greenish blackish algae??

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by frogster221, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. frogster221 Valued Member Member

    im actually not really sure what it is. i would say its black spot algae but its not black. it grows both on my plants and on the glass. its about an inch long and doesnt come off easily. plus none of my plant eaters will touch it. can anyone identify it?? and if they can what should i do about it?? it doesnt look good and im worried it may be hurting my fish. i scrape it off the glass with a cleaner but it wont come off the plants at all. ive even reached my hands in and tried to tear it off it just rips the leaves. please and thank u for any help

  2. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    It sounds like either Black Beard Algae or Hair Algae. Is it possible for you to post a pic of it? We really need to ID it before we can work out how to get rid of it.
    Can you also provide the water parameters, lighting details (intensity, duration & direct sunlight), as well as details of any fertilisers & co2 systems that you may use?

  3. frogster221 Valued Member Member

    the green in the backround is just the wall not algae

    Attached Files:

  4. harpua2002 Fishlore VIP Member

    Looks like BBA to me. I hear it's a real pain to get rid of, but I'm sure Nutter has some ideas. :)
  5. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    Yes it does appear to be BBA. Very much a pain in the rear end.

    We need to find out what is causing it before we can work out how to get rid of it really. Can you post the details about the lighting, fertilisers, co2 & water parameters I asked for? That would be very helpfull. Usually BBA is caused by fluctuating co2 levels but without the details of your system that is only speculation.

    The only fish that will eat BBA is the Siamese Algae Eater:
    There could be a bit much for one of them to take care of though.
    Spot treatment with Flourish Excel is also an effective treatment.
    Splitting your lighting period into two halves with a 3-6hr break in the middle is also an effective way to slow or sometimes eliminate algae growth. (Need details before I can recommend a light cycle for you).
  6. frogster221 Valued Member Member

    2 hood lights with about a medium to low light range. the only fertilizer i use is flourish but rarely. it does get more sunlight than i would prefer but none is direct. no co2 and all my tests read 0 ppm across the board.
  7. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    How long are the lights on for?
  8. frogster221 Valued Member Member

    i put them on when i leave for school around 8 and they get turned off usually around 7 or so.
  9. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    Buy a timer for the lights. It will only cost you about $5 from a hardware store. Use that to control your lights. Have them come on for 4hrs in the morning, then off 4hrs, then back on again for another 4hrs. That will help stop the algae from being able to photosynthisise efficiently & will slow or stop it's growth. It would be good if you can block out some of the natural light that the tank is recieving to. Make sure the blinds are closed before you leave in the morning or cover the windows with a thick blanket. Assuming that this is the 55gal in your profile you could also add two SAE to eat the algae. They are peaceful & will fit in with your other fish quite nicely. They are also a cool fish as a bonus.

    You can use Flourish Excel, (liquid carbon), as either a spot treatment or to treat the entire tank. I havn't used Excel for spot treatment before but I believe the way to use it is to turn off the filters & airstones & let the water stop circulating. Suck the Excel into a syringe & then inject it directly onto the algae. Leave the filters & airstones off for about 1hr then switch them back on. Do this once a day. It may take many doses as you have quite alot of algae there. The other way to use Excel on algae is to use double or even triple doses on the entire tank. You need to be careful when doing this as too little Excel & it won't kill the algae, too much Excel & you could kill your fish. When doing overdoses of Excel, keep a close on on the fish & if they show any signs of distress like rapid breathing or hanging out at the surface all the time, do an immediate water change to lower the concentration of Excel in the tank.

    Hopefully there are other members that can confirm the method for spot treatment as that is the way I know many people favour.

    I suspect the algae is being caused by inconsistent lighting hours, excess light from external sources & nutrient deficiency. Not dosing the ferts regularly & in sufficient quantities will lead to algae problems many more times than not having enough ferts. If the plants are suffereing any deficency they cannot outcompete the algae for the available nutrients. I know that sounds weird but trust me, it's right.

    Get the lights on a timer. Block out as much external light as you can. Start dosing ferts regularly along with weekly water changes. Start using Excel as a spot or whole tank treatment or add a couple of SAE & see if they get rid of it for you.

    I hope that helps. Good luck. BBA can be a real pain to get rid of.
  10. Nate McFin Well Known Member Member

    BBA= low or inconsistant Co2. (which also makes nutter right about the lighting because plants will only use Co2 consitantly with consistant light) I would get a timer for the lights and start DIY Co2.
    Luckily BBA is slow growing which makes it less painful than cyano and others. You should have a nitrate reading as plants require nitrates to live. I would agree that you should start dosing ferts as well. I agree with Nutters advice on spot treating but I dont normally leave the filter off for more than say 10 minutes or so. It is ok to double dose but be careful with Excel as it can kill fish if not moderated. The tank will need a big clean up before spot treating though. The plants you show may not be treatable with spot treating. Remove the bad leaves that are covered before beginning the spotting.
    Hydrogen peroxide can be used effectively as well.

    Another option would be removal of the plants one at a time over the course of a week or two. Clean as much as possible and treat with a plant dip in bleach water. 1 part bleach 19 parts water. Rinse the plants very well before putting back in the tank you do not want bleach in there!

    Keep on top of it over the next several weeks. BBA as mentioned is tough but doable with persistance and making sure the plants have what they need to outcompete the algae for nutrients.
  11. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    There you go. Nate has filled in the blanks on the spot treatment & given you a few other good tips as well. Armed with that info you should be able to slowly get rid of the BBA little by little.

    One thing I will mention about the removal & bleach dip of plants is that the algae that you don't manage to remove manually will die & decompose inside the tank. The rotting material can cause an ammonia spike so you should monitor the parameters carefully while your doing this. You may need to do extra water changes to help combat any increase in ammonia within the tank. I think the rotting material is why Nate has suggested to do one plant at a time & do it all slowly rather than do the whole lot in one go.
  12. frogster221 Valued Member Member

    im nervous to add fish because recently i added a pleco and a few ghost shrimp all of which have died. and im nervous to add any chemicals especially if they could possibly kill any fish because im having some trouble with them right now. ill change the light and maybe remove the plants but im not going to cut the leaves for fear that they wont grow back. and im also only 17 i dont have much money to spend on the tanks for a diy co2. sorry to be difficult im just nervous.
  13. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    DIY co2 is about as cheap as it gets. All you need is a 2lt coke bottle, a couple of meters of airline, some yeast & some sugar. Should cost you under $10. 1 cup of sugar & 1/2tsp of yeast will run your co2 generator for about 2-3weeks. Cheap as chips. (maybe cheaper):) Don't be afraid to trim off leaves. So long as you don't remove all of the leaves from a plant, new ones will grow back. It just takes a little time.

    It's good that your nervous about adding any chemicals. Usually they are no good in an aquarium. The Flourish Excel that Nate & myself have recommended is not an algaecide chemical though, it is actually a liquid form of co2 fertilisation. It doesn't contain mineral nutrients like regular Flourish Comprehensive, but is just a carbon source. Not only will it help kill off your algae, it will actually help your plants grow better.

    So long as you are carefull about how much Excel you dose, none of the advice given by Nate or myslef will harm your fish or plants. Just follow the instruction carefully & pay close attention to what's going on in your tank & all will be fine. If you have any extra questions or are not 100% certain on how to do any of the things we mentioned, I, & I'm sure Nate, will be more than happy to walk you through it step by step.

    Good luck in the battle regardless of what you choose to do.
  14. frogster221 Valued Member Member

    thank you so much it helped alot. it hasnt gone away yet but it has definitly stop spreading
  15. Nate McFin Well Known Member Member

    Great news frogster and thanks for the follow up!
  16. Nutter Fishlore VIP Member

    Good stuff. Glad our advice is actually working for you.
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