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Algae in the aquarium: characteristics and classification

Aquatic algae – not the same as underwater plants. The latter bring practical benefits: they serve as a substrate for spawning or shelter for swimming fish, food, a biological filter, or simply a subject of decor. As for the algae, they appear regardless of the person’s desire – they spoil the external beauty of the aquarium, they clog the filter.

They need to fight. Consider the main types of algae in the aquarium and their characteristics.

Algae appear by themselves on the basis of biological processes occurring in the tank. Often their occurrence is affected by the acquisition of new underwater vegetation or the feeding of fish with live food.

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Algae are diverse:

• by location – freely floating or attached to surfaces;
• by color – green, red, black, blue, pink, purple;
• in shape – fluffy bundle, mucous covering, spread carpet;
• by growth method – filamentous, branching, layered, flat;
• in size – from those that can be seen only under a microscope, up to 10 meters in length (in the wild).

What differs from underwater algae plants is that they do not have pronounced leaves, stems or rhizomes.

Each species has its own requirements for the environment – from the duration of lighting to temperature and chemical components of water. Most often, the occurrence of algae is a sign that the living conditions in the aquarium are unfavorable. It is urgent to normalize the conditions, otherwise the fish and other creatures living here may die.

Details on the fight against algae will tell in the next section.

The total number of types of algae is twelve, but in the aquariums there are three main subspecies – green, brown (diamatic) and red.

There are most often and have the greatest variety in shape and structure. The class of green algae includes almost 7,000 species. Multicellular, unicellular, and even non-cellular forms are found.

Live in the form of cohesive colonies on the ground or glass. Such algae almost always appear due to excess light. Although they also contain a yellow pigment, in addition to chlorophyll, the color is almost always saturated green.

In addition, this alga stains and water in a reddish-green or just green.

The following aquatic plants are found in an aquarium:

  • Ulotriks. It feeds in a phototrophic way, reproduces asexually and sexually. It is attached to different objects in the tank or grows along the water level line.
  • Nitella. Propagated by vegetative or sexual intercourse. It is a thin stalk without roots, floating in a liquid. Color – from light green to thick green. Structure – internodes and multicellular nodes.
  • Spirogyra. Type of filamentous algae. Usually popularly called Tina. Propagated by spores or division. It can braid other aquarium plants, like gossamer.
  • Chlorella. Most often appears in the spring and summer in fresh water. They reproduce in the following way: small cells form inside the mother cell, which then break the membrane and go outside. Over time, the liquid in the aquarium becomes a greenish tint.
  • Chlamydomonas. Actively ripens all year except winter. It propagates by dividing and forms a “bloom” on the surface of the water, which causes more carbon dioxide in the liquid and harmful decomposition products are formed.

As a rule, the trouble with green algae disappears as soon as the lighting is normalized.

If the water in the aquarium reservoir constantly becomes cloudy and it has to be changed too often – most likely the reason is brown algae. In addition to damage the appearance of the aquarium, it interferes with the full life of its inhabitants.

Such microorganisms form a slippery coating on the walls and leaves of plants. They multiply very quickly, live in colonies of different forms (bush, film, chain).

If the raid only appeared, it is easy to remove it manually. But in advanced cases, it forms several layers and can seriously harm the plants.

Fish and animals will not harm.

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In the wild, there are 25,000 such crops. Of them in the aquarium are:

  • Navikula. Most often divorced in the offseason, propagated by division. All cells are different in structure, type of shell and shape. Navikula eats phototrophic, and itself serves as food for residents of the aquarium.
  • Pinnula. Appears in the summer and early fall. The cells are divided, and each subsidiary receives one leaf from the “mother”. Separate cells rarely unite in ribbons.
  • Cymbella. These are free single cells that periodically attach themselves to the surface with a leg of mucus. Sometimes they are enclosed in gel tubes.

Brown algae arise either because of lack of lighting, or because of too rare a change of water. Indirect distribution factors – the amount of organic matter and creatures in the water, the level of contamination of the filter.

Crimson – the smallest variety of aquarium algae. Even in the wild, there are no more than 200 types.

Classified into two classes with six orders each. Red algae settle on the leaves and stalks of plants and grow very quickly. The cause is a surplus of organic matter in the aquarium, overcrowding, or incorrect lighting.

It is important to fight purple in time, because it can harm the health of living beings.

The described algae in an aquarium are significantly different in appearance: from yellow to bluish or deep red, it depends on pigmentation (see picture). Freshwater usually have colder shades – from blue to black.

The most interesting thing about this type of algae is the cycle of their development, which is notable for its complexity. Cultures are usually attached to plants, the wall of the aquarium or pebbles at the bottom.

Often look like mucous plaque.

Two kinds that bring the most trouble to aquarists:

  • Flip Flops. Filamentous variety. Because of their shape, they are often called “brush”, “beard”, or “bush.” Colors may vary. Typically, the Vietnamese grows on the elements of underwater decoration or tips of vegetation.
  • Black beard Initially, it is a small black bushes that can be scattered across the entire container or concentrate in one place. The fight should begin at this stage. Otherwise, the alga will grow into the substrate. Blackbeard often occurs after the acquisition of a fresh aquarium higher plants, as well as in the case of non-compliance with the rules of care for the aquarium.

It is easy to get rid of some algae, others require more complex methods. In any case, only timely actions will help preserve a beautiful and healthy landscape.

As the name implies, the key difference between this category and the rest is that they are not exactly algae, but bacteria. However, they can cause great harm to the inhabitants of the aquarium – both plants and animals.

The point is this: such bacteria release hazardous toxic substances into the liquid, and in addition, they use nitrogen from water for their vital functions, which is why nitrates accumulate in the tank.

The blue-green bacteria in appearance are an unpleasant odor-like film that covers all plants, soil and technical equipment in water.

The appearance of such contagion is usually associated with a high content of mud in the water, decomposing food residues, as well as low oxygen content. All this adversely affects the overall state of the ecosystem.

The first thing you need to determine exactly what kind of algae attacked the aquarium. The chosen methods of struggle and their effectiveness depend on it.

Some algae actively grow in bright light, others – with a dim … the same can be said about the characteristics of water and microbionts.

The root of the problems with the appearance of algae, regardless of the names, is impaired biobalance in the reservoir or its complete absence. It is important that all animals, spores, plants, fungi in the aquarium fulfill their strictly function – for example, cleansing from decaying organic matter or excretion of the formed poisons. Water is not sterile, active life processes occur in it.

An algal flash signals that some link has jumped out of balance.

The main causes of the violation of biological balance:

  1. Too long daylight hours in the water tank or incorrect lighting mode. It is necessary to adjust the light day to the desired values, or as a warning measure, turn off the light for 1-2 days in general.
  2. Too short daylight hours or the use of lighting devices with the wrong spectrum. It is “treated” accordingly – by lengthening the daylight or by purchasing new lamps, with the required spectrum.
  3. In the aquarium, many dead organics (dead plants, fish, food debris, excrement). If the aquarium cannot remove the dirt on its own, then there is nothing left for it but how to form the algae that will eat all this. The solution is logical – to clean the tank from debris and in the future to prevent such clogging, regularly replace water, use a special filter coal.
  4. From the dead organics described above, poisonous substances are released – nitrites, ammonia, various kinds of salts. Simple cleaning can not get rid of them, so you have to use aquarium chemistry. For example, zeolite, biostarter preparations – they are able to destroy toxic structures.
  5. Too little vegetation. Paradoxically, in fact, in aquariums with a large number of different plants, algae almost never appear, but it has not been scientifically proven that plants somehow suppress algae.

It is advisable to run in the tank of fish of particular species that feed on algae and bloom. For example, Siamese algae, ototsinklyus, antsitrusy, guppies, petilia.

The same can be said about clams – fizy, coils or apularias.

The fight against blue-green bacteria is complex – biochemical plus mechanical methods. The timely cleaning of the walls of the tank, plants and jewelry from harmful plaque will help; blackout aquarium; temporary relocation of fish and the most valuable plants. Until the bacteria completely disappear, there is no need to filter.

The biochemical method involves placing antiseptics and antibiotics in water. After this, the aquarium should be thoroughly rinsed again before you move the fish and plants there.

Of course, in specialized stores a lot of aquarium chemistry is sold, aimed at combating or preventing algae. It is easy to learn from the word “Algo” in the title, which is translated as “seaweed”.

It is necessary to choose those means, the features of which act most gently and will not harm the biobalance even more.

Algae are closer in structure to bacteria than to plants. Therefore, we managed to set up the production of such chemical agents that, destroying them, do not touch the rest of the vegetation.

On sale you can find a huge number of algiditsov in different forms of release, from liquids to tablets. The price is also significantly different. To choose a tool, you need to know the nature of its effects:

  • General purpose biocides (dyes, antiseptics, preparations with the addition of zinc and copper). They kill unwanted algae quickly, but non-beneficial bacteria can also have a negative effect. It is used commonly for cleaning water bodies in which fish and other creatures do not live.
  • Aldehydes are poisons that break protein bonds. Effectively eliminate algae, without affecting the beneficial microbes and other living creatures. Can be used for prophylaxis within reasonable limits.
  • Oxidizers. Deficit algae nutrients. Unfortunately, higher plants too. And besides, change the pH balance of water. Used only in swimming pools.
  • Humates Humic compounds convert phosphates into special forms inaccessible to plants. That is, they quickly make aquarium water saturated, slightly yellowish, but at the same time very transparent. Algae need phosphates more than ordinary plants, so they die from hunger. However, humic compounds make the environment overly acidic, therefore not suitable for use where there are creatures that require a neutral or alkaline environment.
  • Zeolites They also absorb phosphates from water, but they are much less painless – that is why they cost more. Work as absorbents.
  • Antibiotics are effective against some dangerous and enduring algae, like blue-green, due to their close relationship with bacteria.

In addition, there are technical algaecides.

Algae outbreaks are indirectly caused by an oversupply of nutrient fluids in plants. These substances get into the pool with biological excretions of the swimmers (meaning also sweat), and into the aquarium – with the waste products of its inhabitants.

Therefore, it is impossible to completely eliminate the likelihood of the appearance of aquarium algae.

Therefore, water filtration is so important. Even if algae spores get into the pond, the main thing is that they do not stay for long. It is recommended to install a coal-sand filter that is most effective.

Additionally, you can add a little oxidant to water every day for prevention.

Another important thing that every aquarist should acquire is a fluid quality tester. Checks water for hardness, acidity, phosphates and nitrates.

In that case, if the water is not hard and neutral, then the algae simply can not compete with higher plants. The tester is inexpensive, in fact it is just a set of paper indicators.

All this will help to effectively deal with algae – one of the main aquarium troubles.

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