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Aquarium algae – Types | Removal | Prevention

removal and protection against algae

Animal diseases

Aquarium algae – Types | Removal | Prevention

Aquarium algae spoil the appearance of the reservoir and harm the higher flora. Lower plants are found in the aquariums of beginners and professionals. Faced with abundant weed growth, novice aquarists find conflicting advice and do not know how to act.


In reservoirs with a well-established biological environment, weeds are present in small quantities. It is worth worrying when confronted with their rapid growth. Often on the walls of the aquarium there is a green bloom, methods of dealing with which are discussed in a separate article. To combat the lower vegetation in the aquarium, it is important to determine the type of algae. So you are guaranteed to get rid of the parasitic flora and do not harm other residents of the reservoir.

Reasons for the appearance

  1. Violation or lack of biobalance. If the aquarium has a high level of organic matter (decayed grass, uncleared, fish waste and leftover food), weeds have many sources of nutrition. An excess of organic matter arises from overpopulation, rare maintenance of the aquarium and overfeeding of fish.
  2. Surplus or deficiency of phosphorus and nitrates. Higher flora can not cope with an excess of fertilizers, so phosphates and nitrates are consumed by algae. And also a lack of nutrients forms a favorable environment for weeds.
  3. Excess or lack of light. With a long daylight, lower greenery absorbs excess light, and plants weaken. The lack of light, in turn, creates the conditions for the propagation of some weed species.
  4. Wrong range of lamps. Higher flora needs the light of blue and red spectrum values. Weeds love the warm yellow light given by incandescent lamps and the sun’s rays.

Types of Aquarium Algae

Weed greens vary in color and shape. More than 30 thousand varieties of algae are known, which come in green, brown, gray and other colors. Reds are considered difficult to deduce, it is easier to overcome brown and green.

Brown or diatoms

Brown algae appear as plaque on the walls of the aquarium, leaves and soil. Harmless to flora and fauna. Often appear in the aquarium for beginners due to unstable biobalance and lack of light. Aquarium algae breeds in hard water with a pH above 7.5. To prevent growth, replace the bulb with a more powerful one or add another light source. If you do not wipe the brown coating, it will lie in a thick layer, which is difficult to handle.

Brown or diatoms

Red algae or black algae

They grow in bunches of gray, purple or reddish in color with a height of about 5 mm. Also known as scarlet. They grow on all surfaces, in salt and fresh water. Crimson trees are difficult to remove. They love hard water with a strong current. Glutaraldehyde preparations are effective against them in combination with weekly water changes of up to 50% and thorough cleaning.


The species is also called “deer horns” due to branching bunches of dark color. Appears due to dead organics.

Red seaweed flip flop

Black beard

Grows in black bunches. The “beard” is often confused with the “Vietnamese”, which is not a gross mistake, because the methods of getting rid of parasitic greens are identical. If you notice that dark hairs have appeared on plants in the aquarium, check out the article on methods to combat black beard.

Black beard seaweed in aquarium


The green lower flora group unites about 20 thousand species of unicellular and multicellular plants. Greens inhabit mainly fresh water bodies.


Externally, the xenococus appears as green dots on the glass, forming a plaque. Appears in densely planted herbalists and in half-empty aquariums. Causes of occurrence: excess light and low levels of carbon dioxide.



Provoke blooming water. Euglena occurs with an excess of light, a yellow tint of light and a temperature of 27 degrees. Euglena also appears with a high level of phosphates and nitrates.


Nitrate appears with a large amount of iron and a lack of phosphorus, which plays an important role in nutrition. Grows with thin interwoven threads. Easy to remove mechanically.


The light green weedy formation looks like lightweight cotton wool. Appears in aquariums with an unidentified nitrogen cycle. It disappears after the establishment of biobalance.



It is a fragile and slimy thread. It is difficult to get rid of algae, as it grows at high speed in the aquarium. The reason for the growth is an excess of light and a lack of nutrition. It turns off the light in combination with the launch of algae-eater fish and the introduction of drugs.

Filamentous algae


Weed with short threads. It grows with poor filtration in stagnant water, as well as with a lack of carbon dioxide.

Cladophore in the aquarium

Blue green

Blue-green formations appear on the tops of plants. They are colonies of toxic cyanobacteria. They arise due to the large amount of ammonia and the lack of nitrates.

Blue-green algae

Methods of control and disposal of aquarium algae

For all types of algae, the manual removal method is relevant:

  1. pick up weed greens with your hands;
  2. wipe the glass;
  3. walk the siphon on the ground;
  4. rinse the scenery;
  5. replace some of the water.

Further, the fight against algae is carried out by different methods:

  1. light adjustment;
  2. planting higher plants;
  3. the introduction of chemicals.

Remember that it is not enough just to destroy the lower vegetation, it is necessary to eliminate the cause of abundant growth.

water change and aquarium cleaning

Reduced lighting in an artificial pond

Dimming the aquarium is effective against xenococcus, spirogyra, euglena and blue-green cyanobacteria. Do not turn on the light for 2-3 days, darken the aquarium by throwing a cloth on top. If there are photophilous plants in the reservoir, temporarily transplant them into another container with the required light level. Do not turn off aeration, because algae absorb oxygen. After exposure, remove dead flora and change water. Use this method in conjunction with the launch of animals eating algae.

Application of fast growing vegetation

Herbs displace lower greenery, consuming all the nutrients from the environment. The method is effective against green and red algae. After exposure, the plants can be removed from the aquarium. Fast-growing include:

  1. elodea;
  2. hornwort;
  3. cabomba;
  4. nasyas;
  5. hygrophils;
  6. lemongrass.

Cryptocorynes and Anubias are not suitable.

The use of fish eating algae

Launch pets eating the lower flora in combination with other control measures. Useful animals include:

  1. Siamese algae eater. It eats thread, xenococus and diamate algae. Less often he eats a “Vietnamese” and a “black beard” if there is no other food.
  2. Malawian cichlids. They eat a black beard, but they can also eat higher plants.
  3. Soma (ancistruses, otocincluses, plecostomy). They are good in the fight against brown and green algae, but sometimes do not mind eating delicate leaves of anubias and lemongrass.
  4. Snails (horned, ampullaria, marises, coils, neretins). Brown and filamentous algae, including spirogyra, which is difficult to remove, eat up.
  5. Viviparous fish (guppies, swordsmen, mollies, pecilia). Cope with green and brown growths.
  6. Amano shrimp – help in the fight against thread.

Chemical methods

Inject drugs when other methods are ineffective. Chemistry negatively affects the biological balance of the aquarium. It is optimal to use special drugs, in the name of which there is the word algo (algae). Household products like hydrogen peroxide and whiteness are also suitable.

algae remedy

Carbon dioxide

The supply of carbon dioxide together with good lighting creates an unfavorable environment for lower plants. To combat algae, gradually increase the carbon dioxide content in the aquarium using homemade or purchased devices.

Hydrogen peroxide

Peroxide is sufficient in a concentration of up to 2.5 ml per 10 liters of water. Apply the solution pointwise to weed accumulations, increasing aeration for the duration of exposure. If hypoxia occurs in the fish, immediately replace part of the water. Peroxide kills cyanobacteria, black beard, euglena and Vietnamese. To remove parasites from the leaves, soak the plants separately in a bath with a concentration of 4 ml of peroxide in 10 liters of water. After exposure, replace 20–25% of the water.


Flora and fauna are susceptible to chlorine in different ways. Dilute chlorine in 30–40 parts of water. Take a twig or leaf on which the algae has grown and lower it into the solution. If the greens turn white, dilute the preparation with water. While maintaining a natural color, introduce the solution into the aquarium gradually. Use one time. Mandatory powerful aeration, water changes and the removal of dead algae.


Reduce the amount of fertilizer applied, then the growth of algae will sharply decrease. Change water, add fast-growing plants to absorb excess nutrients.


Against green, filamentous and red algae, preparations and solutions containing glutaraldehyde are effective. Solutions are used in herbalists, safe for many plants. Use at a concentration of up to 12 ml per 100 liters of water. Put the solution in the morning for a week.


  1. Use live plants instead of artificial ones. If possible, plant more greenery.
  2. Add fertilizer by knowing the concentration of nutrients by tests. Calculate the dosage. In aquariums with moderate lighting and a small number of plants, there is no need for fertilizers.
  3. Having noticed the rapid growth of algae, start fixing the problem as soon as possible.
  4. Do not leave the aquarium without equipment for a long time, the water must be constantly filtered and saturated with oxygen.
  5. Turn on the light for no more than 8-10 hours a day.
  6. If using fluorescent lamps, replace them once a year. The shade of light turns yellow over time – favorable for algae.
  7. Treat plants before planting. This will prevent algae from entering the aquarium, as well as protect against parasites and snails. You can process greens in a solution of chlorine, hydrogen peroxide or in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate for a couple of minutes.
  8. If you are treating fish in a common aquarium, change your water more often and increase aeration. Medications affect the biological environment and can lead to an outbreak of algae.
  9. Get algae-eating fish in the aquarium.
  10. Clean weekly. Siphon the soil and change the water. Wipe the glass once every couple of weeks.
  11. Do not overfeed the fish.
  12. Avoid overpopulation in the aquarium.

Not all lower greens are undesirable in an aquarium. There are useful representatives, for example, nitella, which filters water and decorates the aquarium.

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