How To Grow Algae For Your Aquarium

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Most of the time, you want to reduce the amount of algae or eradicate it. On the other hand, it may be beneficial to promote algae growth in your fish tank as many aquarium fish thrive from eating this organism.

Allowing the growth of algae inside your fish tank is quite easy. But first, you should know that initially growing algae is best suited outside of the fish tank. Algae is eaten by some of the fish species and other marine animals, such as the Bristlenose Plecos, Siamese Algae Eater, Tropheus cichlids, some Malawi cichlids, Twig Cat Fish, Dwarf Otocinclus (aka Otos), Mollies, Barbs, Malaysian Trumpet Snail, Nerite Snails, Amano Shrimp and small goldfish. If you have one of these animals as a pet, you can save a lot from your weekly food bill by learning how to grow algae. So you can certainly learn a lot from this tutorial, keep on reading.

What You Will Need

When you already have an aquarium in existence, it is best to grow algae separately. Let the algae nourish inside another container and introduce the algae into your fish tank when it is finally time to mix it with the aquarium water. Here are the different tools and materials that you should need to grow algae in a home setting:

  • 2 medium (500 ml) containers.
  • Freshwater.
  • Nutrient Solution (such as Walne brand).
  • Thermometer.
  • Fluorescent compact bulb.
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Water sample from pet shop.

Step By Step Instructions

1. Making A Growth Medium

Filling Water Into The Container

When using a container as a growth medium, be sure that it is totally clean and sterilized before putting water into it. After cleaning the container (flask), pour fresh water ( tap or spring water) into the container, you can boil your water if you suspect it is contaminated.

Supplementing Nutrients

Add Nutrient Solution to the water at the end, such as nitrates, silicates, and phosphates. Algae co-exist naturally with other aquatic life and they keep the ecosystem underwater in equilibrium. The lack of nutrients will the production of algae.

Additionally, micro-nutrients like vitamins and trace metals are also needed to produce algae inside your container. Adding a substantial amount of Nutrient Solution to the container will begin the process of producing these nutrients and vitamins. Nutrient Solution ( you can research other brands) is available at your pet store. Ask your veterinarian for the right amount of this solution to produce enough algae in your container. Cover the container with aluminum foil to allow air and carbon dioxide to circulate. Carbon dioxide also feeds algae.

Keep The Container Under Plenty Of Sunlight

Algae grow and thrive in high light levels. Place your container where there is plenty of sunlight as this will provide the energy the tiny organism need to thrive and reproduce. The ideal temperature for algae growth is 29 to 34C (84 to 93F). However, avoid excessive exposure to light during the day as this may mean higher temperature. Furthermore, at night time where sunlight is absent, you can leave your container near a fluorescent bulb or other heating unit to maintain the temperature, just like when incubating an egg. Monitor its temperature occasionally.

2. Introducing An Algae Sample

Choosing The Type Of Algae

The best type of algae you want to grow is the one that would be eaten by your fish. In this case, you can ask your pet dealer on what species of algae is conducive for your preferred fish species.

Gather An Algae Specimen

It is now time to add a specimen sample to your water. Again, the best source of this sample is from your dealer’s aquarium where you purchase your fish. A good sample of 150 to 250ml is an adequate amount. Pour the specimen sample into your growth medium making sure the right amount of light is still available. Continue to maintain the right temperature and appropriate amount of sunlight and you may able to see algae growth within 4 days.

Adding Nutrients If Needed

As the algae absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and this benefits its growth. However, to sustain a good quality algae as fish food, add some nutrients to it by allowing a few drops of Nutrient Solution. As the algae grows, It will become compact inside the container and may appear green. Green algae is a good variety for your fish to eat.

Transferring Algae To Another Container

Full-blown algae you should be able to see in your container after 8-10 days. You can transfer a substantial amount to the medium-sized container you prepared previously. This will serve as a seed for your next growth medium for separate algae growth so that you have a continuous supply of algae to feed your fish continuously. You will not need to get a sample from your favorite pet store.

To be able to have a continuous supply of algae to feed your fish, just repeat the process we have described above, again and again. Meanwhile, you are now ready to pour your cultured algae into your fish tank where your fish are waiting.


Did you enjoy this tutorial on how to grow algae for your aquarium even if you are not a chemist? We hope you did, and you can learn to grow the duckweed here. Producing weekly food for your fish is truly easy and enjoyable. You can really save a lot on your food bill, and you could be able to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Also, you can provide them the much-needed nutrients from organic food. Share this article with your friends and other aquarists so that they may find a better alternative in keeping algae-eating pets healthy and happy.

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