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 Controlling algae

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Liz
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PostSubject: Controlling algae   Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:44 pm

Here is an article published in the Richmond Times Dispatch on 2/27/12. This is a syndicated article and there is no byline to indicate the author, but I found it on the New Hampshire Sentinel Source website (not available on the RTD website). This was obviously printed in many newspapers across the country. I have my own thoughts about the observations and recommendations in the article, but I'd love to hear other feedback about this topic that is likely a relatively big factor for all of us at some point.


Budding aquarium enthusiasts crop up every day. They're anxious to head to the pet store and pick out a tank, accessories and the fish they hope will thrive in a new environment. While it's important to know which fish can cohabitate and the proper pH and temperature to keep the tank, one important lesson all people who have an aquarium should know is how to keep algae in check. Algae is a naturally occurring plant life that creates a green film on the inside of tank walls and on plants and decorations inside the aquarium. Just like any other plant, algae requires a few things to thrive, including light, water and food. Although a certain amount of algae in the water can be a beneficial food source for some species of fish, an overabundance can be unsightly and take over the aquarium.

There are a few reasons why algae can grow unchecked.

Algae needs light to survive. Leaving a fluorescent aquarium light on too long or placing the tank in the path of direct sunlight can cause algae to bloom.
Introducing new live plants to a tank, which already may have algae spores hitching a ride on them, can introduce more algae to the tank.
Overfeeding fish can provide extra food sources for algae, as can failing to frequently clean the filter.
Water with a high level of nutrients will provide a lot of food for algae.

Understanding why algae forms will help you control it effectively. To start, get in the habit of cleaning the tank frequently. Once a week may be acceptable, depending on size. Scrape the walls of the aquarium down and remove the artificial plants and other accessories and routinely wash in clean water. Change the filter cartridge when it has become overly soiled.

Perform water changes. Change 10 to 15 percent of the water in the aquarium every week, which will remove toxins and algae spores. When you change the water, use a suction tube to "vacuum" out debris lodged in the gravel.

Limiting the food sources for algae can also keep it in check. Feed a scant amount of food to fish, only enough that they can eat in 5 minutes or so. If there is extra food floating around, remove it. The food contains phosphates and other nutrients that can be a delicious meal for algae. Keeping live plants in the tank is another way to limit nutrients. Live plants will use many of the nutrients that algae thrive on. Having less present means less algae and healthy aquarium plants.

Routinely test the levels in the water and know what the proper levels should be. In addition, know what your water levels are right out of the tap. Test for phosphates and nitrates. Use phosphate removers or another water source, if necessary.

Make sure to include algae-eating fish in the aquarium. Those like the Plecostomus (Pleco) will scour the tank for algae.

Position the tank out of direct sunlight, which will just fuel algae growth. Also, go sparingly on the use of an aquarium light in the tank.

Algae often grow in warm temperatures, as is common with tropical aquariums. Keep the temperature of the water at the minimum level allowed for the breed of fish, and be sure the tank is not by a radiator or additional heat source.

Keeping aquarium fish can be an enjoyable hobby and a nice focal point for a room. To ensure the health of the tank, be sure to manage the amount of algae in the aquarium.

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PostSubject: Re: Controlling algae   Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:59 pm

For a short article it covers the basics.

Feed a scant amount of food to fish, only enough that they can eat in 5 minutes or so.

This is obviously written a few years ago. 5 minutes is way too long!

Keeping live plants in the tank is another way to limit nutrients. Live plants will use many of the nutrients that algae thrive on.
This is true but just placing a plant in an algae infested tank can just waste away a plant, I know that and I am just a noob in the plant area...

Make sure to include algae-eating fish in the aquarium. Those like the Plecostomus (Pleco) will scour the tank for algae.
Another folklore in the hobby Laughing We know that they eat algae but really a way to control Algae? I think they should of deleted that one.

Perform water changes. Change 10 to 15 percent of the water in the aquarium every week, which will remove toxins and algae spores. When you change the water, use a suction tube to "vacuum" out debris lodged in the gravel.
You guys know my thought on this! 10%? 15% wow!! Rolling Eyes

Keeping aquarium fish can be an enjoyable hobby and a nice focal point for a room. To ensure the health of the tank, be sure to manage the amount of algae in the aquarium. To ensure the health of the tank, be sure to change the water regularly
That should of been the end
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PostSubject: Re: Controlling algae   Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:50 pm

How about where they recommend feeding fish once every three days?

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PostSubject: Re: Controlling algae   Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:58 pm

@Liz wrote:
How about where they recommend feeding fish once every three days?
I did not see that in the write up... Did I miss it?
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PostSubject: Re: Controlling algae   Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:41 am

There is some missing in this version that was printed in our newspaper:

where it says this above: Overfeeding fish can provide extra food sources for algae, as can failing to frequently clean the filter.
Water with a high level of nutrients will provide a lot of food for algae. It goes on to say in the Richmond paper: According to Alex Neiger of Fin and Feather, feed the fish three times a week to keep the tank as clean as possible

So the syndicated article did not include local pet shop owners (of course!) and I didn't notice. Fin and Feather is a shop in Richmond. Feed three times a week (not every three days, even!)??? Dew whut?

I'll bet that will work for keeping my yard clean of dog poo, too - "Hey Fido! You're getting fed only three times a week now so my grass will look better! I read it in the paper!"

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PostSubject: Re: Controlling algae   Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:57 am

@Liz wrote:
How about where they recommend feeding fish once every three days?
I feed my fish daily but I skip days a lot (unless its fry). I have read seen post on other forums about this and have heard all kinds of reasoning why to and not to. I think the best thing that I heard about this was, A fish in the wild does not eat on a daily basis, maybe once every 3 weeks at some points. I can agree with this statement depending on the fish. I'm sure fish that live in rivers and lakes don't have a guy feeding them every day. I like to feed once a day for mature fish and 3-4 times a day with the smaller ones (in small amounts). I have noticed the fish that get fed everyday do not display colors as vivid as the ones who get fed every other day. There are so many variables it hard to put a number to it. I think once a day (+-1) feeding .
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PostSubject: Re: Controlling algae   Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:12 pm

Every three days does not cut it for me. I think you'd have sunken bellies, but maybe that's just my maternal side, wanting to nurture the "starving" fish, lol. I definitely skip one day a week feeding, however, and definitely in the wild they'd not eat regularly. Most animals in the wild don't eat regularly, but they have a much longer lifespan in our care.


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