A clean aquarium is a healthy aquarium, which means your fish should also be healthy. However, if you begin to notice green or black algae growing, that’s a sign you need to properly manage your aquarium. In this article, I will guide you on how to get rid of algae in aquarium for fish. To get a better understanding of algae growth in your fish tank, we will also get into how the build-up occurs and how to control it as well as go over the fact that some algae may actually be good for your aquarium.
Why Is There Algae in My Aquarium?
Before we dive into how to get rid of algae in an aquarium, let’s understand why it is there in the first place. For algae to grow, it needs oxygen, light, water, and nutrients—primarily nitrate. Algae is a living thing, basically. You cannot get rid of air, light, water, and nutrients because your fish need those, too.
The main cause of algae build-up is an excess of nutrients. Nutrients can come from uneaten fish food, fish waste, and all sorts of organic matter inside a fish tank.
Too much lighting can result in algae as well. You will probably notice your tank water will turn green if it’s in a brightly lit spot, or you do not know when to turn off your aquarium lamps.
Types of Fish
If you do not have herbivorous fish in your tank, that may be why your tank is prone to algae build-up. Herbivorous fish can help naturally control the amount of algae in your tank since they will happily munch on it.
Cleaning out your tank can be time-consuming, but it is a must for a clean and healthy aquarium. Even if you have a solid filtration system installed, the water will still need to be changed at some point.
Remember, the main reason for you to get rid of algae in the fish tank is for the fishes’ health. The algae can end up blocking light as well as oxygen that your fish need to stay strong and survive.
Good Algae vs. Bad Algae
As much as you are anxious to know how to get rid of algae in aquarium, there are some reasons to keep a bit of alga in your tank. As I mentioned, herbivorous fish could actually benefit from the presence of algae. Let’s go over the different types of algae and how they impact the ecosystem of your fish tank.
- Brown algae are common in aquariums. They occur due to the different fluctuations in the water. You will find them on decorations, plants, and even on the glass of the tank.
- Green hair algae are the most common type that grows in aquariums. They turn green because of photosynthesis. They are easy to remove.
- Green spot algae. This is similar to green hair algae, except it comes in the form of spots and is more difficult to remove.
- Black red algae or brush algae grow on plants in an aquarium. They take a long time to grow and appear as clumps or patches and vary from black to red.
- Blue-green algae are not actually algae; it’s bacteria. It looks like slimy moss and grows over the substrate. It also has a bad smell.
- Black algae or black beard algae actually appear blue or blue-green. It appears as patches of hair.
Before you hurry to learn how to get rid of algae in fish tank, not all the types of algae listed need to be removed. You definitely need to control growth, but some algae can be beneficial to your aquarium. Green algae, especially, can help stabilize your aquarium. It produces oxygen and can serve as food to herbivorous creatures in your tank.
How to Control or Remove Algae
There are different areas of your tank on how to get rid of algae in aquarium and to avoid excessive build-up.
Algae, like other green plants, are photosynthetic. This means it requires light to produce food. Reconsider the amount of exposure you are giving to the aquarium. Weaken the light source or decrease the hours of exposure.
Oxygen can starve algae, so increasing CO2 in your aquarium will lower the chances of huge algae build-up. This is why, aside from a filtration system, you need a good air pump in your aquarium.
Do not overfeed your fish if you do not want to deal with too many algae. If you notice a lot of leftover food, that’s a sign you need to cut down on the fish food you provide.
Ultimately, there comes a time you will need to remove algae. Manual scraping is the best way to go, even if it requires the most effort and time. You will need to safely transfer your fish to a clean tank or container and work quickly before your fish become stressed and uncomfortable in their new environment.
Algae build-up is not only unpleasant to look at, but it’s bad for the ecosystem of your tank, which is why it’s important to know how to get rid of algae in aquarium. There are a variety of ways to control the amount of algae in your tank, but the best way is to switch water regularly. Compared to scraping your tank, it’s a lot less time-consuming. With the right tools and methods, though, you will be able to get your algae removal process down quickly. Get more tips on aquarium care.