RE: NANFA-- Question??? (about algae)

Shireen Gonzaga (
Thu, 06 Jan 2000 21:43:12 -0500

I'd like to add a few more things to Geoff Kimber's
excellent response.

- When setting up your tank again, stuff as many plants as
you can in it. The more plants you have, the better they
are able to compete with the algae for nutrients in the
water column. Try to select fast-growing plants like
hygros, Naja guadalupensis, hornwort, water sprite, etc.

- Diatoms (the brown slimy stuff) is usually caused by
lack of light and excess silicates. If that's what's
hurting your tank, check the water for silicates as well.
If it's high, you may want to put some chemical filtration
like Phosguard in your filter.

- Geoff is wise in cautioning against using erythromycin
for eradicating cyanobacteria. But if you're desperate and
have to use it, please know that it will also kill your
biological filtration. After treatment, your tank will
undergo the usual new tank cycling, and if you have a lot
of fish, ammonia and nitrites could be high enough to
stress and even kill them. You can jump-start biological
filtration by putting in filter media from an established
tank in your "new" tank filter or add store-bought bacteria
like Biozyme.

- There are several helpful algae-eating fish, however
they are non-natives. Several small otocinclus spp.(pygmy
suckermouth catfish) are ideal for peaceful community tanks
with small- to medium-sized fish. For large, more feisty
fish, the Siamese Algae Eater does a good job standing up
to tank bullies (but beware of other similar species like
the Chinese Algae Eater that has an aggressive reputation).
There are other fish that eat algae, in theory, like the
Siamese Flying Fox and pupfish like Sheepshead Minnow and
the Am. Flagfish but they quickly develop a taste for
regular fish food, and ignore the algae.

Keeping a planted tank is not difficult. Just hang in there
and follow Geoff's advice, and you'll be fine. Good luck!

- shireen

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