Algae is a problem in almost every aquarium at some point, and although chemical products are available on the market, it is often safer and more rewarding to purchase an algae eating fish. This article will look at what types of algae eaters are available and what types of algae they eat.
Types of algae
Aquarium algae comes in a number of forms and algae growth differs from tank to tank, depending on various factors, including water heat, the amount of UV light and how oxygenated the tank water is.
Below is a guide to the most common forms of fish tank algae.
This algae can grow fairly quickly, and within a few days, it takes over a tank.
It is usually in the form of long, wispy threads that can grow up to 20 centimetres. This algae can be removed manually, but it may grow back unless conditions are improved. Reduce light levels and nutrient levels if necessary. Brown algae Found in salt water tanks, it begins as brown patches on the gravel and then rapidly coats most surfaces of the aquarium with a thin, dark brown coating that is easily removed. To remove it, wipe off surfaces and vacuum gravel well. Use silicate absorbing resin in the filter. Increase the lighting. Staghorn algae This one looks like thick strands that may branch once or twice until it ends.
The colour is a blue-green-grey, and the algae itself feels slimy to the touch.
It usually grows in high-light slow moving areas of the tank. To know the types of algae in your aquarium, it is best to look for pictures of the algae as they rarely differ in look.
What eats algae? Both fish and shrimps help in algae removal. Hair algae The Siamese algae eater is generally considered to be the best all-around algae eater available to aquarists. It is a great community fish, but it may become territorial when older. Brown algae The plecostomus is also known as the sucker fish which constantly graze algae and biofilm. Many species of "plecos" eat much less frequently as they near adulthood, and can reach a size in excess of ten inches. Otocinclus or oto cat are a small fish (two inch maximum) that like to be kept in groups of four or more, and live primarily on soft algae. Popular fish for salt water algae include: Rabbitfish grow to around 40cm and have a shy temperament. Surgeon fish or tangs have small mouths that have a single row of teeth used for grazing on algae. Freshwater shrimps Caridina multidentata feed primarily on algae and in large numbers, they can clean a tank.