Re: SAE's over-rated!?... and algae classification

>From: Ellistonk at aol_com
>Subject: RE: SAE's over-rated!?
>I had problems with various algaes a long tome ago, and hair algae was my
>particular nemesis. I've always kept a motley squad of algae eaters in the
>tank, but it was mostly time and experience that brought everything under
>control. I finally got some SAEs, but after I got rid of the hair algae. So
>to be honest I don't know if they're preventing any troublesome algae
>outbreaks or not. They will eat just about anything, and they're quick. I
>feed enough that all the inhabitants of the tank manage to get what they
>need. More timid fish may not be able to get their fair share, and if the
>SAEs were well fed on regular aquarium food right from the start, they may
>not have developed a taste for algae. My SAEs spend most of their time
>munching on just about every surface they can get at. I assume they're
>munching algae. And as I already pointed out, my SAEs supplement their diet
>on my arm.

I had an outbreak of "beard algae" while cycling my tank a while ago.  I
think it was beard algae, don't know for sure--it consisted of strands that
are quite thick in diameter, ~1-2 inches or longer, dark green to black in
color, slick to the touch, and stuck very well to gravels, leaves, etc.,
impossible to pull off (does that sound like a description of beard algae?
I think I have a problem classifying algae).  The growing tip of these
strands are lighter green.  I bought some young SAE's, and they nibbled on
the tips of the algae strands.  I did not see them eat the entire algae
thread, just the tips.  Yet, 3 days later, the algae were all gone, and the
dead algae just clogged up my filter intake.  I wonder if this is the
mechanism by which the SAE's get rid of beard algae--eating the growing tip,
or was it just coincidental and the beard algae cycle was just getting over
by itself at the same time.

>Farlowellas are good, as are Otocinclus cats, and Ancistrus "Plecos". I keep
>them all. I don't have much experience with shrimp or snails, but I don't
>believe them to be practical algae consumers for most aquarists. Your best

I just had a very good experience with Ramshorn snails.  I started a
10-gallon tank to keep my batch of newly hatched angel fry.  I threw in
plant cuttings from my main tank, and not wanting to spend money on lights,
I put it near my window.  The tank developed a bad case of green hair algae
(classification comes later) in a few days.  I threw in 2 Ramshorn snails
(this is after the fry are free-swimming, of course), and they immediately
went to work.  They got on every surface imaginable, including floating
stems of anacharis, Java moss, etc., where I didn't think they could get to.
In a few days, the tank was pretty much clean!  I had to syphon out the tons
of snail dropping daily though.

Now come the algae classification.  Perhaps someone can help me out with
this also.  What I called green hair algae above looks like the algae in the
picture of "filamentous green algae" in Barry James' "A Fishkeeper Guide to
Aquarium Plants" (I don't have it with me at the moment, so I can't give the
page number, but it's where they discuss algae).  It's very fine, light
green, and can be suctioned off with a straw.  I have called it hair algae,
until yesterday, when I discovered something else in my bunch of Java Moss
which looked more like hair.  This new stuff feels like strands of hair,
very tough and coarse but thinner than the "beard algae" I described above,
up to 6-8" long, dark green, and intertwined with my Java Moss.  It doesn't
seem to appear anywhere else, so at first I thought it may be part of the
Java Moss.  However, it came off quite easily when I pull it from the Java
Moss. It was like it was not attached to anything, just rolled up in the
Jave Moss.

Can anyone tell me the correct names for all 3 types of algae I described?