Ten Steps to Making Your Aquarium Algae-Free

Are you battling algae problems? In your aquarium or pond?

Algae can turn a pristine aquascape into a horrible eye-sore in a matter of days. In ponds, algae can suffocate the fish overnight or kill fish when the bloom crashes. Algal overgrowth can be due to a variety of reasons. It could be from poor environmental conditions (too many fish in the tank, overfeeding, infrequent water changes, excessive fertilising) or incorrect lighting (too much of/or the wrong spectrum). Each sort of algae tells a different story on how they became established. Control methods will depend on the type of algae and it may be as simple as performing water changes more frequently, using a suitable lighting type, altering the photoperiod, decreasing the amount fed or introducing more aquatic plants to altering the pH, water hardness, using anti-algal chemicals and installing a UV-clarifier. The combinations are enormous!

So how can you fix this problem? If you follow these basic steps, you’ll solve the problem.

1. Carry out very regular partial water changes (30%) every 14 days.

2. Reduce the stocking density of your aquarium.

3. Don’t over-feed

4. As a rule of thumb, the stomach of a fish is approximately the size of its eye and so this is about as much as they should be fed.

5. Use white daylight bulbs:

Light that peaks at the blue and red spectrum are best for photosynthesis, but does not differentiate between algae and plant. By using plain white light, you are making it more difficult for the algae (and plants) to make their food.

6. Decrease the photoperiod:

*Having light available for a shorter period will make it more difficult for algae to make their food and multiply.

7. If the tank receives sunlight, reposition the tank or shade it.

*Warning, it is dangerous to move a filled tank.

8. Add some water plants to your aquarium:

*Aquatic plants will compete with the algae for nutrients and light;

9. Introduce an algae eating fish that is suitable for your set-up:

*Examples would include: bristle nose catfish, Chinese algae eater.

10. You may wish to install a UV-clarifier or proceed with chemical or other biological treatments.

*Note that chemicals should never be the sole treatment. They should be used only after or in conjunction with management strategies as outlined.