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Hair Algae


New Member
4 Sep 2007
I've just refitted my 580ltr planted tank. I replanted it with new plants just because I wanted a change. I have a feeling the algae came in on the new plants and it loves my water.

I have never had a bad case of hair algae before, how should I get rid of it.

Oh, I'm not going down the road of Red Tailed Sharks or Flying foxes, they are not friendly creatures.
10 Jun 2007
Dorset, UK
if your plants are getting everything they need in the way of co2 and ferts (either by full dosing or a low tech approach), and your light isnt over the top, then your algae shouldnt be able to compete with the plants.

Remove all you can, whenever you see it, this should tip the balance in the favour of the plants, instead of the algae. Algae is just a plant really, itll respond to being pulled out the same as any other plant, it wont like it and eventually, itll give up.

Keep your water bang on, bear in mind that in a new setup youll have to keep an eye on NH4 very closly. Any spike in NH4 can cause an algae outbreak, if you find that NH4 is showing its face, carry out 2x water changes a week of about 50%, this will hopefully keep it in check until your tank has cycled.


Expert/Global Moderator
11 Jul 2007
Chicago, USA
Algae spores are everywhere and they simply wait for the right conditions to propagate. We have to suspect the usual culprits and try to figure out what we did to exacerbate the situation. 1. Ammonia 2.Light 3. Unstable CO2.

To tell the truth, I'm not sure what "refit" means. If it means what I think, you had a mature tank full of existing plants and you uprooted them all and install newly arrived plants from the nursery. If you had kept the same substrate and if you didn't do frequent water changes after the replant it's possible that ammonia in the substrate triggered the outbreak. The new plants require some time to make the adjustment to their new conditions and are perhaps not as efficient at pulling nutrients, especially if they are in the emersed form.

An ammonia spike can occur at a low enough concentration to register zero on a test kit.

What is the lighting scheme? NH4 spikes combined with too much light normally spells disaster.

Is this a CO2 injected tank? Is it DIY or pressurized? DIY can cause fluctuations or deviations in CO2 concentrations but so can low bottle pressure.

Step one is to trim infected leaves and to scrub like mad. Then, water changes of at least 50% 3 times a week will mitigate NH4 concentration buildup as well as directly remove algae spores. Reduction of lighting intensity and duration will also help. You may not see results for a few weeks.



8 Sep 2007
Agree with the above.

My top 3 would be:
1. keep CO2 stable
2. Be prepared to do big, freuqent water changes (50% daily at least, as necessary)
3. Give it some Seachem Excel : start with a daily normal dose and see where you go from there.

Stick with it too, all too often people aren't patient enough and start trying other remedies too quickly. IME this just excacerbates the problem.

Incidentally, how densely planted is your tank? Again, my experience is that most people don't plant there tanks anywhere near enough at start-up, and that isn't beneficial either.


4 Jul 2007
Dublin Ireland
You should post your tank stats hard to give proper advice otherwise, big tank though, probably a CO2 issue (he says 'broadly speaking')


New Member
Thread starter
4 Sep 2007
Thanks chaps, I think it was as much changing my method of adding CO2 through a different diffuser as much as anything.

I've done as you suggested and pulled as much of the stuff off as I could.

I usually let algae do what it has to do and eventually it will eat all the nasty stuff in the tank that it wants and then die off. Hair algae is so ugly though I had to do something.

Anyway my action was

Pulled off all the loose algae
Added more trace ferts
turned up the Co2

It already appear to be taking effect

BTW hen I said refit I meant that I took everything out of the tank including the sub and replaced it. I added all new plants. Plants include

800 greedy stem plants
2 lotus Lilly
1 huge but unidentified Lilly
200 crypts of various types
6 Anubis

I'll be more specific when I get some time.

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