Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Algae in aquarium

One of the main aquarians’ problems is the plague of the lowest flora’s representatives. The fanciers of the slow-growing plants (e.g. Anubias) suffer the most. Sometimes they should wait many weeks when a new leaf will appear and study all phases of its’ development. But at the same time for several days algae can spoil the aspect of fanciers’ plants, which have been growing for years. At our forum there is a lot of information concerning the fighting with these undesirable “newcomers” and I try to sum it up.


First of all we should mention that there are a lot of types of algae. And the main cause of their appearance is the disturbance of biological balance, so it depends on thousand different factors: beginning with the composition and quantity of the aquatic animals and insects, flora, light intensity and so on. Sometimes algae can be the first sign of the aquarium’s “ripening” – drawing near to this notorious equilibrium. But generally you should look closely at appearance of the new guests and take necessary measures. I won’t stop at advices on how to create a planted tank and right away I come to the question: “What should we do if Anubias were attacked by the algae?” The representatives of the genus Compsopogon are the most dangerous for this plant. Usually people call them “black brush algae”. On the Anubias’ leaf they appear as black points or brushes and we can find them at the margin of the leaf. It’s very difficult to remove these weeds mechanically, only with leaf’s tissue or with the whole leaf, but many aquarians can’t do this. The simple way out is the usage of the biological methods. For example, you can get shrimps of the genus Caridina or snails - Theodoxus, Clithon or Neretina - and they will mop up the algae. But we can’t use them in all cases, e.g. for African Cichlids, because these shrimps and snails can be eaten by these fish. The usage of the larger “algae eaters”, e.g. Crossocheilus siamensis is less efficient. Also the rumor, that the best method is Anubias’ transfer from submerged into a semi-submerged conditions, only delude people. First of all, Compsopogon doesn’t disappear from the leaves, it only dries on their tissue and very often it grows well in a semi submerged condition due to the high humidity. So take into consideration all aforesaid, we can say that the chemical methods of fighting with algae could be used and are nowadays widespread.


In Russia the usage of cheap household chemicals, which contain sodium hypochlorite, became very popular. Short-term washing out (30-60 sec.) of the Anubias’ leaves with this water solution leads to the dying-off of the “black brush”. More than that the tissue of the leaves are protected with the well-formed cuticle, that’s why they can’t be damaged. In this connection we should avoid any contacts between hypochlorite and roots or growing points of the plant. After treatment leaves should be well washed under running water. The oxidized parts of the algae will flake from the leaves in aquarium in 2-3 days after treatment and become delicacies for many fishes, e.g. for callichthyid catfishes. In conclusion it stands to mention that you should handle all household chemicals only in accordance with safety instructions on the package.


The authors of this note: Dmitry Loginov.

The author used infos from the next Web pages:

(http://www.tropica.ru/forum/index.php?showtopic=18300, http://www.tropica.ru/forum/index.php?showtopic=22808)

Translated from Russian by Julia Niklyaeva and Alexander Grigorov

Photos: Eugeniy Tochenov, Alexander Grigorov and Vladislav Elbakyan.


© Dmitry Loginov

© Alexander Grigorov

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