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Hair algae

Jeff & Denise Dietsch wrote:

>    Karen in one of your articles in Aquarium fish Magazine you mentioned
>that some hair algae outbreaks end as suddenly and unpredictably as they
>appear.  Some people talk of elevated Fe levels, along with increased NO3
>and PO4 levels.  Now I am coming to the end of my 3 hair algae outbreak in
>as many years.  At least I hope it is ending.  Even with this 3rd outbreak
>I have been in agreement with you Karen, I do a lot of things in effort to
>alleviate the problem, then one day it is just gone:)  

Well, sometimes there is some funny editting in the magazines, but I can't
find anywhere that I said that, and I'm not sure I believe it.  I do think
this is sometimes true with green water, but I usually have a pretty good
idea what has brought on a filamentous algae infestation, and what I need
to do to get rid of it.  It _still_ requires patience, but I don't think
they're particularly unpredictable.

>This time around I
>found what appeared to be a similarity or consistency in all three on my
>cases and wanted to see what you guys think.  In all three of my cases the
>outbreak was coincident to a relatively large die-off in plant material.
>Most of the algae was located on old or dyeing growth.  

That can certainly be a contributing problem.  Plants that are dying are
dumping nutrients into the system.

>In the first and
>last cases the dead material was associated with new rather large
>plantings.  So there was a lot of leaves not acclimated to my tanks and
>they were growing new leaves and dropping old ones.

It is very important to keep after these dying leaves and remove them as
soon as they show signs of deterioration.

>  Now also in all three cases I have presented an onslaught of
>algae control measures, none of which should be overlooked as having an
>affect.  The efforts to rid the tank of algae made a better environment for
>the plants and I am sure lead to the final algae free outcome, but the
>majority of the algae seemed to leave the tank with trimmings.  Finally in
>all three cases the algae problem subsided once the water conditions were
>more conducive to the plants so I do not want to ignore that condition. 

All of these issues need to be addressed.  You are correct.

> I
>do however feel that getting to that point takes a little while and may be
>unavoidable in large planting where a large portions of the existing growth
>may die back.  

That is why it is _very_ important to use mostly fast growing species that
you know do well in your water conditions when setting up a new tank.
While this doesn't work for the first time aquatic gardener, you can
completely bypass many of those initial algae problems if you have enough
plants in other tanks that you can plant completely (or almost completely)
from other tanks of your own with the same or similar growing conditions.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association