Types of algae in the aquarium

There are different types of algae in the aquarium that need constant monitoring

  • Beard algae
  • Blue-green algae
  • Brown algae
  • Thread algae
  • Green algae
  • Diatoms
  • Surface algae
  • Brush algae
  • Point algae
  • Red algae
  • Disc algae
  • Floating algae

Beard algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Bearded algae belong to the group of red algae, but they form long dark green threads. They attack plants as well as furnishings and decorative parts in the aquarium. It seems that the edges are particularly preferred.

Bearded algae are therefore often found on the leaf edges of aquarium plants and are also discovered there for the first time by many aquarists.

They also like to settle in places with strong water movement and high oxygen content.

Causes of beard algae

As with almost all types of algae, there is also a suspicion of an imbalance in the nutrient balance if bearded algae occur more frequently.

This can be both an excess of nutrients and an undersupply of nutrients.

 If the bearded algae appear almost exclusively on the edges of older leaves and not on the ground or objects for decoration, this can indicate an excess of nutrients.

In many aquariums, more nutrients are brought in through regular fertilization, especially with liquid fertilizers, than are consumed by the plants. Since increased infestation with beard algae has been reported several times after fertilization with liquid fertilizers, the ingredients of these liquid fertilizers may also be a possible cause.

Too sparse planting of the aquarium with too few and especially slow-growing plants can lead to an oversupply of nutrients. The excess nutrients are absorbed by the algae and the algae sometimes multiply explosively.

If there is a lack of nutrients, the plants do not receive all the necessary nutrients in sufficient quantities. As a result of the shortage, plant growth stagnates. The consumption of nutrients as a whole is based on the nutrient that forms the bottleneck and not all of the other nutrients are used up. These then benefit the algae, which can spread accordingly.

Other possible causes can also be conditions in the vicinity of the aquarium, for example too strong lighting or solar radiation.

If one of the mentioned conditions is present, a small change in the overall conditions in the aquarium often leads to a sudden plague of algae. Changes in the lighting due to new tubes, additional sunshine etc. can be the trigger for this.

In order to permanently eliminate the algae, it is therefore essential to determine the real causes of the algae plague.

Unfortunately, the causes and countermeasures listed here can only provide clues. There can be many different causes for algae infestation. In some cases it takes a long time to find the cause and thus the appropriate countermeasure. Over time and with increasing experience in aquaristics, however, you get a feeling for how an aquarium can be kept in balance and what measures must be taken when the different types of algae appear. You also get to know the demands of the different types of algae over time.

How to KILL Black Beard Algae (Easy & Quick)

Measures against bearded algae

Sit out

According to one report, bearded algae can grow into long beards in newly set up aquariums and then fish off. After about 12 weeks they die and stay away permanently. According to this report, bearded algae no longer occur in older aquariums (from approx. 9 months). However, according to other reports, bearded algae do occur in older aquariums. It has been reported several times that bearded algae appear cyclically in some aquariums and then die off by themselves.

Change filter outlet

If the filter outlet is above water, laying it under water can reduce the entry of oxygen. If the outlet is just below the water surface, it should be placed deeper in the water. Throttling the flow of water also reduces the movement of the water, especially on the surface, and thus the entry of oxygen.

Eliminate excess nutrients

If there is an excess of nutrients, the superfluous nutrients are removed as a first measure by changing water abundantly. A daily water change with 3 – 4% osmosis water has also proven to be effective. As a result, the nutrient input is reduced, e.g. B. introduced less fertilizer.

At the same time, fast-growing plants should be planted in the aquarium that absorbs the excess nutrients before they can be used by the algae. Hair mermaids (Cabomba), waterweed and hornwort have  proven to be suitable against bearded algae. Hornwort in particular is very popular with many aquarists for this purpose.

However, the use of fast-growing plants can only be effective if the overall conditions for the plants are good. If the plants grow poorly before they are infested with algae, further planting will of course not help. However, if the cause of the poor plant growth is eliminated, the cause of the algae infestation is usually also eliminated.

Fast-growing plants help fight algae for the following reasons:

  • They remove excess nutrients from the water, if available.
  • They shade the aquarium, especially floating plants or flooding shoots
  • They produce oxygen

Eliminate nutrient deficiencies

With beard algae, particular attention should be paid to supply of CO2.

Deard algae do not occur if there is enough CO2 in the aquarium. The CO2 consumption in the aquarium is mainly determined by the CO2 input and the consumption by the plants. The number and speed of growth of the plants therefore play an essential role.

Other metabolic processes such as the breathing of the fish and the gas exchange on the water surface usually play a subordinate role.

If fertilization is carried out with CO2, the correct setting of the required CO2 amount must be checked including other important nutrients such as nitrate, iron and phosphate. The use of an NPK fertilizer such as Mairol liquid fertilizer has proven effective.

Fight and prevent beard algae with humic acid

The growth of beard algae can be dampened by humic acids. These form either in the filter sludge or in the sludge on the ground through bacterial decomposition processes.

Humic acid can also be brought in with the help of peat. For this purpose, approx. 1 liter of peat per 100 liters of water is placed in a perlon bag in the aquarium. The peat stays in the water for a week at a time and is then replaced with fresh peat. The peat used should be strongly acidic and of course not come from ecologically contaminated sources. To test it, you can soak a small amount of peat in distilled water. The pH value measured afterwards should be well below 4.

With this measure, care must be taken that the peat changes the water in the aquarium, even if only insignificantly. The fish stock must of course be able to withstand the new conditions.

External causes

If the sunlight is too strong, the window can be masked with a film, existing shutters can be lowered or a lunch break can be introduced with the lighting. Even if lunch breaks are usually not particularly effective against red algae, it can be helpful if the lighting or sunlight is too strong.

Removing the bearded algae

The purpose of these measures is to prevent young algae from growing back and to gradually remove the existing algae from the aquarium by removing the old leaves. Old leaves in particular must be removed with a sense of proportion, since, depending on the infestation of some plants, too few leaves may remain. In these cases only part of the old leaves are removed. Then you wait until new, algae-free leaves have grown back. Only then are other old and infected leaves removed. The final elimination of the algae can therefore take a long time. It is important that no new algae grow back during this time.

  • Older leaves with bearded algae should be removed. The algae on the other leaves should be rubbed off as much as possible with the thumb and forefinger.
  • You can also try to roll up the algae with a thin, rough stick.
  • If echinodores are infested with beard algae, the leaves can be cut off directly above the root stalk if the infestation is severe. Otherwise, new leaves can also be attacked within a very short time (1 week).

Blue-green algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Blue-green algae are one of the most annoying types of algae in the aquarium. In extreme cases, they coat the soil, plants and objects as a slimy, foul-smelling mass that suffocates all plants under itself. Their color varies from brown-green to blue-green to dark green. They sometimes multiply explosively. In doing so, they often appear to have little flow and a low redox potential to prefer.

There may be sources of nutrients under these places that provide them with the nourishment they need. Blue-green algae are only firmly attached to the ground in a few places. Together they form a stable, interwoven mat 1 – 3 mm above the ground, under which the necessary nutrients circulate and thus benefit all blue-green algae. The top of the mat is relatively tight so that as little nutrients as possible escape. At the bottom, the mat is furry and creates a large area in order to use and distribute the nutrients optimally. Accordingly, they also like to settle on the mat filters with slow flow.

The blue algae found in aquariums are oscillating algae. In the microscope you can see that the individual bacteria, which look like rods, are swinging back and forth and can quickly change location.

Blue-green algae should be combated as early as possible, especially since some species also excrete toxic substances that can potentially harm the aquarium inhabitants. Plants usually do not survive a strong blue-green algae infestation because blue-green algae are strong food competitors. Suckling catfish that feed on blue-green algae may die. According to other reports, an unusually large number of catfish and other fish died during blue-green algae plagues without any particular signs.

It can also be considered so-called cyanobacteria.

Since there are very many different types of blue-green algae, all of which have different requirements, it is difficult to describe the causes and countermeasures in a general way.

  • Both Nitrate deficiency and an excess of Nitrates can cause of blue-green algae.
  • They occur in soft and hard water.
  • They grow on sandy soil as well as on gravel.
  • They thrive in poor quality water.
  • They can also grow in clean water and in aquariums where water is changed frequently. Nevertheless, the water quality should be checked first if blue-green algae occur, as they tend to occur if the aquarium inhabitants are fed too heavily and if the water change is neglected.

When it comes to blue algae, only the most likely causes can be identified and countermeasures attempted in sequence.

However, the dark cure seems to be the most effective measure, which also has few negative side effects. Several measures can also be carried out at the same time in order to achieve success more quickly. However, it is then impossible to determine later which of the measures taken was successful.

Causes of blue-green algae

  • In contrast to plants, some types of blue-green algae can utilize atmospheric nitrogen. If the plants do not have enough nitrate or ammonium available, the plants cannot compete with the blue-green algae.
  • Potassium deficiency is also suspected of promoting blue-green algae.
  • Too much lighting can also lead to blue-green algae. It is often observed that blue-green algae do not appear in the shade of plants. The edge of the shadow often forms a sharp dividing line between bright areas where blue-green algae grow and shaded areas where no blue-green algae can be found.
  • Other species, on the other hand, seem to prefer less lit aquariums and can be combated by stronger lighting.
  • The fact that blue-green algae often arise on the substrate speaks in favor of the thesis that blue-green algae arise when too many nutrients are constantly being washed up from the soil. The nutrients enter the soil through fertilization with special fertilizers for the substrate or through organic substances that have previously penetrated the soil and are now decaying, some of which even form toxic substances. As long as this source of nutrients exists, new blue-green algae will continue to emerge, even if they have been carefully removed beforehand. According to this, blue-green algae prefer to settle in those places where nutrients are washed out by the circulation of water through the soil. Floor filter systems installed in the ground and coarse gravel promote the circulation of water through the soil and thus the removal of nutrients.
  • Sources of nutrients with a similar effect can be roots, incorrectly working filters and other sources in which organic matter rots due to insufficient water movement instead of being broken down by aerobic or anaerobic organisms. In particular, the now and then modern soil filters push substances introduced into the soil, including soil fertilizers, in excess up into the aquarium water.
  • Other possible causes are too little water flow and too little or too much CO2.
How To Get Rid Of GREEN SLIME / Blue Green Algae In Aquarium – Easy Cyanobacteria Removal

Measures against blue-green algae

Dark cure

During the dark treatment, the aquarium is completely darkened for about a week. Blue-green algae cannot tolerate the lack of photosynthesis.

  • You can mask the aquarium with a black cardboard or put a dark blanket on and around the aquarium.
  • The lighting remains off during this time, of course.
  • An oxygen stone is used to add oxygen to the water.
  • Existing CO2 systems should be switched off during this time.
  • Photosynthesis comes to a standstill in the dark and the plants consume correspondingly less CO2.
  • The fish are not fed during this time.

Before the darkening, suction as much blue-green algae as possible, as well as rotten or severely infested leaves removed from the plants. Mulm should stay in the pool.

Fish and other residents are not harmed by this darkening. Often the plants are even stronger after such a treatment than before. With very sensitive plants, however, you should be careful and take them out of the aquarium beforehand and clean them separately if necessary.

After the treatment, the dead blue algae are removed with one or more vigorous changes of water. Then fast-growing plants are used and the plants are fertilized. The addition of CO2 supports the plants’ recovery process. The aim of the measures is to change the entire aquarium climate in such a way that it suits the plants better than the algae. Since plants and algae are in constant competition, the more difficult it is for the algae, the better the plants are and vice versa.

Fertilize nitrate or ammonium

Nitrate or ammonium eliminates a possible lead of blue-green algae with the nitrogen supply. The plants thrive better and take away nutrients from the blue-green algae.

Check the phosphate content

If there is less than 0.2 mg of phosphate per liter of aquarium water, the plants no longer grow properly and blue-green algae utilize the other nutrients that the plants have not used. If the phosphate content is too low, it can easily be increased by feeding the fish more heavily. Phosphate can be added in a more targeted manner with Torumin from Tetra, which contains plenty of phosphate. Caution is advised here, as too high a phosphate content can also lead to increased algae growth. A content of approx. 0.25 mg per liter of water is a good guide value.

Add potassium salts

The addition of potassium salts should also be a way of combating blue-green algae. 10 to 30 mg of potassium per liter of aquarium water is recommended. However, the addition of potassium does not always work. Potassium addition may only work if it eliminates a corresponding nutrient deficiency in the plants, since potassium is a plant fertilizer. However, too much potassium can lead to brush algae. In this case, when the addition of potassium is decreased, the brush algae will disappear.

Use stronger lighting

If blue-green algae appear in weakly lit aquariums or in the shade of plants and objects, stronger lighting can eliminate the blue-green algae plague. If the lighting is intensified, it must be ensured that the plants have a correspondingly large number of nutrients available. Otherwise there is a risk of exchanging the blue algae plague for the increased growth of green algae. It is advisable to use an iron test to measure when and how much fertilization has to be carried out under the changed light conditions.

Use predators

The tri-colored Jamaican carp (Poecilia melanogaster) and the   algae (Parodon pongoense) are said to eat blue-green algae. Even apple snails and tower snails eat blue-green algae, but not always. According to one report, dwarf shrimp of the genus Neocaridina also eat blue-green algae.

Use food competitors

In addition to plants, other food competitors can also be introduced into the aquarium. The addition of starter bacteria led to the death of blue-green algae. The introduction of filter sludge from an aquarium without blue-green algae seems to have a similar effect.

Either the overall climate in the aquarium is changed by the many new filter bacteria in such a way that it is no longer beneficial for the blue-green algae, or the microclimate created by the blue-green algae is disturbed. Temporary stopping of water changes or less frequent water changes can also lead to competition between the bacteria due to the increased water load and make the blue-green algae disappear.

Use Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 )

Hydrogen peroxide is considered a very effective remedy for blue algae infestation. The increase in the redox potential caused by this is not tolerated by the blue-green algae.

However, it should only be used as a last resort, as incorrectly dosed can very quickly damage the aquarium inhabitants by attacking the gills and mucous membranes. It can also kill the filter bacteria.

Either use:

  • 20 ml of 3.5% H2O2 in alternating water in a 150 liter aquarium
  • 30 ml of 3% H2O2 in 100 liters of water
  • A maximum of 25 ml of 3% H2O2 is recommended for 100 liters of water

NOTE: 200 ml of 3% H2O2 per 100 liters of water killed all living things in the aquarium. Please take caution and make sure that the aquarium is under constant observation when ueing H2O2.

Use Ozone

The redox potential is also   changed with an ozonizer. Blue-green algae seem to tolerate this change poorly. After an initial dosage of 100 mg ozone per 100 liters of water, the dosage can be reduced to suit other water conditions.

Use Zeolite

Adding zeolite to the filter may get rid of the blue-green algae.

However, to achieve success with Zeolite, the water hardness must be measured. Zeolite can harden the water considerably.

Be patient

If the nutrient supply is too high due to flushing out of the substrate, only patience or a new establishment of the substrate helps. Only when the organisms that break down these nutrients in the soil have settled in the soil do the blue-green algae lose their nutritional basis. In the case of gravel soil, sand can be sprinkled into the areas where the blue-green algae settle as a quick measure.

Since this changes the water circulation, the nutrients usually escape elsewhere. The blue-green algae disappear in their original place to reappear elsewhere. In the long run, this measure is therefore just as unsuccessful as scattering sand all over the gravel floor. Since the putrefactive substances remain in the ground, they will leak out again sooner or later.

Use other measures

Below are other measures that you can try in the aquarium to remove the blue-green algae:

  • Clean calcified cover disks
  • replace old fluorescent tubes
  • Increase water flow
  • Correctly adjust the CO 2 supply
  • Use fast-growing plants
  • use more plants
  • use more different types of plants
  • clean filter
  • Work the soil well and deeply with a vacuum cleaner
  • Change fertilizer
  • Reduce filter performance (throughput)
  • Thaw and rinse frozen food before feeding
  • Remove fertilizer tablets from the soil
  • Ventilation with oxygen
  • feed only small portions
  • Switch off the floor heating
  • Use osmosis water
  • Remove coarse material with an additional quick filter for mat filters
  • briefly increase the carbonate hardness and lower it again later
  • filter over peat

Brown algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Brown algae form a greasy coating that is mostly found on the panes and on the plants. However, other objects and the substrate can also be affected. Because of their brown color, they are often called brown algae.

Most of the real brown algae are found in the sea and only a few, rare species are found in freshwater.

The brown colored algae in the aquarium are actually diatoms.

How To Destroy Brown Algae/ Diatoms / Beginners guide to Planted Aquariums

Diatoms in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Diatoms form a brownish, greasy coating on the substrate, on objects and above all on plants and on the aquarium panes. Due to the photosynthesis of the diatoms, the surface is often interspersed with oxygen bubbles.

Because of their color, they are often referred to as brown algae. The name brown alga is wrong, however, as brown algae live almost exclusively in the sea.

Only a few and rare species live in fresh water. Diatoms are also called diatoms and are unicellular algae that can be found anywhere where there is water and light.

Examples are the sea, fresh water, forest floor and moss pads. They absolutely need silica to build their silicate housings.

Causes of diatoms

Diatoms usually appear in the running-in phase of an aquarium.

  • When the bacterial cultures in the aquarium are not yet sufficiently developed and the plants used are not yet growing properly.
  • They are particularly common in poorly lit aquariums or settle in the shade of plant leaves or furnishings. But even with diatoms, the illuminance seems to be only a secondary factor.
  • An oversupply of nutrients in the aquarium also plays an essential role with these algae. Other factors, such as the lighting, then influence which of the many types of algae find the best conditions and, accordingly, predominantly spread.
  • For the diatoms, silica is a vital factor. If there is not enough silica, the diatoms die. Silicic acid can often be found in tap water in various concentrations, but over time in the aquarium it is converted into SiO2 by chemical processes, which the diatoms can no longer use. For this reason, diatoms often appear in newly set up aquariums and disappear on their own after a few weeks. In old aquariums, the silica changes apparently faster, so that the new entry by changing the water no longer leads to the appearance of diatoms.
  • In the spread of diatoms, in addition to a high concentration of silica (H2 SiO3), an excessively high phosphate value plays a major role. Under such conditions, they also occur in well-worn aquariums.
  • Diatoms will likely appear in aquariums with lighting through trocal tubes.
  • Diatoms also appear when the aquarium has sparse vegetation and harder water like in typical perch tanks.
How to Remove Brown Algae/Diatoms from the Aquarium

Measures against Diatoms

Reduce the silica content

If the water contains a high proportion of silica, you can mix the water with water from an aquarium without infestation with diatoms during the run-in phase in order to reduce the concentration of silica.

Since silica is mainly found in hard water, mixing with osmosis water is also suitable. If sludge from a retracted aquarium is brought into a new tank, the retraction of the new tank accelerates.

As a result, the silica converts faster and the diatoms lack this vital nutrient.

Osmosis water is also the appropriate measure if diatoms occur in the retracted aquarium. The lowering of the pH value can also lead to the death of the diatoms. Of course, the demands of the aquarium inhabitants in terms of water hardness and pH value must be taken into account.

Reduce the phosphate content

The phosphate content in the aquarium water should not exceed 0.25 mg per liter of water. Otherwise, algae usually appear.

If the phosphate content in the tap water is already too high, the purchase of an osmosis system should be considered. In addition to other substances, this also removes phosphate from the water. If the tap water is not contaminated with phosphate, it must be checked how the excessive phosphate content in the aquarium water comes about. Primarily, the suspicion here lies in excessive feeding or in the case of a high stock of fish with correspondingly heavy feeding.

Devil’s ivy can be planted so that its roots protrude into the aquarium. Devil’s ivy consume a lot of nitrate and phosphate, they take away the algae’s nutritional basis.

If the phosphate content remains too high despite all the measures taken, the only option that is usually left is to use the appropriate means from the manufacturers of aquarium accessories to bind phosphate from the water.

These measures may not be successful for a few weeks, as algae can store a certain amount of phosphate for later consumption. The algae only die when these supplies are used up and there is no further supply.

Increase lighting

Since diatoms occur more frequently in weak lighting, the lighting can also be increased to combat the Diatoms.

However, if the excess of nutrients remains, other types of algae will certainly benefit and spread instead of diatoms.

Since other types of algae tend not to like low light, diatoms are likely to be more common in low light only because the competition from other types of algae is not as great.

Removal of diatoms

Diatoms can usually be easily wiped off plants and objects. The algae are sucked off the ground with a hose or the affected layers are washed off.

They are removed from the window with the normal tools for cleaning the windows.

Thread algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Thread algae belong to the group of green algae. As a rule, green algae occur with good water quality, a high supply of nutrients and strong lighting. As the name suggests, thread algae form long threads. If the conditions are right, they are able to quickly overgrow anything in an aquarium.

The length of the threads can be different. In some species, threads a few centimeters long protrude from the ground, while other species wrap entire groups of plants with their threads. Sometimes small groups of thread algae settle directly on the plants in the root system. Especially when they get stuck on the plant leaves, they can damage the plants.

Thread algae in the breeding tank

Thread algae are a very suitable plant for breeding tanks. They are able to grow even after other plants have stopped growing due to a lack of trace elements. With their metabolism, they prevent high concentrations of pollutants such as ammonium from occurring through the breakdown of protein.

A prerequisite for this, of course, is an adequate stocking density and lighting. Cover the surface of the water, provide shade on sunny days and thus keep the temperature rise within limits. In addition, excessive CO2 consumption and, as a result, an unwanted change in the pH value is avoided. The oxygen bubbles that get caught in the tangle of thread algae ensure a good oxygen supply to the rearing tank overnight.

Since the thread algae have a very large surface, many different microorganisms settle in them, which serve as food for the young fish. If you carefully place additionally administered food with a pipette on a cushion of thread algae, you prevent the food from sinking too quickly to the floor. This is particularly helpful when surface-oriented young fish have to be supplied with the smallest of live food.

A tangle of thread algae offers the young a certain protection when the parent fish and other inhabitants are still in the rearing tank.

If the pool overgrows too much, some of the thread algae can be removed very easily from the pool. In this way, the pollutants consumed by the thread algae are indirectly removed from the pool.

Some species of fish, such as Cyprinidae (Koi) eat thread algae.

Causes of thread algae

Thread algae usually grow when the water quality is good and there is an oversupply of nutrients and light. Even if the conditions in the aquarium have apparently not changed, small changes can trigger the growth of thread algae. Such a trigger can be a slight temperature increase in summer. Other triggers can be the thinning of the plants and changes in fertilization. In all of these cases there can be an imbalance between the consumption of nutrients by the plants and the supply of nutrients.

As soon as more nutrients are available than are consumed by the plants, the surplus nutrients are used by the algae, which then spread rapidly. If the water quality is high and there is enough light available, the thread algae benefit. Often thread algae occur in aquariums that have few or mainly slow-growing plants, such as Java fern or Anubias are overgrown. Due to their slow growth, these are not able to consume enough nutrients from the water to represent real competition for the algae.


Measures against thread algae

Food competition

The best way to combat thread algae is to put as many fast-growing plants as possible, such as water friend (Hygrophilia) and swamp friend (Limnophilia) in the aquarium. These consume the nutrients so that they are no longer available to the algae. Care must be taken to ensure that suitable nutrients (fertilizer, CO2) are available in sufficient quantities. Such plants will grow 100 percent in two weeks in good conditions.

If they get too long, the upper parts are cut off and reinserted as long as there is still space. When the old plants become unsightly and begin to decompose, the old plants are pulled out of the ground and replaced with the cut off upper parts. With strong plant growth, the algae do not receive enough nutrients in the long run. It can take several weeks for the algae to recede. However, this does not result in a completely algae-free aquarium.

Land plants can also be used as food competition. The roots of these plants can be directly or z. B. be hung in a pot with expanded clay in the aquarium. Land plants mainly remove excess nitrate from the water.

Reduce food supply

In the event of an algae plague, nitrate (NO3 ) and  phosphate  (PO4 ) should be checked in any case  , as there is usually an excess of at least one of these two nutrients. An excess of nutrients can be reduced by reducing the entry of nutrients into the aquarium. Above all, degradation products from feeding bring nutrients into the aquarium indirectly and in addition to plant fertilization.

A reduction in the amount of feed helps here. If it is not possible to feed less fish due to the demands of the fish, the stocking should be reduced. As a quick measure, excess nutrients can be removed from the aquarium by changing the water abundantly.

Use predators

Some fish species eat thread algae to a certain extent, such as the Siamese trunk barbel. Proboscis barbs prefer young green algae and do not eat older and longer thread algae.

Additionally, catfish eat the young shoots of algae.

Decrease lighting

If the aquarium is strongly illuminated, the light intensity can be reduced. Shade can be an effective measure, especially when the sun is shining into the aquarium. If floating plants are used, a higher consumption of nutrients is achieved at the same time as shading. Shortening the lighting time can also help. It should be noted that with lower light intensity the plants grow more slowly and therefore consume less nutrients. As always with algae, it is important to find the right balance between nutrient supply and nutrient consumption by plants.

As an alternative to reducing the lighting, a regulation of the amount of all nutrients, in particular of CO2, to the strong lighting can be successful against thread algae. The stronger the lighting, the more CO2 is consumed. If there is not enough CO2 in the water, there is an imbalance in the nutrient balance that benefits the algae.

Use chemical algae control agents

Even if thread algae can look very ugly, you should definitely not fight them with chemical agents. Chemical control deteriorates the water quality and reduces the growth of plants, and some plants are even killed completely. Algae can adapt to changing conditions better than plants. After using an algae agent, the plants are usually weakened and most of the algae are dead. The decomposition of the killed algae creates new nutrients, which are now even more available in excess.

The surviving algae and spores of new algae can process this excess faster than the weakened plants and the basis for the next algae plague is laid. The most important remedy against thread algae, competitive vegetation, is thus impaired. Even if the filamentous algae recede for a short time, either the filamentous algae or other algae reappear in increasing numbers.

Green algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Green spaces come in many different shapes and types. Some green algae form long threads, which is why they are also called thread algae. The so-called algae bloom is also caused by green algae.

This species is called Volvox. Probably the best known species forms small green dots on the aquarium panes. Green algae usually indicate good water quality, but if they occur too strongly they are still undesirable in the aquarium and can even be harmful if they overgrow the entire facility and the plants.

Cause of green algae

  • Sunlight offers the green algae ideal conditions. If the aquarium is set up so that in addition to aquarium lights and sun in the aquarium falls, developing very easy green algae.
  • Another reason for many green areas is an oversupply of nutrients in the aquarium. An oversupply of nutrients cannot be processed by the aquatic plants. In good light conditions, green algae are the first type of algae that process the excess nutrients and thus spread.

Please note that it is not possible to completely get rid of green algae in the aquarium.

Green Algae

Measures against green algae

Change lighting

If green algae occur more frequently, the lighting conditions in the aquarium should first be checked. If the sun falls into the aquarium, the aquarium should be shaded or set up in a different location. In the short term, changing the lighting can also lead to a decline in green algae. Both the light intensity and the duration of the lighting can be varied. However, these measures will usually not be sufficient in the long term, since green algae also need excess nutrients to live in addition to good light. If you only change the lighting conditions, you usually only replace the green algae with another type of algae that can get by with less light.

Prevent excess nutrients

The most important measure against green algae is to adapt the entry of nutrients into the aquarium to the consumption of the aquatic plants. To do this, you either reduce the input of nutrients or increase the consumption of the plants.

As a short-term measure:

  • The oversupply of nutrients is reduced by repeated extensive water changes.
  • Then as many fast-growing plants as possible are placed in the aquarium.
  • Fertilization is only used when needed.
  • The feeding is adapted to the needs of the fish.

The following measures also serve to deprive the algae of their nutritional basis:

  • Stop fertilizing until algae growth stagnates
  • illuminate with modern three-band tubes, possibly with red component (approx. 3800 Kelvin)
  • Take a  3 to 4 hour lunch break with the lighting
  • ensure little water movement
  • use a slow running filter
  • Plant approx. 80% of the aquarium floor
  • Wind up thread algae with a wooden stick
  • Remove as many algae as possible mechanically
  • Correctly adjust the CO2 supply
  • fill the aquarium only moderately with fish
  • until the algae problems are gone only feed with dry food to avoid introducing in additional phosphates through frozen feed
  • Use Siamese trunk  barbel (1 barbel for 50 liters)
  • Use racing snails

Surface algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

In some aquariums a thin but dense layer of green algae forms that can cover the entire surface of the water. If the infestation is more severe, the layer of algae can become relatively thick and then resemble a kind of soup. The algae can be stirred in, but will return after a while. With slight movement of the water surface, e.g. B. with your fingers, the layer tears. Small algae islands form, which over time reunite to form a continuous layer.

The stronger the infestation, the faster the new layer is formed. If the infestation is severe, the algae will stick to one finger when it is dipped into the layer. The layer is similar to the scum skin, but has a distinctly green color. It is caused by single-cell algae. These algae normally live on a moist substrate, but they are also able to swim on the surface of the water. Sometimes the algae layer is riddled with bubbles. Occasionally even mushrooms settle on the layer of algae and have an unpleasant smell. The mushrooms can be lifted off by hand.

Causes of surface algae

  • These algae usually come into the aquarium with live food
  • They can also develop in aquariums that sometimes fall dry
  • Since they also grow on moist garden soil, they can also be introduced with a suitable substrate.
  • Their spread is favored by excessive fertilization or lighting.

A common source of excessive fertilization is often the substrate fertilizer used when setting up new aquariums. Even after changes to fertilization or lighting, aquariums are susceptible to these algae.

How to DESTROY Surface Algae

Measures against surface algae

As a quick measure, cover the algae layer with paper, e.g. from a kitchen roll to soak up everything on the surface of the water. This does not eliminate the cause. The algae usually reappear after a short time.

A strong current on the surface of the water can often prevent the formation of a continuous layer of algae. However, individual algae islands often float on the surface. In the case of heavy infestation, these form a continuous layer again and again despite the current.

Eliminating surface algae

Like all other types of algae, these algae can only be permanently avoided by adapting fertilization and lighting to the consumption of the plants.

The algae are eaten by parrot patys and amano shrimp, among other things. But angelfish also occasionally eat algae on the surface.

The algae layer can be sucked into the filter with a surface skimmer. One can try to kill the algae with a UV clarifier, but this is not always successful.

Brush algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Brush algae form small, bristly tufts on plants and objects. They are dark green to black in color, but belong to the so-called red algae. Corners and edges as well as zones with relatively strong currents are preferred. Brush algae are difficult to remove and must be vigorously plucked or rubbed off.

If they are heavily infested, they can also overgrow the substrate. Since they are very stubborn and can overgrow everything in the aquarium, they should be combated or removed from the aquarium as soon as possible.

The salt content may affect the type of brush algae that grows. At 3 per thousand salt, black brush algae no longer grow, but green brush algae.

Causes of brush algae

Brush algae belong to the group of algae for which no simple and generally valid causes can yet be given.

The following conditions promote the spread of brush algae:

  • Water current – the less current, the less brush algae
  • Water rich in nutrients, especially water contaminated with phosphate
  • Water low in CO2
3 Easy Ways to Destroy Brush Algae in your Aquarium

Measures against brush algae

Just as no clear causes of brush algae can be named; there are also no clear countermeasures. What worked in one aquarium was ineffective in other aquariums and vice versa.

To make matters worse, brush algae only react to them long after countermeasures have been initiated. Since they can obviously store nutrients, even with the right countermeasures they will continue to grow for several weeks. In addition, they do not fall off the affected areas until 6 to 9 months after they have died.

It is difficult to determine which of the mostly several measures carried out at the same time helped. However, some measures have often proven effective.

Decrease the flow

Since brush algae like to settle in areas with strong flow, one of the most important measures is to reduce the flow speed of the water. This can usually be easily achieved by throttling the filter.

Increase CO2 content

A higher CO2 supply promotes plant growth and thus the nutrient consumption by the plants.

This means that the algae have fewer excess nutrients available. Brush algae are also suspected of not being able to cope with higher CO2 values.

Regulate the lighting

The lighting should be strong but not longer than is necessary for the plants. As soon as the plants show by their leaf position (usually by folding up the leaves) that they have received enough light, the light is switched off. Any further lighting is only used by the algae. A guide value for the lighting is approx. 12 hours.

The exact duration of lighting depends on the requirements of the plant species being cared for.

Regular lighting break can be helpful since algae are highly specialized in certain lighting conditions and cannot react flexibly to reduced lighting.

Using snails against brush algae

Algae like to be on the food plan of snails. The piano snail is particularly recommended for brush algae. Important when using snails:

  • Only use snails if you plan with them in the long term
  • Snails like the piano snail prefer brush algae – so do not feed them separately

You don’t have to be afraid of a snail invasion – piano snails reproduce very slowly for snails.

Other measures against brush algae

In addition to above measures, there are a number of other measures that can at least help in combating brush algae.

  • Create optimal conditions for the plants.
  • Use fast-growing plants.
  • Maintain plant species with different requirements, as monocultures unilaterally consume certain nutrients and nutrients that are not required are used by the algae.
  • Remove excess nutrients through frequent water changes.
  • Don’t overfeed.
  • Suspend or reduce fertilization until the algae are gone.
  • Reduce or temporarily switch off strong lighting.
  • In poor lighting, increase the lighting to improve plant growth.
  • Reduce lighting time.
  • Avoid salt build-up in the water, i.e. only refill evaporated water with osmosis water or distilled water.
  • Change the light spectrum (light color) .
  • Only clean the filter when necessary.
  • Reduce the nitrate and phosphate content with zeolite.
  • Don’t let nitrate levels get too high.
  • If there is a high nitrate content in tap water, temporarily change less water.
  • Do not let phosphate levels get too high.
  • Keep the phosphate content between 0.10 and 0.25 mg per liter.
  • Bind and remove phosphate with products such as SERA Phosvec.
  • Rinse off frozen food or do not use it temporarily because frozen food contains a lot of phosphate.
  • Every now and then the Siamese algae eat brush algae (Crossocheilus siamensis).
  • Apple snails sometimes eat brush algae.
  • Amano shrimp sometimes eat brush algae.

Point algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

In practically every aquarium, small green, point algae develop on the aquarium glass over time. They are quite tight and can only be scraped off with razor blades or other objects. These algae are a form of green algae that is completely harmless. Their appearance even indicates that the water conditions are quite good. Only when they appear in clusters on plant leaves can they damage the plants by shading the leaves.

Another type of point algae is the black point algae. It is easy to spot because of its color and usually occurs on older leaves of relatively slow-growing plants such as Java fern. When heavily infested, the leaves appear as if they were sprinkled with coal dust. Fewer black point algae can be found on shaded leaves than on strongly illuminated leaves.

Causes of point algae

Both types of spot algae develop when there is good lighting and an excess of nutrients. If the occurrence is low, there is no need to worry and countermeasures can be dispensed with. An algae-free aquarium cannot be achieved. A certain amount of algae is even welcome as an addition to the diet of fish, snails and other living things.

Measures against point algae

Planting the aquarium with as many different and fast-growing plants as possible offers a certain protection against spot algae.

In the ideal case, these use up the available nutrients, so that there is no food left for the algae to grow. Nutrient input and lighting must be precisely adapted to the needs of the plants.

However, it is hardly possible in the long term to create a completely algae-free aquarium, as this would require constant and perfect balance. This cannot be achieved due to the constantly changing framework conditions in the aquarium.

If the point algae grow too quickly and too quickly, the fertilization should be reduced or even stopped entirely. The iron content should be set to a value of around 0.1 mg per liter of water. As a further measure, a reduction in the illuminance or the duration of illumination should be considered. Some snails, e.g. Ramshorn snails in the aquarium help to keep the infestation with point algae within limits. However, care must be taken not to feed too much; otherwise the snails prefer to eat food rather than algae.

Red algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

The group of red algae includes a number of the types of algae found in aquariums.

Red algae species:

  • Bearded algae
  • Brush algae

To make the red color of the red algae visible, the algae can be boiled in alcohol or denatured alcohol.

The green chlorophyll, which practically covers the red color, is destroyed and the actual basic color becomes visible.

If brush algae dry out completely and the residues are then removed from the surface, the red color may remain on the surface.

types of algae
Types of algae: Red algae

Disk algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

On the panes of an aquarium there are usually:

  • Point green algae
  • Brush algae

While spot algae occur across the entire pane, brush algae settle on the panes, especially in the corners of the aquarium.

Floating algae in the aquarium: cause, control and removal

Suspended algae swim in the open water and cause the water to become significantly cloudy. There are green and white floating algae. The white floating algae are not real algae but bacteria, which is why in this case one speaks of bacterial opacity. The green floating alga is caused by unicellular green algae of the genus Volvox.

Causes of floating algae

Bacteria opacities often occur after setting up a new aquarium during the so-called run- in period. During this time, the bacteria that are important for the metabolic processes in the aquarium develop. Since not all processes in the aquarium have been coordinated, some bacteria can multiply explosively. Once the metabolic processes have reached equilibrium in the aquarium, the turbidity usually disappears again.

Green floating algae develop when there are too many nutrients and lots of light. By reducing one of the two factors, the algal bloom is contained.

Measures against green floating algae

Darken the aquarium

After feeding the fish in the morning, change about 50 to 70% of the water. Then darken the aquarium by placing a blanket is placed over it.

Then turn off the lighting. After 3 to 5 days, remove the cover and switch the lights on again. The fish are not fed during the blackout.

The aquarium must remain completely dark during this time. After darkening, the filter is cleaned and the water is changed again vigorously to remove the dead algae from the aquarium.

Use UV clarifier

Floating algae are killed by UV radiation. If there is no external filter to which the UV lamp can be connected, a simple centrifugal pump can be used to circulate the water.

Since UV clarifiers also kill other microorganisms floating in the water and affect fertilization, they should only be used temporarily and with caution.

Vigorous and frequent water changes

With this method, up to 90% of the water is changed on several days in a row until no new floating algae appear.

Use predators

Water fleas and hippos eat floating algae. It should be noted, however, that water fleas and hopscotch are welcome food for fish. So a large amount has to be used over and over again or the water has to be passed through a special container in which only the water fleas and no fish are. The filter should be turned off during this time, or a fine-meshed net is required as a pre-filter, otherwise the water fleas will be sucked into the filter. Alternatively, the filter can only be run as a circulation pump without filter material.

Filter over peat

According to one report, floating algae do not tolerate slightly acidic water. The water can be easily acidified by filtering it through peat, if the demands of the fish being kept allow this.

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