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Beard Algae

Kudzu wrote:

>>I just added some new plants to my tank and went off for a weeks vacation.
>>Came back to find explosive growth and a bad case of hair or beard algae
>>black long stringy stuff that is so hard to remove) . I must have brought
>>in on the new plants even though none of them have it. I have never had
>>before in any tank. Also afraid that maybe my house sitter over feed too?

I had the same algae plague from hell recently. Mine was caused by me adding
a phosphate pH stablizer.  I know better now.

From your description, you have beard algae and not hair algae.  The SAEs
will not touch the established beard algae (or, at least, mine didn't).
However, I would imagine that they keep it in check once you get rid of the
established strands.

I bleached (19:1 ratio) the plants I could take out of the tank and severely
trimmed the other plants removing as much of the beard algae as I could. I
then did 50% daily water changes for a week and then once a week until there
were no more signs of the algae (or phosphates).  I also cut back on feeding
to keep the phosphates low and to see if I could encourage the SAEs to eat
the algae instead of flake food.  I have heard of reducing the amount of
light, but I didn't want to try that. I also added some H. Polysperma during
that time. I am not sure it helped, but it couldn't have hurt either.

The algae went away in about three weeks and there are no signs of it now.

Good luck.

Ken Guin
Kenguin at homemail_com