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Thread: Any ideas on how to battle cladophora?

  1. #1

    Any ideas on how to battle cladophora?

    Hi Everyone,

    I've been fighting a losing battle with Cladophora for a couple of months now. I'll start off with some background on my tank:

    It's a 10 Gallon Planted Non CO2, Non Excel tank that I setup 8 months back after growing a foreground of Hairgrass using emersed methods. Here is the pic of the tank in all it's glory (7 months back)



    At the time I was using Excel and performing 50% WCs every week. Later on I decided to convert to a Non Excel tank so I lowered my fert doses and stopped with the water changes. I had already had some traces of cladophora on my manzanita wood (you can see the little green spots on the driftwood in the pic above), but over time it began to over run my tank and the hairgrass. Here are some details on my tank:

    10 Gallon tank
    Flourite Black Sand substrate
    2x10 Watt CFL (5500 K) lighting

    Ferts (As per Tom's suggested dosage on the Non CO2 thread): Once a week,
    1/8 Teaspoon of Seachem Equilibrium (for traces)
    1/16 Teaspoon of KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate)
    1/64 Teaspoon of KH2PO4 (Potassium Mono Phosphate)

    I also use a little Flourish for traces sometimes.

    Unfortunately the Cladophora really took a hold of my tank and almost wiped out all the hairgrass in the foreground. It was also getting all over the rotala's and covering my driftwood in huge chunks. I have been at a loss on how to deal with it effectively.

    From what I have read on the net and here, it seems like it is hard to get rid off as it prefers the same conditions that plants do. Last week I decided to try combatting it with 2.5x the normal dose of Excel every day (have now converted to an Excel tank, and have correspondingly upped my fert doses). While the Excel seems to have helped slow the spread of cladophora, it is still very much in the tank and alive. I managed to kill some of it (on the driftwood) by spraying it with excel (using a syringe).

    I was just hoping to get some advice from all the experienced folk here regarding how I should go about battling cladophora. I have been trying to get rid of as much as I can every week (using a toothbrush) but it does grow back.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    College Station Tx
    Posts
    7
    I wish I could find out an answer as well because its something I'm dealing with too. No mater what I do, it never goes away and all I can do at this point is try to remove as much as possible. I'm trying various things (changing fert schedule, upping CO2, etc) to see what works but as of right now, i'm fighting an uphill battle. I had to dump all my plants after the christmas break and had to start over on new plants and already I'm seeing little bits here and there

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    514
    Orion & Carlos... Someone asked a similar question last week and Tom responded to it. Here is the link:

    http://www.barrreport.com/talk-tom-b...ght=cladophora

    Sounds like cladophora is a tough customer that must be removed completely to be beaten -- and that is very tough to do.

    Orion, I think hairgrass is not a non-CO2 type of plant. You grew it emersed, then kept it going with Excel (your tank looked great back in the day!). However, I'm guessing that when you stopped with Excel, the hairgrass was bound to die off and become a "substrate" for some sort of algae.
    Regards,
    Ted

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by tedr108 View Post
    Orion & Carlos... Someone asked a similar question last week and Tom responded to it. Here is the link:

    http://www.barrreport.com/talk-tom-b...ght=cladophora

    Sounds like cladophora is a tough customer that must be removed completely to be beaten -- and that is very tough to do.

    Orion, I think hairgrass is not a non-CO2 type of plant. You grew it emersed, then kept it going with Excel (your tank looked great back in the day!). However, I'm guessing that when you stopped with Excel, the hairgrass was bound to die off and become a "substrate" for some sort of algae.
    Hey Ted,

    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately it looks like I don't have access to that thread. Do you have any suggestions? I am trying to get rid of as much cladophora as I can but to completely eradicate without stripping the whole tank down and using new substrate/plants seems almost impossible.

    Thanks for the heads up on the hairgrass. I did realise now that it requires at least some CO2. In fact with just Excel it had done amazingly well. While your guess regarding it being a substrate for cladphora may be partially true, I do know that it had already started to pop up in my tank (and in the hairgrass) even when I was dosing Excel with regular fertilizing and water changes. I guess I'll keep trying to fight it off for now and use Excel to get my tank back into shape. I'm not prepared/willing to strip the tank down for it...I quite like how it is now and I guess I'll just deal with the cladophora.

    Cheers.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    514
    Orion,

    Here is a quote re: cladophora from the thread you could not view:

    What happened was you induced the growth, most likely poor CO2 for awhile, got this alga. Now it's there to stay [for] awhile.

    Cladophora is a bit more like a [regular] plant than most species of algae, so the adults will keep growing and hanging out, it's a bit like moss. So have you ever tried to get rid of moss in a tank?

    It's a bit like that, you need to get in there and manually remove it, remove plants to catch it and you will likely need to do this a few times. If moss or Riccia get infested, do not waste your time, just pick a little that's clean, regrow and toss the rest.

    Moss and Riccia can get weedy and tough to remove, this is pretty much the same type of things. You'll never beat Cladophora with blackouts or nutrients.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    I would not dismantle a tank just for a little cladophora either. Besides, there's no guarantee it won't come right back after all of your work. I've had cladophora here and there on slow growing plants (mainly Java Moss in too much light). I just remove most of it when it becomes visible. It's almost impossible to see most of the time.
    Last edited by tedr108; 02-09-2009 at 02:05 AM.
    Regards,
    Ted

  6. #6
    Thanks so much for that Ted. I agree with you, I'm going to just try my best to keep it down and weed it out as much as I can. I don't really mind it so much in my tank with the plants, but I hate that it seems to love my Manzanita wood. I really love the its texture and dark color contrasting with all the green in the tank. Unfortunately the Cladophora seems to love it as a substrate.

    The only thing I could do to get it off the wood would be to take the driftwood out of the tank and scrub it very hard/boil it. However that would pretty much involve taking apart my tank since all the java fern and anubias has attached to it by now.

  7. #7
    You might want to mow the hairgrass, say to 1" or so, then get yourself a comb, large tooth, then comb the "hair", get the Cladophora out.

    Lots of trimming places where it gets tangled up, and manual removal, a horde on Amano shrimp.

    Not easy to get rid of.

    I'd say it's the hardest, you'll have to go after it for several weeks, months.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr

  8. #8
    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I am definitely going to try and follow them as much as I can. Regarding the Amano shrimp...I already have 9 female bettas and 3 otos in this 10 Gallon tank. Do you think I would risk overstocking if I added 2-3 Amano shrimp? Right now things are great and the water quality has been perfect.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    College Station Tx
    Posts
    7
    Any updates? I'm wondering if amanos would help because I am continually pulling up clad everyday from the SMS substrates and everytime I'm taking out little pieces of the substrate with the clump of algae. It's crazy because no matter how much I pull out from the tank, there is more the next day. At this rate, I am going to end up losing all my substrate if this doesn't stop. I had an idea but am not sure if it would help or not. What if (since i have another bag of SMS) I were to add more sms to the subtrate to cover the existing layer? Would say another inch or so effectivly kill the algae in the substrate due to lack of light? Has anyone tried something like this?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos05 View Post
    Any updates? I'm wondering if amanos would help because I am continually pulling up clad everyday from the SMS substrates and everytime I'm taking out little pieces of the substrate with the clump of algae. It's crazy because no matter how much I pull out from the tank, there is more the next day. At this rate, I am going to end up losing all my substrate if this doesn't stop. I had an idea but am not sure if it would help or not. What if (since i have another bag of SMS) I were to add more sms to the subtrate to cover the existing layer? Would say another inch or so effectivly kill the algae in the substrate due to lack of light? Has anyone tried something like this?
    Hi Carlos,

    I have definitely had some luck with Excel. While it doesn't completely kill the Clado, since I have been dosing 2-3x the regular dose, it has lowered the clado growth rate significantly. Combined with regular cleanings (with a toothbrush/tweezers and my hand) I have managed to make a significant dent in the clado population in my tank. It is still there and is still trying to grow, but I keep squirting at it with a syringe full of Excel to try and kill it.

    I don't know if this will completely kill it, but things have definitely improved quite a bit since I started dosiing Excel.

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