Why Do People Freak Out At The First Sign of Algae?

Discussion in 'Algae' started by fish gazer, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Many people invest their time and money trying to create the "perfect" environment for the fish they have, temperature, lighting needs, feeding, decorations, etc.

    But at the same time, we strive for that perfect, clean looking aquarium. But this is not even natural. We then invest more time and money on how to get rid of algae when we are in fact creating the perfect breeding ground for them in the first place!

    If you ever take a look at videos of tropical fish habitats in the wild, they come from murky lakes and rivers with algae growing on practically everything! Fish also feed off of the microscopic organisms living in the algae.

    I know, I know, the point is to enjoy the look of an aquarium but some algae is good I think if you have a couple of algae eaters in there. All I'm saying is, the "Why is this happening?" sometimes is not your fault or always controllable.
  2. 1971roadrunner

    1971roadrunnerWell Known MemberMember

    Thank you for this this thread! I couldn't agree more :).
  3. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Great thread, be interesting to hear people's different views on it.
    I have all kinds of algae in my tanks as I like them to have an 'au naturel' look.
    My Oto's love the soft green & brown algae on the wood & glass & the shrimp spend hours sifting through the green hairy algae feeding on the insuforia & I think they like it that way
    None of it gets out of hand & luckily I have no Bba as that would have to go.
    We all have different ways of doing things & as long as the fish are happy I'm happy.

  4. smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    I believe you will find that most people who try and get rid of algae are people who have a planted tank. Just because something is natural does not mean its good or you want it in your tank.

    Having a planted tank is a lot like having a garden, people put a lot of time and money into making things look beautiful. Weeds are natural but if you had them in a garden you would rip them out however unlike weeds in a garden algae in a planted tank or any tank is a sign that your tank is imbalanced and you've got problems.

    If you have fish like ottos you NEED some algae in your tank for them to feed on but even ottos only eat some types of algea.

  5. DoubleDutch

    DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Applause fishgazer !!
  6. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Thanks guys!

    I think the most amazing tanks I've seen are South American biotopes with leaf litter, algae, low light, etc, etc. Looks swampy but it's actually catering to the fish and replicating their natural habitats! Not pleasing to look at for most people though, that's the thing.

    If you compare it to lawns for example, we strive to remove dandelions and keep the perfect lawn. But in fact, some dandelions are actually beneficial to a healthy lawn by aerating it, pulling up calcium, and fertilizing the grass.

    Anyway, that being said, I have some brown algae on my back glass and driftwood that I save for my snail, amanos, nerite, and future oto cats. I also have little tufts of bba because nobody seems to want to munch on it yet, I'll keep that one to a minimal! I think it started when I tried keeping live planted plants a few times and failed, could have caused a Co2 imbalance or something. A little hair algae on my fake plants but I've seen the shrimp munching on it from time to time.

    If you overfeed your inverts/algae eaters with other food, they can ignore that stuff, but when they do start eating the algae, it's a win win for everyone.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  7. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Well, that's like saying, nature is imbalanced? I don't think I've ever seen a lake or river with no algae growth.

    I feel like we tend to say that there must be a problem somewhere or there is an imbalance but then that gets people panicked and start adding/removing things to their tanks, which in turn can sometimes be more damaging than good.

    Anyway, everyone's circumstances are very different, whatever works. :)
  8. 1971roadrunner

    1971roadrunnerWell Known MemberMember

    If there is an algae problem in a planted tank then the keeper is doing an especially poor job of maintaining the balance. Only when I added a planted refug. for my FW and Chaeto algae refug. for my SW was there virtually no sign of algae in my Display Tanks (DT's). Plants compete for the same nutrients as the algae...!?
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  9. Harlebleondora

    HarlebleondoraWell Known MemberMember

    I let algae grow on all sides but the front of the tank. Makes the tank look greener and more natural and also feeds my bn.
  10. Adam55

    Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    I think the issue is not the algae itself but what lead to it in the first place. Sure, algae is not harmful to fish but it can be triggered by stuff that is, like high nitrates / ammonia.
  11. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    I agree. Check your levels if you see signs of algae to make sure your fish are ok. But some are just naturally occuring, For example, If you have low lighting or you use tap water for your tank, expect brown algae, that's just how it works.

    From my understanding, nitrates are pretty much algae fertilizers and in such a closed system as an aquarium, it builds up fast and requires frequent water changes, especially for smaller tanks to keep it in check. But that's a whole other topic!
  12. 1971roadrunner

    1971roadrunnerWell Known MemberMember

    It's as much the phosphates (PO4) as the nitrates but the solution is the same, small, frequent WC's are one of the few RULES in fish keeping.
  13. mg13

    mg13Well Known MemberMember

    I totally agree with you, I never got that either, algae is NATURAL.


    and like everyone said, it makes the tank look more real.

    just don't let it OVER grow
  14. 1971roadrunner

    1971roadrunnerWell Known MemberMember

    To each their own???. Live and let live!!!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  15. smee82Fishlore VIPMember

    An aquarium is different from nature as you as you are trying to control as exactly as possible down to the micro nutrients what is in your tank. A well balanced tank should have little to no algae in it it.
  16. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning,

    I agree, some algae in the aquarium is a good sign that there is oxygen in the water. It adds to the more natural look of the tank and some fish/species may feed from it.

  17. TKDennison

    TKDennisonValued MemberMember

    My snails are very happy with some algae around, they keep the glass pretty clean.

    I know, I know...I'm an oddball who LIKES snails...but they are kinda a normal part of the tank system..

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  18. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    Snails are neat to watch. Adds to the dynamics of a tank!

    Sent from my cell phone.
  19. 1971roadrunner

    1971roadrunnerWell Known MemberMember

    Snails rock but my fish eat them :(. Anyhoot I enjoy the changes as far as algae, occasional cloudiness (diatom filter if I feel to clear it) and who knows what. Sometimes the changes are not good ones but they usually teach me about something I had not known. The curveballs that my two very different tanks throw at me are what keep me learning and coming back for more challenges and therefore more interesting systems and species.
  20. OP
    fish gazer

    fish gazerValued MemberMember

    roadrunner, you said it best! Ive only had my tank for about 3 months and i feel like i went through a crash course of fish keeping! Definetely learning something new everyday!

    Sent from my cell phone.

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