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Black Brush Algae


Lucerne

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Hey guys.

I have recently started to suffer from Black Brush Algae in my tank and its a bit of a pain!

It gets on the driftwood and rocks which I can scrub (even though this is a chore) but its really hard to remove from my anubias and java fern without damaging the leaves, and I can never get it 100% off them (it always clings to the very edge of the leaf even after scrubbing).

Ive never had this problem before and my theory is because I used to have alot more plants and quicker growing ones too, but I was trying to stick with just rhizomes at the moment.

I have heard Excel is apparently good at getting rid of BBA but ive never used it myself, so I wondered if anyone had any experience of using it to control algae? or just of getting rid of BBA in general?

Thanks! :)

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I had this for a brief period of time, and the excel did work, at least better than nothing. What I did is put the dose for the whole tank in a syringe and then shoot that directly at the algae. You have to do it daily to make a difference. But it did kill the algae off a noticeable amount.

That said, I just had to get rid of those plants in the end. They did not do too well getting covered in algae regularly. :(

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Luke, I've heard of people performing spot treatments with hydrogen peroxide and Excel, although the former is not entirely practical and you do damage the plant somewhat. Siamese Algae Eaters are also a good option if they conform with your current tank set-up.

The better question is why have you ended up with BBA? It does sound like it could be due to the slower growing rhizome plants. Are you using CO2 on this tank? Inconsistent CO2 levels combined with improper dosing of fertilisers can also lead to BBA outbreaks.

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Courtney - Good to know it works, at least somewhat. I dont want to sacrifice these plants or my drftwood so id definately try it even if its a bit of work.

Dan - sadly SAA wouldnt fit the setup :(. I am not actually dosing or injecting CO2 or ferts in this tank at all anymore and havent for around 6months. I decided to go "low tech" and removed all my old plants and stopped dosing. Maybe that created an inbalance? Maybe they dont use enough of the nutrients created by the fish waste alone?

I do turn the sandbed regularly and there are no root tabs remaining either, but I guess its possible the substrate is holding alot of old nutrients.

Its confusing because the BBA has only showed up in the last 4-6 weeks.

I may dose with excel for a while and see if that works. Im also toying with just getting watersprite for the tank to try to outcompete it - do you think those combined might work?

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Luke, it's worth a shot. From the perusing I've done, adding some faster growing plants and trimming back or removing sections of plant with BBA could help. Evidence I've found has been anecdotal, some planted tank enthusiasts have had success with faster growing plants or increased CO2, however, it hasn't worked for everyone. Unfortunately I think it's something you'll have to try for yourself and see what happens.

As I'm sure you're aware, black outs and starving the algae won't do much which is a pain. With spot Excel dosing and the water sprite, it sounds like you have a plan of attack. Only time will tell if it works though. I wish you the best of luck! :)

I'd only resort to the H202 dips as a last resort, it's definitely a nuclear response method.

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Dan - Well that does sound encouraging at least! I could get a very low tech CO2 on there to stabilise it if needed aswell, but may just try excel and the sprite first and see its impact. Swapping substrate is also possibly an option as I was thinking of doing that anyway.

I plan to do a good scrubdown of the tank and plants once I start dosing, to give the tank a headstart vs the algae.

I'll let you know how things go! Thanks for the advice and encouragement ^~^

Anaru - I have heard that SAA eat it, but theyre terretorial with conspecifics once they mature. I actually have Otos in the tank which are visually similar and Id be worried that could trigger aggression in the SAA eventually - and my corys have similar markings also :(.

I would rather find a solution that doesnt add more fish atm, but thank you for the suggestion :) im glad they work for your tank, too!

Edited by Lucerne
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Luke, if you go the CO2 route, I wonder whether a DIY rig would suffice? Considering a coke bottle, sugar, and yeast is sizeably cheaper, it might be worth looking into first. :)

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Luke, if you go the CO2 route, I wonder whether a DIY rig would suffice? Considering a coke bottle, sugar, and yeast is sizeably cheaper, it might be worth looking into first. :)

I was thinking of that but my lfs sells these aerosol type cans of CO2 for like £8 and they last like 3+ months (my roomate uses them) so im not sure id be able to make it much cheaper than that (plus thats super simple to use).

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I just wanted to say that I changed my light schedule and the BBA has died! :0

previously my lights were on 9-12am and 4-12pm with a break inbetween. I changed them to a solid 11am-11:30pm and the problem vanished in a few days (well theres some dead algae to remove still, which ill do on my WC in the morning). I guess that was just enough to let my plants outcompete it. This does mean I dont see the fish before work in the mornings but its worth it if the tank is better balanced. I still drop a little food in each morning for them and its gone before im home.

I have ordered liquid ferts, which I will use still, but it turns out I didnt need them to solve this ^~^ so that may be good for others to know in future.

Edited by Lucerne
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