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Welcome to the dark world of Aquascaping.

Today we're gonna speak about reason number one

of people leaving this beautiful hobby,

and this reason is algae.

"Aziz! Lights!" (Quote from the 5th element Movie)

Much better, isn't it?

In this episode we're gonna speak about this aquarium

that is behind me.

This aquarium is one and a half years old.

It was built at a client of ours.

Actually, I built it. And the client himself.

The problem with this aquarium is

that it had been heavily neglected.

And... Well, you can see how it looks right now.

Through the example of this aquarium,

we're gonna touch the algae subject.

We're gonna speak about what causes algae.

Why algae is the number one reason

for people leaving this hobby.

We might be professional aquascapers,

and we might know a lot about

how to deal with... How to address different algae

and we might have some clues

as to what algae is caused by what reason.

But truth is that Mother Nature

is a very complicated thing, it's a very complicated entity.

We really need to be humble

in face of its wonders and we really need to state

that we don't know anything about what we're saying here.

The real issue in dealing with tanks full of algae

is that one has to fight with themselves,

when it comes to what's happening in the aquarium.

Our pride prohibits us to understand Mother Nature.

Many many clients that I spoke to,

have told me that: "I have a good filtration."

"I have nice lighting, I have CO2."

"But still... I have a lot of algae."

"So, what's the problem?"

The problem is that you have started to enumerate

what kind of solutions you had,

and what is right in your tank.

Algae is caused by something

that is not right in your tank.

So the question is; what did I miss?

The problem is that we, people tend to blame others

when there is a problem with something in our lives.

Maybe the filtration is wrong.

Maybe the guy who sold me the filter is wrong,

as he sold me some kind of filter

that I knew it wouldn't be a fit for my aquarium.

I'm not trying to be right here, don't try to be right.

Don't try to beat Mother Nature, just try to be humble,

to understand what's happening around you.

There is a way. In fact, there are multiple ways

to operate algae free aquarium.

Don't think that what we're saying here

and what we're preaching about here

is the only right way.

There are many right ways to operate an aquarium.

This is one of them.

Alright, it's enough! Let's start working!

Okay, so what is the reason behind algae?

Why do we have algae?

At the beginning, people were saying

that algae is caused by high Nitrates and high Phosphates.

This turned out not to be entirely true.

Obviously if you have more Nitrates, than 50 ppm,

or you have more Phosphates, than 10 ppm,

then you might have a problem.

Because like higher Nitrates will prohibit plant growth,

and you might have algae issue,

because of plants suffering.

But then, the modern technology

and the modern science have taught us...

No. Actually speculates on algae being caused

by light and Ammonia.

The more light you have,

the less Ammonia you need to have algae.

Okay, this is a problem, because aquascapes

and modern aquariums have a lot of light in them,

so only a little algae will cause your aquarium

to have an algae bloom. What is algae bloom?

It's the sudden appearance of algae

and the sudden coverage of the whole aquarium by algae.

I told you before, that you can leave this aquarium

running for over two or three years,

without filtration, without stop.

Don't do this, that is bullshit.

You need to have strong filtration. Don't believe what I said.

I just said it because of those guys who wanna

be alternative and and argue with us all the time.

This is just not worth it.

Because there are certain people to whom... Whatever we do, it's not good.

It's important that they have to oppose everything.

That's a type of guy, you know them,

they are all over in the forums,

commenting everything.

We have a website:

If you visit that website,

you're gonna find a lot of descriptions,

describing the different algae, their causes

and their so-called treatments.

On what you can do to get rid of that algae.

It is most important that you cannot fight algae

by fighting the algae itself.

You need to find what caused the algae

and you need to work on eliminating that cause.

Okay, what can cause algae?

I have a number of things here, let me talk to you about this.

Number one: filtration.

Filtration is really important.

I've been talking about filtration

in many many episodes previously.

You need to have a very good quality

biological filter media in your external filter.

You need an external filter because you need

a high volume of filter media.

Okay, what is high quality filter media?

These are microscopic images that we made in a lab.

Of different filter media.

There are big differences in surface area

for these different filter media.

Another favourite!

"You're gonna disturb the fish!"

"You're gonna move the water."

"The fish are gonna be disturbed."

No! They're hiding behind the rocks.

The fish are disturbed,

because you're not keeping the water clean.

You're not doing your water changes.

Do your water change, fifty percent per week.

Don't be lazy!

"I bought this rock from you guys, it's leaking something."

"The fish are dying!"

No! The fish are dying because of the ammonia spikes.

You don't see that they're just toxicated.

Because you didn't change your water.

Number two: lighting.

Lighting is very important. Why?

Because you need to adjust your lighting

to be good with the type of aquarium that you have.

If you have a low tech aquarium,

You're not allowed to have a lot of light,

because you don't have CO2.

Plants will start to photosynthesise

under the strong light strongly.

For that they need a lot of CO2 and if you

don't provide that to them, they will develop problems

and they will start to rot.

So algae and Ammonia is mainly caused

by rotting organic material in your tank.

Third: water parameters.

Water parameters are really important. Why?

Because plants usually are living in

equatorial environments and water is not very hard.

So you need soft water for most plants' CO2 levels.

In order for plants to have a nice photosynthesis,

you need a lot of CO2.

CO2 levels are also very very difficult to control.

Fluctuation of CO2 is also not desired in the planted tank.

Why? Because that will also cause algae,

so please be aware that not only low levels of CO2 can cause algae.

Fluctuating levels of

CO2 can also cause algae.

And one more thing!

"I'm not gonna buy aquariums because I'm too busy."

"I don't have time to maintain them."

Not true!

We have one guy for 12 showtanks.

A lot of fish tanks, plant holding tanks in the Green Aqua.

That guy is working 40 hours per week.

No, he's working 32 hours per week.

And he's coping with them all!

So, how much per aquarium? He's not gonna spend more

than one hour maximum one hour and a half

on one aquarium.

So, if you don't have one hour and a half per week

to have something... A beauty.

Not like this was before, but like this is gonna look like

in a week or so.

Then this hobby is not for you.

Just get... Watch another movie.

Fifth: plant nutrients

That can also can cause algae. How?

Lack of them, or the excess of them?

Or the imbalance of them?

There are times when algae is good,

for example in miso soup.


A useful algae session.


Temperature can cause algae as well. How?

If the water is too hot, the rotting process will be faster.

If the rotting process is faster,

the bacteria living in the internal filter

will not cope with the ammonia spikes.

Ammonia plus light results in algae.

"Seaweed on a stick!" (From the movie Madagascar)

ADA tweezers, beautiful.

Number seven: hardscape and soil.

We've been touching this subject before,

when we were talking about filtration.

The good quality substrate system is very important,

because the bacteria living there

are contributing to the nitrifying process.

They're gonna get rid of the Ammonia,

transforming the Ammonia into Nitrates.

Plants will feel better, when they have a good...

Their roots are in a good, quality substrate.

Alright, enough of this very dark algae... Whatever thing.

I'm sure that you guys are already bored.

I've been talking about the very difficult system

of maintaining an aquarium.

So, let's see how beautiful the aquarium looks like now!

I've been describing you how the system,

a properly set up system looks like. It sounds difficult.

But it's really not. Just get a good filter,

set up a good CO2 system,

have good lights, good substrate.

Keep the regular 50% water changes and you're gonna be fine.

Okay, so what do we do if we see algae?

All aquascapers at a certain point are seeing algae in their aquariums

Always address the root cause, not the symptoms.

Try to find out what caused the algae.

Is your water too hot?

Is your filter too small?

Is the flow of the filter too strong?

Is the flow too low?

There are many things...

Then, get some algae eaters.

Then, try to physically remove all algae in your aquarium.

It's very important to get rid of as much algae as possible

before addressing the root cause.

Because you're giving your tank a bigger chance.

You can do a blackout. What is a blackout?

You can wrap your whole aquarium into a black foil,

or you can just cover it with blankets.

Leave it like that for about two days.

We have the detailed description of the blackout process

on our website. Check it out!

So, what helps you with algae besides algae eaters

and the good system?

You can use liquid carbon.

You can get a surface skimmer, to clean the surface,

and to make sure that the surface gas exchange is okay.

And then, you can get a Twinstar, which is helping you

to create an environment, which is oxygen-rich.

This environment will not be favourable for algae.

Alright, so I think

you got way too much information for a short movie.

Let me just tell you the common mistakes quickly.

You stop dosing, because you see some algae.


Your plants are gonna suffer so much more.

Don't stop dosing when you see algae

Two: blame others. Don't blame others!

Don't blame anybody, don't blame yourself.

Just look into what the root cause of the algae might be,

try to experiment and that's it.

Don't think you know everything!

Don't give up!

Don't try to be cheap!

If you try to get get a cheap filter,

with cheap filter media and bad lights,

you're gonna have algae.

You're gonna just stop this hobby.

I'm not saying that you need to spend a lot of money.

I'm not encouraging you guys

to spend a lot of money on hobby.

Just think of what you're gonna do.

If you can do it, just wait a little bit, save more money,

just buy the right equipment.

It's imperative to have the right equipment!

Also, be patient if you change something,

like if you adjust your CO2 levels, wait a couple of days.

To see what happens.

Don't try to solve everything at once.

Mother Nature is not thinking in your terms.

We know that our life is really fast,

and we try to have immediate results in everything.

But Mother Nature was here long before we were...

And it's gonna be here

a long time after we're not here.

So, just take your time!

Don't overfeed fish when leaving for a vacation,

and you ask your grandma to help you with that.

Make sure that you tell them, fish are hungry all the time,

So when the poor fish are running for food,

it's just their habit.

So, if they cannot eat everything that you're

giving them in 2-3 minutes,

then you have a problem,

because rotting food can cause ammonia spikes

and by the time that you get back from that beautiful beach

you're gonna just see the tank full of algae.

Like the one behind me.

Oh, by the way!

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from Moss Cotton, check it out!!

You can get 10% discount if you type the coupon code...

The discount code: "ALGAEFREE".

Coupon code: "ALGAEFREE".

You can get the brand-new t-shirts. I love them!

Alright? Jurijs' website. Check it out!

Okay guys, this was the algae session at Green Aqua.

I hope that we didn't bore you to hell with all the...

I gotta eat to think!

So, I hoped I did we didn't bore you to hell with...

With all the theory about algae.

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