So, you’re wondering how to reduce algae in your aquarium whilst ensuring that PH ideals and the healthy growth of your fish and plants remain protected right? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that for one – algae growth is not an uncommon problem, and two – it’s quite easy to tackle! Algae is of course, the bane of every aquarium owner and many customers come to us for advice on how to control algae in their aquarium, so we thought we would share our top 10 tips for you guys at home.


1)      No over-feeding!

As aquarium hobbyists – we all marvel at the site of our fine-finned friends gobbling up a few sprinkles of fish food. It’s fascinating we know! But one of the main problems associated with an increase in algae goes hand-in-hand with an increase in food deposits. The golden rule is to feed your fish the required amount for how much they can consume. Although leaving excess food in the tank will probably get pecked at by your fish over time, it’s also well-received by algae. The combination of phosphate and ammonia along with fish waste in your water, allows algae to thrive on those nutrients which spur its growth and reproduction. Aim to feed your fish once daily or alternatively 2-3 smaller portioned feeds throughout the day to keep algae at bay.


2)      Filter media maintenance:

Choosing the right filter media can be vital in maintaining the correct phosphate levels in your water which in turn will affect algae growth in you aquarium. Combination Carbon Phosphate aquarium solutions can help to remove phosphate, whilst the carbon helps to keep our water crystal clear. Changing both your chemical and mechanical filter media quite regularly can also prevent saturation of the media itself, helping to stop the harmful components from leaking back into your tank water.Choosing phosphate removers for both freshwater and marine tanks as well as considering the right solution for a small aquarium for example, will allow better control for specirfic conditions. 


3)      Lighting control:

There are many factors to consider with lighting when it comes to algae growth and control. Whilst lighting equipment for freshwater and marine aquariums is getting bigger and better, cutting down on the power and duration of lighting inside your tank to 10-14 hours for planted aquariums and 6-10 hours in ornamental setups, will significantly keep the green stuff at bay. By putting your lights on a timer to realistically replicate both daylight and nighttime exposure, as well as remembering to replace your lighting as its intensity and spectrum deteriorates with age, you are sure to see some good results! Also, ensure your aquarium is situated in a location of low lighting within your home. If possible, an area protected from any source of daylight will ensure you are off to the best start in your fight against algae!


4)      Don’t introduce it!

Honestly – this one isn’t intended to patronize, but you would be surprised at how many aquarium owners don’t think about where they get their aquatic plants from! Good advice here would be to make sure that you buy fresh plants that have grown out of the water and add them to your tank the same day after checking them over. Rinse all pre-soaked bogwood and remember to try and use substrates that will not be carrying BGA!


5)      Tap testing:

Prevent algae growth in your aquarium by testing the water that is coming straight out of your faucet. Tap water can often contain lots of algae-encouraging elements! If you find that the water supply in your area is high in those components that likely induce your algae levels, this is a great time to introduce a tap water filter or RO unit to instantly purify your mains tap water. To test your water, use an advanced product that promises accuracy and quality value. Remeber - if you are using an RO unit in a freshwater tank, you will need to remineralise the water!


6)      Algae-cleaning equipment:

A steel magnetic blade such as those found on the Mag-Scraper is the best option for ensuring that the most stubborn algae is easily removed from your aquarium glass with a durable wide diameter to work across the water, whilst fork-styled equipment is great for clearing the top of your aquarium water and stringy algae that lies between your underwater foliage.


7)      Algae-eating friends:

You may be surprised at the amount of “donkey work” that your little fishy friends can do for you! Common algae-eating suckermouths such as the Bristlenose and Otocinclus are adapted to reducing your algae levels, so if your aquarium can accommodate one (and one which won’t outgrow your tank), introduce it to help keep healthy control over your algae levels. Remember to make sure you do have an alternative nutritional substitute once the algae has run out! Livebearing fish like mollies are also a great addition, as are algae-eating shrimps. The Cory Cat will also busy itself along the bottom of your fish tank, hoovering up excess food and plant leaves before they go rotten on the aquarium bed.


8)      Plants:

You can prevent algae growth inside your aquarium by planting heavily, whilst also ensuring that your fish population never becomes detrimental to a healthy amount of space inside the tank. By controlling these two variables, you may find that your algae problems begin to dwindle. The idea of adding plants into the aquarium in order to reduce algae levels works well, because plants actually utilize a good light source, starving much of what would normally be taken up by algae. Plants also starve algae of nutrients helping to create a tank which is without high levels of phosphate and nitrate. Floating plants are also a great addition to use as these create shade blocking the algae’s source of light


9)      Recognize your bad algae:

Those who are not so experienced (or those who haven’t had a lot of problems with algae) may be under the impression that all algae is bad. That’s not true! It will certainly pay-off to be able to differentiate one species of algae against the next in order to be able to tackle it in the most effective way. Whereas Green Hair algae for example, is considerably stubborn and will require something like a spaghetti fork to remove it, Green carpet algae can easily be removed with a scraper off the glass.


10)   Recognize your good algae:

Detecting any unnatural-looking green coverage on driftwood, ornaments or plants may be important in combatting an infestation at an early stage, however it is also important to bear in mind that a healthy balance of algae can help to consume excess nutrients and provide oxygen to your water. 


So there you have it! Our guide to ensuring the best algae control within your tank! Whilst algae can never be the result of a successful defeat, the key to happy aquarium ownership is to find a perfect balance.