Black Beard Algae also are known as BBA are a group of algae belonging to the red algae family. It is a black variety of brush algae. The Black Beard Algae grows in the leaves of aquatic plants and also on other smooth surfaces. These algae resemble a hair-like structure which is black color. The Algae appears like a dense bush of beard, thus it is named The Black Beard Algae.
The Black Beard Algae usually ruins your aquascape due to its fuzzy nature and appearance. However, if you can strategically place and create the Algae you will end up with a masterpiece. The BBA if often ignored by the fish and is left uneaten. So you won’t have any problem keeping it alive in your aquarium aquascape. It is usually black to brownish but can be bright greenish to bluish green at times.
If you want to grow the Brown Beard Algae you must be careful with the stocking and ignore two fish to be particular. The Florida flag fish and the Siamese Algae Eater are the two fish that feed on the Black Beard Algae.
The Black Beard algae are often confused with a saltwater species of algae having a similar appearance. They look like a fluffy patch of hair and also looks like a beautiful beard in a man’s face. If you grow a beautiful carpet of the BBA. Your tank will look terrific. And the carpet will also reflect your patience dedication and your will to create a masterpiece.
Why Does BBA Grow in Your Aquarium?
The Black Beard Algae usually grows as a result of contamination when you add new plants. The Brown Beard alga grows when there is irregular delivery of CO2. It also grows if there is an imbalance in the organic contents in the water Colum. An aquarium without CO2 is also prone to the BBA. If you do not add Carbon dioxide the plants absorb the necessary carbon from carbon monoxide that is present in the water column.
An aquarium tank with increased pH is also a tale-tell sign for a tank with the BBA. The growth of the Black Beard Algae is mostly due to contaminated plants that you get from an unknown or unreliable dealer.
However, following this is not the most reliable method of growing up the BBA if you want to grow them successfully.
How to Grow Black Beard Algae in Your Aquarium?
If you want to grow a healthy carpet of dense Black Beard Algae in your aquarium. You will need to keep some important things in mind. These things are very crucial for successfully growing BBA in your tank.
These are the Basics of growing BBA. And if you’re not able to follow these things, you will have a hard time growing Black Beard Algae.
Basic To Grow the Black Beard Algae
Many fishkeepers tend to get nervous and start removing the BBA when they encounter them at first hand. But with your creativity, you can work wonders with this algae. If you want to grow the Brown Beard Algae successfully and efficiently, you will be better off starting in a tank having no fish. Fish tend too much on algae. The Black Beard Algae takes an awfully long time to grow in a uniform pattern.
Imbalance in Nutrients Present in The Water
The Black Beard Algae grows as a result of the imbalance of water nutrients in the water. Nutrients are present in water that nourishes the plant and the fish. Most of them are essential while some of them are non-essential proteins for the proper growth of your plants. If there are no nutrients for your plants, they will melt or may even die. But if you dose too many nutrients in your aquarium, you might face algae bloom in your tank. If you tend to overfeed your tank, you can encounter Brown Beard Algae at times.
Dosing Iron in Your Tank
A bunch of nutrients like Carbon dioxide, nitrates, potassium, phosphate, magnesium are the key requirement for the proper growth of the Black Beard Algae. The BBA tends to grow properly where there is an adequate supplement of iron. Iron is considered as macronutrients and is a trace element for the growth of the plants.
You can stimulate the growth of the BBA by increasing the Iron dosing in your tank. In an ideal condition, the amount of iron should be 0.05-0.1 mg per liters. Anything from 0.15-0.25 mg per liters should stimulate the growth of the Black Beard algae. You should keep the level of Carbon Dioxide pretty low for the proper growth of the BBA.
You should use a bright light and should keep it running for a minimum of 12 hours a day daily in your aquarium tank.
Fluctuating The Levels of Carbon Dioxide In Your Tank
To grow the Black Beard Algae successfully you can also try and fluctuate the amount of CO2 that you are administrating to your tank. A fluctuating level of CO2 administered in your tanks also stimulates the growth of the Brown Beard Algae.
The level of Carbon Dioxide should be lesser than 10 mg per liter if you want to grow the BBA properly. You can measure these parameters via various test kits available in the market. If you can measure the parameters and dose your tank with the correct amount in a weekly interval you can easily grow the BBA.
There are a few things you need to take care to grow the Black beard algae. I would suggest you start with an aquarium tank with no fish. If you dose the tank strategically with the right amount of nutrients and you use a timer for your light to grow the BBA at almost any given time.
How to Take Care of Your BBA?
The Black Beard Algae require very little care. After you successfully make a carpet of BBA there is nothing that hard for you to do. You should dose a small amount of iron for the overall health of the BBA. You can also dose macronutrients instead of dosing iron by itself.
If you want your BBA to look and stay healthy in your aquarium tank, you will be better off by leaving the CO2 disconnected from the tank. A limited amount of well-regulated Carbon Dioxide is considered to be bad for the BBA. Even if you decide to use CO2 to grow other plants in your aquarium tank you should use it in very small amounts. Fluctuating the level of CO2 at times is the best bet for your Black Beard Algae.
You should avoid keeping any and algae-eating fish and particularly the Siamese Algae Eater and the Florida flag tail fish.
And if you follow all these procedures properly. And avoid all the precautions. You can grow a pretty carpet of BBA.
Image Credit: Rachel O’Leary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEYzV7YGk6c