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FAQs on Algae and Their Control In Aquarium Gardens 1

Related Articles: Algae and Their Control in Aquarium Gardens, Algae Control in Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Dealing With Algae in Freshwater Aquaria by Neale Monks, (some) Algae (in moderation) Can Be Your Friend, ppt presentation, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, by Bob Fenner, SAEs in the Aquarium Garden, Otocinclus for the Aquarium GardenLoricariids/more than Plecos, and Snails

Related FAQs:  Algae Control In Aquarium Gardens 2, Plant DiseasesFW Blue-Green Algae/Cyanobacteria, FW (Brown) Diatom Algae, Brush/Beard/Blackish (actually Red) Algae,

Algae and acrylic Hi Bob, <Steen Erik> I live in Thailand (Dane, retired). A few years back I made an outdoor aquarium which, after 1 1/2 cm thick glass exploded during filling, was empty for a couple of years. I then had the glass replaced with 4 cm. thick acrylic and actually got it to work. After a year or so it started leaking and I had the inside coated with fiberglass. Unfortunately the people doing this also damaged the acrylic and after one year the aquarium started leaking again. <No fun> In the meantime I had started a 1,500 liter. aquascaping tank and found it really beautiful. I consequently decided to have the big tank repaired and prepared for aquascaping. The dimensions are 1,30 m deep x 3,60 m long x 1,65 m wide. Originally it is 2 m deep, but I have build in a 'false' bottom at 1,3 m as I don't think any plants can grow at this depth. <Wowzah, this is a deep tank... usually I like ones I can stick my arm in all the way to the bottom... this one I'd have to dive in to!> Water and plants came in on 1/29 this year with 50 Siamese algae-eaters added a few days later. It took me a couple of weeks to get the CO2 system to work properly (self-constructed, but it works). I am using a submerged pump (8,400 lit/h) and a sand filter in connection with an Eheim 1000 lit/h filter connected to a C02 reactor. No noise and absolutely no plastic, hoses or anything else visible in the tank. <Outstanding> Everything works fine now except for the algae on the acrylic. As you can imagine I am actually in the water when cleaning, <Yes, I can> but even using all my power with a soft cotton cloth, I simply cannot get the algae off. The first tank I had got a lot of scratches and having spent another US$ 10,000 on this one I do not want a repeat. <I understand> The company installing the acrylic told me to use soft cotton cloth for cleaning only, but having spent 5 hours in the water today, all muscles in my arms hurting, and still algae on the acrylic I am getting a little bit desperate. <Yes> Anything you can suggest would be highly appreciated. Best regards, Steen Jansen <A few "things" come to mind... most importantly, "just" waiting a few more weeks to a couple months may well lead to succession of sorts with the harder, more resistant algae being replaced with softer varieties your SAE's can/will be able to remove. Besides that though, there are newer types of "algae magnets" that are useful for acrylic tanks (won't scratch unless you get gravel stuck between them) that I encourage you to look into... the bigger size ones the better... and hopefully folks have them there in Thailand for sale or you can find an etailer that can/will ship them to you. Lastly, do look into Eheim's Ehfi-Grob or Fein filter media... a one-time purchase of a bit of this polyethylene canister filter "wool" will help you in your scrubbing safely. This material is what our service companies mainly employed as "scrubbers" for large (expensive) acrylic tanks. Unfortunately, there are no useful "biological cleaners" or chemical treatments to recommend. Bob Fenner>

Hairy plants! (1/23/04) <Hi! Ananda here today...> Hello, I'm a first time freshwater aquarium owner and have these long black hairs growing on the leaves of our plants.  We'd like to get rid of it but we don't know what it is.  Please help. Thanks, Kelly <It's some sort of hair algae. (Yep, common names for algae found in planted tanks tend to describe what the stuff looks like.) Without a photo, I can't be certain which type. Hair algae feeds on the nitrates and phosphates the rest of your plants can't use -- make sure you have those under control. Regarding getting rid of it, there are various fish and shrimp that eat algae, but I don't want to make a specific recommendation without knowing what else you have in your tank, how big your tank is, etc. You might want to read up on flag fish, for example; however, they're aggressive and may terrorize other fish. Or you might consider algae-eating shrimp, but some fish think shrimp are excellent snacks. Do check out our plant forum on the chat forums at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk ! --Ananda>

Hazy Water II Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Ken!> Thanks for your reply. <You bet.> I got past the worry of the hazy water and now I have some small green spot algae on plant leaves. I guess now I should back off the fertilizer. <For the time being, yes.  I agree.> Is there anything that can be done about this on the leaves? <I get this on the front glass of my tank if I neglect the CO2 for a while.  I have plenty of shrimp that keep the leaves sparkling clean, no matter *what* happens - I've even added seriously algae-covered plants from a friend's tank, and they were successfully picked clean within a few days.  Have you at all considered freshwater shrimp?  My own tank houses cherry shrimp, "Amano" shrimp, "rainbow" shrimp, and ghost shrimp (among others), all of which constantly scrape away at algae.  Besides them, I have no SAEs, no Otos, nothing', and they keep the tank totally algae-free (except the glass).  Any of the small "algae-eating" shrimps of the genus Caridina or Neocaridina will get along great with your Otos and SAEs, your tetras, and anything else not large enough to eat the shrimp.  Of course, you certainly are not obligated to keep shrimp, I feel that this algae problem is from doing the fertilizer a bit too soon, and I'm sure you can "wait out" the algae; it'll pass in time as the plants get more settled in.  I really don't think this will be a big deal for you.> Thanks,  Ken <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Hazy water Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Ken!> Thanks for your email. <You bet.> The amount of the green spot algae is not a lot. Actually the plants that have it the most, I will be removing next week and planted with "nicer" ones. <Well, that's certainly one way to remove algae!  :) > The aquarium does look quite nice. I have about 200 plants and it is now about 5 weeks and I think I can relax a bit. <I'm pretty confident you need not stress about it at all, you seem to have everything very well "under control", as much as a plant tank can be.> I have another question for you. I was told by a few people (Tech person at Seachem too) that I do not need to add nitrate and phosphate as I should get enough from the fish, food, dead leaves, etc. I should just use root tabs, Flourish (type stuff), potassium, and iron. Do you have any thoughts on that? <This is partially dependant upon how much fish (and thereby how much fish waste) you have.  I have no need to dose nitrate in my tank, as my fish do that for me, and I always have a bit of nitrate show up on tests, though quite low.  To be honest, I have never dosed phosphate, myself.  With your (currently) very low fish load, after the tank matures some, you might want to make use of either or both.  You can find further info/opinion/etc. here: http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer .  (BTW, if this sent prematurely, my apologies; I just had a heck of a time trying to paste that URL and ended up typing it in manually after two failed attempts that may have sent this to you.... "oops".> By the way I'm not sure if you remember, but I am the one who said I wanted to use 100% ro/di water and reconstitute it with Seachem Equilibrium and Alkaline Buffer. I can tell you that it works BIG TIME. The growth in my tank is phenomenal and no hair algae. This is with 260 watts of light. <All wonderful, and wonderful to hear!> The only negative is pruning is a pain in the a**. <Hehe!  I do understand.  What a wonderful "problem" to have, yes?> Thanks again, Ken <Any time.  I'm so glad to hear how well things are going for you!  Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Pea soup! Hello WWM Crew, <Hello Mike, Sabrina here today> HELP!  I have an algae bloom that I just can't seem to get rid of!  The bloom is of the pea-green, cloudy type.   <This reminds me fondly of my pond outside....> My tank consists of a 55 Gal freshwater planted tank with a few fish mostly for algae control purposes.  My lighting is (2) 55 Watt CF bulbs.  The tank conditions are a ph of 7.0, Nitrogen levels of 0, and phosphates of 0.3. <Are your phosphates testing at that straight out of the tap?> I have tried many different things to get rid of this stuff, nothing seems to work.  I can manage to weaken it for a while but it will just come back in 1 to 2 weeks.  I have tried doing large and frequent water changes, and lowering the lighting duration.  My normal duration is 10 hours a day, I reduced this to 6 with no luck.  I even put my tank in total darkness with a dark bed sheet for 5 days.  My plants didn't like this much, <I can imagine.> but the bloom was gone, but then 2 weeks later it was back with a vengeance.  When I can keep the lights on long enough, I have good plant growth, and very minimal anchored algae.  What are my options here? <Well, *how* planted is this tank?  One route, perhaps the best, is to get some more good, fast-growing, hardy plants to outcompete the algae for nutrients.  Another thought, though - are you injecting CO2?  That may help the plants to utilize the nutrients more so than the algae.  Please read these two links for further info:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm,   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/aqpltnutritients.htm > Would a UV sterilizer be an option?   <Perhaps, if the above route doesn't work.  It is what I plan to resort to for my not-so-heavily planted pond that gets full California sun all day....> I don't really want to tear down and start over and I'm not even sure that would solve the problem. <Agreed.  I do not believe that would be a solution for you.  Hopefully this will get sorted out soon!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> Looking for some good advice...  Regards,  Mike Duclos  Durham, NC

Pea soup! - Part two Sabrina, <Hello again, Mike!> I've read those two articles before.  They don't really contain any information that I don't already practice, or anything that I haven't seen before.  Don't get me wrong, I think WWM is the best on the web, hence I'm sitting here asking you! <Well, let's come up with some other ideas, then!> The phosphates in my tap water are actually at 2.3mg/l.  Overall, I believe I do a good job of not adding additional nutrients/supplements/fertilizers to the tank, because I have adopted the philosophy of the plants out-competing the algae.  I'm starting to doubt though!  I don't add fertilizers, some iron once a month for my swords, the tank uses all of the fish waste being produced for nutrients.  I have 6 community fish in the tank, not very many.   <Yes... I see a few slight possibilities here.  Plants need CO2, light, and iron and other nutrients to thrive - if one of these is slightly lacking, they can't make full proper use of the others.  It strikes me that your plants are probably not getting enough nutrients to be able to utilize all the available light and CO2 - an open door for algae.  Do you test your tank for iron?  I would think this is perhaps part of the problem.  Here is another article to read: http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/balance-randall.html  and a list of more on fertilizing:  http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/ . I supplement my lighting with a DIY CO2 injector that produces roughly 25 ppm.  It seems like I have two options, 1) I can go all out and overstuff my tank with a gazillion plants hoping they will stomp out the algae once and for all, <Well, not a gazillion, really, just some goodies to help outcompete the algae.> or 2) I can buy a UV sterilizer and zap the stuff!  I would have to say that my tank is at best only moderately planted, probably halfway between a Dutch and a rocky, bare, African tank.  I do have a bunch of Contortion Val and a good deal of Milfoil for fast growing plants.  If I go with option 1) what other plants would you suggest I try to add? <Well, some easy to grow, nutrient-sucking algae-battling industrial strength plants that I'd suggest: a few floating water lettuce (easy to grow, kinda pretty with their trailing roots, suckers for nitrates), perhaps some water sprite (reproduces quickly, so you'll have some to share with friends, can grow in the substrate or floating), perhaps some elodea/anacharis as well.> Regarding option 2) what do they really do?   < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphysf.htm - about halfway down, you'll find lots of good info on UV.> will they damage my plants as well?   <Shouldn't, no.> how expensive?   <Anywhere from fifty bucks on up to a few hundreds.> what kind of room do I need, <They are external, a few different styles/designs, so it depends on what you get, really.> where can I get one?, etc. <Most online fish supply dealers - be sure to check out our sponsors' websites, which you can find banners/links to at the top and right of the pages of WWM, also eBay, some LFSs will carry them, pond stores, etc.> Other than these two options is there any other possible solution/fix you can think of? <I'm thinking it might be a nutrient *lack*, really, inhibiting the plants' growth.  Do please go through the linked article and the linked list-o-links to other articles on this matter, I think you might find some tasty tidbits.  Also, consider asking on an aquatic plant forum, see if anyone who has dealt with a similar issue can tell you their recipe for success.> Thanks for your help. Mike <Any time!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

- Nuisance Algae in a Planted Tank - Jason, thanks for the help with this one. <My pleasure.> I dug a little deeper into the WWM website after learning how to us the search feature and think I might have what is being called blue hair algae.  Closer inspection, the stuff appears bluish in color when ripped from the plant and flicked from my fingers onto the white surface of my sink. I'll just follow your advice of routine house keeping. <Sounds good.> The chemical dipping for a varying amount of specific time depending on each plant seemed a little over the top. The WWM web site has me more inspired than I ever thought I would be about getting into this hobby. It's great to have such a fantastic reference point when you think the going gets tough. WWM ROCKS!!! <I'm glad you find it of use... becomes more so with contributions like yours. Cheers, J -- >

Black Algae?? I have a plant in my 55 G. and it looks like  hair on the end, but black.. Could it be my lighting? .<take a look at this link and compare the photo in the top right hand corner to the black stuff in your aquarium  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm > I have added leaf zone, but it get's worse.. HELP!  Thanks, Michele K. Indiana<What kind of lighting do you have? I would check water quality ASAP, Good Luck, IanB>

- Nuisance Algae in a Planted Tank - <Hello, JasonC here...> Got a question for the crew regarding a potential problem of a hairy like substance cropping up on the plants in my freshwater tank. The stuff looks like what you pull out of your hair brush every six months or so. My tank is a 20 gallon low with a mix of a few plants and tetra fish. If you need the list of it all I can provide it to hone in on an exact clue. It started on a chain sword plant. The leaves of the chain sword when planted new seemed to die off after about two weeks. Tank was about three months old at that point. The leaves turned dark brown to black, but there was a glimmer of hope as there were vibrant green leaves coming up from the center which seemed to me to signify the roots had grabbed hold and it was starting to grow. We went on vacation for two days. When we came back there was a major "hair ball" surrounding the plant but there was still good green growth in the center. I pulled the plant, clipped the dead stuff and replanted it. It seemed to be doing well but the edges of the leaves seem to be going through the same cycle. The leaves are very green this time though. I thought it was specific to this plant and wasn't worried as I would just clip the dead stuff as needed. Noticed the same type of hairy growth coming from the edges of another Anubias style plant. Low and behold almost all other plants have it too. All parameters seem to test okay, Ph 7.0, zero nitrite, zero ammonia, 5 nitrate, GH 3, KH 3. If it's some sort of an algae break out, is there a way to control it? <Well... it does sound to me like a nuisance algae, although which type I am not certain. In any case, you will probably need to remove it manually, best by just wiping the leaves before the stuff gets to the point of needing to be trimmed, and making your intentional plants suffer. As long as you want to have live plants in the tank, any type of chemical control is out of the question as something that would control the problem algae will also effect the plants you want to keep. Again, you will probably just have to keep after it just like dusting items around the house. Cheers, J -- >

Name that fuzzy stuff. Hi, I have a fur like fungus that grows on my plants and it seems to kill them and I just cant seem to get rid of it, its on my 75 gallon and my 20 gallon it seems to grow on the drift wood and filter, but that doesn't bother me. I just don't want it killing anymore plants.  If you have any tips please email me. Thank you, Chris <Hi Chris, it is really hard to say without a picture, it sounds like it may be a type of algae.  Do you have any algae eaters that will eat it?  How are the water tests coming out?  How is your feeding regime?  If you have not already, check out the link below and the related FAQs.  Please send a picture if you can.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm   I found a picture on your site that definitely is what I have http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Algae%20and%20Plt%20Pix/BlueGreenAlgae/ BGA_RedAQ.jpg

Combating Black Hairy/Thread Algae (a heart-breaking story with a happy ending) Aloha!  I'm sure most of your readers have encountered the dreaded black hairy or thread algae at least once.  Normally this was a death sentence and the only way to ensure total eradication of this algae is to dump everything out of the tank, bleach it, and start from square scratch.  Problem is, it's messy, time consuming, expensive (because you're going to have to buy new plants and fish), and who really wants to watch their prized pets get flushed? <Not me!> So when my tanks got invaded about a year ago, at first I thought that all of my fish were doomed.  Then I jumped on this site and started reading some articles about algae control.  One piece of advice that didn't involve chemical disinfections called for the use of Otocinclus algae eaters.  So I went out and bough one for every 10 gallons in my tank.  After a few weeks I noticed that the little buggers had stopped the spread of the algae.  But as the months went by, though I didn't see many long strands, the algae was still present especially on the edges of leaves, rocks, logs and filters.  It was a victory to some extent but I still wasn't satisfied. <"So many foxes, so many rabbits"... or... why don't "they" make a chemical to kill ALL the fleas?> Keep in mind, at the time I had quite a lot of fish in my tank and only a few plants, including some Anubias and java ferns...which were toast by now.  For the most part, these plants regenerated their leaves much too slowly to keep up with the algae...they weren't dead but they were barely hanging on.  Then  I remembered a trick I had learned when I previously combated green algae, suffocation & starvation; basically, take away all the CO2 and nitrates that they need to grow.  So I went out and got a ton of hardy, quick growing, broad leaved plants like Hygrophilas and jungle Val's.  Now I know what you're thinking, these are just going to be chum for the algae...but not so.  Once the new plants started taking over, the CO2 and nitrate saturation went down and the rest of the black algae started disappearing. <Yay!> After about a year since the initial invasion, my tank is clear of about 95% of the black algae.  I still see some 1 to 2mm diameter spots here and there on some of the older plant leaves but no threads are evident and now the Anubias and java ferns are starting to come back.  Sure it took some time, patience and a little money, but heck...knowing that the lives of my fishes were saved was well worth it. Greg K. P.S.  For those who are curious: 1)  Now, I only do water changes once every 3-4 months...I'm not kidding!  My phosphate, ammonia, and nitrate levels are barely registering.  And get this, NO CHEMICAL FILTRATION!!!  Just a good ole undergravel filter. <Works for me> 2)  My tank gets a good 10 hrs of sunlight plus I leave the lights on from the time I get up until I go to bed.  So yes, the plants are very happy!...maybe too happy, I have to prune them once the week now... <And they all lived happily after, end of line. Bob Fenner>

Re: It's a jungle in there! Hi Ronni, how are you? <I'm doing good, hope this finds you the same!> It's been a whole MONTH (wow) since I was in touch with you about my 15 gallon community aquarium. Right now, have 2 Otos (much fatter than when I purchased them), 2 male cherry barbs, 2 Amano shrimp, and the 2 white cloud minnows and 2 harlequin rasboras. My question tonight is about algae! Tank specs are all good- ph is 6.6-6.8, nitrite 0, nitrate 2.5, kH is 2-3degrees but gH is still high at 20degrees. No ammonia and the 2 15 watt bulbs are on about 10 hours a day. I add Kent Pro Plant when I do weekly water change, Flourish 2x a week, and use Flourish Excel for carbon daily. I also have the iron tabs in laterite substrate. <This all sounds good.> I took some pictures and don't know if they'll help- they are not clear enough- so see if this makes sense w/o photos. If photos will help, I'll send another email out with pics. Plants I have in tank are: Bacopa monnieri, Hygrophila polysperma (2 dwarf green, 3 sunset or v. Tropica, Anubias, java ferns, and windelov ferns on rock. About 2 weeks ago the Bacopa which was a gorgeous green all over started to get these small rusty color specks on the tiny leaves- at first I thought it was rust or dark red/brown spots. I can't rub them off. The new growth, upper tips of plants don't have then, the lower leaves do, and the runners that the plant shot out also have them- are these brown algae? If yes, what do I do? <It's actually most likely blue-green algae even though it appears brown. Take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm there's a lot of info on the different types and also on control there.> Problem is that the plant is now also more yellow- lower leaves really yellow and come off, almost disintegrate but there is new growth the is green. Since plant looks much weaker, I'm wondering if I should just remove and get something else. <Unless they're really bugging you or polluting your tank, I would leave them for now and see if their health improves. Sometimes it will.> The Hygrophila dwarf, that is green is ok- but the sunset lower leaves are turning pale green then disintegrate. I know this subspecies needs more light than dwarf, but I thought moderate light I have would be enough- the top leaves do continue to grow, but the bottoms leaves continue to disintegrate. They have no rust brown spots like the Bacopa does. My problem with the sunset plant is that the leaves are disintegrating.... <Sometimes this does happen. I lost a whole batch of Dwarf Hygro and regular Hygro this way. It may very well be the lighting.> Last, the roots of the Anubias plant (attached to driftwood), my java ferns and windelov ferns. These have these small slender brown fuzzy hairs- at the tops of the leaves, by roots- I guess this is hair algae? It just started this week. Also, I've noticed some black fuzzy beard on driftwood, a little patch, but I read I have to just use toothbrush and take it out- but it's the javas I worry about- they also have these black little spores on the back, and on the tips of leaves- Algae again? <Yep, hair algae and the little black spores are also algae. The URL above has info on both of these.> I noticed that Otos don't eat the hair stuff- they do attach to the Bacopa leaves and the side of tank- that's it. Someone said a Pleco is good for brown of green slime algae (is that what is on the Bacopa leaves ). Is this true? Would a Pleco be compatible in my tank? Can I add just one, since I don't think I can add 2 fish to set up <A single small Pleco could be added but they grow quite rapidly and will outgrow your tank so you'll have to trade it back in. And generally, Plecos only eat green algae. I wouldn't recommend one for you.> Hope you can help. Just when I thought I was going along well, plants look pale, yellow, and god, now slimy!! <LOL! Hang in there, it will get better.> <Take care, Ronni>

Re: Algae Ronni, Here are the algae on the Bacopa, windelov ferns, java ferns. If it is too much, I'll send each one individually- for some reason they did not compress in the zip file. <Yes, I can see the algae by resizing the picture to a smaller size. You should find lots of info at that URL.> FYI, forget the zebra Pleco question- I just found out from the kribplant that although small, zebra Plecos really do NOT eat algae- Ughh <Oh, a Zebra Pleco. They're cool looking but definitely not recommended in this case.> <You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: It's a jungle in there! Ronni, Yep, I do vacuum gravel each time and move stuff around- so I will stop that and go for deadish leaves etc. I've added Bio-Spira though, every other week, since I have new fish and that at least made sure that bacteria were around and helping out tank- this product is so great, I wish I knew about it when I first started cycling tank. <When you say you move stuff around, does this include your plants? If so, this is a definite no-no. The plants should be as undisturbed as possible to allow them to root.> Someone from the Krib got back to me- and agreed with you, that Nitrate is too low and most likely potassium as well- he recommended I can either get something like Kent Pro Plant, which is sodium nitrite base, or even Kent K, which is made from muriate potash.- He recommended I use only HALF dosage and see what happens- think this will bring back the hair algae thing though?- Last thing I want is more algae hairs. <Very good. I don't think it will cause more hair algae but if you start to notice some, discontinue use of the product.> On your web, someone talked about Vita Lite and how great they are- I forgot to ask what kind of lighting you use- Maybe if I just get better bulbs, plants will also get more light, etc. Since the Eclipse is just "Natural Lite", 2 at 15, maybe I just need better light bulbs- any ideas on that- or again, what do you use in your tank? I do think it's great looking, <I'm going from memory here so I may be wrong but I think I'm using 1 AquaSun 40W bulb, 1 Power-Glo 40W bulb, and 1 Marine-Glo 40W bulb. I do plan on replacing the Marine-Glo bulb soon, I don't care for the actinic on FW. Better lighting might help you but I really see the above two things as more of a problem right now.> thanks FOR ALL YOUR help- Rosa <You're welcome! Ronni>

Re: Lighting Hi Ronni, <When you say you move stuff around, does this include your plants? If so, this is a definite no-no. The plants should be as undisturbed as possible to allow them to root.> Should have been clearer- no I don't move plants, just sift in gravel, vacuum it up in spots, move around the free small pieces of driftwood etc. I'd never taken out the driftwood center piece but since there was that beard algae I did, scrubbed it off with a toothbrush and put it back. Tank is clearer now but tonight I found some more fuzz and hairs growing in the Anubias-, never been there before-  along with some small, dark black blue spots! I don't get it- how does it come back so fast?? I think I'll go look for barley straw and wipe off the Anubias tomorrow morning. I can't think of anything else- <Ah, OK.> I finally got a response from Eclipse people and the bulbs I have are Natural Daylight, 5200K, 750 lumens, but only 69 CRI (your site recommends at least 90CRI!!) The Vita Lite is 5500K and 610 lumens, but 91CRI. There are other bulbs they sell with higher lumens but I only have 2 18inch bulbs and this is the best I can do without re-rigging a new lighting system. So maybe the new bulbs, some Nitrogen/Potassium vitamins will help- but other than water changes, I am not sure how to get rid of that hair algae stuff. Will try the barley straw if I can find some- I should be able to fit a small bag in my filter. <This all sounds good. If you do decide to redo your lighting, you can get a SmartLite power compact retrofit kit that should work in your hood. It's pretty reasonably priced (around $50) and would give you 32w of PC lighting. I run this on my nano reef and it's pretty bright. It's also easy to install.> There is a product called Algone, that is suppose to be all natural grasses and herbs- they have a website too- that is suppose to help with algae and green water- Ever heard of them, or use the product? <I've heard of it but never tried it. I seriously thought about it (and still am!) and am signed up on their mailing list but have never actually ordered. Mainly because I really worry about putting anything in my tanks. But I'm now reaching the point with my hair algae problem that it's driving me insane. I pulled a large clump out yesterday and it's back again today. Aarrgh!> Thanks again for all the help- will let you know in a month or so how the new bulbs are doing and the vitamins too- you ARE the best, <Thank you!!> Rosa Wish I had your wattage, but I'd need a whole new set up, and I'm having enough trouble just with the <Really though, our wattage is very similar. I have 120w to your 30 but mine's on a 60 gallon tank instead of a 15. Ronni>

Re: strange algae in my planted tank Hi Bob, <Hi there! Ronni here today answering the freshwater questions.> Perhaps you can tell me what's going on.  I have a 220 gal discus tank.  There is a strange type of algae is growing on some of my plants and is spreading. It is stringy looking and grey in color.  It is not attractive and I would like to know how to get rid of it with out removing my plants.  Any advice would be appreciated. <Do check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm and probably also http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdalgcontrol.htm and their related FAQ's. You should be able to find a wealth of info on ridding your system of this annoying algae.> Regards, Douglas <Best to you, Ronni>

Re: Black bumps/spots Hi, please help!!! <Will certainly try!> Hard black spots/bumps are appearing on my plants especially my Alternanthera reineckii (roseafolia). I can't brush them off so I'm pretty sure they aren't algae. What is this and what can I do? Thank you for your time. Theo <Actually, these are algae and are a pretty common problem in many planted tanks. Please see http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontagfaqs.htm for more info. Ronni>

Algae in a planted freshwater tank Howdy, <Howdy. Ananda here answering the plant questions...>     Here are a couple pics of my problem.  I'm guessing it is thread algae. <Looks like it could be both thread algae (first pic) and black beard algae (second pic).> It has spread to every live plant in my 29 gal. freshwater tank. <Ouch.>   I have seen you recommend a sailfin Pleco to help the problem, but I have one that is 5 1/4 in. and he doesn't seem to touch the stuff.   <For the thread algae, I've heard Florida Flagfish aka American Flagfish are good. I have one in my 30 gallon tank, but haven't seen any hair algae since I added him. For the black beard algae, a true Siamese algae eater should help. Be sure you get the real Crossocheilus siamensis rather than similar fish like the Chinese algae eater or Thai flying fox, which are also frequently labeled as Siamese algae eaters! Look for completely clear fins and a solid black stripe that goes all the way to the V point in the tail fin. Fishbase.org has a good picture showing these traits.> I have 5 longfin zebra danios that seem to bite at it every once in a while but they don't do any good.  My other 9 fish don't touch it.  My ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0 ppm and pH is right around 7.0 . I use Leaf Zone fertilizer (0-0-3) at recommended dosage.   <I would quit adding the fertilizer immediately. Have you checked what are your nitrate levels at? You probably have too high a nitrate level, which is part of what's causing your algae outbreak!> My lights are over a year old so I am going to replace them. They are on a timer for 15hrs/day. <Too long. Decrease that to 12 hours per day.> All the plants had been growing tremendously for over a year w/ these conditions until this algae showed up about a month ago.  Should I try some of the other fish that you have recommended to other people?   <See above...> I have seen you talk about phosphates ... are they critical and if so what is the best way to maintain the proper balance?   <Phosphates are the other big thing that algae (and other plants) feed on. To keep it in check, make sure you are rather under-stocked in the tank, and don't feed as heavily or as often! Most freshwater fish food has a fairly high percentage of phosphate. Another thing that may help, depending on which fish you have, is ghost shrimp -- the common feeder shrimp. I have found that they are great at cleaning up uneaten fish food, and they do eat some algae. However, do some research first to see if your current tank inhabitants would view the ghost shrimp as food!> Any other suggestions to get rid of this menace that is starting to kill my plants?   <Yes.  Even if you get a Siamese algae eater and a flag fish -- both of which can be difficult to find -- they may not be able to keep up with the fast-growing algae. Your other option is to eradicate it by hand. In that, you must be ruthless, or it will keep coming back! With any plant that has algae, cut off the affected parts if possible, or remove the whole plant if it is covered in the stuff. Black beard algae seems to start on the edges of the leaves. If you catch it early, you could trim the edges of broad-leaf plants with a pair of scissors if you don't want to remove the whole leaf. Scraping the algae from the leaves just doesn't work, as it damages the leaf and doesn't remove all of the algae. I've had both of these types of algae. It wiped out the plants in the 5 gallon tank. In the 30 gallon tank, I was able to save one swordplant, some vals, and a couple of small java ferns. Had I been more aggressive in my initial removal efforts, I would have been able to save more plants.> Thanks for your time.  Your site has helped me countless times. <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Freshwater Algae Problems Hi, I have had a 20 gallon fish tank for approximately 11 years now and until recently always had only goldfish in it. Within the last 4 months I have been cleaning and replacing some of the decorations and plants (plastic) in the tank, put in a new filter, new heater, and I've added Tetras for the first time. I had a "sucker" fish, but I put it in too soon after cleaning the tank and it died. I noticed last night that my tank had become very dirty. I checked the filter which was clogged with a type of algae. I unclogged the filter and replaced the cartridge and the tank has cleared some what. This algae is now on the old plants that I've not yet replaced and on the glass walls as well. The algae appears to be black and "furry." <Ahh, hair algae.> The water at the top of the tank has bubbles. <Proteins? Possible over feeding.> I have not experienced this form of algae before and I'm wondering if this has something to do with the Tetras or that I'm heating the tank now. <Neither really. Algae is always a function of nutrients and available light.> Should I replace the old plants that have this algae? <No, you must tackle the root cause to rid yourself of this for good.> What should I do or use to get rid of this algae? <Do take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/clndecorag.htm and the related FAQ files.> I'd super appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks a ton! Tammie Law <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Inquiry on black algae Dear Wet Web Media Crew, Hi! I like to know what exactly is black algae and green algae and what the  differences are.  And how can I get rid of them?  Is there a safe way I can  chemically treat my tank without harming my fish?  And is there a  non-chemical way to get rid of it? <I would not use chemicals to get rid of algae, the chemicals will only treat the symptoms and not the actual problem, which is excess nutrients.  So if you get rid of the excess nutrients, you will get rid of your algae.  Check out the links below for more information on algae. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > I heard there were some aquatic plants that compete with algae for  nutrients and others that produce a toxin to the algae and I was wondering  if you could give me some names of some plants that actually do this. <Any plant that you add will compete for nutrients, I am personally not aware of plants that actually cause harm to the algae with toxins. The trick is to find plants that will grow well in your tank, if it is not growing well, it is not using up nutrients.> Lastly, what kind of fish or shrimp eats algae?  Can you name me some that can actually get along with a guppy and a Cory catfish. <Otocinclus, Siamese Algae eaters, Plecostomus, Japonica shrimp will all eat certain types of algae and are for the most part non aggressive.  The problem will be water conditions, guppies prefer harder alkaline water.  I would focus on determining what is fueling the algae and maintaining optimum water quality, this alone should get rid of the algae.> Thanks a lot! Ann

Re: algae? Hello, can you help me out in trying to identify this algae?  it is a brown hair that has grown over the edges of most of my plants. (fresh water tank).  thank you, jay <Hey Jay,  I cannot tell what type of algae it is from the pic, but it is most likely caused by nutrient accumulation.  Try changing 25% of the carbon weekly instead of the entire amount monthly.  Extra water changes, and no over feeding.  If you are feeding frozen foods, be sure that the juice left over after it is thawed does not end up in the aquarium.  Check out the article below for some more information.  -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm>

Re: Algae problems Hello gentlemen, Thank you for the reply but have to admit, I still am not sure what I am supposed to do about my Algae problem.  I read the whole article you referred me to but it all seemed to refer to salt water not freshwater plant tank. <our apologies... most algae queries are marine. Still... the root cause is the same: nutrient issues. The solution is also the same... controlling and exporting nutrients. Careful feeding, larger water changes, more frequent use of carbon, etc. Natural predators are available too depending on compatibility of tankmates: Otocinclus, flaying foxes, Sailfin Plecos (Gibbiceps), etc> I have a 90 gallon tank w/ 4 bulb 96 watt compact florescent lights on about 10 hr. on timer, <no worries about the lights... algae needs nutrients more than bright light. Nuisance algae really is all about nutrient control> canister filter, ammonia-0, nitrite-0, GH-2,KH-5, Iron 1ppl, phosphorous 0 using Phosguard, pH 6.7 controlled with CO2 injection. <you may need to back off the CO2 for a bit... it does fertilize algae just like plants> Live plants  thriving and doing well. Water changes done with RO water. Have 8 fish, 3 Otocinclus and 3 Farlowella, 2 cardinal tetras.  I do not....repeat DO NOT feed the fish they live solely on the algae in the tank <excellent to hear> and have been in there about 1 month now and growing in size. Not to mention they're cute. <agreed... and although you could use more Otos... there may be more than even they can handle. Do consider reducing the CO2 a bit> I have another algae looks like long green threads coming from the ends of my plant leaves.   <appropriately named "thread algae"... very sinewy and not touched by most algae grazers except the big mean ones (Gibbiceps Plecos)> The Otto's and Farlowellas wont touch the stuff any ideas? <thread algae usually needs to be manually cropped for the Otos to keep it down from low> Gage seems to think it is BGA. After reading every article you have on the stuff I might agree but like I said everything is written about saltwater. Any and all ideas would be greatly appreciated.   I also asked about the continual rising pH in my tank.  Whenever I shut off the CO2 injection my pH goes from 6.7 to 7.6 in 24 hours and that is not good.   <agreed... too severe. I would never recommend co2 without a pH controller to dose it. Quite dangerous otherwise> My GH is 2 and KH-5, I always thought pH dropped with an aging system not the other way around.   <you are correct... it does drop... but CO2 imparts carbonic acid in to the tank which can be off-gassed. This happens when you shut the CO2 off and pH rises (no more acid from CO2 and temp alkalinity is increased through aeration)> I use only RO water to do water changes 20% every two weeks with no additives.   <a little dangerous if the RO water is completely unbuffered... this leads to wild pH swings and possible crashes. You do need a little buffer/hardness for stability> I would think it should be dropping like a bad habit but nope. I am using an iron supplement for my plants and it seems to be working well but I do notice a pH shift when I use it. I am using Aquarium Landscapes formula F at the dosage on the bottle....10 ml per 50 gallons, I use 15 ml.  When I add it I watch the pH dip about . 25 is this normal?   <seems to be a bit much... but it could be due to the softness of the water> it does slowly come back up in about 2 hours. Should I be worried about the shift when I dose.   <more than .2 is a bad habit> I use their test kit to keep iron at 1 ppm.  Sorry for being so long I don't know what I would do without you guys. Thank you for everything!! Philip <our pleasure... best regards, Anthony>

Strange Algae Hello guys! I have a quick question about some algae I have growing in a live plant tank. I have no idea what it is or how to stop it. It kinda looks like somebody took green cotton balls and rubbed them on my driftwood and plants. It has a long and fluffy style to it. Any ideas as to what it is and how to stop it? <Take a look at this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm  and see if it looks similar to the picture at the top of the page.> I purchased 4 Otto's yesterday but am thinking that either I get a dozen more of them or do something else! <I am leaning more towards nutrient control.> I have a 90 gallon tank with 4 x 96 watt compact florescent lights on about 10 hour on a timer, canister filter, ammonia-0, nitrite-0, GH-3, KH-5, Iron 1ppl, phosphorous a little on the high side, <The phosphate maybe your problem.> pH 6.7 controlled with CO2 injection. Plants thriving and doing well. Also, I wanted to say how much I love your web page. It makes this hobby so much easier knowing that there is this information to help as well as knowledgeable professionals to ask questions. Thank you for any and all help. Sincerely, Philip <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

ALGAE!!! ...and plants....UGH! Hello Bob and gang, Once again, KUDOS on the terrific site...keep up the great work! I've included some (reduced) photos to better illustrate my problem...I hope they can help. Anyhow, the details: 29 Gallon freshwater tank, established for about a year. Water quality is exceptional...Nitrate at 5ppm or less and phosphorus is MAYBE a trace, very close to zero, anyhow. 6.4-6.6 pH, distilled - then reclaimed with R.O Vital and peat softened water (I also use a phosphate free acid buffer to help maintain pH), dKH 3, GH 6...no CO2 added YET, my test kit (LaMotte) indicates around 6ppm CO2 after 10 hours light. I also use a carbon alternative called Renew...but I haven't used activated carbon for several months. Plants include a full grown Amazon Sword, a single bunch of microsword, two ozelot swords and one Anubias v. nana (pardon my very poor Latin). Lighting is one 65W compact fluorescent 8600 degree bulb, and one 65W half 10000 degree and half actinic bulb. (the half and half is a temporary replacement). Fish include two Otocinclus, two Corys, several male guppies, 6 Siamese algae eaters, 3 head and tail lights, 6 clown loaches and a glass fish (part of our original conception...doesn't really match the rest, but he seems happy!) All fish are happy and all plants exhibit new growth. <Guppies don't really run with this crowd, different water parameters.> I have 2 main problems...algae...and a strange occurrence that is happening with our plants...mainly the 3 swords. I've been getting two (perhaps three) main types of algae attacking our plants. One is black or very dark brown "spots" on the leaves...it doesn't appear that any of the fish find it palatable. The glass also gets a coating of bright green algae (perhaps the same stuff?), that every 2 weeks or so must be scraped off (it is VERY laborious to scrape this stuff!) The other is a really strange "branchy" looking thing. I originally found it growing in two batches of java moss...I ended up discarding both batches of moss because they were simply being overrun by this stuff. But now I find it here and there attached to plants. I also get a fine, thread algae, but that usually doesn't last long, as the SAE's and/or guppies usually find it and have a snack. Not sure if the two are related (loosely speaking). The other problem is what is shown in photos 4 and 5. One is a chalkish looking growth on the plant leaves, either in "spots" (as shown) or in streaks, too. Photo 5 exhibits the small holes that [only the] swords get. Sometimes they develop as soon as a new shoot comes up. I'm hoping it's just the SAE's dining on them, but I didn't think they really liked plants much. The photo doesn't describe how extensive the damage is...almost every new shoot from the Amazon and Ozelot swords get the holes...but they don't seem to be progressive, they get "attacked" and then are allowed to grow uninterrupted...I think. =) Anyhow...thanks for your time, and hope you can help! Cheers, Michael <Hello Michael, it sounds like you are doing a fine job with this tank. Algae will always occur when it has enough nutrients to feed on. So if you reduce the excess nutrients you should be able to reduce the algae as well. Some additional water flow may help, or possibly more plants to compete for nutrients. The holes in the plants are probably from snails, they have a way of sneaking in on plants. I am not sure what the chalky stuff is, does it rub off easily, or is it like a hard water stain on glass? Please check out our FAQs for more info on controlling algae, best regards, Gage. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm>

Algae problem (FW planted tank) Have 30 gal. plant/fish tank. Estab'd 4 years ago. Base is non-clump kitty litter covered with sand. About 20 gal. water. Fluval 2 (small) submerged filter with carbon insert. two 20 watt Marine and Power Glo bulbs with open tank top. Original 7 or so plants (mostly crypt variety and swords) have spread and covered most of the bottom. 12 small fish (tetras and barbs) <Okay> About 4 months ago developed bright green (lime) algae that covers plant surfaces and glass. Algae almost like slime. Replaced bulbs. Tried 3x a week water changes at 4 gals each, scrubbing leaves with wire bottle brush and scraping glass. Algae destroyer does nothing. <Yes... a not untypical series of events... given time frame, age of components (lamps, kitty litter)...> Apart from being a month or two behind bulb replacement, nothing different done to tank. Water changes at 4 gals once per week. No sunlight at tank. Local water very hard. Not tested recently but recall PH in 8 range. Another tank converted to cichlids for that reason. <pH high... you might utilize a bit of biphosphate (commercial product) or blend in some water of lower pH to edge this down to the mid 7's or so.> Has local dealer mystified. Suggested perhaps not enough oxygen or need for CO2 regulator.  <Possibly, yes> Can do some water changes with R/O water used for reef tank to decrease phosphate.  <Good moves... I would try this route for a few weeks to see if there's an appreciable drop in pest algae growth.> Appreciate any suggestions as not making headway. <Please take a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/algcontags.htm and the FAQs beyond... as well as the general articles on live plant culture in the planted tanks subweb. Bob Fenner> Thx- Nick Lovell

Green water Hi Bob and crew, I've been battling a problem with green cloudy water for a little over a month. I have written before and Bob recommended to mix a rounded teaspoon of baking soda in with about a quart of water with water changes. I did do this and it cleared up the white cloudiness, thank you for the advice. I still had an algae bloom though (free floating the water had a green tint). I read the FAQ's here to get some ideas on how to get it under control. I added more activated carbon to my power filter, and bought more live plants making my tank about 60% planted. <You have to kill or remove the green water. I would be very tempted to do a 100% water change. Else, there are algicides marketed for just these situations.> After not seeing any improvement after a week I decided to change the light. I had 110W of PC on the tank (a 55 gallon) and removed it and put regular fluorescence on it decreasing the wattage over half. The water is finally starting to clear, but the tank is very dark and the plants are not fairing very well under such minimal light. <Correct, not a long-term solution.> Once the green is gone could I introduce the PC back and just cover up half the bulbs with aluminum foil or do I need to try and add more plants first. <Neither, you need to get your nutrient levels under control and get the plants you have established and growing.> I also read in the FAQ's about adding water sprite for nutrient out put. I've not been able to find that particular plant out here and was wondering if there is another that is an equivalent that I could use. <Anything that you can find that is very fast growing. Some people use duckweed.> Thank you again for all your help, Dela Yazzie <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Algae question (hard, green spots on freshwater plants) Hello, I have a 20-gallon freshwater aquarium with Great Danios, Harlequins, a Pleco, and live plants. I recently started seeing bright green round spots on the walls and on the leaves of my plants. I can scrub the algae from the walls, but find it difficult to scrape them off the leaves of my plants (the leaf is more likely to come off the stem). What kind of algae is this, and how can I prevent it (before I end up with plants with no leaves?)? And why isn't the Pleco eating it? <There are a few identified species of this "hard, round, bright green algae". And yes, very tough to remove manually from plant leaves... and apparently not very palatable to many of the commonly employed algae eating animals in freshwater aquariums. I suggest trying the Siamese Algae Eater (sometimes hard to come by the real thing. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/saesags.htm and if they (I'd try two) don't clear the spots, I might attempt altering your water chemistry... in the hope of shifting the make-up of the system to favor other forms of life. Adding carbon dioxide, perhaps shifting the pH down... with knowing, monitoring water quality. This "spottiness" isn't impossible to beat... but can be a challenge. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Leslie

Algae Eater for a Plant Tank Hello, and thank you in advance for your time. <You are welcome.> I have a 75 gallon aquarium that I has been set up for a month now. It is planted (not too heavily). I plan on this being a discus tank. My question is, there is already a lot of algae accumulation on the glass of the tank. What kind of algae eater can I get for this type of set up? I know I need a fish that can withstand temp. from 80 to 84 degrees because of the discus and something that will not eat my plants. To be honest I don't really know what kind of plants I have but I know they are not the tough leaf variety. I have some grass and something called moneywort? And some very tall fuzzy pine looking ones that grow almost like weeds. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. <Many plant keepers use Otocinclus catfish, Siamese algae eaters, or Amano shrimp. Take a look at the following links. -Steven Pro> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpfw.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/otosagb.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/saesagb.htm Raya McMann

BGA Secrets Revealed - how one reader did it... OK Bob, the way I did it was as follows. <<Not Bob, but JasonC filling in for Bob while he is away diving.>> 1.Remove all plants and decor to another container. 2.I then added campden (sodium metabisulphate) tablets at the rate of 1 Tab per gallon. 3.No lights, Do not disturb. 4.After 3 days all plants and decor were rinsed thoroughly to remove dead BGA. 5.Siphon off as much mulm and algae as you can see from aquarium. 6.Replant the aquarium and wait with baited breath for the next two weeks. <<so would you say this is strictly for planted tanks?>> The plants do not seem to have been affected at all, and there are no signs of regrowth. <<good enough. Thanks for the info, will post in tomorrow's dailies. Cheers, J -- >>

More on BGA Secrets Revealed... It could be done with any decor, You must remember this was done in another container not in the aquarium. I would think that the Sodium Metabisulphate would kill all your livestock if you did this in the aquarium. <<Ahh ok, so you treated the decor in a separate container and removed the BGA from that... but BGA is bacterial, meaning that it is possible to leave it behind in the tank. What's to stop this from coming back in the main tank - given a little time of course... Thanks for the clarification. Cheers, J -- >>

Follow up on the BGA Cure I think that whilst I was treating the plants and decor the filtration had the chance to catch up and settle down. I did do a good water change ensuring I vacuumed every bit of detritus I could see before replacing plants etc. I use sand substrate so the detritus all sits on the top. <<ahh, ok. Do keep us informed as to the long term results. Cheers, J -- >>

Mysterious growth on plants Hi Bob, <<JasonC here, filling in for Bob so he can pack. I'll warn you now that I have no personal experience with planted tanks but do know where to go for help when I need it so I'll be bouncing this question off some other people, if you don't mind.>> I have had this problem since I first put real plants in my tank (72 gal) over 2 years ago. I have asked some of the dealers what is growing on the leaves of the plants and they don't know. What it looks like is black fur or fuzz growing on the leaves of the plants, this is causing them to curl and die. This black fuzz is now growing on my lava rock in the tank. The last time this happened I took everything out of the tank and gave them a bleach wash. This worked for a while but now the growths are coming back. I do regular weekly water changes, I check the chemistry of the tank regularly and I have two pumps (Eheims), one a canister the other is inside the tank and nothing seems out of the ordinary. Can you tell me what this "fuzz" is? and how do you get rid of it? Dorn Ray <<on the quick round up of "the usual suspects" I would be very suspicious of your lava rock. Volcanic rock often contains a [higher than normal] concentration of Iron, and the black fuzz you are seeing could well be oxidation. Additionally, the bleaching wouldn't ever affect this property of the lava rock, so that every time you return the rock to the tank, the problem returns. Can you try the tank for a while without the lava rock, perhaps storing it in another tank? The fact that the "black fuzz" also/now appears on the rock is a clue, methinks. Best of luck, J -- >>

Re: mysterious growth on plants <<Zo... am saving your response to add to the others on WWM. Be chatting. Bob F>> > What it looks like is black fur or fuzz growing on the leaves of the plants It's likely just a filamentous algae, and is induced by all the same factors as nuisance marine algae - insufficient/narrow spectrum light, excessive silicates and other nutrients, etc. The best thing to do is wipe it off your plants with your hands as often as possible, collecting it with a dip net, have the water checked for assorted nutrients, and make sure your canisters are CLEAN, NOT filled with yummy detritus. The stuff should also rinse off the plants pretty easily during a vigorous water change/vacuuming. The idea, however, is to physically remove it from the tank as best as possible. The other plants can/will compete, if given favorable conditions (lighting, perhaps a C02 supply). I'd recommend bouncing this question off PF on the forum, as well, he's a planted tank freak. The lava rock is a possible factor, but I'm not sure how likely, I've had lava rock in plenty of my own freshwater tanks in the past, without this problem. -Zo

Mysterious growth on plants Hi Bob, I have had this problem since I first put real plants in my tank (72 gal) over 2 years ago. I have asked some of the dealers what is growing on the leaves of the plants and they don't know. What it looks like is black fur or fuzz growing on the leaves of the plants, this is causing them to curl and die. This black fuzz is now growing on my lava rock in the tank. The last time this happened I took everything out of the tank and gave them a bleach wash. This worked for a while but now the growths are coming back. <Yes... an old "friend"... blue-green algae, aka Cyanobacteria...> I do regular weekly water changes, I check the chemistry of the tank regularly and I have two pumps (Eheims), one a canister the other is inside the tank and nothing seems out of the ordinary. Can you tell me what this "fuzz" is? and how do you get rid of it? Dorn Ray <There are a few approaches one can/should try. Unfortunately, as you likely well know, there are no real "algae eaters" that will touch this stuff... no catfishes, shrimps, snails... nada. Chemical treatments are contra-indicated as being too toxic overall... What you really want is a long/er term environmental attack plan. I am sending you to a couple of places on our site. Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm for a rundown of what BGA are, their control in marine systems (about the same for fresh) Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm for general algae control in planted aquariums... and I don't see a piece on carbon dioxide use.... But I would likely take the steps of increasing illumination (intensity, duration) by adding, leaving lights on, increase aeration, circulation (as higher DO and Redox are more harmful to BGA than your desired plant life), use carbon filtration, possibly PolyFilter and cut back feeding (to limit nutrient)... AND consider the possibility of infusing carbon dioxide to boost non-BGA photosynthetic competition. Bob Fenner>

Re: black fur growing on my plants <<Jason here...>> Great! Thanks for your reply. I'm glad it sounds like a simple fix. I'll let you know how it goes. <<Should be simple, do give a holler if things get complicated.>> jj <<Cheers, J -- >>


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