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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a 50 gallon shrimp tank. I have string algae, and I want to get rid of it. I tried searching the forums for a solution, but I don't think the chemicals people are recommending are safe for shrimp. Please advise! Thank you!!!
 

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A lot of time hair algae is cause by either too much light or too cold of water or a combination of both, you can try and remove as much as possible by hand and lower you light for a while and see if that helps, likewise try dialing up the temp some as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback~

I do have a lot of light on my tank. I'll turn it off. Sunlight still gets to my tank, though. Is that still too much light? Or do I need to somehow block all light to the tank?

The tank stays at a stable 78-80 degrees. I think that's warm enough. Definitely not cold.

And considering how fast it grows, I'm not sure if controlling those two factors would be enough. Is there anything else I can do?

Thank you in advance for your help guys~
 

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Are you dosing your aquarium with any type of fertilizers? Are you using injected co2?

The biggest causes of hair algae in a warm environment is too many nutrients in the water or too much light, I have also read that hair algae and be caused with poor co2 levels but I am not sure on that. If you are using fertilizers, depending on the amounts you are using you can cut back on them as well and give that a try.

From what I have read in the past, a blackout has little effect on hair algae, but what you want to do is control you light better, and reduce it. So for instance if you are getting a ton of sun light into you aquarium you can paint the back of the glass with the color of spray paint of your choice from the local hardware store and that will cut down on the amount of light that is getting in, also if you are running you lights for 12 hours a day you can cut those back to 6 or 8 hours. If you cannot paint your aquarium glass or just don't want to (the paint is easily removed with a little elbow grease and a razor blade) you can see when you are getting the most sun and possibly turn your aquariums lights off during that part of the day and have them come back on once the sun is no longer directly hitting the aquarium.

Alternatively, I have read that some people have used salt to help with hair algae, I am not sure if this is still in practice today or not, but you can do a little searching on the various forums and see if you can find anything about it.

If you are wanting to chemically treat the algae I have read good things on a product called Algaefix, I believe it is designed more for ponds but can be used safely in aquariums as long as you follow all the directions and suggested dosages to the letter, do not add more. If you choose to go this route you will want to make sure you don't have any type of inverts in the tank, I believe Algaefix will kill them. This is just a treatment method and will in no means be a CURE, it can help you get rid of the algae you currently have but it will not prevent that algae from returning if you have not addressed the root problem of why you got the algae in the first place.
 

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What type of lights and filter you are using, is there enough flow in the aquarium?? What type of plants and there density?? Without these info. the best suggestion would be to increase flow and introduce some floating plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses people. I really appreciate it!

Yes, I've been using API Leaf Zone (iron and potassium) every 2 weeks or so.

No CO2 injection.

The tank varies between 76 ~ 80 degrees throughout the day, depending on the sun. I have a heater set to 78 F.

I have a bunch of light bulbs aimed at the tank.



I made 3 undergravel filters that use powerheads, and another filter that uses a pothos plant. (powered by a powerhead and an airline) All of the powerheads have a sponge on them for mechanical filtration.






(flip this image 90 degrees counterclockwise)


Amongst other plants, I have a bunch of frogbit plants

There's plenty of flow. Please take a look and let me know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
2 of them are 23 watt, 2 are 11 watts, and one of them is a 11 watt LED bulb (dunno what that's equivalent to).

And now that I think about it, I keep the lights for about 12-13 hours a day... Which, after reading some comments online, I realize is too much. How long should I keep the lights on?

I think reducing the amount of light will help. I've been reading about spot-treating string algae with hydrogen peroxide. I think between the two of these factors, the string algae will definitely go down. Is the hydrogen peroxide a good idea? I feel like that could go horrifically wrong... lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also, I've been wondering about my filtration setup. From the perspective of a more experienced aquarist, does it seem adequate? (3 undergravel filters with powerheads with sponges attached, and a pothos plant filter (with powerhead and airline))?

The water seems pretty clear, and I occasionally test the water. (Also been wondering how often I should test the water) I'm a little worried the nutrient levels or some other factor will hit critical mass and the tank will crash. I don't think that'll happen, but if there's some glaring flaw in the design, I'd love to know...

Thanks again peoples!!!
 

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Man, I feel you on this. I had a tank start growing hair algae. I found out I was getting indirect light. Once I fixed that it began to retreat until my co2 levels dropped... Then it exploded. I read everything I could on the stuff. Tom Barr had a post where he swore that if you made sure you didn't have any limiting nutrients, co2, or light, the plants would outcompete the algae if you have a heavily planted tank, which I did. Many people also attested that this worked for them, however, my tank got so covered in the algae that all the leaves got smothered with the algae. I ended up nuking my tank with tetra's algaefix at very high doses before it made an impact. Nitrites and ammonia went through the roof for a while but the algae is gone. I had to remove as many inverts as I could and placed them in a spare tank I dubbed "the ark" and I'm getting ready to put them back. I haven't had any new growth in a month, though.

I definitely think light is a problem, but cutting the light might not solve the problem right away (I've read mixed reports on it) especially if you're getting indirect sunlight, which is what messed my tank up too. You are definitely running a lo tech setup. You're not dosing a lot, only potassium, which means that you are relying on uneaten food and fish wastes for your source of phosphates and nitrogen. I haven't ever really had a low tech setup so I'm not sure what I would do. For one thing I'd check my nitrates. If you have sone nitrates then you could make an educated *guess* that you will have some phosphates and potassium too. If you have nitrates and other nutrients in your water with such low dosing, I would bet that the plants are not absorbing the nutrients because there isn't enough carbon for the plants to use. Carbon deficiency- limited nutrient uptake- good algae growing conditions. Another scenario is that there could be a nutrient deficiency. How stocked is your aquarium? I think the only thing to do right now is to cut back light, test your nitrates, if you can, buy a phosphate kit. I am unaware of a cheap potassium kit, but since you dose that, I'm not too concerned. Once you know these things, you may be able to strike that critical balance again. With such a low tech/dosing setup, I bet some seachem excel would do wonders. It's a liquid carbon that you can dose your tank with every week or two. It will help remove the co2 deficiency and a lot of people use excel because it has algae killing effects. What are your water parameters right now? How often do you do water changes? This is somewhat of a scatterbrained response so I apologize for that. I hope something from my stream of consciousness has helped.
 

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If you are getting a ton of sun light into you aquarium you can paint the back of the glass with the color of spray paint of your choice from the local hardware store and that will cut down on the amount of light that is getting in, also if you are running you lights for 12 hours a day you can cut those back to 6 or 8 hours. If you cannot paint your aquarium glass or just don't want to (the paint is easily removed with a little elbow grease and a razor blade) you can see when you are getting the most sun and turn your aquariums lights off during that part of the day and have them come back on once the sun is no longer directly hitting the aquarium.

As for the filtration, I haven't ever used under-gravel filters so I don't really have any idea of how well they work. I have only used HOB, canister's and sump systems before.

Your best bet if to remove as much hair algae manually (by hand) as possible and then reduce the lighting. 12 hours a day is way too much, and given the fact your aquarium is relatively near those windows you are probably getting some sunlight in there as well. You can have your lights come on whenever you want, which is the nice thing about aquarium keeping, if you work a 9-5 you can have your lights come on at 5 and have plenty of night time view pleasure. I personally have my aquarium lights come on at 4pm and got off at 1am because that is what has worked for me and my schedule in the past, but I am going to slowly adjust the timing due to a new work schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
snakehuntr_007

Thanks for the scatterbrained response. Those resonate with me lol.
I cut down the lighting to 8-10 hours a day. Is there a way to measure carbon deficiency? I don't think that'd be a problem for the tank though, as I've added soil to it...
I tested the water for pH, ammonia, nitrates, nitrites (7.6, 0 ppm, 0 ppm, 0 ppm, respectively).
I'm not sure about adding chemicals though, as my main concern for this tank is for the shrimp that live inside it.
I do water changes once a week- about 20%.


Aquarist-

Yeah, I'm unwilling to paint the tank... lol... I don't think a blackout is the best solution, though... I have reduced the lighting, though.


I tried testing the hydrogen peroxide method in a bowl with some string algae-infested java moss and frogbit. The string algae almost immediately died and fell off. I'm keeping them in the bowl overnight to see if the plants make it through. If so, I'm gonna spot-treat the algae (after removing as much as I can manually)

Yay, I think all these factors have combined into a solution! I'll keep you guys updated about the plants and the consequent spot-treating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I think reducing the amount of light helped, and also the addition of hornwort seemed to coincide the string algae disappearance. I think the hornwort outcompeted the algae for nutrients- it tripled in size over the last week or so.

The hydrogen peroxide wasn't a good solution... Worked well for the java moss, but destroyed crystalwort. Didn't wanna test it on other plants after that. The sunlight/hornwort solution worked, though!
 
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