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How to deal with algae in an aquarium

maintenance, care, compatibility

Algae in an aquarium, how to get rid of and fight with all their species


An algal flash is a visual indication of a violation (absence) of a biobalance in an aquarium. This is the loss of any link in the balance!

Algae in the aquarium are a sign of an established biobalance. They appear on plants, stones, glass walls, and even on equipment. However, their rapid growth means that fundamental changes are taking place in the aquatic environment.

In an aquarium where there are a lot of plants, algae will not appear in large quantities. Good aeration and water filtration will stop their growth.

Timely removal of food residue and dirt contributes to the purity of water. If you notice that brown formations appear in the reservoir, it means that brown algae have settled in it.

How to get rid of kelp and suspend their reproduction?

The origin of brown algae, symptoms of formation

Brown algae are representatives of the Diatoms Division (Bacillariophyta). They should not be confused with sea kelp (Phaeophyta), which includes kelp seaweed.

In an aquarium, these algae do more harm than good, and you need to fight them.


Diatoms form brown dust on the walls of the tank. It appears everywhere – and on the ground, and on snags, and on the filter, and on the glass, even on the leaves of plants.

Initially, the formation is almost imperceptible, but later it acquires a dark, saturated shade.

At the initial stage, this type of algae is easily removed with a scraper, even crushed from plants. If you dash through the decoration, then many dust-like particles will fall from it.

Dust can be wiped off with a regular cloth moistened with running water, but without the use of detergents and soap.

Watch a useful video on how to deal with diatoms.

But in a neglected reservoir, the struggle with diatoms will be difficult. Brown particles turn black, grow rapidly, forming a buildup on all surfaces.

The top layer is crushed, and the bottom remains. This is reminiscent of the ground surface, with brown algae almost invisible through the front glass.

The problem is that such diatoms negatively affect the health of plants and fish. Plants can not carry out photosynthesis, almost “suffocate”, and the fish do not get enough water from the water, they can get poisoned.

If you do not deal with the problem in a timely manner, the consequences will be disastrous for all living creatures.


Brown algae spread very quickly, the parasite cells from one plant quickly pass to the neighboring leaves. In addition, brown patina can be a substrate for another parasite – a black beard, which is derived even more difficult.

What to do in order to prevent the growth of algae in the aquarium and destroy them forever?

  1. The aquarium should be lighting 10-12 hours a day, no more. Do not place the tank in place of direct sunlight. Bacteria that are sources of algae multiply easily by light.
  2. The overpopulation of the nursery with fish is a source of nitrates that the plants do not have time to assimilate. If you have a lot of fish, the tank should be spacious.
  3. If there are such fish in the tank as mollies, Siamese algae, antsistrusy, loricaria, catfish ottsinklyusy, then they will help to fight with a brown touch, eating it. Also, algae love snail neretina.
  4. Do not overfeed fish, remove food debris from the bottom with a siphon or a net.
  5. Regularly replace your aquarium water with clean water once a week.
  6. If a nitrogenous cycle is not established in a recently launched aquarium, an algae outbreak is more likely. The process of forming a biological balance lasts 1-2 weeks, at this time do not settle there fish and do not make large water changes. If the water level of nitrates 50 mg per 1 liter, the water should be well filtered and replaced with a new one. Take measurements of water parameters constantly.

See how you can get rid of the brown algae in the aquarium with the help of Theodoxus snails.

If you notice that brown algae appeared in a newly launched aquarium, and they began to spread in large quantities, then the fight with them will be easy. Observe the correct mode of maintenance of the tank, and in 2-3 weeks the problem will be solved. Carry out regular cleaning of the aquarium, change 20-30% of water once a week.

When aquarium plants begin to grow, the algae will disappear due to the large amount of dissolved oxygen.

When an algae outbreak happened in an aquarium with “old” water, it is necessary to replace water already 2 times in 7 days, changing 30% of the volume of water. When replacing it is necessary to thoroughly clean the tank from excess food, waste products of fish.

Use a scraper to clean the glass of the aquarium, wipe the bottom, clean the decorations and plants with a toothbrush or a clean sponge.

Check the degree of contamination of the filter, if the filtration rate has decreased, then the filter is clogged. Clean the filter, but do not change its contents.

Reduce the length of daylight hours to 6 hours a day for several days, and the next 2 weeks bring it up to 10 hours gradually. If the lamps work for 1 year, it is better to replace them with new ones, but not all at once, but in turn.

Brown scurf appears in the tank in a week, and it takes almost a month to fight it.


There are chemicals that can affect diatoms. Some funds worsen the situation, delay the reproduction of beneficial microorganisms, from which the fish will suffer. Drugs that can help with the removal of brown plaque, should be used according to the instructions.

Be careful and cautious – some chemicals can harm not only parasites, but also plants with fish.

  • Tetra Algetten – drug in the form of water-soluble tablets, used for the prevention and destruction of algae. It dissolves gradually over a month, the number of parasitic formations decreases gradually. After 4-7 days, the first changes will be noticeable. Dosage – 1 tablet per 10 liters of water.
  • Sera Algovec – the tool destroys all types of algae in the aquarium. Dosage: 5 ml per 20 liters of water. After applying the drug, it is necessary to slice away all dead residues mechanically, there should be good aeration in the water.

Filamentous algae is a true aquarist nightmare. Barely appeared in the aquarium, these thin green strands, like hair, braiding plants and stones, begin to grow rapidly.

In a matter of days, they can flood the entire room reservoir, and it is very difficult to get rid of them.

Growing, the algae emit an excess amount of waste into the water, entangle plants, interfering with their growth. The algae stuck to the remnants of food, fish fry may get confused.

All this leads to active processes of decay in the aquarium, and if the process is started and nothing is done with it, even lead to the death of the bio-system.

First of all, you need to understand that algae and aquatic plants are completely different things. Plants are higher, complexly organized beings, they have different departments in their structure: root system, stem, leaves, shoots.

Each organ consists of its own type of cells. Algae, lower, protozoa, are much more primitive in structure – they have no division into organs, and they consist of only one kind of cells.

But in these cells complex biochemical processes take place.

Algae are not some kind of harmful parasites, they are a normal member of the aquarium community. To a greater or lesser extent, they are present in every aquarium.

Even the sterilization of all possible does not guarantee that you can get rid of algae. They will get there on the leaves of plants, or simply with tap water, which in the summer may contain spores of simple algae.

Aquarium is a biosystem model, and algae also occupy a niche in it. They are part of natural balance.

Green filamentous alga, to a certain extent, is a competitor of plants. If conditions for plants are optimal, they eat well and grow, there is no excess of nutrients and light, then they suppress the algae. If these conditions are violated in some way – the algae “raise their heads”.

The appearance of an undesirable resident is an alarming signal that the balance in the aquarium is disturbed, and only by restoring it can you reduce the growth of algae and get rid of them, at least from their excessive presence.

Thin, often very long bright green “strands” that can stray into whole nests. Formed in the vicinity of plants, especially young, which are actively growing.

The difficulty in dealing with spirogyra is that it prefers the same conditions that are good for plants: an adequate amount of nutrients and good light. But a burst of algae growth is usually caused by an overabundance of these factors, even a small one (remember that in optimal conditions, where there is enough, but nothing in abundance, plants will suppress the alga, taking nutrients from it).

The rapid growth of spirogyra occurs in well-established aquariums that are not very well cleaned. In this case, the algal surge can be stimulated by some insignificant, at first glance, event: a dead fish that was not seen in time, for example.

Spirogyra threads are very soft, easily rubbed with fingers. They simply remove mechanically – winding green strands on a rough stick made of wood, a toothbrush, and the remains settled on the bottom – siphon.

First of all, it is necessary to carry out exactly mechanical cleaning, removing as much algae as possible. Then exclude the factors of its active growth: reduce the light (it is better to darken the aquarium completely for 2-3 days, it will not do any harm to the fish and plants, but for algae it will be a serious blow), slightly increase the water temperature.

Replace water more often to reduce the concentration of macro-elements in it. The introduction of the drug bicillin-5 into the aquarium also helps.

There are also natural enemies of this type of algae. She is well eaten by barbs, specials, guppies and other viviparous, shrimps.

Thread (Green Hair Algae, Hair / Thread Algae, Fuzz Algae)

Chlamydomonas and Chlorella. (Green water, Algae bloom, Green tinted water, Euglaena)

“Algae disaster” will not occur in an aquarium in which the correct balance of life is respected. The appearance of green filamentous algae is, above all, an alarm for the aquarist, indicating the beginning of the inhibition of plants due to an excess of some substances and a shortage of others.

To avoid this, follow the simple recommendations.

  • Regular cleaning and changing the water in the aquarium. If these conditions are not met, a lot of decomposition products, nitrates causing rotting, water damage, and algae accumulate in your indoor pond.
  • Harmonious lighting. Excessive light provokes excessive algae activity. For a good control of this factor, it is necessary, first of all, to establish an aquarium correctly, where direct sunlight will not fall on it. The length of daylight, sufficient for plants and fish – 10-12 hours.
  • A sufficient amount of aquarium plants. Algae often begin to actively proliferate where there are few or no plants, in an aquarium with cichlids, for example. These fish are actively digging the ground, and aquarists often decorate their homes only with artificial decorations. Meanwhile, plants are necessary for the harmonious life of an artificial reservoir, otherwise their place in the bio-system will be occupied by uninvited aliens.
  • Good aeration. A sufficient supply of oxygen is necessary for everyone living in the aquarium. If the plants themselves feel good (and they need oxygen), then they will be able to inhibit the growth of algae.

It is important to remember that algae are equal participants in biological processes taking place in your aquarium. It is not their presence at all that is harmful, but their active growth, an excess of algae.

In a well-balanced aquarium invasion of algae will not happen.

Many experienced aquarists do not protest at all against the visible presence of algae, specifically leaving them in inconspicuous places. In small quantities, they benefit by absorbing some excess nutrients and rotting products.

An important principle of aquarium maintenance is regularity and moderation. Where the fish are fed, not overfeeding and the volume of water is sufficient for them, the plants live and thrive, the dirt is constantly removed, and the water is refreshed and aerated – in a harmonious, well-kept aquarium there is no “environmental catastrophe”.

Blackbeard in the aquarium, hydrogen peroxide.

This alga does not cause any harm to the fish living in the aquarium. However, black beard harms plants, especially slow-growing plants.

This weed envelops the grass, and to remove the alga, you have to throw out the plant completely or most of it.

The main reason many aquarists struggle with a black beard is the aesthetic side of the issue. After all, who wants to see nasty growths that look like mold in the well-kept underwater world?

Blackbeard Alga

In this blog, I would like to share my own experience as I defeated the black beard of alga. This nasty thing came to me from the store when I bought a wonderful and very beautiful Kobomb plant. After 15 days, my plants were covered with black hair, the alga prevents the plant from developing by absorbing light, there are many ways to combat algae, but I chose 3% hydrogen peroxide .

I remember as a child in the Soviet Union, this method was quite effective. Before using peroxide, you need to reduce the diet of aquarium fish to stop feeding, do not change the water, do not add fertilizer to aquarium plants.

Reduce the light day of the watch for two, then I did the following, removed all the plants from the aquarium where I could clean the black beard using the blade, then poured 500 grams of water from the aquarium into the plastic bowl and added 20 ml of hydrogen peroxide there and the whole thing stood 20 minutes, after this not complicated procedure, I changed the water, poured it clean and for another hour

. After that I didn’t see a single beard hair. At once I would like to draw your attention to the fact that aquarium plants with soft and tender leaves can suffer from such procedures, but plants with hard leaves and resistant stems tolerate peroxide with a bang. Over the next 5 days I continued to add to the aquarium at 20 ml

I did this in a 100 liter aquarium; I took a syringe and poured it under the roots of aquarium plants. It is very important to understand that the calculation goes 20 ml per 100 liters, 10 ml per 50 liters should not be overdone, with the right dosage the fish feel great.

But it is also not superfluous to say that before you fight with algae, you must find the cause of the appearance of a black beard and only then proceed to the treatment of the aquarium.

The reasons can be a huge variety of this strong lighting or weak, bust with fertilizers, as well as a general violation of the biological balance. Yes, and get in the aquarium a couple of saetheses, they are algae.

There is another option. He is recognized as the most environmentally friendly of all, however, for its implementation it will be necessary to invest money and own time in search of inhabitants who would eat a black beard. The only fish that feed on this type of algae are Siamese seaweed and antsitrus.

They are able to cope with all existing volumes in about a couple of weeks.

However, there is another side to this method. Blackbeard is not the most delicious plant for fish.

To seaweed or antsitrusy got to them, they can not be fed. This cannot be done while there are other inhabitants there.

Yes, and they will not begin to fight harmful algae immediately, while in the aquarium there will be younger, green and succulent plants, these fish will eat them.

Another type of inhabitants of the aquarium, capable of coping with the nuisance – snail ampulyaria. They need a lot, about a hundred of the smallest individuals. The smaller they are, the more effectively they fight a beard.

Ideal if they do not exceed the size of a match head. After they have cleaned everything in the aquarium, they should be selected and removed.

If this is not done, the kids will start to grow and completely eat up all the green things in the pond.

Blackbeard algae in the aquarium.

It grows quite rapidly, and the struggle with it takes a lot of time. Even special chemicals and reduced illumination give only short-term results.

To defeat a beard, you need a whole range of measures, time and attention. bba1 (1) So, let’s start with water, it will have to be changed regularly, in especially neglected cases it will have to be done every day, replacing from 10 to 25% of the liquid.

And the water that you will pour also should not contain phosphates and nitrates. You will need to control their level using ion exchange filters.

Despite the risk of green algae, it is necessary to increase the light level somewhere up to 0.5-1 W per 1 liter of water at 12 hours per day of continuous operation.

It will be necessary to clean the soil from the remnants of food, and to remove dead leaves from plants. Also, it would be nice to have certain types of fish and snails that help in cleaning the aquariums from unwanted waste products and algae.

An aquarium with a black beard is a big problem that is not so easy to get rid of. The second name of the parasite is “Vietnamese”, the scientific name is Compsopogon coeruleus, the kingdom of Crimson.

In an aquarium, a black beard can be seen when black threadlike growths 20 mm long appear that grow and resemble moss. The parasite lives on slow-growing plants, so its destruction should take into account the parameters of water and features of the host plant.

Vietnamese algae got this name due to the fact that they were brought from Southeast Asia along with thermophilic tropical plants. It means that they love warm water, in which they actively develop. It is known that Compsopogon coeruleus is a very long-lasting algae, which penetrates the plant tissue, firmly attached to the soil substrate, to the walls and equipment of the reservoir.

From a biological point of view, it is not a parasitic species, however it causes significant damage to the plant, destroying its tissues, shading the leaves, preventing the absorption of useful substances. In the literal sense, the diseased plant is “choking”.


  1. Algae “black beard” are removed by chemical preparations – boric and brown acid, antibiotics. The first two tools are very effective, but will harm fish and other broadleaf plants.
  2. The biological method is to run into the tank of fish that eat black algae: Labo, Siamese seaweed, Catfish antsistrus, fish of the family Karpazubye. They clean the diseased plant from the parasite, but do not completely destroy it.

Look at how Stiphodon graceful eats “Vietnamese” algae.

  1. Changing the parameters and conditions of water in the aquarium – after this process, harmful algae can not live. The hardness of the water should be brought to the level of 8 dGh. In order for the new water that you add during the replacement to be exactly like this, 2 ml of calcium chloride solution should be added to 1 liter of water. The pH can be adjusted to alkaline: this will help 1 gram of food soda per 5 liters of water. The conditions of the water must be changed gradually so that the living creatures will not suffer, or temporarily transfer them to another aquarium.
  2. Get rid of excess organic matter – food debris provides the basis for the development of a harmful environment. Keep the bottom clean, do not overfeed fish, remove excess food with a net or siphon.
  3. Replace water in a timely manner – 20-30% of old water should be replaced with fresh and clean water once a week. These methods will not immediately give a result, but you will notice that in 2-3 months the number of black beards has decreased.
  4. Coal dust will help destroy the Vietnamese algae in a matter of days. Add this powder to the water, stirring until the dust settles. In a few tricks, the beard will completely disappear. Fish should be deposited from the aquarium with coal dust.
  5. If the indicated methods did not produce results, do daily 10–25% of water changes. New water should be free of chlorine, ammonia, phosphates and nitrates. Determine its parameters using instruments with indicators. Nitrates and phosphates – a nutrient medium for all types of algae.


If you are not able to find out the concentration of phosphates and nitrates in the aquarium, contact the sanitary-epidemiological service so that it can take measurements and analyzes. In extreme cases, take distilled water and add calcium salts to it.

What else is recommended to do to destroy the algae?

  • To get rid of the “beard” in the aquarium will help carbon dioxide – buy the installation of CO2.
  • Take a solution of whiteness and water in a ratio of 1 to 20, pour it into the water, where you place the diseased plant. The treatment will happen quickly – white will appear from black, then green, in 5-7 minutes the beard will be completely destroyed. After treatment, the plant should be washed for 20 minutes under running water. After that, do not flood it in the aquarium, but put it in a temporary quarantine.

  • Remove the plants from the aquarium with affected leaves and immerse them in a solution of 7% of vinegar or apple cider vinegar and water in proportions 1: 2, lower the affected leaves into it for 1-2 minutes. It is better not to lower the root into the liquid, so that the vinegar does not soak into the root hairs and does not burn them. After processing, wash the plant with clean aquarium water, and return it to its original place. This procedure will help get rid of the parasite that lives on anubias, cryptocoryne, echinodorus. The remains of a “dead”, pickled beard will become whitish or orange. One procedure is enough to destroy the parasitic alga. At the same time, optimize the parameters of the water in the tank.
  • Specialized stores sell the drug “Tetra Algimin”, which copes well with algae. In a few days, the black beard will crumble, disappear in a week. However, prevention should be carried out after another three weeks, otherwise the parasite can resume its growth.

See also: What to do if the water in the aquarium turns green?

Blue-green algae in an aquarium: how to deal with them

The aquarium should always be kept clean. There are situations when the owners have no time to take care of him and after a while they notice such a serious nuisance as the blue-green algae in the aquarium. They appear for a reason, there are reasons why this may be the case:

  • poor care of the aquarium;
  • excessive warming of the water (rays of the sun, battery, etc.);
  • presence of decomposing organic matter at the bottom;
  • rare change of water;
  • ingress to the aquarium of harmful substances.

Most often, the blue-green algae in the aquarium appear because the owners forget to change the water in time, and a large number of pathogenic bacteria begins to accumulate in it. Those are able to multiply very quickly and destroy the useful flora in aquariums.

It is in this way that blue-greenish deposits appear on the walls, which require immediate action.

If the aquarium is exposed to light and a large amount of solar radiation enters it, it contributes to the rapid growth and reproduction of blue-green or green algae. It is very important that the room in which he stands is well ventilated. But still an important place in this case is precisely the timely cleaning of aquarium deposits and the replacement of water with fresh one.

The lack of oxygen, clean water leads to pollution and as a result can lead to disastrous results – illness or even death of aquarium inhabitants.

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