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How to Get Rid of Algae in Freshwater and Planted Fish Tank

Algae is of many types and is divided into a large number of groups. It ranges from unicellular to multicellular organisms. These algae are mostly aquatic. They grow and reproduce and contain chlorophyll pigment for growth purposes.

Algae in Freshwater and Planted Fish Tanks

Algae found in freshwater and planted fish tanks are the same and grow at the same rate in both bodies if the optimum conditions are found to be fulfilled. There is a large variety of algae that is further divided into subdivisions.

Some of them are rather microscopic and not visible to the naked eye but still, they can support an entire ecosystem. The algae in the aquatic life can be found living and growing in two to three ways, they are either found floating free, attached to the vascular plants, stones, or to the sediment or rocks.

Four Major Types Of Algae

Here are four major types of algae that can be found most excessively in Freshwater and Fish Tanks

  • Green algae(Chlorophyta)
  • Red algae(Rhodophyta)
  • Blue-green algae(cyanobacteria)
  • Brown algae
  • Diatoms(Bacillariophyceae) is a microscopic alga therefore it can not be removed from freshwater as it needs special measures and locating it is an extremely difficult task.

How to Remove Algae From Freshwater And Planted Fish Tank

The listed algae vary from one another based on the habitat they grow and reproduce. We will be looking into the features, the use of the algae, and the ways to remove them from the aquarium tank.

Green algae (CHLOROPHYTA)

Green algae have numerous numbers of species, eight thousand to be precise. Many of these species are unicellular while other species also form colonies, long filaments, or extremely microscopic seaweeds.

Characteristic Features of Green Algae

Green algae have chlorophyll and packed in chloroplasts to obtain a bright green color.

Many organisms rely on green algae for carrying out the process of photosynthesis. The green algae are also found to be forming lichens by the symbiotic association with fungi. Moreover, Green algae are eukaryotic and can also be found in complex forms.

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Furthermore, Green algae have a diverse habitat mainly ocean and freshwater. It is rarely found on land, tree, rocks, and snow as well. In addition to this, their presence is where light is abundant such as shallow water.

Uses and Importance of Green Algae in Different Ways

Green algae have several uses and can be used in medicine for cancer treatment and are also used in an edible form, therefore, can be eaten by human and mammals. Green algae are very useful for the environment as it helps with carbon dioxide reduction in the atmosphere.

How to remove green algae from your fish tank or freshwater?

There are several ways to remove green algae, one is to cover it by planting a plant over it so that there is no equal to no light present so that they do not reproduce or spread. Moreover, we can plant many floating plants in freshwater so that there is a lack of the type of nutrient that could eventually make them disappear.

Red Algae (Rhodophyta)

algae in freshwater and planted fish tank

Red algae are also known as Rhodophyta. It has over seven thousand species in which the majority six thousand seven hundred and ninety-three are specified into a florideophyceae class. other than this, it is one of the oldest fossil eukaryotes.

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Characteristic Features of the Red Algae

The red algae are found to be occurring in freshwater and are present in rather warmer areas which is more suitable for this algae. These algae are multicellular cells that reproduce sexually and have a macroscopic structure. moreover, these algae dun have any flagella or centrioles during their whole life but are stacked with microtubes, phycobilin pigment granules e.t.c.

However, having chloroplast and chlorophyll for photosynthesis and having cell walls like a plant these red algae are still not considered plants.

Red algae get their colors from a variety of different pigments which include chlorophyll, red phycoerythrin, blue phycocyanin, carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

The most significant pigment of all the pigments in the phycoerythrin, this pigment is the reason that the color of this algae is red as it provides the algae with red pigmentation by absorbing blue light and reflecting red light.

They can be found living at a very great depth in the sea where there is a lack of proper light. This is possible because red algae can absorb blue light which can travel to a great depth into the sea.

Uses and Importance Red Algae

Red algae have is often found to be useful for medicinal purposes as it is rich in calcium it is used in vitamins. In scientific laboratories, these algae are used as a culture medium however they are also eaten by the aquatic species as well as humans, for example, sushi, pudding, and some beverages as well.

How to remove red algae from your fish tank or freshwater?

The growth of this algae can be controlled by several methods. Chemical methods such as using copper to remove the algae can be considered to stop the growth of red algae.

However, this method is harmful to aquatic life so alternate methods such as adding algae eaters can also be used in the removal of red algae.

Siamese algae eater is a special red algae eater and is mainly used for removing red algae and a large number of shrimps should also be added as they massively help in removing these algae.

Another way to kill and remove the red algae is by disinfecting the plants around it.

Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria )

Blue-green algae are scientifically and often known as cyanobacteria or cyanotype. The name cyanobacteria come from the color of the bacteria. These are a phylum consisting of free-living photosynthetic bacteria. The blue-green algae commonly obtain their energy through the process of oxygenic photosynthesis.

Characteristic Features of the Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green alga is a nitrogen-fixing alga belonging to a group of photosynthetic bacteria. They range from unicellular to filamentous and these algae also have colonial spaces.

The growth of this algae is favored in the water body which is rather calm, peaceful, and has very little tempestuous mixing in it. The growth, as well as the life cycle of the cyanobacteria, is interrupted and disordered due to churning currents produced by natural or artificial mixing.

Cyanobacteria can cause problems in water filters and due to the production of cyanotoxins, which can cause serious illness if the water affected by it is consumed by humans. - For all your creative needs!

Uses and Importance Blue-Green Algae

Cyanobacteria has an important role in terrestrial habitat, it can stabilize soil to prevent erosion and helps to absorb extra water. It has a vital part in global ecology by participating in the oxygen cycle of the world and the respiration of this algae occurs in the thylakoid membrane.

How to remove Blue-Green Algae from your fish tank or freshwater?

To remove cyanobacteria the light over the algae should be killed as it photosynthesizes therefore when light is not present it can not grow. moreover, depending on the amount of water present hydrogen peroxide should be added to kill and remove off all the blue-green algae from the water within one to two days after the treatment with this gas. be filtered and changed after the addition of this gas to the water.

Furthermore, it can also be treated with antibiotics after which there should be a regular change of water in the fish tank and if this method is not useful for any of you, you can use chemical cleaners to prevent the growth of cyanobacteria in your tanks.

In addition to this, a large number of plants can be added to the water so the uptake of nutrients decreases, and the algae do not grow anymore.

Brown algae (Phaeophyceae)

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Brown algae also are known by the name of Phaeophyceae. A brown alga is a form of diatoms and they can survive in low light conditions. These algae can be seen in both freshwater and saltwater.

These are multicellular algae. The brown algae can survive in harsh and critical conditions such as in low light conditions and can obtain their nutrients from nitrates, phosphates, and photosynthesis, and silicate.

Formation of Brown Algae

Brown algae appear as particles of dust in the water and the dust then turns into a brown-green sticky and slimy coat within five to six days after occurring in the water. The algae cover the whole substrate, plants, and the walls of a tank.

The brown algae can grow to a height of two hundred feet or sixty meters in freshwater and can grow a forest underwater. Brown algae have between fifteen hundred to two thousand species that renowned worldwide.

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Living with its optimum requirements in suitable conditions according to its structure the brown algae can grow as fast as twenty inches that are fifty centimeters in one day, with its stripes growing as long as six centimeters in the same amount of time.

Uses and Importance Brown Algae

Brown algae have many edible seaweeds they have alginic acid which is commercially extracted and is used as an industrial thickening agent in food and for multiple purposes.

The acid present in these algae is used as the anode that is the positive terminal in a battery, lithium-ion batteries to be precise.

Moreover, this acid is a component used in the diet of the younger fish in aquaculture and this alga contributes to the carbon dioxide cycle of the world.

How to remove Brown Algae from your fish tank or freshwater?

To remove these algae is somewhat similar to removing other algae from water or aquariums. One way is to regularly change the water in the tanks to prevent the growth of this algae.

Other than this, a good filter in a fish tank plays a significant role and should be present for the prevention of this algae. Live plants should be kept to lower the intake of nutrients of the brown algae so they die or you should have algae eating fish present so that the removal of this algae is easy by the intake of the fishes.

If it is found on the gravel in the fish tank the gravel vacuuming should be carried out starting from the largest to the smallest.


We have listed all the necessary information and details of the main type of algae that grow and reproduce in fish tanks and freshwater above. You can carefully look at the characteristic properties of these algae and identify the algae that are in your fish tanks.

By identifying the specific algae you can take the measures listed above to carefully and successfully remove it from freshwater and fish tanks. The removal of these algae will keep you protected from the diverse effects that each of these has. Such as covering space, forming layers, polluting the environment, or taking up too much food or nutrients required for the fish or plants.

In my opinion, brown algae are the most efficient of all the algae as they adapt to their environment very quickly and can survive in an environment where they dun have all the necessary conditions to grow at their best rate.

Therefore, its removal is important as it can grow really large in a very short amount of time if it is not removed in time because no one wants a polluted fish tank, right?