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Old 11-01-2010, 08:41 AM   #1 
wystearya's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: WV
Algae, diatoms, or ..?

I have something growing in my tank and it's not just my plants. There are weird hairlike things growing on my plants, and a few on one side of the tank. The base of these look brown, but the rest is a hair-like green stalk. I don't have a picture, but I can try to get one tomorrow if needed.

I'm trying to cut down the hours I leave the tank light on, and I have cut back on the live plant fertilizer for now as well. I'm hoping whatever it is will die off, but it seems to be thriving. :/

Any idea what this stuff is? Or how to be rid of it? - I know I can wipe the tank, but it's mostly on my live plants. I don't want to kill my plants.

Thanks for any help!
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:54 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Hair Algae or Staghorn. What ferts are you using. You might be missing something. If your just using comprehensive (a little of all ferts) its not really enough.

Cut your lighting period to only 6 hours a day and take out as much as you can manually. Start dosing more micro and macro nutrients

Algae usually comes from NOT ENOUGH ferts and TOO much light. You have to find a balance. I havent had one spot of algae in my tank since day one and the tank is about 4 months old. And dont worry about overdosing a little on ferts. Its really hard to hurt your fish with ferts. In my 5.5 with betta and about 40 cherry shrimp, I triple dose and they dont even notice the difference.

Try dosing 1.5 the amount needed in your tank

Last edited by Hadouken441; 11-01-2010 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:56 AM   #3 
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: WV
Since I am at work/away from home at least 8 hours a day, I can't cut the light to just 6 hrs. I'll cut it as much as possible though. I hate to do that, since I like to see my fish, but I have to get this algae under control.

The fertilizer I am using is Tetra Flora Pride. I know there is iron in it and "Pot. Ash" This is all I use for fertilizer. I have Dwarf Sagittaria and Bacopa, also some 'water weed'. I keep a couple of Oak leaves in the tank for the tannins. I leave them in for a week and then replace them with fresh leaves.

The light is a 9 watt sunlight/daylight type bulb that came with the tank.

Other than this algae, the plants seem to be fine, I can tell they are growing.

Do I need anything else? I am new to keeping live plants in an aquarium.

Thank you for your help!


Edit to add:

I just looked up Hair Algae, and I am pretty sure this is the type I have.

I also found this: "Green hair algae will quickly take advantage of an excess in iron in the water. High iron normally results from excess fertilization, but some water supplies have high iron levels (especially well water)."

Since the fertlizer I have has iron in it, maybe this is the cause..? I'm not sure, like I said I am new to live plants.

Thanks again!

Last edited by wystearya; 11-01-2010 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Additional information.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:32 PM   #4 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
You have to find that sweet spot that the plants out compete most of the algae...both are driven on nutrients and light

Too less of light and/or photoperiod and the plants can stop actively growing and the algae can get ahead-too much and the plants can't use it all but the algae can
Decreasing the photoperiod under 8 hours can sometimes cause the plant to stop growing and the algae will take off...personally I would not go under 8h with most of the common algae seen in our tank-sometimes increasing the photoperiod is needed to give the plants a boost

Nutrients are also an issue-just like light-often the plants are over fed and all the left overs are used by the algae-make water change before you feed the plants to get any extra food out-often the plants don't need added food and can use the waste from the tank to do all their growing, especially with low light slow growers-feeding the wrong foods that the plant doesn't need or feeding the wrong type of food-some plants take food from the roots and other from the water column

Algae is a natural part of aquariums and not all are bad or a bad sign-some algae is beneficial-too much can look bad and cause plant growth problems....too much of any one thing can be bad

In closed system like aquariums the hobbyist has to keep some of these problems under control by manually removing them and finding that sweet spot or balance to limit the algae with light and nutrients

Too old a light bulb, too low/high watts, too low/high kelvin, lights on too long or not long enough, light penetration, CO2, too much or not enough ferts, wrong ferts...etc....are all factors in how bad the algae can with it until you find the sweet spot/balance...every tank is different and a little algae is normal and expected......

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 11-01-2010 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:49 AM   #5 
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I'm going to stop adding the fertilizer for now and see if that helps. I've cut the light back to 9 hours a day. I'm also trying to manually remove all of it I can.

So far it's not out of control, but I certainly want to keep it that way.

Also, I'll be looking up the plants I have (again) to try to see if I can find out the type of fertilizer I need. I couldn't find anything the first time I looked though... I just have the liquid type and I am worried maybe I need something for the subtrate, as they do have roots.

The plants I have are: Bacopa, Dwarf Sagittaria, and some water weed.

Anyway, thank you so much OFL, I'll keep trying until I get it right.
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