Re:getting rid of hair algae

>From: Bryan W Vought <bwvought at mailbox_syr.edu>
>Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1995 15:23:23 -0500 (EST)
>Subject: Can't get rid of the Algae!! Ahhh!
>Please help me figure out why I can't get rid of my Algae.  I set my
>planted aquarium up in March.  Initially, things were going very well, a
>lot of lush plant growth, and little or no algae.  Slowly conditions have
>worsened to the point where I am scraping algae of my plant's leaves every
>week for hours.  Here is the setup:

......description of setup deleted.....

>I used to inject with CO2 from a yeast fermentation system, but I
>discontinued it because my yeast was dying so quickly.  I have tried
>varying the light from as short as 8 hours and as long as 16 hours.
>Nothing has helped.
>My nitrates and phosphates have routinely tested at next to nothing.  I
>suppose this is because the algae is using all of it.  The tap water has
>no nitrates or phosphates in it.
>I would like to tear down the tank, making sure to clean the gravel
>well.  Then I want to put it back together.  I am looking for suggestions
>that will reduce the amount of algae in the tank when it is back together.
>Please help!
>Bryan Vought
It sounds as though you are unhappy enough to be willing to do the bleach
treatment.  It is a bit of work, but it gets rid of the hair algae once and
for all.  Plants are treated in 5% liquid bleach with stirring for 2 to 4
minutes (two minutes for thin-stemmed delicate plants, three or four
minutes for more robust species).  The tank is emptied of gravel, filled up
with tap water, and about 1 cup of bleach is added per five gallons.  A
tightly fitting cover is added to allow the bleach fumes to get at stuff
above the water level, and the tank is allowed to sit for around two days.
The gravel and filters can also be treated with bleach or the gravel can be

Before you do any of this, you must set up a tank to receive the plants
right after they are given the bleach treatment.  I would recommend setting
up this tank several weeks earlier with trays of ordinary topsoil, snails
that are free of hair algae, and Daphnia.  Once the snails and Daphnia are
well established, you can put a light on this tank and put in the plants
that were just treated and rinsed.  Since many plants go downhill rapidly
if they are given the bleach treatment and then left in a pan in the dark
or otherwise neglected, it is necessary to have a place with good growing
conditions ready for them.  After they have recovered and started to grow,
they can be transplanted back to your original tank.

If you do not have another tank to put your bleached plants in, you could
try a number of gallon pickle jars with some soil, Daphnia and snails.

Once you have got your plants and tank free of hair algae, the precautions
necessary to keep it out are rather simple.  New plants have to be
bleached, and new fish should be put in a bare tank free of hair algae for
a few days before being transferred to your plant tank.

I got rid of hair algae a long time ago, and every day I read the postings
of people's hair algae woes, I am glad I did it.  Without hair algae, you
don't have to overcrowd your plants or stint on nutrients and light

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174