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Black Brush Algae

I've been following the discussion on Black Brush Algae and decided to
relate my experiences with it. I've been maintaining a 120 gallon plant tank
for the past 18 months. It's a fairly high-tech set-up, co2 injection,
DuplaRit layered in Texblast sand, Duplaplant fertilizer, and until
recently, eight 4 ft. tubes (2 actinic - 4 Coralife trichormatic 65k - 2
Durolites). For the first six to eight months, everything went well in this
tank, my vals were growing well, cryps, swords and stem plants all were
fine. Then black breard algae started growing. I did everything that I could
do to get rid of this stuff - bleach washes, physical removal by hand, algae
eaters. I periodically got it under control for a while, then it came back
with a vengence. I decided to learn to live with it. A month ago I decided
to get rid of my standard ballast lighting and put in a vho system. I put in
an Ice Cap ballast with four actinic 50/50 110 watt bulbs. Although, it took
me over a year to decide to shell out the money for this lighting system,
I'm really happy that I did.  While in the past successful growing a number
of plants, there were some that I was never successful growing, for example
Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae (micro sword). This level of light has made a
tremendous difference with the plants. Everything is lush - thick, compact
and fast growing and I am able to grow a number of plants that I simply
could not before - the micro sword looks like a carpet. The big surprise
however, has been the disappearance of my black brush algae. Two months ago,
I had a carpet of it on top of my substrate and the darn stuff was growing
up the sides of my overflows. It is virtually gone from my overflows and
almost gone from the substrate. Has this happened to anyone else? I wonder
if the increase in light intensity, or perhaps spectrum is killing the

I am not advocating spending the money it takes for vho to get rid of this
stuff, I wanted a quieter, cooler and brighter lighting system and decided
to spend the money for it. I simply wanted to pass along my experience.

Best Regards,

John Hawkins.