If you own an aquarium, you may have noticed brown patches developing on the gravel at the bottom of the tank. You may also see a kind of film spreading on the interior side of the glass of the aquarium. The film appears brown especially on the artificial lighting in the aquarium and it spreads rapidly and ends up coating most of its inner surfaces.
The good news is that the brown matter or algae is easy to clean up and it is also relatively easy to stop its growth and spread if you get to know what is causing it. With a few preventive measures, you will have your tank looking all clear and algae-free.
The brown algae are common in a newly set up fish tank, especially those kept in dark places. Or those where the water chemistry of the aquarium is not at in optimal balance.
One of the ways to prevent brown algae from developing on the tank is to provide proper lighting. Once you move the aquarium to a well-lit location or a place where it gets at least eight hours of light per day, work on the water quality.
Water quality is affected by the food you feed the fish, excess of it alters the water quality. Using tap water in the fish tank can cause a build-up of silica in the aquarium. If you establish the algae is due to high silica in the water, get a special silicate-absorbing resin for the tank’s filter.
For the algae growing on the gravel, fish experts recommend vacuuming the gravel to remove the brown coating. Vacuuming ensures the algae does not grow back as quickly.
Another sustainable solution to algae is stocking fish that feed on them. For a freshwater aquarium, you add a sucker-mouth fish that readily eats the brown algae. For a saltwater aquarium, many types of fish will graze on the algae.
As the new tank ages, brown algae are often eliminated naturally by plants and green algae competing for nutrients in the ecosystem. But with regular partial water changes and keeping the tank clean, the algae should not be a problem.
Unfortunately, it is still possible to get algae to build up even with regular maintenance of the tank, especially with the new tanks. Promptly attend to any algae growth to prevent permanent staining which may jeopardise the health of the fish in the aquarium.
Maryanne is a pet [email protected]