Saturday, December 17, 2016

Algae in Aquarium-Which one causes algae? Nitrate, Phosphate or Ammonia??

algae in aquarium

Algae is one of the most disgusting problems that almost every aquarist face. There goes a myth that Nitrate and Phosphorus are responsible for an algae bloom. It is completely wrong. Ammonia is the culprit behind algae bloom. In this Article, I will try to explain it in details.

At first, to know what causes algae, we’ll have to know about algae. There are normally two stages of every type of algae. The first stage is algae spore and the later one is algae. You can compare it to a butterfly. The first stage of the butterfly is a caterpillar and the later one is a full grown butterfly. We know, that the characteristics of the caterpillar are different from the butterfly. Caterpillar lives on vegetation, but a butterfly doesn’t. Similar is the case with algae. Algae spores eat ammonia while full grown algae eats nitrate and phosphate.

How to prevent algae spores from growing?

Algae spores are so tiny that they are invisible to the naked eye. They are present in every aquarium. To prevent algae, we’ll have to stop algae spores from becoming a full grown algae. As discussed earlier, algae spores need two things to grow, they are ammonia and light. Without these two things, algae spores can’t grow. Now, it’s not possible to stop providing light as every plant needs it. So, the only solution is to remove every bit of Ammonia from your aquarium.

What are the sources of ammonia?

Ammonia comes from old, crippled leaves of plants. Unwanted organic materials, waste of fish, etc. also produces ammonia. Over feeding is also one of the major reasons for high levels of ammonia in aquarium water.


How to reduce ammonia level?

To prevent algae bloom, we’ll have to keep the ammonia level in our tank as low as possible. At first, we should install big filters that transfer ammonia into Nitrate (NO3). As algae spores can’t eat nitrate, it doesn’t matter if the level of nitrate is high. Also, regular water changes help to keep the ammonia level under control. We should also remove all kinds of ammonia producing source from the aquarium. Here are some tips to keep your aquarium’s ammonia level in check:

=>Make regular water changes. It is one of the most effective ways to get rid of unwanted ammonia from your aquarium. A good rule is to do partial water changes once a week. Though you may need to do it more often if your tank is in a very bad situation.

=>Scoop out every bit of organic matters that shouldn’t be in the aquarium. Left out organic matter decay and produce a lot of ammonia. Uneaten fish food, dead leaves etc. should be scooped out immediately.

=> Reducing the amount of food given and lowering down the frequency is a handy tip to fight ammonia

=> You can introduce healthy bacteria to your aquarium. A good established bacteria colony converts ammonia into other nitrogen compounds. If your aquarium is just starting or somehow the bacterial colony got reduced drastically, you may see a spike in ammonia level. There are several ways to introduce bacteria. You can put some inexpensive fish to bring bacteria, but this is not a very humane method. Using gravels from a used aquarium is also a smart way to introduce bacteria. Some people use commercial products to establish a bacterial colony immediately. Tetra SafeStart Water Treatment is liked by many hobbyists. It establishes a good bacterial colony instantly. You can check out the product here!

=>Some hobbyists also use commercial ammonia remover products to reduce ammonia. You can use them, but be sure to dose according to the instructions. API Ammonia Detoxifier is renowned for reducing down the ammonia level in the tank. You can check out the product here!


What to do if it’s too late?

If you are already facing an algae bloom in your tank, then the algae spores have already grown into full algae. Don’t worry, you can still fix the situation. Provide Nitrate, Phosphate, Co2 and other important nutrients to the tank. These will turn your plants into a better shape. Unhealthy plants produce ammonia. So, when your plants are healthy, they won’t produce ammonia anymore. As a result, there won’t be any new algae. Moreover, healthy aquatic plants will absorb ammonia. So, when you remove the algae that are now present in your tank, there won’t be any more algae! It’s because you have removed ammonia, so no algae spores can become algae!

Comment below if you have any question and I’ll try to answer as soon as I can!


Phosphorus: Is it good or bad?

Importance of Nitrogen for Healthy Aquatic Plants

Iron Deficiency in Aquatic Plants: The Way to Resolve it