controlling type of algae growth? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
controlling type of algae growth?

Is there a way to control what types of algae grow in an aquarium? I have Otos and i want them to have the soft green algae and diatoms they prefer, but the algae i keep getting are string algae, green spot algae, and the evil BGA. Is there a way to promote the growth of one type of algae and reduce the growth of others?
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 10:28 AM
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Algae develops then (in different forms) when one or more things within your tank system are out of balance, may that be nutrition, co2 or light or all together. In a well balanced properly maintained tank system you'd hardly see no algae at all.
That said growing one particular type would then best happen if you promote what this particular algae you like thrives on in a sep little tank (e.g. a One gallon) and then use it to 'feed'.
Otherwise i'd strongly suggest to check into your set up as to why you have the mentioned algae as some of them can thrive of poor water quality and then then in return is quite bad for Oto's.

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post #3 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 10:33 AM
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Your best bet would probably be to set some jars of fish water in the sunlight.... You're bound to grow algae, but maybe not the kind you want.. I second that you do not want to grow algae in your main tank.

As for the ottos, you need to wean them onto spirulina algae tabs ASAP.

One thing that might help, is a recipe I found that is used to feed pleco fry before they're trained.

Get some algae tabs or vegetarian fish food, and crush into a fine powder. (About a tsp)
Then add egg white to the mixture until it's a thin consistancy- maybe a litle bit more watery than school glue.


Brush it onto some rocks and let it dry, and feed to your fish. Still need to ween them onto tabs though.

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post #4 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
Ive tried hikari algae wafers, but they doine seem interested and the tabs just get soft and the snails eat em. I know my issue witht he tank is light, i change teh water weekly, but the light is on for 12 hrs. I cut the light back before and it slowed the algae growth but then I will never get to see my fish except when i feed them in the morning since i get home late from work and i would really prefer to be able to look at my fish after work... I will try your recipe and see if that helps them. I have a feeling my MTS will be eating most of it. I dont mind scrubbing the algae. I change the water once a week so i think the water conditions should be pretty good, although i know the water i use has been messed with by water softener salt, thats something I cant change as I dont own the house and the system belongs to the owner
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post #5 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 10:58 AM
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Just put a jar of fish water outside... It's really the best idea.

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post #6 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
I will do that, a friend has suggested cucumber slices, does that work? theres only 1 oto left and it seems to be doing ok but I want to get it some friends so i want to make sure they get food.
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post #7 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 12:22 PM
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Why not just turn the lights on when you get home from work and turn them off later at night. That's what I do. I go to work early in the morning and am home usually around 2 in the afternoon. I bought timers for my lights and have them come on at 2pm and go off at about 11pm. You can adjust to your schedule and allow for the length of time you want your lights on for your plants.

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post #8 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
My timer only lets me set one on and one off. I work from 9am to 7pm and i have the light turn on at 8:00 so I can feed them right before I leave and i get around 30 minutes to chill with them when i get home before the lights go off. :-/ maybe its time to get a new timer... but the room is also quite well lit from light so even if the lights turn off for a few hours during the day, it wont actually be dark in the tank.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 01:04 PM
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I'm not convinced on the whole "siesta" concept of lighting, but I leave my lights on for 12 hours. 12/12. No ill affects and no crazy algae outbreak...

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post #10 of 12 Old 09-22-2010, 02:06 PM
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All algae (except diatoms) occurs due to the presence of light. It is a plant so it need nutrients, but unlike higher plants it can survive on very little, so long as it has light.

I am raising about 20 Farlowella fry at present, and the most difficult issue in this species is feeding the fry initially once they absorb the yolk sack and are free swimming. They must have soft algae, period. My solution was to put them in my 10g that sits in the window, a west-facing window which thus gets lots of light including direct sun. I can assure you, algae took off and is rampant in this tank. The Farlowella are now 3 weeks old (the first hatching) and are doing very well on the green algae that abounds in this tank, solely due to the light.

The danger is that other types of algae may also occur, as Angel079 correctly pointed out. And these fish (otos, Farlowella, etc) will not eat brush algae, hair algae, spot algae. Why these types appear in some tanks and not others is as far as I know not completely understood, but I suspect it has to do with the biological system in each tank. Rhonda Wilson, a plant authority, has written of this several times; she notices various algae in different tanks, when she has the same light, same water, same ferts.

Last comment on otos. IF they are introduced to a tank that has green algae (or diatoms), they will (should) settled in nicely. Once the algae is gone, they will find other sources of food naturally. Mine have always done this. And my adult Farlowella and Whiptail cats have done exactly the same. All these fish eat algae naturally, and if it is present in the tank at first they will settle in. Then they learn to feed from wafers, tablets, pellets that I always feed in the morning for the bottom catfish and loaches. My otos and whiptails in the 115g and Farlowella in the 90g learned quite quickly about sinking foods, and now they all are front and centre in the morning waiting for the sinking foods, even though the rest of the day they are browsing plant leaves and every surface for algae. The sinking foods are keeping them alive, there is insufficient green algae. They learn. It is the initial acclimation period that is critical in such species.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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