7 Treatments For Algae In A Planted Tank (And What Causes It)

In planted tanks, you can often see algae everywhere. You can find them floating on the water’s surface or stuck to glass, rocks, and plants. Algae are not bad for fish, and they even help them in some ways. But if there are too much algae in the planted tank, it can cause trouble. Algae grow quickly and can take over a tank if nothing is done to stop them. Most fish keepers have to deal with algae in their planted tank at some point. This article will answer most of your questions about algae in a planted tank.

Why Does Aquarium Algae Grow In Planted Tank?

Many fish keepers have trouble with algae in planted tanks. It can make your planted tank look dirty and unattractive. There are many things that can cause them. Here are 7 of them:

Some best plants for betta fish
Some best plants for betta fish

1. Putting Too Many Fish in Your Tank

If you have too many fish in your tank, algae can grow in your planted tank. This is because fish waste gives the algae the nutrients they need to grow.

2. The Water Quality in Your Tank Isn’t Good

If your water quality isn’t good, algae will grow more in your planted tank. This is because algae grow best in water that is warm, still, and full of nutrients.

3. Giving Your Fish Too Much Food

If you give your fish too much food, the food they don’t eat will break down and release nutrients into the water. Algae can use these nutrients to grow in your planted tank.

4. Too Much Light

In order to grow and make food, algae need light. Algae can grow in your planted tank if it is in a sunny place or if you have too many lights.

5. Wrong pH

If your water’s pH isn’t in the right range for your fish, it can cause algae to grow more. This is because algae like alkaline conditions, while most fish do better in slightly acidic water.

6. High Levels of Dissolved Oxygen

Algae need oxygen to grow, and if the water in a planted tank has a lot of dissolved oxygen, algae can grow.

7. An Imbalance of Nutrients in the Water: 

Algae can grow in your planted tank if there is an imbalance of nutrients in the water. Algae need a certain amount of nitrogen and phosphorus to grow and stay healthy.

Several fish owners struggle with algae in planted aquariums. There are many ways to get rid of them, but the best way is to stop them from coming in the first place. By doing these simple things, you can keep your planted fish tank looking clean and clear.

How To Get Rid Of Hair Algae In Planted Tank

Hair algae grow fast and can quickly take over your tank. It kills your plants, can catch your fish, and makes your yard look bad. No one wants it, but how can you get rid of it? Here are seven ways:

1. Manual Removal

Hair algae are easy to get rid of because they are soft and don’t stick to things very well. Use a toothbrush, a small bottle brush, or a pipe cleaner and twist the strands on the brush before pulling them up and out of your tank. If the hair algae are growing on a loose piece of hardscape, like a rock, you can take it out and clean it in a different water container.

2. Plant More 

All of the plants and hair algae in a planted aquarium are actually fighting over the same food and water. Once you know this simple fact, it’s easy to see how healthy plants can be such a great way to fight hair algae! Adding more plants to your planted tank, especially ones with fast-growing stems, can starve hair algae and make it die on its own.

3. Improve Your Source of Water

What makes an aquarium is the water. It is the foundation of the whole system, so it is usually the first place to look when hair algae problems start in a planted tank. Check to see if your water source has more of the things that green hair algae eat, like silicates, nitrates, and phosphates.

4. Improve Your Water Parameters

It is very important to test the water often and change some of it to keep its quality high. Some nutrients, like nitrates and phosphates, can make hair algae grow in a poorly cared-for planted tank. But plants and even corals need these nutrients to live, so regular maintenance is the best way to keep the concentrations at a safe level.

5. Get an Algae Eater

There are many kinds of algae eaters that can help keep hair algae from taking over your planted tank. Some will only eat certain kinds of algae, like the Siamese Algae Eater. But some will eat almost anything, like the Black Molly.

6. Use a UV Sterilizer

Using a UV sterilizer in your planted tank is a great way to get rid of hair algae and many other types of algae. The algae cells can be killed by UV light, which stops them from making more algae.

7. Treat with Chemicals

You can always use chemicals to get rid of hair algae in your planted tank if nothing else works. There are many products on the market that will kill hair algae, but you need to be careful not to kill all the algae in your aquarium. Some products will only kill certain kinds of algae, so make sure to read the labels carefully.

How To Get Rid Of Black Beard Algae In Planted Tank

If you have black beard algae in your planted tank, you can get rid of it in a few different ways. Here are seven examples:

1. Take It Off by Hand

The best way to get rid of black beard algae is to take it off by hand with a soft brush or sponge. This can take a lot of time, but it’s the best way to get rid of all the algae.

2. Use an Algicide

If you can’t remove the black beard algae by hand or there is a lot of it in your planted tank, you can use an algaecide. Most pet stores that sell aquarium supplies will have these. Be careful to follow the directions because algicides can kill fish if they are not used correctly.

3. Change the Lighting

Black beard algae need light to grow, among other things. You can make your planted tank less friendly to black algae by changing the way it is lit. For example, you could switch to a lower-wattage fluorescent bulb.

4. Get Rid of The Trash

Black beard algae tend to grow on dead leaves and other trash that has settled at the bottom of a planted tank. By getting rid of this trash, it will be harder for the black beard algae to grow.

5. Vacuum the Gravel

Vacuuming the gravel at the bottom of the planted tank is another way to get rid of black beard algae. This will kill any black beard algae that are growing there.

6. Add Chemicals

Some aquarium owners put chemicals in the water to stop black beard algae from growing. These can work, but you should be careful with how you use them because some of the chemicals in them can hurt fish.

7. Get a New Fish

If nothing else works, try getting a new fish. Some fish can eat the black beard algae in your planted tank, so this may be the best way to get rid of it for good. Do your research before adding a new fish to your tank, as some species can be aggressive or may not get along with the other fish.

Most of the time, black beard algae grow on the glass of the tank, on rocks, and on the leaves of plants. It can also form inside pumps and filters. The oxygen that is made when black beard algae make food is what gives it its color. It can be difficult to remove once it forms, but regular cleaning of the tank and vacuuming the gravel will help to keep it under control.

How Do I Get Rid Of Green Algae On Rocks In Planted Tank?

Even though green algae are a natural type of plant, you do not want them in your planted aquarium. We’ll talk about how to get rid of green algae from rocks in a planted tank.

1. Remove Rocks from The Tank:

To clean green algae off the rocks in your planted tank, you will need to take them out of the tank first. Use a small net to pull out each rock and put it in a bucket of clean water.

2. Use an Aquarium Siphon:

Then, use an aquarium siphon to clean the rocks of green algae. First, put the end of the siphon tube in the bucket of water and turn on the pump. Then, move the tube around each rock in the tank to get rid of all the green algae.

3. Clean up The Dirt

Once you’ve cleaned the rocks in your planted tank, you will need to vacuum the gravel. This will get rid of any green algae that fell off of the rocks while they were being cleaned.

4. Using Bleach

A bleach solution is made by mixing one part bleach with ten parts water in a bucket. Then, put the rocks in the bucket and let them soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the rocks out of your planted tank and wash them in clean water before putting them back in.

5. Put the Rocks Back Into the Aquarium.

After you’ve cleaned the rocks, you can put them back in your planted tank. Make sure to rinse the rocks with clean water before putting them back in the tank.

What Eats Hair Algae Planted Tank?

Hair algae eaters help keep your planted tank clean and free of algae. You can add different kinds of fish that eat hair algae to your planted tank. Here are the seven most common:

1. The Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese algae eater is one of the best fish for eating hair algae because it eats many different kinds of algae, including green hair algae. These algae eaters are also great because they will eat algae that other algae eaters won’t, like black beard algae.

2. Eater of Chinese Algae

They are not one of the best animals on this list that eat green hair algae because as they get bigger, they tend to get lazy. But when they are young, they eat algae of different kinds. You should give this species places to hide, like caves in the rocks or hollow logs.

3. Catfish Twig

The twig catfish needs more special care than the other fish on this list that eats green hair algae. They also need places to hide in the tank since they are usually very shy.

4. Catfish (Otocinclus)

The otocinclus catfish can grow up to 2 inches long and is one of the smallest green hair algae eaters on this list. This species does well in community tanks and gets along well with other bottom-feeders, but they shouldn’t be kept with large or aggressive fish like cichlids.

5. Snails with Horns

People usually think of ramshorn snails as pests, but you can put them to work in your planted tank by giving them hair algae to eat. Like most of the other things on this list, they won’t solve your algae problem by themselves, but they can be a good part of a plan to get rid of algae as a whole.

6. Snails in Ponds

People often call these tiny snails “pest snails,” but they are the hardest workers in the aquarium when it comes to cleaning. They are free, can make more of themselves on their own (if you have one, you will get more), and will eat almost anything, even the hair algae in your planted tank.

7. Snail Nerite

The nerite snail is one of the few snails that can eat hair algae in a planted tank. Nerite snails aren’t hard to take care of, but they do need certain things.

How To Prevent Algae In Tanks

When it comes to hair algae in planted fish tanks, prevention is always better than treatment. Algae can quickly take over an aquarium by growing on the plants, the glass, the decorations, and even the fish themselves. You can do a few things to keep algae from taking over your fish tank, which is good news. Here are seven tips:

1. Keep Your Tank Clean

Keeping your tank clean is one of the best ways to stop green algae from growing. Change some of the water and vacuum the gravel often. This will help get rid of algae spores if they are in the water.

2. Lessen the Light

Algae can grow when there is too much light. If you think this is a problem, try turning the aquarium lights off for less time.

3. Use an Algae Eater

Algae eaters are a great way to control algae. These fish will help keep the algae in your tank from getting out of hand.

4. Try a Chemical Treatment

If algae is causing you trouble, you may need to use a chemical treatment. If you don’t want to hurt your fish, make sure to carefully read and follow the instructions.

5. Don’t Give Your Fish Too Much Food

Too much food can also make algae grow. Feed your fish only as much as they can eat in one sitting to stop this from happening.

6. Change the Water Often

Another way to stop algae from growing is to change the water often. This will help get rid of algae spores if they are in the water.

7. Cover Your Tank

If your tank is covered, algae won’t be able to get into the water. Algae need light to grow, so if you cover your tank, you can limit how much light they can get.

Best Aquarium Light To Prevent Algae

How much algae grows in your aquarium tank depends a lot on the kind of lighting you use. All living things need it to survive. Choosing the right light color helps make an aquatic environment that is lush and healthy. So, let’s talk a bit about the best aquarium lights to prevent algae from growing.

1. Blue Light

The blue light’s main purpose is to let you watch your fish that are awake at night and see what they are doing. But the most important thing is that blue lighting in a fish tank doesn’t change the way living things feel about day and night. Algae, on the other hand, can’t grow because of it. 

2. LED Lights

LED lights have become very popular in aquariums in recent years because they use very little energy and last a long time. But it’s time to get rid of an important myth that has given this kind of light a bad name. Because this type of light prevents algae from growing.

3. Fluorescent Light

Fluorescent light is often used in saltwater aquariums because it is inexpensive and provides a lot of light. But this type of light also helps prevent the growth of algae.

4. Metal Halide Light

Metal halide lights are used in very deep aquariums because they provide a lot of light. This type of light also helps prevent the growth of algae.

5. UV Light

UV light is sometimes used in aquariums to kill bacteria and viruses. But this type of light can also help prevent the growth of algae.

So, these are some of the best aquarium lights to prevent algae from growing. If you have an aquarium, then you should definitely use one of these lights to keep your tank clean and clear.

Does Co2 Reduce Algae In Aquariums?

The more light you give a planted tank, the more plants can grow and do well, but they will also need more food to match how bright the light is. When the lighting, nutrient, and CO2 levels in an aquarium don’t match up, the tank isn’t “balanced,” which can hurt plant health. Algae will likely take advantage of plants that are struggling to stay alive and grow out of control. 

If the amount of CO2 in your aquarium is too low, adding CO2 injection along with good lighting and fertilizer can make a huge difference in the health and growth of your plants. Algae don’t have much chance of out-competing plants for nutrients and light when plants are healthy and have all the things they need.

It may seem strange to use equipment to add CO2 gas to aquarium water, but many of the aquatic plants sold in the trade come from places where the water naturally has a lot of CO2. When the pH and KH buffer of some bodies of water are naturally low, CO2 can enter the water quickly and easily. 

Algae Eaters For Planted Tank

If you have ugly algae in your planted tank, you need some hungry helpers to get rid of them. We’ve put together a list of 7 algae eaters that are safe for planted tanks and often work well together.

1. Amano Shrimp

This shrimp is about 2 inches long and has a clear brown color. They will eat black beard algae and hair algae if they don’t get enough food. Because they are so small, you’ll need at least four of them to stop algae from growing in your planted tank.

2. Nerite Snails

Nerite snails are one of the most popular algae-eating animals for planted tanks because, unlike other snail species, they don’t multiply in freshwater. They grow to be about an inch long and have many different colors and patterns. These snails eat a lot. They eat all kinds of algae, like green algae, diatoms, and black brush algae.

3. Catfish (Otocinclus)

This algae eater is only about 2 inches long, so people often call them “dwarf suckermouths.” They can go where other algae-eaters can’t because they are so thin. Their mouths are great for eating diatom algae off of flat surfaces like aquarium glass or plant leaves.

4. The Siamese Algae Eater

The Siamese Algae eater is about 6 inches long and lives in bigger tanks with plants. They eat hair algae, black beard algae, and other things in the tank with their mouths turned down. They can be territorial over their own kind or other kinds that look like them, so get one or three if you want to eat more algae.

5. Bristlenose Plecostomus

Bristlenose plecos are calm catfish that grow to be between 4 and 5 inches long. This makes them perfect for a planted tank that holds at least 25 gallons of water. Their suckermouths are made to eat algae, clean up food crumbs, and keep driftwood clean. Since these fish are active at night, they will be most active then.

6. Molly Fish

Mollies have flat jaws and no bottom to their stomachs, so they often eat algae off of plants, hardscapes, and other flat surfaces. If there is enough food and places for the fry to hide, they can have a lot of babies. Most fancy mollies are raised on farms with salty water, so adding aquarium salt and minerals could help them do well.

7. Hillstream Loach

This fish that eats algae is one of the coolest you’ll see. It is about 3 inches long and has golden-brown spots and black lines. They can clean vertical tank walls, rocks, and big plant leaves with their strong grip. They clean diatoms and flat algae like a window cleaner does.


How Do I Get Rid Of Algae By Cycling Planted Tank?

During the cycling phase, you should change 30–50% of the water every week to help get rid of algae. This will lower the amount of organic waste (mostly ammonia) in your tank over the next few weeks as it matures. Remember that your tank will mature pretty quickly if it has a lot of plants and a lot of oxygen because bacteria need a lot of oxygen to grow colonies, says Aquarium Gardens.

Is It Good To Have Algae In Your Tank?

Algae is actually good for the ecosystem of your aquarium because many fish and invertebrates like to eat it, and it helps filter the water, according to Aquarium Coop. Also, some algae can look nice and make an aquarium look more like a natural place.


Algae in planted tanks is a problem for many fish keepers. It can make the tank look dirty and unattractive. There are lots of ways to get rid of them, but the best way is to keep them from coming in the first place. By putting in more plants, you can starve the hair algae, which will then die on its own. There are also many kinds of algae-eating aquarium lights that can help keep hair algae from taking over your tank. Cleaning the tank and vacuuming the gravel on a regular basis will help keep algae in check. We hope that this article will help you figure out what to do about algae in planted tanks.