Tackling algae a different way

Hi Guys,


One of the most annoying things to ever have in an aquarium. It covers your substrate, hardscape, glass and in some bad cases, your plants too. Ive even heard of some cases when the filter impaler has been damaged because of hair algae.

In most aquariums, algae is the enemy and we do everything we can to keep it at bay. The most successful way to prevent algae in a planted aquarium is to keep your plants as healthy as possible and avoid overfeeding your fish. I like to think of algae and plants being at war for the nutrients in the water. Supporting your army of plants with things like CO2 injections and fertilisers along with quality substrates makes them strong, healthy and fast growing, hungry plants. Plants that will quickly consume the nutrients in the water. Healthy plants and lots of them, will always out compete algae for nutrients. So as long at your not overfeeding your fish and your regularly doing your water changes the imposing army of algae will remain under control.

The shops are full of various products to keep your algae under control. Nowadays there are water treatments, scrapers, sponges and even blades all designed to prevent and remove unwanted algae. in the video below, I demonstrate some of the different tools that I have to keep the aquarium glass free of ugly green algae.
While these kind of tools are the best and quickest solution, you can also employ the help of some fish or shrimps to help. Larger shrimps like Amano shrimp are ideal for the planted tank. Its very common for the top aquascapers to add some Amano shrimp to new aquascapes in order to keep their hardscape clean. They also take care of any leaves that are withering away. I personally prefer adding snails to new aquariums. My favourite being the Military Helmet snail or Neritina Pulligera
One of my own Military Helmet Snails working hard

For algae eating fish, there are lots to pick from. your choice should depend on your other fish and tank size. Also research you fish before buying them to make sure that your not buying a fish that will eat your plants alongside your algae. A good choice would be either of the following...
  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Otocinclus
  • Garra
  • Flying Fox
  • African Cichlids
Out of these fish, my favourite has to be the bristle nose pleco. I have always had at least one young Birstlenose pleco in my tanks over the years. I tend to move them around depending on where there help is required. My current algae champion is this little guy below. He is a beast when it comes to cleaning leaves and glass.

A few months ago, I set up a planted aquarium. It has been running with out any maintenance for a while now and the algae has gotten so bad you can write your name in it. I wanted to try out some new tools but its a fairly small tank (60l) and with the plants in there it doesn't leave much room for scrapers and sponges. I decided to give my bristle nose a new challenge. He has now been put into the tank in question and instructed to clean it from top to bottom. The boy likes a challenge and instantly made an impact. 

Here you can see just how awesome the algae growth was. There is different colours of algae, brown, green and black. Ive noticed there is some algae growing on the substrate and rocks now too. I think I will introduce some Trumpet snails turn the substrate for me.

If I can get this aquarium nice and clean without having to use any tools then I think I will have achieved something special. I will also need to give my humble little bristle nose pleco a reward for all his hard work.

Well, a few days into the challenge and I'm impressed already. Already I can see the substrate again. Now that Im able to see into the aquarium, i notice some lovely dark algae all over the nice rock so looks like i might add a couple of amino shrimps to take care of that too.

I think I will continue with this project and see how I get on. Once it's complete, I will hopefully have a nice video to show the process from start to finish...

This photo is the most recent one taken and it shows just how much of an impact the right fish can make on unwanted algae. The aquarium is not algae free however, considering the extent of the algae growing when I added the bristle nose pleco, i think this is amazing to have achieved this within one week. I just need to remove my assassin snail clan so I can add the Malaysia trumpet snails to help with the substrate.

I just want you all to know that this tank was allowed to go dirty for the sole purpose of cleaning it and under no circumstances do I recommend keeping your own fishtanks like this. This is just for fun. I would really like to know what your own thoughts are on algae cleaning so please do comment below and feel free to share this blog when your done.

Thanks for reading too...

bye for now

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