Algae Woes

Our 55 Gallon Aquarium and a Close Up View of the Red Algae That Inhabits It

Trying to Rid My Tank of Algae

I've had algae problems in my brightly lit. 55 gallon tanks from the very beginning of time.  Here is the list of things I have done to try to get rid of my algae, before I pretty much gave up.

About My Tap Water

I recommend that any serious aquarist find out as much as possible about their tap water.  I have directly called the water department in my town and the chemist on duty was glad to answer my questions.  Also, the town that I live in recently sent out a Drinking Water Quality Report.  It turns out that the report describes the additives that the water department uses to treat the water supply, something I neglected to ask about, when I called them.  Besides chlorine and fluoride, the water department adds several other chemicals during the treatment process.  I believe that this treatment definitely has an effect on how algae has prospered in my tanks.

Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) is added to raise the PH, but a search on the internet reveals Potassium Hydroxide to also be a common fertilizer.  It is often used in liquid starter fertilizers.  It sure seems to start my algae off well.  It never really occurred to me that I was drinking fertilizer everyday, either.

Zinc Orthophosphate is added to prevent pipeline corrosion, but I think that the phosphate component is appreciated by the algae (and plants) in my tanks.  It is no wonder that I have been unable to reduce the phosphate measurements in my aquarium to zero.  I even found this comment about zinc orthophosphate water treatment on the web: "Phosphate may cause algal blooms if stored in an open reservoir".

 Iron and manganese are removed by our towns water treatment facility when they add Chlorine Dioxide to kill bacteria and viruses.  My research indicates that the treatment with Chlorine Dioxide eliminates the need to add Cloramine to our towns water.

Chlorine is also added as a final treatment.

There is very little Nitrate in our water supply, less than .25 PPM.

Given that some nutrients are already are added by the town to my tap water, I should only need to add back the trace elements, the town removed such as iron and manganese and also some nitrogen in order to have healthy flourishing plants in my aquarium.

If only I could get rid of the algae that likes this water so much....