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To ensure the health and longevity of aquarium fish, there are a number of factors that must be kept in a state of homeostasis. In some cases, including an algae eater can help protect against scum or buildup. Here’s how to know which aquariums need one.
What Is Aquarium Algae?
Algae are simple aquatic plants that thrive in water with higher levels of food or waste. Algae comes in a number of different varieties, with some forming a layer on the top of aquarium water and others building up on the sides of the tank. Although algae is natural and fish can coexist with it to some extent, large amounts of it can be problematic for fish, aquarium plants, and general aesthetic.
What Are Algae Eaters?
Although the term “algae eater” may summon to mind a small machine or cleaner, it actually refers to a specific type of fish. Some algae eaters such as plecos, otos, and the Siamese algae eater prefer to live off of algae, while others, such as molly, guppies, or rosy barbs, will only snack on it occasionally.
How to Determine If an Algae Eater Is Necessary
When considering adding an algae eater to a home aquarium, it’s important to remember that it involves adding an additional fish that requires its own care. Therefore, an algae eater should only be added if completely necessary. Before adding an algae eater, consider choosing other algae-busting tactics first. This includes ensuring the tank is properly maintained, switching to a higher quality filter, adding more live plants that will compete with algae growth, or scheduling fish feeding to minimize the amounts of uneaten food in the tank. If none of these methods work, an algae eater may be a necessary and helpful addition.
Choosing the Right Algae Eater
Before adding an algae eater, the first step is to consider the needs of the potential addition. For example, some algae eaters will only thrive if there is enough algae being produced regularly, as algae is their main source of nutrition. Additionally, the algae eater must be compatible with the other fish in the tank so that territoriality or aggression doesn’t become a problem. Finally, it’s important to ensure that the algae eater will survive in the temperature, pH, and water already in the tank. Because there is such a wide variety of algae eaters and algae, consult with an expert before purchasing an algae eater. To discuss and resolve your tank’s needs, come into Aquarium Adventure Columbus today and speak with one of our experts.