why is algae growing in my fish tank
Belonging to the red algae family, beard algae (also called brush algae) grows on the edges of plant leaves as well as on the edges of almost any hard surface. Composed of very fine strands or tufts, it grows in dense patches resembling a dirty green beard, thus earning its name. It can also be bright green, blue-green to blackish green. It is soft, slippery, and grows rapidly, yet clings tenaciously to plants and cannot be easily removed by hand. It is eaten by only a few fish, notably the Florida Flag Fish and the Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus siamensis). Perhaps the number one cause is unstable or low levels of carbon dioxide. When CO2 is unstable, plants can t use the fertilizers and light available to undergo photosynthesis, and that kind of environment is a hospitable one for beard algae. In that case, supplementing CO2 supplementation is likely required. Beard algae most often enter the tank on contaminated plants. However, even small free-floating strands in a bag with fish are enough to start its growth in your aquarium. Affected plants can be soaked for two to three minutes in a 10 percent bleach solution to kill any algae on them. (Never pour bleach into an aquarium! ) Completely remove heavily affected leaves. that exhibit growth of the algae. Stock the tank with a Siamese algae eater (Crossocheilus siamensis). Note: Be sure to purchase the proper species, as many species of fish are sold under the name of Siamese algae eater. Other species of fish do not eat beard algae. If other options fail, treat with copper according to manufacturers directions. However, copper can have adverse effects on certain plants as well as fish and should be used with caution. Follow a strict plan for tank maintenance weekly. Changing the water weekly is necessary to replenish lost minerals and to stabilize the pH to avoid an environment that s overly acidic.
Clean debris consistently and don t overfeed. When beard algae attach in the tank, it can be difficult to separate it from the gravel, glass, and silicon seams. It requires a lot of elbow grease to remove it from hard surfaces. Try a toothbrush, magnetic scrapers or razor along with a spray treatment like Seachem Excel or Metricide. Prevention is the best course of action. Once beard algae start growing, it will very quickly cover everything inside the aquarium that doesn t move. On plants, it can block the light and actually stop photosynthesis, which will result in the plants death. To avoid algae entering the tank via fish, quarantine
for at least two days. When placing them in the tank, net the fish rather than dumping them out of the bag, so no bag water enters your tank. Soak prophylactically for two to three minutes in a 10 percent bleach solution to kill any algae on them. Also, purchase plants and fish from a reputable local fish store. Feed Your Fish Sparingly! One of the most enjoyable times for the new hobbyist is watching the flurry of activity in the aquarium after that pinch or two of hits the surface. Sometimes we're tempted to repeat the show 2-3 times a day, which is fine if your fish consume all the food within a couple minutes. The problems start if there is excess food, which is defined as "overfeeding. " Overfeeding is the most common source of the algal nutrients ammonia and phosphate. Algae thrive on both the nutrients generated from uneaten food and fish waste. Many experienced hobbyists who learn to resist the feeding frenzy and only feed once daily - or feed smaller portions 2-3 times daily - find it's much easier to keep the unwanted green in check. If you turn on your aquarium lights when you wake up and turn them off before bed, the extended light cycle may be encouraging extra algae growth.
Put your lights on a to replicate a day/night schedule and stick to it. Keep lights on 10-14 hours per day for planted aquariums, 6-10 for ornamental setups. Also, at least once a year. Aquarium bulbs lose their spectrum and intensity as they age; this weakened light will likely encourage algae growth. In nature, rain and water currents refresh water conditions by diluting and carrying away nitrate (a. k. a. algae fertilizer) before it can build up to excessive levels. Your closed aquarium system, however, requires regular to remove excess nutrients. Ideal frequency is 10% weekly, but for a lightly populated aquarium, 30% monthly is sufficient. It's also a chance to up all the sludge and dead plant matter in your gravel. It is a good practice to your tap water before changes, because it may contain algae-encouraging elements right out of the faucet. If the test results show significant levels of, your battle against algae via water changes will be futile until they are reduced by an or a tap water filter. Keep algae's favorite nutrient out of your aquarium with phosphate controlling media and biological boosters for your filtration system. The right choice of filter media can make a big difference in phosphate levels: will remove phosphate and heavy metals. Combination products are also available. The carbon keeps your water crystal clear and removes dissolved organics, the phosphate disappears, and best of all, so does the algae. Finally, change your and once a month, because as it becomes exhausted and saturated, it may leach the bad stuff back into your aquarium. Algae on glass or acrylic has no chance against convenient scrapers like the, or the. What do you have under your aquarium cabinet? The more in your aquarium, the less chance algae has of taking over.
Plants compete directly with algae for light and nutrients, and most often win if given proper conditions. For marine aquariums, consider beneficial macro algae such as placed within a connected refugium or sump filter. Put some fish in your community to work on cleanup duty. While many algae-eating grow far too large for small aquariums, the is just the right size. This hardy worker seems endlessly busy, seeking out any plant or structure with a hint of algae. Another small catfish, the, patrols the bottom of your aquarium, vacuuming up excess fish food before it can rot and turn into dangerous ammonia and nitrite. For marine aquariums, consider a. These convenient packages provide a natural and effective solution for marine hobbyists. Green Carpet Algae, which covers glass and structures is relatively easy to clean because we have the most weapons to combat it, including: algae scrubbers, and algae-eating catfish and invertebrates. Green Hair Algae is more stubborn, and even catfish and plecos may avoid it. Again, your best protection starts with water quality so you don't have to roll up your sleeves later. Beard Algae is the black scourge of planted aquarium hobbyists. A major takeover by this unsightly guest may only be remedied by pruning away covered leaves and removing affected driftwood. Take a moment to sit back and look at your planted aquarium. Does it look natural? Is there a hint of green covering which makes the structures blend in with the underwater garden? If it's not covering your glass or choking out the leaves of your plants, there's little reason to panic. Algae may be unsightly, but it actually consumes excess nutrients and provides oxygen. No one "wins" the battle against algae. Success is finding a natural balance in your enclosed ecosystem.
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