Master of Algae (THE MOA)
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Re: Black, Brown, and Green Algae. Yea I've got it.
if you let things continue, the algae will probably take over your tank. the black beard/brush algae(the hairy black stuff) will eventually attach itself to your plants and you wont be able to get it off without damaging the leaves. i have been fighting the stuff for years now, and have learned a few tricks...
option one: add a couple siamese algae eater, chrossocheilus siamensis. they are probably the best biological control, as they are one of the only fish known to eat BBA.
option two: spot nuke the algae with hydrogen peroxide. i used to do this from time to time and never lost any fish from it, but you have to be careful about the dose. i cant remember the exact dose i was using, but the basic method is that you slowly squirt a little hydrogen peroxide directly at the algae. it will start to bubble within the next minute or so. you have to leave the lights on in order to decompose the hydrogen peroxide, otherwise it will kill your fish(even so, it is still rough on them).
option three: blackout. i never had much success with this as BBA can withstand blackouts better than most of my plants can.
option four: switch your lights to actinic and ultraviolet lights. looks horrible, but BBA does not use blue and ultraviolet nearly as well as it does red light. only when BBA dies will it ever actually reflect light.
i went so far as to shine different colored lasers at clumps of BBA in order to determine what it does and does not reflect, and my findings were not encouraging. BBA is a superbug when it comes to photosynthesis, however it does not seem to do as well when only given blue light. the down side is that any ambient light reaching your tank from outside can sustain the BBA.
i have had the most success with the siamese algae eaters. they are a relatively safe and peaceful fish that will happily eat algae all day long. if they run out of algae, they will even accept normal flake food. three of them take care of my 65gallon display tank.
the last option is a little more tricky. if you can manage to grow your plants fast enough by injecting CO2 while also providing enough light to allow the plants to fully photosynthesize it, you may be able to get your plants to "outpace" the algae. the only problem is, if you dont keep it up then the algae will eventually come right back.
You show me a man who can reliably grow algae and I will show you a man who can reliably grow fish.