Re: Thread algae

> From: nfrank at nando_net (Neil Frank)
> Date: Sat, 21 Oct 95 08:39:35 EDT
> Subject: 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?

Hi Neil,

If this is the same stuff that I had (and it sounds like it), I had 
absolutely no luck getting rid of it through water changes and reduced 
feedings.  I am still mystified as to why it appeared, and why it all 
died off.  I tried all sorts of lighting changes, removed CO2, etc, all 
to no avail.

As an aside, my red tailed shark used to eat this stuff, though not 
nearly enough to even help in a 75 gallon that was simply infested.  It 
was real fun to watch the shark tugging and pulling the algae off leaves 
and eating it.  It became quite fat!

One day, the algae went away on its own.  It hasn't been back since.


Peter Konshak
pkonshak at fiat_gslis.utexas.edu