Aquarium Maintenance: How To Clean Algae From Fish Tank

April 1, 2017

Algae will keep your tank looking natural. Moreover, they are excellent food sources for fishes. So, your goal should not get rid of all the algae.

Instead, you should manage their growth to keep the population of the algae under control. So, the question is: how to clean algae from fish tank? Let’s find out here.


Algae Cleaning Tips

Do Not Simply Empty Out the Fish Tank

If your tank has an excessive growth of algae, you may want to scrub down the tank and drain it. The choice may be vital at the time, but you may find that you have to deal with it afterward.

As you do a thorough cleaning procedure in your tank, you will most likely destroy all of the beneficial bacteria. Once you clean it and refill the tank with water, it will need some time to grow a colony of bacteria.

If you place your fish back, they may suffer from ammonia poisoning. Then, you have to deal with the bacteria bloom later on. To keep your tank safe, you do not have to change above 25% of the volume of your tank.

Use an Algae Scrubber For a Severe Accumulation of Algae

When your algae start to build up on the reservoir walls, it will significantly affect the appearance of the aquarium.

It will make it challenging for you to see the contents of your tank. Also, it will make it look unkempt and dirty. The simplest way to get rid of the algae accumulation on the walls is to obtain an algae scrubber.

The tool will have a tough part made to scrub tough algae build up. Also, it will consist of a sharp tip to scrape them away.

To use the scrubber properly, you need to use it from the top of the tank going to the bottom. After finishing this step, you may draw it up using the aquarium vacuum.

Ways to Eliminate Algae

Here are some of the most efficient ways to get rid of algae accumulation:

Check Out Your Aquarium Water

To prevent further algae problems, you always have to make sure that you test the water of your aquarium regularly. Also, you need to check out your tap water before changing your water tank.

If you have an existing algae growth, the first step to follow is to test out your tap water. If it has a significant amount of nitrate, phosphate, and iron, then you cannot reduce the growth of algae.

Avoid Phosphate Levels

Phosphate sources include fish food and tap water. To prevent unwanted phosphate levels, ensure that no uneaten food enter the tank. The most efficient way to decrease the phosphate level is by utilizing the tap water refill or reverse osmosis unit.

It is also helpful to use commercial carbon-phosphate removers or phosphate removers.

Utilize High-Grade Media and Filters

Algae flourishes on excess nitrate, nutrients, and iron because of overfeeding, overstocking, and failure to change water. Also, it may thrive because of contaminated water.

To lower down the nutrients in the tank, you need to use carbon to help decrease the metals and organics. It will also slow down the growth of algae. But, if a particular type of algae appears in your aquarium, it will need a tougher method.

A filter media can also change the phosphate levels in the tank. You can use Poly Filters for your aquarium to remove iron, phosphate, and heavy metals.

Retain a Quality Water

Routine water changes around one-fourth of the tank every four weeks can help decrease excess organics.

For saltwater, you need to use purified water using reverse osmosis. If you are utilizing tap water with chlorine, make sure that you put a de-chlorinator.

If you can observe nutrients, you can use a prefilter. To minimize the organic contents in the water, you should avoid adding new fishes. You can use liquid algae controller, including Algae Fix. It is efficient and safe to use in freshwater tanks.

Allow Your Fish to Eat the Algae

A lot of freshwater fishes like the Plecos like to feed on algae. Also, saltwater fishes such as Angelfishes and Tangs include algae in their meal.

In saltwater, you can cultivate the aquarium with macroalgae to limit the unwanted fungus, slime hair, and bacteria.

Adjust Your Lighting

If the algae grow fast, there is a tendency that the tank is getting too much light. Even if you carefully position the aquarium away from direct rays, light may still pass through. So, you may need to block the light or lower down the amount of illumination.

Since the algae need nutrients and light to grow, you need to consider using your lights in a shorter time. Moreover, some species of algae may grow better in low light. So, you may change the intensity of your aquarium bulb.

Wipe the Algae Away

The easiest way to control algae is to scrub it away from the wall with a cleaning mitt. If you want to maintain the dryness of your hands, you may use a mag float to wipe the tank walls from the outside. Then, remove the excess amount of filtration and siphoning.

Manual cleaning will not avoid the return of the problem, but it helps manage the growth of algae. Do not leave the algae floating in the tank whatever process you use. It will only increase the organic matter and lower the oxygen level in the aquarium.


You need to understand that you can manage a lot of algae problems. If diagnosed early, you can prevent the problem from occurring from time to time.

When you use the techniques mentioned above, you will keep the tank clean and manageable. Plus, it will help the fishes to survive and to grow faster.

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Hello, fishing world! My name is Bella. Yes, you got me right, I am a woman! But, I am a woman not only fond of cooking and shopping. I am a woman who shows interest in everything that covers topics regarding fishing. Don’t get me wrong! I believe that the world of fishing is not exclusively for men! In fact, I, myself enjoy fishing. That’s why I created this website.

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