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  1. #1

    Default Newbie takes on beard algae.

    0 Not allowed!
    So I'm new to the fish world. Had a rough start with a goldfish and a 2 gallon tank. Learned some hard lessons along the way. The goldfish survived and got into his new 50 gallon tank.

    I planted the tank with low light plants and added 3 applesnails. My fish crew made it through the cycle.

    Ammonia 0
    Nitrites 0
    Nitrates 1

    I'm finally at a place where I can enjoy the tank and not worry about hurting my fish.

    Tonight I noticed some weird algae growing on my sword. I was able to rub it off. I decided I should figure out what it is. Yup.....beard algae

    Plus now I've let it loose by rubbing it.

    I'm not sure what to do. I've read through some posts but with snails in the tank I'm worried about using chemicals.

    What's the best coarse of treatment for spores on loose? I can cut the leaves off the plant and turn the lights on for less hours.

    But I mut say I'm a bit confused on how to balance out what's out of balance. Can someone dumb it down for a newbie?


  2. #2

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    Ontario, Canada

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    0 Not allowed!
    It's good to know that you figured out that rubbing beard algae off causes spores which will spread that awful stuff around the tank. It's too bad you learned that after you already did it.

    If the algae is local, I would do as you said and cut the plant leaf off to prevent it's spread. The other measure you mentioned about cutting down on the lighting time will also help.

    I read that Excel (a liquid plant food), would help me destroy my beard algae which I have been using after my weekly water change. I dose as per the bottle instructions and I still see a bit of it on the odd surface but for the most part it is going away. That info came from a thread in the algae section, a primer by Dave66 on beard algae. If you haven't checked it out yet I recommend you do.
    Good luck with that awful stuff.
    Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..

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  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks strider
    Appreciate the response. I've been reading up on this stuff.

    I have a planted goldfish tank - low tech- easy beginner plants that grow with low lighting. Swords, crypts and java ferns. I have tons of circulation and water agitation going on to highly oxygenate the water. I saw a chart with PH/GH levels (ph 8.2/gh 10) and how much co2 is in the water. I'm very low according to chart. So I'm wondering if this is part of my problem. Unfortunately I don't understand how to clearly ensure I have low co2 and if that is really the problem causing my algae out break.

    I can't find excel but I did buy API version "co2". The question is do I dose with it? My plants are growing so besides this algae do I need to add co2 to the tank?

    Can someone give their input?

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    No, you don't necessarily need CO2 but it cant hurt your plants and will hurt the algae.

    The best thing to do would be to cut and siphon off the algae using a big hose right before your water change so that the majority of spores are removed.

    Also break up your photo period. I've read that 4 on and 2 off twice a day works well.

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the great suggestion.

    I currently have the light on 4 hours, off 4 hours and back on for 4 hours. But I find it's not working well for viewing. It's helping a bit with the algae. So I'll do that.

  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    Crypts can be sensitive to CO2 levels. Make sure they don't careen out of control.
    I tested 97% positive for Multiple Tank Syndrome
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  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Oh...didn't know that. I've been a bit hesitant to add the co2 as my plants are going ok. Except my amazon sword whose got paper thin leaves but I just got flourish root tabs and hope that will help it.

    Thanks for the info.

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    Your tank has no real use for co2. With the slow growing plants you have and your limited lighting [schedule and type] it is a wasted addition. Beard algae is best beaten back with manual removal,good gravel vacs and bigger water changes. For the next step,are you sure of the algae type you have,is it beard or black brush algae? Big difference,very much different to battle. What K rating bulbs do you have . its on the bulb and would be expressed [6500k,5500k,10000k,etc].
    Last edited by smaug; 08-09-2012 at 09:03 PM.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    The algae was very dark green and it swayed with the current. It reminded me of plush velvet - thick dense with individual fibers. It actually was very pretty. It felt slimmy to the touch - which I understand after much reading is not beard algae. What is it?

    I have two separate light fixtures. One with two 24 watt 5H bulbs. One with two 18 watt 5h bulbs. Rated 6500.

    Any input?

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    That sounds like a hair algae. Its nutrient fed just like any other algae but much easier to erradicate the some.bigger water changes,better gravel vac,cut back on feeding. I sse the co2 you wanted to use is a liquid type,go ahead and use that it will help. Don't worry about trying to figure what co2 level you have if your not putting it in through a gas then it won't register any higher then what your household air has. Cut your lighting to just under 8 hrs a day .

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