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What Causes Excessive Algae Growth In A Fish Tank?
If you have an algae problem or you’re just trying to slow algae growth, you should understand what causes algae to grow and flourish.
- Photoperiod too long (Too much light)
- A recent change in lighting source, fluorescent, LED or Other.
- Not enough water changes. Don’t be lazy.
- Too much NPK, Nitrates, Phosphates, Potassium.
- Un-balanced aquarium. Light, CO2, Nutrients
Algae is a concern for all freshwater aquarium owners, so how do you control it? To learn the best ways for controlling algae in your freshwater aquarium, we have summarized some of the main points from the video and added some of our own.
But before that you need to understand the different types of algae your’e up against.
10 Types Of Aquarium Algae Commonly Found In Aquariums [Video]
This is an awesome video from Glen Hawkins (GuppyGuy) about the 10 most common forms of fish tank algae in your aquarium.
It’s pretty long and it is not narrated, however, it’s a great video with A Lot of information, like what causes algae in aquariums and how to get rid of aquarium algae.
I also love the creepy music he used as the soundtrack, I’ve always thought of algae as creepy myself.
Algae is one thing we all battle in our planted tanks….Let’s take back our tanks and not let a little algae take over. -Glen Hawkins-
Here is a list of the 10 types of algae covered in this video and the corresponding time in the video it appears. Use this to jump right to the algae type you are having problems with.
- BBA or Black Beard Algae @0:35
- BGA or Blue Green Algae Or Green Algae @1:52
- Cladophora or Blanket Weed @3:10
- Brown Algae or Diatoms @3:50 If you’re really stuck with Brown Algae check out our guide that shows you how to prevent, remove and get rid of Brown Algae for good.
- GDA or Green Dust Algae @4:35
- GSA or Green Spot Algae @5:20
- Green Water @6:00
- Hair or Thread Algae @7:10
- Rhizoclonium Algae @7:55
- Staghorn Algae @8:35
Dealing With Aquarium Algae When You Have It
Here is a great article from Aquascapinglove.com that explains in detail, how to deal with algae, why you get it and the common types you’ll encounter.
Lastly, they share about 6 great tips on to avoid algae overgrowth in your aquarium.
I highly recommend this article if you need some help dealing with an algae problem.
Preventing Aquarium Algae: How Do You Stop Algae From Growing In A Fish Tank?
To ensure algae is kept to a minimum in your tank here are 6 tips on how to stop algae in fish tanks and a few preventative maintenance tricks you should work into your routine.
1. Control Your Lighting:
- Control your lighting hours (Photoperiod) If you don’t have live plants 4-6 hours of light per day should be enough. If you do have plant 6-10 depending on the type of plants and lighting you use.
- Ensure you change your fluorescent bulbs every year.
- Tank location, don’t expose to excessive sunlight
Note: A good way to ensure you control your light hours is to use a timer. Like this one from Marineland it’s an LED light with a timer. With a timer you can control the length of your “Photo Period” or how long your lights are on
2. Proper Tank Maintenance:
- Complete weekly water changes 10% every week. Check out our article on how to do a water change the easy way.
- Test your water & understand what’s in your water.
- Weekly glass cleaning with a magnetic cleaner.
- Filter media, rinse out mechanical media.
- Check filter operation, ensure output and water flow is normal.
- Reduce phosphate levels with regular water changes or use filter media like Seachem Prime
- Do not overfeed. Feed only an amount that can be consumed in a few minutes. Excess food will break down and provide nutrients for the algae.
4. Keep Live Plants:
- The best way to prevent algae growth in your tank is to have lots of fast growing plants.
- Plants help remove algae macronutrients like nitrate from your tank. You could also use Seachem Prime if you need immediate help.
- Start off with cheap plants and stock your aquarium full, the more plants the more excess nutrients are being consumed by the plants. Once established you can remove the cheap plants and use some great looking plants like….
- If your plant growth is thick try thinning it out a bit. Algae grow better in thick plants
- Provide easy nutrients for your live plants to consume. Try using Fluval supplements or other brands.
If you are new to keeping live plants here are 6 of the easiest to care for, fast-growing and best aquarium plants to prevent algae you can start with.
1. Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
2. Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)
3. Red Ludwigia
4. Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri)
5. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
6. Green Cabomba
Note: You can super charge the plant growth in your tank using a fluval co2 kit. The unit hangs on back of your aquarium and also has an algae diffuser.
Algae Eaters: Get Some Algae-Eating Fish!
Some Fish species can be used to control algae. Below we have listed 12 of the best algae eating fish breeds;
Small Snails That Eat Algae
Shrimp That Eat Algae
If you’re looking for more information please check out these 12 algae eating fish.
Video: The Clean Up Crew!
This video from NOAH shares their perspective on how to control algae in the fish aquarium along with their personal favorites for a cleanup crew.
Here are few more to that will help.
- Amano Shrimp- and other shrimp will also work.
- MTS- Malaysian Trumpet Snail
- Oto Catfish
- Nerite/ Zebra snail
- Red Ramshorn snail
- SAE- Siamese Algae Eater
- Hillstream Loach(es)
These fish are helpful and a natural way to keep your water, rocks and plant leaves clean. Many of them will eat left over (bad) fish food that will slowly foul your water.