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Fish Keeping Tip Sheets

Algae Control in the Marine Aquarium

Algae control in a marine aquarium has long been a highly sought after answer. It is even increasingly more important in the keeping of a marine reef aquarium as excessive algae growth can and will compete with corals causing health issues.

Some algae in the aquarium can be a good thing. Algae are beneficial to the aquatic ecosystem in several ways. First and foremost it is a food source to many of the animals (especially herbivores) living in the aquarium providing nutrients and fiber. Algae also provide oxygen to the water and take up carbon dioxide (the respiration waste product from the animals). Finally, it utilizes (absorbs) nitrates, which are the final end product of the nitrogen cycle – an ever important biological function and filtration process occurring in the closed system of an aquarium.

There are many forms of algae, usually falling into 4 color categories; green, blue-green, red and brown and all grow in response to nutrients and light. The color of algae growing will indicate the types of nutrients and light spectrum feeding it.

Chemical means to control algae can be touchy as any adverse chemical in the water could damage the corals and fish in the aquarium. Mechanical means work fine however over time it becomes a tiring routine. Natural methods can be a nice balance if maintained properly. Nature has provided us with lots of help in the form of algae eating animals (fish, snails, crabs, urchins and shrimp). The following list of animals can be extremely beneficial and interesting to watch.

Marine Cleaners

GREEN ALGAE
BROWN (DIATOM) ALGAE

- Emerald Crab
- Blue Leg Hermit
- Cortez Red leg Hermit
- Mexican Turbo Snail
- Trochus Snail
- Sally Lightfoot Crab
- Urchins
- Nerites Snail
- Tangs/Surgeonfish

- Black Turbo Snail
- Blue Leg Hermit
- Red Leg Hermit
- Astrea Snail
- Trochus Snail
- Strombus Conch
- Cerith Snail
- Nerites Snail
- Tangs/Surgeonfish

BLUEGREEN & RED CYANOBACTERIA ALGAE
BUBBLE ALGAE

- Black Turbo Snail
- Cortez Red Leg Hermit

- Emerald Crab
- Scribbled Rabbitfish

APTASIA
FLATWORMS

- Batfish
- Copperband Butterfly
- Racoon Butterfly

- Dragonets (spotted)
- Six Line Wrasse
- Yellow Coris Wrasse

SUBSTRATE SIFTERS

- Nassarius Snail
- Strombus Conch
- Blue Leg Hermit
- Cortez Red Leg Hermit
- Cerith Snail
- Sand Sifting Starfish

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