Need Advice On Removing Algae

Sappy

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I have a planted tank with an algae problem, Ive had the tank for months now and it went through its different phases (bacteria bloom/diatoms/etc) but I have been stuck with this black algae for awhile now and I can't seem to get rid of it. I'm not sure if its BBA or staghorn algae, or maybe both?

I have tried normal dosing with excel, spot treating with excel and spot treating with hydrogen peroxide, but nothing really works. Spot treating with Excel does seem to turn the algae orange, but its usually just a small patch and comes back quickly. I actually tried overdosing excel while spot treating because I heard it doesn't really harm fish, unfortunately that killed my mystery snail (rip jerry) and made some of my plants melt.

So where should I go from here? I know there are chemicals like API Algaefix designed for this, but Ive read that they can kill fish so I was skeptical. Is there a safer brand to use? Any advice is welcome because I am clueless here.

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Heron

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Have you considered adding some form of algae eating fish? Snails are ok but they don't eat much so you need quite a few and then they multiply and soon get out of hand. Dwarf suckermouth catfish are ok for a small tank , for a larger tank consider some form of plec or garra . One of the best ways to prevent problem algae is to allow algae to grow where it is not a Problem ( on the rear of the tank or on ornaments). This will use up the nutrients that feed the problem algae. Just let it grow where you want it and remove it by hand where you don't until it sorts itself out.
 
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Sappy

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I do have 2 otocinlus catifsh in the tank, which is 20 gallon btw. But they don't eat the black algae, only the soft green algae that's usually on the glass, same with the mystery snails. The problem with this black algae is that it really only grows on the edges of leaves where it is really noticeable.
 

Heron

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I have tried various products that supposedly treat algae, most say they don't harm fish but my fish have always suffered problems afterwards. And they are fatal to snails.None have completely removed algae and it just returns after treatment is finished. Also it is best to avoid adding chemicals to your water if possible. Just as most medications for people have side effects most treatments for aquariums have unwanted side effects. Are your plants rooted into the substrate. Or are they in pots that can be removed?. If you can remove the plants you can take them out, wipe the leaves and dip them for a few minutes in water containg potasium permanganate. Then rinse very well before returning to the tank. This works on some types of algae but not all. I always do this to new plants to prevent importing algae snails or parasites from the store. I can't think of anything else you can do but hopefully someone else here on fishlore can.
 

Elkwatcher

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You need better water circulation, I'm not familiar with your set up but having 2 HOB filters either end or a larger HOB filter centre will provide it. There appears to be diatris or food on the plants as well which can contribute to the algae. I can see BB algae, green spot and some type of hair algae. The light length could be contributing to the green spot. I think the Excel is melting some of them as well unfortunately. You'll go a long ways with good basic tank maintenance and water changes. Don't over feed. Good luck.
 

TheDojoMojo

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Sappy said:
I do have 2 otocinlus catifsh in the tank, which is 20 gallon btw. But they don't eat the black algae, only the soft green algae that's usually on the glass, same with the mystery snails. The problem with this black algae is that it really only grows on the edges of leaves where it is really noticeable.
Yes otos will not eat BBA they will mostly eat diatoms and softer algae but some of the few fish that will eat BBA are the siamese algae eater and the florida flag fish. However, in a 20 gal you might not be able couldn't keep SAE because they get to about six inches and like to be in schools and they will both get sorta aggressive. So, I have heard that mono shrimp will eat it if that works for you or you could do research on those two fish idk too much about them. Lastly, to prevent more growth try and balance out the different amounts of micro and macro nutrients along with the lighting of the tank. Try to use chemicals as little as possible but if you would like to manually remove it as it grows on decor or plants and such simply remove the the decor and spray it with some hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 5 mins or so, this will kill it off, rinse it and put it back into the water, and it will die and the fish will eat it.
 

PokeTileCraft101

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In agreement with TheDojoMojo I would mess with the lighting and nutrients. But with every change wait about a week or two to see if it works as algae won't disappear in a day or two. Be patient is the most important part
 

!poogs!

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Lighting and excess nutrients.

And,

Are you doing weekly fifty percent water changes weekly and doing the the first big of excel the next day?
 
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Sappy

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Elkwatcher said:
You need better water circulation
I do have a powerhead I can use, Ill try it out.
TheDojoMojo said:
Lastly, to prevent more growth try and balance out the different amounts of micro and macro nutrients along with the lighting of the tank. Try to use chemicals as little as possible but if you would like to manually remove it as it grows on decor or plants and such simply remove the the decor and spray it with some hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 5 mins or so, this will kill it off, rinse it and put it back into the water, and it will die and the fish will eat it.
How exactly do I balance the nutrients? I usually dose flourish once a week, I also put the flourish tabs in a few weeks ago, should I just cut that off for awhile? Also, I moved some plants around not too long ago and sprayed them with hydrogen peroxide, but its didnt seem to help. Ive also been running the lights less recently because of how hot my house has been.
 
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Sappy

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!poogs! said:
Lighting and excess nutrients.

And,

Are you doing weekly fifty percent water changes weekly and doing the the first big of excel the next day?
I normally due about 25% water change per week. Was dosing excel every day.
 

TheDojoMojo

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Sappy said:
I do have a powerhead I can use, Ill try it out.

How exactly do I balance the nutrients? I usually dose flourish once a week, I also put the flourish tabs in a few weeks ago, should I just cut that off for awhile? Also, I moved some plants around not too long ago and sprayed them with hydrogen peroxide, but its didnt seem to help. Ive also been running the lights less recently because of how hot my house has been.
Different kinds of algae in a planted tank are usually caused by different imbalances between the nutrients and the lighting. This is where it gets difficult because we can't necessarily measure every small nutrients in the water. Many people would say that different deficiencies or excess cause different kinds of algae so you could look up what people say on the internet about BBA or the other kind you are struggling with. I have heard algae such as green spot are caused from a phosphate deficiency but it is often different for different tanks, waters, and amount of plants in the tank. So, the best thing to do is to try and dose different kinds of ferts in different ways while keeping you're lighting at a constant and then wait a little bit to see if the changes you made seem to help with the growth or do the opposite. I find it easiest to get as close to this "balance" as you can and then using organisms that eat the algae or manual maintenance to close the gap. Also like someone said previously, you can't expect the algae to go away immediately. It is going to be a long learning process involving trial and error. Sadly I can't tell you exact steps to prevent the growth because everyones tank is different but I can tell you what you can do to try and figure it out.
 

TheDojoMojo

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Also a common mistake people may make is severely cutting back on fertilizers when they get an algae problem but this can make problems worse even and will probably starve your plants in the process so don't stop fertilizing just try and figure out what works. Another thing to keep in mind is that algae isn't necessarily bad for a tank. It can even have a lot of the same positive effects that live plants have. That being said, we hate the look of it in our tanks which is why we wage the daily war against it
 
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Sappy

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Thanks for the info, ill experiment and see what works. I put in the powerhead and started trimming a bunch of leaves that were completely covered. Personally I kinda like green algae, its just the black stuff that bothers me.
 

fjh

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I also have blackbeard algae in my tank. I'm going to use hydrogen peroxide to spot treat this weekend. It breaks down into water and oxygen after a few minutes, so just make you turn your filter off. Ill tell you how it goes.
 

camste

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I used excel to spot treat the blackbeard algae, and it helped quite a lot. I only used half of the excel amount they recommended for my size of tank, and diluted it with 50% water before squirting it onto the algae using a syringe. I was worried about it harming the plants like Elkwater mentioned if I didn't dilute it.
 

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