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ALGAE! Good? Bad? Ugly?


Sandy

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Hi folks!

 

Just wanted a general idea how you deal with algae in your tanks, if at all.  I know there are different types and colors.  Which are safe for your shrimp?  Which are toxic?  Are there non -chemical ways to treat it?  I've read and heard a lot of contradictory info.  Thanks for any feedback!

 

Sandy 

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I have never heard of algae being toxic towards shrimp, for the most part algae would be beneficial as they do take in excess nutrients (Nitrates, ammonia, etc) and release oxygen as a result, certain strains would also give something for the shrimp graze on or even eat. However  they are considered a nuisance due to their looks in general or if they out compete your plants within your tank. The only algae which would be considered harmful would be the blue green algaes that come in a variety of colors, but those "algae" are actually  a form of bacteria which can release toxins into the water column. For the most part I combat algae in my other tanks using floating plants; which have full access to CO2 as they are above the aquarium allowing them to out compete the algae, usually grow fast and also shades the algae from the light as well. Floating plants I am a fan of would include, duckweed and riccia, there are other plants available on this site such as red root floaters. You could also use submerged plants as well, but it may require better equipment or better balance between the nutrients and light within the tank. 

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I vote for "bad and ugly" LOL.  

 

Most people will tell you it's encouraged by an imbalance of CO2, nutrients or light.  Those 3 things have to be in balance.  

 

It's usually less of an issue with low tech tanks, but if they're close to a window they can get too much light and that will cause it.  Overfeeding can cause excess nutrients.  

 

I don't believe there are any shrimp safe chemicals to treat it out there.  Except maybe H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), but I've never used it in a small shrimp tank.  Tried it once in my high tech 40B but didn't have much luck.  Once the spores are in the water, they're there.  If I get it growing on plants, I just remove the plant and treat it with H2O2 outside of the tank, or potassium permanganate.  Then rinse really well and if I've used pp, I treat it with a little Prime before I put it back in the tank.

 

Stones, decorations and such can be treated with bleach.  Some plants like anubias will actually take a bleach treatment.

 

Here's a good link:  http://www.aquariumplants.com/Articles.asp?ID=267

 

But in my experience, even if you dip every plant coming in, or even go so far as to only use tissue cultured plants, it'll still find it 's way in.  All it takes is 1 spore hitch hiking in on live stock and that's it.

 

I've got a high tech tank.  CO2, lights and nutes.  I battle it in that tank.  Maybe *one* day I'll figure out that perfect balance...  Sigh....

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Wow.  Sounds like there are no easy answers.  At least I know my shrimp are ok.   I do think they feed on the small green buds on the tank walls  and stones.  I also have a few red circles.  And neither of those strains bother me.  I do hate those fuzzy black things that attach to my moss.  I may try the H2O2 wash.  And I'd better research that bacterial strain! I have lots of lily pads on the surface of the water so hopefully algae won't take over.

 

Thanks so much to both of you!!

 

Sandy

 

 

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Supposedly siamese algae eaters work...  but you need a larger tank for those.  I tried otos, and they'll eat some kinds that grow on the glass.  But they're shy and so only work the back of the tank.  Slackers!  :D

 

Yeah, there are no easy answers to it.  The older the tank, the more likely it'll rear it's ugly head...

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More plants will help to outcompete the algae for nutrients, floaters are great for this.  H2O2 will work for spot treating or dosing a tank if needed, and Glutaraldehyde (Liquid Carbon, Flourish Excel) will also help.  

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