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Time and time again, I see customers with algae problems in their aquariums. In most cases algae forms from aquarium lights being left on 24 hours a day or from direct sunlight. Algae is normal and can actually help the echo system of your aquarium. Most people find it unsightly and clean the algae off their aquarium and think it1s gone. We have noticed in our heavily stocked aquariums that, they1re not forming allot of algae build up. We believe the reason is the use of wet/dry filtration. (Big Al1s Multi-ReefTM Store Systems) We know that salt water has high ammonia levels which can cause algae problems, can it be the same in freshwater?

Plant life in aquariums, including algae (most people think as algae as a plant) will eat up nitrites and nitrates. What about free floating ammonia? When visiting the PIJAC show in September, we discussed this situation with Gary Jones from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, who is a guru on biological filtration. He explained that ammonia molecules are larger and easier for plants to digest than smaller molecules like nitrites and nitrates. What does this mean? If your filter does not have enough surface area for bacteria to house itself, it will not break down enough ammonia, in turn the ammonia will remain in your aquarium for algae to absorb and flourish. This is where your filter comes into play. Wet/dry filtration (Big Al1s Multi-ReefTM) breaks down ammonia much faster than conventional filters due to its larger surface area. This is why our aquariums show very little algae build-up. Wet/dry filters or filters like the Penguin Bio-Wheel have filter media that is out of water to receive more oxygen to the bacteria for better break down of ammonia. Over feeding is only one of a few reasons that filters will not work to there optimal level therefore keep the aquarium cleaner. (ie. If you feed your fish twice a day this produces 10 ppm of ammonia in a 24 hour period.) Your filter breaks down only 8 ppms, this means 2 ppms of ammonia remains. After 1 week you have 14 ppm of ammonia remaining for algae to absorb. We are not saying that all algae problems are caused by excessive ammonia levels, but it is very often over looked.

If you are having algae problems, consider your filter. Your filter may not be doing an adequate job that you require to maintain your aquarium. (Consult your local Big Al1s Supercentres)

An aquarium is an eco system, each part works with each other. If one part fails, the rest of the system does not work correctly.

Dan Hamilton
Marine Manager
Scarborough Location

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