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Video:How to Control Algae in an Aquarium

with Dan Thornton

Algae is concern for all freshwater aquarium owners. Watch this how-to video from About.com to learn the best ways for controlling algae in your freshwater aquarium.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Control Algae in an Aquarium

Hi, I am Dan Thornton from Reef Encounters in Erie, Colorado and I am here today for About.com to talk about how to control algae in an aquarium.

Some Algae is Good for Freshwater Aquariums

Just because you aquarium has algae doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem. I usually get just as worried when I see aquariums that have absolutely no algae, as I do with aquariums that have algae problems.

If you feel that your aquarium is growing too much algae, the first thing you need to do is try to identify what is causing the algae growth. There is several things that can cause algae growth, sunlight is a big one. For that, you can move the aquarium, you can put up a blind, or a window tinting, something like that just to block that direct sunlight.

There is your aquarium lighting, if your light is on for too many hours, you can try less hours, you can even try turning it off, if you feel like that is the problem.

Test the Aquarium's Water Chemistry

You may also want to test your water, check your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. You really should not have any ammonia or nitrite at all, it should not register on an aquarium hobbyists' test kit.

If your nitrates are high, that would definitely cause more algae to grow. You can do a couple of big water changes spaced over a couple of days to dilute that.

Filtering and Cleaning for Freshwater Aquariums

Sometimes tap water itself can have things in it that cause algae to grow, like phosphates. If your tap water has phosphates, you should put a water filter on your tap. There are different phosphate sponges and phosphate filters, they can be a little tricky to use. A lot of them, if you don't take them out, once they have absorbed the maximum amount of phosphates, they will re-release them into the aquarium.

If your aquarium has normal levels of algae and you are just looking at keeping it cleaner, you can just use a variety of just hand sponges. You just want to make sure you get the ones that are made for aquariums.

Consider Algae Eating Fish and Live Plants

Other methods to control algae, are algae eating fish. There's a variety of algae eating fish, most of them will eat any type of algae. Another way to control algae is to add live plants to your aquarium. Other plants are going to compete for the same nutrients as algae.

Some people find that by adding plants, the plants out compete the algae and fix that problem. Sometimes you have plants and you have to add light for the plants, which then grows plants and algae. It can be a little trickier to work with live plants, but sometimes they are a great means to control algae.

Thanks so much for watching. For more information on fish, please visit us on the web at About.com.

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