How to Control Algae within your Aquarium
Even the most experienced fish keeper can fall susceptible to algae. A natural, primitive plant, algae can quickly coat a tank, its decoration and plants in a thick growth that not only looks unattractive, if left unchecked it can also affect the growth and health of other tank life. There are a variety of solutions you can use to control the dreaded algae, from filter media to treatments, retailers like Swell UK have an extensive range of remedies to choose from.
With a little research and some (more) maintenance you can control the onslaught of algae within your aquarium and keep it looking beautiful. Spotting the signs can mean that a problem is more easily controlled.
Recognise the different types…
Green Carpet Algae: This thick, fast spreading algae is the most common. It will cover glass and rocks easily. However it is the most easily removed with good maintenance tools and/or other remedies.
Brown Algae: This is common in new tanks. It grows in sheet form, which can be cleaned off easily. Generally this will disappear as the tank matures.
Green Hair Algae: As the name suggests, this type of algae resembles strands of hair. It can grow quickly, covering large areas.
Beard Algae: This is the toughest type, and as such can be the hardest to remove. It looks like small bristles in a blue/green to black/green, and can be tough to remove if left to grow for too long.
Green Water: This will give your tank a greenish tinge as the suspended growths float in the water. Water changes don’t really help, so blocking all light to the tank for a few days is a good idea.
Causes of algae:
- • Algae thrives on light, water and nutrients, one of which you can’t remove – but control of the others will certainly help
- • Nutrients: Nitrates/phosphates in the water, algae feeds on them and can quickly grow if levels are unchecked.
- • Light: Tank is in direct sunlight or over use of artificial lighting
- • Over feeding – produces more waste (phosphates)
- • Lack of maintenance
So, how can you keep on top of it?
Controlling the amount of phosphates and nitrates in your aquarium will reduce the growth of algae, which relies upon these nutrients for growth. Regularly using a test kit will highlight any raise in levels, which can then be treated with the appropriate additive or solution. Using a suitable media in your filter will remove phosphates or nitrates. Swell UK has a broad range of filters and media to ensure your tank is perfectly cleansed.
Don’t over feed your fish. This leads to a high rate of phosphates in the water. Feed a little, no more than twice a day and ensure that it is eaten within a couple of minutes. Remove any clumps of uneaten food as soon as possible.
Keep your tank out of direct sunlight. Sunlight is a key part of the algae formation process and if the tank has too much light it will soon develop and grow.
The same applies to artificial lighting. Only use lighting for a certain amount of time each day. If you would like it on during the day and your tank is in a bright spot, try to make sure that blinds/curtains are drawn to avoid too much light into the tank. A timer is a great idea too, so you can ensure the right amount of light whether you’re at home or away. Make sure that the lighting you use is appropriate for your aquarium.
Another great way to control algae is to introduce an algae eating inhabitant. There is more choice in fresh water algae consumers such as snails, Siamese Flying Fox Fish and other bottom dwellers. Bear in mind that of course, this is not an exact science, a large algae problem may be too much for the hungriest bottom feeder.
Live plants too can be an attractive, natural way to stay on top of algae formation. They too use phosphates to grow, so can deplete the supply of nutrients available to algae.
Another way to keep on top of algae is good tank maintenance. Performing a 10-15% water change every week will certainly help. Before you start to change the water, scrub away the algae with a suitable scraper, this will mean you can remove it when the water is changed. Remove rocks and ornaments and give them a good clean at the same time.
Remember the arrival of algae in your carefully tended aquarium is a natural product and a little can actually add to the look of your fish tank. Just keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand, and follow the advice above to maintain your beautiful aquarium.
Aquarium Answers; Algae Control
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