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Old 01-12-2011, 08:27 PM   #1 
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Algae Question

hello! lately, I've been having a problem with algae. The green kind (which mainly grows on the side of the tank), and the brown kind (which likes to grow on the accessories). I tried some of the "anti-algae drops" from the pet store, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I bought a snail, thinking that would help with the problem, but it doesn't seem like the thing eats algae like I thought it would. the tank is in the kitchen which gets a decent amount of sunlight, but the tank isn't sitting where it catches the sunlight directly. any help would be appreciated!
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Old 01-12-2011, 08:38 PM   #2 
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try and algae scrubber. They look kind of like sponges. Some are on the end of a handle. Or an algae magnet. That will take care of the walls. As far as decorations, hot water will work. If it is really stubborn, you can use diluted bleach on the decor. As long as you rinse VERY WELL after.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:12 PM   #3 
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is there any way to prevent it from growing in general though? or to at least decrease the amount that it does grow?
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:47 PM   #4 
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Location: Mississauga, Canada
Live aquatic plants can help, they compete with the algae for nutrients so it will have a hearder time getting what it needs. This won't get rid of the algae but it may help reduce the growth.

Snails will eat algae and can live off it but they generally prefer other things, even your betta's pellets. If it is getting enough food elsewhere it won't touch the algae. It may even be eating the algae but the stuff is growing faster than it can eat.

Depending on the size of the tank you can look into adding more algae eating stock. You can try moving the tank to a less bright location. Filter the light more with curtains or blinds.

That's all I can think of off hand.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:30 AM   #5 
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My snails are horrible algae Cute, but extremely useless.

The brown algae is likely diatoms. It happens with new setups. As your tank matures, that problem will go away. Until then, just wiping it off manually when you do your water changes is the best idea. It should come off with your fingertips..

The green stuff is usually a symptom of something. Over feeding, not enough water changes, too much outside light and even too long a photo period(tank lights on).
Live plants will compete with the algae for nutrients and are always a good idea if you can afford them, IMO. The slower growing plants aren't quite as useful(and those are often the ones suitable for small tanks with lower lighting), but still a great addition to any tank.
I never use commercial 'algae removers'..I don't find it a great idea to add chemicals into the tank. Clean water is really the best additive.

Cut back on your feeding a bit, do a few extra water changes(or increase the amount of water with each change if your tank is cycled) and check around for windows that may be giving the tank extra sunlight.
The algae is feeding off the nutrients in your water, just like any live plant would do..removing the algae by hand and increasing your water change schedule would be my first steps.

Algae isn't such a horrible thing. It's unsightly and can easily grow out of control if you don't identify the problem, a healthy, happy tank there's bound to be some algae.

Just my two cents :)
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:59 PM   #6 
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thank you for your replies! I now have a few other questions.

1. you said live plants could help reduce the amount of algae. I have a 5 gallon tank. do I have to provide any special care for them, or will they just be happy enough sitting there after they are planted. do I need a certain kind of gravel for housing live plants, or will my aquarium rocks be suitable? lastly, how many live plants would you recommend for a 5 gallon tank?

2. another thing mentioned is that leaving the tank light on for a long period of time could contribute to algae growth. I usually have it on all day, and only turn it off at night. would the betta be okay if I left the light off? can he still see fine without it?

3. I usually give 100% water changes once every 2 weeks. I'm not running a "cycled" tank or anything. if I have the plants, would I need to establish a cycled tank system, or would they be fine being replanted every time I change the water.
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:30 PM   #7 
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1. If you get low-maintenance plants you won't have to do much of anything except put them in the tank. Java moss/ferns (tropica fern at stores) are good, anubias, hornwort (sheds little pines that can be annoying), crypts, wysteria. How many plants you get is completely up to you. Here's a good website for ordering live plants:

A lot of the time you can't find good plants at stores, or they try to sell plants that aren't really aquatic. So be careful if you go to Petsmart or anything like that.

2. I wouldn't turn the light off all the time if you get live plants. If you get low-light plants, which are generally the least maintenance, you can have your light on for 8-10 hours a day.

3. You do not need to cycle the tank for plants if you get "easy" plants to grow, however, if you have a filter in your tank it would not be difficult (especially with the addition of plants) to establish a cycled tank.

You can always up your water changes to help prevent an algae problem.
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