Know Your Enemy (Algae)
As previously mentioned in one of our blogs, we don’t ever ‘win’ the fight against algae, we simply learn to find a good balance. In order to find that balance, we must first learn about the different types of algae so we know what tools we need to keep them at bay as best we can.
There are three main types of algae that you will most likely encounter as an aquarium hobbyist.
Green Carpet Algae This is the type of algae you see sitting on the surface of your rocks, climbing the glass of your tank and any structures you may have. The best tools to use to tackle the green carpet algae are snails, catfish and scrubbers.
Green Hair Algae These algae form long strings, giving it a ‘hair like’ appearance and is also known as ‘String Algae’. If untreated, these algae can actually cause fish to get entangled, preventing them from being able to reach any food. Some of the ways you could start tackling Green Hair Algae is by taking a scraper to the sides of your tank. We’ve heard some folks have tried to ‘spaghetti fork’ the hair algae off, though I prefer the toothbrush method personally! The sure fire way to get rid of Green Hair Algae is to take out your decor items during your regular cleanings and scrub them with a soft brush under chlorinated water. For live plants, gently rub off the algae and perform an algaecide dip if you wish.
Black Beard Algae Black Beard algae, also known as Black Brush Algae, grows on the edge of plant leaves and also the edges of hard surfaces. It’s composed of dense patches of very fine strands or clusters that resemble a dirty green beard. Siamese Algae Eaters are great fish to have to help combat the Beard Algae.
Here's one way you can tackle algae; Spot Treating! Spot treating with 3% hydrogen peroxide is also effective on most types of algae, and harmless to fish at low doses! To spot treat, I take an empty cup, and fill it with 1 ml/ gallon of aquarium volume. Fill a pipette or syringe with the peroxide, and treat each spot of algae with a small amount. The peroxide will oxidize the algae, often causing bubbles to form and rise to the surface. Not to worry, this is a good sign! Within 24 hours you will notice a change in the affected areas. Feel free to edit this so it looks better.
Now that you know your enemy, you’ll have all the proper tools you need in order to combat them. We hope your scaping journey stays algae free as long as possible.