Solving the Guppy Algae Problem

One of the more frustrating aspects of keeping the guppies was the inevitability of the algae that appeared on the plants, glass and stones of the tank. The only space allowed for the big tank was under a window, not a great choice because of the light conditions. The light affects the algae growth, but also promotes a healthy tank so no matter what you do in this situation , as the saying goes’ you are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Care setting up the aquarium or tank in the first place is essential. When setting up one of my new tanks, I generally start at least a month prior to putting the fish into the tank. Starting with the gravel, stones, or what ever I had a desire for at the time. There is always much pleasure to be gained from being creative whether its gravel or painting. Remembering that the tank has a front side that is the one everyone will admire.

After arranging the gravel, rocks and or the driftwood to your satisfaction then is time to half fill the tank. Having a number of tanks provides me with all the plants I need. I plant the tanks with many aquatic plants. Initially, they will clean the water efficiently, and as they are fast, growing will shade the surface. If you have to buy plants, a cheaper way of supplying many plants is to get cuttings together with a weight to keep them in an upright position. A half-filled tank makes it very easy to plant and arrange to your satisfaction.

Remembering always that you start at the back of the tank with the tall or larger plants. It is a good idea to plant the corners first, to give a frame to work .Planting in groups with different plants, preferably those that complement the other. I have always sloped the gravel to the back of the tank for a visual effect. Shorter plants should be in either the middle or the front of the aquarium. The small carpeting plants will cover over the gravel as they grow. I never had a lot of these purely from the perspective that the tanks and stones were easier to clean with out them.

Filling the tank after all the decoration has been done; leaving it to sit for several weeks allows the plants to work their magic. No matter how much care has gone into setting up the tanks, algae will start being noticeable. Nothing makes me cringe more than to see an aquarium covered in the green stuff. Yes, it may be healthy, but the prime reason for having fish is to see and enjoy them. I found a paint scraper to be excellent for cleaning the glass. A paint scraper bought from a hardware shop is both cheap and efficient. Avoid wiping the gravel or stones along the glass, as it will scratch the glass very easily. There are also abrasive pads available from pet shops to use in the aquariums if you prefer. Another is the algae magnet, so you do not have to get your hands wet!

When changing the water, it was always easier to vacuum the gravel at the same time. If you have been observant, you will notice a layer of waste that settles between the stones. This is the result of fish waste such as food and excretions. Left to itself this layer, containing nitrates and other nasties can eventually poison the tank. I found having a spring clean every couple of weeks kept the fish and their environment healthy. Usually it ended up by removing a third of the water, which replacing it with a change of prepared water.

The added water I tried to keep the temperature as similar to the tank as possible in order to avoid any stress to the fish. Always after a spring clean, I did not feed the fish because I figured there was probably enough stuff for them to snack! Other things to avoid algae infestations, was to check the filter .I did this most days regardless of water changes. Keeping your fish buckets, tubing and other assorted aquarium bits and pieces separately is also a good idea as a means of reducing any risk of infection from outside sources.  Making life for keeping guppies so much easier and pleasant.