'Hair Algae'

ILuvGinger(7b)October 11, 2005

Right now, in my fresh water tank, there's an outbreak of fungus infection.

There's also a lot of hair algae. I heard tell that hair algae means there's something not right with the water.

Is this true and what problem could it be indicating?

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woeisme(z7b NC)

"Most" algae is present in aquarium's whether it is seen or not. Enablers like too much light,or excess nutrients in the water can trigger a bloom. A little algae is not a bad thing, some veiw it as a healthy system. The simplest thing to start with is reduce the lighting or keep it off for a few days completely. Along with this PWC's of larger quanity and more frequently to dilute any nutrients. The worse thing you can do is add the "Algae-Gone" type chemicals to the water. They have been known to crash bio-filters and kill certain fish. If you want you can remove the decorations (rocks,plants etc.) and scrub them also. In tough cases a bleach solution of 5% bleach to water is supposed to work. If you do that rinse very well and let it dry thoroughly. Maybe soak them in a bucket of water with dechlorinator added before returning them to the tank. www.about.com has descent articles on algae also.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 8:28AM
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After using bleach, it's best to let it airdry and then sun dry. The sun deactivates the properties of chlorine.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 8:31AM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)

American flagfish, aka Florida flagfish, aka Jordanella Floridae, are pretty good at cleaning up hair algae.

Amano shrimp will eat it, as well, as will TRUE siamese algae eaters. Flying foxes and other similar species won't do the job.

Pond keepers have used hydrogen peroxide with good results, but you need to know what you're doing, or you can easily harm or kill your fish with too strong a dose.

For ongoing maintenance, if you add fertilizer for live plants, avoid using anything that contains phosphates.

I have tried turning off my lights for as long as a week at a time without any visible harm to hair algae (other than it kind of gets lighter colored). But there are a lot of different species, and low light treatment may work better for some varieties than for others.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 6:08PM
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It's growing on the live plants! I have shrimp and they don't touch it, neither will my pleco. Just the snails occassionally.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 2:10AM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)

What kind of shrimp? The common ghost or grass shrimp won't touch it, but there are several species that will.

Here is a link that might be useful: Source for shrimp, flagfish, etc.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 12:15PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

What is the KH and pH (GH wouldnt hurt) ? What type of lighting do you have? (how many watts, color temperature if known, this will be printed somewhere near the watts a number usually followed by a K, i.e.-6500K)What is the tank size? Do you use a fertilizer for the plants? If the algae is on the leaves and not big clumps that almost look like small plants themselves it may not be "hair" algae but "fuzz" algae. If this is the case then Oto cats would take care of it. The true SAE or sometimes called a Siamese flying fox is the all around best choice because they eat any algae. Do not confuse them with Chinese Algae eaters, they dont eat much algae and become aggressive. The bad thing is they are similar looking and sometimes mislabeled as SAE. If you deside on them I have a link somewhere for pics and differences between the 2. Otos do a good job also but cant eat BBA. They are particularly good for leaves of plants because they dont cause damage.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 1:15PM
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The shrimp I have look like the first group of shrimp in woe's link. But they also look like less than clear ghosts. I can't really tell the difference.

KH? The ph is very neutral. I dunno about the lighting but will take a look. I know it's not anything new.

29 gallons. No fertilizer, I'm thinking about tossing those algae plants. They have a very unkept growth.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 3:28AM
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When there's a proliferation of hair algae, the only way you'll control it is to get control of it. You need to scrape ornaments and anything in the tank where it's growing on. With the plants, you can gently scrape off the hair algae (only live plants that seem to get hair algae in my tanks are anubis, where the leaves are sturdier and live longer than other softer leaved plants) or you can clip off the leaves that are affected and let the plants energy go to growing new leaves.

More than likely, the hair algae was introduced through the water that came with fish or plants.

Don't count on getting any amount of fish or shrimp that will at this point eliminate the hair algae you have. You first need to get control of it.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 7:50AM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

What kind of plants? If you have a single strip light then it is probably that came with the tank or was part of a kit, then it is a 20W (for that sized tank). I have the same size and when I first started plants in it without proper lighting my Amazon sword got BBA and then some banana plants got it. I tossed them also. The problem is that this is less than 1.5W per gallon and a 29G is also a deep tank. I would suggest improving the lighting (increase wattage to 40W with another lightstrip light or replace the fixture with a compact fluorescent fixture 65w and proper color 6700K is ideal) Good plants for your setup the way it is are Java Ferns/Moss and a few low light anubia's. You can also replace the tube you have now with one from Home Depot, they carry "Phillips" brand and the correct one will be a 24" one marked with "Daylight" or "Daylight Deluxe" it is 6500K and also 20W, cost about $5. Another way to Improve Light intensity is to apply the shiny side of foil behind the bulb over the white "reflector" this can improve intensity 30-60%. Another option is the foil tape sold also at Home Depot in the ductwork isle, next to regular duct tape. It is easy to work with and has the convenience of being backed with adhesive. Makes instalation easier. Also fluorescent lighting in planted aquariums should be replaced every 18 months. Fluorescent bulbs/tubes loose phosphurs and after this amount of time they are not as effective. If you want to save the plants, remove them and rinse them. Then re-root them. You don't need to add fertilizers, however trace elements and a source of carbon or CO2 will improve your chances greatly. I guess thats enough info for now. If you to persue having live plants, I think they are worth it, keep asking ?'s. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 8:10AM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)

Here's a good information page on Siamese algae eaters.


For some reason, the server won't allow this link in the regular link window...?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 1:27PM
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