Does Blue Light Cause Algae? What You Must Know

Hi, this is your friend Clifton Ervin, the founder and chief editor of this site, Aquariumwolf. I completed my graduation in marine biology and became...Read more

Algae could be a cause of concern for aquarium owners. These marine plants can occupy the space your fish need and create a dirty-looking environment. Questions have been asked about the role of aquarium lighting in the growth of algae. Some of these questions are, does blue light cause algae? Should I leave the blue light all night or switch it off after a while?

Blue light can encourage algae growth, especially when left on for extended periods. Also, white light increases the algae population the most. However, lighting is not directly responsible for algae growth.

The most important thing is to regulate the time an aquarium is exposed to light. You might be wondering how to control and eliminate algae in your fish tank and the effects of blue light. This article will enlighten you on these subjects and much more. Keep reading.

Does Blue Light Cause Algae?

Blue light does not cause algae growth. It aids the growth of algae, but is not a direct cause. In freshwater aquariums, blue light can promote excessive algae growth. In saltwater aquariums, the same increase of algae is noticed, as it will still grow under any color of artificial light.

Does Blue Light Cause Algae

It has also been observed that algae thrive more under white light than blue light. Other experiments have shown that lighting with more green and yellow can limit algae growth. These experiments however were conducted in a controlled environment with lots of variables.

Algae are photophilic they love light because they use it to produce food and grow. Algae are tough and can quickly adapt to thrive under artificial lighting. If the intensity of the light is high, it can also aid the growth of algae. Moreover, there are different varieties of algae, and each has its preference for the intensity of light.

When someone asks: does blue light cause algae? The algae growth might be down to the type of light used.

A fluorescent light will increase the growth of algae because you cannot regulate the intensity. It is preferable to use LED lighting for your aquarium as they are easier to adjust. So, maintenance on your lights should also be a priority, as they tend to become ineffective over time. This will eventually lead to the multiplication of algae.

Following YouTube video will enlighten you further on this topic and for research purposes.

Is Blue Light Harmful To Fish?

Blue light can become hazardous for fish without proper regulation.

Blue light can interfere with the reproductive cycles of fish, and create extensive damage to their eyes. It must be noted that these rare cases are extremes and occur when the blue lighting is not managed correctly. But fishes like catfish and the bottom dwellers thrive better with red light.

Is blue light harmful to fish

Lighting can affect the well-being of fish generally. So, aquarists must use lighting that will not hurt the fish. As a rule of thumb, fishes should be exposed to only twelve hours of lighting daily. You should consider rotating the lighting in the day and night cycles, so your fish can get rest.

The video below makes vital points on the effect of light on your fish.

How Long Do Algae Take To Form In A Tank?

It takes around 15 to 30 days after the tank is set up. Algae feed on nitrates and grow from a process called the nitrogen cycle. This cycle promotes bacterial growth (Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter) that break down ammonia and nitrites into nitrates.

How long do algae take to form in a tank

The growth cycle is generally affected by the conditions available in your tank. However, it is widely believed that green algae are the fastest growing specie.

Algae growth is aided by food remnants from fish feed, the intensity of light, and water movements. Algae thrive well in stale water; with a powerful filter, it will be difficult for them to form.

There are numerous chemical solutions to an algae infestation. You must be careful not to use any product that will harm your fish or plants.

What Color Of Light Is Best For An Aquarium?

The color choice largely depends on the fish or plants you have in your aquarium. Generally, the most commonly used are blue, red, and white. An aquarium with plants also needs proper lighting to grow.

What color of light is best for an aquarium

Certain colors can make your fish and plants visually appealing. Check them below:

White light:

It is an excellent choice for fish, especially the blue-colored ones. But it is not ideal for your plants. Also, using white light alone leads to the rapid growth of algae.

Blue light:

It works perfectly for both plants and fishes. It brings out their visual appeal.

Red light:

This lighting is ideal for nocturnal fish like catfish and also helps your plants to grow. However, it must be used sparingly as it can easily lead to rapid algae growth.

The main consideration for the choice of light is ultimately the content of your aquarium. It is advised to go for a multi-spectrum light for more balance.

How To Prevent And Remove Algae From Your Fish Tank

You can do this by cleaning up, monitoring the pH levels of your water, and using a filter. It is also a great idea to include algae-eating fish in your tank.

How to prevent and remove algae from your fish tank

To better understand the process, we will quickly review the types of algae. Not all types of algae are harmful, so they must first be identified for possible removal.

Types of Algae

  1. Blue-green algae: Grows due to excess phosphates and nitrates in your tank water. It is a very stubborn alga to control and is fast-growing. It is grouped under cyanobacteria.
  2. Brown algae are quite harmless, easy to remove, and more common in new tanks.
  3. Red algae: They are by far the most difficult to remove from your tank. They grow on other plants.
  4. Green algae: It is also another harmless species that should not be a cause for concern.

Generally, algae growth is caused by neglect and poor practices by aquarists. Some causes of algae growth are:

  • Exposing your tank to too much sunlight: Direct sunlight does a lot of harm to the stability of your tank’s temperature. This will encourage rapid growth of algae which, left unchecked, can deplete the oxygen for your fish. Try to shade your tank from direct radiation from the sun.
  • Leaving the lights on round the clock: You should pay attention to the number of hours you leave the lights on in your aquarium. Make sure to shut it down for a balanced cycle.
  • Allowing the water to get stale: This is very dangerous for the fish. Always try to monitor your water. Keep it clean and free from pollutants.

How To Eliminate Algae

You can take practical steps to eliminate and control algae growth for good. These include:

  • Clean up regularly: You must keep an eye on the water in your tank. Check the content and keep the water pH level balanced. Eliminate all algae present in the tank.
  • Ensure your tank is well-placed: Extreme exposure to the sun is a danger. Try to regulate artificial light also by the use of automated timers.

Chemical Treatments Against Algae

You can also use some chemical treatments as long as they are not harmful to your fish.

  • Try a filter: The algae might persist if you change your water and monitor its content. In such cases, try to use a filter to eliminate the problem. Diatomic filters are the best fit for the job.
  • Include algae-eating fish: Some fishes live off algae. You can add them if they can co-habit with the fish already in your tank.
  • Marine snails: Some species of snail feed on algae. Adding a few will significantly drop the excess algae and provide much-needed room for your fishes or plants.

There are numerous ways to get rid of algae in your fish tank. You will find this video below helpful with vital tips on algae removal.

Bottom Line

One of the challenges you will face When setting up a fish tank is deciding the kind of lighting to use. Many people have battled with algae and its effects on their tanks. That’s why questions such as does blue light cause algae always come up in discussions.

Blue lights don’t cause algae directly, but encourage its growth. That’s why it must be used in moderation. However, white light is much worse in that aspect. That’s why experts advise using a wide spectrum of lights for your fish tank. This is to ensure that your fish or plants are well catered for.

Algae can be a threat to your fish tank and even creates poor visibility in some cases. One crucial fact is that a fish tank or aquarium needs proper care and maintenance. So, regular cleanup is a sure way to combat algae growth. The methods listed above are sufficient to control the algae population and keep your aquarium healthy.

Hi, this is your friend Clifton Ervin, the founder and chief editor of this site, Aquariumwolf. I completed my graduation in marine biology and became an Ichthyologist. One of my favorite hobbies is aquarium keeping; therefore, I love to talk about fish keeping, breeding, food behavior, etc., and much more relevant to aquarium maintenance. I have created this site Aquariumwolf, to share my 20 years+ of experience and knowledge with all new to this journey.

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