How to get Blackbeard out of the aquarium
“A black beard” or “Vietnamese” many aquarists call the kompsopogon algae. This peculiar-looking algae has become a real scourge for aquarists and the fight against them can drag on for several months.
Compsopogon will be recognized by anyone, even a novice aquarist. This algae, growing on the stems of other plants, the substrate and the walls of the aquarium, has the appearance of hard black tassels, consisting of hairs from 5 to 20 mm long. Despite the fact that with its growth the “black beard” deeply affects the stems and leaves of plants, algae is not a parasite, but uses the plant as a substrate for growth.
Favorable conditions for growth and development are necessary for algae, as well as for other plants. Once in the aquarium with new plants, the algae sprouts on the stems and leaves, stones or auxiliary equipment, choosing illuminated places, although the algae is undemanding to the abundance of light. For active growth, compsopogon requires the presence of organic substances, hard water and a high pH.
Under these conditions, the “black beard” brushes can form a dense carpet. In aquariums with clean and clear water, algae practically does not multiply, settling in separate “bushes” on plant leaves, stones and on the walls.
The fastest and easiest way to get rid of algae is to completely restart the aquarium: roasting the soil and decorations, remove the affected plants, but not everyone will like this cardinal way to deal with the "black beard".
A more logical and humane way to deal with the invader is to create conditions under which the compsopogon will not be able to multiply and grow, or at least suspend growth. A stunt in growth with this method of control is already an important success, but it is almost impossible to create conditions under which algae begins to die instantly.
First of all, you need to deprive algae nutrition. Since the "black beard" is completely devoid of roots, it receives nutrition directly from the environment. The larger the volume of water washing the algae’s brushes, the more nutrition it receives. Therefore, it will be desirable to temporarily remove all equipment that creates current - filters and aerators. You can also transplant those fish species (mainly catfish) from the aquarium that occupy the bottom niche of existence and, during the process of feeding, raise substances accumulated in the soil to higher water layers, thereby feeding the compsogon.
The abundance of nitrates and phosphates characteristic of aquariums with old water is vital for the successful growth of compogs, therefore, within a few weeks, about 30% of the aquarium water should be replaced every other day. Ideally, it is advisable to flush the soil and decorations. After washing the soil and with the second rooting of aquarium plants, it is advisable to place fertilizers under the very root of the plant and increase the light intensity. Thus, we achieve that the plant itself will receive the nutrients, and not compsogon. The purpose of this work is to provoke increased growth of fast-growing plants, such as vallisneria and hygrophil, which will begin to "pump" excess phosphates and nitrates from water and soil at the same rate, thereby dooming compsogon to a halt in growth.
You should also think about the population of the aquarium. A large number of nitrates and phosphates accumulate in overpopulated aquariums. And this leads to an increase in decaying organic waste of fish. We'll have to solve the problem with extra residents, otherwise the struggle with the "black beard" will simply be without result. These simple conditions will save the aquarium from black beard within 2-3 months.
But the fastest method can be considered the chemical way to deal with the "black beard." The essence of the chemical method is to shift the pH of the aquarium water. Among aquarists, recipes with boric acid and borax are popular. Indeed, water leaching leads to a decrease in algae growth, but does not guarantee the complete destruction of the black beard. But a pH shift can destroy not only annoying algae, but also affect the condition and appearance of other plants or the inhabitants of the aquarium. Moreover, the pH will need to be constantly maintained at the proper level, which is not always feasible.
Also, in some literature it is recommended to use antibiotics such as penicillin or bicillin, but unfortunately their use does not bring the proper result, they can only provoke a slowdown in the growth of many plants, and for some types of ferns and mosses “antibacterial therapy” will simply turn out to be fatal.
Currently, in many pet stores you can purchase a number of special preparations to maintain the desired pH. The effect of these drugs can be seen almost immediately, on the 3-4th day of the use of chemicals, compsopogon begins to crumble and stops growing. But do not rejoice that after a chemical attack, the algae will leave the aquarium forever. Often, such preparations kill the “bushes” themselves, but they remain untouched by the growth zone of algae, which is why the growth of the beard begins again and on a larger scale.
Experienced aquarists recommend combining these two ways to combat compogs to completely clear the aquarium of this resistant and viable algae.