yet, but I will check it.

I have been using API Leaf Zone Plant Food fertilizer. Should I stop adding it? Or change kinds?

Thanks for all the help!

Francis Xavier 12-02-2010 09:23 AM

While also using the methods prescribed above - like cutting infected parts off, etc. You can dose Phyton Git to remove these algaes by directly applying with a brush onto the infected leaves. Usually reserved only for Anubias / slower growers type plants though, who can withstand it much better. In that case you would dilute to half strength and apply with the paint brush to the leaf surface.

Outside of that solution, usually a few SAE's, Amano shrimp and otocinclus added for the purpose of removal can help.

Byron 12-02-2010 10:11 AM


I have been using API Leaf Zone Plant Food fertilizer. Should I stop adding it? Or change kinds?
I have myself not used Leaf Zone, but I wouldn't; according to API's website, it only contains chelated iron and potassium. Plants require 17 nutrients. While some may occur in tap water [though conditioners that detoxify heavy metals rid the tap water of iron, copper, zinc, and manganese which are some of the micro-nutrients required by plants], fish foods, organics and waste, it is unlikely they all will be sufficient without adding them. I would switch to a comprehensive fert like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. If this is unavailable, another than has worked for others is Nutrafin's Plant-Gro. Flourish is the only preparation containing all essential nutrients in proportion, and you use so little of it that for the cost it is actually economical long-term.

Six hours is probably the minimum light period, though with a change to Flourish I would go back to 8.


sharkbait23 12-03-2010 03:24 AM

Thank you guys for the helpful tips. I am going to see how things go from here.

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