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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tank:
29 Gallon

Fish:
4x Bolivian Ram
5x Bloodfin Tetra
1x Bristlenose Plecostomus

Decorations:
3x Driftwood (2 Malaysian, 1 Unknown)
2x Anubias
1x Java Fern
1x Amazon Sword
1x Plastic Plant

Water Parameters:
Ammonia- 0.00ppm
Nitrite- 0.00ppm
Nitrate- 5-10ppm
pH- 7.6-7.8
Temp.- 78-80F

Filter:
AC70

Dechlorinator:
AmQuel Plus

Water Change:
35-40% Weekly

Aquarium Cycled:
June, 2010

Problem:
A couple months ago I noticed a white hair-like substance growing on the glass of my aquarium (see first photo). Initially it only grew on the glass where there was a high concentration of oxygen, by the air stone and on the glass in front of the outlet flow from the filter. Other than the glass, it was only present on the air stone, where it would grow quite thick. It was unsightly, but didn't appear to harm my fish and actually seemed to provide good food for my Plecostomus. However, it eventually got worse and started to grow within my filter and the intake tube. This would cause the filter to become completely clogged on a daily basis. I decided something needed to be done.
On the advice of a friend I decided to try AlgaeFix by API. Initially this seemed to work, with the only trade off being cloudy water. However, it still grew, just more â€Å"fuzzyâ€Â
 

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Boy, I have never seen an outbreak like that. There's very little good info on white algae out there. The only thing I found that might be worth trying are some otocinclus. If you scroll down that page, someone mentions that they'll eat it. Also found it interesting that it was only growing for them on their CO2 diffuser. Makes me want to suggest that you at least temporarily add an airstone or two to the tank. It's a shot in the dark, but cheap and easy to do and all I can find to offer right now.

Let us know how this goes and I'll keep searching for some type of other causes/solutions.
 

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You could also try a "black out" - when I had a salt tank a few folks were having luck battling "strange" algae. Basically you turn off the lights and cover the tank with a heavy blanket or cardboard on all the glass so no light can get in. Leave it that way for a few days. Hopefully when you uncover you'll find that the algae has died from lack of light, while the plants which have a better ability to store energy are un-harmed. If it makes an improvement then run your lights for a day or two and then repeat the "black out", some folks would leave the tank dark for up to a week at at time.
 

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I did a blackout for 3 days, helped a lot one time.
 

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Woah. That is insane. Nope, never seen anything like that before. I have seen very small amounts of stuff similar to that on newly introduced driftwood. Nowhere near that capacity though.

Is that new driftwood in the tank?
 

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I'll have to agree with others - I have never seen anything like it. The crucial bit of info that seems to be missing is what lighting you use - wattage, color temp, on for how long. Also, are you feeding your life plants in any way?

I'd try Tim's suggestion of adding an airstone before I'd do a blackout. If the airstone helps reduce the algae, you are a step closer to knowing what your problem is (too much CO2, too little O2), and you can think about more attractive aeration options or stick with the airstone. If a blackout kills the algae, you are good for a while, but you still know nothing about the root of your problem, which might re-occur.
 

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WOW, that is crazy!

My buddy had this problem once before in one of his heavily planted tanks, but nothing even CLOSE to that bad.

IIRC(I can always ask him later) he added an airstone to find out the root of the problem and that ended up clearing it up.

Dang, I still can't believe those pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What's even more shocking about the photos is they were taken only FOUR DAYS after a complete and thorough cleaning. That's how fast the stuff grows. Oddly enough after the last cleaning on Sunday (1/16) and removal of the plastic plant, it seems to have slowed a bit.

Thanks for all the replies, from what I gather the reason is most likely excessive carbon dioxide? That makes sense, but why then would the initial growth spurt be only at the areas with the highest concentration of oxygen (the bubble bar and filter outflow)? Or is that a redundant thought since both oxygen and carbon dioxide are being introduced through the bubble bar? Also, is there a discernible difference between a bubble bar (which I already have in the tank) and an air stone?

Oddly enough I was thinking about introducing another more active algae eater to the tank to help, and the Otocinclus was one of the fishes I was looking at.

Here's the missing light information-

Single 17W 24" ZooMed Tropic Sun 5500K (Running time: 14 hours/day)

I do not feed my live plants in any way, but I do feed my fish quite a bit of frozen food, thought that perhaps something "piggy-backed" into my tank that way.

Will probably try the blackout if things don't improve soon.
 

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from what I gather the reason is most likely excessive carbon dioxide?
It was just a guess. If you've got plenty of circulation and well oxygenated water, then I guess that shoots that theory down. :)

I don't like doing blackouts because if it works, you can have a massive die-off of algae that pollutes the tank. And you haven't removed the cause, so why wouldn't it just come back?

I'd try the otocinclus. Or might be tempted to remove the driftwood and any other decor that I could. Something may be feeding this stuff.
 

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There is no real difference between a bubble bar and airstone as both are used to stirrup the water. perhaps the bubble bar would have more effect. What is the nature of the algae? Does it come off easily? Does it hold together? Perhaps it isn't a true algae but some form of cynobacteria. It looks similar to a type of algae you see in seasonal ponds. It is very light in colour and resemble wisps. It doesn't hold together well and is slimy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BillD said:
There is no real difference between a bubble bar and airstone as both are used to stirrup the water. perhaps the bubble bar would have more effect. What is the nature of the algae? Does it come off easily? Does it hold together? Perhaps it isn't a true algae but some form of cynobacteria. It looks similar to a type of algae you see in seasonal ponds. It is very light in colour and resemble wisps. It doesn't hold together well and is slimy.
It definitely does not come off easily and holds together quite well. We had to get a brush to get it off the ornaments and have lost two live plants and even a plastic one simply because we couldn't get it off. It is also entwined in the gravel. Over the past week it had started growing again on the glass.
I'm thinking of tearing the tank down and starting over next weekend if it continues, although I am hesitant to take that drastic step since it doesn't harm the fish. But I can't imagine it's good for the fish to do such a thorough cleaning every week either. Of course since I don't know the source of the problem, tearing it down wouldn't solve anything anyway.
This stuff is absolutely unstoppable. I'm thinking of calling in a Marine Biologist. I might have a brand new form of algae on my hands here. Maybe they'll name it after me....
 

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I can just see the textbooks now, "And here we have an image of algae found only in the aquarium hobby, Karmal Algae" :lol:
 

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Wow, I'd be afraid of that stuff strangling me in my sleep. :eek:
It looks fairly reminiscent of the stuff I get growing in my XP2 hoses. Every few months I remove the canister and run it in a bucket of water and bleach to clear them out, otherwise, I get strands of white stuff in the tank anytime the hoses are disturbed or moved.

Edit: After some googling for white aquarium growth I've discovered that it's probably a fungus and not algae. Some antifungal meds should clear it up, probably less than a recommended dosage.
 

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Fungus sounds like a good suggestion. If that's it, holding off on the frozen food for a while should help, and generally feed only sparingly - maybe every other day. Plecos don't like meds very much, and neither do B. Rams or Tetras, but there are some mild fungicides on the market. If you want to stay natural, you could even throw in some elder cones, which have antifungal properties.

But even if it is not algae, 14h of light per day is too much. I generally recommend 8-10h. Plants can only make use of light for about that long. The rest goes into growing algae.
 

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I would remove the driftwood also. I had something similar to this on a much smaller level. It was growing on my wood and I took the wood out before it spread. Never saw the stuff again.
 

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I had something similar after I placed driftwood in my tank, but only a small outbreak. I mistakenly took the advice of our local petshop when they said the wood was already seasoned and it would be ok to put straight into the tank (forgive me I am a newbie) so I took the wood home scrubbed it to remove loose bits and put in the tank. Within a couple of hours not only did the tank start browning up but I had the hairlike white stuff growing. I ended up stripping the tank down bleaching and then boiling the driftwood for around 13 hours. Haven't had the growth return.

Adrian
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
UPDATE: Okay, last week it returned to the glass and overall was not as bad as previous weeks. However it continues to impact my filter, but not in the same way it was. Every two days the foam in the filter gets clogged with a brown slime. Removing the foam and squeezing it produces a big thick blob of brown slime that holds together (will get a photo next time) even in the sink. I also noticed the color of the foam is not changing like previously. It still looks new and hasn't browned like previous ones.
Fungus was definitely something I considered. I don't believe the wood is causing it, since one of the pieces of wood was used in a previous tank with no problems and the other two pieces are from a reputable source. At any rate, the wood was in there for quite some time before this stuff showed up.
I have purchase five Oto Cats to aid in the algae consumption process.
I have stopped feeding frozen food this week to see if that could make a difference. I'm thinking it could be possible that some sort of fungus may be growing in the food. Since an entire cube is too much for my fish, I usually defrost it in a cup of tank water and keep it in the refrigerator and feed them over several days. I know that you are supposed to keep unused portions frozen, but I can't break the cubes down without thawing them and I know refreezing is not recommended. So I'm thinking that perhaps a fungus or something may be growing on the food (or maybe something that is dormant under frozen conditions is activated in the cooler fridge) and is being introduced to my tank in that manner. I'll see how it goes this week.
 
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