7 Ways To Get Rid Of Algae In Your Fish Tank

If you’ve been a fishkeeper for a while, at some point you’re going to run into algae. At this point, you can either decide that you’ll just let it overtake your tank like I did. Or you can decide to get to work and fix it! In this article, we’re going to go over ALL the different ways you can remove algae from your tank!

So if you’re curious to know more, make sure you keep reading!

Table of Contents

Why Does Your Tank Have So Much Algae?

Algae need water, light, and nutrients to grow, just like any other plant. When there is too much of any of these factors, algae will grow like weeds in a garden. You can’t run your aquarium without water, but you can change how much light and food is in the water. Some of the most common reasons algae grow too much are:

Lights Left on for Too Long

Algae need light to grow; too much light will cause the algae to grow out of control. If you have live plants in your aquarium, they will also need light to grow. However, you can turn the lights off for a period of time each day to give the algae a chance to die back.

Not Enough Filtration

Aquariums also need good filtration to remove waste from the water. If you don’t have a strong enough filter in your tank, then waste (specifically nitrate) is going to feed algae in your tank and cause it to grow out of control! Before you know it you’ll barely be able to see through the glass.

Aquarium Gets Direct Sunlight

Just like any other plant, algae is going to grow A LOT faster when it has direct sunlight. So, if your aquarium spends a lot of time in sunlight it will promote algae growth. When this is the case, you can move the aquarium to a different location or put something in front of it to block out the light.

Feeding the Fish Too Much

Fish waste and decaying food all help feed algae by releasing more and more nitrates into the water. If you’re overfeeding your fish, then it’s only a matter of time before it leads to an algae bloom. That’s why it’s important to feed your fish only as much as they can eat in a few minutes. Any uneaten food should be removed from the tank.

Too Many Fish in the Aquarium

More fish means more waste, which can also lead to an algae bloom. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re stocking your tank at the right levels, and not causing it to become too crowded (although there are a lot of other reasons). Remember a great rule is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water as a guideline. However, always check the needs of your individual fish.

Overdue Water Changes

Aquariums need regular water changes to remove toxins and waste from the water. If you don’t change the water often enough, it can lead to an algae bloom. A good rule of thumb is to change 10-15% of the water every week.

pH Imbalance: 

Algae will often grow in aquariums with a pH that is too high. In fact, once your aquarium gets into the 8.2+ range of pH, you can expect the algae in your tank to grow more and more rapidly.

Home aquarium with fishes and plants.

How To Get Rid Of Algae From A Fish Tank Naturally

Fortunately, getting rid of algae isn’t hard; it’s more time-consuming. And I’d always recommend using a more natural way to remove it from your tank. So you don’t end up disturbing the delicate balance in your tank. With this in mind, here are the best ways to do so!

1. Reduce the Amount of Light Exposure

If your aquarium is in a sunny spot, try moving it to a different location. If you have artificial lighting, reduce the number of hours that the lights are on. It’s also a good idea to use a timer to turn the lights off for part of the day.

2. Algae Scraper & Gravel Vacuum

This is one of the best ways to get rid of most of the algae in your tank. Use an algae scraper to scrape it off all the glass in your tank, and then quickly vacuum it up with your gravel vacuum. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to do this all at once. But over a few sessions, you can get the bulk of the algae out.

3. Snails Are Your Friends

A lot of people tell you not to add snails to your tank because they’ll eat everything. Yeah, they will eat everything. Every bit of algae in your tank, that is. I just let Ramshorn snails run wild in my tank and I never deal with algae.

Here’s one section of my tank. Try to count all the Ramshorns you see. They’ll also eat any other waste in the tank too, keeping it cleaner and removing food for algae. Just make sure you’re removing the dead ones.

I even put a couple of Elephant Snails in for good measure too.

4. Shrimp Are Good Too

And of course, you can’t forget shrimp. Amano shrimp in particular are known for their ability to clean up hair algae in your tank. So when you combine shrimp and snails you’re in for a combo that can’t be beat.

For those caring for bettas, you can keep both Ramshorns and cherry shrimp in tanks 5 gallons and bigger too!

5. Change & Clean Your Filter Regularly

A dirty filter can’t do its job properly and will allow algae to thrive. Make sure you change your filter regularly and clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Remember the mechanical media in particular will need a good clean whenever you change the water.

6. Keep Your Tank Clean

Perform regular water changes and clean the gravel and decorations. This will help to remove algae and the nutrients it needs to grow. If you have an algae problem, you may need to do more frequent water changes.

5. Test Your Water Chemistry

Testing your water chemistry is important to make sure that the levels of nitrates and phosphates are not too high. If they are, you can add chemicals to bring them down to a safe level. You can also try using a product that removes nitrates and phosphates from the water.

6. Avoid Temperature Fluctuations

Keep the temperature in your aquarium stable by using an aquarium heater. sudden changes in temperature can cause an algae bloom. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to acclimate fish slowly when you add them to your tank.

7. Use Algae-Eating Fish: 

Certain types of fish, like plecos and otocinclus catfish, are known for their ability to eat algae. Adding a few of these fish to your tank can help to keep the algae population under control. Make sure you do your research before adding any fish to your tank to make sure they are compatible with the other fish.

These are just a few of the ways you can get rid of algae from a fish tank naturally. By following these tips, you can keep your fish tank clean and clear of algae.

Other Ways To Remove Algae

Algae are a common nuisance in fish tanks. They can quickly take over the tank, crowding out other plants and creatures. While algae are not harmful to fish, they can be unsightly and difficult to remove. If you’re struggling with algae in your fish tank, there are a few things you can do to get rid of it.

Use an Algaecide

If all else fails, you can use an algaecide to kill the algae in your tank. Be sure to follow the directions carefully and remove any dead algae from the tank to prevent it from decaying and releasing toxins into the water.

Algae are a common nuisance in fish tanks, but there are a few things you can do to control them. Regular water changes, reducing the amount of light, and not overfeeding your fish will help to prevent algae growth. If algae do start to grow, you can remove it with an algaecide or by introducing algae-eating creatures to your tank.

How To Get Rid Of Algae Bloom In Fish Tank

Nutrient pollution, which is when there is too much of the plant nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, can cause algae blooms. In this section, we’ll go over some ways to get rid of algae in fish tank.

Good Cleaning Habits

Change the water in your aquarium often to keep it healthy and stop algae from growing. 10% or 25% every week or every other week is a good place to start. Suck out any food that hasn’t been eaten and any other organic matter. 

Adequate Feeding and Stocking

If you have too many fish in your tank or feed them too much, the levels of nitrate and phosphate will go up. Algae love this. Keep 1 inch of adult fish per net gallon of water, and only feed your fish once or twice a day what they can eat in 2 minutes or less. Many experienced aquarists don’t feed their fish at least once a week.

Proper Lighting

Don’t put your aquarium in a window that gets a lot of sun. If you can’t avoid it, put up a background or close the blinds during the day to keep as little sunlight as possible from hitting your tank. If your aquarium is in a bright room but doesn’t get direct light, turn off the light during the day.

Live Plants

Since algae that cause Green Water use the same nutrients that aquatic plants do, they are a very good way to stop them. Also, plants that float on the water, such as duckweed, hornwort, and others, help block some of the light from getting deeper into the water. Well-planted aquariums almost never experience algae problems.

Proper Dosing

If you don’t use CO2 or don’t have a lot of plants, err on the side of less liquid plant fertilizer rather than more. Don’t forget that algae are also plants, and they will use any extra nutrients that your plants aren’t taking in. Also, remember that an aquarium can never hold as much water as its size says it can.

Algae blooms can be a nuisance, but by following these simple tips, you can control them and keep your fish tank healthy and algae-free.

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 Remove Algae From Fish Tank Decorations

Aquarium decorations are always nice to look at because they add beauty and color to the tank. Most aquariums look good for weeks or even months until brown or green algae start to grow on the aquarium screen. The tank doesn’t look as good as it did a few weeks ago. The only way to bring back that great look is to clean the aquarium. Here are 7 ways you can do to remove algae from fish tank decoration:

Use Bleach Solution to Clean

Some algae are very hard to get rid of, and you can’t just scrub them away quickly. So, this is the right way to do it. To clean decorations with bleach, make sure that the bleach is only 5% of the mixture and that the rest is water. The only thing in the bleach should be sodium hypochlorite. 

You also need to make sure that you’re removing the decorations from the water when using the bleach solution and then thoroughly rinse them in conditioned water afterward.

Boil in Water

Bring a lot of water to a boil and make sure it’s big enough to hold all the decorations at once. Soak all of the decorations in a bowl of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure they are all completely submerged. 

Use Scrub Brush

If you don’t want to use any kind of solution, you can just brush the algae off with a scrub brush. You can use an old toothbrush or even a new one. Just make sure that the bristles are stiff enough to scrub the algae off but not too stiff that they will scratch the surface of the decoration.

Use a Toothpick

If you don’t have a scrub brush, you can use a toothpick to scrape the algae off. It’s not as effective as a brush, but it will still get the job done. The toothpick should be made of wood or plastic so that it doesn’t scratch the surface of the decoration.

Use a Cloth

If you don’t have a brush or a toothpick, you can use a cloth to wipe the algae off. Just make sure that the cloth is damp and not wet. Wet cloths tend to spread the algae around and make it harder to remove.

Use Razor Blade

If the algae is really tough to remove, you can use a razor blade. Just be careful not to scratch the surface of the decoration. The razor blade should be sharp enough to scrape the algae off, but not so sharp that it will scratch the surface of the decoration.

These are 7 ways you can do to remove algae from fish tank decorations. Choose the one that is right for you and your decoration.

How To Clean Algae From Fish Tank Glass

To keep your aquarium glass clean and clear, you will need a few tools. It can be hard to stop algae from growing on your glass, and it’s usually not a sign of a bigger problem. But using the wrong tools or scrubbing too hard can break your aquarium glass, so it’s important to know what to use and how to use it.

1. Magnet Scrapers

A magnet scraper is a great way to get rid of algae on the glass of your aquarium. Just put the magnet scraper on the outside of your aquarium and move it around to get the algae off. You and your fish are both safe when you use this method.

2. Algae Scraper

An algae scraper is a tool with a blunt edge that is used to scrape algae off of glass. Aquarium scrapers come in many different sizes and shapes. Some use titanium cards with special blades, while others use plastic cards. With either of these, even the toughest algae will be easy to remove.

3. Glass Cleaner

You can also use a glass cleaner to remove algae from your aquarium glass. Just spray the glass cleaner on the algae and wipe it away. This method is safe for both you and your fish.

4. Toilet Paper

With a paper towel, you can remove algae from your glass. Just wet a paper towel and rub the algae off with it. Make sure you use a paper towel without lint so that you don’t end up with paper pieces in your aquarium.

7. Scrubbing Pad

You can use a scrubbing pad to get rid of tough algae. Just wet the scrubbing pad and scrub the algae off with it. When you’re done, make sure to rinse the area well with clean water.

No matter which method you use, make sure to rinse the area well with clean water when you’re done. This will get rid of anything that could hurt your fish.

betta care facebook group

How To Clean Aquarium Rocks Of Algae

Even though algae is a type of plant that grows naturally, you don’t want it in your aquarium. In this section, we’ll talk about how to clean algae off of aquarium rocks. 

Remove Rocks from Tank

 To clean your aquarium rocks of algae, you’ll first need to remove them from the tank. Use a small net to remove each rock individually and place them in a bucket of clean water.

Use an Aquarium Siphon

 Next, you’ll need to use an aquarium siphon to clean the algae off of the rocks. First, place the end of the siphon tube into the bucket of water and turn on the pump. Then, move the tube around each rock until all of the algae is removed.

Vacuum the Gravel

 Once the rocks are clean, you’ll need to vacuum the gravel in your aquarium. This will remove any algae that may have fallen off of the rocks during the cleaning process.

Create a Bleach Solution

 In a bucket, mix together one part bleach and ten parts water. Then, place the rocks in the bucket and let them soak for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the rocks and rinse them off with clean water.

Place the Rocks Back in the Aquarium:

 Once the rocks are clean, you can place them back in your aquarium. Be sure to rinse the rocks off with clean water before placing them back in the tank.

How To Remove Algae From Aquarium Plants

Algae will also grow happily on a slow-growing plant. The aquarium plant will look like it has dark spots on it. There are a few things you can do to get rid of algae on your plants.

Cut off the Leaves That Are Affected.

If the algae are only on a few leaves, you can take off those leaves and throw them away. This won’t kill the algae, but it will get rid of it from your plant.

Don’t Give Your Plants as Much Fertilizer

If you give your plants too much fertilizer, it could be making the algae grow. Reduce how much fertilizer you are using and see if that helps.

Add More Light

For algae to grow, they need light. If you give your plants more light, it will help stop algae from growing.

Use an Algae Eater

If your aquarium has an algae eater, it will help keep the algae in check. The Siamese Algae Eater or the Otocinclus are good choices because they are cheap and common algae eaters.

Use a Chemical Treatment

You can kill algae with a few different chemical treatments. Some of these are copper sulfate and algaecides. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions on the package.

If you take the time to get rid of the algae, the plants in your aquarium will thank you. Your plants will be healthy and free of algae with a little work.

How To Prevent Algae In Fish Tank

After cleaning your aquarium, you may be wondering how to keep the algae from coming back. If the conditions are right, algae could come back. But you can stop algae from growing in your aquarium by doing some things.

Keep Your Aquarium Clean

Keeping your aquarium clean is one of the best ways to stop algae from growing in your aquarium. To do this, you have to do things like vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Algae are less likely to grow in an aquarium that is clean.

Don’t Give Your Fish Too Much Food

If you give your fish too much food, algae can grow. This is because the extra food will go bad and release nutrients that algae need to grow. So, make sure you only give your fish what they can eat in a few minutes.

Make Sure Your Aquarium Has Enough Light

For algae to grow, they need light. So, putting your aquarium in an area with a lot of light can help stop algae from growing. You can also block some of the light with an aquarium cover.

Don’t Use Products With Phosphates in Them

Phosphates can help algae grow. So, it’s best not to put anything in your aquarium that contains phosphate. This includes things like fertilizers with phosphate and food for fish.

Use a Phosphate Remover

If phosphate is already in your aquarium, you can get rid of it with a phosphate remover. This will help stop the growth of algae.

Use an Algaecide

If your aquarium already has algae, you can kill it with an algaecide. Make sure to follow the algaecide’s directions so you don’t hurt your fish.

Change the Water

Changing the water in your aquarium often is one of the best ways to stop algae from growing there. This will get rid of the food algae needs to grow. Make sure you have a regular schedule for taking care of your aquarium.

The best way to keep algae from growing in your aquarium is to keep it from growing. But if you do get algae, clean it up as soon as possible. If you don’t get rid of algae, it can quickly take over an aquarium.

How To Clean Algae Out Of Tubing

Algae can grow on the sides of tubing, making it hard for water to flow through. There are several ways to get algae out of tubing. Here are 5 of them:

Algae can grow on the sides of tubing, making it hard for water to flow through. There are several ways to get algae out of tubing. Here are 5 of them:

1. Use a Cleaning Brush

A cleaning brush can be used to scrub away algae from the sides of the tubing. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush so as not to damage the tubing.

2. Use Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and can be used to clean algae off of tubing. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray onto the affected areas. Let sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush, and then rinsing thoroughly with conditioned water afterward.

3. Use Bleach

Bleach is a strong cleanser that can be used to kill algae. Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water and pour into a bucket. Soak the tubing in the solution for a few minutes before rinsing it with clean, conditioned water.

4. Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another strong cleanser that can be used to clean algae off of tubing. Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water and pour into a bucket. Soak the tubing in the solution for a few minutes before rinsing it with clean water.

5. Use a Commercial Algae Cleaner

There are many different brands and types of commercial cleaners available specifically for cleaning algae. Follow the instructions on the package for the best results.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Kill Algae In Fish Tank

When all else fails, many aquascapers have used hydrogen peroxide to get rid of algae. Here, we talk about how to use hydrogen peroxide to kill algae in fish tanks.

Begin by Doing a Large Water Change

This will help to remove any built-up toxins in the water that may be causing the algae problem. Toss out about 25-50% of the water, depending on the severity of the algae issue.

Remove All Fish and Other Aquatic Life From the Tank

This is a necessary precaution, as hydrogen peroxide can be harmful to aquatic life. Be sure to place them in a safe and temporary holding tank.

Add Hydrogen Peroxide to the Tank

The general rule of thumb is to add one cup of hydrogen peroxide for every 50 gallons of water.4. It is best to use a glass measuring cup to pour the hydrogen peroxide into the tank so that you can avoid any spills.

Leave the Tank for 12 Hours

This will give the hydrogen peroxide time to kill the algae. Do not add any fish or other aquatic life back into the tank during this time.

Do Another Large Water Change

After 12 hours, do another large water change to remove the hydrogen peroxide from the tank. Be sure to add fresh, clean water back into the tank.

FAQ

What Does Dead Algae Look Like?

When algae cells die, they start to lose chlorophyll and its green color. This is why a sign of a die-off is a change in the color of the water, either in streaks or all over, from green to brick red, brown, or black. 

How Does Copper Sulfate Kill Algae?

Copper sulfate kills algae by binding to it. This damages the algae cells, causing them to leak and die. Copper sulfate dissolves easily in water, and copper is a natural mineral that is important to our bodies.

Do Snails Eat Algae In Fish Tank?

Most snails are scavengers that eat algae, dead plants, dead fish, and other trash. This makes them a great choice for keeping your tank clean.

What Fish Eat Algae In A Fish Tank?

Siamese Algae Eaters are great fish for cleaning the tank because they work hard to keep everything looking clean. They eat many different kinds of algae. Even with types of algae that other animals don’t eat, the siamese algae will eat them.

What Color of Light Stops Algae Growth?

Algae grow best in white light and more in blue light than in red light. In one experiment, the algae grew faster in the blue light group than in the red light group. 

What Is An Algae Scrubber?

Algae scrubbers are aquarium filters that use light to grow algae quickly. The algae filter the water, eat harmful chemicals, and keep aquariums free of algae. As the algae grow, the owner picks it, which gets rid of the pollution it has absorbed.

 Recap

Algae can be a big problem in fish tanks. They can quickly take over the tank and make room for nothing else. You can get rid of algae in your aquarium in a few different ways. Change the water often, turn down the light, and don’t feed the fish too much. Use an algaecide or add animals that eat algae to your tank to get rid of algae. Most aquariums look good for weeks or even months until algae start to grow on them. Algae blooms can be annoying, but if you follow the simple tips we gave, you can get rid of them.

About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!