Growing Algae

Austin {Aquarist}

I am interested in getting some oto cats but I don't have nearly enough algae in my 10 gallon tank to keep them busy. Is there any way I could speed up the algae growth besides more lighting? Could I possibly grow algae with seeds or something?



Any Advice Would be Appreciated

- Austin
 

Sabi

I don't think it will be possible to grow them in that manner. What I think somebody on this forum (Armadillo?) does, is puts a jar with water outside in the sun and lets algae build up, then puts the jar in the tank for the oto's. I'm not 100% but I think I read this somewhere. Confirm/correct me someone...
 

Austin {Aquarist}

I don't seem to have nearly enough algae for my Otto Cats to eat!!!

Does anyone know how to "Grow" algae Faster???

Any Help is apreciated
 

lilsoccakid

u could leave the lights on more.

but I would substitute their diet with cucumber, zuccini, lettuce, and any other vegetable


algea wafers would work also!
 

Austin {Aquarist}

still not eating!

Hey thankyou I think I talked to you earlier.

My Otto's still aren't eating though
they have sunken bellies and I'm kinda worried. I tried lettuce for a day
then I tried carrots for 2 days
and I just put an algae wafer in 30 minutes ago and there STILL not eating.....


Any Suggestions?
 

COBettaCouple

I don't think they'll eat carrots and I think ZucchinI or Cucumber slices are the most likely food to be accepted. Do you have any pics of them that you could post? They may be dealing with internal parasites.
 

chickadee

Sunken bellies in Otos are bad signs. They have a bacteria in their bellies that digest their food for them. When they are starved during the harvesting process (you can read about the process at otocinclus catfish and it explains the health of the little guys a bit more) unfortunately the bacteria dies and then they are unable to digest any food they eat. This means usually that they will starve to death even if they eat as they cannot assimilate the food that they do eat. Eventually they just stop trying. This is why I generally recommend not purchasing them unless they are fat bellied or at least a little pudgy as those that are caved in are generally too far gone to save. The algae that the Otos eat are actually brown diatoms caused by not enough light in the tank and not by too much light. They do not much care for green algae. They will eat algae wafers but do not prefer them over brown algae. The only way that I know to get brown algae is to let it grow normally in the tank and if it is not there the algae wafers are the only supplement that I know of. What other fish do you have with them? Sometimes if there are fish that are intimidating them they will be too timid to go to the food and please do remember that they eat at night when the lights are off and so you may not be seeing them eat but they may be doing so.

I shall think good thoughts and say a prayer or two for your little ones. I do hope they make it. Please do keep us informed of their progress.

Rose
 

0morrokh

Leave the tank light on for up to 14 hours a day if algae isn't growing. You can also leave a rock outside in the sun in a dish of water, and have several rocks going at once-one in the tank and then once all its algae is eaten, switch it with a fresh algae-ed rock. Algae doesn't grow from seeds.
 

susitna-flower

If you have ANY algae it is probably enough. They don't eat very much, and you can suppliment with algae wafers.
I wouldn't leave the lights on 14 hours, you could get way more algae than your otoes can eat, then you would have to deal with that!
 

0morrokh

If you have ANY algae it is probably enough. They don't eat very much, and you can suppliment with algae wafers.
I wouldn't leave the lights on 14 hours, you could get way more algae than your otoes can eat, then you would have to deal with that!

I meant up to 14 hours if it's a new tank and you have absolutely no algae, not as the permanent schedule. Oto breeders usually leave their tank lights on a long time. Me, I leave them on for 10-12 hours and get overrun with algae. And I kind of disagree about how much they eat...they may not eat much at a time but they pretty much are always eating. However they won't eat thread algae which is what I find you usually get a lot of with too much light. Just my :
 

susitna-flower

True Omorrokh, it is too easy to read things in the posts that aren't there.....I'm with you my tanks have their lights on 10-12 hrs/day. I find the algae can be somewhat controlled with the water changes too...

I'm one who likes some bottom feeders, algae cleaners, middle tank and top tank fish, in all my tanks. It seems to give more interest, and fills the tank.
 

Jacko

An alternative way of growing algae is, like the others said, put a jar out in the sun. Feed the jar with an alternate source of phosphates since this is one of the key things to get good algae, in the wild otos have rivers full of green water to feed on and have been seen schooling like tetras while feeding in it, you can use a syring to spot feed the otos.

I think Amradillo put rocks out in a shallow dish and then alternated rocks within the aquarium. Or was this one of the ideas suggested when she too was looking for a way to grow algae for her babies?
 

COBettaCouple

Do you have fluorescent lighting? If so, getting a tube that encourages plant growth and 10-12 hrs a day of lighting will see algae growing.
 

chickadee

Otos for the most part eat Brown Algae more than the green and then only when they are not being fed artificially by us loving humans with algae wafers. Why work so hard to harvest the stuff when it is dropped from above right? They are darling little fish who will do their best for you and all but really do have limits and to expect much of the green algae to be eaten is too much.

Otherwise they are fine little fish and very cute to watch and see play when you have a school of them, but one should never have more than 2 of them per 5 gallons of tank size as the tank cannot support them.

Rose
 

Trpimp147

what is the best way to grow algae I have a pretty bright light on my tanks... I have 2 lights on my 75 gal and I can't seem to get algae to grow I have 2 large plecos and I don't want to keep buying food for them. I have let my light on over 24 hours a few times hoping it would help.. didnt do much. I just put a light on my 10 gal tank and that tank is starting to get some on the sides of the tank but not on the fake plants... I donno I hope it builds up a lot in the 10 gal due to have baby fish in there and if it gets enought they can eat that. I have plant food I put in the 75 gal tank to help grow algae but isn't helping that much. any one have any ideas
 

needabiggertank

can you posibly open a window to let sun light also hit the tank
 

wkinne02

Are these Common Plecos?

IMO, 2 large plecos would make quick work of any algae in a 75g. It's quite possible that you are growing plenty, and that they are just too efficient at disposing of it. The only way you are going to get out of buying them food is to take them back to the LFS.

I had a single, 4" BN Pleco in my 75, and he kept that tank clean to the point at which I had to supplement his diet with algae wafers, zucchini, and lettuce.
 

Trpimp147

yea.... I have it by a window right now I keep the blinds shut due to its still kinda cold out around here but I do let the window open for a little in the summer its just sun light hits the tank and its to hot for the fish.... the plecos are around 6-7 inch and I do put algae waffers in I haven't put any fresh veggies in the tank for a while.. been to bizy to buy any they love that and I should doo that soon its been like 5 months since I have. I do get algae on fake plants but since the fish are so big its hard for them to hang from the top of the plant that's closest to the light to eat algae I have one light that's like 108 watts and another that's 40 and I put them both on at one time and when my ten gall is emty place that light on the side of tank to shine from one side to the other long ways it helps some but one or 2 days doesn't do much for growing algae. I plan on opening the blinds soon as get gets a little warmer and the sun comes out its been real cloudy for the last week here.
 

travie

You could grow your own algae on rocks out side of your tank, then put the rocks in your tank when covered with algae.
 

wolfman21

Do you have any CO2 in your big tank? Additional CO2 impedes algae growth.
 

Trpimp147

no I dont... I should set that up I thought about it but I didnt know if it would be worth the time. when I get a chance I may set one up.
 

lilsoccakid

maybe just plant a cucumber /zuchinI or other veggie? the seeds are cheap and u could harvest veggies for them the whole summer
 

Trpimp147

I just put some in this week end they ate it in no time.... its just I don't have time to keep up with watering and such and we have a lot a rabbits in our area due to people feeding them
 

tkao

Hi, I'm trying to grow algae on some rocks for my freshwater aquarium to give my bottom feeder a little extra algae. I was wondering if I can put some rocks in a separate container with water, some already growing algae, and regular plant fertilizer? I want to know if it would be safe to use the plant fertilizer in a separate container to grow the algae or if the chemicals would stay in the algae?

Thanks .
 

Orion5

You may not even need fertilizers. Simply place the rocks in another container, and fill the container with aquarium water. Place under bright light for about 18 hours/day, and algae will start to grow in a few days.

Ferts will speed up the process, so if you add a very small amount into the water it might help. The chemicals will not necessarily affect the livestock when they eat it.

Good luck, and post pictures if you can! I love algae.
 

tkao

Thanks!!
Okay another question.

What if I don't use rocks with some algae already on them? What could I do for this?
 

thefishnoob

Just get some tank water, some seed algae, and a porous surface/rock, then put it under a lamp for 12+ hours. Keep switching out the water every day or so. Its pretty easy and it'll grow like crazy, hopefully.
 

R3dArrow

HI all, just started this little project to see what would happen.

I'm attempting to grow algae for my oto catfish on rocks, in a jar, under a lamp.

1) I've made the rocks safe for my tank.
2) Filled the jar with some tank water.
3) Placed an algae wafer in the jar.

The bulb in the lamp is a LED that's supposed to resemble daylight, as it is rated at 5000k.

I will happily update this every week or so if anybody is interested

Here's a pic of the setup going down
9932b2000033cc0a8fce101f3f0ebd34.jpg
 

Kerina

The light will do more good if you move it closer to the jar.
 

R3dArrow

I'll have to do that then. Thx for the tip!
 

TexasDomer

Sunlight would work as well, if you can put it outside or by the window.
 

R3dArrow

Sunlight would work as well, if you can put it outside or by the window.

I would do that, but it's a little cold where I live, I'd be afraid of it freezing or just generally too cold temperature wise. Also for whatever reason none of my windows have sills to sit stuff on. If the lamp doesn't work I can wait till it warms up.
 

MicahD

I would like to grow more algae in my tank as food for my Otocinclus and Nerites. Any tips?

Edit-I also just enjoy the look of the algae creating blankets on driftwood and pieces of gravel.
 

BeanFish

Just feed the otocinclus some veggies. It will be tedious if not impossible to supply otocinclus with algae everyday. Sadly algae grows everywhere, not only on your driftwood. If you want to achieve that look use moss.
Anyways, to answer your question. Leave some rocks in a bucket at the sun. It will grow algae, the only problem with that method is that you may get certains types of algae the otocinclus won't touch.
 

MicahD

I understand that it grows everywhere. I can wipe it off the glass though. I was just saying I like the natural look of it in the aquarium.

I will try the rocks in the sun. How long does that generally take?
 

BeanFish

Looks like this is your first aquarium because no one wants to wipe algae out of the glass! May take 2-3 days (dont know what you will feed meanwhile) and as I said, it is not a guarantee that you will get the soft green algae otocinclus eat. You can end up getting other stuff that the otocinclus simply won't touch. I am not trying to shove veggies down your throat or be annoying but it is truly the best and easiest. Otocinclus have been kept in home aquaria for over a decade, people have tried different feeding methods and the veggies prevail to this day.
 

MicahD

You're not being annoying at all! Very helpful in fact. Veggies it is! Will the snails eat them too?
 

BeanFish

You're not being annoying at all! Very helpful in fact. Veggies it is! Will the snails eat them too?
Yes, they will. Try stuff like zuchinnI or romain lettuce. Blanch them well so they are soft (makes it easier for the otos to rasp it) and just throw it into the tank. You can use a fork to keep them in place.
 

MicahD

That's awesome! Will they eat the entire thing or will I need to remove what they don't eat?
 

BeanFish

That's awesome! Will they eat the entire thing or will I need to remove what they don't eat?
I only have one Otocinclus but if you are keeping them in groups (like we all should!) they will probably eat a lot, couple that with the nerites and maybe they will end the stuff. I leave mine for 1-2 days and remove what hasnt been eaten after that (the fork makes it easier). I have no ammonia problems related to the food staying in the tank by the way so don't be scared of leaving it for a while .
 

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