Is this black/red beard algae? What can I do?

Level99Fishing

Hello all!

There is some very dense brush-like algae growing primarily on one of my rocks shown in the picture below. Is this black/red beard algae? If so will adding in SAE control it's growth? My tank is big enough to accommodate fully frown SAEs and am actually looking for some bigger fish anyways so if they do a good job at controlling algae I will get a couple of them. I also have some very tough green hair algae growing on my rotala macrandra. It isn't the soft tufty kind that comes of easily, The rotala will probably uproot by pulling on the algae.


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This algae is also starting to spread to the tips of my hairgrass shown in the next picture. Is it important to get this under control before it gets out of hand?

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Thanks in advance!
 

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Gregs76

That's definitely bba on your rock. I dealt with a horrific case of bba in an older tank I had, and was never able to pinpont what was causing it, nor was I able to stop it. I was told that it could be everything from flow (or lack of) which I adjusted in every possible way, to lighting, to water chemistry, etc. It covered almost everything in my tank, including the wood, and even the heater, filter outlets and inlets, and thermometer. It mainly affected my slower growing and broad leafed plants, like swords and anubias. The only thing that ever worked for getting rid of it was spot-dosing Excel. There just came a point where it was way too big of a problem in my tank to spot dose Excel, but if it's not taken over your entire tank you could try that? I can't answer your question about the SAE because I have never had one so I don't know if they will eat bba, but my plecos certainly didn't. If it's not overtaking your entire tank, maybe try the spot dose method and see if that works?
 

KinderScout

Looks like BBA to me. Take the rock out (pick the snails of first if you want to keep them!). Dry it. Put a small measure of gluteraldehyde (e.g. Excel or Easy Carbo - no more than a single tank dose) in a small pot . Use a small brush (I use a small make-up brush) to spot treat the BBA. If you want the entire rock clean treat the whole thing. Leave for ten minutes. Rinse with aquarium water and put back. It looks like dragon rock which is quite soft - you could scrub it before putting back but use a stiff plastic brush. Not sure about the algae eater or grass but we have a constant battle with BBA!
 

Jack B Nimble

SAE will eat it but, when the SAE grow up they become very lazy and stop eating it. I use hydrogen peroxide or H202 with a syringe and dose right on it a little squirt. Use 1.5 ml per gallon and no more in tank with the spot treatment while your pumps are turned off and move your hand around moving all the H202 around then let sit one hour then turn pump back on. Do this maybe once a week tied in with your water changes after and it will be gone. It will turn red or brown next day after treatment that's how you know you killed it. Many will say solve the problem but, I have had it and I have high flow etc but some time you just need some H202 spot treat to kill it. During that hour you will see micro bubbles everywhere killing organics on the grass etc its harmless and I do it in my shrimp tanks no issues no deaths just don t use more than 1.5ml per gallon and remember minus your stuff in tank from the 1.5ml per gallon rule so say -15% of you tank for the substrate and rocks etc.
 

Level99Fishing

Thanks for all the advice guys. I will take out the rock then and use excel on it. For the grass I guess I'll just trim the affected tips off.
 

StarGirl

Excel is working on mine. I got a couple small SAE. They are eating it. I had to start small doses of Excel because I have Jungle Vals and will harm them. I'm dosing 3ml in my 55 gallon and it seems to be working without ODing my Vals.
 

Cea22

I introduced 3 SAE in my tank when I had BBA taking over. they got to work as soon as they were in the tank and took care of it in no time. They’re larger now and I still see them scrubbing decor on my tank and haven’t seen any BBA since. They’re fun to watch!
 

oldsalt777

Hello Lev...

Fish won't make a dent in the algae. You can reduce the amount you feed and increase the amount of water you change. This will reduce the nutrients in the water and slow the growth of algae.

Old
 

skar

Bba is invincible.
There is no escape.
 

Level99Fishing

Well here's an update, excel didn't work lol.
So what I did was take the rock out and poor excel over the affected areas. Waited about 30 minutes and gave it a quick rinse and put it back in the aquarium. BBA came out unscathed.

Should I just give the rock a good clean with a scrub and boiling water? Doubt BBA would be able to hold up to that right?
 

angelcraze

Well here's an update, excel didn't work lol.
So what I did was take the rock out and poor excel over the affected areas. Waited about 30 minutes and gave it a quick rinse and put it back in the aquarium. BBA came out unscathed.

Should I just give the rock a good clean with a scrub and boiling water? Doubt BBA would be able to hold up to that right?
I had some on lava rock, it dried to the rock and bet when I add them to water, it will regrow lol! It's such a pain in the butt! It started in my 90g, took over and ruined the tank for about 2 years before it slowly turned back around.

What did I do? Not sure exactly, but a combo of things.
1) Started aging my water change water so it off gases in the reservoir instead of my tank. Fluctuating co2 levels is a big cause for BBA.
2) I already had BN plecos, in fact that's when the BBA took over. I guess as they ate the other algae, BBA took advantage of all the excess nutrients. But I do think as they rasp the driftwood, they dislodged some BBA to be sucked up by the filter. I added some amano shrimp which I heard tackled the stuff, idk if they did, but it dwindled slowly.
3) H2o2 spot dosing. I didn't do this a ton, I had BBA everywhere! But I do think it helped to get rid of the existing BBA.
4) Split photoperiod. Again, don't know if it helps, but my tank is on good health now, so I continue with it.

I don't think you can make it go away without physically removing it or spot dosing, but I do think it's progression slows as you make changes. So eventually, you have far less. My 90g is not BBA free, but I don't see it, I do not do spot dosing or remove it and it's not a problem anymore.

On a side note, I added some dwarf sag from the 90g to my 120 gallon (which never had BBA), now i'm fighting it in my 120g.
 

kallililly1973

SAE will definitely take care of all the BBA but they need to be young 1/2-3/4” long . Speaking from my personal experience dealing with it in my 55 when I first got my finnex 24/7 ... it’s gone now and my SAE are bigger and lazy ones about 3” and the other is about 5”
 

Cea22

If your tank is compatible, try the Siamese algae eaters! I had some drift wood and decor that were carpeted with the stuff and now it’s gone. I changed nothing else and used no chemicals. It’s almost therapeutic watching them rip off the BBA! It hasn’t come back since.
 

Level99Fishing

If your tank is compatible, try the Siamese algae eaters! I had some drift wood and decor that were carpeted with the stuff and now it’s gone. I changed nothing else and used no chemicals. It’s almost therapeutic watching them rip off the BBA! It hasn’t come back since.

My tank can accommodate a few SAEs and I do actually like the look of them. But is it true that they do nothing when they're older? I like fish that swim around a lot rather than those that hide or stay still.

I had some on lava rock, it dried to the rock and bet when I add them to water, it will regrow lol! It's such a pain in the butt! It started in my 90g, took over and ruined the tank for about 2 years before it slowly turned back around.

What did I do? Not sure exactly, but a combo of things.
1) Started aging my water change water so it off gases in the reservoir instead of my tank. Fluctuating co2 levels is a big cause for BBA.

That's interesting. Could you explain to me the benefits of ageing water please? Right now I'm just adding prime to tap water and adding it straight in. My tank is CO2 injected so wouldn't any fluctuations due to tap water be negligible and transitory?
 

kallililly1973

My tank can accommodate a few SAEs and I do actually like the look of them. But is it true that they do nothing when they're older? I like fish that swim around a lot rather than those that hide or stay still.
Once their older and bigger they will become more lax about the BBA but will still be easily found cruising around the tank when food is dropped in. My 2 are a bit timid and they are by far the biggest fish in the tank. But I do catch them sitting at the end of my 55 watching me can't figure out what their plotting. I also have 2 in my 20 long about 1.5-2" and I had a little BBA on an anubis in my 5.5 it was attached to a piece of driftwood so I dropped the entire thing in my 20 and they cleaned it up literally right before my eyes and all my tanks are very well fed. Awesome and beneficial community fish as long as the tank can house them properly. My 2 in my 20 will eventually go to the 55 or maybe bigger ya never know
 

Level99Fishing

I have a 45g that is 90cm long. That's enough for two of them fully grown right?
 

kallililly1973

I have a 45g that is 90cm long. That's enough for two of them fully grown right?
They can potentially get to 6" but they take a bit to get to that size. So I would say your good with adding 2 to your 45. Just be absolutely positive they are true SAE and not flying fox they look pretty similar but doing a search online will show you the minor differences to look for.
 

Level99Fishing

Will flying foxes not eat BBA? My LFS told me they will and they all of them under the name flying fox.
 

kallililly1973

Will flying foxes not eat BBA? My LFS told me they will and they all of them under the name flying fox.
My understanding is they will not. I keep forgetting to mention if the stone is where most of it is then pull the rock run it under some hot hot water and pour some hydrogen perozide in the bucket with it and it will bubble and kill it all refill the bucket a couple times and the H2O2
 

Cea22

I don’t think flying foxes will touch it either, and that they can be on the aggressive side. They do look nearly identical so hopefully you have a store that is experienced enough to tell the difference! The store I purchased my SAE had flying foxes in the same tank which I thought was a recipe for disaster lol.
 

KinderScout

Give the excel some time. The treated BBA will still be there but should be dead (it will lighten in colour a little).
 

KinderScout

it will come back though - it's now an endless battle.
 

Level99Fishing

Yes you're right, it has lightened in colour. It was a very dark purple before now it's pink. But it's still there and doesn't seem like it'll die away.
 

kallililly1973

pull the rock out and dump H2o2 like I said seeing it seems like thsts the main area its on . Manual removal is always the best solution.
 

KinderScout

Yes you're right, it has lightened in colour. It was a very dark purple before now it's pink. But it's still there and doesn't seem like it'll die away.
If it's pink it's dead
 

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