Our 55 Gallon Aquarium and a Close Up View of the Red Algae That Inhabits
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.
Reduce the amount of light. I think that this does work, but you
have to be patient.
Increase the amount of light - no difference.
Increasing aeration - no effect.
Poor mans Dupla Drops along with the yeast method of CO2 injection - This
plant fertilizer that did not contain phosphates supposedly would allow
plants to out compete algae for the limited phosphates that would be left
in the tank. In my case, it did not work. I think there were
too many phosphates to start with and not enough plants. The yeast
form of CO2 injection did work pretty well for increasing the amount of
CO2 in the tank. Lowered the PH nicely to 6.4 or something like that.
Erythromycin - Did a good job on the cyno-bacteria that originally took
over the tank. Now regular green algae have taken over.
PhosGuard - Seems to work, but adding it to my canister filter is
Phosphate Eliminator - Phosphate Eliminator is easier to administer than
PhosGuard and seems more effective in removing phosphate from the water.
I do vacuum the bottom of the tank during water changes, thinking that
the phosphate eliminator has only eliminated the free phosphate from the
water, but it still exists in the tank. My guess is it is in the
Phosphate Eliminator at the bottom. .
Based on the advice of a reader of this web page I bought a plecostomus.
He has since been killed by the Jack Dempsey's we keep. I don't really
think he ate much algae while I had him. While my Jack Dempsey's
were rearing fry, I kept him on one side of the tank that was split
in two by a partition. There was usually more algae on the side that
he was kept than on the other.
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.
About My Tap Water
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....