Algae Causes in Fish Tanks and How to Prevent It

If your water turns green, is hard to see through and the glass looks dirty - you have an algae problem. If algae forms in the aquarium, this is basically a first sign that the ecosystem is impaired and out of balance. To prevent the unwanted algae from spreading uncontrollably, fast and targeted action is necessary. Algae can usually be prevented with natural means and avoided by proper aquarium care.

What Causes Algae in Fish Tanks?

The causes for algae are usually found in inadequate care of the aquariums biological ecosystem, but direct sunlight or poor plant growth can also contribute to algae growth. If the fish population is too high, the nitrate and phosphate levels in the water also increase, which in turn serve as a growth basis for the algae. Overcrowding is acommon beginner fish keeping mistake. (You can read more about it and how to avoid by clicking on the provided link) Another popular reason for algae growth is overfeeding your fish. They will usually try to eat as much as they can, thus, producing more waste than it should be allowed in a closed water space. And all the uneaten food will fall to the bottom of the aquarium and will start to rot. And, of course, regular water changes are a must. Be sure to clean your home fish tank correctly.

Algae species

There are many species of algae, many harmless and some dangerous. Harmless species include green algae, brown algae and diatoms. In small amounts they are harmless, at least. So be ware of the so-called algae bloom (water bloom) - a sudden increase in algae or cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Their distribution in the water indicates that the aquarium is not sufficiently maintained and that too many nutrients (such as nitrate and phosphate) are present. The algae bloom turns the water surface green and in extreme cases cases the water shows a cloudy glow.

Green fish tank with fish

How to prevent algae

The best way to prevent algae is optimal water care. Do regular water changes and, in ideal case, follow the temparature of water using a simple and cheap water thermometer and, from time to time, check the pH level in your water with digital pH tester or simple pH test strips.

However, if you already have algae problem in your fish tank, natural remedies are the best. The aquarium inhabitants as well as the water quality usually suffer from chemical algae control agents. If plants start dying due to these chemicals, they will server as nutrients for algae and will ruin your ecosystem very quickly. To fight algae naturally, You can use various algae eaters for this - various snails such as steel helmet snails, antler snails or racing snails. Also very effective are shrimps and finally some fish species such as dwarf loricariid catfish, sucking loaches or snout barbs. Most often, algae starts to develop in plants that do not have natural plants. A healthy and rich plant growth helps to contain algae. Most plants and algae need the same nutrients. Good planting ensures that not enough of these important substances are left for the algae.

If you have an aquarium, you are probably checking up on it daily anyways, right? It is recommended to check for algae growth on daily bases, so you are aware of the problem as soon as possible and can fix it at its roots. Algae deposits on the bottom of the fish tank or the roots of the plants as well as algae threads should be removed immediately. It is best to remove the algae from the water by hand. A aquarium disc magnets are a practical aid for dirty aquarium walls.

So now you should have a clear picture about what causes algae in fish tanks and how to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you follow these tips, then algae containement should be possible as well. Thank you for reading and be sure to read other fish keeping guides that we have prepared so you can educate yourself about this hobby. Happy fish keeping and share these tips with your friends!