Having an aquarium is a great thing. It’s beautiful, it brings in a certain je ne sais quoi to a room and its low maintenance. Maintenance includes things like managing algae growth. But let’s be clear. The growth of algae is not necessarily bad. It only becomes a problem when it gets out of control and covers everything inside the aquarium.
And when this happens, the whole environment is no longer beautiful and that not what you want right? So here are a couple of things you can do to level off algae growth to manageable levels.
1. Control the lights
By scheduling aquarium lights to your own go-to-bed and wake-up schedule, you may be causing extra algae growth with that excess light cycle. Be sure to keep the light bulbs in tip-top shape and put them on a timer to schedule a lights-on duration of 10-14 hours for aquariums with plants and 6-10 hours for those with decorated setups.
2. Feed the fish sparingly
Algal nutrients ammonia and phosphate are a common result of overfeeding the fish. If you find yourself in a feeding frenzy 2-3 times a day, you’ll likely cause algae to thrive. They love uneaten food and fish waste. However much fun you seem to be having, try and keep the feeding in check.
3. Choose your weapons
Managing algae growth can also be done with some good old cleaning. To do this, you would need to choose the right weapons. Algae on the inside of your aquarium’s glass or acrylic have absolutely no chance of winning against cleaners like Mag-float, Algae Magnet Cleaner or the Kent pro series.
4. Frequent partial water changes
The recommended frequency for water changes is 10% weekly for a highly-to-fairly populated aquarium and 30% monthly for an aquarium with scanty fish. This helps to dilute and siphon off excess nutrients which are pretty much algae fertilizers. This process mirrors what happens in nature with movements of rainwater and currents.
5. Know when some algae is ok
Success in managing algae lies in not over-managing all of it. When it’s just enough to cover some driftwood or rocks and make your underwater garden beautifully green, it’s fine. When it consumes excess nutrients and gives off oxygen, it’s fine. When it’s doing some good for your tiny enclosed ecosystem, it’s perfectly fine.
6. Know the enemy
Green Carpet Algae which is found on glass and structures is fairly easy to clean as it has no chance against scrapers, catfish, and invertebrates.
As for Green Hair Algae which is more stubborn, and even catfish and plecos may avoid it, start with good water quality so that you don’t have to use aqua plant clips on them.
Beard Algae which is the black scourge of planted aquarium hobbyists, is the worst of all since it requires plant pruning and disposal of covered leaves and affected driftwood.
7. Increase Competition with Plants
Algae thrive on light and nutrients. And they do this well if no other living organisms are in direct competition with them. So if you need to control algae growth, make sure that you have plants in the aquarium. If algae have to fight for necessary resources with plants, their growth will be curbed.
8. Maintain your filter media
Make use of filter media to manage phosphate levels but don’t forget to change them and the chemical media once a month too. Whether they are poly filters or combination carbon-phosphate remover products, remember that they too get used up and could leak the horrible elements right back into your aquarium.
9. Serve algae for dinner
You don’t need to be the only one managing algae growth. You could delegate the task to algae-hungry fish. Though Plecos would be great, their adult sizes are too big for tiny aquariums. The perfect fish for all sizes of aquariums is the Dwarf Otocinclus Catfish. Another that’s perfect for the job is the Cory Cat.
10. Test your tap
Any efforts to do water changes will be thwarted if the tap itself contains elements that encourage algae growth. This is why you would need to conduct a test to check if the levels of phosphates or other algae-friendly components are high enough for you to need an RO unit or a tap water filter.
Source: Pet Education