Thread algae (Pithophora)

Lets talk about thread algae. In Baensch V2, one type is called green bunch
algae. Booth called it staghorn algae. It is the one that forms irregularly
branched threads from an attachment point. I can be seen attached to
inanimate objects like powerheads, sometimes plant leaves. It forms coarse
bunches or small clusters of tangled filaments, an inch or so in diameter.
It is called Pithophora, a green alga, also known as horse hair algae. It
seems to flourish with excess micro nutrients like iron. Recently, it
started to reproduce extensively in my 70 g tank after adding a trace
element solution, after many months of deprivation.  Baench says that the
SAE will control its spreading, but not for me. (the tank also has Endlers
livebearers and E. kalopterus) When the algae is in small quantities, it is
feasible to simply remove the small bunches when they become visiable and
annoying. I currently have quite a bit of it attached to plant leaves and I
am tired of pulling it out.

A few water changes and reduced feeding will bring the nutrient levels back
to normal (and eventually starve the algae), but I am now curious what may
eat the stuff.

What is the wisdom and experiences of the readers of this list? I seem to
remember using some species of barbs many years ago to munch on filamentous
algae. Are there fish which like to eat this stuff?


Neil Frank   Editor of "The Aquatic Gardener"  Aquatic Gardeners Association
 Visit the AGA home page at <http://blake.oit.unc.edu/~fish/aga/>