Pet Fish Secrets - Controlling Red and Brown Algae
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Pet Fish - Red Algae, Brown Algae, Green Algae

No matter what you do, almost every aquarium is going to accumulate some algae, sooner or later.

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No matter what you do, almost every aquarium is going to accumulate some algae, sooner or later.  Once it begins, it grows very rapidly.  There is no known way to absolutely protect your aquarium against algae growth.  

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However, what does it mean? Are different colored algae different types?

Actually, green algae can simply mean, "I'm growing in a healthy, well-kept fish tank."

On the other hand red algae or brown algae can indicate a problem with water quality.  For example, these colors may indicate high levels of nitrates or phosphates in the tank.  Red algae and brown algae are sometimes observed in new aquariums as well, as the fish tank may not yet be ecologically balanced.

Sometimes people think they are seeing red algae or brown algae, or even other colors of algae, but they may be seeing something called cyanobacteria.  Cyanobacteria may be green, blue, black or red in color and looks a lot like algae.  It is easy to remove, but may return rapidly.  It tends to thrive in aquariums which are very well-lit and which have high levels of phosphate.

As stated, algae is normally green, and is common.  However, green dots may appear on the side of a fish tank.  These are not necessarily algae, but more commonly are diatoms.  These are microscopic animals which have a hard shell on which the green algae is growing.

One of the most common methods of preventing algae, green or whatever is with the use of algae eaters.  

Algae also tends to grow in a brightly lit aquarium.  Unfortunately, fish generally require a certain amount of light to remain healthy.  About the best that can be done is to put the lights on a timer so that the fish get what they need but not an excess amount.

Various nutrients and chemicals can be introduced at incorrect levels or can accumulate as waste and excess food build up.  Regular water change and a good aquarium filter can help with this.

Algae can be difficult to get rid of, but remember that it is a natural plant and its presence, at least if not red algae or brown algae, is not a major threat.

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Red Green Brown Algae - Copyright 2013 by Donovan Baldwin
Page Updated 2:55 PM Tuesday 4/9/2013