21 Dec 2010

3 Things You Can Do to Control Algae Growth

Freshwater Aquarium Maintenance

What Is Algae?
Algae is often referred to as a plant, in fact algae is a complex unicellular organism referred to as a protist in the eukatyotic kingdom. Sorry to use such long words but basically it is not a plant it does however share the same ancestors.

Algae appears in a number of different colours and forms. The most common is as a green film over the surface of the aquarium glass but it can be brown, red or blue-green and it can coat the plants,gravel rocks etc. as well as the glass.

Types include:
Brown Algae - often appears in newly setup tanks and can disappear as quickly as it arrived
Green Algae - Likely to appear in any properly running tank
Hard 'Green Dot' Algae
Hair Algae - Long greenish or grey strands which can be removed with a toothbrush. Algae eatnig fish also like it
Red/Brush Algae - Often appears on plants and can be removed using a weak bleach solution. Can be the result of overfeeding your fish
Green Water - Also called 'Algae bloom'. It is a suspension of microscopic algae. Water changes and low light for a few days normally gets rid of it
Blue-green Algae (cyanobacteria) - This is not a true algae. It appears as a slimy coating smothering plants. It can release harmul toxins. It is easily removed manually. Fish will not eat it and sometimes increased aeration helps to prevent it.

Green algae is to some extent inevitable and is not always a bad thing. Algae needs both light and nutrients to survive which is exactly what your fish and plants need so you are never going to eliminate it completely. All you can hope to do is to manage it by scraping the glass on a regular basis probably every couple of weeks. The best tiem to do the scraping is just before you use your siphonic gravel cleaner when you do a water change.

3 Ways To Control Algae
Control the light
There are a number of things that you can do to minimise the growth of algae due to too much light. The first thing is to avoid direct sunlight hitting the tank the second thing is to make sure that you do not to illuminate the aquarium for longer than 12 hours every day. These two things alone will help to minimise algae growth but, as I said, it cannot eliminate it.

Control nutrients
The nutrients in question are nitrates, phosphates and silicates. Nitrates are always present in a well-run aquarium and phosphates and silicates are contained in the fish food so there is no way that these nutrients can be eliminated completely. They can be minimised by not overfeeding the fish and by frequent water changes. You can also plant the tank heavily so that the plants take up the majority of the nutrients.

Add algae eating fish
There are a number of fish that eat algae but you cannot rely on them to completely remove it, you will always have to scrape the glass. Among these vegetarian fish there are:
- Common plec which likes green brown and brush algea
- Siamese algae eater which likes green brown and brush algea
- Chinese algea eaters/sucking Loach
- Bristlenose
- Peckoltia catfish
- Whiptail catfish
- Algea eating shrimp

By : John Thomson - John Thomson is an aquarium expert. For more information on aquarium maintenance visit http://www.freshwateraquariumsecretsonline.com

1 comment:

Bruce said...

This is a great blog thanks
Caring for cats