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How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

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How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby Shane » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:41 pm

I admit I stumbled on this by total accident, but have since experimented for several weeks and it works great. Over about 6 weeks I cleared up a 55 gallon planted tank that was getting a serious brush/beard algae growth, especially on my Anubias.

The magic solution - Stress Coat.

While doing a water change I was not paying attention and dumped stress coat on a bunch of exposed Anubias instead of into the water. I then, before filling the tank back up, had to do several other things. An hour later I turned on the Python and filled up the tank. Next day I noticed that the algae had turned red in a certain area and then over the next couple of days died and fell off. It eventually occurred to me that it was the spot where I had dumped the Stress Coat.

Over several weeks I treated a new section of plants/decor with every water change and got the algae back under control. The key is to pour the Stress Coat right on the plant leaves that have beard algae while the water level is low. Leave it for an hour or so and then refill. It will turn from black to red and then fall off dead. There have been no ill effects on the plants. I also tried the same treatment with liquid plant fertilizer with no success.

You can also treat by removing plants and dipping them in a bleach/water solution, but I found this much easier as you do not have to tear down the tank.

-Shane
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby mummymonkey » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:56 pm

Mostly aloe vera isn't it?

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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby bronzefry » Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:45 pm

Yes, aloe vera and something proprietary, I'm sure. I have some brush algae in a 20 gallon long.....let me give it a try...
Shane, was the Anubias completely out of the water?
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby Richard B » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:43 pm

Nice one Shane :thumbsup:

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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby Shane » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:06 pm

Yes Amanda, plants (or at least leaves to be treated) need to be above the water line when tank is drained for water change. Pour on the Stress Coat, wait an hour and fill. If the Stress Coat does not sit on the exposed leaves for a length of time it had a minimal impact on the algae. I suspect the Stress Coat needs to soak in. I know aquarists that by the chemical(s) to make their own water conditioners at photography supply stores, so I would suspect it is one of the chemicals rather than the aloe.
Found below at this great link:
http://www.aquarium-pond-answers.com/20 ... oners.html

-Shane

STRESS COAT;
Stress Coat contains a special non-toxic polymer that is attracted to the skin of the fish forming a synthetic slime coat envelope. Stress Coat also contains sodium thiosulfate electrolytes such as sodium and sulfides which helps reduce loss of electrolytes through the skin, gills, and damaged tissue. The Aloe Vera in STRESS COAT reduces inflammation of damaged fish tissue.

One major negative of Stress Coat is that it uses amine based polymers (see summary below) that have potential toxicity issues when used with Resins such as Purigen, please see this article:
Water Conditioners That Contain Amines And Ion Exchange Resins

The effectiveness of Stress Coat with Aloe Vera has been proven by independent studies conducted at the University of Georgia, School of Veterinary Medicine. Researchers found that Stress Coat helped heal wounds and speed tissue re-growth. Dr John Gratzek summarizes the results: "Personally, I am satisfied with the results since my initial thoughts were skeptical to say the least. These definite statements can be made without equivocation: Stress Coat in no way harms aquarium fish, alters pH, or affects the biological filter. No ammonia or nitrite was detected in the test aquariums. The results indicated that the Stress Coat formula reduced the wound size compared to untreated fish tissue." Aloe Vera is high in mucopolysaccharides, an essential component of many tissues and believed to help in the healing process.

USE; An effective water conditioner for the removal of chlorine, breaking of the chlorine/ ammonia bond (in water containing chloramines) and adding an aloe slime coat.
This is my favorite slime coat treatment for direct application to a fish that is wounded from transport or other reasons. I however have found it less effective for overall slime coat generation after a water change.
Ingredients are safe for both fresh and saltwater.
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby bronzefry » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:47 pm

That was a good article, Shane. Big duh on the plants. I wouldn't want to dump a ton of the stuff in the tank. I think I need more sleep.... :oops:
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby Shane » Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:35 pm

This was why it took me over a month to treat. I only added the recommended dose over a different section each time. I did not coat all the plants in Stress Coat at once.
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby apistomaster » Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:07 pm

Shane,
That sounds like a very gentle way to attack the brush algae that seem to have quite an affinity for Anubia spp leaves. Seems like it would be really easy to treat specimens that are on a manageable size piece of wood. Those plants are usually easy to remove temporarily, treat then replace into the tank. Not so easy for those with logs covered with large Anubias plants.

The Sodium thiosulfate is probably the active ingredients but the hydrophilic polymers would greatly improve the adhesion of the sodium thiosulfate to the leaf surfaces and algae itself. It should be really easy to dip plants attached to smaller pieces of wood and left wet covered with plastic for a few hours.

One of the few times I recommend the polymer containing water conditioners is when starting up a new aquarium and using a bacteria starter culture product. The additional adhesion facilitated by the hydrophilic polymers will aid in the attachment of the bacterial spores to the bio-media substrates.

I use Purigen in a PhosBan Reactor modified to retain the small ion exchange resin sphericals, as part of my Heckel Discus display tank's filter system. It is set up in the sump. I have also found Purigen useful in some spawning setups as it imparts some property that can be that small edge that sometimes makes a difference so I mostly use prime but I do have most of a gallon container of one of the polymer containing water conditioners going unused and some good brush algae cover Anubias plant to experiment with. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can duplicate your results. I'll post the results of my experiments. Good discovery.
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby sidguppy » Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:24 pm

I always had great success eradicating brush algae with Tropheus or Petrochromis and -if South America is more your thing- with Ancistrus sp L144 or Hypostomus plecostomoides (Cochliodon spp, "Panaque Bruno").

SAE rarely eat it, but I know several fishes that do. :wink:

but I like this algae, for some reason whole rocks covered with a hairy carpet that slowly waves in the current appears to me as a "natural look"
your mileage may vary on that one though :wink:
my showtank is full of it. it's about the only plant in there

I think the L144's in the smaller Tanganyika tanks have a lot to do with the fact that it's there only in minute amounts.
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby vanillarum » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:40 am

That is a nice tip. I can't wait to try it. Thanx Shane.
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby WhitePine » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:15 am

Seachem Flourish™ Excel also works as a dip.... put the plants in a container and overdose for the size of the container at 4 to 1. leave in the solution for about 20 min. and the algae will turn red and die off. you can do this at a ratio of 2 to 1 in the tank for about two weeks with similar results. Make sure to follow the directions but double the doses.... and make sure you only double the daily doses after the initial treatment. I would not use this with sensitive fish! if possible remove the plants. I have also had great success with this. if you have lots of algae, you may want to do a water change after the algae starts to die(turns redish/puple then white). At this point it comes off of most things pretty easy.

"Flourish Excel is a simple source of carbon for aiding growth of aquatic plants. Designed to make plant-keeping easier without carbon dioxide injection."
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Re: How to kill Brush/Beard algae and better than an SAE

Postby Mike_Noren » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:06 am

Flourish Excel and Easycarbo are allegedly a "polymer of glutar aldehyde". I'm not sure exactly what that means, chemically speaking, but glutar aldehyde is known to be highly toxic to algae (and in slightly higher concentration to prevent fish eggs from hatching).
Simply dosing the recommended dose of Excel or Easycarbo is sufficient to kill most algae in just weeks, including black brush algae, and some aquarists have also successfully "painted" these substances on algae-infested rocks and backgrounds with a paint brush.

Many report that mosses and ferns appear to be more sensitive to Flourish Excel and Easycarbo than other aquarium plants, and some also claim that plants which predominantly feed on bicarbonate (e.g. Vallisneria) react adversely to Flourish Excel and Easycarbo. That said, both java fern and Vallisneria survived just fine in my aquaria when I dosed Easycarbo. At least one person I know used Easycarbo with success against cyanobacteria.

Snails (but not shrimp) are also fairly sensitive to it, and as I said it's known to prevent fish eggs from hatching, but the recommended dose should be safe. As glutar aldehyde is bactericidal it might depress the efficiency of the filters, but I have seen no unambiguous reports on that.

For more info on glutar aldehyde, see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutaraldehyde

Black brush algae and Staghorn algae can also be killed by dosing peroxide to the aquarium, being red algae (rhodophytes) they're far more sensitive to peroxide than the aquarium plants or green algae or the fish are. The margin of error between killing the algae and killing everything is however smaller than with Easycarbo/Flourish Excel/glutar aldehyde.


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