04-08-2010, 02:52 PM
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Algae is perfectly natural, and it is a normal component of any natural aquarium. The aim is to keep it in check.
Having live plants is a benefit, since algae is much easier to control in planted tanks. It is said by many plant authorities that in a well-planted tank, algae is never a problem. The "trick" is to have everything in balance, and that is not as difficult as some might think. Higher forms of plants (algae itself is a plant) are faster at grabbing the nutrients, provided they are available in balance with the light intensity and duration.
In non-planted tanks, you have nothing to use the nutrients (fish waste, organic and bacteria processes all produce nutrients) and in the presence of light, algae will use those nutrients. As I mentioned above, algae is after all just a plant.
Some aquarists seem to think they should have pristine tanks with not a spec of algae. This is not only next to impossible, it is also unhealthy. Your fish can't live in such pristine conditions. Nature is not like that, there is a balance, and every successful aquarium has its own biological balance. Those who allow this to occur naturally, doing regular maintenance and/or using live plants to keep the nutrients in control, will have a more successful and naturally healthy aquarium for the fish.
I have brush algae in my Amazonian tanks; it covers most of the wood in the 90g, less in the 115g [different water conditions and fish loads]. Fish use it. In the 90g I have pencilfish and Corydoras that continually graze through this for food. And there is minute food in it; the fish in this tank spawn frequently, and some fry usually survive, feeding on the plankton in this algae. I have over time adjusted the light duration so that the algae does not go further.
Last edited by Byron; 04-08-2010 at 02:56 PM..