Help Controlling algae

Bubble

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It turns out that my fish tank is an incredibly good algae farm.
Weekly 30-40% water changes aren't helping, and the algae is growing surprisingly fast.
I'm going to add java moss and possibly duckweed/ similar when I can find some to try and reduce it.
I also have a planted "fishbowl" with some tiny pond snails living in it. Would it be worth adding some of these snails to my fish tank, or would that just cause new problems?
 

MarioDario

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Hey, I personally don’t have a problem with any kind of algae but I might be able to help! The only method I really know of controlling algae is snails! The little buggers will glide everywhere to eat the algae but they can’t just eat algae, be sure to give them blanched vegetables and bottom feeder foods like wafers you may have seen in store, they can like in a temp range of 68-82 (something like that) and thrive in alkaline water so a ph of about 7.4-8.4 if you tend to have harder water that’s also good for them! Hope this helps!
 
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Bubble

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Thanks!
The only problem is that I try to keep my water slightly acidic for my rasboras..
The snails I have in mind are surviving in a bowl with some java moss, so they seem to be pretty easy to keep alive in terms of feeding. (they were accidentally introduced with the moss)
My main concern is introducing a "pest" into my tank on purpose.
 

MarioDario

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Bubble said:
Thanks!
The only problem is that I try to keep my water slightly acidic for my rasboras..
The snails I have in mind are surviving in a bowl with some java moss, so they seem to be pretty easy to keep alive in terms of feeding. (they were accidentally introduced with the moss)
My main concern is introducing a "pest" into my tank on purpose.
That’s understandable, try scrubbing your walls with either a regular sponge that hasn’t been used or a specific sponge with a grip meant for algae, I believe there is a type of snail that is unable to reproduce unless it has salt in the water, pretty sure it was a nerite snail? So if you are worried about an invasion of snails try those guys out but research them as I don’t know too much about that kind! If you’re unable to re home the snails you have now or take them back to the store the only thing you can really do to keep them from breeding is removing the eggs if you have mystery snails they lay their eggs on the waters surface/lid of the tank if your water level is high enough, it takes I believe 2 weeks before the start to hatch so a lot of time to spot them and take them out, crush them, and throw them out. Some people even take care of some of the snails and sell them as a sort of “side hustle” lol, so feel free to do that if you wish! Some snails might have more tolerance to more acidic waters than other, I just read they’re okay in as low as a ph of 6 but with that you’re risking their shell being slowly broken down, hence why they like higher phs, I think if you fed egg shells or cuttle bone or just veggies high in calcium you might be able to help keep the shells from being broken down, but you’ll have to research that a little more possibly and see if there are snails out there good for your fish! I hope I helped you out a little! I’m sorray I wrote so much, I just like to give as much info as possible!
 
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Bubble

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The guys I have at the moment live in a planted bowl I did as an experiment, so I don't mind them too much.
Nerite snails look perfect, I'll need to see if there are any in my area.
 
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Okay it could cost me about $60...
Would lambchop rasboras and cory catfish be safe for small shrimp?
They're about 1.5 cm (0.6 inches)
 

Jerome O'Neil

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Bubble said:
It turns out that my fish tank is an incredibly good algae farm.
Weekly 30-40% water changes aren't helping, and the algae is growing surprisingly fast.
I'm going to add java moss and possibly duckweed/ similar when I can find some to try and reduce it.
I also have a planted "fishbowl" with some tiny pond snails living in it. Would it be worth adding some of these snails to my fish tank, or would that just cause new problems?
Duckweed is awesome. Total nitrate sink, grows like a weed, your fish will enjoy the comfort of an overhead environment, and it is easy as pie to pull after it turns into a lovely green mat floating on the surface.

I love the stuff.
 
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I tried duckweed. It looks really cool and my fish love it, so I'm happy with that.
But now stringy algae is growing from the roots.. oops...

It turns out it's illegal for shops in my area to sell nerite snails...

Does anyone know how big mystery/ apple snails grow? They seem like the best (fully legal) option but I'm not sure I want a giant yellow snail dominating my tank.
 

GlennO

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Bubble said:
It turns out it's illegal for shops in my area to sell nerite snails...
Really, I didn't know that, I've occasionally seen them for sale from Aussie sellers. Assassin snails are definitely illegal, and for good reason.

Is it normal green algae? Have you tried adjusting light levels?
 

MarioDario

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Bubble said:
I tried duckweed. It looks really cool and my fish love it, so I'm happy with that.
But now stringy algae is growing from the roots.. oops...

It turns out it's illegal for shops in my area to sell nerite snails...

Does anyone know how big mystery/ apple snails grow? They seem like the best (fully legal) option but I'm not sure I want a giant yellow snail dominating my tank.
Mystery snails don’t get too big at least in my experience, I’d say a big one would have a shell maybe a little bigger than my thumb fingernail or somewhere around there, on average they get to one inch diameter or something like that. But be aware that mystery snails have a larger bio load than other snails, like I mean they poop at least 3-5 times a day (had white gravel and ONE blue mystery...) so be aware of how many you get at once just in the case of your bio filter, to prevent ammonia and nitrite spikes. They’re hard workers, mine went on for hours on end (and was surprisingly fast) to remove any possibly algae that could grow (didn’t have much.) Also keep in mind that they have really long antennae they like to spread out so if you have any nippy fish in your tank be aware they’ll probably end up nipping the antennae, they’ll grow back after awhile if it does happen, just be aware if it’s excessive or whatever. Lastly they do breed but they lay eggs on the surface of the water so you can simply just scoop up the eggs, squash them, and throw them out, I haven’t heard of them laying eggs underwater but they possibly may so I’d read into that just in case. They also have many fun variations like Blue, Golden, Black mysteries and other colors too, making it possible to find any color that goes well with your tank! That’s all I can’t think of right now but if you have anymore questions I’ll try my best to help.
 

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my bristlenose take care of algae in one tank and a sailfin and goldspot pleco on another tank. if the algae becomes apparent dont feed the bottom dwellers for a few days.
 
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GlennO I can see why.. I'm not sure why my state won't let shops sell nerite snails though, even the native ones.
A timer for my light is probably next on my list of things to try. It's a variety of green algae, though it looks like a new darker kind has started to grow. Before I got my duckweed there was an ugly green-grey algae, but that's gone now.

MarioDario that might work! The only problem will be making sure I don't get an apple snail instead.. most places I've seen only sell them as "mystery apple snails", and only the golden colour for some reason. I might need to look around a bit more.

qldmick I think my tank's a bit too small for any of them.. it's 30 gallons but there are lots of decorations so there's not much open space on the bottom anyway.
 

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Mind showing a pic of the tank? Maybe there's a way of Algae control without adding animals.

Bubble said:
GlennO I can see why.. I'm not sure why my state won't let shops sell nerite snails though, even the native ones.
Erm... Australia has a problem with invasive species and endangered native species. I am not surprised at all as trading either invasive or endangered species is always illegal.
 

qldmick

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MacZ said:
Mind showing a pic of the tank? Maybe there's a way of Algae control without adding animals.



Erm... Australia has a problem with invasive species and endangered native species. I am not surprised at all as trading either invasive or endangered species is always illegal.
their is a site in Australia selling nerite snails.
peacock bass is the latest to be caught in the wild here in Australia, silly fish keepers, hopefully they dont become established.
 
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MacZ other states allow people to sell both the native and non-native varieties. We're allowed to buy apple snails which are invasive in the US, and bettas and mosquito rasboras which both have established feral populations in Australia.
I'll take a pic of it soon. I've apparently got a few fish missing, so I need to figure out what's happened. I'm hoping that they're all just hiding in my decorations but it seems unlikely...

qldmick I know, none in WA though. I'd have to get them in from another state, which is expensive in the best of times...
I hadn't heard about that.. I know of a lot of easy to grow plants that are now illegal because people kept dumping them in waterways though.
 

MacZ

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Bubble said:
MacZ other states allow people to sell both the native and non-native varieties. We're allowed to buy apple snails which are invasive in the US, and bettas and mosquito rasboras which both have established feral populations in Australia.
I'll take a pic of it soon. I've apparently got a few fish missing, so I need to figure out what's happened. I'm hoping that they're all just hiding in my decorations but it seems unlikely...

qldmick I know, none in WA though. I'd have to get them in from another state, which is expensive in the best of times...
I hadn't heard about that.. I know of a lot of easy to grow plants that are now illegal because people kept dumping them in waterways though.
Hmm, could be a state and not a federal thing. Or as often just one species got the attention of the lawmakers. Here you can't buy Mystery snails (neither the south american, nor the chinese ones).

And yeah, looking forward to see your tank. :)

qldmick said:
Oh man, not good.
 
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Macz yeah I think so.. my state's weird like that, it's hard to get a lot of stuff. Or like, you're only allowed to keep native amphibians but for some reason you can keep axolotls here without a licence.


I apologise for the terrible photography, this computer only has a forward facing camera.
The plants are all fake except for two grass-looking ones which aren't growing too well. the green square in the top left is my duckweed.
The window that you can see in the reflection isn't ideal but because I live with my parents I don't have many options for it.


WIN_20200403_15_52_52_Pro.jpg
 

MacZ

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Bubble said:
Macz yeah I think so.. my state's weird like that, it's hard to get a lot of stuff. Or like, you're only allowed to keep native amphibians but for some reason you can keep axolotls here without a licence.


I apologise for the terrible photography, this computer only has a forward facing camera.
The plants are all fake except for two grass-looking ones which aren't growing too well. the green square in the top left is my duckweed.
The window that you can see in the reflection isn't ideal but because I live with my parents I don't have many options for it.


WIN_20200403_15_52_52_Pro.jpg
Yes, your state is weird. I totally agree. ;)

Hmm... ok, the tank is packed with fake plants, which makes it almost look real on first glance, good choice of plants and quite a talent to place them so one has to take a second look. :)

Usually when there are algae problems it's one of two things: Too much nutrients in the tank because people use fertilizers in a tank with to few plants or weak lighting or, as in your case far to few live plants in the first place.

I mean, you could get algae eating fish or snails or shrimp, but those would actually only add to the bioload, may become lazy and only go for the supplementary foods you offer, possibly making the overproduction of Nitrates and other nutrients even worse and forcing you to do more waterchanges.
Or you could replace your fake plants (which I know aren't cheap) one by one with real plants, which would use up the nutrients from the fish waste and leftover food easily and the algae would recede step by step. You already said you'd be putting in Duckweed, which is a great Nitrate sink, as Jerome already said, and Java moss. Good start.

Decision is yours, though. Long term best solution is going from plastic to planted.

My recommendation though ist to take almost only easy to grow and quick growing plants, so you are not forced to get fertilizers at some point or up the lighting. Advanced plants have a lot of hidden following costs and especially if you go into nutrient supplement-territory it get's complicated and the whole system tends to be unstable.
 

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