“Too Much of a Good Thing can be Wonderful”



What’s the most unaesthetic beneficial thing in your tank?


It rhymes with… um…..

Hm…. Does anything actually rhyme with algae?

Anyway, alga is beneficial on all levels. So long as it’s not out of control, or covering your tank’s walls to the point your trying to locate your fish through an eerie green film.


Indeed, algae are, after all, living plants, releasing oxygen, doing their part for the overall fresh-water tank ecosystem. It’s a healthy and free food source. And algae can add its own lovely texture. I intentionally let it soften the edges of the plastic plants I mix through my live plants. The goldfish certainly appreciate grazing on it.

But, depending on the species of algae: green, red or brown, an overabundance can serve as a symptom of an imbalance in your tank’s eco-system, i.e., poor water conditions, too little carbon dioxide, too much or too little light. The link below will take you to a useful guide:


Liz Collins, a fish expert with a well-known national pet retailer, prefers keeping to a regular tank-cleaning schedule to chemical algicides.

“There’s definitely chemicals to control algae, but that’s not the route we’re going for in this day and age. My best advice is to keep up with regular gravel vacuuming, monthly 25-percent water changes.”

Liz also suggests adding an algae-eater to your community. “Bristle-nose plecos are a good choice.. Unlike other plecos they only grow to five inches.” That said, she still recommends they’re housed in no less than a 30-gallon tank.


For a list of recommended algae-vors visit: http://voices.yahoo.com/top-algae-eaters-fish-tank-447943.html

For those with gold-fish tanks, Liz says some people try their luck with snails. “They’re the only safe option, as algae-eating fish species can’t healthfully tolerate the goldfishes preferred cooler temperatures.”  But you can hear the frown in her voice as she adds, “But really, snails don’t add a lot of benefit.”

Is that an opening for a debate? Feel free to send your comments.


“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”

Mae West


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