Something I’ve been struggling a lot with in my tank is green hair algae. It started growing on one of my oysters one day, and I thought it was cute and didn’t worry about it until it got excessively long. I took out the oyster and scrubbed off the algae, but it was too late, and it quickly took over the tank. I did my best to clean the tank thoroughly, but it constantly came back.
Today I’ve accepted I may never fully get rid of the algae—the most I can do is try to manage it. In this post I’d like to share a few things I’ve used or have tried to use to keep it relatively under control.
This post contains links, however none of these are affiliate links so I will not make any money if you buy from them. They are genuinely just products I bought and like.
1. Physical Removal
I have these wonderful tongs I bought from Petco. Every time I clean the tank (once a week, usually on Sunday nights), I spend some time with these pulling out large clumps of algae, especially those that have gotten too long and I can see bother my fish.
I also each week remove at least one piece of decor, and spend some time doing serious scrubbing under hot tap water. I have a designated brush I use only for cleaning fish decor, to prevent accidentally putting potentially toxic contaminants in my tank water. The silk plants require more elbow grease than the plastic plants or plastic decor, but the scrubbing does work.
2. Chemical Removal
There are two products I use to keep my water and algae in check. One is Pristine, by Seachem. I think using Pristine is just good practice when doing water changes in general. Every time I test my water, my results are great. I’ve had a bit of an issue with uneaten food, as my royal gramma is very shy and needs a lot of coaxing to eat.
The other is Algae Reducer from Imagitarium. Honestly, I don’t think this product works so I wouldn’t recommend it. But I bought a whole bottle so I’m just using it since I have it. I can’t discern any changes from its use.
3. Algae-eating pets
I bought an adorable Lawnmower Blenny (named Kona) from LiveAquaria. He(?) is a voracious eater and does do a good job constantly eating. However, animals are not an end-all solution to an algae problem. Because he eats so much, he poops a lot, and that is a big part of why I clean the water every week, using my gravel vacuum to get rid of it all.
I also recently bought two Astrea snails. Similarly to Kona, they’re not a cost-free addition to your aquatic environment, which is why I only bought two to prevent adding more biomass than my tank can sustain (they also rarely reproduce in saltwater tanks). It’s only been a few days, but I’ve read they eat hair algae from the base and are best for preventing it from growing back.
Since Kona and the snails eat the algae, I don’t want to get rid of it completely, but it would be nice to keep it from getting so long that some tendrils reach the top of the tank. What do you do to manage your algae problem?