Category Archives: Algae

Aquarium Plants Dying?

We often get this question, “why are my aquarium plants dying?”. Often many new aquarists find their plants get brown leaves or they start to ‘melt’ and don’t know why. Unfortunately there could be a number a reasons for this, but the main reason aquarium plants die is down to a lack of Co2 and nutrients. When this occurs your plants start to perform poorly because you are effectively starving them of the vital ingredients for them to grow. 9 times out of ten this leads to an algae outbreak and before you know you you’ve lost half your plants.

How do I fix this, I hear you ask. Firstly you need to start getting your plants to grow properly. If your plants are growing well, algae stays away. Whatever you do, DO NOT stop dosing nutrients or plant food. Many people will tell you to stop dosing to starve the algae. This is a myth and by doing this you are also starving your plants! So your algae troubles and plant loss will only get worse.

What I recommend is looking at your nutrient dosing regime. Are you providing enough nutrients? Or are not you dosing at all!? If so start dosing now, or increase your dosing. Don’t forgot, as your plant mass increases, so should your nutrient dosing.

Secondly I would recommend you to look into Co2 injection, especially if you have high light levels. Carbon is the backbone to growth and life with your aquarium plants. When your lights are on the plants need the carbon to photosynthesise. If you are doing this already and your plants are still dying, consider increasing the rate of Co2. Buy a drop checker and make sure you have the correct levels of Co2.

If you are not injecting co2 already, or you have no idea where to start with co2 injection, consider liquid carbon as an alternative.Liquid carbon is great for beginners and a great way to provide carbon for your plants to grow. It just requires a simple daily dose before your lights come on. With more nutrients and carbon in the water your plants will start performing better and algae will gradually go away.


Aquarium Plant food


Lastly, do not forget about water changes. Water changes help reduce the amount of organic waste (fish waste, uneaten fish food, plant waste). This will help reduce the amount of undesirable nutrients in your aquarium (namely ammonia, the one algae love!). We suggest a minimum of 50% per week initially, you can gradually reduce this to 30% once your tank is established. Dose your nutrients and liquid carbon after each water change.

If you need further assistance feel free to reply to this post and we will get back to you with further guidance.


Can fertilizers cause algae?

NO! Is the short answer.

Many people are being given false information that fertilizers such as TNC Plant Food can cause algae. Furthermore people are being told if you have an algae outbreak then you should cut back on your fertilizers or stop dosing altogether in order to starve the algae.

The truth is, by not adding these vital nutrients to your planted aquarium you are actually starving your plants and you will cause nutrient deficiency. As soon as your plants stop performing well, algae swoops in. Algae is like a predator, it waits to find a weakness and then swoops in for the kill. 

The same can be said for Co2, if you starve your plants from Co2 (a vital component for photosynthesis) then your plants will start performing badly, start to decay, and then algae will start covering the leaves.

By providing good amounts of Co2 and nutrients your plants will be healthy and thrive. As long as you have healthy plants, you won’t see any algae.

Your plants need macro and micro nutrients, we recommend TNC Complete as a full nutrient solution for your plants. As a solution for carbon, we recommend TNC Carbon, an excellent alternative to Co2 injection, or the perfect partner for Co2 injection. Liquid carbon also acts as an algaecide, so for best results use both Co2 injection and liquid carbon.

5 ways to Prevent Algae in the Aquarium

Algae will always be present in the aquarium, no matter how hard you try. Keeping it to a minimum and invisible to the human eye can be done by starting to focus on the following points:


1. Water changes : by far the best way to prevent algae. Water changes ensure excess nutrients and waste are cleared from the aquarium. We recommend a minimum of 50% per week in planted aquariums. Your fish and plants will thank you for it!


2. Light : We recommend that you do not have your lights on for more than 10 hours a day. Your plants do not need any more and this will help suppress algae. Should you encounter algae, reduce you lighting period and/or intensity.


3. Nutrients & CO2: Ensure you are supplying a constant source of nutrients and CO2 for your plants to thrive on, cutting your nutrient dosing will only make things worse! Starving your plants from nutrients & Co2 will only make them perform badly and growth will be poor, leaving the window wide open for algae to take over.


4. Feeding : Do not over feed your fish, nor should you have too many fish in your tank. This will cause too much waste which algae thrives on. Keep feeding down to a minimum (enough for for fish to be happy, but don’t go overboard!). I feed my planted tanks once per day. In planted aquariums it is best practise to keep fish load low.


5. Temperature : avoid high temperatures. Certain types of algae thrive in heat so keep your tank below 26C. Your plants do not need to be in any warmer water temps than this.


If you are still having trouble, feel free to contact us


We are aquarium plant specialists and you will get a friendly, helpful response!