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Sensible Algae Management Tips


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Sensible Algae Management Tips Sensible Algae Management Tips
Let's face it: If you keep an aquarium, you're going to grow algae. A little green is natural and can actually benefit a healthy habitat. In fact, aggressive attempts to eradicate algae altogether will more likely harm aquarium inhabitants and upset biological filtration. It's better to sensibly manage algae growth by finding a balance between no algae and nuisance algae.

While some algae growth is natural, nuisance algae is a sure sign of too much light or excess nutrients in your aquarium. Here's what you can do to help achieve a balance:

What is the
best way to manage
nuisance
algae?
The most important thing to consider is that algae are a symptom of poor water quality. The most effective approach to algae management is to remedy the conditions that stimulate aggressive nuisance algae growth.
MANAGE PHOTOPERIODS
Algae thrives under unregulated artificial lighting. Take a tip from nature by limiting daily lighting cycles to 8 hours per day using a digital outlet timer.

PERFORM REGULAR WATER CHANGES
In a closed system, organic waste materials can quickly accumulate, indulging algae while endangering your fish. As part of an algae management regimen, perform partial (15-20%) water changes every 1-2 weeks to replenish water quality and curb aggressive algae growth.

KEEP UP WITH ROUTINE MAINTENANCE
Keep on schedule with filter cartridge changes, as spent media can quickly frustrate any attempts to keep the green in check. Also regularly inspect your filter's performance: Is the flow rate decreasing? Intakes unobstructed? Impellers spinning freely?

TEST & CONTROL PHOSPHATE LEVEL
Avoid overfeeding your fish and test your aquarium regularly to monitor phosphate level. If you haven't already, test your source water, as sometimes this algae-blooming nutrient may be coming right out of your tap. For total phosphate removal, consider using chemical filter media that neutralizes phosphate.

SIPHON SUBSTRATE
This is where most of the uneaten food and fish waste eventually settles, so don't let poor water quality sneak up on you from below. Gravel-cleaning siphon systems make it easier than ever to keep up with monthly maintenance.

WHAT ABOUT ALGAECIDES?
Do everything you can to naturally keep algae in check before reaching for a quick fix. If using commercial aquarium algaecides, ALWAYS read and follow label instructions carefully. The chemicals in algaecides are often harmful to invertebrates and may compromise your biofiltration if not used correctly.
Don't be turned off by algae - be comfortable with the fact that some algae growth is a natural and beneficial aspect of aquarium keeping. By following a few simple steps, you too can find a balance between impossibly pristine and pleasantly green.

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