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Hello all,

I am new to the forum and new to freshwater aquariums altogether. To give you guys a background on my situation, I'll explain my setup. I have one African Yellow Head cichlid (Pseudotropheus macrophthalmus) that I bought about six months ago. I'm unsure if it is male or female, and I'm not sure of its age. He/she is living in a 10 gallon tank with plenty of decorations inside the tank. The tank is in my bedroom, and gets ample lighting everyday.

My problem began a few weeks after I got it, green and brown algae formations would start on the walls, then on the decorations, then the gravel, and so on. I heard that emptying out one or two gallons a week would help remove most of the algae. Not the case (for me anyways,) so every two or three weeks, I empty everything out of the tank and clean it all off. I know it isn't the correct way to do it, but it makes things more aesthetically pleasing for the fish, myself, and any onlookers.

The way the tank is setup in the room, it gets a fair amount of sunlight, however there really isn't any place in the room that gets no sunlight at all. I have read a few books and numerous internet articles regarding algae reduction and they talk about limiting the sunlight and putting the tank lamp on a timer (which I will do soon.) I visited a website that gave me a list of a few fish that actually feed on the algae, suffice to say, I am very interested in that idea as long as they would get along with the cichlid. I cannot put links in my first five posts, so I will copy/paste the list below:

- Otocinclus Catfish
- Common Plec
- Siamese Algae Eater
- Chinese Algae Eater/Sucking Loach
- Bristlenose Catfish
- Peckoltia Catfish
- Whiptail Catfish

Am I better off simply buying some additive to cut the algae formation, or should I invest in another algae-eating fish (remember, I have a 10 gallon tank)?

All helpful comments are appreciated.

Regards,
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Your getting all the algae because of all the sunlight. Do you have it where the sun is hitting from the back or front or what? You could always cover the back, and sides to prevent that much light going into the tank.

With a 10 gal and the yellowhead I wouldn't put any fish in there with it. The smaller ones would likely end up being killed and the others will get to big for it. I would suggest putting in a couple of rather large apple snails or some ramshorns and that will help with cleaning the algae.

No matter what you do though is going to do much help until you get the cause straightened out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Your getting all the algae because of all the sunlight. Do you have it where the sun is hitting from the back or front or what? You could always cover the back, and sides to prevent that much light going into the tank.

With a 10 gal and the yellowhead I wouldn't put any fish in there with it. The smaller ones would likely end up being killed and the others will get to big for it. I would suggest putting in a couple of rather large apple snails or some ramshorns and that will help with cleaning the algae.

No matter what you do though is going to do much help until you get the cause straightened out.
Thanks for the prompt reply.

Regarding the sunlight situation, it is getting some sunlight on the side. I keep the blinds shut (non-vented) 24/7. At one point, I put two layers of poster board on the side receiving the sunlight to little avail.

Where could I get some of those apple snails or ramshorns? I assume they would exist peacefully with the cichlid? Thanks for the advice.
 

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the green algae is caused by excessive lighting and/or a lot of nutriants. The brown algae is cause by the silca in the gravel and will eventually go away you should be able to just use a Mag-a-Float to clean it off the glass. Also you could try getting a pleco that doesn't get to big, but that might be stretching the room in the tank. You should continue the weekly water changes at a 20% of the tank size. gravel vac in a 4 section pattern one section each week. this will help with the brown algae as will.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I contacted my local PetSmart, they said they have brown snails and gold snails. I asked him if these snails would not only consume the algae but also peacefully coexist with my cichlid, he claimed they would.

So, are these snails what I am looking for? Hopefully my cichlid won't eat the snail.
 

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Bought two snails and bought some plants and situated them against the side where the sunlight comes in. It looks beautiful now, lets hope it will cut down on the algae formation.

I also bought (and soon returned) a manual gravel vacuum, I could not get used to it and was likely using it wrong. Does anyone know of an electric gravel vacuum that works better than the manual one? I'm surprised at the amount of desecration my one cichlid makes over the course of two or three weeks.
 

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Algae comes from (as above) excess light, but also excess nutrients. The snails produce a LOT of waste, so though they will eat algae they contribute as much to the problem as helping with it. I love snails, though, and keep them anyway to provide interest.

The best way to deal with algae would be to keep the waste level low, which would involve weekly 50% PWCs. Some African species are sensitive to water changes though, IME, so if that seems to be the case then I'd even change out 2-4 cups of water every day to keep nitrate and DOC's down. Starving the algae is the way to go.
 

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i agree with the above you have too much light,
I suggest bristle noses for the job on getting rid of the green alage. also only have your light turned on 8 yrs a day, this will also help reduce the algae growth, the brown stuff is a mud, just wipe away just before you do a water change,
Do weekly water changes and make sure you clean any gravel well or you will end up with other problems,
i tend to put my hand in the tank and swish the gravel around before i empty the tank, i normal leave the filter running to help take some mess out
 

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Alright gang, a little update on my situation...

I still have both yellow mysery snails, they've actually managed to produce some offspring as well, I know some aquarium owners find this to be a nuisance as these baby snails can clog up the filter, but that hasn't been the case for me. I have secluded the baby snails in a small bowl and they have been growing a good bit. I don't know what to feed them, I actually haven't fed them any food per se, but they (three of them) are all fine and moving around the bowl consistently. Now to my algae problem, well, it's still there. I'm still removing everything from the tank every three weeks and thoroughly cleaning it. I know it's not the correct way to go about, but the algae is so unsightly that after three weeks it begins to take over the glass, the plants, and any objects inside. To try and cure this, I have bought some "No More Algae" anti-algae tablets. I have yet to use them as I cleaned the tank again this weekend, but on the back of the box it says not to use the tablets with snails, plants, or other invertebrates. I was wondering if anyone on here has used these tablets and could give me more information about them. How well do they work? Have you tried using them with plants and/or snails? I know the box tells me not to use it with them, but I'm wondering if it's just precautionary and doesn't apply to all snails. The snails in my tank are hearty and have been doing a decent job of algae removal, I'd hate to have to seclude them and my plants. Any help is, again, much appreciated.
 

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From your first post, you have green and brown algae. I'm wondering if the green algae is the "hair" type. I had a huge problem with that at one time. I solved it by a) limiting the sunlight (sounds like that has been stressed enough) and b) using a toothbrush to manually remove the algae every day.

With the manual removal, you have to be diligent. That green hair algae grows incredibly fast, so keeping up on it is important. I took a brand new toothbrush, and would just twist the algae in the brush end (like spinning spaghetti on a fork). You have to be careful not to let little pieces float away, as they will repopulate the tank. So, remove the twisted algae from the brush frequently. Everyday, remove all the algae that you possibly can. In a few weeks' time, you will have removed the algae from the tank and if you can limit the light and keep the water clean enough, the algae problem will be taken care of.

Yes, it's a matter of not just removing the algae, but controlling the factors that support its growth, too.
 

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I would not use poison to get rid of the algae. It will kill your snails, and while it will kill the algae, it will also produce a ton of waste product in the tank. The key to algae control is water changes, cleaning waste out of the substrate, and limiting light.
 
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