[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[APD] Hair algae control methods

Well, since many folks have issues with this one, I'll repost
rather than rewriting the same old thing.

How to get rid of hair algae and keep it away 


Hair algae tends to bug folks more than others, good nutrients
alone often cannot eradicate it. But good nutrients can prevent
it from infesting your tank. The problem: how to get rid of
what's there. 

Sterile techinque: Dip everything in H2O2/Bleach etc, prevent
any water, fish waste from allowing any spores into the
tank.This can work if you do not plan on adding, removing plant
species from this or other sterile tanks. All it takes is one
forgetful moment. This has some benefits, but also has trade
offs, most fail in this apporach over time. I really do not use
this in my tanks at home or suggest folks do.Good preening of
plants prior to adding them helps, trim them up good first.

Once the algae does make it past this line of defense:

Rapid response: 
This is where many fail, they hope it'll just go away. 

Seldom does that occur with Caldophora. Many think it'll be
taken care 5 days from now when they do a water change, that
typically works. But if you see algae growing, that means
something else is wrong, something that affects plant growth.
Algae will respond first to these changes, so it's wise to check
things when see the algae and do the water change later that
week. This is my main method. 

Negelected tank with bad infestation:
Okay, so you have slacked off, now you have a nice infestation. 
You tried all the myths or get rid of it and it's still there
and after wasting all the time with other things, allowing this
pest to get well established, you are in deep.
Hair algae that infest gravel pieces: rotate the gravel's top 1"
under, no light, no growth, bury the algae alive(think cheesy
horror film). This is fairly easy. 

You can do sections of the gravel each week if the tank is large
and spread out the work and disturbance to the tank. 

Plants: prune the stuff off, pick and preen. If this is
bothersome, remember the rapid response next time, it's easier
to deal with a small patch rather than ignoring a problem and
hoping it goes away. Uproots the plants and give them a good
inspection, work each section of the tank, perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 of
the bottom surface at a time each week, after a couple of three
weeks, algae will be gone. Adding good nutrients during that
time will select for the plants even further. 

End result from this: the plants have good healthy growth and
leaves/roots/stems etc left, no so so looking plant leaves, the
tank looks well groomed!

Now no herbicide or snake oil will ever do this for you, the end
result looks better and you target ONLY the algae and decay on
the plants, no herbicide will ever do that either 100%.

Pull up everything from each section(say do 1/2 or 1/3 sections)
of the tank at each water change-always prune first then do the
water change at the end. 

This stresses the algae that's there, then they produce spores
in 1-4 hours and then these spores can be removed before having
a chance to settle and attach to a plant. Also a good idea to
run a UV the first 24 hours after a water change/pruning. Also
clean glass top to bottom, this will prevent glass scratches and
is the way you clean your home (hopefully:-) 

Clean the filter, net out any dead leaves, fluff the plants, and
any dirt that's around the tank after you are done trimming. Get
everything out of there. Use a fine brine shrimp net to get
things out. Clean your equipment,driftwood and rocks. Bleach and
H2O2 are good for this. H2O2 on wood, the rest: bleach. Add some
Amano shrimps etc.

Now if you remove all the algae or most of it, then you add good
nutrients, after a few repeats of this, algae will not do very
well no matter what.

You have totally reduce the biomass fo algae, increased the
ability of the plants to grow and be healthy, removed the algae
from surfaces, only young wimpy zoospores are left looking to
grow on surfaces. They take a while to grow up into harder to
eradicate adults, so by the next 3-4 days or week, you hit them
again, they will die off and only very resistent seasonal spores
will remain. These spores are not like the zoospores, they need
a large change in the conditions to thrive and bloom/activate
their growth.

Generally things like a decline in CO2 or O2 levels, increased
light(with no increase in CO2/nutrients etc), NH4 and
temperature. Of course neglect helps these things occur in our
tanks. It also can take a couple of weeks for the tank to settle
down and the algae to decline. 

If you keep up on it, then things go well, if you do not want to
keep up on it or find you don't... even if you want to, try less
light, then if that's still not enough, go non CO2. 

Hair algae is much like duckweed or other plant like weeds.
Cladophora is a lot like a plant and is in Plantae: this species
possesses: Chl a and b, starch as a storgae product, same
chloroplast type as vascular plants and pigments. Green spot
algae and Chara are both green algae that are highly evolved and
do well in most plant tanks. Hair algae is not far behind. Now
what does ahir do to smaller algae that can live on less
nutrients? It blocks the light below, same deal with plants,
they out compete algae for light, so at lower lighting, the
plants do very well. Rather than breaking the light cycle up,
it's a question of competing for the light itself.

You can run a UV after a good pruning/cleaning, you can run a
diatom, you can add Excel(3x dosing recs daily), you can add
H2O2, you can add copper at lower doses(just like H2O2). 
Once you get things settled and do this the following week,
these are not needed/useful. I don't need them and simply don't
use them any longer. I know the tank will balabce out and in
favor of the plants. 

Folks that have done reworks and tried this know things will be
okay and you do not need to use other things other than pruning,
water changes, good nutriernt levels. It's the same old thing
1000 times.

Some find use for the Excel H2O2.
They can help with some labor in the clean up.
It does not hurt to try these when used properly.

If the issue is bad or you are motivated, do this routine every
3-4 days and you can knock out about any algae issue inside a 2
week peroid and have a very nice looking tank quickly.
But always remove all the algae you can FIRST and the PRUNE the
plants(they are growing well now you have good CO2 etc)and
finally add some icing on the cake, say Amano shrimp(lots) or
Rosey barbs etc. You can also use the Excel mega dosing, or do
the H2O2 treatment.

If you try all of these, the chances of success are high.
As long as you keep up on the dosing and CO2, things will
balance out and the algae will go away.


Tom Barr 


Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around 
Aquatic-Plants mailing list
Aquatic-Plants at actwin_com