black beard algae

How to eliminate black beard algae?

What is algae?

The main charm of the aquarium is the opportunity to contemplate the man-made corner of the underwater world. Therefore, aquarists do their best to maintain it in perfect order so that it always pleases the eye with its beauty. But sometimes living organisms appear in the aquarium, which in a very short time can nullify all the aesthetics. And the number one on this list is algae.

Beginning aquarists often call algae any plants that live in water and can safely grow in an aquarium. But this opinion is erroneous. According to the biological classification, algae are considered to be representatives of the kingdom Lower plants (Thallophyta). On the contrary, most plants specially grown by aquarists around the world are under the kingdom of Higher Plants (Embryophyta).

Despite the fact that algae are also plants, the appearance of many of them in the aquarium is extremely undesirable, since it spoils the appearance, and in some cases can even harm aquatic organisms.

“Blackbeard” – an unwanted guest in the aquarium

Perhaps the most famous and discussed algae among aquarists is the “black beard.” This common name is meant that a group of algae from the order Compsopogon belonging to the Red Algae (Rhodophyta) division. The interweaving of dark short and branching strings with time transforms into a thick ugly “beard”, for which these algae got their name

“Blackbeard” actively settles on the ground, scenery, as well as on the leaves and stems of higher plants, which, with an unfavorable outcome, can cause their death. After all, algae does not just settle on top, but actively cuts into the surface tissues of rhizoids. It is worth noting that the “black beard” is not a parasite, it does not feed on plant sap. It is characterized by a mixotrophic (mixed) type of nutrition: through photosynthesis and absorption of finished organic substances.

Most often, “black beard” can be found on slow-growing plants: anubias, ferns, cryptocoryns. Initially, dark clots appear on the leaves, which then spread to the entire leaf. In especially neglected cases, the “black beard” covers the entire contents of the aquarium with a continuous carpet and at this stage, it can be very difficult to get rid of it.

Reasons for the appearance

The question is, why does this algae appear and actively develops in the aquarium? The main factors provoking the appearance of a “black beard”: accumulation of organic matter, high carbonate hardness of water, the strong current created by the filter.

Excess organic matter in water is the main reason for the appearance of any kind of algae. Overpopulation of the aquarium, feeding the fish in excess of the norm, poor filtration, and rare maintenance inevitably leads to the accumulation of organic matter in it. Actively consuming the formed nitrates and phosphates, the “black beard” grows very quickly and can become a real disaster in a short period of time.

The risk of a black beard is increased if the aquarium has a high level of carbonate hardness (KH) and a high pH. “Blackbeard” does not like soft and sour water.

Red algae, including the black beard, are very fond of places with a strong current. Thanks to him, they are more actively supplied with nutrients. Very often, the “beard” can be found in aquariums equipped with powerful filters that do not match the volume of the aquarium.

How to deal with the “black beard”?

The best medicine, in this case, is prevention. To successfully combat this problem, first of all, it is necessary to eliminate the possible causes of its appearance. It follows:

  • Prevent the accumulation of organic matter in the aquarium. By removing excess nutrients, we dramatically reduce the likelihood of developing a “black beard”. For this, it is necessary, first of all, to exclude the overpopulation of the aquarium and overfeeding of its inhabitants. The number of fish should correspond to the volume. Feed the fish so that they eat all the food for several minutes.
  • Avoid increasing the concentration of nitrates and phosphates. The Tetra EasyBalance air conditioner will help you cope with this task. When weekly introduced into the aquarium, it reduces the content of nitrates (NO3) and phosphates (PO4) in a natural way, stabilizes water quality indicators – KH and pH, and reduces the number of water changes.
  • Maintain the necessary water parameters. As described above, the “black beard” feels uncomfortable in acidified water with low carbonate hardness. On the contrary, for many higher plants, such conditions will be optimal. Testing the water for the main parameters allows you to notice unwanted changes in time.
  • To create optimal conditions for the active growth of higher plants, which are natural antagonists of algae. For example, the regular introduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the aquarium has a beneficial effect on the development of higher plants, on the one hand, and on the other, it gradually acidifies the water, which negatively affects the “black beard”.
  • Very strong currents in the aquarium should not be allowed. To do this, you need to select a filter in accordance with the volume of the aquarium or use special flute nozzles that break one powerful stream of water from the filter into several small and slow-flowing ones.
  • If possible, place fish in the aquarium that is able to eat algae (for example, Siamese algae eater or Ancistrus). Although this method is not considered the most effective, fish are able to destroy the first appearing strings of “black beard”.

Having created optimal conditions in the aquarium, the probability of colliding with a black beard tends to be zero. But if this algae has already settled in your underwater corner, then the fight against it must be started as soon as possible. In solving this problem, a drug from Tetra – AlgoStop Depot will help you. The active substance in this algicide is monolinuron. This chemical compound is recognized as one of the safest herbicides; it is used in fields where plants used by humans for food are grown. In the laboratories of Tetra, monolinuron has undergone rigorous testing and has been shown to be effective in algae control in aquariums, and is also safe for aquarium invertebrates and humans.

Tetra AlgoStop Depot is available in tablet form with a high concentration of the active ingredients. The tablets do not dissolve, but gradually release monolinuron into the water. The maximum effect is achieved by the end of the fourth week. The drug actively suppresses the growth and development of green, brown and red algae and is especially effective in combating the “black beard”. It is worth noting that the product does not inhibit biofiltration in the aquarium and, in recommended dosages, does not harm snails and shrimps. Dying parts of algae are preferably removed from the aquarium mechanically since they can adversely affect water quality. It is also recommended to increase aeration to ensure a sufficient supply of oxygen. For a lasting effect, tablets should be replaced once a month.

Thus, the fight against the “black beard” must be approached comprehensively. First, eliminate the possible causes of algae in the aquarium. Secondly, use safe algicide preparations to restrain growth and destroy existing scarlet.