I am forever being asked about how to reduce algae of all different kinds. Algae on the glass, green slime algae, hair algae ect.
What I am about to say isn’t a sure fire way to get rid of it, but it certainly help to prevent algae. Your goal is to find the root of the problem, not the quick “band aid” fix.
People are always looking for a formula like how many watts per gallon or inches of fish per gallon.
Here is a formula that I follow that keeps my tanks rolling with very little algae or maintenance.
Feed your fish 3 times a week. Yes- That’s it. Your fish won’t starve if you have a well planted tank. They will pick stuff off of the plants and pick around at the gravel. People always think that fish need to eat like people. “I eat three meals a day, so should my fish, right?” Wrong. Your fish are living in a closed system. When you go to the bathroom, you don’t have to sit around in your own waste. (You probably leave the bathroom right away as well) Fish sit and have to live in the waste they produce. Less waste, less excess nutrients and algae in your tank.
Run your lights for only 6 hours a day. Yes you can run them more, but start your tank off with the lights on for only 6 hours a day. Why so little? Why not 12? Think about it like nature. Even aquarium plants in the wild don’t get a full 12 hours a day of direct sunlight. They are typically getting some full light, but they spend a good deal of time in the shadow of other plants. Also too, those plants are in an “open system”the water is probably flowing or if it is not flowing, the plants are in a large enough body of water that excess light won’t cause algae as there are enough other plants to absorb it. Your aquarium is a highly condensed “Closed System” Your are sitting there on Max- Grow until they can’t take in anymore light, but guess who can take some more light? Mr. Algae
30% water changes every week. Yep. It is as simple at that. You can buy as big of a filter as you would like or do as many crazy things as you can to keep your tanks clean, but there is no substitute for a nice water change. When you do a 30% water change, not only are you removing the excess waste. You are also ADDING back cleaner water with the trace elements that have been used up by both your plants and fish. What to get your plants and fish to grow bigger and faster? Do frequent water changes and watch them grow. (side note: I do %50 water changes once a week in the green house tanks and the plants and fish are growing like crazy)
You can most certainly adjust these numbers to your liking. Play with them until you find that BALANCE point. Balance is what you are ultimately looking for in your tank, every tank is different, find what numbers will work best for your tank.
NOTE This photo is of my 75 gallon tank down stairs which is one of the most balanced tanks I own. It has 4 HO-T5 lights on it. The tank has a lot of light for not having CO2 but also has a massive plant load of dwarf sag, baby tears and duckweed which take all of the light it dishes out. (and yes the lights are only on for 6 hours, I fed about every other day and do 30% water changes almost weekly, if I skip a week, I do %50 the following)