Identifying types of algae

 

Algae is the one the most unappealing things for us to see in our aquariums and although most algae don’t cause issues with our fish’s health, we don’t normally want to keep it there, spoiling the view. There are many ways to getting rid of the algae’s that appear in our tanks, but the first major step is to figure out just what algae is in our tanks. In the next blog we will discuss how to eliminate these from your tank.

 

Green Algae


There are many types of green algae out there and it is probably the most common. Green algae can come in all shapes and sizes from the stringy green hair algae to the tough to remove spot algae. These algae are bound to appear at some point in an aquarium. There are many ways to combat these using manual removal techniques, chemical treatments or adding some livestock to chow down on it for you.

 

This kind of algae is not always a bad thing and if done correctly, can look nice and natural in the tank. For example, you can have some green algae on rocks making the tank look more mature and natural to a habitat. Not everyone likes to see algae though. In fact, many fish tank owners want to remove algae right away and find a way to prevent it. Thankfully most green algae are quite easy to remove with regular tank maintenance, watching how much you feed, using algae eating fish and or aquarium additives. Don’t let it get out of hand though as these algae can take over a tank fast.

Green hair algae
Reference link to image: https://www.theaquariumguide.com/articles/hair-algae-causes-and-how-to-get-rid-of-them


 

Cyanobacteria


Now here’s an algae that no one wants. This stuff can be bad and can cause harm to fish as it is toxic for them to eat. Not only that, this stuff can smell when disturbed. Many describe the odour as swampy or fishy. Now getting rid of this stuff should be a priority. First things first, we want to let you know this stuff isn’t actually an algae, as the name states it’s a bacteria.

 

There are limited ways of getting rid of this stuff which are not too hard but require a lot of time and patience to get it done correctly. It’s better to catch this stuff early. You will more than likely notice it on, in or under your substrate but it can cover anything in your tank to keep an eye out for this.

 

 

Blue-green algae
Reference link to image: http://www.aquadesignpt.com/2017/07/how-to-kill-cyanobacteria-also-known-as.html

  


Diatoms


Another unsightly “algae” is Diatoms I used “ because once again this isn’t actually an algae. People call this, brown algae but it’s made up of single celled organisms called diatoms. This stuff appears in immature aquariums. It clears up fast but a lot of fish, including my ever so favourite Ottocinclus catfish, love to eat this stuff.

 

Now here’s an algae that no one wants. This stuff can be bad and can cause harm to fish as it is toxic for them to eat. Not only that, this stuff can smell when disturbed. Many describe the odour as swampy or fishy. Now getting rid of this stuff should be a priority. First things first, we want to let you know this stuff isn’t actually an algae, as the name states it’s a bacteria.



Brown Algae. Reference link toImages: https://www.reddit.com/r/Aquariums/comments/6oc2re/brown_algaediatoms_are_taking_over_what_can_i_do/

 

 

Red Algae


Red Algae, The least liked algae in the tank! This stuff can be difficult to get rid of. Although it causes no harm to your fish this can destroy our plants by taking over their leaves and blocking light, so the plants die off. There are many different reason and ways that have been suggested to cause this kind of algae. In all honesty and in my personal experience there are a lot of factors that can cause this its never just one simple fix.

 

This stuff can grow fast and not only take over plants but whole tanks! it can come into your tanks from being carried by fish, other plants or even filters. It is a big hitchhiker. There are preventative measures that can be taken to try and prevent it but it can still creep into you tank and all of a sudden start to take over. There is nothing easy to solve this. The best advise is to keep tweaking your tanks parameters bit by bit until you eventually see it die. Some red algae have been known to be caused by high iron content so it might be a good place to start.

Black beard algae. Reference to image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/168603579787179950/