Category Archives: Algae

Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

Common Planted Aquarium Misconception is that plants are difficult to grow!

We get to speak to a LOT of customers throughout the day and most of the calls are regarding problems with plant growth however it is a Common Planted Aquarium Misconception.

“Aquarium plants are difficult to grow”

“My plants keep getting algae”

“My plants keep dying”

These are just a few of the issues customers call up about however they are not difficult to grow at all, you just have to grow them in the right way and it is simply a Common Planted Aquarium Misconception .

1. Is your lighting on too long?

The problem here is that people overestimate how much light aquarium plants actually need throughout the day and end up flooding their plants with light.  Plants make their food through photosynthesis and nutrients will give them. Maximum lighting duration is 8 hours per day and if you have algae problems drop that to 6 hours (and don’t forget minumum water changes per week is 30%).

Classica OTL LED luminaire
Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

Another Common Planted Aquarium Misconception is that Red plants hard very difficult.  Red plants will need most amount of light so make sure you place any red plants directly under the light and not overshadowed by larger plants especially those with large leaves such as Echinodorus. Lighter green plants are fine with a little bit less than red plants and dark green plants such as Microsorums, Anubias and come Crypts such as the Wendtii varieties cope with the least.  Another thing to consider with your lighting is some lights are only designed to last between 6-12 months so they will need replacing in time so if you are thinking your plants are starting to take a downward turn and you have had your bulbs for a while, it may be time to replace them.

Red plants such as this Alternanthera cardinalis variegata will require a decent amount of light.

Alternanthera cardinalis variegata
Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

This Java Fern will require the least amount of light as they have drak green leaves.

microsorium-on-wood-small
Common Planted Aquarium Misconception

2. Are you fertilising enough?

Another reason for this Common Planted Aquarium Misconception is that some people are just not fertilising their plants enough. Whether you are fertilising liquid form or using root tabs this needs to be done regularly. This is why with recommend Neutro T & Neutro CO2 as you dose daily which gives you a chance to look over and check your plants and aquatic life on a daily basis thus keeping on top of things.

3. Are your plants overcrowed?

Also another Common Planted Aquarium Misconception that plants are hard to grow is caused by overcrowding. Plants will need to be trimmed and nipped back to allow sufficent light to get to all plants.  We recommed this is done on a weekly basis to ensure that you keep your plants in the best shape and condition.

Handy tools for planted aquariums
Handy tools for planted aquariums

So with the right substrate, lights and fertilisation it is just a Common Planted Aquarium Misconception that they are difficult to grow!

Any questions regarding this we will be happy to assist, just call us on 01363 77 4787.

You too could have an aquarium that looks as healthy as this one.

 

 

Red algae in saltwater tank

Red algae in saltwater tank

If you’re s hobbyist who keeps a marine tank then you’ll know the importance of keeping on top of your algae levels, and red algae in saltwater tank is a bit of a problem for some of you. In fact demand for products that reduce red algae in saltwater tank has been going on ever since the hobby began. There have been lots of products that come and go, but some of them stick, and for good reason too – they work :)

You’re reading this because you need a solution to you red algae in saltwater tank and here it is. Colombo Mycosidol is a fast acting and effective product that removes red algae in saltwater tank, and it’s also safe to use.

red algae in saltwater tank
removes red algae in marine aquariums

So what is red algae?

Strictly speaking red algae isn’t an algae at all and is actually cynobacteria and as a result, it’s important not to treat it like a traditional algae with the more common algae remedies. If you do it this way you won’t clear it up and wonder what has gone wrong and why you bothered to spend you money on it! One thing I would like to point out is that cynobacteria is not always red. It can be blue, green and even black sometimes, but more commonly red.

You’ll normally see red algae or cynobacteria as a clump or a patch hidden away somewhere. It will start small and at first you might not really notice it. They key is not to ignore it at this stage and hope that it goes away – it won’t. Red algae in saltwater tank will not disappear on its own and will need your help to make it happen. Go over your tank with a fine tooth comb in that respect and hunt it out.

Why has is happened?

Lots of reasons, but once you have treated with Colombo Mycosidol you’ll need to look at the following reasons for the future (or else it will come back):

  1. What is the flow like in your tank – I’m guessing not as good as it should be because the reason you have red algae in saltwater tank is your flow isn’t as good as it should be. Improve that and make sure your circulation pump/s are moving all the water around that they should be.
  2. How dirty is your filter? Make sure it’s nice and clean and that the sponges are free from debris.
  3. What is your pH? It may not be as high as it should be. A pH of 8.1 and higher will discourage red algae in saltwater tank. Just make sure you’re not using a pH buffer which uses phosphate to help buffer. Look for alternatives.
  4. Are you using a phosphate removal product in your filter? If not you need to as this will help reduce red algae in saltwater tank.
  5. Make sure you’re not using tap water as this contains too many minerals for your tank including nitrate and phosphate. Use RO (reverse osmosis) water and then remineralise it that way.

But in the meantime you’ll need to use Colombo Mycosidol which will remove red algae in saltwater tank. It comes with 20 small capsules, about the size of a paracetamol tablet – you know the one’s. 1 tablet will treat 25L so if you have a small tank, Colombo Mycosidol will last you a long time and  A full bottle’s worth is enough for a 500L tank and for most of you out there that will be more than sufficient.

Simply pop the required number of capsules into your marine aquarium and let it do the work it is designed to. It’s impressive stuff.

Ultimate Aquarium Algae Eaters

Algae is a massive issue in a planted aquarium and everyone suffers from it.

Some more than others. Those who have been in the hobby for a while will know the HUGE benefits of keeping shrimp in a planted tank, with particular reference to Amano Shrimp which are the LARGEST algae eating shrimp I am aware of. They’re SO HUNGRY for food is almost comical. Not only do they eat a lot, they’re big at roughly 3cm long.

Imagine this for a moment: The tank we keep them in has no algae left – they’ve eaten every last scrap and as a result we have to feed them shrimp food. We pop a few premium grade pellets in and within seconds they’re fighting over it. In the end, the largest shrimp wins and swims off the biggest chunk and eats it all to himself (greedy or what?!). The rest battle it out over the smaller pieces and in no time all the food is gone. Hopefully this demonstrates just how hungry these shrimp are for food. They will tirelessly eat algae 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Below is a wonderful picture of how good these shrimp are. The picture (from Tropica website) shows how efficient the Amano shrimp is when it comes to keeping a plant aquarium free from algae. The aquarium to the left had 3 shrimps, the one in the middle had none, while the one to the right had one shrimp during the start-up. They were all planted in the same way: 3 Anubias barteri var. nana and 3 Eleocharis parvula. The picture has been taken 3 months after the start-up.  A recommendation is 1 Amano shrimp per 5 L water during the start-up of a new plant aquarium. Once a biological balance has been achieved in the aquarium, you can easily settle for fewer shrimps – e.g. 1 per 15 L water. However, if you have many fish that you feed, then we recommend that you maintain the population of 1 Amano shrimp per 5 L water.


If this tickles your fancy, and you want a stress free way of keeping your tank algae free, then invest today in Amano Shrimp by clicking here. And if you want your order for (tomorrow) i.e. Saturday then you can – just make sure you order before 4pm today :)

Killing algae with a little bottle

Algae is such a major problem for hobbyists, it doesn’t surprise me that manufacturers are catering for this rather large issue. I also know a lot of you become despondent about algae but please try not to. Algae happens to professional scapers too – think of it like this. It’s like weeds growing in your garden, it does and always will happen, it’s just a case of what you need to do to stop the rot. So now you know they are part of life (and your aquarium) there are always solutions to everything. So let me introduce a short term fix:

Dupla algae killer

Dupla Algen Killer (which we are calling Algae Killer) is a simple remedy that kills all types of algae slowly. What’s more it also stops it from regenerating so this could be a real winner for a lot of people. Economical and very effective, this biocide kills off algae over a few days to avoid any O2 depletion. This seems sensible to me and I am glad they have looked into this and changed the concentration accordingly.

As a short term fix this 25ml bottle is good for a 250L tank, but if you’re adding it as a preventative measure (and I suspect this will be the main use after the first initial dose), one bottle is good for 2500L. You would dose 2ml per 100L every week.

So what do you think? Bit like liquid carbon I guess.

Brown algae removal

Brown algae is a very common and generally seen in new aquariums (those less than 4 weeks old). Whilst it may look a bit horrible, it doesn’t hang around for long and looks like the below. If left untreated, it will block visibility into your aquarium but rarely does it get that bad.


How is it caused:  Too much light, too early on.

How to get rid:  Really easy – reduce your lighting to 6 hours per day when your tank is new and keep up regular water changes (minimum of 30% once a week – the more the better). If you’re running a tank with 4 T5s, reduce it to 2.  If you’re using a reflector/s  now would be a good time to remove them. If you are using LED lighting (good choice) you need to reduce the intensity of the lights with a controller, otherwise try elevating the height of the LEDs and this will reduce their intensity.

Any brown algae on the glass,  use a soft sponge and wipe the glass on a daily basis. But make sure you squeeze the sponge into a bucket of old tank water, otherwise you’ll add the algae straight back into your tank.

This algae may also cover your rocks and some plants too and if that is the case, you can clean the rocks easily (whip them out and get a toothbrush on them) but for the plants, you’ll need to use algae eating fish or shrimp.

Soft and slimy agae

Rhizoclonium

I thought I would open with a picture of this algae as it’s the easiest way to identify it. Better known as Rhizoclonium, if you have this algae I can guarantee that you have low nutrients and poor water circulation. It’s about the only time you will see this algae and as a result it’s very easy to get rid of.

Occasionally you will see it in a CO2 infused tank but it’s not so common in tanks such as that. Sometimes simply by improving your water distribution by using a Hydor Koralia Pump this algae will disappear because the nutrients that are in your tank and  being moved around better than before. If that fails just add a bit more fertiliser such as Neutro T and don’t forget to add it on a daily basis.

every suffer from blue green algae (BGA)?

because it’s horrible stuff if you have…

I think it’s really important to make sure you have the knowledge as to why things happen in your tank, otherwise you’re left simply…wondering or worse still guessing. Then if it does disappear you need to know why because you’ve done something right. If you’re wondering what it looks like – I’ve included a piccy below. As you can see it’s pretty nasty stuff and will blanket your plants in a very short space of time.

blue green algae

How is it caused:  Poor water distribution, low nutrients and dirty filter. So if you have BGA, slap on the wrist to you ;)

How to get rid: Very simple – 3 day black out. You see BGA is not actually an algae it’s a bacteria that can photosynthesise so by cutting out the light it dies. Before you do your blackout perform a 30% water change, turn your lights off and put a sheet over the entire tank and leave for the full 72 hours. No peeking, just let the darkness do the work. When those 72 hours have passed (and your fish and plants will be fine during that time) you’ll see your tank is sparkling clean and your plants fresher than ever. Once it’s all done, simply do another 30% water change and then make sure it doesn’t happen again (see how is it caused).

Of course for those of you who can’t wait, you can treat with Easylife Blue Exit (great name heh!).

‘orrible algae, BBA

I see it it many tanks, particularly in fish shops for some reason. But like all algae, it’s easy when you know how to nuke it. You’ll find it growing on the edges of some plants, wood and filter outlets/inlets. Really difficult to remove and looks like the below.

bba

How is it caused:  In a high light, high CO2 tanks, it’s caused by unstable CO2 levels.  In low light tanks with no CO2, frequent water changes have been known to bring it on along with poor water movement.

How to get rid:  In high light, high CO2 tanks making sure your CO2 levels are spot on will solve this problem (use a drop checker) and ensure water distribution is excellent (remember you want to see the plants swaying in the current). In low light tanks, use liquid carbon and fix your water distribution issues.

This algae will not die back so needs physically removing :( If you find it keeps coming back, you know you haven’t fixed the above issues.

Algae Control Tropica Style

Tropica are incredible at what they do – there’s no two ways about it their plants are certainly the finest in the world. They’re a joy to look at and also a joy to ship out to customers like you.

Their website is ever expanding too which is great – initially they only ever published information about their plants but now as a result of freelance help they have articles covering all aspects and one that caught my eye today was their article on algae which is a major issue for a lot of hobbyists. You can read their article here and they make a very good point about algae eaters so take note there.

hair algae

My tank has hair algae – how do I get rid of it?

Does this picture look familiar?

Don’t you just hate this stuff?!

I can almost guarantee that you will have probably seen this at some point in your aquarium. It’s a frustrating algae because it looks awful and can be hard to get rid of. But don’t panic, as I can solve your situation. PHEW! *wipes brow*

Let me first sort out an old wives tale and set some of you straight:

It has nothing to do with excess nitrates or phosphates

Now I’d like to quote some text from UKAPS which is an excellent forum for those who do not know. Clive, who writes a lot on there has a real knack for words and I just love what he wrote:

Hair algae has absolutely nothing to do with high NO3 or high PO4. Hair algae is strictly associated with poor CO2. My tanks always have super high NO3 and PO4 and they never get hair algae – until something goes wrong with my CO2.

Just because you are adding CO2 it does not mean that you are adding enough. Do not fall off the wagon. Do not look for other reasons. Only try to realize the truth. Moss is a low light plant, so when you pummel it with high light it suffers more than other plants if the CO2 is not excellent. Therefore the moss is telling you that it is suffering too much light and not enough CO2. You think your CO2 is good but your moss disagrees. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you think, it only matters what your moss thinks.

Step number 1 is to reduce you lighting intensity significantly by 50% if possible. This will reduce the environmental pressures on the moss.

You also need to increase your CO2 levels without killing your fish. If this cannot be accomplished by gas injection rate increase then you need to add more liquid carbon and this has to be done daily, not once or twice a week. The liquid carbon is hostile to CO2 related algae and at the same time it delivers CO2 to the plant. You can use the bottle recommended daily dosage or you can multiply that by 2X or 3X assuming that you don’t have plants that respond poorly to liquid carbon such as Riccia or liverworts/bladderworts or assuming that you don’t have fauna that are sensitive to liquid carbon such as some shrimp.

Increase you number of water changes per week for a few weeks if this is possible.

As you lower the growth demand via reduction of the light intensity, and at the same time improve the available CO2, you’ll find that the mosses and other plants will respond positively and will grow faster. The hair algae will subside. Use a toothbrush in a spiral motion to remove as much of the hair as you can.

This advice is soooo good and so honest. Let me know what you think. Have you suffered from hair algae or maybe you are suffering right now from it. Either way, let me know!