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RE: NFC: RE: pond help needed


Here is a long list of e-mails that I've collected on ALAGE Control

Some of them work better than others

The best method that I've found and use myself for controlling Hair Algae is

1.	to remove all fish and plants 
2.	mix bleach in the ratio of 1 part bleach to 19 parts water
3.	manually remove majority of Hair Algae
4.	soak plants for 2 to 3 minutes in bleach mixture or until Hair Algae
turns a dull yellow green
5.	wash plants in clean water and then soak for several hours in clean
6.	pour bleach in pond at rate of one gallon of bleach to 30 gallons of
7.	let pound soak for 24 hours stir sub strata every 2 to 5 hours
8.	drain pond at end of 24 hours making sure to clean sub strata well
9.	fill pond with clean water stirring sub strata to clean it and soak
for several hours
10.	fill pond with clean water
11.	replace plants and let set for a day or two
12.	replace fish
after reading the following you might want to add several of the fish that
eat Hair Algae



Date:	Sun, 7 Mar 1999 04:25:07 -0500 (EST)
From:	ac554 at freenet_carleton.ca <mailto:ac554 at freenet_carleton.ca>  (David
Subject:	Re: Ameca splendins

Chris Wells asked....
	>>Has anyone seen this fish lately?  The common name was something
like >butterfly godigon.  >I read at the Krib site that this fish will eat
about any type of algae >- - what about plants??  >I don't want to make
salad of them!  >

Ameca splendens, the Butterfly Goodeid, page 703 of Baensch Aquarium Atlas
II.  They do not eat black brush or green spot algae, but they do a decent
job on stringy hair algaes. They can be fed zucchini and flake food. I
haven't noticed them eating any plants yet. Last week at auction three pairs
went for Can$7, $6, and $1 respectively.  I guess nobody was aware of their
algae-eating abilities. They are a very tough fish, but don't let your pH
get much below 6.5.
	>By the way my 120G has 6 ottos, 6 SAEs and ~10 algae shrimp -
nothing >else but a few volunteer snails.  >Any other suggestions?  I was
thinking of some Mollies but my PH is ~6.5 >and the water on the soft side.

I think that you have all of the angles covered.

Dave Whittaker
Gloucester, Ontario Canada
ac554 at FreeNet_Carleton.ca <mailto:ac554 at FreeNet_Carleton.ca> 
Date:	Sun, 7 Mar 1999 10:36:14 +0100 
From:	Ewald Maly <Ewald.Maly at InterServ_at <mailto:Ewald.Maly at InterServ_at>
Subject:	AW: ameca splendens 

I keep 20 ameca splendens in my 1000 liter tank.  I had an invasion of green
hair algae. They ate it up in 3 days.  And -that was new for me- they also
eat black brush algae!!!  They do not touch plants!  I also keep Mollies in
my 300 liter tank at PH 6.5 and KH 3.5 I have them since 1 year, they feel
fine, and have a lot of offspring.

Mag. Ewald Maly
email: ewald.maly at lci_at <mailto:ewald.maly at lci_at> 
http://www.interconnect.at <http://www.interconnect.at> 
From:	Augie Eppler [SMTP:augiee at bellsouth_net]
<mailto:[SMTP:augiee at bellsouth_net]> 
Sent:	Thursday, March 04, 1999 11:28 AM
Subject:	Algae Eaters

A few more easy to find *algae eaters* to consider:
Peckoltia Vittata - Clown Pl*co, stays small, approx. 4". Peaceful.
Farlowella acus - Twig catfish, Can grow up to 6", but it's about as big
around as a pencil lead.  Peaceful.  They're so ugly, they're neat looking.
Otocinclus affinis - Otto, Midget Suckermouth Catfish, Dwarf Suckermouth
Catfish, Etc.  Stays extremely small, less than 2".  Peaceful.  Best kept in
The above three fish are suckermouths, and are good at removing hard dot
green algae from glass and leaves.
Jordonella floridae - American Flag, American Flagfish, Florida Flag, Etc.
Males can grow to approx. 2.5".  Eats hair algae.  Can be feisty at times,
especially during breeding. Native Florida Killifish.  The only fish I've
not been able to keep with Flags, are male Bettas.  For some reason the long
flowing fins drive them bonkers.  Also, if you don't keep them supplied with
algae or algae wafers, they tend to nibble on fine leaved plants like
Cabomba, and Hornwort.
Since adding a couple of Farlowellas and Clown Pl*co's to my tanks, scraping
the glass has been reduced from a weekly chore, to monthly.
As usual, these are my opinions, and YMMV.
Augie Eppler
Green Cove Springs, Fl.
-----Original Message-----
From:	cwells [SMTP:cdwells at concentric_net]
<mailto:[SMTP:cdwells at concentric_net]> 
Sent:	Wednesday, March 03, 1999 4:07 PM
Subject:	Algae
Sterilize mode
If you can move out the fish and plants to temp quarters ~ 1 week +.  Bleach
the tank and ornaments, gravel etc. rinse a lot and use anti chlorine
treatment.  Fill  your tank back up - aim to cycle it.  Meanwhile you can
sterilize the plants using one part bleach to 19 water in a bucket  soak for
2 minutes (some can take more like anubias some like Vals can't take much at
all) afterwards rinse thoroughly with water and anti chlorine.  Put the
plants back in the tank and slowly introduce the fish back in till cycled.
From now on sterilize anything that goes into the tank.  I hear this can
work and if algae does start back up it will be slow.
Starve the algae
Keep the food down because it has phosphates that algae love.  If you can
try live food - black, white worms etc since they do not pollute as much.
If you use frozen thaw first and drain off the juice.  The idea is to keep
the phosphates or some other nutrient in check to keep the algae in check.
Get some good algae eating fish
Find a fish called the Siamese algae eater (SAE) [ not the nasty chinese
algae eater],  Black Mollies, Flag fish, Ottocinclus (sp?) or Ameca
splendins to help eat the algae.
Shade out the Algae.
Using surface plants like duck weed the light will be blocked and the
nutrients will be pulled out of the water.  Your other plants will suffer
but the algae will die back.
Try a product called Algone - http://www.algone.com <http://www.algone.com>
I got a free sample and I'm trying it out.  Don't know what to tell you -
sounds fishy :>}but hey if it works!
For a good reference site on these topics try http://www.thekrib.com
<http://www.thekrib.com>  - great site.
Hope that helps
From:	Wright Huntley <huntley1 at home_com <mailto:huntley1 at home_com> >
Date:	Sunday, February 28, 1999 10:36 AM
Subject:	Re: Snails

	>The most common "algae eater" in fish shops is called "Chinese
Algae >Eater."

There is also a fish known as a "Siamese Algae Eater" that superficially
looks like the CAE but is much much more efficient at actually eating algae.
The hard part comes when you try to find them in the LFS's because nine
times out of ten they are mismarked.  They look somewhat more like Flying
Foxes (Epalzeorynchus), but this doesn't make IDing them any easier.  There
is a link somewhere for pix of each so you can tell the difference, now
where did I put that one..........   :<D  Interestingly enuf. the SAE's
don't have a sucker mouth although it is subterminal.
	>Otocinclus are pretty good at eating some kinds of algae,

Yes, and peaceful and they don't get too large and tolerate cooler temps
which came in handy with my natives.
but, far and >away, the truly best algae-eating fish do *not* have
sucker-shaped >mouths. [That mouth is for clinging to rocks in swift
streams.] The best >are *Jordanella floridae*, aka The American-flag Fish (a
true killy, >BTW),
Aren't they a little on the Nippy side?  At least that has been my
	>Finally, the very best way to control algae is to have lots of live
>plants that soak up the nutrients your fish provide. If a bit gets on >the
glass, just rub it off. Algae eating animals are vastly over-rated, >IMO.
Good husbandry wins, every time.

In big agreement here.  I experimented with some freshwater shrimp (Glass
Shrimp) and they did an awesome job of cleaning up a 55gal tank that was
starting to get some algae growth going. I was shocked how well they did.
One draw back with invertebrate algae eaters (shrimp or snails) is that it
complicates treating for ectoparasites  on the fish, as they tend to be very
sensitive to chemical treatments and the shrimp are darn hard to
catch-planted tank or no........

Brian Perkins
Metroserv Incorporated
Tigard, Oregon
Date:	Mon, 1 Mar 1999 08:28:59 +0200
From:	"MNR. T GENADE" <12860379 at narga_sun.ac.za
<mailto:12860379 at narga_sun.ac.za> >
Subject:	Re: snails in community tanks

Hi all
As for snails eating algae, this is minimal.  You should rather use platies,
mollies, bristlenoses or Otcinulus.  The Ancistrus are the best however.
The bottom line: snails are very usefull and should be used effectively, not
eradicated. If you want a nice peacefull fish that will keep their numbers
down get a few golden barbs or a krib.
Best of luck
From:	Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com
<mailto:Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com>
[SMTP:Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com]
<mailto:[SMTP:Aquatic-Plants-Owner at actwin_com]> 
Sent:	Wednesday, February 10, 1999 11:48 PM
Subject:	Algae - Hair Algae Eaters

hair algae growing too fast.  It's mingling in with the Java moss and is
pretty hard to separate and remove by now.  Any suggestions? 
I found out quite by accident that my gold barbs are GREAT algae destroyers.
They eat it like spaghetti if I 'harvest' it from my other tank and will
clean a tank out in about 24 hours. 
I also found that the algae eaters that I bought won't touch the stuff
unless it is in its baby stage - the little seeds(?) stuck to the side of
the tanks they'll eat but not the long stuff.  These are otoclincus(es).  I
don't know about other algae eaters.
Date:	Wed, 10 Feb 1999 19:58:39 -0800
From:	John Van Rees <revjohn at spiritone_com <mailto:revjohn at spiritone_com>
Subject:	hair algae eaters

I put 4 cherry barbs and a pair of black mollies in my tanks and they took
care of it.

From:	cfonda at sentientconsult_com <mailto:cfonda at sentientconsult_com>
[SMTP:cfonda at sentientconsult_com] <mailto:[SMTP:cfonda at sentientconsult_com]>

Sent:	Monday, February 01, 1999 1:21 PM
Subject:	Algae - Hair Algae

The hair algae can indicate a slowly dying light bulb or can simply be the
result of feeding live / frozen foods.  I see it in my tanks off and on.
There are two organisms I know of that will eat it:  
1)	true siamese algae eaters (even if you get the real thing, it is not
guaranteed... some of them decide that they prefer the fish food you feed
the other fish to the hair algae) and 
2)	rainbow and ghost shrimp (the rainbow shrimp are better).  When I
want to clear up some hair algae, I run down to the local fish store and
pick up a bunch (10 to 20 per affected tank) of rainbow shrimp.
I have also found recently that treating the tank regularly with copper (eg
Aquari-Sol) prevents hair algae.  It does not harm my swordplants and the
hair algae does not seem to survive the treatment process.  I use a full
dose every other day during outbreaks and once a week otherwise (with no
carbon in the filter).
That's all I can give you from my experience with hair algae.

Date:	Mon, 15 Mar 1999 12:29:42 PST
From:	"Kelly Beard" <kellydeanbeard at hotmail_com
<mailto:kellydeanbeard at hotmail_com> >
Subject:	Tiger barbs are algae eaters

My roommate has a 20 gallon with 8 tiger barbs and a couple of tetras.  I've
noticed a couple of times how much the tiger barbs will graze on algae on
the side of the glass.  These fish get fed once a day.
I have recently gone through a thread algae hell in my planted tank.  One
day while I was trimming some pennywort that was heavily infected, I decided
to conduct an experiment.  I threw the trimmings into this tank, as as soon
as the barbs saw this plant with long, flowing threads of algae, they went
at it.  They had this plant's algae down to nothing in two days.

Kelly Beard, Team Allanti, Cat IV (on sabbatical)
President, Allanti Cycling Club
Innovative Computing Corporation
Date:	Tue, 23 Mar 1999 13:01:53 -0800
From:	Sherlock Wong <wong at dt_wdc.com <mailto:wong at dt_wdc.com> >
Subject:	Hair Algae

Rosy Barbs really gobble up hair algae.  They are around 1 in to 1  in
long.  I don't know if your convicts will bother them.
Good luck
Sherlock Wong
Date:	Tue, 29 Dec 1998 09:34:04 +0000
From:	Morten Karlsen <markii at online_no <mailto:markii at online_no> >
Subject:	A nice experience

After 3 months waterchanges still lead to "New tank Syndrome", beard algee
was growing to well etc etc.
"New tank syndrome" could have been green water, it's hard to tell the
difference sometimes, white, white with a little green in it ...
Anyway, I guess nutrient levels were to high and waterchanges didn't help.
Then I found this little bag of Azolla caroliniana;

> Azolla caroliniana is a small floating fern housing blue-green algae in
its leaves. This algae is >   capable of absorbing nitrogen from the air,
which can then be used by the plant. Water resistant.  Azolla >
caroliniana now occurs all over the tropics, where it has become a menace
because it covers lakes >   and deprives the original aquatic plants of
light.  Used as nitrogen fertiliser in rice paddies, and some >   varieties
used as animal feed.

This description is from www.tropica.dk <http://www.tropica.dk> .
Add Azolla carolinia, this floating plant will shade your tank, and totally
strip the water >>  of nutrients

It really did the trick, a biological Conlin / Sears method I guess,
stripping the water column of available nutrients - even if N was a limiting
factor.  One week later water turned crystal clear, algees have turned white
- and dying. Now this is something I enjoy watching to die  ::) 

Now I just have to fertilize the water back up to reasonable levels, NOT as
much as before I guess ........
Morten Karlsen
markii at online_no <mailto:markii at online_no> 

Algae control

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid introducing a new
algae type to a planted tank with new plants, a simple bleach dip seems to
work well.  Mix 1 part bleach in 19 parts water and dip the new plant in it
for 2 minutes.  Immediately rinse the plant in running water, then immerse
it water containing a chlorine remover to neutralize any remaining bleach.
This will kill the algae and only temporarily slow down a healthy plant.
Plants in poor condition may succumb to this treatment, but they probably
would not have lasted anyway."

OK. Now everyone is going to think this is wierd, but to get rid of green
water.  Sprinkle some corn meal on top of the water.  I heard this on the
goldfish list that I used to belong to.  The cornmeal sinks down through the
water and as it absorbs the water, the algae is pulled in with it, or
something like that.
mbradley at wkpowerlink_com <mailto:mbradley at wkpowerlink_com> 
Date:	Mon, 11 Jan 1999 10:20:52 +0000
From:	Morten Karlsen <markii at online_no <mailto:markii at online_no> >
Subject:	RE: BBA all over...HELP !!

Might I suggest a different solution....

1.	Remove as much algae as possible manually.
2.	Remove plant parts that are heavily affected
3.	Remove and clean top layer of gravel (if affected)
4.	Reduce Fertilizing
5.	Add Azolla carolinia, this floating plant will shade your tank, and
totally strip the water of nutrients.
6.	Weekly 50% waterchanges if you have nutrient-poor tapwater,
otherwise as usual
7.	Keep this going until algae turns white and dies

I used this method in my tank - and all algae except a few are now EXTINCT!
Some old leaves on Hygrophila angusti.... turned yellow and fell off, but it
was worth it :)
Morten Karlsen, 
markii at online_no <mailto:markii at online_no> 
Date:	Mon, 11 Jan 1999 10:51:01 -0500 (EST)
From:	"Richard J. Sexton" <richard at aquaria_net
<mailto:richard at aquaria_net> >
Subject:	drying algae

>When I told my local aquarium store guy that I was bleaching, he >told me I
did not have to worry about bleaching anything I can dry out >for 24 hours.
If this is true it would simplify the process.  There are >so many nooks and
crannies that are hard to bleach especially parts like >the under plastic
rim of the tank top, inside pumps etc.  >>Can the various filamentous algaes
withstand drying?

I tried this and let a really small algae infested tank that I use to grow
daphnia dry out last summer. I refilled it a few months later and within a
coupe of weeks all the algae was back. I don't have it in any other tank,
and did not add any water except the initial dose of tapwater tofill the
tank. So, I'd say yes, very much so.

Richard J. Sexton  
richard at aquaria_net <mailto:richard at aquaria_net> 
Maitland House
Bannockburn, Ontario, Canada, K0K 1Y0       
(613) 473 - 1719
Date:	Tue, 12 Jan 1999 12:58:13 +0900
From:	Kekilat <zon at mad_scientist.com <mailto:zon at mad_scientist.com> >
Subject:	Stain

Raj wrote:> 
	Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 18:00:15 +0530
	From:	Raj <ggrk at blr_vsnl.net.in <mailto:ggrk at blr_vsnl.net.in> >
	Subject:>	Re: BBA all over...HELP !!
	> After you apply Potassium permanganate, you will find everything
stained brown.  > To remove the stain apply a solution sodium
metabilsulphite, this chemical is a food > preservative > available here in
grocery stores. The stain disappears like *magic*.

I think P.Permanganate will also leave its mark on driftwood. If I didn't
remove the stain with Sodium Metabilsulphate, is it still toxic to
Date:	Mon, 11 Jan 1999 12:42:45 -0600
From:	Bill Hamlin <wjhamlin at hydro_mb.ca <mailto:wjhamlin at hydro_mb.ca> >
Subject:	Re: Copper treatment for algae

I saw this October posting from Neil and it raised a couple of questions... 
Does anyone have information regarding the copper dose required to kill
cladophora and oedogonium?  How would it be used? To sterilize an effected
tank with the plants removed or is there a dosing level are other plants
safe?  Also does simazine kill cladophora?  And if so at what dose?

Neil Frank wrote (09 Oct 1998):
I should also mention that the sensitivity of algae to each chemical has
been tested and published... and some algae which does not respond to
simazine will succumb to copper. This applies to BBA.  Another tid-bit of
information is that copper will also kill several types of green hair algae
(Cladophora and especially Oedogonium).  Unfortunately, Pithophora (horse
hair algae) is resistant to copper, but is supposedly sensitive to Simazine.
From:	Glenn Hudspeth [SMTP:ghudspeth at csi_com]
<mailto:[SMTP:ghudspeth at csi_com]> 
Sent:	Monday, January 11, 1999 1:42 PM
Subject:	Algae

Yes, I have experience using Maracyn to treat cyanobacterial infections
(i.e., "blue-green algae"). Every new tank I set up gets an outbreak until I
treat with Maracyn, after which the tank will never again have this problem.
I don't know why this is the case, but Maracyn always takes care of the
problem, although it usually takes 4-5 doses. There has never been any
obvious harm to the tank occupants nor destruction of the biological filter.

http://www.thekrib.com/ <http://www.thekrib.com/> 
Glenn Hudspeth
GTA-KU Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Lawrence, KS
ghudspeth at csi_com <mailto:ghudspeth at csi_com> 

Date:	Sun, 04 Jan 1998 22:41:19 -0500
From:	Stuart R Scott <scottyflag at enter_net <mailto:scottyflag at enter_net> >
Subject:	Hair Algae Eliminators

I have been having hair algae ( among others ) problems and someone said
something about placing Philodendron cuttings in the tank to root, thus
pulling the phosphates out of the water column.
My tanks are open topped and I like plants so I gave it a try. I took about
8 cuttings and hung them in the corners of the tanks with plastic ties.
About  took and slowly started to grow roots. I was thinking that this
would take forever, when I thought of some baby spider plants I had been
rooting in a jar. I decided to try them too. They took off in a few days.
It works ! Two of my tanks are without any hair algae in about 4 weeks. The
spider clumps have roots about 3 to 4 " long and about 2 to 3 " around. each
clump started with about 6 baby spider plants. One clump has already sent
out a stem with a new baby.
I did this to try out the idea to eliminate hair algae and I'm glad it
works, however I also like the plant clumps hanging in the corners.
Thank you whoever told me about this method.
Scotty Stuart  
scottyflag at enter_net <mailto:scottyflag at enter_net> 
Quakertown, PA
Date:	Sun, 22 Mar 1998 12:24:55 -0500
From:	"John  Riggs" <riggsj at worldnet_att.net
<mailto:riggsj at worldnet_att.net> >
Subject:	Algae eating gold fish?

I recently converted a 20 gallon High planted Angelfish tank to a Goldfish
tank for my daughter.  I moved the Angles to another tank and kept the
plants.  This tank was never very successful from a plant perspective
because of poor lighting, lack of CO2, substrate, etc.  I was able to grow
several plants including H. Poly and Cabomba, but not without the
ever-present algae.  Anyway, after I put in several Goldfish (I'm not sure
which type but they have twin tails and bubbles on their head) they quickly
began cleaning up every speck of algae and other gunk in the tank.  They go
from plant to plant sucking at the leaves and stems, but not eating the
I am starting a new 75 gal high-tech heavily planted Discus tank and was
wondering if these fish might be useful for the initial three-week break in
period instead of (or in addition to) the recommended  Black Sailfin Mollies
and SAE's.  The  Black Sailfin Mollies are fairly hard to come by here and
SAE's are unheard of.  If not the Goldfish, what other fish would be good
for breaking in the tank.
-----Original Message-----
From:	Rich Dottavio [SMTP:RDotta7777 at aol_com]
<mailto:[SMTP:RDotta7777 at aol_com]> 
Sent:	Monday, September 21, 1998 2:42 PM
Subject:	Algae

In a message dated 9/15/98 10:57:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
rcooney at bcpl_net <mailto:rcooney at bcpl_net>  writes:
<< You also didn't say what type of algae you had Ottos will usually do a
fair job, but watch the size as my Diskus will gang up on smaller ones.
SAE's are the only ones I know of that will eat hair algae. >>
Just two cents worth.... In my 125gallon discus (5 discus and misc other
Amazon fish)  I have tried and experimented with SAEs, Ottos, bristlenose,
and farwello cats.  I have also tried to out compete the algae with val and
hygro and others.  The one tried and true and unfortunately not pretty
solution is duckweed.  When I have a good growth of duckweed (and I continue
to scoop out a netfull each week), there is no algae.  I took out the
duckweed one day thinking that I had reached the "equilibrium" point, and
the brush, green, blue-green and other algae was back in full force within
10 days.  I carefully brought back the duckweed growth and wella, no algae.
I just keep a couple of towels for my "duckweed elbow".
Rich Dottavio
RDotta7777 at AOL_COM <mailto:RDotta7777 at AOL_COM> 

Algae Types
The SAEs will eat a number of algae species including the black brush, but
not hair algae.
I'll use the designations of the authors of Baensch Atlas II. 
Black brush algae:
Red algae from the genus Audouinella  It looks like an upside down shaving
brush whose base is strongly attached to objects, the glass, and especially
the edges of slowly growing leaves.  SAEs are the only fish known to eat
this form.
Pelt algae:
Green algae for the genus Oedogonium.  Single short strands proliferate
quickly and are strongly attached to the epidermis of leaves and stems.
SAEs love this. 
Beard algae:
Red algae of the genus Compsopogon.  Sort of a tangled mess strongly
attached to leaves.  The SAEs eat this as well.
Filamentous algae:
Green algae of the genus Spirogyra.  This is what is referred to as "hair
algae," and it consists of long thin light green filaments.  It is loosely
attached to plants and in a sense, often smothers them.  One can remove it
mechanically.  It grows very quickly.  There is also a similar looking
species which Baensch calls free-floating thread algae.  Ameca splendens,
some barbs, Bristlenose catfish, and ramshorn snails are said to eat it.
Of course hair algae may mean different things to various people. 
So for an algae-free tank: Ameca splendens, rosy barbs, crossocheilus
siamensis (SAEs), ancistrus sp. (bristlenose catfish), and ramshorn snails
(the small brown or red type) 
If anyone every discovers a consumer of green spot algae or better yet,
black spot algae, please let me know.
"floating on hellish spores"
The notion that hair algae come in on spores has not been substantiated.  I
got rid of it  about 20 years ago with the bleach treatment.  I got some
once from some rain water.  It wasn't a bad form 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, blue green
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 the air. 
Most of the time hair algae come 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 is what probably gave 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 percent 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. 
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!
Bleach treatment
My experience with hair algae has been pretty extensive, and I have seen a
lot of the types. 
One of the very bad ones.  It is bushy, has a characteristic rank smell and
it attaches to things.  A typical filament has numerous short side branches.
It occasionally sends out flagellated cells, zoospores, which anchor
somewhere and start new growth.  This is not common, and much of the spread
is by pieces of the filaments.  It requires 4 minutes in the 5% bleach, and
is the most resistant hair algae species I know.  Fortunately it is usually
attached to old plant stems and the bottom gravel, and the recently grown
parts of thin-stemmed plants that might not survive 4 minutes of bleach are
usually free of it.  The kinds of plants I have found it attached to have
been plants that can withstand the 4 minute treatment. 
Very bad, also.  It is probably the one people are calling fur algae.  It
spreads very rapidly and prolifically by means of flagellated cells, and
covers leaves of plants and other objects in a dense coat of unbranched
hairs, about 2 to 5 mm. long. It is much more sensitive to bleach than
Cladophora, and can be killed by one to two minutes, but if the coating of
hairs is dense enough, the bleach doesn't circulate well enough to kill the
basal cells.  I have treated densely furred plants two to three minutes and
seen the Oedogonium return.  When it is only scattered hairs, it can be
eliminated completely by a short treatment.  I am in the process of getting
rid of an Oedogonium outbreak now, and I had to treat some myriophyllum
twice to get all of it.  I have been putting my treated plants in gallon
jars on the windowsill, and, when I noticed the Oedogonium getting started
in the jar with the myriophylum, I just pulled out the plant, retreated it
in bleach for two minutes, and set it up in a new jar.  This time it looks
like I got it all, and the plant didn't seem to show any damage from the
second bleach treatment. 
Beard Algae:
The So-called black beard algae is a type of red algae, I think.  I got some
plants from a store in New York City that were badly covered with it, and
was able to eliminate it with a three and one half minute treatment.  I had
another type of red algae a long time ago that had greenish to copper
colored, branching strands that were thickest where they were attached and
became more slender as they branched.  I can't remember how many minutes of
bleach I needed to kill it, but it was probably around three. 
Finally I have had to deal with long, tough, unbranched threads that form
tangles around plants or green mounds out of which the plants attempt to
struggle.  One of these types may be Rhizoclonium.  They seem quite
sensitive to bleach, and two minutes appears to be enough. 
Actually, I make the bleach treatment as long as I think the plant can
stand, rather than timing it according to what kind of algae may be on the
plant.  I haven't found any plants that can't take at least a two minute
treatment.  I was sure the Java moss couldn't take that, but by golly, it
did.  Thin stemmed plants like Ceratophyllum are more sensitive to the
bleach, and they will lose all their leaves after a two minute treatment,
but with good light and iron in the water, they recover nicely.  Elodea
(Egeria densa) has a nice thick stem and can withstand three minutes easily,
although not without loss of the leaves. Anubias is extremely tough and
could take six minutes if it needed it, and so are the rhizomes of crypts,
lace plants and other aponogetons, etc.