I can not get this under control and need help.
What type of lighting do you have? I am asumeing you have some live plants. If so, what kind? If you have a semi-agressive set up I have heard that golden and tiger barbs will eat it clean.
I have just regular aquarium bulbs that I got at Walmart. I do not have any live plants yet. I did not want them covered with this algea. I have African Cichlids.
Usually black hair/ blach brush algae (BBA)is introduced by plants from a petstore that has the problem, it is possible that it came in with a fish. It is more common in a planted tank though. Did you QT the fish before adding them to the aquarium? How long has this been going on , and is this a newer set up? (please don't take the ??'s the wrong way, just trying to figure it out and learn myself).Are you sure you have ID'ed it correctly as BBA ,or is it brown algae or Diatoms? Anyway IME I have only had BBA once, I brought it in on some amazon swords. I removed the leaves but it kept spreading. I eventually removed the entire plant and tossed it. I improved the water conditions and lighting for a planted tank (this was my first attemt with higher light needing plants)The BBA went away. I read some old threads in different boards I came across in the past. In the threads the most consistant remedy was intro of some sort of Barb's, Originally I thought it was only Golden and possibly tiger barbs, but after reveiwing them Rosy and almost any barb seems to love to eat it. It is kind of a treat with them. I know you have African's and depending on which they are usually kept in 8.0pH +, I have seen African tanks with barbs in them before. I would wager if you QT them and slowly raise pH to = the cichlid tank they will do fine. It is reccomended that they be kept in groups of 3 or more, 6 or more is ideal. If you have the room in the tank that may be a possibility. Or, get them and keep them in a min. 20L and use them as a clean up crew. The only other method that has worked for some people is a total tank tear down and sterilized with bleach solution, IMO a major PITA. I would go with the Barbs for a clean-up crew if you have adequate space (they get up to 3" each). Most barbs are very pretty colored but are catagorized as semi-aggressive. They should be OK with the Africans, also most semi to aggresive. The downfall of barbs is they nip fins but I don't think they will mess with an African cichlid, I wouldn't.
It is tough to grow plants in a rift lake setup. Not impossible but a little different. 2 reasons High pH and KH and Africans tend to snack on the plants. Java ferns and Anubias seem to work well. Also Vallisenara. If they don't eat them they will try at it. It is reccomended to anchor the Java ferns well or put rocks around the base of the anubias. These plants seem to be somewhat undesirable to eat because of the texture of the foliage. They will "relocate" them if not anchored well. George Reclos a highly reguarded aquarist specializing in African Rift Lake Cichlids wrote a few articles on the subject. He has a very elaborate (and expensive) system. I am not sure I would do CO2 injection as he does with a fully automatic CO2 system. I would be concerned about the pH changes, But he uses Flourish excel also. Its a great product but gets expensive after a while, especialy in a larger rift tank. It gives aquatic plants a supplement for CO2 they need to thrive without altering pH. Sometimes its best to plan ahead with plants before adding Africans. Plant the tank first and let the plants establish and thrive, then slowly buffer up the pH to the needed level depending on which lake they are from. Let it stabilize then add fish. It still can be planted after but the plants stand a better chance of surviving.
I have had the tank for about a year and just over the past few months the algea has started. I guess it is blach hair. Looks like black hair to me when the current moves it. Never QT'd a fish before. Have had tanks off and on for years without this problem. This is the first tank that I have had without live plants.
OK more than likely thats how it got there. I never did a QT tank either until recently. I had no problems until I started buying from a particular LFS. All I would do is acclimate the fish by taking it out of the bag, putting it in a bucket and adding water from the aquarium it was going into slowly at 5 min. intervals. I then poured the bucket thru a net and released the fish in the tank. Well I learned my lesson. At least you are lucky with just algae, but it is difficult to get rid of. I still like the idea of adding a few Barb's. "True" Siamese Algae Eaters (SAE) will eats it also. They are sometimes sold as flying foxes. The problem is they are sometimes mislabeled in LFS's and are chinese algae eaters that are similar (sometimes hard to tell apart), they aren't as efficient as true SAE and become very aggressive when they get larger. Besides barbs are said to be better at black hair algae.If you find another way to remedy BBA please share the info.
Thanks so much for the information and help.
OMG......NEVER put barbs in with african cichlids. The cichlids will attack and kill the barbs. Some barbs can be aggressive and should be kept in tanks by themselves or other barbs. Chinese algae eaters are deffinately NOT the same as flying fox. Flying fox are not aggressive at all but with a log or place to hide they can go into a barb tank......but deffinately NOT in with african cichlids. Why would anyone want to stress out their fish just to get rid of algae. Barbs and flying fox certainly do not take the same tank condition or requirements as cichlids.
I had this type of algae in a 66 gallon barb tank...they may have picked at it.....but they certainly didn't clean it up. What finally worked was when we moved the barbs into another tank and made the tank with the algae problem into a discus tank....the temp of the water was raised to 86F and evenually the algae died out, but it did take time.
Please do some research before you add any new fish to your tank. Its important to know what types of fish are compatable. Go to the library they usually have many books that will discribe the fishes needs and compatabilies. Magazines might also help you. Or search the net for the info.
Correction Sorry Dina,----Good catch Sierra- I confused the issue. I remember this subject coming up in a discussion a while back. I confused the end results though. Barbs are sometimes used in a Rift Cichlid tank as a "target" fish. (That whole subject is another issue all together.)Some fishkeepers said that they never had a problem with aggression between the 2. Others reported that the Barbs where the aggresors. Then some said that the cichlids killed the barbs. Anyway, In "most" cases barbs are highly reccomended for BBA removal. Some aquarists say they cultivate BBA to feed to the barbs. In my experience with algae eaters (allthough barbs aren't classified as algae eaters) they will eat the algae unless "spoiled" with wafers or supplements. Of course, not all fish stick to their "rule of thumb" profile. More often than not people that used barbs for BBA had great results. Barbs just have similar barbels as the SAE and a few other BBA eaters that allow it eat that type of algae. I confused the 2 issues of Barbs eating BBA and Barbs being kept with Africans. The water parameters are different, as I did mention. However, if the barbs are slowly aclimated to the higher pH they should be OK. It is still not unreasonable to keep them as a "cleanup crew". They could be kept in an adequate sized tank and the cichlids could be seperated by a divider or just removed until the Barbs did their task. I guess with Barbs, Discus or tank sterilization BBA is a pain in the arse.----- Again Dina I appoligize if you purchased some barbs.
The only way you'll get rid of this is to literally scrub it away. Be diligent about this. If it's on ornaments, scrub and bleach (rinse well, air/sun dry).
Keep up a cleaning regiment and you'll keep it in check. You may not ever be totally rid of it, but you can keep it in check.
PS - my fish rather like "grazing" through the filiments in search of food. Shrimp love it, too.
Hi Skygee.......bleach doesn't remove this d*mn algae either....it just turns it yellow or lime green but still sticks solidly in place. Scrub scrub and scrub some more....LOL! The higher water temp did work!
Bleach DOES help!! But of course you then have to scrub the unsightly white fuzz leftover... LOL!! But it does seem to help kill it in order to rub it off more effectively... and perhaps (hopefully) kills off spores.
Of course it doesn't help if it's growing on tank medium or roots along apparatus inside the tank that isn't so readily removable.
But scrubbing and scraping and taking care that all bits of free floating fluff is scooped up does really keep things in check.
I do allow some to grow in the tank, though. I have rams that like grazing through it, and the clown loaches like to rest in it. Call me an anthropomorphic sentimentalist! ;)
I have heard of the bleach scrub thing working also. A few people that didn't use Barbs or SAE had luck with that method but only as Sky said, every thing removed and scrubed. I guess I prefered the Barb or SAE method because it would be an excuse to get more fish LOL. The elevated heat makes sence also. I guess the plants would suffer the same fate? The pH and hardness factor wouldn't be that bad for an SAE in the african cichlid tank if the pH was lowered below 8.0. This would only work for malawi or victoria lakes only. I think the tanganyikan's need at least 8.2 minimum, probably wouldn't be able to lower that set-up any way with the shells. I was on the line of thinking since plecos are kept with cichlids unharmed, also the non-cichlid cats found in those lakes are acceptible. The cichlids don't seem to bother them. At least if the tank is set up with compatible cichlids in correct #. If the cichlids are still on the smaller side it may be OK. I will post in a few cichlid forums to see what they think. The only problem with raising temp. is , at least I would, Remove the fish. I do know that they get quite aggressive in water above 82 degrees. I think 86 would stress them if not just tick'em off.