Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aquascaping Topic: Most Dreaded Algae

Algae is to the aquascaper as weeds are to the gardener. It's a never ending battle to keep your hard work from being consumed in a gooey, smelly mess. Granted, we'll never be 100% victorious, since some level of algae is natural, but it still we do everything short of using chemicals (and some people even use these in a desperate last ditch attempt) to try to get the upper hand.

While most aquascapers and planted aquarium hobbyists have probably encountered nearly every type of algae in their careers, we all have a particular type of algae we dread the most. For me, it used to be Cladophora sp., but now, I just cannot seem to kick this black brush algae (BBA). It's sprouted up all over the place and despite having my CO2 high enough to make my fish gasp it doesn't seem to want to go away. So what type of algae do you dread the most?


  1. I think my most dreaded algae (even though it's technically not an algae) is Cyanobacteria, commonly refered to as blue green algae. I've had it a couple of times in the past and it's quite an eyesore and there aren't many ways to get rid of it naturally.

    Although I'm also not a fan of black brush algae, and right not I am dealing with Cladophora (which I wasn't exactly sure what it was until your last post, thanks!).

  2. Green Spot. Oh my God those are a pain in the butt to deal with.

  3. I have struggled with algae for years. At one point I had even considered to give up the hobby altogether. In my last attempt I turned to my local aquatic shop and was advised to get some Caridina japonica. I replied that I had tried them before to no avail. "How big is your Tank?" said the guy in the shop. I replied "780 Litres". "Ah" he said "and how many Caridina exactly did you employ?" I had to think but I guessed that I had had about 25. "That is about 275 too few" he replied. To cut a long story short, he guaranteed that I would get my money back if 300 Caridina didn't do the job, plus he got me a special deal. What can I say... after just three weeks my tank started to look really good - just like someone had wiped all the leaves clean with a flannel cloth. So numbers was the key here. If you put 25 shrimp in an 800 Litre tank it is just not going to work.

    Next thing I noticed was the appearance of two very unpleasant forms of blackish algae: One looking like a tuft of fine, straight filaments and another one forming semi-translucent branches, slightly slimy to the touch. My Caridina simply didn't like these algae as part of their diet. So while everything else was in check, my new, black algae thrived.
    I went back to the shop and told the guy about the problem. I didn’t expect there to be an easy solution so when he said „Ah, I see“, I thought that surely, some chemical remedy would be recommended next. To my surprise, he said „You need about 12 Crossocheilus reticulatus“. This turned out to be a fairly new fish (not to be confused with Crossocheilus siamensis) which specifically eats exactly the type of algae I was struggling with. Again, after about 6 weeks, my tank was squeaky clean and has remained so ever since.
    Obviously, I only had to cope with a few types of algae out of a vast palette. I now have two teams of little helpers that are more than worth their money. The shrip eat all types of green algae and the Crossocheilus eat all black algae (which I understand are correctly named red algae).

  4. Any algae you can't wipe out quickly with blackouts or UVC-filters.

    Cladophora and BBA comes to mind. With these two algae it often feels like endless picking and plucking despite you have reached stability and the sweet spot with no new algae growth.

  5. UV sterilizer has been the best investment I have ever made!

  6. Getting some sort of sterilizer will work or diluted chemical combination does help. But just proper maintenance and nipping any algae in the bud before it takes over your tank is the best thing to do, for the sake of the fish.

  7. never had an issue with any algae, though good to research!!
    heavily planted but limited to what is avalible!
    Several kinds of algae eaters and plants. SAE, CAE, bristlenose, brig, shrimp and my two Pseudotropheus Acei eat some too.
    this is my first thought 55gal, but now think maybe it is 75gal... ... (tank of the month)

  8. simease algee eaters eat black algee

  9. True, but they also grow pretty big and can get aggressive. They also may eat moss and fine leaved plants.

  10. Cladorpha hands down. It grows fast, is a nearly impossible to remove manually, can grow in a COMPLETELY BLACKED OUT filter (and spread) and forces me to bleach things- I hate bleach. Just spent 8 hours last weekend on this nightmare. Remember kids- clean new plants thoroughly!


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