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BBA? Beard/Hair Algae


Here I am again, still in a battle with the hairy stuff. My 55 gallon tank is 
virtually cleansed of its algae plague. After a bleaching of the anubias, all 
was over with the bba (though bleaching did destroy the java fern). I was 
getting the brown stuff in there, though to a lesser and lesser extent since 
setup and planting. I also have green spot algae, which remains, but is not 

My 20 gallon is quite another matter. By the time I realized the stuff wasn't 
going away by regular water changes, phosphate control, and stripped the most 
heavily laden leaves (as it appeared only on one sword plant at the time), it 
had apparently spread. I had added CO2 and additional lighting, along with 
more plants, which only worsened the problems, as it seems to thrive in the 
well-lit areas. The CO2 does eliminate brush algae, as one of the swords had 
a reddish, very short-haired growth on its edges only, and it disappeared. 
This other stuff grows to be quite long. I have a 3 inch strand growing from 
a ludwigia stem, which is permeated with shorter, bushier patches. It will 
attach to any spot on the leaf, on the stems, on the gravel, and find rough 
spots on the glass even. It apears both green and black, depending on which 
object (or plant) it is on. Or maybe it's two different types? I don't think 
there's much of any other type of algae in this tank.

So, in desperation, I ask, has anyone fought this battle and won? I was 
advised to toss the plants, bleach, bleach and more bleach in the tank 
(obviously with the fish removed). And when the tank is sterile of algae (and 
all else), resume operations. This seems a rather drastic step, which I'd 
rather not resort to unless absolutely necessary. A few things along the way 
have occurred to me:

1. George Booth recommends Simazine. Says this will kill beard algae in a faq 
on the Krib's web site. It's an algae controller. I suspect any algae killer 
would kill plants as well.

2. I thought of keeping lights off on the tank to see what happens. 
Interestingly, but probably not surprising to most of you, the greatest 
growth has occurred recently underneath a third light strip placed directly 
over the water (with no glass underneath). Unfortunately, plants need light, 
as well. I suspect the algae will outlive the plants.

3. Was told that there is a fish remedy out there which will kill this? They 
recalled that it was a formaldehyde and malachite green combination. Does 
this make sense?

4. House some rosy barbs, which I've read on this list will eat the stuff, in 
a separate tank and starve them for a while. Let them loose in the tank and 
pray a lot (that they like it).

5. Try SAE's. Some will eat it, I understand, and some won't. Again, let them 
loose and pray.

6. Wait for the 2 small mollies in there to mate. They seem to like it, but 
can't make a dent in it. If I'm lucky, they'll pass on the taste for it, and 
a whole pack of 'em might do the job. Of course, by that time, I probably 
won't be able to see into the tank . . . Besides I'm at near-capacity with 
neons, cardinals and corys (and one otocinclus who won't touch it, of course).

7. Someone mentioned on list, some mystery cichlid, non-aggressive and rather 
shy, who likes nothing better than to eat hairy algae. Locate this fish and 
have it shipped?

Any suggestions?