How To Get Rid Of Black Beard Algae In An Aquarium

Last Updated on December 7, 2021 by Marco C.

Wondering how to get rid of Black beard algae in an aquarium? Click and learn the most reliable methods and solve the problem.

Black beard algae often affect freshwater and marine aquariums. Aquarium hobbyists consider them annoying enemies. Have you noticed soft, fuzzy, hair-like filaments attached to your solid surfaces? These are probably Black beard algae.

What to do? Keep reading to find out the most reliable methods for how to get rid of black beard algae in an aquarium.

What Is Black Beard Algae?

Black beard algae or Brush algae (Audouinella sp.) is one of the most common types of algae that can be found in our aquariums. It is interesting to note that despite its color it is a member of the red brush algal family in the Rhodophyta division. Sometimes it can even appear bluish or greenish in color. This is due to water-soluble pigments called phycobilins, which are localized into phycobilisomes, as they allow so much variety in colors.

It is known for being able to grow very quickly. When left unattended, it can grow up to 4 – 5 cm (2 inches) in length. The good thing is that BBA does not release toxins into the water, nor does it steal nutrients from plants. However, if it completely covers the plant, then the plant cannot absorb light for photosynthesis. This ultimately results in the killing.

Also, its occurrence leads to water imbalance. This ultimately makes your aquarium unsafe for the life of your plants and animals.

Learn more about: How To Get Rid Of Blue-Green Algae In A Planted Aquarium

Causes Of Black Algae In Fish Tank

BBAs are mainly introduced into fish tanks through contaminated plants, rocks, driftwood, and substrates obtained from pet stores or other sources. Therefore, it is very important to properly clean this type of item before you add them inside.

How To Get Rid Of Black Beard Algae In An Aquarium

Biological Method

Have you ever wondered what eats black beard algae? The good news is that there is a natural way to control BBA. Your aquarium fish can do the work for you. Part of the fish will eat them as their primary food source, while the other part will eat them as part of their varied diet.

Although, keep in mind that they are difficult and tough to eat for many fish. Those fishes that are well fed will not bother around them at all.

Fish that eat black beard algae are:

  • American Flagfish
  • Black Molly
  • Chinese Algae Eater
  • Flying Fox Fish
  • Hillstream Loach
  • Panda Garras
  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Twig Catfish

Invertebrates that will eat Black Beard Algae are:

  • Amano Shrimp
  • Nerite Snail

Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) Bath

It’s very simple – for black beard algae removal, you can do a bath in diluted 3% Hydrogen peroxide for 3-5 minutes. Then, remove the affected ornament or plant from the bath and rinse them thoroughly using fresh water. For better effect allow it to air-dry before putting them back into the tank.

Reduce Phosphate (PO4) In The Water

Phosphates occur as a byproduct of almost everything that decays in the aquarium. These include excess food, decay of plants and algae, and even fish waste.

However, its level can be kept low in the following ways:

  • Tank maintenance – keep it free of debris and algae.
  • Feeding – avoid overfeeding aquarium animals.
  • Filtration – try using phosphate absorbing filter media.

Boost CO2 level

This is one of the very effective black beard algae removal methods. However, don’t expect to eliminate algae on the spot. This method is a process that will gradually inhibit its growth until it eventually ceases to exist.

In addition, this boost will help your plants grow, which in turn reduces the nutrients needed for algae to grow.

Darkening The Tank

If the aquarium is exposed to a lot of light, consider it a suitable atmosphere for their spread. Therefore, darkening your aquarium is one of the easiest ways to get rid of BBA. Without light, it will simply die.

Also, it is generally not recommended to keep the light on for more than 10 hours a day as it aids in the development and spread of almost all types of algae.

Heat Method

If you want a chemical-free approach, then this is definitely the method you want to opt for. Remove all items covered with algae and pour boiling water over them and leave to cool. You can even boil everything in a pot for about a few minutes.

*This does not apply to live plants and plastic decorations.*

Manual Removal

This works best in combination with the heating method. It’s very simple; just try to physically remove as many algae as possible. You can trim the plants and use algae scrapers or a toothbrush.

How to Prevent Black Beard Algae

Prevention is always a better option in order to avert the growth and spread of Black beard algae. Here are some tips and ways you can prevent a BBA outbreak in your tank:

  • Try to buy plants in reputable stores because they have well-established methods to prevent the transmission of parasites in customers’ aquariums.
  • Never take plants and animals from the wild as this is the fastest way to infect an aquarium.
  • Quarantine and/or disinfect all new plants. You can do this with a bleach + potassium permanganate solution or with a hydrogen peroxide bath.
  • Quarantine all new animals and be careful not to mix the water they came in with water from your tank.
  • Always monitor the light level because high light intensity over a long period of time encourages algae growth.
  • Make regular water changes.
  • Don’t overfeed your animals. Excess food is not a good thing at all.
  • Use good and strong enough filters that will allow a sufficient flow of water.
  • Perform regular vacuum cleaning on the substrate to remove dirt and debris as much as possible.

To Wrap Things Up

If you notice that a small amount of Black Beard Algae has appeared in your aquarium, don’t panic. This is not a big problem initially. However, keep in mind that it is important to address it before it becomes a bigger problem.

Do you have any tips on how to get rid of black beard algae in an aquarium? Let us know below!

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