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 Hair Algae?

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Hair Algae?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:27 am

OK.....what's the deal on hair algae? Now that my tank seems to be maturing (about 3 months), the fungus I had is gone, and all the livestock seems happy, I'm getting fuzzy hair algae on some of my plants. I've read where dosing with Excel can eradicate this- true? I've also hear that you can just reach in and brush it off with a toothbrush. Or, do the old "blackout" method for a couple of days. Suggestions? Recommendations? Thanks in advance for all advice!
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:40 am

I pulled most of mine out by hand when it started to get bad. Really don't know why, but it just up a disappeared on its own.

My only suspicion is the tank was mostly drained for a move in which it set for probably two hours with only enough water for the fish before refilling. After which it was gone (had some clean up to do as it seemed to have dried out). Since then it's been remarkable hair algae free.
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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:21 pm

DL, are you sure you have HAIR algae? Hair algae is long, filamentous, grass green, and resembles hair. It is fairly easy to pull out, as mpowers says. It does not grow on plants, but rather grows around them.

From your description here, it sounds like you are more likely to have black brush algae, or BBA, which is entirely a different thing.

Can you describe what you have exactly? Color? Length of filaments? Growing habit?

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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:06 pm

I have BBA in my 56g tank, it used to cover the entire surface of my manzanita driftwood. Here is a picture of some that is left before it all melted off.

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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:16 pm

Hmmm.....I'll see if I can get a good picture to post in the AM...stay tuned- it may well be BBA, based on Deb's description. I'm newbie ignorant on the algae thing...what I have is in fact growing on the plants, though. It does not look like what's in the photo above- it's much longer.
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:42 am



This is about as good a picture as I can seem to get of it....
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:48 am

Looka like it. Just pull it out since its still in a nice clump.
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:00 am

I agree, that looks more like hair algae than anything else.

Wind a chopstick or even an old clean toothbrush into the mass of it and try to gently pull it out. If it is too stubbornly attached, post back here. If you find you can remove some of it, you will most likely be able to remove all of it.

Hair algae grows back quickly. It can reappear the same day. The idea is to remove it completely and then make conditions unfavorable for it to grow back. To start with, this means do not overfeed! I know you are not over feeding, but do not overfeed! *lol* Add more live plants, and maybe cut the light back for a while.

What are you running currently and for how many hours a day? We will probably want to cut back or divide your photoperiod.

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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks, Deb. I've been thinking a lot lately about how long and when I have my lights on. I have 2 24" T5 fixtures. Right now, I have them set to come on at 11AM, and off at 7 PM. We like to enjoy the tank a bit when we come home from work, and I don't want to be turning them on and off in short periods of time, cornfusing the inhabitants. So- I'm 8 on, and 16 off.
I'm thinking about changing that, but I'm not sure which way to go. I've also considered a 24 hour blackout with the tank covered, but don't want to mess up any of the other plants. It is cool to go maybe 3 hours on in the Am, have a mid-day "nap time" and then go for 3 or 4 in the evening? I have increased my Excel dosing a bit also.

I've tried "pulling" some of it off; however, the micro swords tend to pull out of the substrate (gravel-what can I say- trial and error- In hindsight I'd have probably ponied up and put down a plant specific "finer" substrate). All the plants have been in the tank for at least 2 months, now, and they all seem to be growing. Some are going gangbusters. I did increase my Oto population to 6, and they all seem to be doing well cleaning the glass and rocks, as well as some of the plants, but they are not down with the hair algae it seems- not on the menu for those guys.
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Deb
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:05 pm

Do you mean you have 2 X 24" lamps, for a total of 48 watts? Is each lamp in one 24" fixture? I'm just trying to get a feel for how many wpg you have, although in your case I think the K-rating of the lamps will be more important.

The "Venezuelan" tank in my signature runs with an afternoon siesta. The light is on for four hours, off for three, then on for another four, and then off for the night. The siesta was implemented initially to get rid of some opportunistic BBA, but I stuck with it because this is the way the tank runs the best. Take a look at my plants pix in that thread and you will see there is zero visible algae.

Of course, there is ample ambient room lighting, so that when the light goes out the fish are not in shock. If your tank is in a room that's bright enough, a siesta might work for you but you'd have to try it and monitor the tank. I see no harm at all, only good.

I've had hair algae three times, and each time a good friend gave it to me! *lol*
The latest infestation came in with a susswassertang plant (Pellia species) that Liz gave me. This was right about the time that I had the BBA to deal with. Hair algae starts off with very tiny young fronds, very hard to see. In the right conditions it grows rapidly, so in a short time I began to note that it was wrapped around the crowns and stems of the higher-level plants. "Where the heck did this come from?" I was thinking.

I knew I could pull a lot of it out, so I did and the rest just went away with the BBA during the siesta. I credit the siesta, and also my general plant care technique. It's a combination. Otos will continuously groom your plants and eat the tiny young green growing fronds of NEW "baby" hair algae, thus keeping it at bay, but there is little they can do against the mature dark green hairs. Very few people, it seems to me, fully understand what these little catfish eat but I think it's safe to say that in your tank, they will eat any biofilms growing on all surfaces, and groom the plants of young new algae. They may groom old, mature algae for the microorganisms which grow on these surfaces. By doing so, they actually inhibit further, stronger growth so even though they are not actually eating the algae, they are preventing it from really taking off. I hope this explanation is helpful because even though I could write paragraphs more, I have a feeling you have read enough! *lol*
Laughing

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Re: Hair Algae?   Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:27 pm

Hi Deb- thanks for all the info! And yes, that was VERY helpful.

I actually have two 24" fixtures that each have two bulbs in them- a 24W 10K daylight, and a 24W freshwater. So I have 48 watts in each 24" fixture, for a total of 96 watts.

I'm thinking that I'll go with the siesta technique and see how it goes. There is some ambient light in the room (it faces north, and has three windows in it), so I'll go 8-12, then 3-7, and see how that works.

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