Natural prevention

The best way to prevent algae in a planted aquarium is to establish continued strong plant growth. Plants have many advantages over algae when it comes to collecting nutrients and utilizing sunlight, so good plant growth will often starve algae of nutrients. The allelochemicals produced by plants may also play a part in restricting algal growth. Whatever the reasons may be, a healthy, well-planted aquarium should rarely encounter harmful algal blooms. Algae-eating fish, such as many loaches and catfish, can also be introduced to the aquarium, as well as some snail and freshwater shrimp species. All these animals will browse on algae as part of their main diet and will prevent it from gaining a foothold in the aquarium. Do bear in mind, however, that algae-eating species are often selective and will eat only certain types of algae unless they are forced to do otherwise due to a lack of their preferred food.

Right: Brush algae is slow-growing but difficult to treat and/or prevent. Although it is not harmful, it should be removed to prevent excess growth, which may result in an unsightly bloom and have an adverse effect on the aquarium plants.

strong growth on plant leaves, it will also need to be removed. This should be done with extreme care so that the leaves are not damaged. A good method is to use cotton wool to wipe the leaves gently underwater. Brown algae is more common in aquariums with hard water and/or low light levels. This brown algae should not be confused with the "true" brown algae that include many complex saltwater seaweeds.

Brush algae Brush algae grows relatively slowly at first, but will soon begin to spread rapidly in most aquariums. It appears as small, furlike tufts, up to 0.4 in (1 cm) high and normally black or brown in color. The algae grows particularly well on bogwood, but will also flourish on the substrate and plant leaves, around filters, and in the corners of the aquarium glass. Unfortunately, the causes are largely unknown and therefore it is likely that there are no special conditions beyond those of a normal aquarium that encourage it to grow. Although there are some chemical treatments available to treat brush algae, their effectiveness is

Left: Algae can build up on the inside of the aquarium glass and become difficult to clear. It is much better to use a scraper regularly to keep the surfaces clean.

wildly variable. The only way to ensure a reduction in growth is to remove any items on which the algae is growing. In some cases, the algae will continue to grow only at a slow rate and should not become a problem. It has been noted in a number of situations that the Siamese flying fox (Crossocheilus siamensis) may eat brush algae.

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Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

Aquarium and Fish Care Tactics

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