Thread: Black Alge?
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Old 26-06-2006, 05:34 AM posted to rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants
Bill Stock
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Default Black Alge?

"Jim Conklin" wrote in message

"Bill Stock" wrote in message

"Jim Conklin" wrote in message
I'm having a problem with what I would call 'black alge' on my
plants and driftwood. I have a 55 gallon discus planted tank, 2.4
watts/gallon, pH 6.2, temp 84-85F, GH 75ppm, KH 120ppm, 0 Nitrite and
less then 20ppm Nitrate. I feed the plants the usual Flourish
supplements every few days.

This stuff is slimy and covers the leaves and back of the tank.
It's almost black and I clean it off with my fingers. I keep the lights
on for no more the 12 hours. Any help IDing it or suggestions on how to
get rid of it would be appreciated. Thanks!

In addition to what Dick said.

Common treatments for BBA (Black Brush Algae) are blackout, trimming
infected leaves, scrubbing followed by a water change, increased water
flow and critters.

I don't remember the suggested blackout (absolutely no light) period, but
I believe it's about a week. Some people have claimed this did not work
for them.

Removal is one of the better options, remove infected leaves, wipe sides
with a paper towel, vacuum gravel and do a large water change after
scrubbing. You should be doing large water changes weekly in any event.
Really seems to help keep the Algae in check.

Dipping infected plants in Hydrogen Peroxide or 20:1 mix of water and
bleach. I found Hydrogen Peroxide useless and went for the bleach

I also added BBA eating critters SAES seem to be the best. But I'm not
sure they would like your low PH.

What's your water flow like? Do you know where your Phosphate/Iron levels
are? It's possible one of these is too low and limiting your plant
growth, which allows the Algae to thrive.

I have pretty good water flow: a Filstar canister filter working together
with a Marineland 350. Phosphate is very high and always has been so.
This stuff started appearing about a month ago. I've been adding a capful
of Iron supplement weekly with 50% water changes, perhaps I should add
more? I thought I was keeping the tank clean as I have crystal clear water
but perhaps I'm not. I'll try a massive cleaning: 75% water change
together w/ gravel vacuum and trimming off the infected leaves and wiping
down the sides. Does SAES stand for Siamese Algae Eaters? Thanks for the


Pretty much everything I told you about the BBA applies to BGA (Blue Green
Algae), especially the water changes, water flow and gravel vaccing. I'd be
careful about changing more than 50% water, as it may have negative affects
on your fish. I'm not familiar with Discuss.

If you go the Antibiotic root, it may only be a temporary fix, as you
haven't cured the cause and the BGA will likely come back. Cleanup is
probably your best bet.

I had BGA before I got BBA and it went away with water changes, better
fertilization, CO2 (I have more light) and better water flow.

One more thing to try is Flourish Excel (CO2 in a bottle) at a slightly
higher dose than recommended. Some people swear by this stuff.

I use PMDD for my Iron, so I really can't equate your measures. Since you're
doing the weekly water changes anyway, you may want to consider then EI
(Estimative Index) for fertilizing. Although it's geared more towards high
light tanks. The big thing is to make your plants grow well, so they out
compete the Algae for nutrients. What's causing your high Phosphates BTW, is
it in the water or the food you are feeding?

Yes, SAE = Siamese Algae Eater.