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Are algae bad for aquarium? Know positive & negative both

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A group of aquatic organisms which are able to do photosynthesis named algae is good for aquarium till a certain stage because it adds natural oxygen in the aquatic ecosystem but if algal bloom occurs then it will be harmful to fishes and plants. This reduces oxygen from water and adds CO2 to run its respiration and that’s why fishes face respiratory issues. it prevents aquatic plant growth also. Excessive algal bloom may create hypoxia where no living organisms can live.

Sounds confusing right?

Now I’ll discuss it thoroughly don’t worry

If you notice ponds then you may see some algae in it where algae are good because they keep the whole ecosystem. Lots of fishes, shrimps and other microbes are depended on algae for food. Algae are the first and main thing in the food chain. So overall this is not bad

But when you will notice lots of algae in the pond that means that pond is contaminated.  When algae growth occurs in an excessive rate then that is called algal bloom and that phenomenon is bad for the aquatic system.

The same phenomenon can happen with your aquarium also.  You can’t remove full algae from your aquarium because this is not possible to remove the main thing of the aquatic ecosystem. but when you will see the watercolour turns to be green that means your aquarium is going through a serious issue.

Causes of algae in the aquarium

There are various causes why you are facing lots of algae in your aquarium. Here I’ll discuss some of these reasons. But you should remember that lots of algae mean you have done something wrong with your tank so try to figure it out quickly and solve it. Here are the most common causes why your fish tank is facing lots of algae

  1. High nutrients level in the water

When water gets a high amount of nitrates and phosphates then algae will grow fast according to the source. Basically when the aquarium water contains more nitrates than 50 ppm and more phosphates than 10 ppm then your aquarium will face some real issues about algae. If DO (dissolved oxygen) is low then the sediments on substrate release phosphates in water. This is another cause of algae growth in aquariums.

  1. Over-feeding insists algae growth passively

Lots of new aquarists think that fishes are hungry all the time and that is why they over-feed them. But actually, that is a wrong decision that new aquarists often take. If you see that all foods are not finished within 4 minutes then surely you are over-feeding your fish. This will increase the nutrients and minerals in water which will insist algae bloom if it is not cleaned quickly.

  1. Too much light is good for algae

More lights mean more photosynthesis and more photosynthesis means more oxygen. So lights help to keep a healthy environment for an aquarium. But if your aquarium gets too many lights or if your aquarium has been kept under direct sunlight then it will insist the algal bloom. So try not to keep your aquarium directly under the sun or don’t turn on lights all the time.

  1. Temperature helps in algal growth

Temperature also helps to grow algae in aquariums. Basically, up to 25°C temperature blue-green algae blooms. At this time other types of algae don’t grow so much and when the temperature is under 12°C then other types of algae blooms apart from blue-green algae. But the chances of blue-green algae growth are more than other types of algae because aquarists nowadays use heaters in aquariums. So temperature may not fall down in aquarium nowadays for those who use a good heater.

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Why algae are bad for aquariums? 

A little bit of algae is not bad for any aquarium. It helps to keep a healthy environment inside an aquarium because this is the first link of the food chain. Algae participate in photosynthesis also and add oxygen to the water. Fishes, shrimps and microbes won’t mind if there are a few algae in the aquarium. But the problem occurs when it blooms suddenly.

Algal bloom reduces the oxygen level in the water of the aquarium and prevents plant growth in the planted aquarium. That’s why fishes face respiratory problems inside aquariums. At night it takes more oxygen to run its own respiration as other plants do.

But algal bloom does not stay last longer. Maximum it lasts from few days to few months and when it starts to die off then bacteria start to decompose its body and for this phenomenon, a huge amount of oxygen is needed at that time hypoxia creates.

Hypoxia is such a place in the aquatic system where no plants, fishes, microorganisms can live and if this occurs in the aquarium then your whole aquarium system will be dead.

Another bad thing about algae is its toxic nature. When blue-green algae which are known as cyanobacteria, bloom, then they produce toxic materials like microcystins and hepatotoxins, which is a very bad thing for mammals.

Alga shows toxic nature when it stays together in a large group called algae or when it decays or decomposes then a large number of toxins released. These toxins are very much harmful to the aquatic ecosystem. So if your aquarium is facing something like that then you may go to face some serious trouble in this hobby. (source)

Read more:- How Many Algae Eaters For Fish Tank: 5, 20, 55, 60g & More

Why my aquarium water is green?

If the water of your aquarium is green then that is facing algal bloom definitely. The main cause of that green colour of the water is there are millions of phytoplankton or algae (single-cell) are floating in the water column of that aquarium. That is why the water is looking green basically.

In apparent eyes, this green coloured water is not harmful at all but problem is that a nutrient imbalance is created in that water where we can find a huge amount of phosphates and nitrates concentration more than we needed for a healthy aquarium if we check. So that is harmful and that has to be fixed.

The main reason for that green coloured water is excessive lights, which has been discussed before. Lights help alga to grow faster and become algae. So 5-6 hours of light is enough for a new aquarium. Don’t keep it under sunlight directly also.

Low maintenance is another big cause of this thing. Lots of new aquarists procrastinate to clean aquariums frequently and lots of uneaten foods, wastage of fish float here and there in the water. After a while, this thing insists to grow algae. As algal bloom happen very quickly that’s why you can’t take proper prevention after even noticing it.

know more how to remove all types of algae completely from the aquarium

Final thoughts

So after this long discussion, I can conclude that algae are not so bad for your aquarium but if algae bloom happens then the living organisms of the aquarium will get into some serious trouble. That is why you need to take action first.

You need to keep eye on those factors which have discussed here. You need to keep it clean all the time. Try to change 10-15% of whole water within two days. Use a good filter and air stones which will help your aquarium to keep healthy all the time and you will be safe from algae.

So best of luck & happy fishkeeping 🐟

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