We all know that algae can be a real nuisance when it comes to maintaining your betta’s home. It can spring out of nowhere and really cause havoc on the system. I often get asked if there is any way to prevent it from happening at all, so that’s why I decided to post these 4 quick and easy tips for you, to help you manage your fish tank algae situation a bit better.
Fish Tank Algae Tips
One way to prevent algae from festering in your betta aquarium is to keep it stored out of direct sunlight. If your tank is positioned in direct sunlight it will inevitably grow algae much quicker. This is one of the most common reasons for algae growth, and if prevented, you can reduce the chances of spending more money to fix an already established algae problem. If your tank can’t be moved for some reason, then you need to come up with an imaginative way of blocking out the sunlight. One more thing, make sure you don’t leave your aquarium lights on all the time (i.e.: for morning to night). If you do that, you will be promoting the algae problem instead of fixing it. If you want, or need to because you have live plants, put your lighting system on a timer. A popular recommendation is 10-12 hours per day for planted aquariums, 6-8 for non-planted setups. Also, remember to change the bulb at least once a year. This is because they lose their intensity over the year which can encourage algae.
This really goes without saying, as we should always maintain healthy fish tanks by cleaning them regularly, but it’s a crucial step to preventing algae build up so it must be mentioned. To clean your fish tank you will want to fill a very clean container with water and try to make sure the temperature is the same temperature as the tank water. We don’t want to shock your fish due to sudden drastic changes in temperature. Then treat the new water with a water conditioner. Then simply transition your betta into the fresh water while you clean out the tank. You can remove the filters, lights, etc., and use a suction tube to remove the water into another bucket, to make room for the new clean water. Make sure to keep some of the water in the tank to maintain necessary healthy bacteria, then simply add the new water and carefully place your fish back into the tank. (Important note: That’s just a quick overview on how to do it. For detailed instructions, have a look at this post: How to Clean a Betta Tank)
Use Live Plants
Keeping live plants in your fish tank is very helpful in reducing fish tank algae as they use up many of the nutrients that algae thrives on. Fewer nutrients give less room for algae to grow, so if you can, keep a few real plants in your tank. Some plants are better than others to help you with your algae problem. For example, here are a some that do really well in freshwater tanks: Java Fern, Anacharis, Red or Green Cryptocoryne, Hornwort, Dwarf Hairgrass, Water Sprite, and Cabomba. For more information refer to 12 Easy Betta Fish Plants for Beginners (The Complete Guide)
Betta fish are known for their aggressive nature and many people do not realize that they can co-exist with algae-eating fish. There are several types of fish that will help keep your fish tank algae free and clean, while also safely existing in the same habitat as your betta. One popular option is the Corydora catfish, which is non-territorial and smaller in size:
Another option is the Plectostomus, but this little guy can grow to be 24-inches long. They can also be territorial with other fish, but they survive well with betta fish. You can also use Siamese algae-eaters and Hoplo and Banjo catfish. All of these options will serve your tank well and provide you with the algae prevention you need.
If the tips above don’t help, or you are just looking for other ideas, these may help:
- Do not overfeeding your betta fish
- Scrub the sides of your aquarium before doing the water changes
- Perform proper filter maintenance
- Try switching filter media or the system altogether if your set-up isn’t working.
If you follow the tips above and maintain a healthy environment for your betta, you will significantly reduce your algae growth and the overall upkeep will be much less. The more you prevent algae growth in the first place, the easier it will be to keep your tank clean. Once the algae growth starts it’s much more difficult to control than it is to take preventative measures beforehand.
Have you had any bad fish tank algae situations that you’ve had to deal with? If so, how bad did it get and what did you do to fix it? Do you have any advice that you would like to share? Please post your experiences and comments below! And remember, the best betta tank is a clean betta tank!
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