Brush algae in the aquarium

If the brush algae get out of hand in the aquarium, they disturb the ecological balance and create an unsightly appearance. As the inhabitants are increasingly suffering from the strong growth of algae and it is becoming more and more difficult to combat them, it is important to act immediately and apply the right countermeasures.

The appearance and behaviour of brush algae

Biologically, brush algae belong to the group of red algae. The name is based on its appearance, which shows a finely structured tuft. The colours range from dark green to grey and black. The growth height is a maximum of 2 cm.

They spread preferably in zones with a lively current. There it settles on objects, internal filters, corners andedges. If the infestation gets out of hand, they even overgrow the substrate and lay siege to plants such as Anubias and Microsorum.

Identification test: a part of algae is placed in alcohol. If it is the species, the sample turns a reddish tone.

Causes for the occurrence

One of the important causes of the spread of brush algae

  • Too high CO2 value of the water
  • Flow velocity too high
  • Water quality too hard
  • Too much nitrate and phosphate
  • Too much organic material (Mulm)
  • Too high stocking density and too few plants
  • Too much lighting

Measures against brush algae

Algae occur frequently in the aquarium. Usually they enter the tank through other plants or objects. Compared to some relatives, brush algae are difficult to remove.

An important prerequisite is that the affected objects and plants are thoroughly cleaned of “all” parts of the brush algae or that they are removed completely. If only a few parts remain, the plant cells multiply rapidly and soon overgrow the facilities in the pool again.

In order to dam the growth of the algae in the long term, the conditions of the habitat must be influenced

Countermeasure: Establish the ecological balance in the basin

An important reason for the strong growth of brush algae is the carbon dioxide content of the water. If the CO2 content is too low, other plants can grow less well, but brush algae thrive because they get their carbon requirements from hydrogen carbonate.

If, on the other hand, the CO2 content is high, other plants will also grow and the consumption of nutrients will increase. As a result, the algae have less nutrients at their disposal and their excessive growth is restricted.

Rapidly growing plants of various species can significantly improve the water quality and thus promote the ecological balance. The plants consume large amounts of nutrients and thus deprive the algae of their livelihood. During photosynthesis they also take carbon dioxide from the water, release vital oxygen and consume nitrate and ammonium.

Recommended plants against the algae plague are the hornwort and stem plants such as water plague, tropical water ridge, small or large water lover and Indian water fronds.

Adapting the lighting and the currentsen

The duration of lighting in the aquarium depends on the actual needs of the plants. It should not last longer than necessary. A guide value is about 12 hours. The plants show an indication of sufficient light requirement by placing the leaves upright. If there is too much light in the aquarium, the algae will be happy and grow unrestrained.

Since the red algae prefer to settle in places with a strong current, in addition to lighting, reducing the flow rate of the water can be a useful countermeasure. Reducing the filter action also helps against excessive algae growth.

Easy Carbo

Easy Carbo as a fertilizer has established itself very successfully for the control of brush algae. With a cure of (3ml per 50liter) for 10 days the brush algae slowly lose their color and become lighter. Successively they are then eaten by catfish and snails. This assumes of course that the catfish eat us co. algae in general > i.e. it is not fed during this time.

Further countermeasures

  • Change the water frequently and dissolve excess nutrients.
  • Feed less and prevent organic material like mulm.
  • Less fertilization.
  • Less lighting to reduce algae growth. But stimulate plant growth with proper lighting. A different colour of light can also slow down the growth of algae.
  • Reduce the nitrate and phosphate content.
  • Integratealgae-eating snails into the aquarium.

As the exact cause of the growth of brush algae is still a mystery, even a single, direct countermeasure is difficult to pinpoint. It is known that the algae do not respond until much later after the control. They can still fall off their growth site up to 9 months after dying.

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