Sunday, 23 May 2010

Black Brush Algae (BBA)

Over the last couple of months I have noticed a layer of black hairy algae over certain plants - which has recently covered most things in the aquarium..... Through Google I have identified it as Black Brush Algae - which is apparently reasonably difficult to get rid of but is manageable with certain changes to my tank regime - actually having a regime would be a start.......

At the moment - I change water when I remember and feed once a day. I have light on for approx 10 hours a day and have an increasing % of live plants. I have sand substrate (making it difficult to get the poo off of the sand), bogwood and some 'plastic' ornaments. The tank is next to a window but the curtains are closed throughout the day (we don't have net up at the moment).

My 200L tank has: 5 Corydoras, 3 Zebra Loaches, 3 Coolie Loaches, 6 Zebra Danios, 6 Cherry Barbs, 8 Platys (2 fry), 6 male Guppies, 1 Bristlenose Plec and Trumpet Snails.

So, what to do about the algae - trying to take it all out is not, apparently, an effective way of removing it - it will grow back. So, back to Google for further assistance....!

It appears that the Siamese Flying Fox (or Siamese Algae Eater (SAE) enjoys eating this type of algae so the first thing I did yesterday was go out and buy some SAE fish. According to a stocking calculator I have plenty of space left for fish - especially as my filter is more than adequate for my tank - so I bought 3. They are now in quarantine for the next few days before going into the main tank.

My filter was overdue a rinse so I did that - found one of the Coolie Loaches when I poured the water over the garden (panic stations as the fish burrows.....) but managed to get him back and into the tank. Problem with the Coolie Loaches is that we rarely see them so I would have no idea if one had disappeared..... I also found some snails in my filter which is fine as it means they are still in there doing their bit but that the Loaches are also doing theirs!

I have trimmed all the plants back - some of them are very vigorous - and that has reduced the amount of algae and added the recommended dose of fertiliser. I have also taken out several artificial plants that were looking a bit ropey...... I have ordered Seachem Flourish Excel which will apparently help due to one of the chemicals in it. Increasing CO2 has also been recommended to help encourage plant growth - I have investigated CO2 injection and have ordered a tester to see whether I need to add it or whether my tank is ok.

It has also been suggested that too many water changes, even small ones, would not help. I should however try and be better at doing the small weekly water changes - for the sake of the fish apart from anything else.......

I am hoping my new fish, chemicals and better care will sort out my problem!

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