So you have something green in your tank, growing on your decorations, your aquarium glass, and maybe even discoloring your water. What is it? It is a common underwater plant species called algae. Algae, while ugly, are not bad for your fish. It helps to filter the water and makes you aquarium safer. But you do not want algae to overtake your tank, either!
There are several different types of algae. Green surface algae is the most common type. It is dark green and grows on any surface of your aquarium. This type of algae can be very difficult to remove. Algae eaters and snails enjoy eating this type. Suspended algae causes the water itself to turn green. This water algae is difficult to remove. Water changes can cause it too look better. This occurs because there are too many fish, too much food, or too much light. Hair algae is not common in tanks, but it looks like long strands of algae. Blue-green algae is actually a cyanobacteria that coats the things in your aquarium. Finally brown algae is an algae the coats your aquarium décor with a dark brown layer. This algae grows in low light.
So if you have an algae problem, what should you do? Remember, algae is not harmful for your fish, so don’t panic. Figure out which type of algae you have, as this will determine what treatment option to follow. For example, if you have hair algae, there are few animals that eat it. Your best option will be to manually remove the plants.
Here are some common fixes for algae breakouts. First, try to determine what is causing the breakout. Do you have your heater up too high? Is there too much light in the tank? Do you have too many fish? If you find a cause, try treating the cause first. If this does not cure the algae, there are some other things you can try.
First, try purchasing a fish that will feed on the algae. The most common type of algae eating fish is commonly called algae eaters. The common plecostomus is the most popular algae eater on the market. These fish can grow quite large, however, so be prepared for that. Snails are also good algae eaters, but they reproduce quite well, and may take over your tank. Snails also enjoy eating live plants. Siamese algae eaters are one of the best algae eating fish, and, unlike snails, they will not eat your live plants. Rosy barbs, cherry barbs, and American flag fish also sometimes eat algae, especially hair algae. Keep in mind that these types of fish often nip other fish.
If you do not have lots af algae, though, do not buy a typical algae-eating fish. There will not be enough food to sustain it over time.
There are chemicals on the market to clear up algae, but the problem is that they will also kill the aquarium plants. Algaecides are harsh, and may even harm your fish. There is a product, called AccuClear, that makes the algae clump up, making visibility better. This is a temporary fix. The best way to fix the problem is to find the cause, and buy a natural algae predator.
Picture credited to fishforums.net