Aquarium Care

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Posts Tagged ‘Aquarium Hobbyists’

Sticky: Controlling Aquarium Algae

Most aquarium hobbyists have to contend with the problem of algae growth sooner or later. The problem can come over time or burst out suddenly as algae bloom.  Understanding the kind of algae you might get in your tank is a big step toward fixing any problem that might arise. The first thing to do is to learn how to identify the algae and then follow the protocol to control it.

Kinds of Algae

Brown Algae – This kind of algae is the most common and is usually found in new tanks or low-light aquariums. You can recognize it by the soft clumps that they form on aquarium walls and fittings.  They are also referred to as diatoms and can be removed by scrubbing. Because they feed on nitrates, adding live plants will help as will algae eaters like the Otocinclus catfish or aquarium snails.

Cyanobacteria – Although cyanobacteria are often referred to as blue-green algae, they are really microbes that float through the tank as blue-green sheets.  They are easy to remove and need to be controlled as they can cause the death of fish or plants in the tank.

tank with green algae

Green Algae

Green Algae – Green water in the tank is usually the result of this kind of algae and often comes because of poor water quality.  This is the kind of algae that is referred to as algae bloom and will grow in tanks that are getting too much light or haven’t cycled properly. It usually forms a film on the tank walls and fittings and can be wiped off. Once the water in the tank has stabilized the algae will usually disappear. If it doesn’t, more drastic methods are necessary.

Thread Algae – Long threads (up to 30 cm) hanging on leaf edges are thread algae.  Low iron is usually the reason for this condition. Threads can be removed by taking a toothbrush and twirling the threads around it. Another way to control this growth is with Siamese algae eaters.

Green Spot Algae – Hard green spots on tank walls and on aquarium plants are the difficult to remove green spot algae. They usually occur in tanks which have too much light or are low in CO2 and phosphate. Normally, they are removed by scraping with a razor blade.

Red/Brush Algae – Red algae or brush algae are most likely to develop on slow-growing plants. pH does not affect them and they are hard to remove by hand. The only control known are Siamese algae eaters.

How to Control Algae

The best ways to avoid algae problems is to limit organic waste and keep good conditions in your tank. Regular water changes and limiting fish food to about as much as they can eat in a minute will help. Live plants also use up the nitrates which feed the algae which will keep them from growing. Algae need light, so keeping the tank out of the sun and only using artificial light for up to 12 hours a day will also discourage growth. Another simple and easy way to reduce the likelihood of getting an algae problem is by the addition of beneficial bacteria, which keep the tank clean and non-conducive to algae growth.

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Sticky: Types of Aquarium Plants

planted tank

Planted tank

While many novice aquarium hobbyists decorate their tanks with sunken pirate ships and other novelty items, these decorations eventually grow old. If you are looking for some attractive, natural-looking décor for your home aquarium what you need is a few live aquarium plants. Not only are live plants beautiful in the aquarium, they are also very beneficial for your fish and for your aquarium as a whole.

Types of Live Aquarium Plants

Live aquarium plants can be divided into three general categories: ferns and mosses, rosettes, and stem plants. Ferns and mosses are those plants which do not flower and propagate by producing spores. This category includes plants like java ferns, crystalwort and willow moss. The rosette category includes flowering aquarium plants which are often used ornamentally in ponds as well as the home aquarium. Some popular specimens in this category are Amazon swords, vallisneria and water lilies.

Stem plants are the largest category of aquarium plants and they are also some of the most popular. Some of the most commonly used stem plants include hornwort, cabomba and anacharis. Plants in this category often grow quickly and can be easily propagated by taking cuttings and rooting them in substrate. Some stem plants are also very hardy, able to thrive in a variety of aquarium environments including brackish tanks.

Floating Aquarium Plants

As an alternative to these three categories, live aquarium plants can also be divided by their rooting requirements. While most aquarium plants need to be potted or rooted in substrate, some plants must be allowed to float on the surface of the water. These plants provide a complementary look to rooted plants in your aquarium while also increasing the oxygen content in your tank and providing a place for small fish and newly-hatched fry to hide.

Some of the most popular floating aquarium plants include hornwort, a slow-growing plant, and anacharis, a plant that grows very quickly. Water sprite, duckweed and azolla are frequently used in goldfish ponds because they provide a healthy food source for fish as well as attractive decoration. Many floating plants can thrive when rooted in substrate but floating free on the water’s surface allows for the maximum level of growth and spread.

In the home aquarium, live plants can be very beneficial. Not only do they help to filter out toxins and produce oxygen – they also suppress algae growth and provide your tank with a beautiful and natural décor scheme. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your live aquarium plants, pot one or two in an EcoBio-Planter. These planters are made from natural zeolite and crushed stone which makes them a simple yet attractive item to add to your tank. EcoBio products are infused with beneficial bacteria which immediately start working to nitrify tank water, making it cleaner, clearer and healthier for your fish. EcoBio-Planter has the additional attraction of being great for your plant’s life as well.

If you are serious about starting a planted tank you will first need to decide what type of plants you want to cultivate and what is needed in order for them to thrive. Aquarium plants require fluorescent lighting and periodic feeding in order to achieve their maximum growth. If you care for your plants properly they will repay you by helping to keep your tank clean and clear, creating an ideal environment in which your fish will be able to thrive.

 

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