Ahhhhh hair agae!! – Solution is here (part 2 of 2)

  1. Reduce your lighting intensity. This will limit the environmental pressures on your plants and decrease the strain they are undergoing. If you can, raise your lighting (height wise) so rather than it being a few inches above the water, it could be 10-12” maybe. If this is not possible (i.e. you have a hood and can’t move the lighting) reduce the number of light tubes you are running and cut it down by half. If you were using 4 tubes, use 2. If you were using 2, use 1 etc. In addition to the above, reduce your lighting duration to 6 hours per day.
  2. Add liquid carbon, such as Neutro CO2 – if you’re already adding it, increase the dose. You can increase this to double without any issues unless you have plants like riccia or vallis which don’t appreciate it. Liquid carbon is hostile to CO2 related algae but not only that, it offers carbon to the plant itself which it desperately needs. Hair algae often changes to a reddish type of colour and then to grey when exposed to higher dosages of liquid carbon (very satisfying to see). Another idea is when  performing your weekly water changes, find a small paint brush (which is new) and dip it into some liquid carbon. Then paint the plants which have been effected by the algae – leave it 10 minutes and then top back up with water. You can use this technique on wood if algae is also growing there.
  3. Increase your water changes and this goes for any types of algae. As soon as the algae monster shows up, perform more water changes (minimum of 30%) 2, 3 or 4 times per week – the more you do the better and your plants will love you for it (algae will hate you). Algae loves dirty water with lots of organics and broken down plant matter – invisible to you and I yet very visible to algae. But when you are using your syphon (or however you perform your water changes) make sure you get into every nook and cranny – don’t be lazy and syphon off the top 30% of water – that’s already clean; get right to the bottom and suck up all the debris around the rocks and bases of plants. Make sure your tank is really clean remembering that decomposing leaves break down into ammonia which feeds algae. You should be able to look into your tank and see around the base of plants easily. For some this is going to be hard work but keeping a clean tank is very important if you want success.

In conclusion, this combination of increased CO2 (pressurised and liquid), decreased lighting intensity and duration and increasing your water changes is the way to get rid of your hair algae. Not only that, your plants will begin to respond more positively too – the extra carbon you’re adding will be enormously beneficial to them and they will grow quicker, thicker and a lot more healthily. Lastly, finish off any last strands of algae with an old toothbrush. Twirling it round the algae and twisting as you go will help to remove any lasts stubborn strands. Masterclass over!


5 thoughts on “Ahhhhh hair agae!! – Solution is here (part 2 of 2)”

  1. Hey mate, thanks for the wonderful article here. I’ve been having the hair algae problem for about 10-12 days now. It’s a 10 gallon planted tank with 22 wats lighting via clip on PL lights.

    Now I’ve been doing water changes around 30% every 2 days. I don’t have a Co2 diffuser and due to space constraints I’ve been using Azoo Carbon Plus that’s similar to Seachem flourish excel back here.

    The thing is the Algae doesn’t seem to go away. Every time I syphon, I do tap the leaves, give them a good brush and also scrape the tank walls. I have the Co2 liquid indicator as well & I believe it’s color doesn’t change because one of the local fish dealers here told me it’s carbon compound and not actual Co2, hence it has no impact on he eh liquid color. Is that actually true. Using liquid carbon won’t result in a change?

    Also what do you suggest I do to get rid of the algae. I do a water changer and within 5 hours the leaves are coated with it back again. Starting today, I’ve reduced the lighting duration from 9 to 5 hours and intend to do daily water changes of 30-50%

    Additionally I’ve also got hold of June Azoo Algae remove and have been advised to add that every 2nd day!

    Additional help from your side would really be helpful.


  2. I would only add one thing to this great article.
    Many plants, (especially carpeting plants but including Swords, Crypts etc. really appreciate being pruned!) Think how quickly a lawn grows after being mown.
    My 50l aquarium is mainly populated by Crypts, Swords and Anubias and ALL are succeptible to growth on the outer leaves (because they have stopped growing). On a Monthly basis, I trim off the outer leaves. This not only removes the start of any algae but also makes space around the crown for new growth. As the plants are constantly growing quickly, they use up the nutrients BEFORE the algae gets chance to gain a hold!!!

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