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Why Is Algae Forming In My Aquarium?

Updated on March 9, 2014

To a greater or lesser extent algae are always present in an aquarium, in various forms depending on the elements present or absent that enable them to develop.

You cannot have an aquarium which is completely free from algae. Not all the algae are harmful, and some are necessary, this means that you cannot completely eliminate algae from your aquarium.

If the conditions for the development are optimal, the present type will reach the plague level and it will begin to cause damage to other organisms that don't have defense against an invasion of algae.

Excessive nutrients favor faster growth of the algae. To keeping the aquarium algae from growing out of control you should ensure that the aquarium's environment is balanced.

The most important nutrients that the algae need to appear are Silicates, Phosphates and Nitrates.

What Causes The Algae Problem
What Causes The Algae Problem

Silicates: The silicates will enter the aquarium if the partial changes of water are made with untreated tap water. The presence of silicates in water is easy to determine.

When the 10 parts per million of silicate are exceeded in the water of the aquarium, a plague of algae known as diatoms appears.

The silica shell remains of these algae will appear on the substrate and decoration, alerting the presence of the silicate without necessity of carrying out any measurement.

Phosphates: The phosphates use the same gateway that silicates and they are also generated inside the aquarium, since they are a product of the metabolism of the fish.

To avoid the proliferation of algae, a proportion of 0,1 mg/liter of water is advisable. However this is not definitive, because even with lower proportions of phosphates, plagues of algae motivated by the presence of other elements can appear.

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Monitor and maintain the correct Ammonia Nitrate and Nitrate levels, pH levels and General Algae levels in your aquarium.

Nitrates: The Nitrates are the final product of the cycle of the nitrogen (Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrates), and they usually come also in very significant quantities in the drinking water supply.

The Nitrate is the more related with the development of the algae. Besides Nitrates, the algae take advantage of the dioxide of carbon to reproduce. The present proportion of Phosphates and Nitrates will determine the alga type able to grow.

To know the proportions of one and another compound is essential before taking decisions to eradicate the algae.


In general in an aquarium with new water, in presence of light, with the appropriate amount of nitrate and phosphate, filamentous green algae found the ideal environment to develop.

When the necessary nutrients for the growth of the green algae are consumed these die, giving way to other types of algae can grow with this chemical element consumed.

Some algae may occur as a result of this reason are the red algae, brown, black, blue and even those nearest to the bacterial world like the cyanobacteria.

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