Black Algae

New to fishkeeping? This is the place to find out whatever you need to know!

Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:09 pm

Hi everyone
I'm having a bit of an algae problem, I get a pale brown algae covering hard objects in the tank, not a real problem it just brushes off with a toothbrush at my weekly clean, along with a small amount of green algae on the glass. The main problem is the black stuff that coats the leaves of the plants, it looks like a coating of black soot and rubs off in clumps but there is no way to easily clean it all off, water parameters are good, 0 ammonia, 0 Nitrite and 40 nitrates(the same as out the tap.) GH is 13 and KH is 9, pH 8.2 and temp 25.4. Seachem flourish twice a week. 30% water change each week, stocked as signature.

As anyone any ideas to remove and prevent this black algae? I don't want to resort to chemicals as I feel it some sort of imbalance in the tank. Fish appear heathy, lively and happy. Tank would look so much better if I could sort this out.
Thanks

Martin
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby Rockfish » Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:06 am

Are you getting decent plant growth? Usually if the plants are healthy and growing reasonably quickly they will normally resist algae growth. Depending on levels in your tap water, your plants could be deficient in a macro-nutrient like phosphate or potassium, causing their growth to stall and giving algae the upper hand. The Seachem Flourish should be providing enough iron and micronutrients.

If there are sufficient nutrients, lack of CO2 could be limiting growth. Perhaps it might be worth trying a liquid carbon source like Seachem Flourish Excel or Easy Life Easy-Carbo.

A bristlenose catfish or some oto's would eat the brown algae/diatoms and oto's will eat algae on the leaves too - of course, it's always best to try and rectify any imbalance and treat the cause, but algae-eaters can help to control small amounts of algae that can occur even in balanced tanks.
Sean


Remember there's lots of info at The Tropical Tank main site!
Rockfish
Site Admin
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:28 pm
Location: UK

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:03 pm

Thanks for that. Yes, plants are growing well, some of them an inch a day, I can almost see the cabomba grow. The new shoots are a healthy bright green while the older stems are covered in black algae. Would otto's be happy with the other tank mates and eat the black algae? I was planning to hopefully cure the problem, then cut the plants right back so that the new growth would be the only part of the plants visible. Tank is Rio 125 with upgraded (600lph) filter.
I've ordered the Flourish Excel and if that helps I might invest in a CO2 system as I've been looking for an excuse to try some higher tech kit :D I was thinking of an external filter, but as all is well with the water quality for the fish I think CO2 might have to come first .
Thanks again Rockfish.
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby Rockfish » Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:58 pm

The Oto`s should be ok, usually they buzz around doing their own thing and most other fish seem to pay them no attention.

They're probably better at keeping new algae in check than removing it from heavily infested leaves, so it would be worth doing as you suggested and trim some of the old growth away and replant cuttings from the new growth, discarding older stems/leaves with heavy algae growth.
Sean


Remember there's lots of info at The Tropical Tank main site!
Rockfish
Site Admin
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:28 pm
Location: UK

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:04 pm

Well I followed the suggestions and started using flourish excel, a few days later when i did a water change I roughly aggitated the vegetation and most of the black algae just fell off!!! :D :D :D
I've now added 4 little oto's and they are scurrying about nibbling on algae, I can watch them nibble along a leaf and clear it in about half an hour.
The only problem I have now is the water constantly has lots of solid matter floating around, like the filter can't cope. Water parameters are ideal at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and nitrates at just less than 40 which is slightly better than out of the tap. pH is 8.2. Filter output still appears to be as strong as when it has just been cleaned.
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby Carylnz » Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:15 am

What media do you have in the filter? Sounds like you need a finer layer to get rid of the solids.
My home forum is The NZ Fishroom http://www.fnzas.org.nz
User avatar
Carylnz
Moderator
 
Posts: 7478
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Blenheim, NZ

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:42 am

I've got a fine filter floss mat first followed by course then fine sponge, a nitrate sponge, a carbon sponge and a basket of noodle thingies. I've a feeling the tank is constantly shedding the algae at the moment so if it doesn't clear in a couple of days I'll add more fine media and check the others are not being bypassed. Not had any problems until this last week.
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby Rockfish » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:59 pm

As your media is set up correctly, I think you're right, it's probably just due to dead algae being shed and maybe even the otos stirring things up a bit as they work. It should probably settle down as the balance is re-established.
Sean


Remember there's lots of info at The Tropical Tank main site!
Rockfish
Site Admin
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:28 pm
Location: UK

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:52 pm

I hope so, Due a clean and water change tomorrow so I think I'll pull the media out and inspect it, maybe even put extra floss media on top of the stack, plants look a lot healthier now and growth rate has increased. I've been looking at CO2 setups as the excel has to be added every day but a bit concerned that it will crash the pH, maybe I don't understand enough about it yet?
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby Rockfish » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:18 pm

There shouldn't be any danger of the liquid carbon affecting your pH with the high KH value you have. Likewise, with a pressurised gas setup the KH will keep things stable and you can exert some control over the pH by the rate you add CO2.
Sean


Remember there's lots of info at The Tropical Tank main site!
Rockfish
Site Admin
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:28 pm
Location: UK

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Fri Oct 17, 2014 6:59 pm

I think the algae is well and truly beaten, did a water change yesterday and I couldn't believe how much black muck syphoned off the plants, tank is looking almost algae free. I'm gonna have to do another syphon tomorrow as the rest of the algae has dropped off and has settled in clumps on the substrate. Looks like I'm going to have to set up a CO2 system to keep it looking so good. CO2Art seem to have some decent kit and there are reviews suggesting excellent customer support.
Now wheres my credit card...............? :D
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby cousin it » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:02 pm

Hi
With pressurised co2 systems one piece of advise I would give is to get one that uses refillable cylinders, in the long run these work out to be more economical and easier to recharge.
Daran

there's always one
User avatar
cousin it
Moderator
 
Posts: 2129
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:01 am
Location: Plymouth, UK

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:25 pm

Thanks for that, the system I was looking at had an adapter for sodastream bottles, some local supermarkets exchange them for full ones for a charge. The other thing I was concerned about was end of tank dumps, so I've been looking at two stage regulators to prevent them. do you use CO2? any advice gratefully received
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Re: Black Algae

Postby cousin it » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:52 pm

I have 4 pressurised systems in use at the moment and have been running co2 on tanks for almost 20 years now, I have yet to experience an end of tank dump using European co2 regulators.
It might be worth having a look around some of your local fish shops as you might find one that does an exchange service for co2 bottles, you should be able to get standard bottles refilled at a fire extinguisher shop.
Daran

there's always one
User avatar
cousin it
Moderator
 
Posts: 2129
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:01 am
Location: Plymouth, UK

Re: Black Algae

Postby MartinC » Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:04 pm

I've been looking at the fire extinguisher route but I've heard that they need the liquid CO2 pipe removing, is this correct? I've seen 2kg extinguishers for sale cheaper than 2 sodastream bottles. Might have to change my plan.
125l Fluval Rio
7 Tiger Barbs
5 Zebra Loaches
4 Red Harlequin Rasboras
5 Harlequin Rasboras
4 Otocinclus
MartinC
Member
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:06 am
Location: Stoke on Trent

Next

Return to Beginners

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron