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BBA? Beard/Hair Algae
Here I am again, still in a battle with the hairy stuff. My 55 gallon tank is
virtually cleansed of its algae plague. After a bleaching of the anubias, all
was over with the bba (though bleaching did destroy the java fern). I was
getting the brown stuff in there, though to a lesser and lesser extent since
setup and planting. I also have green spot algae, which remains, but is not
My 20 gallon is quite another matter. By the time I realized the stuff wasn't
going away by regular water changes, phosphate control, and stripped the most
heavily laden leaves (as it appeared only on one sword plant at the time), it
had apparently spread. I had added CO2 and additional lighting, along with
more plants, which only worsened the problems, as it seems to thrive in the
well-lit areas. The CO2 does eliminate brush algae, as one of the swords had
a reddish, very short-haired growth on its edges only, and it disappeared.
This other stuff grows to be quite long. I have a 3 inch strand growing from
a ludwigia stem, which is permeated with shorter, bushier patches. It will
attach to any spot on the leaf, on the stems, on the gravel, and find rough
spots on the glass even. It apears both green and black, depending on which
object (or plant) it is on. Or maybe it's two different types? I don't think
there's much of any other type of algae in this tank.
So, in desperation, I ask, has anyone fought this battle and won? I was
advised to toss the plants, bleach, bleach and more bleach in the tank
(obviously with the fish removed). And when the tank is sterile of algae (and
all else), resume operations. This seems a rather drastic step, which I'd
rather not resort to unless absolutely necessary. A few things along the way
have occurred to me:
1. George Booth recommends Simazine. Says this will kill beard algae in a faq
on the Krib's web site. It's an algae controller. I suspect any algae killer
would kill plants as well.
2. I thought of keeping lights off on the tank to see what happens.
Interestingly, but probably not surprising to most of you, the greatest
growth has occurred recently underneath a third light strip placed directly
over the water (with no glass underneath). Unfortunately, plants need light,
as well. I suspect the algae will outlive the plants.
3. Was told that there is a fish remedy out there which will kill this? They
recalled that it was a formaldehyde and malachite green combination. Does
this make sense?
4. House some rosy barbs, which I've read on this list will eat the stuff, in
a separate tank and starve them for a while. Let them loose in the tank and
pray a lot (that they like it).
5. Try SAE's. Some will eat it, I understand, and some won't. Again, let them
loose and pray.
6. Wait for the 2 small mollies in there to mate. They seem to like it, but
can't make a dent in it. If I'm lucky, they'll pass on the taste for it, and
a whole pack of 'em might do the job. Of course, by that time, I probably
won't be able to see into the tank . . . Besides I'm at near-capacity with
neons, cardinals and corys (and one otocinclus who won't touch it, of course).
7. Someone mentioned on list, some mystery cichlid, non-aggressive and rather
shy, who likes nothing better than to eat hairy algae. Locate this fish and
have it shipped?