AQUARIUM ALGAE: How to prevent, identify and eliminate

AQUARIUM ALGAE: How to prevent, identify and eliminate

alghe_biodiesel_microlife_alghe_produzione_biocarburante_biocarburanti_alghe_biodiesel_alghe_7Algae are Tallophite plants and like bacteria, fungi and lichens are characterized by the lack of distinction between root, stem and leaves. They also carry chlorophylline photosynthesis and like fungi and lichens, are the oldest and most primitive plants, capable of reproducing sexually, junctured, and asexualized, that is, exclusively by splitting or gemmation. Algae in the aquariums are formed for a many of reasons including the wrong choice of lights, ineffective filters, excessive fish presence in spite of the size of the tank, food residue on the bottom, and poor maintenance in general, but above all the low presence of higher plants.

DSCN9385Why, though, having no Nitrates in your tank, do the algae spit out? The answer is to seek biological purification of water by nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. When good bacterial activity is present, algae do not manifest themselves excessively because the bacteria have shuffled the organic matter in a continuous sequence of chemical exchanges, so that the waste of the fish is resembled from the plants through the continuous processing of the Ammonia in nitrogen. In their long evolutionary history, which lasted billions of years, many species of algae have found ways to survive even in unfavorable conditions of life, so the role played by nitrogen in the form of nitrates and phosphorus in the form of phosphates is very important.


Recapitulate everything that has been explained, the rules to prevent the formation of algae in the aquarium are:

  • Do not overlap the tank, so keep low the biological load.
  • Be very parsimonious with food somministration and be sure it’s all eaten in a few minutes.
  • Correct lighting; (Normally 2 lamps, 1 pink phytostimulant  and 1 with white sunlight or led combinations) work for 8-10 hours continuously.
  • Fertilize regularly and in the right way depending on the plants we have in the aquarium, if is necessary use carbonaceous pellets inside the filters, for the absorption of the excess substances. (Also use C02 carbon dioxide to favor chlorophylline photosynthesis).
  • Introduce a lot of vegetation and plants of fast and slow growth. (This putting them in competition with the algae and it will remove the nutrition from the algae).
  • Frequent water changes, even weekly, 10% – 15% with osmosis water.
  • Introduce in the biosystem some of algae eater fishes or invertebrates like: Snail Neritina Pulligera military helmet, Planorbarius, fishes Otocinclus or Siamensis, Shrimps Caridina japonica Amano shrimp.
  • When starting a new aquarium, it is advisable to start with 5/6 hours of light a day, do not give fertilizers and C02 for the first week, therefore gradually increase in the following weeks.
  • Use of electrolytic sterilizing instruments that inhibit algae formation and suspended algae.



If we are arrived at this point, there are 3 methods to eliminate algae in the tank; Mechanical, biological and chemical methods:

MECHANICAL METHOD: Provides the use of special tools such as glass blades, scrapers and brushes for furniture such as wood and stone, and then the use of a siphon that helps remove debris on the bottom while aspiring water.

BIOLOGICAL METHOD: Introduce in the biosystem some of algae eater fishes or invertebrates like: Snail Neritina Pulligera military helmet, Planorbarius, fishes Otocinclus or Siamensis, Shrimps Caridina japonica Amano shrimp.

CHEMICAL METHOD: With chemical method we mean the use algae “poison” products, but we do not recommend the use of this as it may be harmful for plants in aquarium, fishes and invertebrates.


puntiformi 2Pointy green algae: They are algae that are formed in good quality water tanks, are not harmful to plants or to fish. They usually form small dots of green or dark green on  plants and glasses, they are very tenacious and hardly the classic algae eaters can overthrow them. Often, depending on the chemical values of the water, they can disappear or reappear without reason.

filamentoseFilamentous Green Algae: Their requirements are similar to the plants and their growth usually indicates a good general state of the aquarium and chemical values. They are algae of the genus Spirogyra and do not cause any damage, only competition with the plants. They are usually stimulated by strong light irradiation.

verdi a pellicciaGreen fur algae: They are green algae of the genus Oedogonium, forming thick forests of thin green filaments on all plants, especially those exposed to the light. They are algae that grow rapidly infesting all sorts of plants and furnishings, growing and expanding on environments adjacent to the colony. Water chemical values (PH, GH, KH) are not critical to their growth. Usually very high nitrate and phosphate values are triggering elements for these algae. Vegetarian fish only remove young and keep parts.

nere puntiformiPointy black algae: They usually appear on plants with crackling leaves following large rise of nitrogenous and phosphorous compounds. Usually they are the sign of a neglect in aquarium care and water quality. Dirty filters, lack of regular water changes and overpopulation are the main causes of infestation. They appear as individual black or black spots, then form large dark spots on the leaves, to suppress the plants too affected.

Elbow algae: They are Ulotrix algae (Cloroficee algae) and form long filaments of light green color, which tend to roll in a spin. Are formed in mature tank, when the organic substances in our aquarium are no longer sufficient for plant growth and they tend to stop. They are not harmful but must to consider the subtraction of the nutrients in the plants.

nere a pennelloBlack brush algae: Is the terror of every aquascaper, they usually appear as small black tufts, then form a kind of beard along the leafy edge of hardy plants. They are algae of the genus Audouinella and can be presented in two forms; A lower and not longer than 5 mm, another 20 mm longer. Usually, contrary to what is said around, it is a algae that does not like dirty water or charged organic compounds, on the contrary, an excess of nitrates and phosphates slows down their growth. A gradual increase in the concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide, with the help of a diffuser, and the introduction of fast antagonists, such as Limnophila and Hygrophila, can produce good results.

verdi a ciuffoGreen grass algae: They are algae of an intense green or light green species belonging to the genus Phitophora and form tufts, large even a few centimeters, live on leaves and furnishings. The individual tufts are slightly adherent to the substrate and they tear easily without leaving a trace. They generally prefer rock and wood as a substrate. The plants are seldom damaged, so you prefer to think of them as an unusual decorative element for wood. The growth of the algae in question is usually causated by an excess of phosphates or nitrates. verdi a ciuffo 2These algae are not “treatable” with chemicals or with algae eater fishes, which are particularly unattainable. The only remedy is therefore manual removal, possibly eliminating the infested leaves (which are normally the oldest ones in Anubias or other slow-growing plants), another method is the prevention.