Algae Control and Maintenance
Unwanted algae growth can be one of the biggest nuisances to your beautiful aquarium. Not only can they completely invade your tank and turn it into something very unsightly, they can also do much damage to your aquarium fish as well as you equipment.
Here we will provide you with some best practices to minimize your algae growth as well as some tips and pointers on how you can control and eliminate your algae outbreak.
1. Do Not Overfeed Your Fish
One of the biggest if not the biggest catalyst for unwanted algae growth is from over feeding. The rule of thumb is to feed your fish enough each time for them to fully consume every bit of food. Any food that does not get eaten and ends up on the aquarium floor begins to decay and produces nitrate, phosphate and other nutrients that algae thrive on. So even though feeding may be every enjoyable to watch. Try to minimize the amount of food you feed and how many times per day you feed.
2. Have Frequent Water Changes
Even with super filtration, minimal lighting, and a great live-stock cleaning crew, excess algae inducing elements/nutrients will start to build up. Your closed system aquarium has no way to remove the unless you do a water change. Depending on the population level of your aquarium, we suggest doing a minimal 10% water change weekly. For aquariums that are a lot less populated, a monthly 30% water change will be enough. Make sure you use a siphon that is capable of sifting through your gravel and pulling out sludge, plant matter, and left over food that may be hiding in the crevices.
3. Use RO (reverse osmosis) Water for Changes
Your normal tap water that you may be using for water changes may contain high levels of phosphate and other elements that may encourage algae growth. You can eliminate this by using water that has been through a reverse osmosis systems to remove these unwanted chemicals. Your first step in the prevention or encouragement of algae growth may be through the use of RO water.
4. Watch Your Lighting
Your lighting may largely contribute to a majority of your algae growth. If your aquarium contains live aquatic plants you will want to leave your lights on to simulate the actual day/ night (around 10-14 hrs per day). Any excess of that will encourage algae to grow even more. If your aquarium is all ornamental, we recommend minimizing as much light as possible (down to 6-8 hrs per day) A good method to control your lighting and as well as keep electrical costs down is to put your lights on a timer to go on and off at set times.
5. Choose the Right Filtration Media
You can keep out all the nutrients that algae thrives on my simply using the correct filtration media. Using media that help control phosphate such as Seachem's PhosGuard or PhosBan by Two Little Fishes can make a big difference. You can also get combination carbon-phosphate removers that will keep you water crystal clear, remove odors, and of course help remove phosphate.
6. Keep Your Filter Media Fresh
We recommend everyone changing their filter media once a month. This includes both your mechanical and chemical media. Around the one month mark, your filtration media will be dirty, exhausted and probably saturated with all the junk you will never want in your tank. The bad junk has the chance of leaking back into you tank if you do not change out your media.
7. Add A Livestock Cleaning Crew
You can easily add some fish in your tank that will do some of the clean up for you. Add some bottom feeding fish such as Cory cat or any other small species of catfish that will feed on excess food that ends up falling to your tank floor before it decays and turns into unwanted ammonia and nitrates. Or add a species of Plecos which is very common and popular for seeking and eating algae from your ornaments and tank walls. Plecos may grown quite large for smaller aquariums, so the additional of the smaller Chinese Algae Eater may be a great alternative species that also feed on algae.
8. Add Some Key Tools To Your Algae Control Arsenal
Adding an aquarium scraper is essential for any Aquarium owner. These scrapers provide a simple way for the aquarium hobbyists to scrape off unwanted algae from their glass or acrylic tanks. Comes in all sizes, even ones with longer handles to prevent you from getting your hand wet. If you really do not want to get your hand wet, use convenient magnetic scrapers that have one piece on the inside of the tank and the handle on the outside connected together by a magnetic pull. Simply move around the outside handle to move the inside piece, cleaning your tank walls along the way.
9. Add Live Plants
The addition of live plants can decrease the amount of algae that grows in your aquarium. Plants use the same elements/nutrients that algae uses to grow, so with the addition live plants, the amount of these available elements for algae growth lessens. Plants will often times win the battle between algae. Make sure you do not add too many plants since if there is mot enough nutrients to go around your plants will die and decay.