7 Steps To Removing Blue Green Algae From Your Aquarium

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know that much about blue-green algae. But seeing them in your tank can be a worrying sight. You probably want to know if they’re harmful and if so, how to get rid of them. This article will tell you everything you need to know about blue-green algae.

You will learn how to identify them, what their causes are, how to get rid of them, and as well as some interesting facts about this unique organism. We will also answer some frequently ask questions about blue-green algae. If you’re ready, then read on!

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What Is Blue Green Algae?

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are a type of bacteria that get their energy from photosynthesis. They are found in freshwater environments all over the world and can range in color from green to blue to purple. While some species of Blue-green algae are important components of aquatic ecosystems, others can cause problems for people and animals. 

In freshwater aquariums, Blue-green algae can often be seen as a slimy film on the glass or stones. While Blue-green algae are not harmful to fish, they can affect the overall appearance of the tank and may cause problems if they grow out of control.

One way to control Blue-green algae growth is to limit the amount of light that enters the tank. Another method is to add more live plants, which will compete with the algae for nutrients and help keep the tank looking clean and clear.

How To Identify Blue green Algae

Identifying Blue-green algae can be tricky, as they come in many different shapes and sizes. However, there are a few key 7 common characteristics that can help you to identify Blue-green algae in your fish tank. 

1. Color

 As their name suggests, Blue-green algae are mostly blue or green in color. However, they can also be brown, red, or yellow. 

2. Size

Blue green algae range in size from microscopic cells to large mats that cover the entire tank. They are often found in clumps or mats floating on the surface of the water.

3. Smell

Blue green algae often have a musty or earthy smell. This is caused by the high levels of chlorophyll that they contain.

3. Location 

Blue green algae are commonly found in freshwater aquariums, ponds, and lakes. They can also be found in marine environments, but this is less common.

4. Reproduction

Blue green algae reproduce by releasing spores into the water. These spores can then travel to other areas and start new colonies of algae.

5. Toxicity

Some species of Blue green algae can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. These toxins can cause skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, they can lead to liver damage and even death.

6. Bloom

A bloom is when the population of Blue green algae suddenly increases. This can happen due to a change in the environment, such as an increase in nutrients or temperature. Blooms can make the water appear green or blue and can cause problems for fish and other aquatic creatures.

7. Scum

Scum is a type of Blue green algae that forms a thick layer on the surface of the water. It can make the water look dirty and can cause problems for fish and other aquatic creatures. Scum can also lead to the growth of harmful bacteria.

You may start to see Blue green algae as a small spot before it grows into a thick slime that covers your gravel, decorations, and plants.  You can quickly identify them by their bright blue-green color in freshwater aquariums, but it can also be brown, black, or even red.

The smell of blue-green algae is another way to tell it apart. People have said that the smell is earthy, musty, swampy, and bad. Even though they usually don’t hurt fish, they can kill your plants if it covers their leaves and stops them from taking in light. 

Siamese algae eater in planted aquarium

What Causes Blue Green Algae?

There are many possible causes of Blue-green algae in freshwater aquariums. It is important to identify the cause so that it can be treated properly. Let’s go over 7 of them:

Excess Nutrients

One of the most common causes of Blue-green algae is excess nutrients in the water. This can be caused by overfeeding, as well as by using too much fertilizer in the aquarium.

Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality can also lead to the growth of Blue green algae. This can be caused by not changing the water often enough, as well as by using dirty or contaminated water.

Too Much Light

Blue green algae need light to grow, so too much light can cause them to bloom. This is often caused by using too strong of a light bulb, or by leaving the aquarium light on for too long.

Incorrect pH

The pH of the water can also affect the growth of Blue green algae. Algae prefer neutral to alkaline water, so a pH that is too low can lead to an algae bloom.

Temperature Fluctuations

Large fluctuations in the water temperature can also cause Blue green algae to bloom. This is often caused by using a heater that is too strong, or by not using a heater at all.

Lack of Circulation

Another common cause of Blue green algae is a lack of circulation in the aquarium. This can be caused by not using an air pump, or by using a filter that is not strong enough.

Improperly Balanced Aquarium

An aquarium that is not properly balanced can also lead to the growth of Blue green algae. This means that there is not enough of one or more of the following: plants, substrate, rocks, or décor.

The causes of Blue green algae vary, but the most common ones are excess nutrients, poor water quality, and too much light. It is important to identify the cause so that it can be treated properly.

How To Get Rid Of Blue green Algae

Once you have identified the cause of the Blue green algae, you can start to treat it. Here are 7 common treatments to get rid of Blue green algae in your aquarium:

1. Remove Excess Nutrients

The first step in getting rid of Blue green algae is to remove the excess nutrients from the water. This can be done by doing a water change, as well as by vacuuming the gravel.

2. Improve Water Quality 

The second step is to improve the water quality in the aquarium. This can be done by changing the water more often, as well as by using a filter.

3. Reduce the Amount of Light

The third step is to reduce the amount of light that is getting into the aquarium. This can be done by using a lower wattage light bulb, or by turning the light off for part of the day.

4. Raise the pH

The fourth step is to raise the pH of the water. This can be done by using a pH buffer, or by adding limestone to the aquarium.

5. Stabilize the Temperature

The fifth step is to stabilize the temperature of the water. This can be done by using a thermometer, and by adjusting the heater as needed.

6. Increase Circulation 

The sixth step is to increase circulation in the aquarium. This can be done by using an air pump, or by adding more rocks and décor.

7. Balance the Aquarium

The seventh and final step is to balance the aquarium. This means adding more plants, substrate, rocks, or décor as needed.

By following these steps, you should be able to get rid of Blue green algae in your aquarium. There are also many different products that can be used to help with this problem, so be sure to ask your local fish store for more information.

How To Get Rid Of Blue green Algae In Planted Aquarium

Blue-green algae, unlike some other types of algae, can make people and animals sick if they eat it by accident. It also smells bad and makes your aquarium smell fishy and stale. If you have Blue green algae in your planted aquarium, there are a few things you can do to get rid of it. In this section, we’re going to discuss 7 of them.

1. Dim the Lights in the Tanks

If you want to prevent Blue green algae from growing even more in your planted aquarium, one of the best things you can do is dim the lights in the tanks. We know that plants need light to grow, but too much light can actually stimulate the growth of Blue green algae. So, by dimming the lights, you can help prevent the algae from growing as much.

2. Cut Back on Feedings

If you’re feeding your fish more than they need, the excess food can actually contribute to the growth of Blue green algae. So, one way to help prevent algae from growing is to cut back on feedings. We recommend only feeding your fish once a day and giving them only as much food as they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

3. Use an Algae Eater

If you already have algae in your aquarium, one of the best ways to get rid of it is by using an algae eater. Algae eaters are fish that love to eat algae, and they can be a great addition to any aquarium. There are many different types of algae eaters, so be sure to ask your local fish store for more information.

4. Remove Excess Nutrients from the Water

One of the main reasons why Blue green algae grows is because of excess nutrients in the water. So, if you want to prevent algae from growing, one of the best things you can do is remove those excess nutrients. This can be done by doing a water change, as well as by vacuuming the gravel.

5. Improve Water Quality

Another way to help prevent Blue green algae from growing is to improve the water quality in your aquarium. This can be done by changing the water more often, as well as by using a filter.

6. Use an Anti-Algae Chemical Treatment

If you’re looking for a more direct way to get rid of Blue green algae, you can always use an anti-algae chemical treatment. There are many different types of treatments available, so be sure to ask your local fish store for more information.

7. Keep Your Aquarium Clean

Last but not least, one of the best ways to prevent Blue green algae from growing is to simply keep your aquarium clean. This means doing a water change every week, as well as vacuuming the gravel and cleaning the filter.

By following these tips, you can help prevent Blue green algae from growing in your planted aquarium. If you already have algae, be sure to use one of the methods listed above to get rid of it.

Blue Green Algae Vs Normal Algae

Identifying blue-green algae can be tricky. In this section, we’re going to discuss the 7 key differences between Blue green algae vs normal algae to help you out!

Blue-Green Algae Are Actually Bacteria, Not Algae

Algae are plant-like organisms that can photosynthesize. Blue-green algae, on the other hand, are actually a type of bacteria known as cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria do have the ability to photosynthesize, but they are not plants. They are bacteria.

Blue-Green Algae Are Often Mistaken for Slime Mold

Slime mold is a type of fungi that often looks like algae. However, slime mold does not photosynthesize and is not related to blue-green algae. They are just two different types of organisms that can often look similar.

Blue-Green Algae Can Be Found in Both Fresh and Salt Water

Many types of algae are only found in freshwater, but blue-green algae can live in both freshwater and saltwater. They are more common in freshwater, but they can live in saltwater as well.

Blue-Green Algae Are Often Toxic

Many types of blue-green algae produce toxins that can be harmful to humans and animals, while normal algae are usually not. These toxins can cause skin irritation, gastrointestinal issues, and even liver damage. It is important to avoid contact with blue-green algae if you suspect it is present.

Blue-Green Algae Can Change the Color of Water

When blue-green algae blooms, it can often turn the water green or blue. Unlike other types of algae, blue-green algae can also produce toxins that can cause the water to change color. This is one of the most obvious signs that blue-green algae are present.

Blue-Green Algae Can Cause Fish Kills

When blue-green algae blooms, it can often deplete the oxygen in the water. This can lead to fish kills as the fish suffocate. You will often see dead fish floating in the water if too much blue-green algae are present.

Blue-Green Algae Are Often Difficult to Control

Because blue-green algae are actually bacteria, they are often resistant to many common algaecides. This can make them difficult to control and eliminate. You can often find special algaecides that are designed to kill blue-green algae, but they are often more expensive than other algaecides.

While blue-green algae can be tricky to deal with, understanding the difference between them and normal algae can help you better manage them. If you think you might have a blue-green algae bloom in your aquarium, be sure to contact your local fish store for more information.

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FAQ

What Does Blue green Algae Look Like?

The Washington State Department of Health says that blue-green algae are really bacteria that look and act like algae and other plants. Usually, they look like green paint floating on the water, but it can also look bluish, brownish, or reddish green.

What Freshwater Fish Eat Blue green Algae?

There are no fish or other animals known to eat blue-green algae according to Fish Lab. This is good because it means your fish are smart enough to know not to eat something that could hurt them.

What Temperature Does Blue green Algae Die?

When put in a room with light and 100% oxygen, blue-green algae die quickly at 4 to 15 C and 35 C if there is no CO2 as stated in the study by Abeliovich and Shilo on the Photooxidative Death in Blue-green Algae. These cells have trouble with photosynthesis long before they die.

What Temperature Does Blue green Algae Bloom?

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency mentioned that blue-green algae bloom in warm, sunny, calm weather and water temperatures above 75°F. Most blooms happen in the summer and early fall, but they can also happen at other times of the year if the conditions are right.

Does UV Light Kill Blue green Algae In Aquariums?

One expert in Answers Own said that blue-green algae die when exposed to UV light. UV light is a type of radiation that can hurt living things. Blue-green algae are living things that get their energy from the sun. When their cells are damaged by UV light, they die. 

Does Blue-green Algae Kill Fish?

Magnolia Fisheries says that blue-green algae blooms in freshwater lakes and ponds can make fish and other wildlife sick. The blooms make a poison that, if eaten in large amounts, can kill fish and even mammals.

 Recap 

 Blue-green algae are really bacteria that look and act like algae and other plants. There are many possible causes of Blue green algae in aquariums, so it is important to identify them. However, there are also a number of ways you can get rid of them in an aquarium which we mentioned in this article. Understanding the difference between them and normal algae can help you better manage them in an aquarium or fish tank. In taking all these factors into consideration, we hope you have learned more about blue-green algae and how to control them in your aquarium.