Stop Nuisance Algae
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Stop Algae
If your once-beautiful aquascape is no longer visible due to a proliferation of algae, it's time to take action. While a small amount of algae can actually benefit your aquarium by consuming excess nutrients and providing oxygen, algae can quickly get out of hand. Controlling nuisance algae requires regular – yet relatively easy – maintenance.

Feed fish sparingly
Algae thrives on ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate generated from uneaten food and fish waste. Feed your fish only as much food as they can consume in a minute or two, 2-3 times daily.

Shorten and regulate your light cycle
A lengthy light cycle encourages algae growth. Use a light timer to replicate a consistent day/night schedule. Keep lights on 10-14 hours per day for planted aquariums, 6-10 for ornamental setups.

Perform frequent partial water changes
Ideally, change 10% of your aquarium water weekly to dilute and remove algae-fertilizing excess nutrients. Lee's Ultimate Gravel Vac® offers an ideal solution that also removes sludge and decomposing organics from aquarium substrate.

Test your tap water before water changes
Your tap water may contain algae-encouraging elements – especially phosphate. Eliminate or significantly reduce these elements with a Reverse Osmosis unit or a Tap Water Filter.


Maintain your filter media
Bolster your filtration system with phosphate-controlling media such as our PhosPure® Filter Media which removes phosphate and heavy metals. Also, change your mechanical and chemical media at least once a month to ensure consistent results.

Remove as much algae as you can
Scrape algae off your aquarium walls with a Mag-Float, or the Eheim PowerCleaner Glass Scraper.

Add a UV sterilizer to your setup
UV Sterilizers use ultraviolet light to clarify aquarium water and eradicate free-floating algae (known as green water) from your aquarium.

Add beneficial plants, invertebrates, and fish
Plants compete directly with algae for light and nutrients, and most often succeed if given proper conditions. In freshwater setups, Dwarf Plecos happily consume algae from aquarium surfaces, while Cory Cats eat excess food from aquarium substrate before it can fuel algae growth. In saltwater setups, a refugium with macroalgae can compete with nuisance algae. Find algae-battling plants, invertebrates, and fish on LiveAquaria®.com.