Thread algae in the aquarium

Bob Blaylock at English Wikipedia, 20090906 022641 Algae, CC BY-SA 3.0

Does the home of your fish suffer from thread algae? Thread algae belong to the green algae. It has 5 to 20 centimetre long threads which, depending on their arrangement, resemble cotton wool or cobwebs. This type of algae often forms bushy cushions. When there is a current, individual thin threads can be observed that get caught on stones or decorations and other utensils to continue growing.

In moderation this type of algae is not dangerous, but unfortunately it takes over very quickly and overgrows whole plants including roots and other objects in the aquarium. This can quickly become a problem.
Often it comes to an infestation of the filamentous green algae during the running-in phase. The ecosystem needs a little time to stabilize. We recommend a lush planting from the beginning. Fast growing stem plants are excellently suited.

Causes of thread algae

The green cobwebs appear when there is an oversupply of nutrients in the pond or aquarium. The aquarium plants are no longer able to utilize all nutrients.
It is important to get to the bottom of the reason for the oversupply of nutrients. If you only remove the threads, you will not get rid of the green pests in the long run.


The first step:

Check the water levels using a test strip or digital meter. The levels of CO2, nitrate and phosphate will tell you how to proceed. At least one of these three nutrients will have an elevated value. The optimal value for CO2 is 10 to 20 mg/l, the nitrate value should not be higher than 20 mg/l, the ideal phosphate value is 0.1 to 1 mg/l.
If you have a strong infestation of the filamentous algae, although the nutritional values are in the optimal range, which is rather rare, then you have chosen the wrong exposure for your aquarium.

The second step:

A thorough cleaning of the decorative objects and a water exchange are absolutely necessary. Remove stones and other objects from the aquarium, hold them under running water and scrub them intensively.

At least 30 percent of the aquarium water should be replaced. Better is 50 percent. If the tap water is very heavily contaminated with phosphate or nitrate, which unfortunately is often the case, you should mix it with osmosis water.

Other effective measures are to use fast-growing aquatic plants and to reduce feeding. For a perfectly functioning water biotope, well growing plants are essential. In order to make the ecosystem in your aquarium hostile to thread algae, we recommend the hornwort, the swamp friend (Limnophilia), the water friend (Hygrophilia), the water comb, the water plague or even the water feather.

Have you ever heard of fasting for fish? Your friends often need less food than you think. Feed less and have one fasting day per week for your favourite animals. This will benefit the health of the fish in the long run and will greatly improve the water quality in the aquarium.

If you want to do even more against the unloved threads, you have the possibility to use algae eaters. Flag cichlids, loricariid catfish and certain shrimp species can help you fight the thread algae. The Amano shrimp, for example, loves to eat the thread algae for life.

However, use natural predators sparingly. Too many of the little helpers could have counterproductive effects, so that the growth quality of the other plants and the quality of the water could decrease.

If you have come to the conclusion that the nutritional values in your water paradise are optimal, you should shorten the lighting time. Short newspaper, it is advisable to darken the aquarium. Shading shows good results as long as the plants receive light for at least 12 hours a day.

Do not put your feet up
In general: Be patient. Thread algae do not disappear overnight. But the effort will be rewarded and your animals and plants will thank you.
Follow the above measures consistently and do not get discouraged. Then your beloved finned animals will soon be
able to

experience paradisiacal conditions again.

But stay on the ball! Make it a habit to check the water values regularly and clean your aquarium at short intervals. Rinse the filter thoroughly and change the life elixir of the fish once a week.

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