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Author Topic: Fighting Algae  (Read 7019 times)
« on: April 27, 2006, 03:03:03 PM »

Algae is basically a type of green plant and as such, needs two essential components to thrive -- light and nutrients. If you deprive algae of either one of these, it will die.

The light factor is easily solved -- if your tank is near a window, there may be sufficient ambient light to grow algae. Perhaps your tank lighting is on for too many hours a day; or a combination of both. If so, move the tank away from the window and keep the lights on for a lot less time each day.

Nutrient is more complicated. For algae, required nutrient takes the form of nitrate and/or phosphates. The former can be diluted out by frequent water changes --- lower your nitrates to less than 10ppm through more frequent water changes. Phosphate may be found in your water (municipal systems often use it as an anti-corrosive agent), in the fish food you are using, and in cheap grades of carbon you may be using in your filter. Eliminate those sources that you have control over and use a "phosphate sponge" for those that you do not.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2006, 08:51:39 PM by JP » Logged
Botia Jessicus
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2006, 04:51:14 PM »

I am just curious what everyone uses to get rid of various types of algae.

We don't recommend any kind of chemical. It really won't help you out in the long run anyway. The best methods of removing algae:

1. Find out what nutrient is out of balance in your tank and fix it. If algae is out of control, then other methods may be needed in combination to get it under control, this is generally for a planted tank.
2. Get algae eaters (for mild algae problems, sometimes a combo of kinds are needed). Plecos and otos are the most common ones. Research the plecos, though. Many get huge.
3. For non-planted tanks, reduce the lighting.
4. A little elbow grease.

My methods are 1, 2, and 4.

As far as the nutrients go or lack thereof, what are the common ones that could be out of balance? Especially concerning planted tanks and darned hair algae on plant leaves. I have stopped using fertilizers, cut down feedings and lighting, cleaned leaves, trimmed plants and read the riot act to my otos, but still it exists.

Excess iron in the water column is the most typical cause of red/beard/staghorn algae. The fun thing about that is once you get it, removing iron isn't sufficient to remove the algae. Short and sweet, it comes down to:

A. Daily removal of algae and infected leaves. (I usually only took those that were infected the greatest out).

B. No fertilizers added. CO2 may be supplemented. I added it. I've found arguments against and for this. Feed your fish lightly. If you can find out what your water has in it, you may find it is a slight problem. Likely the best counter is to find a stem plant that likes the nutrients your water provides. Definitely keep up with high water changes.

C. Stuff the tank with stem plants. Add more than you think the tank should hold. Better to experiment and see which ones resist algae best in your tank (unless you know already). I found green and purple cabomba to be the best for fighting my problem, while rotala indica, E. bolivianus and a few others merely compounded the problem. Ambulia was a midway, it grew fast, but the second round algae loved to grow on it. Floating plants can also help accomplish this task.

D. If you can manage them, SAE (Siamese algae eaters) are your best friends, they can be that last block that sends the tower toppling. Surprisingly, brigs are pretty decent at some kinds of hair-like algae as well.

E. Just keep at it. This isn't a short battle; you may be dealing with it for months. (I know, you didn't want to hear me say that).

F. Be prepared. Once you defeat these algae, you will have created a tank with nutrient deficiencies. You may or may not get another, lesser algae.

I promptly had another algae problem, well, it was similar to cyanobacteria, only brown. I put the tank through a blackout, pruned it and started ferts; lower doses, working my way up, and it pulled through pretty nicely.

Also, finding out why you got it started would be an excellent idea. I caused mine from jumping my tank to 4wpg and overdosing on fertilizers. I am still underdosing, slowly increasing it; just scared of the bad algae. Newly planted tanks often go through this. At least any with size. So, you aren't alone.

Remember those stem plants. I actually removed any plant that served as a host and converted the tank to almost pure cabomba and ambulia. That was one of the best things I did. Though I do emphasize finding out what plant will serve your purposes best.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2006, 08:50:42 PM by JP » Logged

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