The 6 Best Ways to Clean The Algae From Your Fish Tank

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A widely spread problem for the majority of aquarium owners is algae. However, we have a simple solution.

The 6 Best Ways to Clean The Algae From Your Fish Tank

What is Algae?


Algae is the “dirty” and slimy coating on the walls, decorations, and plants in your fish tank. It is a part of the tank’s ecosystem and grows when it meets certain conditions. There are several different types of algae, and all of them are indicators that there is a problem with your water and filtration.

The most common and harmless types of algae are some of the green and brown varieties. They are usually the result of a natural phenomenon. The reason most people will clean the algae is the fact it is unattractive, yet it is normal and exists in the majority of aquariums.

There are also other types of algae – types of green, red and brown that will indicate there is a problem with your water and filtration system. Also, there are algae-like bacterias that grow in an aquarium and are difficult to get rid of, and again indicate there is an issue. That’s why before you proceed with taking on the cleaning by yourself, it’s best to contact an aquarium maintenance and cleaning specialist.

How To Clean Algae From the Fish Tank?

glass cleaning, aquarium cleaning, scraping

The first step is to remove some of the water so you can clean the walls without having all the algae fall back into the water. The most common way of cleaning algae from a fish tank is by using algae scrapers. You can also use a sponge to clean the inside of your aquarium.

The second step is to clean as many of your decorations as you can. Many find it convenient to use a new and clean toothbrush to scrape the tight and hard to reach places and decorations. 

Whenever you choose to scrape off and clean the algae, do not change all the water of your aquarium, or it will put your current ecosystem in a dis-balance and endanger its overall wellbeing. Save around 50%-60% of the water in the aquarium and mix with clean water before returning it to the aquarium.

How to Control the Algae Growth in Your Fish Tank?

Removing the algae once does not mean you are safe from it. As a part of the ecosystem, the algae will always grow. However, you can certainly control its growth and limit it to a minimum.

Like all other flora, the algae need light, water, and nutrients. What you can do in this case is control and prevent the accumulation of algae. To reduce algae growth in your fish tank, you can follow several simple steps:

1. Control the light

Reduce the daily amount of light your aquarium is exposed to. The prolonged exposure to light sources allows the algae to synthesize and therefore grow. The amount of light is determined by what is in your aquarium. For instance, fish require at least six to seven hours of light.  Consult with your local aquarium specialist in order to adjust the lighting accordingly.

2. Reduce the food

The level of nutrients dissolved in the water also plays a great factor in the algae accumulation. To prevent the growth of algae you must restrain yourself from overfeeding your fish. The uneaten food will decompose and help the algae grow faster.

3. Change part of the water

Another important step you should take is to partially change the water in your aquarium often. Whenever you scrape off algae you can easily add 10% to 30% of fresh water to your tank, without harming the developed ecosystem

4. Maintain the filtration systems

Having a well maintained and cared for the filtration system will also help you in preventing the rapid growth of algae. Poly filters are a good way to control the levels of phosphate and heavy metals in the water. Since the algae feed on ammonia and phosphate, using carbon-phosphate removers will reduce the chances of algae taking over the fish tank. Maintaining the filtration system and equipment is a great way of keeping your tank’s water clean.

5. Add more plants

If your aquarium’s fish and size can welcome some more live plants to the bottom, then don’t hesitate to add them. The plants in your aquarium also feed on the same nutrients as the algae and are most likely to leave no food for it to grow from. In the proper conditions, the plants can tremendously lower the chances of algae spreading.

6. Put Algae on the menu

As long as your fish will not mind, you can always grow your aquatic kingdom by adopting some snails and algae hungry fish. Many of the freshwater and saltwater fish are algae hungry and will tirelessly search for this tasty treat. Angelfish, catfish, tangs, and surgeons are among the algae hungry freshwater aquarium fish. Some of the saltwater inhabitants also feed on algae and bacteria, so don’t worry. There are plenty of hungry little fellows that will happily help you get rid of the algae.

Further reading:

The 6 Best Pond Algae Eaters

At Mr. Fish, we strongly advise you to regularly tend to your aquarium filtration systems in order to maintain clean water. Our team is always available to provide consultation and maintenance, so do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions.