As I had mentioned in a previous post, Black hair/brush algae and problems with my 5 gallon tank, I had quite a problem with the horrible algae.

I didn’t find much information online on the algae type and how to deal with it.

I took some measures to control the algae, but when all my Red Cherry Shrimp died – I went extreme to get rid of the it all. Here’s what I did, though not all at once and not in the same order:

  • Did a few water changes. Stupidly forgot to check my water parameters before doing this. I assumed something was wrong with the water, so I hurriedly changed it.
  • Got some algae eating fish. I got some Otocinclus, but they didn’t eat the algae.
  • Got some Florida Flagfish, a hearty algae eater and known to eat this type of algae. They ate it alright – most of it. They reduced the long strands to really short stubble, but they wouldn’t eat anymore. And the stubble was multiplying too!
  • I cleaned out the entire tank. Cut off all the plants/leaves that had the hair/brush algae on it, cleaned all plants in running water, completely cleaned all my substrate/gravel, scrubbed my driftwood, cleaned all equipment including all filtration equipment, heater, algae scrubber, and thermometer, scrubbed down and cleaned the tank, and (obviously) a 100% water change.
  • Just to be sure, and it looked like I had left some of the algae on some plants, I turned the aquarium light off for about five days. All my plants are considered low-light plants and I figured that it wouldn’t hurt them. I then gave the tank an hour of light on one day, and gradually increased it day by day. When I noticed my anubias suffering, I sped up the increase of the amount of light that the tank got.

The otos died during the no-light period. But, on the plus side, it looks as though I was able to successfully get rid of the algae. Since I didn’t find any steps specific to this algae type online, I did the most sensible (and I think a bit extreme) steps to fix the situation. I lost some fish and plants/leaves, but the situations is in control.

I’m not sure if I’d recommend what I did to treat black hair / brush algae, or even know if all the steps I took were necessary, but hey – it worked!!

Here are some pictures of the black hair/brush algae that I had, before I did any of the things to control it. These are the exact same pictures that I put up in the older post on the same topic, which you can see here.