If you own a reef tank, then you can’t miss this guide to 4 different types of algae found in freshwater aquariums with tips for prevention and treatment.
Algae are simple aquatic organisms that have been around for hundreds of millions of years. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that they can also be found in your fish tank.
For one thing, they only need a few things to grow—water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and a few inorganic nutrients. Not only that, but they can grow quickly!
If anything, they’re an important presence in aquariums. Too much, however, can pose a problem.
Interested in learning about the different types of algae? If so, you’re on the right page. Keep reading to learn more!
What Do Algae Look Like?
There are many types of algae, all of which have their own appearance. For example, some may appear reddish, brownish, or greenish.
In addition to the aquarium glass, they may grow on the filter, gravel, substrate, and other accessories in the tank.
Note: Macroalgae (seaweeds) is different from microalgae, the latter of which we’ll be discussing below.
4 Different Types of Algae That You Might Find In Your Fish Tank
Algae is often caused by an imbalance of lighting and nutrients in an aquarium. Here are a few types that you might run into.
- Black Beard Algae
Black beard algae can be found in most planted aquariums. Also known as “brush algae”, it is often slippery and hard to remove.
Generally speaking, it’s caused by inconsistent lighting and unstable CO2 conditions. In terms of how to remove it, you can dip heavily infected plants in a bleach and water solution (1:20 ratio) for 2-3 minutes.
- Blue-Green Algae
Blue-green algae, as implied by its name, has a bluish greenish color. Interestingly enough, however, it isn’t a true alga. Instead, it’s a nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Common causes include overfeeding or lack of water changes. Fortunately, you can remove it by performing large water changes.
- Brown Algae
Brown algae is a type of diatom. In other words, they’re capable of producing their own food like plants.
Commonly found in freshwater aquariums, they typically start out as a dusting on the substrate. From there, they can turn into a slimy film covering within a few days.
- Fuzz Algae
Fuzz algae can grow on decorations, plants, and glass. Known for its fuzzy appearance, it’s typically found in new tank setups with an imbalance of nutrients.
As it is, there are certain species of fish that like to snack on this type of algae. Some examples include Siamese Algae Eaters, Otocinclus, and Black Mollies.
Preventing Algae Buildup In Fish Tanks
The bottom line is, there are many different types of algae that can grow in freshwater tanks. The good news is that you can prevent or remove most of them with regular maintenance.
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