Aquarium Algae variants are available in several types. They can actually be quite good for your aquarium as it plays a huge role in improving the ecosystem. Certain fishes and invertebrates love to feed on algae, so for these feeders it’s really beneficial. However, some algae variants are not really edible but still, they don’t fail to enhance the aura of your precious tank! Let us classify and talk about some of the very well-known algae types we usually see in the aquarium.
1. Black Beard Algae
- Common causes– Unstable CO2 conditions or lower levels of the same. Mainly happens due to inconsistency in lighting alongside the flow of water in the aquarium.
- Prevention– Manual removal like usage of elbow grease, usage of an algae scraper, dip severely infected plants (1:20 bleach ratio with water solution for about 3 minutes), overdose with Seachem Flourish Excel.
The Black Beard Algae is very common in marine aquarium setups. It is sort of a red algae or Rhodophyta. BBA, however, can also appear in freshwater tanks. It also produces a red-light protein known as the phycoerythrin, giving themselves the signature dark purple-ish or black colouration. The main feeding medium is via photosynthesis.
These Algae grow pretty rapidly in dense patches, almost like a patchy beard. The majority growth of Black Beard Algae is on slow growing plants like driftwood, bogwood and more. Let us remind you, they are quite slippery with a soft consistency, making the removal process pretty complicated.
2. Blue-Green Algae (BGA)
- Common causes– Low nitrate levels, High levels of organic waste from excess feeding, Incorrect lighting intensity from old bulbs, Low water circulation and Heavy light intensity in the aquarium.
- Prevention– Cutting the light source (Black-out technique), 50% water change in the aquarium, test nitrate dosage and levels, removal of airstone after addition within approximately 4 days.
It’s fascinating how they are called “Algae” but aren’t actually true alga! This aquatic cyanobacterium is able to undergo the process of photosynthesis. On top of that, they are great nitrogen-fixers or nitrogen-fixing bacteria. You will mostly discover them on your substrate layer or frontal portion of the aquarium glass where the light exposure is maxed out.
It, indeed, has a rapid growth alongside an earthy smell. The classic colouration of Blue-Green Algae (BGA) consists of reddish purple, slimy brown and of course, blue and green! Getting confused right? Which is algae, which is not, which can infect your fish tank and which is food for your fish! Don’t worry, go through Fisharoma and get a detailed view on everything you want to explore about fish, plants and algae.
3. Brown Algae (Diatoms)
- Common causes– High levels (silicate, phosphorus, nitrate or oxygen), Lack of proper lighting, Immature substrate and filter during nitrogen cycle in your new aquarium.
- Prevention– Cut off the life nutrition supply, Avoid too intense or under-lighting in the aquarium, Block any natural sunlight exposure, Check filtration, Manual removal with the application of a cotton cloth.
The Brown Algae is able to survive in the most subdued lighting conditions, as long as their chemical feeding medium is on the availability list. It’s a Diatom form, so, in simpler words, obtaining the nutrients through chemicals ( silicate, nitrates and phosphorus) and photosynthesis is what it basically does.
They are found in both marine and freshwater tanks. You can usually spot them dusting out on your tank’s layer of substrate. Brown Algae are capable of turning into a brown slime in about 5 day, after which they can be discovered on your tank walls or plants, which does not look enticing at all.
4. Green Spot Algae (GSA/Coleochaete Orbicularis)
- Common causes– Nutrient imbalance, Inadequate fertilization, Depletion of Phosphates, Bad water circulation, Low CO2 levels, Overexposure of aquarium to light.
- Prevention– Adjust Phosphate levels, Use an algae scraper, No overexposure or under-exposure to lighting or lights, Use a testing kit to keep all sorts of levels in check.
The Green Spot Algae usually comes to show when there is a nutrient imbalance in a newly made tank. There are many factors that ultimately lead to imbalances, some of them being irregularity in water changes, depletion in phosphate levels or lack of proper fertilization as already mentioned above.
They appear as small spots, mostly green in colour. The usual place you will see them grow is your plants with a slow growth rate, aquarium decor, tank walls (glass) and so on. These Algae are capable of forming extensive, thick coats if they find the situation fit.
5. Hair/Thread Algae
- Common causes– Intense concentration of nutrients (Iron), Deficits (CO2, Nitrates), Overexposure or underexposure to lights.
- Prevention– Test the nutrient levels of your aquarium and work on adjusting accordingly (Deficits and Intense concentrations), Use algivorous to control growth, Twist the surface with the usage of a skewer or toothbrush, Use a siphon around the time of water change.
Hair or Thread Algae is a known species of the Filamentous variant. Visually, they are extended threads of green. This type of Algae would usually cling or anchor to the plants or appear on your decorations or substrate layer (mostly gravel).
They are known as the Hair Algae for a reason, as if you remove it from the target tank it feels and appears like actual wet hair! This alga has a very fast growth rate and is probably the toughest out there challenge-wise, when it comes to the removal process.