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Old 08-08-2004, 05:29 AM
Greg G.
 
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Default Experience with Thread/Hair Algae and Bleach Treatment


Greetings,

Having fought a hair/thread algae problem for 2 years, I thought I
would share my experience with others who might be contemplating
dealing with this problem by a complete sanitazation/bleaching of
their system.

The tank in question is a 75 gal. all-glass tank with 128 / 192 watts
of T-8 lighting w/ electronic ballasts. The tank ran with 128 watts
for a couple years, and has recently been upgraded with two more T-8
32 watt bulbs. The lights are now staged to come on incrementally.

DIY CO2 injection and a version of PMDD and Seachem traces were used.
Water changes generally ran 12 gallons a week. KH/Alkalinity is
maintained at 3dKh and CO2 at 18ppm.

When the tank was first set-up, there were the usual growths of brown
(diatoms) and green algae. These quickly subsided after the tank ran
in for a while. Everything went swimmingly... until...

I made the mistake of adding a plant from a retailer that had small
patches of hair/thread algae growing on it. Within 2 months, the
entire tank was covered with this stuff. The gravel, plants, rocks,
heater, hoses, EVERYTHING! The only plant that didn't succumb to this
stuff was Hornwort, and I can only conclude that it's rapid growth
rate coupled with what appears to be a natural algaecide prevented it
from being covered as well.

Thomas Barr suggested the fert/water change routine that I was
essentially already using - but it didn't help. The plants were
growing great - I was throwing out buckets of plant material each
week. But the algae would NOT subside. I was also picking out
buckets of this smelly, stringy crap each week. It took hours to do a
water change and cleanup. I got to the point I considered just
draining the dam*&# thing.

I tried numerous algae eating organisms - siamese algae eaters, ottos,
plecos, and 3 different kinds of snails. Any and everything I could
get - they wouldn't touch it or didn't make a dent in it.

Finally, after two years, I figured it was time to upgrade the
substrate and decided to give the whole mess the bleach treatment.
This was 2 months ago.

I tore down the tank and removed all fish and transferred them to a
holding cell for two days. I bleached the tank, gravel and all
appliances with a 10:1 bleach solution. The plants (which had AMAZING
root systems!!) got a 3 minute dip in a 20:1 solution. I had used
only gravel initially, and this time added a 50/50 mix of gravel and
Profile. The Profile was too lightweight to hold plants in place on
it's own, but the 50/50 mix is about perfect - easy to plant roots in,
but heavy enough to hold everything in place. The only caveat is that
too much disturbance of the substrate results in the gravel settling
to the bottom, covered with the lighter weight Profile. After I felt
confident that the fish had excreted any remains of the algae they may
have inadvertently eaten, they were replaced into the "new" setup.

Almost ALL plants lost their original leaves, but all have recovered
and are showing new growth. I was especially disappointed at this
occurrence because of a huge sword which was the centerpiece of the
tank. It slowly melted into a skeleton of veins. But everything that
was treated IS recovering.

I cannot express what a joy it is not to have to deal with the thread
algae! It has NOT reoccurred, and I am anxiously awaiting the total
recovery/fill in of all the plants - Especially the large swords and
the huge stands of crypts that melted almost immediately after
bleaching.

I will NEVER again add a plant to my tank without bleaching or at
least a long quarantine - Just as I will not add new fish without a
proper quarantine.

Here is an incomplete list of plants and their reaction to bleaching:

Bacopa - eventually melted - took a while
Hornwort - grows so fast, who would notice...
Various Crypts - melted immediately
Various Swords - most older leaves melted slowly
Rotala Indica/rotundifolia - showed no appreciable damage
Two types of Anubias (nana and afzelii) - showed no appreciable damage
Chain sword (tenellus) - most older leaves slowly melted
Dwarf Hairgrass - no substantial damage

FWIW,


Greg G.

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Old 10-08-2004, 03:45 PM
Rick
 
Posts: n/a
Default Experience with Thread/Hair Algae and Bleach Treatment


Greg G. wrote in message
...

Greetings,

Having fought a hair/thread algae problem for 2 years, I thought I
would share my experience with others who might be contemplating
dealing with this problem by a complete sanitazation/bleaching of
their system.

The tank in question is a 75 gal. all-glass tank with 128 / 192 watts
of T-8 lighting w/ electronic ballasts. The tank ran with 128 watts
for a couple years, and has recently been upgraded with two more T-8
32 watt bulbs. The lights are now staged to come on incrementally.

DIY CO2 injection and a version of PMDD and Seachem traces were used.
Water changes generally ran 12 gallons a week. KH/Alkalinity is
maintained at 3dKh and CO2 at 18ppm.

When the tank was first set-up, there were the usual growths of brown
(diatoms) and green algae. These quickly subsided after the tank ran
in for a while. Everything went swimmingly... until...

I made the mistake of adding a plant from a retailer that had small
patches of hair/thread algae growing on it. Within 2 months, the
entire tank was covered with this stuff. The gravel, plants, rocks,
heater, hoses, EVERYTHING! The only plant that didn't succumb to this
stuff was Hornwort, and I can only conclude that it's rapid growth
rate coupled with what appears to be a natural algaecide prevented it
from being covered as well.

Thomas Barr suggested the fert/water change routine that I was
essentially already using - but it didn't help. The plants were
growing great - I was throwing out buckets of plant material each
week. But the algae would NOT subside. I was also picking out
buckets of this smelly, stringy crap each week. It took hours to do a
water change and cleanup. I got to the point I considered just
draining the dam*&# thing.

I tried numerous algae eating organisms - siamese algae eaters, ottos,
plecos, and 3 different kinds of snails. Any and everything I could
get - they wouldn't touch it or didn't make a dent in it.

Finally, after two years, I figured it was time to upgrade the
substrate and decided to give the whole mess the bleach treatment.
This was 2 months ago.

I tore down the tank and removed all fish and transferred them to a
holding cell for two days. I bleached the tank, gravel and all
appliances with a 10:1 bleach solution. The plants (which had AMAZING
root systems!!) got a 3 minute dip in a 20:1 solution. I had used
only gravel initially, and this time added a 50/50 mix of gravel and
Profile. The Profile was too lightweight to hold plants in place on
it's own, but the 50/50 mix is about perfect - easy to plant roots in,
but heavy enough to hold everything in place. The only caveat is that
too much disturbance of the substrate results in the gravel settling
to the bottom, covered with the lighter weight Profile. After I felt
confident that the fish had excreted any remains of the algae they may
have inadvertently eaten, they were replaced into the "new" setup.

Almost ALL plants lost their original leaves, but all have recovered
and are showing new growth. I was especially disappointed at this
occurrence because of a huge sword which was the centerpiece of the
tank. It slowly melted into a skeleton of veins. But everything that
was treated IS recovering.

I cannot express what a joy it is not to have to deal with the thread
algae! It has NOT reoccurred, and I am anxiously awaiting the total
recovery/fill in of all the plants - Especially the large swords and
the huge stands of crypts that melted almost immediately after
bleaching.

I will NEVER again add a plant to my tank without bleaching or at
least a long quarantine - Just as I will not add new fish without a
proper quarantine.

Here is an incomplete list of plants and their reaction to bleaching:

Bacopa - eventually melted - took a while
Hornwort - grows so fast, who would notice...
Various Crypts - melted immediately
Various Swords - most older leaves melted slowly
Rotala Indica/rotundifolia - showed no appreciable damage
Two types of Anubias (nana and afzelii) - showed no appreciable damage
Chain sword (tenellus) - most older leaves slowly melted
Dwarf Hairgrass - no substantial damage

FWIW,


Greg G.




I agree with your course of action and have done the same myself in a
smaller tank. If the cause of the algae is from an external source , ie: the
plant you bought and you had a stable tank with no algae problems to begin
with then IMHO bleaching is the way to go. If on the other hand the algae
occurs due to a problem with your water, fert. dosing etc then obviously
bleaching will give you the same result initially however the algae is
likely to return until the problem is rectified. I gave my plants a dip in
20-1 bleach solution and lost very few.

Rick




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