Algae in the aquarium – This is probably one of the main problems aquarist. There are many discussions on this topic.
However, as a rule, attempts to cope with algae are not so successful. This is due to the fact that many aquarists do not delve into the essence of the problem and use various means at random, which only increases the number of ineffective methods of struggle.
There are two categories of algae that concern aquarists: “good” and “bad.” Good algae are present in small quantities, indicating good water quality is easy to control with fish using algae for food or by simple removal during routine maintenance.
These algae are a natural consequence – in a container with water, with nutrients and a light source. Bad algae are usually an indicator of poor water quality.
To fight the enemy, you need to know him in person. Algae is an ancient group that, having experienced various climate changes, learned to adapt to difficult conditions.
In the aquarium common 4 main types of algae.
Types of green algae:
Green water / Flowering water.
Green single-celled algae sometimes multiplies so quickly that water turns green. This is usually called “bloom” and is usually caused by an excess of light and direct sunlight. When the aquarium is blacked out, they can be removed by filtration with a micron cartridge or diatom filters.
UV sterilizers in the fight against water blooming occupy the first place. Green water is very useful for growing daphnia and shrimp larvae.
A film of algae on the glass of the aquarium forms a thin coating. Easy to remove by wiping the glass.
Normal for an aquarium is considered overhead lighting from 0.5W / l, which is necessary for good plant growth.
Algae in the form of spots.
They grow in the form of thin, hard, round, bright green spots, usually on the glasses of the aquarium and on plants in high light conditions. Considered normal for a plant aquarium.
Removed mechanically. In acrylic aquariums, use cloth.
In glass tanks, the blade is most effective.
Grow mainly on the leaves of plants in the form of individual, short (2-5 mm) or long (4 cm) strands. Easy to control with fish eating algae.
Grow in long, thin strands up to 30 cm. Closer to the dull green color. Indicate, as a rule, an excess of iron.
Easily removed with a toothbrush, by rotating / winding.
Occur in the form of a soft brown patina. Usually, the presence of brown / diatom algae indicates a lack of light or an excess of silicates. With an increase in the level of illumination, they usually disappear.
Easy to remove by wiping the glass or siphoning the affected area.
Grow and spread rapidly in the form of a blue-green film / mucus, which usually indicates poor water quality in the aquarium. Blue-green algae are able to absorb nitrogen, it can be found in aquariums with extremely low levels of nitrates.
They may be physically removed, but this is not a solution; if conditions remain favorable, these algae will quickly return. Treatment with 200 mg of erythromycin per 10 liters of water is usually sufficient to eliminate blue-green algae, but some believe that this can also have an adverse effect on the biological filter. If erythromycin is used for treatment, the level of ammonia and nitrite should be monitored.
Blue-green algae can exist only in stagnant water, therefore, by ensuring the circulation of water in the aquarium, it is possible to stop the development of these algae.
Grows in the form of feathery beams / brushes olive, gray or reddish. In nature, they grow mainly in the sea, but some species exist in fresh waters. The most unpleasant for the aquarist – “Blackbeard” and / or “Vietnamese”, which tenaciously fixed on the glass, snags and leaves.
Brushes / tufts of dark gray color multiply rapidly and spoil the appearance of the entire aquarium.
Unfortunately, the formation of algae in the aquarium process is natural and therefore it is almost impossible to get rid of them once and for all. Even if absolute sterility is observed, algae spores can still enter the aquarium with plants, fish or water.
Potent means that can destroy an algal cell, first of all, violate the ecosystem / biological balance of the reservoir, harm fish and higher plants.
It is impossible to get rid of algae completely, but their development can be reduced:
1. Regularly maintain your aquarium, not forgetting to change the water.
2. Water must contain sufficient macro and microelements necessary for the development of aquatic hydrobionts.
3. Place fast-growing plant species such as vallisneria, hornpole and hygrophil in your tank. These plants actively absorb nutrients from the water, thereby depriving algae of food.
4. It is noticed that algae develop better under cold blue light, therefore it is better not to use lamps of this spectrum at all or to install them only near the front glass. All other lighting should be warm or neutral.
5. It is not strange, but algae in the form of a ball – Kladofora, also compete with “bad” algae, as it actively and in large quantities consumes phosphates and other nutrients.
6. Egeria / Elodea chemical agent – it is believed that it secretes antibiotic substances, which
prevents the appearance of blue-green algae.
7. Phosphate control by chemical absorbers, well known and widely used. Available as a rule in the form of granular granular filler.
Usually used in a mesh bag, in the filter housing, it absorbs phosphates.
8. For aquariums with fish only, you can install an ultraviolet sterilizer, it will kill algae spores in the water. But for an aquarium with plants, this is not a very good solution, since ultraviolet light will also oxidize the trace elements needed by plants and will limit the growth of aquarium plants.
To avoid the introduction of algae into the aquarium with new plants, it is good to process them, for which a simple bleach is suitable. Mix 1 part bleach to 19 parts water and hold it in a new plant for 2 minutes.
After that, immediately rinse the plant in running water to remove the remaining bleach. This will kill the algae and only slightly slow down the development of a healthy plant.
A plant in poor condition is better to just throw.
9. The most effective method of controlling algae in an aquarium with plants is the use of fish and invertebrates that eat algae. This is especially important when starting a new aquarium so that the plants have a chance to adapt to new conditions.
Some of the most common helpers, but not a panacea! in the fight against algae:
Mollies – Excellent for a common aquarium, as they get along with most species of fish. They are great to eat green soft algae, also get rid of the surface film.
Ototsinklyus (Otocinclus) – gained great popularity in aquarism. They are excellent for eating any green and diatom algae, although they mainly feed on algae that are in the initial stages of development.
Ototsinklyus prefers a flock of at least 6 fish.
Siamese Seaweed (Crossocheilus siamensis) – peace-loving fish, otherwise known as SAE (Siamese Algae Eaters), many consider them the best algae, eating all kinds of algae. SAE is zealous even when it comes to red algae, which other algae will not touch.
Soma sucker – This is a common name for a wide range of Loricaric catfish with a suction-mouth (Ancistrus, Plecostomy, Sturisome, Loricaria, Pekoltius, etc.). One of the most popular cleaners.
Few know that some of them grow to large sizes, which is important to consider when choosing fish for your aquarium.
Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata) gained popularity when the Japanese aquarist Takashi Amano presented them in his book “Nature Aquarium World”. They are very useful for controlling the development of algae in an aquarium.
This lowly freshwater shrimp eats algae tirelessly and even cleans sand or gravel.
Snails Neretina They are excellent for combating various algal fouling on the walls of an aquarium; they clean snags, stones and do not damage plants. In addition, they are quite attractive and will be a great addition to your tank.
If the above measures do not help to succeed in algae control, you can use various Algae Preparations to eliminate them directly and effectively. But before that, it is advisable that you manually remove as much algae as possible.
Anyone who has seriously thought about a healthy aquarium should consider investing in a water testing kit and learn more about the nitrogen cycle and other processes occurring in the aquarium. Learn to control the level of ammonia, nitrates and nitrites and then you are more likely to keep the parameters of the water under control – and with it the well-being of the entire aquarium.
The topic of algae control is very extensive, and you can talk about it endlessly, but the above recommendations are enough for practical struggle.