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Algae Remediation: Start Here

March 27, 2019 2 min read

Algae happens. And if it doesn’t, you’re lucky.  We like to say, there are two types of aquariums: those which have had algae, and those which have yet to have algae.

There is no magic solution for algae. The battle is usually won with patience and perseverance. Algae can be tenacious, but if you hit it from all angles and don’t give up, it will usually run its course and transition from an unsightly mess into a more latent state in the ecosystem as the aquarium reaches an equilibrium over many months.

No matter the type of algae, the plan should follow these phases in order:


REMOVE: The most effective way to deal with algae is to get rid of it. Grab a sponge, brush, and siphon tube and get as much out as you possibly can.  Pinch and siphon out less vigorous algae.  Use a stiff bristle brush to attack more stubborn algaes.

OPTIMIZE ENVIRONMENT: Algae thrives off of excess nutrients in the water and surplus of light. Keep up with water changes to keep nitrate, phosphate, and organic waste as low as possible. Reduce the intensity/photoperiod of your light. Temporary blackouts could kill remaining algae after the removal phase; this is a very effective trick.  We recommend 24-72hrs.

ADDITIVES: There are many additives that can be safely added to an aquarium to help diminish algae growth, such as hydrogen peroxide or Flourish Excel. They vary in effectiveness based on the chemical and the species of algae. We recommend this phase only if necessary, and as a final step to help reinforce the first two phases.  We recommend that these compounds be administered in a "spot treatment" and not by general distribution in the aquarium.

During an algae outbreak, be prepared to repeat this process several times, as frequently as needed. Don’t give up!  The key is repeated attacks and persistence.

Finally, be aware there are many types of algae, and the removal strategies can vary for each one. We recommend further research based on the type you’ve identified. YouTube and aquarium forums are good resources to find best practice examples.

-By Aqua Lab Aquarium Team

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