Aquarium Algae

There are many different types of nuisance aquarium algae and it is perhaps the most common aquarium problem that aquarists will have to deal with.  “Red Slime” and diatomaceous “Brown” algae occur in saltwater aquariums and are somewhat different that normal and more common green types of aquarium algae and both will be dealt with on a separate web page.  This page will mostly deal with the various species and forms of what is commonly referred to as “Green Hair” aquarium algae.

Aquarium Algae
Green Hair Aquarium Algae

The best way to keep algae under control is with preventative measures.  Aquarium algae thrives under relatively poor water conditions and this means water high in nitrates and phosphates.  Denitrification will remove the nitrates from the system and the consistent use of phosphate remover will remove phosphates from the aquarium.  Frequent substantial water changes are also commonly used instead of denitrification.  Keeping phosphates and nitrates low will make it very difficult for aquarium algae to take hold and greatly slow it’s growth in the aquarium.  Having good filtration and maintaining the aquarium filtration system will also go a long way in maintaining the water quality.  It is also usually equally important that a wide variety of algae eating organisms be present in the tank.  These can include larger organisms including fish and invertebrates.  Even having a good mix of small microscopic organisms will help prevent and solve a lot of aquarium algae problems.  Other approaches include UV sterilization and chemicals designed to kill the aquarium algae.

Using Fish and Invertebrates to Control Aquarium Algae

Using Microorganisms to Control Aquarium Algae

Using UV to Control Aquarium Algae

Using Chemicals to Control Aquarium Algae

Using Denitrification to Control Aquarium Algae

Using Fish and Invertebrates to Control Aquarium Algae

There are many types of invertebrates and fish that can help control aquarium algae.  In the freshwater aquarium, snails, Japanese Amano shrimp, Red Cherry shrimp, various aquarium algae eating fish such as Otocinclus and Upside down catfish will all eat a wide variety of aquarium algae and help keep algae issues under control, even in planted tanks.  You do not need to keep all of them but a couple of different species will help target any nuisance aquarium algae that might develop.  That along with denitrification will make it possible to maintain a pristine tank even without a great deal of water changes and time.  For freshwater aquariums that are not planted and contain larger and more aggressive fish various large species of aquarium algae eating fish and catfish such as Plecos are available that will do the trick.

Aquarium Algae Eating Freshwater Shrimp
5 Live Sakura Fire Red Cherry Aquarium Algae Eating Freshwater Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) – Breeding Age Young Adults at 1/2 to 1 Inch Long

5 Live Sakura Fire Red Cherry Aquarium Algae Eating Freshwater Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) – Breeding Age Young Adults at 1/2 to 1 Inch Long

  • These freshwater shrimp ship as breeding age young adults and range from 1/2 to 1 inch in length. They are the highest grade of red cherry shrimp, meaning their coloration is among the most intense red you’ll ever find!
  • Dwarf shrimp are very small and are not ideal for aquariums with medium to large-sized fish. Please research dwarf shrimp before purchasing to ensure compatibility with your tank’s inhabitants.
  • The bulk of shrimps’ diet is biofilm, aquarium algae, and decaying plant matter so it will work diligently to clean up the waste in any aquarium.
  • A colony of shrimp works as a very effective cleaning crew for your tanks, cleaning up aquarium algae and waste!
  • All Aquatic Arts brand plants and animals come with a 100% live arrival guarantee, plus free email support directly from the owners

 

Don’t let this be YOU!

In saltwater aquariums algae problems can be very similar to those in freshwater aquariums.  A wide variety of saltwater snails are available and will help control aquarium algae.  There are also a good variety of saltwater crabs that are available that provide excellent algae control such as small hermit crabs, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and Emerald crabs.  The Longspine Urchin can be useful for algae control in tanks that will eat most other invertebrates because it has long mildly poisonous spines to protect it from large predatory fish.  The Blue Tuxedo urchin is said to be completely reef compatible and will not damage live rock or coral but will eat any filamentous aquarium algae.

Live Peppermint Shrimp. Get Rid of Aiptasia Anemone and Nuisance Aquarium Algae.
Live Peppermint Shrimp. Get Rid of Aiptasia Anemone and Nuisance Aquarium Algae.

AQUACULTURE NURSERY FARMS Live Peppermint Shrimp.  Get Rid of Aiptasia Anemone and Nuisance Aquarium Algae.

  • Saltwater Cleaner Crew Peppermint shrimp
  • Buy Peppermint Shrimp. Get Free Express Shipping.
  • Get Rid of Aiptasia Anemone and Nuisance Aquarium Algae.
  • Maintain Water Quality. Peppermint Shrimp for Sale eat uneaten Fish Food.
  • Buy Large Quantity of Live Peppermint Shrimp Get Discounted Price and Save with Free Overnight Shipping.
  • Get Free Express Overnight shipping. Peppermint Shrimp Ship Mon- Wed Via Fed Ex Overnight. If you have a preference for receiving on a particular day we will be happy to accommodate you, just email us and let us know which is the best day for you. Buy Peppermint shrimp on line and save. Best prices on peppermint shrimp cleaner shrimp.  Peppermint shrimp love to eat Aiptasia anemone and aquarium algae. Add 12- 16 peppermint shrimp per 50 gal. aquarium water volume.Easy shrimp to keep and care for in the reef aquarium tank. Peppermint cleaner shrimp are a must have as part of the clean up crew. They are the next larger animal after amphipods in the maintenance crew of the aquarium reef tank. Peppermint shrimp will spend their day eating left over fish food that falls in the cracks in the live rock and gets missed by the fish. This left over fish food if left to decay can cause phosphate and nitrate levels to rise, leading to poor water quality and excess aquarium algae. Save yourself some time and effort and buy peppermint shrimp for a healthy reef aquarium. Peppermint shrimp eat fish waist to help break it down to the next level for the bacteria.A unique characteristic of peppermint shrimp is that they will set up a cleaning station in your tank and fish will take turns letting the shrimp clean the fishes scales and gills of parasites. So peppermint shrimp are important for healthy fish as well.

Using Microorganisms to Control Aquarium Algae

Beneficial microorganisms will also help control aquarium algae.  These microorganisms are called rotifers and copepods and are discussed in detail on our Aquarium Microfauna page.  A wide variety of beneficial Freshwater and Saltwater Microfauna can be purchased from my friends at AquaCultureStore.com  They will provide balance, consume small pieces of algae that might break off to spread in the tank and compete with the algae for nutrients.  The will act as a  “sponge” in the aquarium and provide food for corals, filter feeders, fish that feed on small organisms, and fish fry.  Their function as a nitrate and nutrient “sponge” is also useful when used in conjunction with denitrification and will enhance the denitrification process.

Here is a complete package for saltwater aquariums that will most certainly naturally help reduce aquarium algae problems!

Complete SW Aquarium Microfauna kit
Complete SW Aquarium Microfauna Kit for Sale

Coral Reefing Products, LLC
5 Bottle Package – Tisbe Pods, Tiger Pods, Marine Rotifers, Green Phyto(Nannochloropsis Oculata) and Gold Phyto(Isochrysis Galbana)
This Complete Live Package Includes:
600+ Live Tisbe Pods(Tisbe biminiensis)
500+ Live Tiger Pods(Tigriopus californicus)
8 oz. Bottle Marine Rotifers
8 oz. Bottle Live Green Phyto(Nannochloropsis Oculata)
8 oz. Bottle Live Gold Phyto(Isochrysis galbana)

Tiger Pods are microfauna loaded with crude fat and protein. Fish are drawn to the pods swimming through the water. Even troublesome feeders suck as Mandarin Gobies, Scooter Blennies, Anthias, and Butterfly Fish can’t resist our Live Tiger Pods. Tiger Pods can also greatly increase the color and appearance of the fish and coral in your aquarium. Loaded with beta-Carotene, brighter pigmentation will result in most any animals that eat Tiger Pods.

Tisbe Pods are a popular aquarium microfauna food source for many animals, including but not limited to mandarin gobies and other dragonettes, most carnivorous reef fish, young seahorses soft corals & many hard corals. As a colony flourishes in an aquarium, they are effective detritavores, eating excess detritus, fish food, some animal waste, etc., thus helping to prevent aquarium algae.

Many often forget the need for live phytoplankton, relying purely on a zooplankton diet. Without a premium phytoplankton diet, the base of the food chain suffers, thus affecting everything in the system. Additionally, many clams, gorgonians & other coral filter out only Phytoplankton, thus zooplankton diets are useless for these particular animals. Besides being a food source that generates the natural food for all tropic levels, Phytoplankton absorbs undesirable chemicals present in many reef aquariums, such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, phosphates, silicates, etc.  Phytoplankton is basically microscopic aquarium algae and will reduce the nutrients available to and therefor the growth of nuisance hair algae in the tank.

Live Rotifers and their eggs are a highly nutritious food source for your hard corals, young fish and macro inverts. Packed with protein, our Live Rotifers will promote the growth of most animals in your aquarium.

Using UV to Control Aquarium Algae

Another possible preventative measure is UV sterilization.  A UV sterilizer will simply kill any small pieces of aquarium algae that might cause it to spread in the tank.  Unfortunately, they will also kill other beneficial microorganism in the tank such as rotifers and copepods.  A UV sterilizer will not act as a nitrate and nutrient “sponge” in the system.  However, it will help control other aquarium algae issues and even fish disease.

We believe that using microfauna and denitrification is preferable.  However, if a UV sterilizer is used continuously to address cloudy water, other aquarium algae issues, or fish disease then microfauna can be added after the initial problem has cleared up and then only used briefly (a few hours at a time or maybe an hour a day on a timer) and intermittently to help “polish” the tank up as needed and be kept as a back up solution should it become necessary (such as a fish disease outbreak.)

UV Sterilizers like the one below can help control cloudy aquarium water.

Sun Microsystems In-Tank Submersible Aquarium UV Sterilizer/Clarifier, 9 Watts
In-Tank Submersible Aquarium Algae Sterilizer/Clarifier, 9 Watts

Sun Microsystems In-Tank Submersible Aquarium UV Aquarium Algae Sterilizer/Clarifier, 9 Watts

  • Integrated UV lamp ballast
  • Single power cord design
  • Quartz sleeve compression fitting
  • Removal sponge tray

This utilizes a UV-C compact fluorescent lamp that is encapsulated in our unique quartz sleeve that is air tight and allows for a 99% transmission rate to efficiently neutralize disease causing pathogens and organisms that cause cloudy aquarium water. All models of aquarium UV sterilizers include an integrated pump with an adjustable swivel spout and large mechanical pre-filter sponge. A perfect match: We have taken the guess work out of sizing flow rates of pumps to lamp wattages. All models include an integrated submersible pump that is specifically sized for your aquarium which includes a swivel spout nozzle, adjustable flow valve and lamp indicator. Did we mention, you won’t need any tubes or connection fittings its ready to install right out of the box.

Using Chemicals to Control Aquarium Algae

Ok, this first item is actually a bunch of leaves which leach out natural tannins and is meant for aquariums mimicking blackish soft South American water.  It claims to also help control aquarium algae.  I’ve never tried it but it sounds interesting … just make sure your fish will like it.

50 Mini Catappa Leaves – Create Tropical rainforest environment – Beneficial Leaf tannin turns water black, lowers pH naturally, reduces aquarium algae – Boosts health and breeding chances

50 Mini Catappa Leaves – Create Tropical rainforest environment – Beneficial Leaf tannin turns water black, lowers pH naturally, reduces aquarium algae – Boosts health and breeding chances

  • ✔ ORGANIC, MINI CATAPPA LEAVES — SunGrow Mini Catappa leaves are hand picked just before they fall. Each leaf is handpicked just hours before shipment to ensure they are of premium grade and free from bugs and fungus when it gets to you.
  • ✔ HAVE A BREEDING FISH? ADD CATAPPA — The tropical fishes create bubble nest using a floating leaf or plant to anchor their bubbles. So if your tank has a breeding betta, tetra, guppy, gourami, platies, molly, just add these leaves and see them laying their eggs over the nest. That is a sight to behold.
  • ✔ NATURAL HOMELY ENVIRONMENT FOR FISH — Blackwater, or tannin-rich water has many great benefits for fishes like tetra, discus, and goldfish. It may turn the water black initially, but gives natural water condition to them. So placing your fish in such water calms them down and boosts immunity. It also helps accelerate their natural healing rate, prevents fishes from getting ill easily, imparts color to them and make their skin firmer. Blackwater also has anti-fungal properties.
  • ✔ SMALLER LEAVES, EASIER PORTION CONTROL — Each packet contains 50 leaves, which is great value for money. Smaller Catappa leaves makes for easier portion control and a good way to slowly introduce tannin-rich water especially for smaller fishes in smaller tanks.
  • ✔ SAFE WAY TO ADD TANNINS TO WATER — Unlike bottled tannins-assimilator that may contain preservatives, chemicals and even colouring, the Catappa leaves are organic so you know what goes into your tank. Simply drop a few leaves into the water and you’ll notice the water turning brown (or yellow) in just a few hours. Remove only when the leaves start to disintegrate.
API ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution
API ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution

API ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution

  • Kindly follow the dosing instructions as directed on the label and cap
  • Contains one (1) API ALGAEFIX aquarium Algae Control Solution 16-Ounce Bottle
  • Controls algae growth and keeps aquarium glass, ornaments and plants clean
  • Fast-acting and effective on “green water” aquarium algae blooms, string or hair algae and others
  • Safe for freshwater fish and plants when used as directed
  • Dose every three days until algae is under control then dose weekly
  • Treat and control aquarium algae growth and reduce your freshwater aquarium maintenance with API ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution. This revolutionary product is specially developed to control many types of algae, including “green water” algal blooms and string or hair algae, and it will not harm fish or plants when used as directed. Weekly doses of API ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution will control aquarium algae growth and reduce aquarium maintenance. To treat aquarium algae, add 1 ml per 10 gallons of water and repeat for three days until aquarium algae is controlled. Use this aquarium treatment weekly to keep freshwater aquariums clean and clear. API ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution is not for use with freshwater crustaceans including shrimp, crabs and lobsters.
Algaefix Marine Aquarium Algae Control Solution
Algaefix Marine Aquarium Algae Control Solution

Algaefix Marine Aquarium Algae Control Solution

  • Contains one (1) API MARINE ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution 16-Ounce Bottle
  • Controls aquarium algae growth and keeps aquarium glass, ornaments and plants clean
  • Fast-acting and effective on “green water” aquarium algae blooms, string or hair algae and others
  • Safe for fish and plants when used as directed
  • Dose every three days until aquarium algae is under control then dose weekly
  • API MARINE ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution effectively controls these types of algae: Green aquairum algae, “Red Slime”, and “Brown algae” in saltwater aquariums. Works fast. Will not harm fish, corals or other invertebrates when used as directed. Weekly doses of API MARINE ALGAEFIX Aquarium Algae Control Solution will control aquarium algae growth and reduce aquarium maintenance. To treat aquarium algae, add 1 ml per 10 gallons of water and repeat for three days until aquarium algae is controlled. With API Aquarium products, it’s easy to keep a beautiful saltwater, freshwater or reef aquarium. For over 50 years, API has been creating innovative, research-driven solutions that make it easier to care for your fish and aquarium.
Acurel Infused Aquarium Filter Pads for Aquariums and Ponds, 10-Inch by 18-Inch
Acurel Infused Aquarium Filter Pads for Aquariums and Ponds, 10-Inch by 18-Inch

Acurel Infused Aquarium Filter Pads for Aquariums and Ponds, 10-Inch by 18-Inch

These Acurel pads come in different varieties such as phosphate removal and carbon and are easy to use.

  • Improves and maintains fish health
  • Thick, rigid design
  • creates tighter fit, holds shape longer, decrease water pass-through and extends life of pad
  • Effectively removes all organic particles, foreign debris and excess food and water
  • Cut to fit
  • Measures 18-inch by 10-inch
  • for use with all aquarium filters
  • Infused with carbon media, our Acurel pollutant reducing media pad pulls harmful pollutants from your aquarium or pond. They trap and remove water discoloration, odor, residual medications, toxins, pollutants, and trap fish waste. Quickly reduces pollutants, aquarium algae, and improves fish health. This thicker, more rigid design performs better than other aquarium filter media pads. For use in all fresh and salt water aquariums and ponds.
Seachem PhosGuard 1 Liter Aquarium Filter Media

Seachem PhosGuard 1 Liter Aquarium Filter Media

  • For marine and freshwater aquarium filters
  • Rapidly hydrodynamics
  • Removes phosphate, inhibiting aquarium algae
  • Phosguard rapidly removes phosphate and silicate from marine and freshwater aquaria. It is not recommended for phosphate buffered freshwater. Phosguard is highly porous for high capacity and bead-shaped for optimum water flow. It outperforms all competing products.

Using Denitrification to Control Aquarium Algae

Of course, aquarium algae will be greatly inhibited in a tank that has very low nitrates.  Other methods or even a homemade nitrate reactors will often help lessen the problem but it will likely take greater measures to keep nitrates low enough to not effect aquarium algae.

The Aquaripure series of Nitrate Reactors takes the nitrate reduction concept a few steps further and has been doing so since 2003.  Not only is the media already contained in it’s own virtually indestructible container designed to last the lifetime of your aquarium, it is pre-inoculated with denitrifying bacteria (which speeds up the initial cycling process 2x to 3x) and there is also the ability to inject bacteria growth nutrient thereby doubling the effectiveness of the bacterial surface area available.  Basically, the Large Aquaripure is equal to 8 gallons worth of other denitrification media set up in it’s own reactor, depending on flow rate and other factors.  Also, Aquaripure has 14 years of experience to draw from and so you won’t be on your own trying to figure out the necessary parameters, media volume, and ideal flow rate for your aquarium.

Save Time and Money, Eliminate Nitrates, Control Algae, and Reduce Maintenance!

nitrate reactor
Reduce Aquarium Algae with Aquaripure

 

An Aquaripure Nitrate Reactor will greatly reduce the need for water changes in your fish tanks, saving you time, money, and reducing the stress on your aquarium fish.

 

What is an Aquaripure Nitrate Reactor?

The Aquaripure Nitrate Removal (or Reactor) Filter, also known as a denitrator, is a comprehensive biological filter which will completely remove all organic matter and nitrates in an Aquarium. This type of filter is also known as a denitrifier, biodenitrator, anaerobic biological filter, nitrate reactor, or simply a nitrate filter. Other biological filters only convert organic matter into nitrates which then accumulate in the aquarium, physical filters only remove larger particulate matter, and skimmers do not remove any nitrates. The Aquaripure nitrate reactor filter (or denitrator) uses beneficial bacteria to break down invisible organic matter and nitrates completely into Nitrogen gas which then escapes into the atmosphere. This same process is even used by some water treatment plants to make wastewater safe for human consumption and to clean polluted water. The Aquaripure nitrate reactor filter does this in an extremely safe and controlled environment and after the water from the Aquaripure nitrate reactor is aerated there is nothing left but pure, clean, crystal clear water.