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Black Hair on plants
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.08.28(Thu)13:11    Post subject: Black Hair on plants Reply with quote

About a week ago I decided to finally listen to you guys and change my lighting to a flourecent hood. (Glad I did it) Now I am noticing weird dark hair that is growing on the edge of my plants. I can't tell what color it is exactly but it looks black. I have about 3.65 wpg 25g tanks, 5KH, 7.2 pH, a CO2 Injector, and I do weekly changes and add plant fertilizer to the tank. Is this hair harmful? Is it algae?
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Type-R
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.28(Thu)14:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey mlody, glad to hear you are pleased with your new fluorescents!

This sounds like common or aquagarden Wink black brush algae.
This is actually a type of red algae but as you rightly say it often appears to be black. It usually grows on the edges of slower growing plants such as anubias and also on tank equipment.
The bad news is that it is a real pain to remove as it really gets a good grip on your plants. If there aren't too many leaves effected it is best to remove the effected leaves completely.
The Siamese algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis) will eat this type of algae but it is usually quite hard to find the true species (other similar fish like flying foxes will not eat it).
The other thing you can do if it over-runs your plants is to give them a bleach dip. Mix up a 19 parts water to 1 part bleach solution and give the plants a soak in it for 3 minutes (2 minutes for stem plants). Then give them a very thorough rinsing in clean water to clear all the bleach. This will kill the algae and you may also lose a few leaves off the plants but these should soon grow back.

As you probably know the best way to keep algae at bay is to ensure your plants are growing better than it is (the major challenge with planted tanks!).
Make sure you are not using too long a lighting period, 14 hours is usually considered a maximum and 10-12 hours may be quite adequate.
Are your plants growing well? Do they really bubble and pearl? I would expect them to with your lighting, CO2 and nutrient additions. The other major factor in controlling algae is minimising Phosphate in the tank. Ensure your fertilisers do not contain any phosphates and don't overfeed!

Another thing you can try to combat the algae is to introduce some hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) into the tank. This plant quickly uses up nutrients in the water column and also releases chemicals which are believed to inhibit algae growth! Very Happy

Hope this info helps you out, good luck with the aquascaping!
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anonapersona
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: 2003.08.28(Thu)16:21    Post subject: Long or short? Reply with quote

If it is long and hairy, like a man's underarm or leg hair, it might be related to excess phosphates. I OD'd on phosphates at first and got a nice burst of it after a long absence from my tank.

I know that the rosy barb eats the black hair algae with relish, but they nibble on so many other things I don't recommend them for long term residents! (Saw Rosy the Barbarian eating my Java Fern yesterday, it's all rhizome and no leaves)
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.08.28(Thu)22:58    Post subject: hmm... Reply with quote

It looks like I caught it just before the outbreak (luckily). The big problem is that a lot of the leaves if not all of them have it on certain plants while others have very little or none.

My plants are doing marvelous, the red ludwiga is growing about a centimeter a day, and my other plants are doing great too. The plants are not showing bubbles by their leaves, which I think is suprising. I do not have a mix of gravel with anything, just plain gravel.

I have two common plecos in the tank (2inch long and the other is 3 inches), 2 columbian sharks ( both 3 inches long), and 2 kuhli loaches. I also have tiger barbs and a pair of mollies in the tank.

Does the store alge controller help at all? I also like the idea of the SAE since I have to get rid of my plecos or sharks soon ( getting too big for the tank), is there anyway to tell the SAE and the Flying fox apart?
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revengeishere
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Joined: 23 Jul 2003

PostPosted: 2003.08.29(Fri)0:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is quite surprising that your plants aren't bubbling. I'm runnig a low tech tank(just low-moderate light, no fetilizer, no co2) ubt my baby tears and elodea are bubbling, but not as much as when I used to add co2. And only in the afternoon. My guess was I didn't have enought plants(it was lightly planted. But boguht more plants 2 days ago, and I still have yet to see. Also, now, I'm using 80 watts for a 75. I dunno wether to replace the other ones yet, cos all I got was green algae. Now, I'll try doing it on 80 watts.

Anyway, I think I'm fortunate to get the true SAE, they are awesome at clearing those black beard algae! They used to grow all over my tank,but now, its minimal!
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PharCyde
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Queensland

PostPosted: 2003.08.29(Fri)6:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

How is the CO2 being injected? ARe you using an airstone?

In regards to the algae, research thoroughly the Siamese Algae Eater and purchase one (or three). Rosy Barbs may also help, but I prefer an algae eater more over a normal fish.

Why are you adding Phosphates? This is a good reason for algae outbreaks, but I'm not sure you would want to add a lot of phosphate to your aquarium... are you adding all the essential micronutrients as well so the plants aren't starved of an essential nutrient (sometimes plants can't use all the nutrients if they lack one).

If you get the chance, get some water sprite. THis plant will seriously drain your tank of nutrients, which may be beneficial in ridding of the nutrient problem thus starving the algae more than the plants (plants can store nutrients more than algae)

The hair algae isn't harmful, it is annoying though.

On another note, 2 common plecos will seriously outgrow a 25 gallon tank, and aren't algae eaters.
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Type-R
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

PostPosted: 2003.08.29(Fri)7:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

mlody,
I'm not sure where PharCyde got the idea you are adding Phosphates to the tank. Are you adding phosphates or not? If so I would stop straight away.
The reason your plants are not bubbling is because your CO2 level is not high enough, if you think your plants are doing well now just wait till you get the CO2 right! You need to increase the injection rate or use a reactor to get your pH down to 6.9 or 7.0, no lower than 6.9 though. A pH of 7.0 will give you about 15ppm of CO2, at the moment you have less than 10ppm which is not really any use with your lighting level.

As regard the fish situation I would get rid of the common pleco's and the sharks as both will be far too big for the tank in no time. I would recommend you get a bristlenose plec and a SAE or 5 otocinclus and a SAE.
There are a few distinguishing points to look for on a true SAE.
A SAE will have:
A black stripe along the body which extends well into the tail fin.
1 set of barbles which may be tucked against the skin when resting.
Clear or slightly milky coloured fins, there should be no red or yellow in any of it's fins and no white tips on the fins.
The top of the fish is a brownish colour but the scales are edged in black giving it a reticulated look, sort of like a chequer barb.

Some of the closely related species exhibit one or more of the above characteristics but only the true SAE has them all as described.

This http://www.aquahobby.com/gallery/img/sae2.jpg is a real SAE.

Good luck SAE hunting! Very Happy
I've yet to find one in any of my LFS's! Crying or Very sad
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PharCyde
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Queensland

PostPosted: 2003.08.30(Sat)5:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry was reading Anonapersona's experience... (in relation to Phosphates)
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mlody
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Joined: 25 Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, USA

PostPosted: 2003.09.02(Tue)9:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the delayed response. I was using the Chemical PlantGro to supply my plants with nutrients after my weekly water change. Would this affect the growth of the alge? I am noticing that the hair is taking over my plants in a harmful way, by leeching onto it and then the leaves look like they are dying. Is this what hair alge does? On a bit of good news, my amazon sword and my red ludwiga has started to bubble. I am using a store bought CO2 system that I installed about 3 weeks ago. This is the link http://www.petsmart.com/products/product_33004.shtml Is this a good system, or should I not hold my breath?

The hunt continues for a SAE...
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anonapersona
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: 2003.09.02(Tue)12:32    Post subject: Density of plants Reply with quote

How many plants you have will also affect whether you see bubbles. If there are too few plants, the ones you have may be merrily maikin O2 but it can't get high enough a saturation to make visible bubbles.

As for phosphates, that is one of the last things to check, after you have the light, the CO2, the basic nutirents all settled. But, you need to do it by a test, not just guessing. I added too mcuh phosphate when I first got the stuff I used and when the phosphate level was somewhere above 5 ppm (past the top of the chart), I got black hairy algae. It stopped, and/or the rosy barbs ate it.

if you have room for an SAE, they do get large, I'd get it. Rosy the Barbarian has been eating my anubias and the java fern -- so much for them being not edible!
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