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bolivianbaby
02-19-2016, 09:34 AM
Could someone please explain the science behind green hair algae? What causes it, how to get rid of it, and how to prevent it?

It grows in a few of my planted tanks and I'm trying to understand if it is the substrate (pool filter sand), the lighting, lack of CO2, or something else that is causing it. It is worse in my 5g planted betta tanks than others. They have lots of direct sunlight due to my house being very bright.

Thanks in advance for all help and advice.

peathenster
02-19-2016, 05:28 PM
I think the direct sunlight is a major issue. I have one tank with direct sunlight too and have green hair algae in it. It's the only tank. I'd be interested to know how to eradicate it too.

Tropical
02-19-2016, 06:32 PM
I'm thinking right of the bat it's the direct sunlight.

I do an alum soak at 1 tablespoon per gallon, for 3 days and ALL algae dies off. In fact It's toxic to all snails, snail eggs, FISH, inverts, so keep that in mind! The plants love it, they have better colors and it has no bad effects on them.

Alum is used for pickling, and can be found in the spice section of any grocery store.

Garfieldnfish
02-20-2016, 06:18 AM
Awesome. I just cleaned up a tank with the green hair algae by removing everything but the substrate. It too is sitting in direct sunlight. I use the tank to grow out CPDs and just added some fry. And I can already see the algae returning. Once the fry are large enough to be moved I will give the alum a try. I removed a ton of suesswassertang while cleaning the tank and have it sitting in a bowl. After a while the green algae dies off on it's own but the suesswassertang deteriorates a little as well when out of the light. So I am going to do a test run on the bowl.

aXio
02-20-2016, 10:03 AM
Direct Sunlight for sure. The sun is amazing at growing things... especially Algae. And if the tank is possibly low on CO2 as well, then the plants you do have won't be able to convert sugars and starches nearly as quickly as the hair algae can. So eventually the algae will out compete and kill off your plants.

Keeping tanks in direct sunlight is very doable...but most people try to run aquarium lighting in addition to the sunlight... that is where it becomes a losing battle in my opinion. 30min - Hr of direct sunlight is one thing, but if the tanks are getting multiple significant hours of direct sunlight then I don't think any aquarium lighting should be used at all as this will be WAY over kill. Keep in mind that aquarium lighting is a substitute for sunlight in our aquariums not an addition.

Between the sunlight and any aquarium lighting you have I would run no more then 5-7 hours of direct light total. Obviously this will vary depending on the type of light you have as well as other variables. But the 2nd most common issues is people try to run 10-14 hours of light for some reason. This is way too much. Yes there is roughly 12+ hours of daylight in a day, but that is not direct constant light for that period of time.

So what can be done... running pressurized CO2 will help a lot, especially in helping the plants get the nutrients quickly enough compared to the algae. Keeping parameters in check as much as possible, especially nutrient levels. In smaller aquariums that will be a lot more important. As any unbalances will just aid the algae in the battle. As mentioned already above get the lighting period under control if need be... 5-7 of light total and no aquarium lighting if tank is getting multiple hours of sunlight. Aquarium plants will grow very well off of 2-4 hours of sunlight... that's it... anymore more or additional aquarium light will likely cause algae.

And then unfortunately sometimes it is just too hard to find a balance in an aquarium setting to properly run off of real sunlight. Sometimes it works for weeks or months... but lots of the time people are on a very fine line and end up getting off track sooner or later. In that situation sometimes cutting out the sunlight via covering windows or moving tanks to a different location is the only answer.

Jakub

Tropical
02-21-2016, 09:27 PM
Btw, to get rid of the alum in the tank, triple dose prime (or anything that claims to remove heavy metals) and then do a 100% water change, especially vacuuming the substrate. Then refill the tank, triple dose again and then do another 100% water change after 2 hours and the next day and it should be fine.

Alum reduces ph drastically, so when you test for ph before the last water change it should match your tap.

Hope that helps!

bolivianbaby
02-22-2016, 07:11 AM
Thanks everyone for your help! I worked on all of my tanks this weekend getting them clear of algae, etc and will stop running the aquarium lights on the tanks that get direct sunlight.

Axio-how do you run CO2 in a 5g tank?

aXio
02-22-2016, 09:11 AM
Thanks everyone for your help! I worked on all of my tanks this weekend getting them clear of algae, etc and will stop running the aquarium lights on the tanks that get direct sunlight.

Axio-how do you run CO2 in a 5g tank?


Same exact way you would run it on any other tank. Just use a smaller diffuser and run less CO2.

Here is a mini diffuser by VIV that I setup on a new 5 gallon project recently...

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x357/axiomatica/20160125_180157_zpsxchyl8sw.jpg (http://s1177.photobucket.com/user/axiomatica/media/20160125_180157_zpsxchyl8sw.jpg.html)
http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x357/axiomatica/20160127_170105_zps2rnqembt.jpg (http://s1177.photobucket.com/user/axiomatica/media/20160127_170105_zps2rnqembt.jpg.html)

Here is the CO2 System I'm running on it...

http://www.istaproducts.com/product/co2-aluminum-cylinder-supply-set-1l-professional/

Obviously you will want decided if running a CO2 setup is cost worthy for the setup you are trying to accomplish. Because if it isn't an aquascape or a display tank then in my opinion the better option would removing the tank from the sunlight... if you are asking about CO2 to help combat the algae. Also if your tanks are close together you can use a gang-valve to use 1 CO2 system on multiple tanks.

Jakub

Tangfan
02-22-2016, 09:29 AM
Nice Tank Jakub. On that CO2 system, when you run out of CO2, do you refill that small tank, or do you dispose of the empty and replace with a newly bought tank/canister?

Thank you for the help. I am currently not running any CO2 at the moment, but have been interested in running a planted tank for some time and continue to read posts like this even if I do not comment on them - I find them very interesting and informative.

aXio
02-22-2016, 09:46 AM
Nice Tank Jakub. On that CO2 system, when you run out of CO2, do you refill that small tank, or do you dispose of the empty and replace with a newly bought tank/canister?

Thank you for the help. I am currently not running any CO2 at the moment, but have been interested in running a planted tank for some time and continue to read posts like this even if I do not comment on them - I find them very interesting and informative.

No Problem =)

The ISTA tank that comes with that kit is refillable. I fill the CO2 tanks at my store as well. A 1 liter tank like that cost $5.00 to refill at my store and should last a good 3-4 months at least on a small tank like 5 gallons. Smaller tanks like that you can get filled at a paintball shops as well.

I recommend spending the extra money and getting something that is refillable as after a box of those disposable canister replacements it becomes more cost effective anyway.

Also I recommend getting a CO2 system that runs on a solenoid which you can plug into a timer. The reason for is that CO2 should only be ran while the tank lights are on, as plants respirate oxygen back in during the night.

If you do not get a system with solenoid you will be forced to run it constantly at a much lower setting then you would normally and/or have to remember to turn it off yourself manually when the lights turn off... and that usually only last for so long before people get off track with it. Because even inconsistencies of 30min-1hr of turning off that CO2 will cause fluctuations in your tank... which can cause algae and other problems.

Jakub

bolivianbaby
02-22-2016, 11:17 AM
Same exact way you would run in on any other tank. Just use a smaller diffuser and run less CO2.

Here is a mini diffuser by VIV that I setup on a new 5 gallon project recently...

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x357/axiomatica/20160125_180157_zpsxchyl8sw.jpg (http://s1177.photobucket.com/user/axiomatica/media/20160125_180157_zpsxchyl8sw.jpg.html)
http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x357/axiomatica/20160127_170105_zps2rnqembt.jpg (http://s1177.photobucket.com/user/axiomatica/media/20160127_170105_zps2rnqembt.jpg.html)

Here is the CO2 System I'm running on it...

http://www.istaproducts.com/product/co2-aluminum-cylinder-supply-set-1l-professional/

Obviously you will want decided if running a CO2 setup is cost worthy for the setup you are trying to accomplish. Because if it isn't an aquascape or a display tank then in my opinion the better option would removing the tank from the sunlight... if you are asking about CO2 to help combat the algae. Also if your tanks are close together you can use a gang-valve to use 1 CO2 system on multiple tanks.

Jakub

All of my tanks are display tanks. I'm gonna research the CO2 and see what I can come up with.

Thanks again! :)