Re: "floating on hellish spores"
>From: schmaus at drmail_dr.att.com (SchmausJ)
>Date: Fri, 17 Nov 1995 08:35:48 -0700
>Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V1 #75
> I've had the same problem Brian talked about. I couldn't get the
> stuff off the leaves, though, since it was tenacious as hell and
> was even hard to get off the glass. Not to mention rocks, wood,
> etc. I wound up using a steel brush on the decorations, and lots of
> scrubbing on the glass.
> But, the stuff came from somewhere -- from the devil's own garden,
> I suppose -- and it's sure to come back, floating on some hellish
> spore to plague even the most antiseptic tank in the future.
> Now it's happening again. I've got 6 baby SAE (man, I HOPE that's
> what they are....) that I'm hoping will ward off an incipient bloom
> of the stuff. I'll stop feeding the fish for a few days and hope
> they get hungry enough (gotta be damned hungry to eat that stuff,
> I suppose) to at least control the stuff.
> I am starting to think a strategy is to give the plants enough
> nutrients and CO2 to keep ahead of the algae, and keep your SAEs
> hungry enough to take care of the rest!
To J. Schmaus:
This notion that hair algae comes in on spores has not been substantiated
in my experience. Ever since I got rid of it about 20 years ago with the
bleach treatment, I have had almost no problems. I got some once from some
soil, but I am pretty sure it came from surface soil that got enough light
to support the alga. It didn't grow very well under water, and it was no
problem to eliminate. Now, I scrape off the top half inch of soil before
I collect any. I got some once from some rain water. Apparently some can
grow in the eavestrough of my house. That wasn't a bad form either, and
the Ramshorn snails ate it all up. All the really bad forms, such as
Oedogonium, Cladophora, Rhizoclonium, and the red algae varieties have
never shown up again, and once I had them all. You can't get rid of green
water algae, bluegreen algae (Cyanobacteria), or green spot algae with the
bleach treatment. I use Daphnia to keep the water clear, and snails take
care of the other forms. The bad forms of hair algae seem to be uniquely
sensitive to the bleach treatment, and they don't have spores that float in
Most of the time hair algae comes attached to the plant you purchased. it
can also come in as some floating fragments in the water that comes with
fish from the pet store. It may come in attached to the shells of snails.
There are many stories about how a particular form of hair algae suddenly
showed up in somebody's tank that probably give rise to the belief that it
came in on spores. Actually, it was probably there all the time in
vegetative form, but there wasn't enough of it to be noticed until it
Just try setting up a hair algae-free tank. Give a few plants the two or
three minute 5% bleach treatment, and set them up in the tank with topsoil,
snails and Daphnia. Once you have a 'haven' set up, you will want to
bleach more of your plants and set them up free of hair algae. With snails
to control soft attached algae and Daphnia to control green water, you will
be able to give all the nutrients, light and CO2 you want, and you won't
have to worry about hair algae taking over. You should see growth rates
not possible in a hair algae-infested tank.
I have five 15 gallon tanks free of hair algae at school, and a 55 and a 75
at home, also free. Last summer I got some plants in New York City that
were heavily coated with black beard algae. They got the bleach treatment,
and are fine, now, with no sign of any algae. Every year I bring home
plants covered with various types of bad hair algae, and the bleach
treatment has always got rid of it forever. Without hair algae, you can
really pour on the nutrients, light, and CO2, and see what your plants are
capable of doing!
Paul Krombholz Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS 39174