Tropical fish plants

Update: Did it work? Better check out my new post with the results.

I’ve had a big problem with Black brush/hair algae in my tropical fish tank. It appears as slimy black fur perhaps 5mm long on most surfaces: especially the (plastic) plants, bogwood and gravel, though not so much the glass. Sometimes I deep clean the tank and put all the plants and ornaments in a bucket of bleach, which leaves things fairly sparkling, but within just three weeks those items are coated again. Anti-hair algae treatment didn’t seem to work especially well and neither did a special ‘teabag’ in the water. It’s very wearing and I couldn’t go on like that, so time for more definitive understanding and action!

I took a water sample to my favourite local aquarium, to get it tested for phosphates, and sure enough it registered at the top of the scale. Algae thrive on phosphates so I was advised to tackle this with a two-pronged approach:

  • Add live plants, to consume the phosphates in the water.
  • Change the feeding regime:
    • use a lower-phosphate food, rather than the “premium” stuff we had been using
    • feed less overall, as we were probably over-feeding and the excess, high-phosphate food was lingering.

It’s early days, but the Anubias looks great tied onto the bogwood, where hopefully it will establish, and the other more vigorous plant peeping out from behind Spongebob’s pineapple house seems happy enough too. Also we seem to have won a small snail with the plants, which zooms around the glass.

Realistically, I’d be surprised if this magically solves all my problems, but it will be interesting to see if it has an effect. I’ll report back!