Fluffy Brown Hair Algae

Discussion in 'Algae' started by Lozbug, 15 Oct 2007.

  1. Lozbug

    Lozbug Member

    Messages:
    211
    Hi all.

    My tropical tank suffers badly from the brown fluffy hairy algae - mainly grows on the bog wood and rocks, and the non fluffy version is growing on the plants.

    Plants I’m not to fussed about - as after chatting to the guys at the weekend I realise it me that’s going wrong with no fertiliser, Co2 to low and wrong plants for soft water etc etc. So all of them will be replaced (most are slowly dieing off anyway, unsurprisingly).

    So main concern is it still growing on the wood & rocks. Now when I fix the plant situation will it fix itself - or is it something I am doing wrong?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Many Thanks.

    Lauren
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Soft fluffy brown algae which often collects on the bottom of the tank can be that known as Diatom algae. This type of algae normally occurs on a newly setup tank for the first 3 weeks or so. There is a myth that this species feeds off of leeched silica from the substrate, since an analysis shows high silica content in the cell walls, but that has proven to be untrue. They feed off of ammonia in the water column and their presence is exacerbated by high light.

    Reducing the light and performing frequent water changes will often see this type on it's way. 3 day blackout can also help. You need to physically remove the algae of course. Having unhealthy plants in the tank does not help at all so if you have already written these plants off then it's best to get rid of them now since they are feeding the algae as they disintegrate and eject ammonia. Algae rarely fixes itself if environmental conditions are to it's liking so it's better to understand why it appears. The reason normally can be traced to poor plant health.

    As you've probably surmised from your discussion on the weekend you'll need to fix your CO2 and fertilization scheme. You also need to be aware of the effects of your lighting. You should aim for no more than 2 watts per gallon for the moment so that if the tank is 25 gallons then 50 watts for 8-10 hours a day is plenty. These are not exact number but only something to aim for as a baseline.

    If you need help determining fertilizing products and a baseline dosing scheme let us know the tank size and we can help you with that.

    Do you have naturally occurring soft tap water? I think that's unusual in the UK no? In any case I would hardly start tossing plants out the window simply because you have soft water. Soft water is easy to fix by simply adding a teaspoon of GH booster once a week. Its a doddle: http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/index.p ... ts_id=1569


    Cheers,
     
  3. JamesC

    JamesC Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    Location:
    Bexley, Kent
    I had often wondered why I only got diatoms in newly setup tanks which then disappeared after a few weeks. I didn't totally buy the fact that silicates were the only cause of diatoms as they are present all the time from the gravel, tap water, etc. I did notice though that tanks setup with gravel, quartz sand, etc were more prone to diatoms than tanks without. I still firmly believe that silicates play an important role in the growth of diatoms. But as always there is more to it and ammonia does make sense as you always get this in new setups as the substrate needs time to mature. But even in mature setups I've noticed that when extra gravel has been added to the existing gravel there has sometimes been an outbreak of diatoms. Possibly due to disturbing the substrate and releasing ammonia and also possibly the addition of more silicates.

    If you're referring to Tom Barr's article he doesn't prove anything but say's, and I quote "Possible causal agents might be NH4 cycling, new or disturbed aquariums, lower lighting.". There is a lot more to diatoms than first meets the eye I think, but it's good that you point out the NH4/NH3 playing a role and I shall update my algae guide to take this into account.

    Coming back to the algae in question, if it is hairy then it is more likely to be Black Brush Algae and the fluffy stuff is diatoms. Photo's are always best to help with identification or you can take a look at my website which I setup to aid with identification - http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/algae.htm

    James
     
  4. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    If using sand, wouldn't there be high levels of silica all the time? Maybe the sand grains get covered with bacteria and so slow the leaching of silicates into the water.
     
  5. Lozbug

    Lozbug Member

    Messages:
    211
    cheers. will get you the info i need when home (on lunch atm!) tank has been set-up since January... Rio 300... will tets my tap levels....but soft water naturally am 99% certain now. did buy new lights for it, maybe i went too high?

    will confirm what they are this evening,

    Thanks
     
  6. Lozbug

    Lozbug Member

    Messages:
    211
    okay heres what i can provide you with:

    PH 7
    Nitrate 7
    Nitrite 0
    Ammonia 0
    26 C (300w heater)
    Rio 300
    TetraTec EX1200
    TetraTec APS300
    Lights: 2x 38W (1x white, 1x daylight) with reflectors. (lights on for approx 10 hours per day)
    all gravel no specific substrate, had bog wood & couple large rocks (algae does not grow on gravel).
    Co2 1x Nutrafin


    TAP WATER
    PH 8.5
    Nitrate, Nitrite & Ammonia 0

    dont have GH/KH test kits at the moment.


    cheers :)

    first time ive really focused on the plant side, as main focus was always fishes....
     
  7. Lozbug

    Lozbug Member

    Messages:
    211
  8. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,937
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    OK, I see it now. That is definitely not Diatom Algae. This is called Black Brush Algae (BBA). This is normally symptomatic of poor CO2. This definitely won't fix itself. You'll need to start removing this on sight. Am I right in assuming this is 65 gallon? If so you'll need to significantly upgrade the CO2 injection. I believe the nutrafin unit is only good for about 15 or so gallons. My personal choice for this size tank would be gas injection.

    James, yes, that's the article I'm referring to. Barr surmised that the silicates must be taken up otherwise they wouldn't be present in the autopsies but he corroborated it in subsequent discussions that the silicates were not thought to be the driver.

    Beeky, excellent point in that high silicate soils should constantly be under attack if silicates were the driver. My interpretation of the analysis was that once induced, any given algal specie will then take advantage of whatever they are partial to and whatever is available at the time of inducement. As stated, there's much more than meets the eye.

    Cheers,
     
  9. Lozbug

    Lozbug Member

    Messages:
    211
    cheers - yup am already working on the Co2 thang....... least i know what it is

    ta.v.much
     

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