By Shahu Sardar*
Salutations to all my fishkeeping geeks out there! Almost anyone with a plantation aquarium may have encountered the most common problem with plantation aquariums: Algae! And for many beginners Algal bloom is a nasty headache. So, I will be helping out all of those hobbyists who are fighting with the algal problem in their tank.
Algae – Good Or Bad?
First of all, let’s clear out if algae are good or bad for your tank. Appearance of algae in the tank is NOT a very big deal because it is obvious and common, and a bit beneficial too. But if left unchecked, it may easily get out of control and cause unwanted growth. Worst part of this is when it covers glass of the tank or leaves of the plants.
Algae give your tank a more natural look and acts as a primary nutrition for your fishes. So our aim is not to eliminate algae but to keep it under control and avoid damages because of it.
We all know, prevention is better than cure, and that’s what we should do – preventing algae growth.
The best way to do this is to maintain good water quality. Regularly checking water parameters and maintaining it will prevent the conditions that nurture growth of algae. Algae thrive on excess nutrients, nitrates, and iron and phosphorus, so keeping this in control, will keep the algae in control.
Maintaining right and constant water parameters is very important. Dirty water, high toxin levels can contribute to growth of algae. Periodic water changes are must. Uneaten food and fish waste contribute to deterioration of water quality and thus 75% water must be changed every 2 weeks that will avoid accumulation of nitrates. In case of persistent algae problem, consider a complete water change and recycling too. Use RO water if you are doubtful about tap water, and if using tap water always add Dechlorinator and also sometimes add water conditioners available in stores.
Using Good Filtration
Having good and efficient filtration system is important. It plays a big role in keeping nitrates away and maintains constant water quality in the tank. Use good quality filters and filter media, taking into consideration the tank size. Also, keeping those filters clean is very important. Not all filters are going to get off the algae, so choosing powerful and efficient filter is important. To bring down excess nutrients using a premium grade carbon will be very useful. If you find that your filter is not able to help you with the algae problem then getting better filter media is necessary.
Overfeeding And Overstocking
Overfeeding is the root cause of many aquarium related problems. And here too, overfeeding will lead to accumulation of extra and unwanted nutrition in the tank, which will help algae grow. So proper feeding is important. Feeding too much will invite lots and lots of algae. Feed only as much as your fishes can finish in 2 minutes and remove any uneaten food left in the tank. Feed on alternate days and if you are feeding homemade foods like peas or spinach, don’t forget to change water immediately.
Overstocking is another cause of algal bloom. Having so many fishes that your tank can’t handle will then bring down water quality. Sometimes, filter can’t handle so much of biomass and thus seems to stop working. So tank should never be overstocked.
Lighting And Illumination
This is the most neglected aspect. Most people keep their aquarium lights all the time, some people place their tank at wrong places. And this is just great for the algae. As algae thrive on everything that is excess, excess light also helps it to invade your tank. Aquarium light should be kept running only for 7 hours daily and not more than that. Also, the light should be according to the size of your tank. Having large light for a small tank will create intense brightness.
Also, the tank should never ever be placed at a spot where sunrays fall on it or a place where it gets a lot of daylight. Just 1 hour of sunlight daily will get the algae out of your control!
Get Some Algae Eaters
Bringing in some algae eaters is an amazing and fun way to remove algae – because you get to enjoy a new fish and that fish gets to enjoy the algae! There are lots of fishes that can be added to control algae. And there are living machines that will work continuously to remove the algae. Some algae eaters that can be added are Plecos, Siamese Algae Eater, and Dwarf Suckers.
Unfortunately, if algae have already attacked your tank then here are some easy steps to get rid of it.
- First of all, get a deep cleaning of your tank; this will help to remove the accumulated nitrates in your water. Clean all plants and decorations with warm water. Perform a deep clean of your gravel and remove debris.
- Clean your filters well and just give it a break of 1–2 days. Also, check if your filter is able to clean the tank. If it is not able to handle your tank, then consider installing a new filter with it.
- Feed less often and in even small quantities. Stop giving homemade food like peas and spinach.
- Try using algae control liquids like Tetra algae control. This can sometimes be very useful.
- Keep lights off for more duration. Also, check if maybe that light is too bright for your tank.
- Scrape it off. It is most easy way to get rid of algae. Simply get some algae removing tools and you can manually get it off.
So these were some easy steps to prevent and cure algae problems in your tank. And as I mentioned earlier, our goal is not to eliminate algae, but to control it; the above steps will surely help you with it. In case of algae, prevention always works better than cure, so always be cautious about algae in your tank.
Along with this, using good quality aquarium supplies is very essential; the best place for all your needs is my favourite ‘Hooked on Fishes’ aquarium store in Pune. I strongly recommend it for best supplies and aquarium fishes.
Hope this article helped you. See you in the next issue, till then HAPPY FISHKEEPING!
*He is a Fish Keeping Hobbyist and Enthusiast from Pune, Maharastra. He has been in this hobby from the age of 10 and has learnt a lot about freshwater fish keeping. He likes to collect different types of fresh water species and also Aquascape fish tanks. He also runs his own fish keeping blog named AquaNation (www.aquanationURL.blogspot.com), where you can find all fish keeping articles. He provides free assistance for beginners in fishkeeping. You can contact him at 7774851593 / firstname.lastname@example.org.