Algae treatment: Blackout Method
I get many questions regarding algae control or finding the right balance out of a planted aquarium. However, many people don’t realize is that all aquariums will have some sort of algae during its life and some are beneficial for live stock.
However, If you don’t want to use chemicals such as liquid carbon (flourish excel) or hydrogen peroxide and want a reduction from different forms of algae, the ‘Blackout Method’ can be an effective solution. For Black Method to work effectively, do the following:
1. Get some black plastic bags. You can get them in most shops which are sold as garbage bags.
2.Cut the bags according to your aquarium size. You can use thick blankets as well instead of the bags to avoid any light entering your aquarium.2. First, do your weekly maintenance. Clean all visible algae as much as possible and also your filters. Dechlorinate your water with your choice of declorinator such as Seachem prime.
3. Cover the entire aquarium with the plastic bags or blanket. The goal is not for any light to enter your aquarium. Use tape and clips to secure the bags and cover your aquarium.
4. Turn off C02, light and don’t add any fertilizer during the blackout period
5. Keep your filter running. You may also use an air pump to increase surface agitation.
6. Blackouts can be done for maximum of 2 weeks depending on plants. However, I do it for a week and get good results.
7. Feed fishes sparingly in your blackout period. I suggest you feed your fishes once every 3 days. Most fishes survive atleast 7 days without food. Check your filter everyday and make sure they are running properly.
8. After 7 days or your desired blackout period, take off the bags or blanket and do a 50 percent water change and do your weekly maintenance.
9. Add light, c02, fertilizers as usual. However, I suggest 4 hrs of lighting period and c02 daily initially and then go up to maximum 8hrs depending on your plant requirements.
10. You can do ‘blackout method’ every couple of months. Stem plants might look worn out initially but will eventually grow back. Slow growing plants such as anubias will not be largely affected.
Fishes might lose color but will get back to their true color after the blackout period. Most algae will die off during the period.Blackout Method is a great way of resetting your aquarium from algae every couple of months without use of chemicals.
However, nothing is more important than weekly large water changes,maintenance and having a clean up crew such as siamese algae eater, amano shrimp, ready cherry shrimp or algae cleaning snails in your aquarium.