How can you get rid of algae growth when it overtakes your freshwater tank, or at least control it before the fish start to suffer? That green gunky stuff covers aquarium decorations, climbs the glass of the tank, and sometimes even gets on the aquarium inhabitants themselves.
Algae growth is a natural occurrence in a freshwater tank, but it can be a nightmare if left unchecked. Fortunately, if your fish tank is permeated with algae, there are solutions. You can drastically limit the level of growth in your tank by practicing the correct tank management habits.
A little algae buildup on rocks and driftwood isn't a bad thing. It makes your tank look more natural. But when you wake up one morning and the glass has turned green it’s probably time to take action. You’ve got some work ahead of you, but the good news is that once you take a few steps in the right direction controlling algae gets easy.
Don’t resort to chemicals to deal with algae in your tank. There are better, natural ways to tackle the problem.
What is Algae Anyway?
Algae is a broad term used to classify a wide range of plant-like organisms. There are a few types of algae you may encounter in your freshwater aquarium, but green and brown are the most common. Both are a result of normal processes in your tank, and no cause for alarm. Brown algae are easily dislodged from surfaces with a quick wipe, but green algae are a little tougher to get rid of and need to be scraped away.
Like plants, algae contain chlorophyll and create their own food through photosynthesis. Therefore, the same circumstances that helps a plant to grow helps algae to grow. This is important to know when trying to get rid of algae in a fish tank.
It should also be noted that the word algae is actually a plural term. The single form would be alga. But if you have only one alga in your tank you probably don’t have much of a problem, and you wouldn't be reading this!
Algae-Eating Fish and Critters
The first step some aquarium owners take when they realize they have an algae issue is to go out and purchase algae-eating fish. They toss the fish in the tank, and wait for them to clean everything up. Eventually they realize the fish aren’t getting the job done, but it’s not because they are lazy or on a diet.