Overfeeding causing green algae growth on tank walls

Nikao

I feed my three angels, 7 tetras, two Kuhli loaches and two BN plecos twice a day with flake food. I say plecos because I think they eat some, too. Lately, I’ve been seeing a little bit of green algae growth on the sides of the tank. I have pest snails and the plecos, but they seem to struggle to do their job. I believe this is because of over feeding. I have started giving the fish a big giant pinch of the flake food, but I think it might be too much. The angels are big and eat a lot, but do you guys think any of the fish will starve if I start limiting their diet?
Thanks.
 

A201

Be a good idea to mix in a quality sinking pellet for the Loaches & Plecos.
Pellets are a little less messy than flake food.
Although if left unchecked, Green algae can become unsightly, but it usually indicates a healthy tank.
Just need to find a happy medium between light intensity & duration to minimize algae growth.
 

Clarity

In my experience, algae growth is usually more to do with how long the lights are on in your tank or the placement of your tank. If it's getting direct sunlight even with the lights off, then you are going to get a bunch of algae. Of course if you are over feeding them then they're not going to want to do there job and suck the glass and hardscape etc. After all.. they're getting all the meals they need and don't have to work for it, I wouldn't do it of I was a pleco either hahaha!

You should get yourself a group of otocinclus to help combat the algae growth! They like to be in groups to thrive and not feel anxious. They are only small little things but don't underestimate them! These cute little fella's are RELENTLESS! They will get to work the minute you put them in your tank cleaning all your leaves, wood, rocks, glass, outlets, inlets..literally everything! I have a group of 10 in my tank and they each individually do more cleaning than my 2 BN plecs ever have! They stay small and cute and are really fun to watch, truly a master at their craft lol!
 

ruud

A picture of the whole tank would help and perhaps a zoom-in on the substrate if this is not clear on the overall image. As oftentimes, I point the finger of blame at a thick layer of stones or pebbles being used as substrate.

Any idea what the lumen is of your light unit, along with the tank volume, and what light regime you have?

Whatever the cause (and perhaps lack of preventative competition for algae), relying on animals to take care of tank issues is never a good idea. They might just as well contribute to the issue and/or cause other issues. Shrimp, perhaps, being an exception.
 

Nikao

Hey, ruud, I will have some pictures and the like later today. I think the sun is the culprit though. It usually is gray in Pittsburgh, and it has been unusually sunny
Be a good idea to mix in a quality sinking pellet for the Loaches & Plecos.
Pellets are a little less messy than flake food.
Although if left unchecked, Green algae can become unsightly, but it usually indicates a healthy tank.
Just need to find a happy medium between light intensity & duration to minimize algae growth.
Do the Loaches eat algae wafers? I have never heard of such a thing. I have some of those for the plecos.
 

RayClem

It is not necessary to feed your fish twice a day unless you are trying to breed fish and have fry to feed. Once a day should be sufficient. In fact, it won't hurt to skip a day every now and then. Fish can normally go a week or more without feeding if you are out of town. Overfeeding your fish is more harmful than underfeeding.
 

BradleyH2O

I usually fast mine for 48 hours following a WC/vac session. It causes my fish to further clean the tank in search of food, so they pick at rocks, wood, glass and plant leaves.

I think where overfeeding gets us in trouble is not so much the amount of food (although too much isn’t great either), but how FAST we put the amount of food in the tank. I’ve been using a technique to limit the amount of food that falls to the bottom and this has helped my tank tremendously. I like to put just a few flakes in to draw my fish to the surface and then I do sort of a sprinkle feed. Just lightly sprinkling food intermittently, as they gobble it up. As the food disappears, lightly sprinkle a touch more and I do this until I think they’ve had enough. I also like to turn down my HOB to the lowest setting to decrease water flow during dinner time. This also helps the food from being forced to the bottom before it can be consumed. My point is to minimize the amount of food waste that falls to the tank floor.
 

Nikao

How many more people agree that fish should be fed once per day?
 

Clarity

Personally, I feed once a day.
 

BradleyH2O

I feed once per day, unless fasting the fish or if I’m feeding fry, which I’ll typically feed small amounts, 2-3 times per day
 

Cherryshrimp420

The bigger the fish the less frequently they need to be fed. I remember (I think Goliad Farms?) youtuber mentioned that big fish farmers only feed once a month once the fish gets to a certain size. The Father Fish channel also talks about feeding once a week - once a month.

Generally, fish don't burn a lot of energy if not stressed or chased by other fish. I think reducing stress and aggression is a far more important goal for most tanks
 

mattgirl

Normally I feed once a day. Right now I am feeding twice a day because I just got some very young black skirts. I will do this for about 2 weeks and then will go back to feeding once a day.
 

Nikao

I have the light on 9 hours a day. 4 hours in the morning and 5 hours at night. It is a 30G tank. When it is sunny, the light shines from the opposite window in in the morning. I don’t think I can move the tank to a better place.
Also, I treat with Thrive, three pumps a week when I do water changes and three capfuls a day of Flourish Excel in the mornings
 

DoubleDutch

The bigger the fish the less frequently they need to be fed. I remember (I think Goliad Farms?) youtuber mentioned that big fish farmers only feed once a month once the fish gets to a certain size. The Father Fish channel also talks about feeding once a week - once a month.

Generally, fish don't burn a lot of energy if not stressed or chased by other fish. I think reducing stress and aggression is a far more important goal for most tanks
I can't see the logic in that.
 

Cherryshrimp420

I can't see the logic in that.

Fish do not burn energy the same way as warm-blooded mammals. We fishkeepers need to understand that.

Why do mammals (ie humans) have to eat several meals a day? It is because we must maintain a stable, high body temperature which constantly burns calories. Fish do not regulate their body temperature, their body temperature is essentially whatever their environment temperature is. They do NOT burn calories to maintain their body temperature. This energy expenditure is essentially zero. Their basal metabolic rate is just the cost of breathing and maintaining basic organ functions at whatever temperature they are in, which is very very low (for pretty much all aquarium temperatures).

If you look at feed conversion ratios (dry weight of feed fed/dry weight of gain), fish has some of the lowest of all animals at <2. This means fish will convert half or almost all of their feed into body mass. Next time you throw in pinches of food, think about it, is your fish gaining all that food in body mass? For most aquariums of course not, and that means much of it is wasted and not essential to a fish's growth.
 

DoubleDutch

Ahhhh thanks explaining. I got it though I think feeding bigger fish once a week / month will still cause issues in most fish.
It might depend on being carnivorious or herbivorious as well (I think)
 

ruud

I feed mine 4x a week with live foods. All my tanks are heavily understocked and the largest ones house critters such as copepods and roundworms, aka. free live food.

But....for now....an ode to plants, for keeping Nikao's tank relatively clean.

The java fern looks gorgeous and healthy, but given the fish and your water changes, that's all java fern needs. I would reduce dosing Thrive.

The fern also does very well with a lot less bright lights, so along with reducing Thrive, you could reduce the lumens with a dimmer or some transparent plexiglass plate between your tank and light unit. The benefit of a dimmer that allows dimming per time unit, is that you could offer decent light for max 8 hrs, and very dim light for any additional hours, so it allows you to observe the tank in the evening.

The other plant species in the front is Blyxa japonica? It requires a decent amount of light. But not as much as I think I'm observing. Not sure what the tall one in the right back corner is.

Regarding the substrate; it looks like a type I referred to earlier; but it is not so easy changing it to something that has more waste processing capacity.

Adding another fern is a lot easier in scope of algae prevention.

After you dimmed the lights, reduce dosing Thrive, added a fern, you can stop dosing Excel.

Just my thoughts.
 

DoubleDutch

Is the title a question or a assumption / conclusion ?

I doubt overfeeding is culprit
 

ruud

Is the title a question or a assumption / conclusion ?

I doubt overfeeding is culprit
Ha, good one; I just ignored it for convenience sake.
 

Nikao

I was thinking that the overfeeding was causing too much nutrients, but why not reduce the amount of thrive I’m adding?? The plant at the bottom of the tank is dwarf Sagittaria. I think it requires more light than the Java Ferns. The Java Fern grows like crazy and I have to trim it once a month. The plant on the right is a Rotala that I trim a lot, too. In think it flowers because of the mess you see in the picture. I used to have an Amazon Sword in there; it was blowing up, too, but it didn’t leave much room for the angels. Thanks for the bit about the plexiglass. You might be on to something.
Or maybe it is Ludwigia. I forget
 

Thunder_o_b

How many more people agree that fish should be fed once per day?
Once a day, at times every other day. What they will eat in around 5 min, no more than 10 min. Remember they are cold blooded.

Fry and babies are fed 3 times a day. I have 7 dime size baby angels in quarantine at this time.
 

Nikao

This plant is also in there. I think it is an Anubias.
 

DoubleDutch

I was thinking that the overfeeding was causing too much nutrients, but why not reduce the amount of thrive I’m adding?? The plant at the bottom of the tank is dwarf Sagittaria. I think it requires more light than the Java Ferns. The Java Fern grows like crazy and I have to trim it once a month. The plant on the right is a Rotala that I trim a lot, too. In think it flowers because of the mess you see in the picture. I used to have an Amazon Sword in there; it was blowing up, too, but it didn’t leave much room for the angels. Thanks for the bit about the plexiglass. You might be on to something.
Or maybe it is Ludwigia. I forget

I was thinking that the overfeeding was causing too much nutrients, but why not reduce the amount of thrive I’m adding?? The plant at the bottom of the tank is dwarf Sagittaria. I think it requires more light than the Java Ferns. The Java Fern grows like crazy and I have to trim it once a month. The plant on the right is a Rotala that I trim a lot, too. In think it flowers because of the mess you see in the picture. I used to have an Amazon Sword in there; it was blowing up, too, but it didn’t leave much room for the angels. Thanks for the bit about the plexiglass. You might be on to something.
Or maybe it is Ludwigia. I forget
The old school idea is too much nutrients cause algae, the new school that the lack of a certain component is doing so (lack of certain ferts, lack of Co2 (carbon), lack of the right amount of light. Did you check nitrates and phosphates?)
 

RayClem

Fish do not burn energy the same way as warm-blooded mammals. We fishkeepers need to understand that.

Why do mammals (ie humans) have to eat several meals a day? It is because we must maintain a stable, high body temperature which constantly burns calories. Fish do not regulate their body temperature, their body temperature is essentially whatever their environment temperature is. They do NOT burn calories to maintain their body temperature. This energy expenditure is essentially zero. Their basal metabolic rate is just the cost of breathing and maintaining basic organ functions at whatever temperature they are in, which is very very low (for pretty much all aquarium temperatures).

If you look at feed conversion ratios (dry weight of feed fed/dry weight of gain), fish has some of the lowest of all animals at <2. This means fish will convert half or almost all of their feed into body mass. Next time you throw in pinches of food, think about it, is your fish gaining all that food in body mass? For most aquariums of course not, and that means much of it is wasted and not essential to a fish's growth.

The only time a fish burns a lot of energy is when you hook one on a fishing line and the fish takes exception to being reeled in. However, I do not recommend doing that with the fish in your aquarium. :D
 

DoubleDutch

I think it quite funny how the threadtitle sometimes psychological works.

The assumption is the overfeeding causes algae causing members more to think about / deal with the overfeeding than other possible causes of the algae.

Does my Neon tetra have NTD is such a threadtitle as well. 1000 possible causes but only one is named and a lot of members will follow that way.

To be honest it is quite difficult not to !
Think is better to ask open questions.
Fish do not burn energy the same way as warm-blooded mammals. We fishkeepers need to understand that.

Why do mammals (ie humans) have to eat several meals a day? It is because we must maintain a stable, high body temperature which constantly burns calories. Fish do not regulate their body temperature, their body temperature is essentially whatever their environment temperature is. They do NOT burn calories to maintain their body temperature. This energy expenditure is essentially zero. Their basal metabolic rate is just the cost of breathing and maintaining basic organ functions at whatever temperature they are in, which is very very low (for pretty much all aquarium temperatures).

If you look at feed conversion ratios (dry weight of feed fed/dry weight of gain), fish has some of the lowest of all animals at <2. This means fish will convert half or almost all of their feed into body mass. Next time you throw in pinches of food, think about it, is your fish gaining all that food in body mass? For most aquariums of course not, and that means much of it is wasted and not essential to a fish's growth.
We are talking about high quality / the right food then!
 

Nikao

I get back I the forum and I’m already getting the cheese :) lol
 

Cherryshrimp420

Ahhhh thanks explaining. I got it though I think feeding bigger fish once a week / month will still cause issues in most fish.
It might depend on being carnivorious or herbivorious as well (I think)

Just to add, feeding once a month doesn't mean the fish eats once a month. Most fish are eating regardless of whether it is feeding time or not. If they sense food they will eat it. It is assumed that for an omnivore like goldfish they'll be feeding on the green water, mulm, detritus etc even if you are not feeding. For small community fish there are microfauna in the water which they continuously feed on. So the total food that goes to the fish is more than what you are adding through feeding alone.

I have the light on 9 hours a day. 4 hours in the morning and 5 hours at night. It is a 30G tank. When it is sunny, the light shines from the opposite window in in the morning. I don’t think I can move the tank to a better place.
Also, I treat with Thrive, three pumps a week when I do water changes and three capfuls a day of Flourish Excel in the mornings

I think that green algae is fine for a planted tank. I have it in all my tanks except for the ones where plants have covered the entire tank and blocked out all the light
 

DoubleDutch

Just to add, feeding once a month doesn't mean the fish eats once a month. Most fish are eating regardless of whether it is feeding time or not. If they sense food they will eat it. It is assumed that for an omnivore like goldfish they'll be feeding on the green water, mulm, detritus etc even if you are not feeding. For small community fish there are microfauna in the water which they continuously feed on. So the total food that goes to the fish is more than what you are adding through feeding alone.



I think that green algae is fine for a planted tank. I have it in all my tanks except for the ones where plants have covered the entire tank and blocked out all the light
True. A case of learn to love algae.
 

Nikao

I usually fast mine for 48 hours following a WC/vac session. It causes my fish to further clean the tank in search of food, so they pick at rocks, wood, glass and plant leaves.

I think where overfeeding gets us in trouble is not so much the amount of food (although too much isn’t great either), but how FAST we put the amount of food in the tank. I’ve been using a technique to limit the amount of food that falls to the bottom and this has helped my tank tremendously. I like to put just a few flakes in to draw my fish to the surface and then I do sort of a sprinkle feed. Just lightly sprinkling food intermittently, as they gobble it up. As the food disappears, lightly sprinkle a touch more and I do this until I think they’ve had enough. I also like to turn down my HOB to the lowest setting to decrease water flow during dinner time. This also helps the food from being forced to the bottom before it can be consumed. My point is to minimize the amount of food waste that falls to the tank floor.
I wonder about this sprinkling of food and how it impacts my dwarf cichlids that eat off the bottom (same w my Cories) and the tetras that eat at the mid part of the tank.
I feed mine 4x a week with live foods. All my tanks are heavily understocked and the largest ones house critters such as copepods and roundworms, aka. free live food.

But....for now....an ode to plants, for keeping Nikao's tank relatively clean.

The java fern looks gorgeous and healthy, but given the fish and your water changes, that's all java fern needs. I would reduce dosing Thrive.

The fern also does very well with a lot less bright lights, so along with reducing Thrive, you could reduce the lumens with a dimmer or some transparent plexiglass plate between your tank and light unit. The benefit of a dimmer that allows dimming per time unit, is that you could offer decent light for max 8 hrs, and very dim light for any additional hours, so it allows you to observe the tank in the evening.

The other plant species in the front is Blyxa japonica? It requires a decent amount of light. But not as much as I think I'm observing. Not sure what the tall one in the right back corner is.

Regarding the substrate; it looks like a type I referred to earlier; but it is not so easy changing it to something that has more waste processing capacity.

Adding another fern is a lot easier in scope of algae prevention.

After you dimmed the lights, reduce dosing Thrive, added a fern, you can stop dosing Excel.

Just my thoughts.
Thanks for your thoughts:) I will stop dosing with Thrive once a week and go to every other week, however, I do notice the leaves getting lots of holes in them.
I started dosing with Excel because of BBA, and that worked! The other result was that my plants grew like crazy and were extremely green, healthy, so I just continued it! :)
 

RayClem

I wonder about this sprinkling of food and how it impacts my dwarf cichlids that eat off the bottom (same w my Cories) and the tetras that eat at the mid part of the tank.

Thanks for your thoughts:) I will stop dosing with Thrive once a week and go to two times a week, however, I do notice the leaves getting lots of holes in them.
I started dosing with Excel because of BBA, and that worked! The other result was that my plants grew like crazy and were extremely green, healthy, so I just continued it! :)

If you are getting pin holes in your plant leaves, that is usually a sign of potassium deficiency. You might want to pick up a bottle of Seachem Flourish Potassium and try adding that. It is derived from potassium sulfate so it is not adding either nitrates or phosphates to your aquarium. Thus, you should be able to dose it in addition to your Thrive.
 

ruud

Holes, indeed, indicate low potassium, which is not delivered with fish poop. So if you reduce thrive, you may lack sufficient potassium (along with magnesium and calcium, but these are likely added with water changes).

Excel is an algeacide. Your plants grew crazy likely due to lack of algae. So if you can prevent algae through other means, you no longer need Excel.

The easiest thing to do all in all is to select plant species that require more or less the same conditions. My usual recommendation, if you are not a hardcore planted tank lover with a desire to grow red plants, is keeping shady plants, such as ferns, mosses, crypts and buces (or annubias) in combination with dim lights, no CO2, good water movement, minimal fertilisation in the water column and zero fertilisation in substrate (many shady plants in the trade are also epiphytes). Also trimming or maintenance is hardly required. I don't bother taking out dead leaves; they're decomposing organics. I run 7 of such tanks and maintenance is a world apart from my single high tech tank.

Your fern and I believe also the sagittaria can grow, albeit slowly, under these "poor" conditions; poor also for algae. Ludwigia and rotala are more demanding; perhaps replace these with low-demanding plants and fit your lights (dim) and fertilisation (less) to match your plant selection.
 

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