Black Hair Algae

Discussion in 'General Planted Tank Discussions' started by jonnyf84, 12 Jul 2009.

  1. jonnyf84

    jonnyf84 Member

    I have never previously had major problems with algae but for the last 6 weeks i have had major problem with my pressurized CO2 setup, it has been sorted now (thank god!) but the low and irregular levels over the 6 weeks has reeked havoc, plant growth has drastically reduced and despite less lighting and ferts BHA has taken over my HC 'cuba', Vallis Nana, java moss and bleheri sp. its now starting to take hold on my barteri nana and echindorus sp.

    I have been removing the algae as best as possible and i've increased the size of my water changes, regular 25ppm co2 has been re-instated for the last 5 days but there is still no improvement, this is the reason for my 'vacuming EcoComplete' thread and ultimately my plans to start a new scape. But before i go ahead with those plans i wanted to check if anyone new any tricks to elimate the damned BHA, i recently heard of a yellow claw shrimp that apparently eats BHA?

    Can anyone help?
  2. nickmcmechan

    nickmcmechan Member

    Dalkeith, Scotland
    a lot of people disagree with the method but my opinion would be to use bleach dip as it seems you have solved the root cause

    the method is simple

    buy thin bleach and mix with tap water in 1:19 ratio, 1 part bleach to 19 parts a 10 litre bucket thats 500ml bleach and fill the bucket with water.

    dip the affected plants (not the roots!!) into the water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on how fragile the plants are, e.g. bleheri will handle 2 mins IME, but glosso might not even handle the 30 seconds)

    then rinse the plants in a clean bucket of tap water for a couple minutes

    finally into bucket three full of water with about 5-10 times dechlor in it before repplanting

    the method is very laborious, very harsh (you may lose some plants and most will suffer before bouncing back after a month or two) but, in my experience, this is the only way to truly remove long as you have solved the root cause then you should be clear after this.

    it does save money on buying new plants though
  3. jonnyf84

    jonnyf84 Member

    mmm, never heard that before and its about time i re-scaped so i might give it a miss, my next scape will be very simple, mainly riccia or java moss and maybe some hairgrass or blyxa japonica so this won't cost to much. Thanks for your advice though nick.

    If theres any other ideas on getting rid of BHA i'd love to know.
  4. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

    N. Wales
    Your plants are already unhappy and covered in algae. This why I wouldn`t uproot them and stick them in bleach.

    When I had a CO2 disaster, removing the plants from a heavily aquascaped tank just wasn`t an option. Provided you have the CO2 back on track, you may see the algae disappear from some areas. Those that remain affected could be carefully spot dosed with Excel. Any persistent areas could be pruned away. With the CO2 back on, get in there with big water changes, manual removal, spot dosing Excel and you should win the battle.

  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Chicago, USA
    Count me in as one of those who disagrees with the bleach method as well. Doing a good trim to restore flow/distribution and daily 2X overdosing Excel/Easycarbo for a week or so will normally do the trick without having to uproot plants. As Dave mentions, uprooting itself does damage, and the bleach is just as toxic to the plant as it is to the algae. If the tank is infected in many areas I wouldn't even bother the tedium of spot dosing. Just apply the liquid carbon overdose which will help all the plants. If you have Vallis, E. densa or Riccia though, then you'll have to spot treat as these species react negatively to liquid carbon.

    Also, for the record, and to avoid confusion, we don't really use the term Black Hair Algae. There is Hair or Thread which are in the class of filamentous types of algae (and are normally green) and there is Black Brush Algae (BBA). There is also Staghorn, which is grey/black and may look hairy. Best to check JamesC Algae Guide for the definitive identification.

  6. jonnyf84

    jonnyf84 Member

    Thanks for all the input, i might get some excel, but i'm just about settled on a re-scape (i'm fed up of looking at the same design) so they can all go in the bin, that should do the trick :lol:
  7. jcgoobee

    jcgoobee Member

    Sunnyvale, CA

    I had similar situation about a month ago, along with BGA at the same time. It was extremely messy. I took baby-steps to correct my algae problems. I basically pruned the black hair algae from the affected area since they appeared to be very persistent of attaching them to the stems.

    After a while that my water issues were corrected, the BHA was gone gradually. I said "gradually" just because it took some time to go away, but as long as you're doing things right, the plants would heal themselves over time.

    I'm not sure if putting the affected plants to the bleach would be the best solution, as first, you need to uproot the plants, which I always oppose of doing since it would likely shock them, then bleaching appears to be a very invasive remedy to take care of algae issue.

    I'm relatively new to this hobby but I just want to share my personal view on this topic. Thank you.

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