Best Ways to STOP Hair Algae

So you have always had a crystal clear tank. Now all of a sudden, you have a bit of hair algae. You pay it no mind thinking its just a small amount. What harm can it do?

Over the course of a few weeks, the small hairy problem gets worse. It gets to a point where you don’t know what to do to get rid of it and keep it out of your tank.

Algae Take Over

Algae Take Over

More than half of new aquarium keepers (and some experienced ones) get out of the salt water hobby because algae takes over their tanks and they go through the frustration of trying to get it under control before eventually giving up and tearing their tanks apart.

So what causes hair algae? What makes it grow?

Green Hair Algae begins to grow when the Nitrates and Phosphates in your system get too high. Add a light source and hair algae has everything it needs to live a long and prosperous life.

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Both phosphates and nitrates can be introduced into an aquarium by using a poor quality water source in addition to other things.

So let’s get down to it…

HOW DO YOU GET RID OF HAIR ALGAE?

Remove it manually

  • It’s the good ole tug and pull method. Although this is time consuming (not to mention your arm gets exhausted fairly quickly), it is the most fastest and most effective way to rid yourself of hair algae.

Change your water source

  • If you can afford to do so, purchase an RO/DI system to make your own water. It will pay for itself within a year. It also gives you the convenience of not having to leave the house to go to your local LFS and having to drag water containers back and forth from home.
  • We currently use a RO/DI 5 stage system from Bulk Reef Supply that can make around 75 gallons of water a day.
  • You can also use this system for drinking water as well as your top off water for your tanks.

Perform frequent water changes

  • Many aquarium keepers swear by weekly water changes. Some say they are unnecessary. But, if it makes sense, why not try it.
  • Water changes allow you to remove nutrients from your tank and replace the nutrient filled water with fresh salt water for your ocean living dwellers. If you are having high phosphate or nitrate problems, frequent water changes will assist with bringing those levels to a more suitable level for your tank.
  • Remember to use RO/DI water when doing water changes to your tank to make sure you are not adding any additional nutrients in your system that are normally found in tap and well water.

Cut down on Feedings

  • Feeding your tank inhabitants is a common way to add nutrients to your tank.
  • The quality and quantity of food you are feeding your tank will also determine what type of nutrients you are adding into your tank. Know what you are feeding your fish. Check out the ingredients.
  • Rinsing frozen foods before introducing them to your tank will help.
  • Make sure you feed your fish no more than what they will consume in a few minutes. I normally feed very small amounts until my fish seems no longer interested in eating. Your corals and other reef inhabitants will eat what ever left overs your fish leave behind.

Invest in a Protein Skimmer

  • Protein Skimmers can be very expensive, but they are very effective with removing nutrients from your aquarium.
  • You want to make sure you purchase a protein skimmer that can handle twice the volume of water that you have in your system. For instance, if you have a 75 gallon aquarium, you will ideally want to purchase a protein skimmer that can handle 150 gallons.
  • You will be amazed what a protein skimmer pulls out of your water. The collection cup accumulates “skim-mate” which is also known as fish poop. LOL. It smells something horrible!

Add a Tang or a Seahare

  • This won’t remove the problem, but will merely cover it up.
  • Tangs will graze daily on green hair algae.
  • Seahares are known as cows of the sea. Be very careful when purchasing this algae eating beast. Once there is no more algae in your tank for your sea hare to munch on, it will starve to death if you don’t provide it with something to graze on.

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Increase your Clean up Crew

  • Sometimes the increase in nutrients in your tank is because you don’t have a large enough CUC. Snails, shrimp, sea stars, urchins and hermit crabs are some of the many members of a good clean up crew. They eat all of the left overs that your fish and coral leave behind so that food doesn’t decay in your tank causing phosphate, nitrate and ammonia problems.
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  • Your clean up crew will also pick at some of the hair algae growing in your tank keeping it to a minimum. Don’t know how much to add? You can find cleaner packages all over the internet. Just make sure you choose a reputable one.

Add a Refugium 

  • A refugium will grow plants that will pull phosphates, nitrates and certain nutrients out of your water.
  • Chaeto and Mangroves are my personal favorites.

Any other ideas about how to get rid of hair algae? Let us know…Comment below!

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Getting Rid of Yucky Bubble Algae

Have you ever had to deal with pesky Bubble Algae growing in your beautiful tank?

More than likely if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this…

I won’t bore you with a bunch of useless information. There are plenty of sites that explain what bubble algae is and how you acquire it.

SO HOW DO YOU GET RID OF IT?!?!?!?!

I have been watching this algae spread all over my tank for the past few months.

At first, I didn’t know what it was. It looked like small purple balls with orange spots that kept attaching to my rock work.

Once I figured out that it was Bubble Algae, I began to research how to get rid of it.

STOP!!!

DO NOT POP IT!

I REPEAT!

DO NOT POP IT!

Popping this type of algae will release spores into your tank and cause a spread of this nuisance.

I started by finding my handy dandy tank gloves which I purchased from Amazon.com… They were fairly cheap. A very good investment and a must have for any aquarium hobbyist.

These things are a life saver…literally! Think of all the things you touch or put on your skin such as lotion, soap and hand sanitizer. Now think about putting those types of chemicals in your tank. It could mean disaster. These gloves come up past my elbows which helps when I have to reach deep down in my tank for cleaning or to move rock work. I wear these to protect my hands, arms and my tank. I have been using them for over a year and I can’t imagine this hobby without them.

You may purchase them here:

Atlas Glove WG772M 26-Inch Long Sleeve Nitrile Coated Cotton Lined Work Gloves, Medium

 

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Those who know me know that I hate the thought of adding chemicals to my tank to “fix” problems. I always look for a more “natural” alternative.

I looked around my tank to find all the pieces of rock that had massive amounts of bubble algae growing on them. Keep in mind that you may have sea critters living in these rocks that you are about to remove. I usually give each piece firm shake or two while still submerged in the tank. I removed each piece placing them in a bucket that I normally use for tank maintenance.

IMG_5547I placed each piece of rock in a bathtub and began to run water over each piece. I then used a butter knife, a glass scrapper (purchased at amazon.com) and an old stiff toothbrush to carefully remove all visible algae. This is a great time to remove any other algae that may be giving you a problem as well.

You can purchase the scrapper blade here:

Kent Marine AKM00981 10-Pack Stainless Steel Algae ProScraper Blade

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I carefully removed all traces of bubble algae under running water in the bathtub. Be patient and very careful. Some rock work can be very sharp.

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A complete rinse of the rock helped to ensure all pieces had been cleansed thoroughly. I will allow 24-48 hours for each piece to dry and then rinse again before introducing them back into my tank.

TAKE THAT BUBBLE ALGAE!!!!

Your presence is no longer welcomed here!

How do you get rid of pesky algae? Please share…