View Full Version : african cichlids and algea

12-19-2008, 10:48 PM
I just started a african cichlid tank about 3 months ago.
what can I do to fight algea? will snails make it?

12-19-2008, 10:50 PM
What type of Africans exactly?
What size tank?
How many fish and how large?
What are you feeding?
What is the water change schedule?
What is the nitrate concentration?
What type of algae? (green, brown, etc.)

12-20-2008, 04:54 AM
55g tank.
about 25% weekly water change
7 fish largest about 3"s
bloodworms,cichlid crisps sometimes reg flake.
not sure exactly what type of africans but similar to the ones that would be at petsmart in the mixed tank.. bumblebee, and jewell is 2.
majority green, a little of brown.
less then 20ppm on the nitrates
temp is at 82-84
lights stay on about 12 hours a day.
near 0 sunlight
very well oxiginated

ill try to get pics later...tanks not done yet though, still working on the rocks,

12-20-2008, 05:05 AM
Cut down your photo period. In an unplanted FW tank, 12hrs of light, in my opinion, is excessive.

12-20-2008, 01:56 PM
The light should be fine. The temp could go down to 78-80F or so though. If you cut the lights down only go down to about 10 hours, no less.

My concern is that it sounds like you have mbunas, or mostly mbunas. Check out the article on them in the Malawi cichlids section. Their diet needs to be specialized, not just a cichlid diet. They need lots of vegetable matter, not animal matter. The higher protein foods for most cichlids can actually cause health problems. This can also increase the things that algae feeds on (nitrate, phosphate, etc.). I would feed New Life Spectrum. If you can't get that locally and don't want to order online the second best thing would be Hikari Excel.

12-20-2008, 02:39 PM
..If you cut the lights down only go down to about 10 hours, no less...

Why no less than 10hrs? I'd recommend reducing it down to 5hrs or even less.

12-20-2008, 10:11 PM
Natural photoperiod is 12 hours. Lake Malawi is just south of the equator, so naturally these fish would be getting 10-14 hours of light throughout the year. There is no need to go down to five hours. If you have two light fixtures you can have one off except for five hours, but they need a proper photoperiod.

12-21-2008, 06:26 AM
Keep in mind that 'tank lights off' doesn't equate to total darkness (unless these tanks are kept in a window-less room or something).

Indirect external light suffices and doesn't interfere with the behavior or activity of the fish, and perhaps better replicates the illumination at the depths many of these fish are found in (8-10m+, 20m+ in some cases depending on lake and collection point. One could say that the intensity of aquarium illumination could be greater than african cichlids found at a 7-12m depth would be exposed to (granted there are african cichlids found at shallower depths).

Reducing photo-periods have no ill-effects on the mbuna themselves (particularly non-wild caughts). They'd actually do fine if tank lights completely eliminated as long as that didn't place the tank in a pitch black environment. However, reducing the photo-period would have an significant impact on the growth and presence of 'nuisance algae' in the tank. With that said, some algae is good as certain african cichlid species are algae-grazers.

12-21-2008, 04:30 PM
This is green algae, which is fine. The little brown algae may indicate that the bulbs need to be replaced (bulbs lose intensity over time and brown algae is low light). Is the brown algae lower in the tank?

Mbunas like green algae, it is part of their diet. It can actually help reduce aggression since they have something to forage on all the time. At this point I see no point in reducing the light to under 10 hours/day.

12-21-2008, 08:14 PM
brownish algea is on the glass almost always. not at any special depth.
so maybe replace bulbs, and continue to scrub glass frequently.

other that I am either SOL or benifitting the fish....i wish i could have a algea eater thingy pleco's or whatever they are

12-27-2008, 01:57 PM
4 ottos or 2 pitbull plecos would work.

01-02-2009, 09:11 PM
i long time ago i fed my africans blood worms which led to intestinal problems i recommend cutting it out all together and you have to feed them frozen food switch to brine shrimp and only once every couple of days. like mentioned above africans are mostly veggie eaters (algae etc) unlike there "south american" cousins. also they will love crushed up algea discs.

01-16-2009, 08:31 AM
Bristlenose pleco should be ok with Cichlids, right?

01-16-2009, 09:20 AM
Any pleco will do fine with cichlids as long as its a decent size not to be picked on.

01-16-2009, 01:52 PM
I wouldn't put them in with African. Africans like very hard/high pH water. Bristlenose plecos are from Amazonia, VERY soft and low pH. Even if they do 'fine' for a while they can't truly thrive in the same water. And Bristlenose are not really tough enough to go in with Africans. Mbunas are themselves algae eaters. The last thing you need in an African cichlid tank is a big messy pooping machine.

01-16-2009, 01:57 PM
I agree with Fishguy here. I am not a proponent of sticking Plecos in with African Cichlids at all. Your cichlids are already high bioload fish, no need to add a fish to that mix that is also high bioload and not relaly suitable for the water conditions. The one thing that I found did fine with Mbuna that eats algae is the Chinese Algae Eater. When they are larger they are actually fiestly enough to put up with the aggressive behavior of the cichlids. I had one in a tank for a while and it held it's own against a M. auratus. It's your call, but personally I wouldn't put anything in there with them, just don't run your lights all day and manually remove the algae.

01-16-2009, 10:23 PM
A BN pleco has been in my mbuna tank for nearly four years now (and counting) with no issues (aside from specifically feeding it at night since the mbuna's are sure to get the food before it does when the lights are on).

Its presence in the tank has more to do with wanting to keep that type of fish as there isn't an algae issue with the tank. It was in the tank when most of the mbuna's were either fry, juvies or weren't even born yet.

I briefly relocated it to another mbuna tank and they met it with aggression pretty much on sight (and were particularly intrigued by its 'bristles', and tried to nip them off), so it went back in the original tank where the mbuna's there were already used to it.

How the BN is introduced plays a huge role.

From what I've seen, the BN isn't a poop machine.

01-16-2009, 11:04 PM
Have you bred bristlenose plecos in the water parameters that the African cichlids need?

It is not just whether it will live or die, but we need to do the best we can to allow them to thrive. Putting something like a bristlenose pleco in with Africans is not making the needs of the fish the top priority.