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How To Get Rid Of Algae In Fish Tank | Proper Maintenance & Removal Guide

Do you have algae in your aquarium? No worries, you are not alone. This green monster is something every fish owner experience and it can be a pretty unpleasant sight. The question is how much of it are you hosting in the tank and whether it is something to be concerned about?

Algae can be green, reddish or brownish in color. It invades the aquarium tank, settles on the substrate of the tank, aquarium accessories or plants, even mounts the glass of the tank. If necessary measures aren't put in place, they might end up appearing on the body of your beautiful fish. A minimum amount of it can be a good source of food for the fish. However, the overgrowth of this monster can be a terror and problematic to the overall health of your fish.

Are you thinking about how to get rid of algae in fish tank? This is quite simple and with these effective solutions, you can easily get them removed.

What are algae?

Algae are aquatic organisms that are capable of producing oxygen by using sunlight. They are plant-like and also grow based on nutrients, sunlight, and other things that are needed for a plant to grow as well.

It is important to identify the algae that are disturbing your fish tank. They come in different colors that range from red, green hair-like, black-red to even brown. There are different types of aquarium algae the green hair-like and brown algae are the most common types of algae found in the fish tank. Determining the type of algae will help you in knowing how to tackle the problem as they all thrive in different conditions.
  1. green hair algae

    As said earlier, they are the most prevalent types that are found in the aquarium. They are hairy and they are quite annoying. This is because they come back quickly after they have been removed. Too much exposure to light can make them grow.

  2. brush algae

  3. The color can be black or red and they are mostly found on the tips of the plants that are slow in growth. It can also be seen in the aquarium tools like the filter outlets.

  4. Brown Algae or diatoms

    They thrive in an environment consisting of high silicates and nitrates level. They are brown in color and can grow over time. More interestingly, they keep on growing even when there is inadequate light.

  5. blue-green algae

    These are bacteria that can be treated the same manner you treat algae. They smell very badly and they tend to grow generally in poor water conditions.

  6. ​Algal bloom

    If your water is cloudy or green, then you are experiencing algal bloom. This is the algae floats on the surface of the water. As much as this appears scary, they are easy to deal with. The general cause is overfeeding and too much exposure to light and these can be easily controlled.

How do algae get into the aquarium?

The next aspect of knowing how to get rid of algae in fish tank is to understand how they get inside it in the first place. Algae don't just appear out of the blue in your aquarium. Neither they came with the fish nor do they come from the fish food. These unpleasant organisms have always been in your fish tank. They are inside the water and all they is a chance and the right environment to flourish. You might be wondering but the water is already treated with chlorine, this, however, doesn't ensure total elimination of this microorganism. Therefore, they are always present in your fish tank. With nutrients, right Ph level, good quality, and normal exposure to light, you are simply helping your enemies to grow.

How to get rid of algae in fish tank?

Most times, algae can be eliminated using natural remedies. Here are some ways you can remove or control the growth of algae in your fish tank.

Introduce algae eaters

Do you know there some aquatic creatures who find those unattractive algae tasty as food? They include catfish, snails, shrimps, crabs are all host of other scavengers. Here are some vital points to note if you are considering introducing your new pets into the fish tank

  • It is one of the best ways to get rid of algae as it doesn't involve putting chemicals or any harmful substances.

  • Most of them like shrimp are not aggressive and will make a good companion for your fish.

  • You don't want your tank to be overpopulated, therefore, ensure you get the right size for your tank.

  • Ensure the algae eaters you want to introduce are compatible with your fish and the habitat.

  • You need to know the right algae eaters for the specific algae invading your tank as different eaters feed on different algae.

  • The bottom line is that you cannot rely on eaters alone for the removal of algae as they can only help in reducing it.

Proper tank maintenance

Ensuring your tank is clean and the water is not polluted can prevent the growth of algae. However, there are various ways you can maintain the tank and get rid of algae if you already have it.
  1. tank positioning

    Avoid putting your tank under direct sunlight as some algae develop when they are being exposed to light. You might want to consider putting your tank under shade to avoid this.

  2. Water changes

    Changing of water is a must and it can't be avoided if you want your pet to be healthy. Change at least 30 percent of the water and replace it with clean treated ones. Also, it is important to solve any water polluting issues. This can be done using water ager or siphon to clean the gravel.

  3. Manual method

    This can be tiresome but it is quite an effective way of getting rid of algae in the fish tank. Use an algae scraper or even blade to remove any algae both inside and outside of the tank.
  • Start by using an algae pad to wipe off any visible algae. Moreover, you might want to use a blade to remove any algae that might want to prove stubborn but be careful while doing this.

  • Clean the gravel and other aquarium accessories using a vacuum. You can use a siphon to clean the gravel by getting rid of any debris or dirt.

  • Another thing is to clean the water filters regularly. This will ensure the proper flow of clean water to the tank.

You might get dirty while doing this but it is worth it at the end of the day.

Other ways to regulate the proliferation of algae:

Avoid over-feeding. 

If you are looking to reduce this gross stuff occupying your fish tank. Feed them less. Excess food will settle at the bottom of the tank and this will serve as good nutrients for the algae to thrive.

  • Watch their food patterns and see if the fish cannot consume their food in five minutes. If they don’t, this is a clear sign that you are overfeeding them.

  • Consider skipping the meals in their schedule as this is also beneficial to their health.

  • Scoop out any excess food immediately to avoid accumulations of debris.

Introduce live plants

Algae are plant-like but live plants can help prevent their growth. How is this possible? Live plants compete with algae when it comes to the nutrients and other things required for their growth. Therefore, they will help in starving algae and limiting their potential to grow.


As said earlier, algae also use light as an energy source of growth just as plants. Direct exposure to sunlight will make them flourish. Moreover, control the use of artificial light and you can probably use it for just eight hours a day.

Install ultra violet sterilizer

The ultraviolet sterilizer will help in killing any algae or bacteria that is inside water. Not only will it kill even the smallest algae, but it is also not harmful to your fish. They are like natural sunlight that cannot be installed outside of the aquarium.

Testing of water

A serious fish owner will check both the nitrate and ammonia level in their aquarium and learn to keep them under control as some algae thrive high nitrate levels.

Use of chemicals and additives

Additives and chemicals might be an efficient and temporary way of getting rid of algae. However, be careful when administering solutions to your fish tank as they might be harmful to your pet's health.

Pro Tip

Make sure to use the directions on the label before using any chemical as overuse of it can lead to the death of the fish or plant.

Video Introduction


Overall, I hope this article has helped you in understanding how to get rid of algae in fish tank. As we have seen, proper aquarium maintenance and following other measures mentioned will help keep algae at bay. However, you might not be able to completely get rid of these annoying stuff as they creep up again after evacuating them. As said, you need not worry if this happens as a little bit of it is after all beneficial.

If you don't have any algae disturbing your fish tank yet, it is still vital to keep your fish in a good and healthy environment. Therefore, ensure you are practicing good hygiene and following these methods to avoid serious problems that may arise.

Affiliate links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2019-10-18.

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