Aquarium Algae – Friend or Foe?

Aquarium algae is often though of as a nuisance to be scraped and tossed, but it’s not all bad and can be controlled with a few simple steps. Although algae is unsightly to look at leaving a little around isn’t such a bad idea as some of your fish might like to eat it.

If you have light and nutrients in your aquarium, then aquarium algae is bound to grow.

This growth, however can be controlled so that you have the minimum amount of manual scraping and removal. First off, locate your tank away from natural light – the more light the more favorable conditions will be for the algae. The darkest corner possible is a good idea and leave the fluorescent lighting on for only 10-12 hours a day.

Aquarium algae growth can be controlled with algae eating fish – I have found that the Chinese cat is the most veracious algae eater for it’s size. You will be amazed at the amount of algae one of these little guys can clean out of your tank just overnight!

Other fish that eat algae are sucker fish, many catfish varieties, plecostomus, mollies and many salt water fish enjoy algae as well.

Aquarium algae thrives in water with nitrates, silicates and phosphates as well as other nutrients so frequent water changes can help keep growth in check. And, of course, the added benefit is better water quality for your fish!

There are basically 4 kinds of aquarium algae. Brown algae usually appears first but then disappears after a while. Green algae is most common, easy to remove from the glass and eaten by most fish. Red brush algae is often found in tanks with high ph and is rather difficult to remove. Blue Green algae (really a bacteria) forms slimy sheets and is quite easy to remove manually but quite icky to look at!