Algae problems are a common aquarium concern. No one likes a green, murky, and swamp-like tank with poor visibility. Algae gets everywhere. It is slimy and sticks to the glass, corals, and clogs up filters in a tank. It is a hindrance that aquarium hobbyists have been trying to solve for decades now.
But there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent this nagging problem. Some methods are more effective and organic than the others and we will detail a few steps you can undertake as preventive measures and also the most effective ways to get rid of algae from beautiful marine aquariums.
Algae Infestations, What Causes it?
Algae is an integral part of marine ecosystems which extends to saltwater tanks as well. It serves several functions within the aquarium environment like helping to neutralize acidic water, removing floating impurities, and organic material. But, when it’s growth is left unchecked, it takes over the environment and reduces the quality and visibility of the water in the tank.
Algae are basically plants that grow underwater and much like terrestrial plants, they require light, oxygen, nitrogen, and nutrients to grow and thrive. The main reason for a sudden spike in growth is due to a high concentration of nutrients in the tank in the form of nitrates and phosphates. This means that the water you use in the tank contains these minerals in high quantities, serving as food for the green slime to thrive.
It could also be due to an excess of fish. Lots of fish = lots of fish feces. And fish feces is a rich source of nutrients that forms the organic material for algae to grow on, in a watery environment.
Natural Ways to Control Algae
Using Algae Eaters
Additions to the tank that consume algae are the perfect solution for this issue. They add variety to the tank and also help perform a crucial function that improves tank cleanliness and health. So, what tank dwellers live off these invaders?
These slimy, bottom dwellers are highly underrated tank additions. An integral part of most high moisture ecosystems, snails are nature’s clean up crew. They stick to the tank and move along munching on delicious algae. They are easy to care for and are mostly non-fussy creatures that require minimal day-to-day care.
Several species of snails like Rabbit, Nerite, and Margarita snails are suitable for this task. But make sure you do not overcrowd your tank with snails as they reproduce quickly and can overwhelm you with high numbers. Usually, a few males or few female snails are great additions to the tank as their population can be kept in check.
We have used Emerald Crabs for years in our coral systems to combat bubble algae. The internet is full of horror stories regarding emerald crabs, however all of the wholesalers that we frequent also utilize them in their coral aquaculture facilities.
- Algae-Eating Fish
Several species of fish are algae lovers. They stick to the bottom and clean out crevices and rocks of the green slime. Fish like most Blenny species, Tangs and Surgeonfish are excellent choices in tanks prone to slime.
Being herbivore fish, they do not target your precious coral and will eat only the green stuff. This is an extremely handy quality for aquarium hobbyists who build their tanks around exotic corals (used as centerpieces).
Surgeonfish and tangs are extremely colorful and attractive too, serving the dual purpose of making the tank more attractive and cleaning it out as well. Perfect for low-maintenance tank builds with new and armature hobbyists.
Fluconazole treatment acts as an algaecide that completely kills the excess algae in the tank. But, it is cumbersome to use and not a permanent solution. Relying on regular fluconazole treatments is an ineffective strategy as a complete fix to this problem. But, in certain scenarios, it can be very useful.
When your tank is plagued with a lot of bubble algae (or one of the other aggressive forms), you could try a fluconazole blast. It takes some time to work but kills the excess algae caked-on rocks, corals, and filters. After a fluconazole treatment, you should consider a full tank clean (within 8-10 weeks of the treatment) After this, introduce a few above-mentioned tank cleaner to help curtail the eventual re-emergence of algae in you beautiful tank setup.
These are the best ways to curtail the spread of excessive algae without much of a financial hindrance or a drastic change in the environment for your fish. We suggest you try out different methods and see which one works best for your tank.