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Re: Daphne's algae

Daphne wrote:

>I have had a problem with [an alga sp.] for a long time but have never
>determined exactly what it is. Mine is branched, 1/4 to 1/2 long, dark
>green filaments that form a clump.  It sticks to stuff so effectively that
>you can pick up one piece of Flourite that has it attached and three
>other pieces of Flourite may come out with the algae holding them
>together like a necklace.

Daphne, you just described what I think is a nasty species of 
Cladophora.  I have it, too.  It *loves* to attach to Fluorite, but it'll 
attach to other porous objects and also plants (especially if they are slow 
growers or unhealthy).  It will grow free-floating.  If I'm not mistaken, 
Cladophora is one of the algae types that drove Paul Krombholz to develop 
the bleach method in the first place.  I can see why.  It's the most 
stubborn of all filamentous algae I've encountered and I've had around a 
dozen distinct types.  It's incredibly adaptive and will grow in any 
condition.  IME, one cannot wipe it out with nutrient management, though it 
seems to thrive best when plenty of iron is around.

The only potential way I know of to wipe it out totally is to go with the 
full bleach treatment -- I.e., tear the tank down, sterilize the tank and 
equipment (bleach it for a few days), sterilize the substrate (boil it in a 
crock pot for a day), quarantine the fish to let them poop out any eaten 
algae, set the tank back up and then dip the plants and replant them.  Pray.

But one can learn to live with it, too.  Once you're sure CO2 and other 
nutrients are in line, pick out as much of the algae as possible and then 
keep at it from time to time when you're doing maintenance.  Be sure to 
look in the shaded areas and under low growing, broad-leaf plants that 
aren't normally too visible.  It will retreat to these areas and grow while 
you're not looking.  When you're picking at it, try not to let bits get 
away.  They will float off and possibly colonize other areas of the 
tank.  If necessary, use H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) to clean off porous 
ornaments and use either bleach or H2O2 to clean off harder stuff.  Be sure 
to scrub (during treatment and after) and rinse the stuff thoroughly before 
returning it to the tank.  One last thing:  The H2O2 "spot" treatment will 
have some effect for particularly stubborn areas of infection, but it can 
also put your livestock and plants at risk.  Use with extreme caution.

Good luck!
Chuck Huffine
Knoxville, Tennessee