Types of Aquarium Algae, & 5 Best Tips To Prevent and Fix Them:

Algae is a simple, non-flowering aquatic plant of a large group that contains seaweeds & a number of single celled forms. They include chlorophyll but its stems, roots, leaves & vascular tissue are missing.

Algae are a different type of aquatic organisms that can conduct photosynthesis. People know about different types of algae such as seaweeds, pond scum or the algae blooms discovered in lakes. There are a number of algae that can help us & are needed for life.

Shrimps will eat aquarium algae
Shrimps will eat aquarium algae

Is Algae Bad For Aquarium:

Presence of algae is crucial in fish tank. Algae & other types of microorganisms including bacteria, can reduce the poisonous forms of nitrogen in aquarium. They help oxygenate water & assist in aquarium stability. The important difference between algae & bacteria is that the latter can change nitrogen to certain gases that can escape the water. Death of algae will release nitrogen back into the water to repeat the nitrogen cycle. This is the reason behind having a bio filtration in many aquariums; a place where conditions are changed to increase bacteria’s reaction to extra organic matter & nitrogen.

Why My Tank Has Too Much Algae:

Algae is required for a healthy aquatic system but excess of algae is bad. You can take measures to lower level of algae such as limit the amount of nitrogen (produced by food, plant litter, wastes & other debris) in the water or enhance the reaction of bacteria to extra nitrogen such as increase or augment beneficial bacterial activity.

Increase of following variables can help fast build-up of algae in aquarium:
  • Aquarium lights left on for a long time
  • Tank placed in a location where sunlight can directly hit water
  • If you overfeed your fish
  • If you do not change water regularly
  • If you are adding too much nutrition to water

How To Control Algae In Aquarium:

We already know the cause of algae overgrowth in aquarium so here are the following tips & tricks for controlling level of algae in water.

Reduce Lighting: 

Never place your aquarium in a location where sunlight can hit water even for few hours a day. This is the main reason of algae overgrowth. Always use artificial lights in aquarium. Check out how much brightness is required by inhabitants & plants, & do not exceed level of brightness beyond that. Do not turn on your lights beyond 8 to 10 hours a day. A timer can help you with turning on & off the lights.

Feed Less:

Make sure you do not feed your fish beyond they can consume which can result in leftover food or too much poop in aquarium. Provide small amounts of food & watch as your fish eat them. If the food you have added to aquarium are not eaten within 5 minutes, then it means you are overfeeding. Remove the leftover food using fish net.

Water Maintenance & Cleaning:

Replacing aquarium water with fresh water is very important for lowering algae growth in aquarium. Replace from 15 to 40 percent water every week to keep nutrients in aquarium water low. How much water should be removed in a week is based on the size of aquarium & how many fish you have in the water. This will lower nitrate level in water which acts as the main fertilizer for aquarium plants.

Scrub algae growing on the surface including aquarium glass, rocks, or surfaces of aquarium, & remove it from water. Vacuum gravel when removing water from aquarium.

Add Live Plants:

Adding live plants will reduce algae growth by absorbing many of the nutrients required for the growth of algae. Lower nutrients in aquarium water certainly means that you have controlled the overgrowth of algae in water.

Algae Eating Species:

Adding algae eating fish can help in reducing algae overgrowth. Fish including Siamese flying fox, otocinclus, Plecostomus or more inhabitants will help limit the overgrowth of algae in aquarium. Invertebrates like shrimps also eat algae.

Types of Algae:

In case of algae overgrowth, make sure you use above tips & tricks to lower algae level in aquarium. However, if you have information about types of algae then you can do this effectively. Knowing the types of algae will assist in finding the cause & cure for algae overgrowth. Check out types of algae & how to get rid of them below:

Brown Algae:

Brown Algae has other common names: gravel or silica algae. Brown Algae grows in new aquariums, & will cover the aquarium in coats, which can be easily removed. It is commonly harmless & does not grow in older aquariums.

Blue Green Algae:

Blue Green Algae has other common names slime or smear algae, & the reason behind its overgrowth is excess of nitrate & phosphate in aquarium. It is challenging to control its growth because it can easily spread. If you take good care of water then it will help control it but in case there is high phosphate level in water then for controlling blue green algae growth, you will need special treatments to wipe out the additional nutrients.

Red or Beard Algae:

Red or Beard Algae is harder to remove from aquarium water & it commonly appears on plants. A dip in a weak (about 5 to 10 %) bleach solution for few minutes will help get rid of red or beard algae.

Green Algae:

Green Algae is also commonly known as hair, thread, or spot algae. This algae is healthy & every aquarium will most likely experience it based on water conditions. As long as aquarium is maintained well, it will not exceed its growth. Algae eating fish feed upon green algae, so if you have algae eating fish in aquarium then you can get rid of green algae.

Green Water:

Green water has other common names: algae bloom, the reason behind its overgrowth is the growth of microscopic algae suspended in aquarium water. This algae is difficult to remove from water because it can’t be removed or scrapped off like other types of algae. Change of water is not a wise solution as the leftover algae will grow back quickly. Best solution for removing green water is using diatomic filter or fully block lights for more than a few days.

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