Have you noticed an iridescent, blue-green sheen on the surface of your tank’s water or on your décor? This may be blue-green algae, which can be difficult to get rid of. Unlike some types of algae, blue-green algae can cause illness if accidentally ingested by humans or pets. It also stinks, causing your aquarium to smell fishy and stagnant.
So, what exactly is blue-green algae and how do you get rid of it? Keep reading for more information!
What is Blue-Green Algae?
Blue-green algae is actually a misnomer because it isn’t algae at all. Blue-green algae is an outdated term for a type of cyanobacteria, which is a group of bacteria that thrives in wet, warm environments with high lighting. It prefers an anaerobic environment with high levels of excess nutrients like phosphate.
If you accidentally consume blue-green algae or get it in your eyes, it can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, sore throat, coughing, and eye itchiness or pain. Pets that may drink out of your aquarium can have similar symptoms. Some types of cyanobacteria can be deadly to fish if consumed, as well as by causing oxygen levels in the tank to drop. It can also convert nitrogen into ammonia, causing ammonia levels to rise.
Blue-green algae is not a sign of a poorly kept tank. Excess phosphates can get into your tank via tap water and cyanobacteria can hitch a ride into your tank on plants and items like rocks.
Many people find that once they have blue-green algae, they never fully get rid of it. This makes prevention extremely important, whether you’re preventing blue-green algae from getting into your tank or preventing a blue-green algae bloom. Prevention is easy but does take some vigilance on your part.
Blue-green algae can be dangerous, both to you and your aquarium. It needs to be dealt with as soon as you spot it to reduce the risk of fish loss and illness. Blue-green algae can be difficult to eliminate and control, but it is possible with the right combination of treatments!
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