The first step some aquarium owners take when they realize they have an algae issue is to go out and purchase. They toss the fish in the tank, and wait for them to clean everything up. Eventually they realize the fish arenБt getting the job done, but itБs not because they are lazy or on a diet. Fish and critters can only do so much when it comes to controlling algae. They donБt hurt anything, and in tanks where there is minimal algae growth they may prevent it from getting worse, but if your situation is out of control they probably canБt save you. Be aware that most species of plecostomus, the fish most people turn to for eliminating algae, can grow a couple of feet long and are way too big for most aquariums. Consider a rubber-nose pleco instead, as they only grow to a few inches. All plecos can be tough on live plants.
The Chinese Algae Eater is another fish you may consider, but they can become aggressive as they get older. For most aquariums, the little otocinclus is a good choice. TheyБre tiny, schooling catfish about an inch in length that will descend on your algae like a little army. They should be kept in schools of at least six. Other critters like Apple Snails will eat some algae too, but may also wreak havoc on any live plants you have in your tank. If you have many tiny snails in your tank that you canБt get rid of, these guys are thriving on your algae problem. These are, and they can be a big problem in their own right. But, if you can take steps to drastically decrease your algae growth youБll also be limiting their food source. Be aware that algae-eating fish and critters can only do so much. You may need to remove algae yourself.
Magnetic algae scrubbers are an easy way to keep your tank clean without getting your hands wet. I prefer the
Mag-Float. It does a great job of scraping the green stuff, and if you accidentally drop it, it floats! By No matter what you do to keep your aquarium clean, you ll always have some type of algae in your aquarium system. You can keep it under control with live plants, algae-eating fish, scrapers, and other methods. Algae is often introduced into your aquarium by fish and live food, and it comes in several colors: Blue-green algae (caused by poor water conditions) can form a layer on all of your decorations and substrate, and if your fish stop swimming for a few minutes, they start to resemble a moldy cupcake. Red algae, which is caused by a lack of carbon dioxide in the water, is really nasty and hangs in threads all over your aquarium.
Extra oxygen can be added to battle the red algae, but often a tank must be cleaned and restarted if it gets out of control. Brown algae (caused by inadequate light) forms huge brown layers in your aquarium. Green algae (caused by too much light and dissolved waste) makes your aquarium water look like pea soup. This algae can be beneficial as a natural food source, so you can allow a small amount to remain on rocks and decorations. Too much, however, is unsightly. Do 10 percent water changes daily until the algae clears up. Add algae-eating fish, such as the Siamese algae eater ( Crossocheilus siamensis ) or the bushy-nosed pleco ( Ancistrus sp. ). These fish help keep algae populations under control naturally. Don t depend on algae-eating fish to solve your problem alone, though. They couldn t eat that many algae in a million years.
Use algae-control products. These products reduce and prevent algae blooms by coloring the aquarium water blue. This coloring process absorbs/blocks sunlight, which the green algae need for survival. Use an algae scraper. You can choose from several types, including a long stick with attached scrub pad/sponge that you simply slide up and down the interior glass; a two-way magnet system; and a glove type that fits over your entire hand. A real good version of this is the Kent Marine Proscraper 12-inch scraper. Add live plants, which inhibit algae growth by providing resource competition. Plants use the excess nutrients in the water to thrive. These are the same nutrients that algae need to survive. Plants help starve algae production by keeping them from having enough nutrients to flourish.