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Pets' corner: Why is there slime in my aquarium?

I set up my own aquarium a while ago and recently I've noticed lots of green slimy stuff in the tank. What is it and how can I get rid of it? Johnny Belgrade, St Ives

Aquariums take time and patience to set up, and it can take up to a month before the fish get settled into their new home. After all that waiting, you have this beautiful new feature for your home – and then find it full of green stuff. I'm sure that your problem is algae. You should be pleased in one way, because this shows that you have a healthy aquarium, but without doubt, it damages the overall look. No matter how well or how often you clean your aquarium the algae will still grow back. There are a few things you can do to try and slow down its proliferation. Algae need light to grow and thrive, so depending on the position of your fish tank it could help or hinder the production. Keep it away from natural light as much as possible. Fish require no less than six hours of light a day to manufacture vitamin D, but do not leave the aquarium light on for more than 10 hours a day. Make sure that your filter is working properly as this helps to keep the water clean. If it has a sponge, then change it according to the manufacturers' guidelines. As an alternative there are also many species that eat algae, which you could add to your aquatic family, but be careful with algae-eating snails because they breed rapidly and could overpopulate your tank.

S end your queries to: The Independent Magazine, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail petscorner@independent.co.uk