black-looking algae on my terra cotta pot - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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black-looking algae on my terra cotta pot

My 5 gallon tank has a terra cotta pot cave, and the top of it is growing what I'm assuming is algae. It's black and makes it look dirty. Ick. I do have a bit of a brown algae issue ever since I got my awesome LED lamp to use as my tank light, but I usually scrub it off the insides of the tank with my net. It doesn't really come off the pot, though. Maybe because it's porous?? Anyone else ever have this problem? How did you get it off?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 04:13 PM
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It sounds more like a bacterial bloom unless it's actually growing. I use some Kosher salt and a new toothbrush that you can save for fish only scrubbing to get that stuff off of ornaments.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 08:43 AM Thread Starter
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I thought bacterial bloom was when the water got all cloudy. That's not what is happening. It's just black stuff growing on my pot and it looks like some is growing on one of my plants, too (I noticed just some of it a few weeks ago but now there's a lot). Then there is brown algae that I have to keep cleaning off my glass.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 09:15 AM
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That is the beginning of black beard/hair algae (BBA for short), or maybe black brush algae. Does it look like fine hair, or is is short and brushy?

It begins this way and then spreads to plant leaves, like you've mentioned. This can be a tough one to control. How strong is your light, and how long do you have it on? BBA happens (there is no scientific proof however), when your light is strong and the nutrients in your water are high. If you have live plants in there, they are so busy processing all the light that the water is deficient of CO2.

It's a tough one to remove...a peroxide dip works IME. You may want to reduce the time your light is on and up your water changes. I guess it's just like many other algae in that respect.

Some fancypants people use flourish excel to help supplement the CO2, but that's only for serious planted tank people, as excel is a little bit dangerous.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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It's short and brushy. My light is actually a really bright LED desk lamp. I have no idea what it equals to in the K number. But my plants started growing great when I started using it. I usually have the tank light on from the time I leave for work in the morning (about 7:30) until I go to bed (around 11:00 PM). I just moved my tank to my new house a few weeks ago and now it's on my kitchen counter where it gets some direct sunlight for a few hours during the day. So maybe I should keep the light off during the day and only turn it on when I get home from work for a couple hours?
I don't have a ton of plants, though. It's a 5 gallon tank and I have a rosette sword (where the black stuff is spreading to), an Amazon sword, and some fanwort.
So... a peroxide dip? I can do that with the pot, but what about the plant? Will the algae stop spreading if I don't keep the light on for as long and do more water changes? I'm also getting ready to move all three of my bettas to a divided 10 gallon tank which I will be setting up soon. So when I take out the rosette sword to transfer it over, will I then be able to do a peroxide dip on the plant? It won't harm the plant? Or if it hasn't spread too far I can just prune the plant and get rid of the leaves with the black algae. So far it's only three leaves. It won't get transferred over to the new tank, will it?
Thanks a lot!

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 06:22 PM
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If you can take a picture it would help much more. It sounds like BBA, but we need a picture to say for certain it is BBA. It is a pain in the arse to get rid of, luckily though you can easily take the pot out and put a small amount of bleach on it and kill it.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I took the pot out and was able to wash the algae off with water and paper towels. I was also able to rub it off of the plant with only a few black spots left. most of it was actually brown. hmmm... the black spots aren't fuzzy or hairy though, so maybe it's not BBA...
I'll post a pic tomorrow.

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