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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 75 gallon tank, very hard well water and a serious black beard algae infestation!

We have been manually picking for weeks (years) no avail. In the tank are 2 pictus cats, 2 angels, tetras (congos, pristella's) a raphael catfish and 2 plecos that are going back to the fish store because they are eating all the plants (I know that now). Also have alot of light (orbit 48" with 4 65w bulbs).
I am planning the following:
- manual removal of as much as possible :icon_hang
- a 3-4 day blackout
- after blackout, starting exel
- buying a ro filter for my crappy water
- then maybe a uv sterilizer? or would a co2 system be better?

In my dreams I will have a beautiful planted aquarium with happy fish. Any help would be very appreciated.
 

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Are you fertilizing? With nearly 3.5 WPG, you need ferts, and CO2. Using excel to kill the algae might help in the short term, but you'll want to get to the core issue so there are no repeats.

-Dave
 

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davemonkey brings up some very good points about your setup. With 3.5 wpg you definitely need a carbon source preferably pressurized CO2. If you can't add CO2, you should turn off two of the 65w bulbs...you simply have too much light.

A blackout will not help your situation. Blackouts are effective against Green Water and Blue Green and not for other types of Algae. Black Beard Algae can survive for weeks with ambient room light or less while the plants cannot.

Manually removal is your best plant of attack though it is next to impossible with BBA. Excel or Gluteraldehyde overdosing is probably your best plan of attack against BBA. You can take a look at this thread for overdosing Flourish Excel or this thread for overdosing it's generic counterpart gluteraldehyde. Some prefer to go overboard when dosing these two carbon sources.

I have found that 0.5ml per gallon for 1-2 days followed by 0.25ml per gallon works extremely well at eliminating BBA. For my 75g I dose 30ml for two days then cut back to 15ml for the next 6-7 days and it totally eliminates my BBA. You should see it start to turn pink around day 3-4 if not sooner. Be warned that some plants like Riccia (and other bladderworts), Valisneria species, and a few others do not tolerate Excel or Gluteraldehyde overdoses.

Once the algae is eliminated you should continue with daily additions of Excel/Gluteraldehyde so you have a carbon source in your tank. Even with two of your 65w bulbs turned off, you are on the edge of needing a carbon source in your tank and Excel/Gluteraldehyde will be a big help. You should also look into a fertilization routine for your tank. The Estimative Index would be my recommendation if you are new to fertilizing. It is easy to follow and works very well as long as you don't mind doing 50% water changes each week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks folks! Will order Flourish Excel right now!

I have removed all plants and cleaned tank. If I start with RO water, do I do it gradually? All RO or some of my (very hard - well water) tap?

When do I add new plants. Am definitely getting a CO2 system too, how do I know how much ppm?

Thank you!
 

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What? No GSA too? That is way more light than you need. I was at 4x54w on my 72 gal and until I cut back my photo period to 8 hours and only 3x54w I has BBA and GSA pretty badly. And all plants still do great. That would be a good start. Also make sure you fert well, macro and micro, and have a good amount of plants to outcompete the BBA or you'll be forever fighting losing battle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Okay folks - thanks for all the help. My CO2 system is running, not stabilized yet, but going. Added more plants, fertilizing more and cut back light cycle. Started Excel today too. Now just 2-65w dual daylights on. But the tank looks bad with all that yellow. Can I add back my 2-65w dual actinic? Or too much still. Just need some blue!!

Another question - CO2 and surface agitation. I know, I know, its bad. My 75g has a biowheel powerfilter and undergravel filtration. Can I turn off the undergravel during the day when the CO2 is running? Biofilter would still be running and there is a submerged pump for circulation. Need to continue adding plants. Anything else????

So much stuff to learn!!! Thanks again!
 

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I would trade the antinics out with either a grow bulb of some sort with a pinker tone or a higher spectrum not antinic bulb. My understanding (and I am new to this myself) is that there is very little light from the atinics that the plants can use, however algae is still able to use this light. That is not confirmed by any means it is just something I've heard.
 
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