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Thread: Algae Control

  1. #1
    ijo
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    Algae Control

    There is no holy grail for algae control in our aquariums. Algae needs three things to live; water, light and food. To control unwanted algae we must remove one of the three elements. Since we are keeping aquatic life forms it is probably not a good idea to remove the water. Since algae control is primarily of interest to reef aquarists, it would not behoove us to remove light. So that leaves food.

    What is food for algae? The primary food for algae is CO2. Chlorophyll in the algae uses energy from the light source to convert CO2 into a simple sugar, such as glucose, that in a nutshell is photosynthesis. Algae also benefit from other nutrients common to our aquariums as well; phosphate, nitrate, silicate and sulfate are the top four. There are many ways to import these foods into our aquaria, use of tap water for top off and water changes. Overfeeding, use of substrate and rock high in phosphate or silicate content.

    Whatever the source, we must attempt to limit the nutrients from our systems. This can be accomplished through the use of RO/DI water for top off and water changes, use of kalkwasser “lime water” for top off (precipitates phosphates), use of protein skimmer to remove dissolved organic compounds. Employment of a deep sand bed to remove nitrates, the fauna in the sand will eat the detritus that settles on the sand bed. The anoxic areas of the sand bed will consume nitrates converting them to nitrogen.

    The use of animals to remove the food as well as algae itself is recommended. Herbivorous fish such as tangs have an indispensable place in our reefs, as well as grazing snails (astrea, nassarius {not a grazing snail, but benificial} and trochus) and chitons. Small hermit crabs can also be used to scavenge uneaten food.

    Aquascaping is also important in algae control, as well as water flow. A tight wall of rock up the back of the aquarium will create dead areas of water flow allowing detritus to settle and become a sight for algae growth. A loose arrangement with good water flow around, under, behind and in front of the rocks will serve our purposes much better. This also has the benefit of requiring less rock = less money. We should strive for water flow that intricate and moves great volumes of water. This will keep detritus in suspension to be eaten by our corals and scavengers or removed to the protein skimmer for manual removal.

  2. #2
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    Good advice, you should sticky.
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  3. #3
    Senior Member slykat's Avatar
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    Another great...informitive posts ! :thanx:

  4. #4
    Senior Member scooby's Avatar
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    I agree, a sticky for future reads would be great.

  5. #5
    ijo
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    wow... that one was posted when we first opened... can't seem to remember where I got that info from... I'll be sure to move it to our lib section for future reference.

    IJO

  6. #6
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    great post
    Albert
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