There are many challenges to owning a saltwater tank, from keeping levels consistent to watching temperatures carefully. Among the various challenges one of the hardest is trying to maintain control of the algae that tends to form in aquariums.
Luckily there are a number of steps an aquarium owner can take to try to keep the algae levels down.
Be Careful About How Much You Feed Your Fish
One of the most frequent causes of algae is overfeeding. The nutrients in your fish food can also be used by algae. When fish are fed too many times a day, the excess food is left over to be used by algae.
In addition to the leftovers, being overfed will also cause your fish to produce more waste; which can also be a contributor to algae build up. Try to feed your fish only once or twice a day.
Ration How Much Light You Use
This is similar to the feeding issue. Algae need light in order to survive, so you don’t want to give them excess or they’ll use it to spread more rapidly.
Your fish still need light, so don’t keep them in darkness. The best formula for most tanks is to time the lighting to simulate night and day. Have the light turned on at sunrise then flip it off at sunset. Anything extra will contribute to algae build up.
You can also buy a bulb with a timer so that you will have more control over your tanks lighting.
Have Plants With Your Fish
Having saltwater plants in your tank can be beneficial for a number of reasons; your fish and those plants have been coexisting together for quite a long time so you’re creating a natural eco-system.
As mentioned before, excess food and light tends to get used up by algae. What makes plants so useful in this regard is that they also survive by consuming leftover nutrients in the tank and by absorbing light. By having plants in the tank, there are less resources for the algae to survive on.
Changing Out The Water
Part of what makes an aquarium so susceptible to algae build up is that the water is stuck in place. In nature water is constantly being refreshed with rain.
For an aquarium, you will have to freshen the water yourself. A full water transfer can be dangerous and difficult, but partial water transfers done periodically can do wonders for your tank. Just be sure to be careful to the temperatures when performing any water transfer. A sudden change in temperate can cause a fish to go into shock or even die.
Mind the Gravel
You can clean out some algae by hand, as long as you are being sanitary and careful of your fish. But gravel makes this difficult as algae tends to get down between all the little pebbles.
Cleaning gravel of all algae while it is still in the tank can be all but impossible. It can be a good idea to transfer the gravel out entirely then clean the old set before using it again.