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It may take more than a year of blackout to eradicate Cladophora. I have seen it surviving in an abandoned tank far from any window and with no lighting for years. I did an experiment on another bad hair algae, Oedogonium, where I kept it in a cupboard in total darkness for 6 months, and it resumed growth, none the worse for wear as soon as I returned it to light.
 

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The sure way to get rid of Cladophora is the bleach treatment. Treat the plants to 4 minutes in 5% liquid bleach and move them into a tank made free of Cladophora by bleaching the gravel, tank and everything else that goes into the tank. Fish can be freed of Cladophora by moving them from an infested tank to a temporary tank where any cladophora that was transferred with them settles out, and then into the Cladophora free tank. If you completely get rid of Cladophora, it does not come back except on infested untreated plants. Most plants can survive the 4 minute treatment if they are immediately rinsed and floated in a well lit tank.
 
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