Planted aquariums are not just a past-time for many, it is
an integral part of their lifestyle.
Instead of identifying themselves as aquarium owners these
people can have the pride of calling themselves ecosystem managers.
A planted aquarium is an ecosystem with plants, animals,
rocks, wood, and the dreaded microbes. In a wet ecosystem, algae and bacteria
are bound to happen and it is not something to be panicking about. With the
right knowledge and care, algae would actually be good for the aquarium as they
consume excess food and produce oxygen in the water.
But a major problem with algae infestation is that as it
increases in density, the ambience and aesthetics of the ecosystem is damaged.
Here, I am going to discuss about some common algae found in
planted aquariums and how to control algae to keep a well-balanced aquarium.
What is Algae and process for aquarium Algae control
First, let us define what algae is. As most of us have
earned in school, algae is a simple structured aquatic plant. They have a large
assemblage, are non-flowering and lacks Vascular tissue, leaves, stems or
They spread through division and can come into your aquarium
on the backs of your plants, fish or any accessories you place inside,
especially wood. They even have the capacity to survive the digestive systems
Now, some aquarium owners sterilize everything and wait till
the fish is well cleaned out before introducing them to the ecosystem, but it
is a lengthy process that can actually destroy the quality of the plants.
Measure for Aquarium Algae Control
Algae growth is encouraged by certain factors in the
aquarium atmosphere, Excess lighting, direct sunlight, overfeeding,
overstocking, insufficient nutrient control and irregular water circulation or
water changes promote the growth of algae. Another way to control algae is by
knowing what eats algae.
1. The Black-Brush algae thrive when there is not enough
water circulation with low or fluctuating CO2 levels. They form clumps or
patches of black tufts on plants, wood or other accessories in the aquarium.
It can be manually cleaned out by scrubbing with a
toothbrush and removing affected leaves. Stocking the tank with Siamese Algae
Eater is an effective way to control BBA growth.
A type of aquarium algae that can cause nuisance is the
Hair, Thread, Fuzz,etc.
These spread due to low nutrient levels, ammonia spikes and
low carbon dioxide levels. Manually scrubbing and twisting around with a
toothbrush removes them while stocking the aquarium with Amano shrimps, Rosy
Barbs and Mollies will help reduce their growth. Amano shrimps are especially
known for their cleaning properties.
Overdosing with bioavailable carbons such as Flourish Excel
or EasyCarbo helps remove the algae but sometimes can hurt other life in the
aquarium. A good supply of nutrients and CO2 goes a long way in preventing them.
2. Diatoms and Brown
algae causes brown patches on the glass, plants and other substrates.
They flourish when there is an excess of silicates and
ammonia, especially in newly set up tanks. Vacuum out or wipe the surfaces to
remove them manually. These usually disappear as the tank matures.
3. Cladophora and Blanket weed are branching, green
filamentous algae that sometimes acquire a rough, gritty texture.
They grow when there is low nutrient and CO2 levels in the
water. Manually pulling them out until they are gone is effective to stop them.
Using algae eaters such as Amano shrimps or aquarium snails sometimes help
reduce their growth.
Overdosing with Flourish Excel, EasyCarbo or TNC Carbon,
maintaining good water circulation and supply of nutrients goes a long way in
reducing their impact.
4. Green Spot algae can be scraped off the glass with Fish
tank Algae razor scrapper or magnetic glass scrapers.
These grow as hard green circular spots on the glass when
there is a dearth of phosphate and CO2. Irregular and insufficient water
circulation and too long lighting periods also help them flourish.
Ensure to maintain lighting periods between 9 to 10 hours,
which is ideal for the plants. Maintain good water circulation and increase
phosphate levels if you notice these algae in your planted aquarium.
5. Blue-Green algae covers everything in a blue-green slimy
mat, commonly in the substrate along the front glass of the tank.
How to control aquarium algae They interfere with the aesthetics and beauty
of the tank and flourish when there is a lack of nitrate and excess of ammonia,
especially in new tanks.
Dirty substrates/filters and uneven water circulation also
enhance their spread. Clean out as much as manually possible and ensure the
substrate and filters are not too clogged up with mulch.
Do a 30 to 50 percent water change and keep Potassium
Nitrate levels at 20ppm. Replace C2 by an airstone, turn off lights and cover
the whole tank so no light can enter for 3 to 4 days. Marimo
Treat with Maracyn/ Erythromycin to cleanse the tank for
short term reliefs.
6. Staghorn algae grows in strands that branch out like deer
antlers with grey/green colour.
A good CO2 level with adequate water circulation should keep
them out. Water changes in regular intervals is a necessary step and clean
dirty substrates and filters while you are at it for an algae free environment