A couple of months ago, I was very happy when a friend commented on how clear my aquaponics tank was. And so it was, until about a week later, when I saw the first signs of green beginning to appear. A few days later the water was solid green and my fish were only visible when they surfaced to eat. Now he was in a full-scale battle against an algae bloom.
In nature, algae play a very important role. But in my fish tank, apart from being unsightly, they can cause problems like consuming oxygen and causing big changes in the pH of the water. Neither of these are good for my fish.
There are several things you could have done to combat the algae. The first, of course, was to try to prevent it in the first place. This particular tank is in my yard and although partially shaded it was in full sunlight for a couple of hours a day. So I put up a beach umbrella for more shade. I also reduced the amount of food I gave the fish.
Another weapon you could use would be an algaecide. Many people have used it successfully. Others, however, end up without algae or fish. He wasn’t willing to take that risk.
Water changes are also recommended, but I was trying to build up nitrates and nutrients and didn’t want to dilute my tank with a big water change. I decided not to do water changes.
My next choice was to install a UV sterilizer. I installed one for my saltwater fish tank that I paid several hundred dollars for. It had a powerful UV light that was designed not so much to kill algae, which it did, but to kill nasty critters in the water that could make my fish sick. I didn’t need such a powerful or expensive light for my aquaponic fish tank.
I fired up my computer and logged on to Amazon to find a UV clarifier that was less powerful and less expensive than my expensive saltwater sterilizer. I had no trouble finding one on Amazon that was in my price range.
A few years ago there was a game that people played with the Google search engine. They tried to find a search term that returned only one result. It’s so hard to find one, but it could be done. Today, it’s hard to find a term that doesn’t display a million pages. Amazon is something like that. Try searching Amazon for a product and see if you can find one that they don’t have.
I selected to clarify that it had good reviews and was affordable. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member (which it isn’t), two days later there was a package on my front doorstep. I installed the filter right away, which was easy as it had barbs to fit various sizes of tubes. The instructions said it had an easy to read indicator light so you could see the unit is working, but I couldn’t really tell if the light was working or not.
After a couple of days I didn’t see any improvement and since I wasn’t sure the light was working I told Amazon I would return the unit and printed a return label. Amazon has a very liberal return policy. Then I selected another UV filter and waited two days for it to arrive. Like clockwork, it was delivered in two days. The old drive had been installed for those two days since I decided to leave it plugged in until the new one arrived.
As soon as the new unit arrived, I went to install it. But as I was about to do so, I noticed my water starting to clear. So I left the first filter on, and sure enough, by the third day my water showed a major improvement. The same on the fourth, fifth and sixth day. By day seven, all the algae had disappeared. The filter worked although I couldn’t tell if the light was on or not.
I kept the second filter as a spare and to use if algae attack another one of my tanks. The bottom line is that you should take steps to prevent algae in the first place and be patient after installing something new. I won a battle against algae, but the war never ends.
I don’t know if the filter I bought is the best or the least expensive you can find, but it worked for me. If you have algae in any of your fish tanks, you may want to consider installing a UV filter.