Actually wanting algae
Is there a way to promote algae growth?
I ask because I started getting some darkish green algae growing from the tops of plants to the water surface in one tank and I had the idea to just break off the part of the plant and throw it in my tank with guppies to see if they would eat it, and in like a minute they had that covered plant cleaned. I see them picking at plants often and I think it would be cool to have more algea for them to snack on.
I never see my guppies eating algae.... But if you leave the lights on in excess you will get more algae. Now sure if guppies eat all types of algae though... not sure you will want to do this.
You'd be better off buying some algae discs for them to eat rather than promoting it in your tank...
I've seen guppies pick at sheet algae. You can get many different kinds -- it's typically in the "saltwater food" section of the pet store. It's dried, and comes in sheets -- just cut off how much you think your fish could eat within a few minutes time, and let em have it.
That would be safer than risk algae growth overtaking your tank.
If you'd like to produce your own though, set up a small, brightly lit turf filter -- there was a thread about algae turf setups in the saltwater section. Set one of those up, and instead of trashing the algae when you clean it, sun dry it, and you'll have "home grown" algae sheets.
algae feeds off excess nitrates and phosphates as well as light. if you increase all 3, there prob. will be more algae then you know what to do with. since fish dont tolerate high levels of nitrates i would do this in a seperate tank/container.
if you going with the pre- made algae sheets take a look in your local asian food store/market ... the dried algae sheets used for sushi do the same trick at a cheaper cost.
Is there really a downside to algae growing?
Heres what the stuff looks like that i originally gave em.
and a top view from above the surface, with little bug things on the algea islands, couldnt get a close look cause im afraid of them jumping in my eye.
Edit: after doin some searching i think they might be springtails. If so, they look pretty cool.
Surface algae, like what you have, can cause several detrimental effects. Firstly, it covers the surface of the water, thereby blocking effective gas exchange. Second, it absorbs most of the useful light, thereby blocking it from your submerged plants. Third, it will cover and smother above surface plants.
If it's under control, that is, only covering a small portion of the surface, then it won't cause any noticeable damage. However, if it gets out of control, you'll start to see problems.
Incidentally, some surface "sheet" algae is actually more akin to cyanobacteria, but the effects are the same. The only critical difference is if you're going to use chemical means of control. True algae needs one method, cyanobacteria needs another. But, I usually recommend against chemicals in the tank, so, for me, that's a moot point.
You have little bugs breeding on the surface of your tank???
I honestly cannot see WHY you'd want that. Regular house flies and other bugs only hang around garbage, rotting animals, and animal feces. I doubt it's really a healthy environment for fish or any animals (as well as a BAD sign) with bugs infesting the area.
DCR is right. Algae is detrimental to plants, stealing their sunlight and nutrients. In a planted tank, algae is a sign that something is wrong... Algae is hard to control and easily becomes out of hand....
Other than that, algae is just plain ugly and disgusting in many people's views so don't show your guests your fish tank... (esp the bugs.)
Except they arent regular house flies and i like them, so im going to get some floating plants for them to live on. I didnt see a single site say they were harmful and a couple said they could be food for a betta, so it seems pretty beneficial to me.
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