April Meeting

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 at 8:04 pm

Thirty members joined Zoom for Rachel Torrence’s talk, The Creeping Terror: Algae Management in the Planted Aquarium. Algae is unfortunately an inevitable part of having a planted tank. The only thing you can do to manage algae is to make your tank algae-unfriendly.

Having either a nutrient excess or a deficiency can create an environment where algae will grow. Algae is a protist that often reproduces via spores. There are seven different types of algae and they can grow in a wide variety of different environments. Algae often will attach itself to a plant, but it is not sucking nutrients out of the plant, it’s just using the plant as a base.

New tanks are very susceptible to algae due to an abundance of nutrients and pH shifting. Ironically, algae can also grow if your tank has a deficiency of nutrients, since the plants won’t have the resources they need to outcompete the algae. It’s important to remember to care for the plants first. Don’t hurt the plants for the sake of killing algae.

There needs to be a balance between the nutrients needed to sustain the plants and control algae. The best thing to do is try to keep your level of nutrients and CO2 consistent. The suggested ranges for nutrients are Nitrate: 5-20 ppm, Phosphate: 0.25-1 ppm, and Potassium: 5-10ppm. Keeping light consistent is also critical to controlling algae growth. There are other ways to control algae such as algae-eating fish, shrimp, or snails.

Rachel categorizes algae into three group based on when they occur and how difficult they are to remove: Novice, Journeyman and Master. Novice algae include cyanobacteria, green thread algae, diatoms, and green dust algae. Journeymen algae include green hair algae, green water, and black beard algae. Master algae include blanket weed and green spot algae.