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Whats a safe way to kill black hair algae in a red cherry shrimp tank. Tank is low tech 1st time with live plants so very new at this its growing on a few of my java fern

tank is 40g breeder lights on about 12-14 hrs (when im at work)

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This part is gonna sound pretty zen (I'm not a huge fan of the wording myself), but the only true way to get rid of algae is to fix the imbalances in your tank. Any medications you put in there would curb the problem, but it would come back probably sooner than later. Java fern is a low light plant, which doesn't grow to fast, so that much light isn't necessary. In addition to fixing the lighting, you might want to check how many nutrients you are dosing if you are currently dosing any, as the java fern can't use them very quickly if the levels are high, so the algae would use it instead. Another way to fix algae would be to increase the amount of CO2 in the water which would allow the plants to utilize the light and nutrients faster allowing them to out compete the algae, or to add floating plants which would shade the algae, be able to utilize the nutrients easily because they can get CO2 from the air. I would not add them if you have high light plants as your plants would strain to reach the surface due to the floating plants and grow super tall instead of wide and become spindly as well, while forming less leaves. 

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  • 1 month later...

     With a low tech tank, have you thought about organic liquid co2???  Prime excel works great to contend with black algae and of course the amount of lights... give it a try. 

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  • 3 months later...

I recently had a problem with black hair algae, bba and staghorn algae growing in my 5 gal shrimp (CRS and RCS) and 12 gal fish tank. The problem was easier to control in my 5g.


For my 5g I took all my rocks and scrubbed the algae off and even soaked them for 1 hr in a bucket of water with 5ml of bleach. Then scrubbed them again and soaking them in clean water for 24 hrs afterward.  I also bleached the sponge that covers my filter intake. I made sure to soak it and rinse it well before adding it back in the tank. I use RO water but in this instance I added water conditionaer to minimize the possibility of contaminating the tank with beach in case  that I may not have soaked out the bleach completely. 


I removed all my moss because the algae had attached to it. I places it in a 1 gal that  has a weak light. I kept it there for a month.


I trimmed the leaves that had algae attached them them. I did this weekly and whenever I happen to see any such leaves. 


I added duckweed which ended up overtaking my tank but reduced nitrate and lighting that would otherwise feed the algae. I also added additional easy-to-keep plants. I also reduced the number of hours I kept the lights on and stopped using Flourish and reduced the amount of Excel dosing.


I made sure to stay on top of water changes. And after 1 month the algae issue in my 5 gal was under control. 


I tried this on my 12 gal with opposite results. After adding more plants the BBA attached itself to everything. EVERYTHING! In the end I had to tear the tank down and start all over again with new plants to reduce the possibility that any algae spore transferred to my new set-up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

are you sure its black hair algae? the way java fern produce is by creating new little java ferns on its leaves, google image search java fern reproduction. i could see how someone new to plants would think its a type of algae.


if you're sure it's algae, if you wanna get rid of it quickly without chemicals you can use the black out method. put a black trash bag over it for 2-3 days to kill it off, but as long as the source is still there it will keep coming back. so best to fix your lighting n stuff.

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