Top 5 Ways to Clean Algae from Your Fish Tank
Algae is a natural part of the aquarium ecosystem because it helps to purify the water from toxic waste chemicals and serves as a food source for algae-eating fish and invertebrates. Most people view algae as an unwanted guest. Too much algae can block your view and slow down the growth of healthy plants. Let’s discuss 5 simple ways to get rid of algae from aquarium decorations and walls.
1. Use Tools to Manually Remove Algae
Because it is quick and easy, you can remove algae using your hands. Let’s now talk about the best tools that you should have. An algae scrubber can be used to remove algae from aquarium walls. The gentle sponge is made from non-toxic melamine foam, and will not scratch acrylic and glass. Mag-Float Glass cleaner with matching blades is a good choice if you have trouble scraping away tough algae like green spots. These glass-safe blades can easily cut through green spots algae like a hot knife through butter. This will save you a lot of time and effort when it is about tank maintenance. For acrylic fish tanks, please use Mag-Float Acrylic Cleaner and the appropriate acrylic scraper knives.
An algae scrubber is a tool that can be used to clean algae off aquarium walls. This will allow you to see the fish and plants clearly.
The simple toothbrush is perfect for cleaning difficult-to-reach areas, aquarium decorations and hardscape. You can remove certain types of hair algae by grasping the bristles of the toothbrush and twisting it so the algae looks like spaghetti. If you notice blue-green algae, brown diatom, or other algae covering the substrate, an aquarium siphon can be used to vacuum it.
Use a toothbrush to remove it from hardscapes, plants, or fish tank decorations.
2. Algae-Eating Animals are here to help
Many people look for an algae eater when algae grows too much in their fish tanks. We placed them second because they can only eat certain algae types and may not be able clean the entire tank. They are an excellent second line of defense and can help you fight algae. We love nerite shrimps, amanoshrimp, and schools of otocinclus catsfish for nano tanks. To cover larger tanks, you can get Siamese or bristlenose algae eaters and/or bristlenose plecos. You can also read more about the top 10 algae eaters in freshwater aquariums.
The Siamese alga eater is a great member of the clean-up crew for larger fish tanks. However, it’s important to not accidentally get its aggressive cousin, the Chinese algae eater.
3. Get rid of excess organics from the tank
Algae can easily eat nitrogen compounds from fish poop and unhealthy leaves. If your aquarium is not yet established, it can help to eliminate potential sources of nutrients that could be used by algae. Use a pair scissors to trim any algae-covered leaves in a planted tank. You can use a siphon to remove rotting gunk and give the fish less food if they don’t eat everything within a few minutes.
Blue-green algae prefers to grow in places where there is debris, or “dead areas” in the aquarium. This can happen if the current is too slow, or if there are large ornaments and hardscape that block the flow. Make the water flow more efficient by moving ornaments around and filling the gaps between hardscape with substrate.
4. Balance Lighting and Nutrients
Ultimately, the most effective way to get rid of algae is addressing the root problem that is causing the algae to outcompete your plants. Algae can use the same resources as plants to grow and photosynthesize, and if they have too many or too few of these building blocks, it can thrive at an alarming rate.
We recommend that you use an outlet timer to balance your tank. This will turn on the light for 6-8 hours each day. Then, increase or decrease your nutrients as necessary. To reduce the amount of nitrate in your tank, you can do a water change if it is higher than 50 ppm. Dose the tank with Easy Green all in one fertilizer until it reaches 20ppm. Wait 2-3 weeks between each modification you make in lighting or nutrients levels so that you can see what impact it has on your plants and adjust accordingly. It is impossible to eliminate all algae from your plants. Therefore, you should try to minimize the amount of it that you can.
5. Treat with an Algae Inhibitor
When it comes to chemical treatments, there’s a delicate balance between finding a remedy that is strong enough to affect the algae without harming the animals and plants in the fish tank. Liquid carbon is commonly sold as a fertilizer for aquarium plants, but it is more accurately an algae inhibitor that is known to reduce algae growth. Our brand of liquid carbon, Easy Carbon, is safe for fishes and invertebrates. It has an easy to use pump head dispenser that can quickly dose your fish tanks. A pipette can be used to directly spray Easy Carbon on difficult-to-remove black beard algae patches (BBA), which is one of the most difficult types to eradicate. For more details on how to use liquid carbon, read the full article here.
Easy Carbon is effective against persistent algae outbreaks like BBA. Turn off the filter temporarily before applying the chemical to the skin. This will allow the chemical to “soak” the algae for a few moments.
The reason why chemical treatments are the last on our list is that we believe they are most helpful after you balance the lighting and nutrients in your planted aquarium. If you try to use algaecides in your tank without doing any of the previous four steps, the algae will keep growing back and the chemicals will have little to no impact. You can read our article about the 6 most common types and how to stop algae growth.