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Does Freshwater Algae get a bad rap?

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After having my tank setup for just over a year, I have finally managed to get the mature algae mats I was looking for. And I have noticed a few things while doing so:


First you type in algae in google and you get these hideous images of green or brown water, often with dead fish in it… appearing to have suffocated in the grasp of the menacing green blob.


Second I remember as a petstore employee and every so often here people asking for cure alls to this, dare I say, misunderstood primitive plant.* But perhaps it is because this organism takes a long time to mature into a structure that the human eye finds… pleasant?


Which bring me to my third and final point. This is the second tank I have let algae grow in its natural state, mind the occasional pruning. It takes a very long time. In my first tank I had a beautiful carpet of red/green beard algae. It would go between hues of purple, reds, and lime green’s depending on the natural light it got. My current tank has a smorgasbord of algae species growing amongst each other. One of which is beard algae.


I have also noticed that my underwater christmas moss uses the algae as a sort of scaffolding to attach to. In previous attempts my Christmas moss without CO2 took FOREVER to grow. Like 1-2” radius per year. I have had this Christmas moss for a good part of 4 months and I see new patches growing every time I look at the tank. I’d say it covers about 10% of my island structure already. I believe in 1-2 years time it will have completely smothered most the algae and coated every surface in my tank.

Has anyone else noticed such things? Or am I just the crazy algae guy? 🤪



*not technically a plant but also not not a plant

Edited by Biotope Biologist
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Oh my yes. I love algae. I think it looks quite pleasing and makes a tank look much more like what I see in nature. 
When I am trying to get fry of some sort I turn my snail tank lights on full blast for 10 hours pointed at my emergent roots. I get beautiful globs of green hair algae. There is so much microfauna in it I can see it teaming with life with my naked eye. 
A handful of that and my fry thrive. 
I also notice with reluctant breeders the microfauna filled algae will often trigger spawning signaling a good spawn time by plentiful fry food. 
I intentionally set my pleco caves, terra cotta pots and river rocks in the brightest part of the light so it gets carpeted with algae. “Clean” surfaces do not really appear in natural environments and always look odd and out of place to me. 
I am thrilled to have another team algae fan to share in … THE JOY OF ALGAE 🤗

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100%. People see professional aquascapers who have zero in their tanks; and think their tank has to be like that. 

And they obviously don't understand that if those tanks are kept up for years on end, they would have algae as well. 

It's a double edge sword

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I am personally not bothered by the look that much, my problem is the problems it caused. I've never dosed any chemicals to fight algae in my life.

I explained in another topic but I almost had 4 fish/inverts died due to hair algae just in couple months. Stuck on the gills, juvenile fish got imprisoned motionless, snail got trapped from its head, berried shrimp got her leg stuck. And these are the occasions I've witnessed because I was there to save them.

So it is a pass for me :') Also it holds crazy amount of detrius, turns into a poop sponge. Same reason why I don't like moss tbh

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I'm 90% team algae. I can't stand hair algae even though I get the pretty green stuff- it's just very unsafe for not only my plants (as this is where it typically grows) but also for my fish. It's like a tiny fishnet- and nobody I have eats it, manually removing it is a nightmare and even after RR it hangs on for dear life. Yeah, no thanks. (I have seen it in tanks where it looks wonderful, but usually it's on a piece of hardscape so it's doing no harm there)

I also don't like it on my glass so it gets scraped off. 

However, I do like a nice short green algae, even brown because I know my animals like it, it looks cool too. I know it's also a plant so I do welcome it to some extent in my tanks. But like any plant it needs to be "trimmed" and kept at bay so everyone can thrive. 

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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I don't like algae that:
-Grows on top of my plants
-Grows on the front glass
-Grows on my glass tops

Algae DO like algae that:
-Grows on the back glass
-Grows on rocks, woods and other ornaments
-Grows on sponge filters or prefilter sponges

I just find it hard to keep the algae off the things I don't want it on, while allowing the algae I do like to flourish.

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Like sauerkraut and some forms of music, I like algae in small portions.  

Across my four active setups, I have various algae situations: annoying, fun, interesting, problematic and useful. Algae in my pond, or on the glass lids always deserves a bad rap

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