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Algae Problems!

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by petsrkool, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. petsrkool

    petsrkool PetForums Newbie

    Feb 5, 2011
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    Does anyone out here have a good safe algae -prevention additive that actually works? I got something from one store, can't remember the name now, and it reduced the growth somewhat but, it didn't last long....even when putting in after a thorough tank cleaning!
    Any recommendations?:rolleyes:
  2. Fishyfins

    Fishyfins PetForums Member

    Feb 28, 2009
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    actual algae removal treatments are really not the best idea. it means you cant have natural plants in the aquarium, most are innefective, and some are suspected of causing problems for the fish. i would avoid!

    the best ways of reducing algae is to tackle the route cause. the algae is essentially a symptom, and treating whats causing it is a far better idea than treating the actual algae.

    algae needs 2 things to grow: light, and nutrients. algae is always caused by an excess of one, or both of these. reducing them is the key to reducing algae!

    firstly, the easiest problem would be light. how long is the aquarium lit for during the day? when was the last time the bulbs were changed? and is the tank stading in an area with lots of natural light? (for example, by a window). these are the questions that need to be asked to establish if light is the cause. in general, the light in a tank only exists so you can see the fish. its a simple aesthetic choice for yourself, and has no value to the fish themselves. all fish can live quite hapily in a tank with no light (in fact, most prefer dim lighting). generally, you should only have the tank light on when you are going to be watching the fish. when your at work, or out, then it need'nt be on. so most people usually only light their tanks on the evenings, when they are in the room. the general guideline is a maximum of 6-8 hours a day, anything over this is excessive and will cause algae. so, if your tank light is on for longer than this, cut it back! cuts down on algae,l and saves on electricity (which is always a bonus)!
    also, how often do you change the bulbs/when were they last changed. aquarium lightbulbs usually have a lifespan (about 6-9 months), and after this time, the gas within the bulb will slowly "degrade", leading to a slight shift in the wavelength of light produced. you yourself will not notice this change, but the plants and algae will. aquarium bulbs are made with plants in mind, so their wavelength is calculated to benefit plant growth, but once it starts to degrade, it shifts to a wavelength favoured by algae, meaning you get more lagae growth. replacing your bulbs every 6 months, regardless of whether they produce light or not, is good practice, and can reduce an algae problem
    and finally for light, is the tank located near a window, or another source of bright light/direct sunlight? if the answer is yes, then algae feeds on this light too! so simply move the aquarium into a darker part of the room, like a dark corner, or alcove, to restrict the light getting to the aquarium and feeding the algae!

    ok, so, thats light covered. now we shall talk about nutrients, as again, high levels of nutrients in the water (such as nitrate) will cause massive algae blooms.
    high nutrients in the aquarium can be caused again, by 3 things. overfeeding, too many fish for size of tank, and not enough water cleaning. Overfeeding is a common issue. in general, you need to feed your fish enough to keep them "interested" for about a minute, once a day. it does depend on how many and what kind of fish you have as to how much you need to give them, but if you follow that simple guideline, then you shouldnt be overfeeding. any uneaten food will quickly break down in the aquarium, leading to chemical pollution (high nutrients). and even if the fish eat it all, then that will mean they produce more "poop", leading to more waste and nutrients (the algae basically feeds on the nutrient rich fish waste and decomposed matter). so, cut back on food if needed!
    too many fish in the tank.... now this is a big, and very common problem! of course it depends on the type of fish, and size of tank. if you feel this might be the issue, then tell us what fish you have and the size of your tank, and we can tell you if your overstocked or not. simply put, if you have too many fish in the tank, they will produce more waste than can safely be contained by the volume of water they are in, so it builds up before the filter can deal with it, leading to the algae. if you have too many fish, either get a bigger tank, or get rid of some fish. otherwise, that algae will not budge! and it will also lead to problems for the fish later on. some fish (goldfish being the classic example) need a desceptive amount of space, as they are veritable poop machines. one fancy goldfish requires about 40L of water, and standard goldies need twice that. anything less, and the tank is overstocked. as i say, if your unsure about this, check with us, and we can help!

    and of course, there is simply not doing enough tank cleaning! again, it depends on the fish you have/size of the tank as to how often you need to clean, but in general, an average stocked aquarium will need about 25% of the water changing every week or two. but as i say, if you have a heavily stocked tank, then you may need to clean it out more often. check with us if unsure.

    algae can be a tough nut to crack, and there are many "shortcuts" to clearing it. such as the algae prevention checmicals, or algae eatig fish. but these cause more problems than they solve, and are never guaranteed. as ive said, the best way to treat it, is to uncover the underlining cause, and try and solve that. all aquariums, even the most stable and best kept, will never be free of algae, but there are ways to limit it. if you feel that none of the above are an issue for you, and your still confused, then there may be other causes, related to the filter, or age of the tank, which we can look at/advise about as well.

    i hope you found this post interesting, and that it helps you overcome the problem. we wish you the best in your fight ^^

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