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BBA-Like Green Hair Algea


New Member
12 May 2020
Seattle, WA
So I have had my 79 litter UNS 90L set up since October

It has Microsorum pteropus, Crypt becketti Petchii, Crypt undulatus Red, Helanthium bolivianum Quadricostatus, Helanthium tenellum, Lilaeopsis brasilienis, Anubias barteri Petite, Hygrophila pinnatifida, and now Water Lettuce. I took the the Christmas Moss out when it because a gooey hair algae magnet. For substrate I’m using Tropica

For fish I have 13 Pygmy Cories, 12 Pseudomugil gertrudae, 5 Otocynclus 14 Cherry Shrimp, and 5 Neon Tetras that are in the tank till I redo my main 186 Liter tank

I was using a Oase FiltoSmart 200 Thermo, but just recently changed it to a Oase Biomaster 250 Thermo a week ago with a Fluval 3.0 Planted LED

I was planning of having this aquarium be a non-CO2 tank, but last month after having carpets of this slimy hair algae everywhere I gave up and took my bigger tank’s CO2 system to inject CO2. The next morning 3/4s of the hair algae was gone. Something Fritz Algea Clean Out could not do before the shrimp were added

Have been doing water changes once a week, was doing it 2-3 times a week in the first 2 months.

The Ph goes from 7.8 to 6.8 when the CO2 comes on. Nitrite and Ammonia are 0. I was using UNS Plant food at first just 2 times a week like it said on the bottle and then when I added the CO2 did it 3 times a week. But I notice some of my plants were yellow or translucent so I figured with the CO2 the plants were starving. Also had my lights go up to 50% from 25%. The plants started pearling and look happy…

…but now I have BBA and that BBA’ish green algea growing again along with the small fuzzy algae on my plants. I’m loosing it! I already took out the rocks and even the wood and gave it a Hydrogen Peroxide bombing and scrub. It was all gone… and that fuzzy hairy algea loves my ADA sand.

Now I did check the Nitrates and at first it was about 25-50. The Phosphates were about 20. Then the Phosphates took off to 50ppm and the Nitrate read 120 so I did an immediate water change and I got APT Zero and added Chemi-Pure Elite And next thing I know the Nitrates weren’t even detectable the phosphates when down to .25. So it has been like this for a week now.

I’m afraid I’m going to stunt my plants since I can’t detect the nitrates and I’m not sure if the plants and water lettuce are just sucking it up like kids eat candy. Figure there should be some nitrates because of the fish poo and fish food.

Anyone know I can do about this persistent algae? Right now I’m spot treating the BBA with Excel so there is pink everywhere, but their children are showing up in little tufts.



12 Aug 2021
Helsinki, Finland
"Then the Phosphates took off to 50ppm", that's astronomical! Mine are 0,1-0,05. Allthough I dose extra phosphates once a week, plants take it almost immediately. The plants can only take a certain amount of nutrients including phosphates, the rest will stay in the water column and feed algae.I would consider even constant 0,25 levels as high. If you want to monitor low phosphate levels you cannot do it with a standard test kit, you should have the Hanna LR colorimeter.

Nitrates are a different thing as plants cannot store it like phosphates. I keep my levels between 10-20 by dosing a Tropica Premium every other day.
Last edited:


24 Jun 2021
The Phosphates were about 20. Then the Phosphates took off to 50ppm
Do you mean 2ppm and 5pmm ? is there any test kit that reach that number of ppm for phosphate ?

Just my 2 cents, i think you should not have increased light right away. Since you were off CO2 before, the plants need to adapt to the increased amount of CO2 then you can increase the light intensity. So i would revert back to 25% intensity until your hair algae is resolved.