Aquarium algae are unsightly and threaten the health of your fish. However, completely stopping their growth is not possible. This growth can be triggered by factors such as:
- Exposure to too much light, including sunlight
- High nutrient accumulation in the water
- Overfeeding of the fish
- The closed aquarium system facilitating mineral build-up.
Dealing with algae is an unavoidable possibility. This is because the closed aquarium system means that the food uneaten by the fish, as well as the various bodily secretions, are not being washed away. As a result, their formation is inevitable.
Aquarium algae control
There are several ways to deal with algae. The first approach is cleaning the fish tank on a monthly basis. Fish tank cleaning involves changing the aquarium filter cartridge, performing a 25-30% water change, and using algae scrubbers to gently scrape them off.
You can change the water in your tank using a bucket and a mini-siphon gravel vacuum. Use the gravel vacuum to siphon the water from the tank to the bucket. Take out about 30% of the water in the tank and replace it with fresh water. It is important to have a bucket designated only for the aquarium, that is, do not use just any household bucket.
You can engage in the monthly cleaning of the tank as a strategy for algae control. This will entail taking out all the decorations, cleaning the filters, and of course, changing the water. You will require equipment such as:
- An algae scraper. If you need one we recommend FL!PPER Flipper 2-in-1 Magnetic Aquarium Tank Algae Cleaner Scrubber Scraper. However, the MiguCo Stainless Steel Algae Scraper Cleaner with 10 Blades for Aquarium Fish Plant Glass Tank will also serve you well, among other great brands
- Razorblade or plastic blade in case your tank is acrylic
- A bucket for aquarium use only
- Bath towels
- Glass cleaners for aquarium use such as the KEDSUM Magnetic Aquarium Fish Tank Cleaner, Fish Tank Glass Cleaner, Floating Clean Brush with Handle Design.
You can use the above pieces of equipment to gently clean the interior of the glass. Use the algae pad to clean the interior glass. Use the scrubbers to scrape off the algae in the system. Next, remove the decorations, rocks, or plants that have the algae and use the scraper to clean them. You can clean out stubborn stains using a bleach solution. Soak the decorations in the bleach solution for about 15 minutes. Once the stains come off rinse them and let them air dry to remove the residue.
WARNING: Bleach is harmful to aquatic life. Therefore, if you opt to use bleach, then be sure to rinse it out to avoid damage to the system. Alternatively, you can avoid bleach altogether. Simply use water and a soft brush to clean the decorations. Monthly cleaning of the fish tank, plus weekly maintenance will help with algae control. On the downside though, this procedure can be stressful for the fish. Moreover, you risk disrupting the aquatic life that has already settled into the system.
Try the algae eater
Introducing algae eating fish species is the best approach to controlling them. Species such as Rosy Barbs, and Siamese algae eaters can feed on the algae. However, you should bear in mind that introducing the eating species does not mean that you should discard your weekly maintenance of the system.
Also, some of the species can grow up to be aggressive. For instance, the Chinese algae eater can get very competitive with other fish in the aquarium once it grows up.
Some of the species that people introduce into their aquariums for the purpose of controlling algae can end up becoming troublesome. Take for example the common pleco. This fish is commonly preferred by aquarium lovers. However, if it grows a couple of feet long, it can become too big for your aquarium.
Fish tank algae control
It is impossible to get rid of algae completely. This plant is capable of thriving anywhere there is water provided there are nutrients, light, or another organism. Aside from proper maintenance of the tank, here are a few practices that you should try out:
- Do not over-feed your fish. It is probably not advisable to stuff your fish with food. This is because the food bits that remain behind become a source of nutrients for the algae. Also, excretion from the fish becomes a source of nutrient especially if the fish is overfed.
- Avoid light: It is advisable to place the fish tank far from sunlight, including artificial fish tank light. Try to control the light to at least 8-12 hours a day. This will allow the plants and the species in the tank to benefit from the sunlight without it leading to an algae bloom. Alternatively, if you have plastic plants you can reduce the light intake to 8 hours.
- Check the water for quality: Partial water changes on a weekly basis help remove food bits and other particles from the water. Also, consider investing a quality water testing equipment for checking the pH and nutrient content of the water. Too much phosphorous or nitrates means that there is the risk of an algal bloom. If you filling the tank with water from the tap, then consider using a de-chlorinator and running the water through a pre-filter. This will ensure that the water does not alter the pH levels of the aquarium or introduce nutrients that trigger algae growth.
- Maintain regular cleaning: The easiest and most recommended approach is to clean it away using the pads/ algae scrubbers. There are long-handled scrubbers that you can use to clean the inside of the tank without getting your hands wet.
Algae build-up is a possible occurrence in suspended water. However, it is possible to manage it. Early diagnosis and monitoring of the tank ensures that you keep the conditions in control thereby preventing the risk of algae growth. Just try out a combination of these methods to manage the fish tank. Maintaining a habit of regularly cleaning the tank is the best way to go.