Tactics to Eliminate Algae from Your Aquarium

Elos Freshwater Aquarium

Elos Freshwater Aquarium

Tactics to Eliminate Algae from Your Aquarium

In part one of this article, we covered all of the traditional tactics to eliminating algae – water changes, reduced feedings, lighting blackouts, etc. While all of these tactics work well, sometimes you just have to give stubborn algae an extra kick. In this article, we discuss a few more advanced ways to finally get rid of the pesky algae that has been plaguing your tank:

Mechanical Filtration

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Freshwater_Aquarium_Fish_3.jpg)

(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Freshwater_Aquarium_Fish_3.jpg)

Mechanical filtration is the most basic – and often the first – type of filtration that most people install in their tank. This includes sponges, filter socks, pads, and essentially anything else that physically traps debris and uneaten food.

Mechanical filtration is important in eliminating algae because it helps traps organic compounds before they have a chance to deteriorate into the water column (which then fuels algae growth). That said, mechanical filtration requires regular and proper cleaning to be effective.

When cleaning filter pads, sponges, or socks, never rinse them in tap water. Because of their porous nature, filter pads and other types of mechanical filtration often harbor tons on beneficial bacteria that you definitely don’t want to kill with chlorinated water. A quick rinse in a bowl full of tank water is the safest and most effective cleaning method.

UV Sterilizers


Even with proper feeding, strong mechanical filtration, and short lighting schedules, algae can still take hold in your aquarium – no tank is truly immune. When all else fails, UV sterilizers can be a great option to finally clear up your tank.

As the name suggests, UV sterilizers use ultraviolet light to target algae on a microscopic level. As tank water passes through the UV sterilizer, algae cells are mutated so they can no longer grow or reproduce. The result is (usually) a dramatic decrease in algae growth! The effects don’t stop there, though – UV sterilizers can also help eliminate parasitic and bacterial infections in your fish and reduce the risk of further infections.

Choosing the right UV Sterilizer largely has to do with the size of your tank or pond. For tanks under 50 gallons, the Green Killing Machine Internal UV Sterilizer is a great option. If you own a large tank or pond, the PondMaster 20 Watt UV Sterilizer is the go-to choice (and is suitable for ponds up to 3000 gallons).

All-in-One BioPellets


Nitrates and phosphates are two of the biggest drivers of unwanted algae growth. For a long time, removing nitrates and phosphates was a lengthy and expensive process; separate reactors and media was typically required. That was, until all-in-one biopellets came onto the scene.

All-in-one biopellets combine the phosphate removing power of GFO media with the nitrate reducing capabilities of traditional biopellets, making an “all in one” solution to stopping algae growth. Since all of these are combined into one, easy to use media, multiple media reactors are no longer required for most aquarists. In fact, a lot of users have success simply placing these pellets within their mechanical filtration or filter socks – no reactor necessary (just make sure to place them in an area with high water flow). Proper use of all-in-one biopellets will usually result in dramatically lower (and often unreadable) levels of phosphates and nitrates in just a few short weeks.

Chemi-Pure Elite


Chemi-Pure Elite is definitely one of my filtration medias. Much like the all-in-one biopellets discussed above, Chemi-Pure Elite reduces algae growth by eliminating phosphates, nitrates, and silicates from the water column. In addition to its chemical absorbtion capabilities, Chemi-Pure also acts as a pH buffer, stabilizing your water parameters by preventing swings in pH. The end result is a stable, algae-free tank!

Another thing I love about Chemi-Pure Elite is its ease of use. Unlike many popular medias on the market, Chemi-Pure comes pre-packaged in individual bags. Simply throw the bag into any area with high water flow (canister filter, hang on back filter, sump) and you’re good to go. In addition to being extremely easy to use, Chemi-Pure also lasts a long time, staying active for up to eight months.

Chem-Pure Elite is suitable for all aquarium types, including freshwater, brackish, and reef tanks. If you’re looking to finally get rid of stubborn algae (or simply want to reduce the number of water changes that you have to do), Chemi-Pure Elite is a great choice.

GFO Reactors & PX Pro


As we discussed above, high phosphate levels are one of the most common causes of algae growth. GFO, or Granular Ferric Oxide, has the unique ability of absorbing this algae-causing compound before it has the chance to fuel algae growth.

GFO is most effective when used in conjunction with a media reactor. In short, media reactors are tube-like filtration units that facilitate strong, isolated water flow (aiding by a separate pump). By placing GFO and other chemical filtration medias within the reactor, they are exposed to a large water volume, and can therefore absorb as much phosphate from the water column as possible.

One of the best types of GFO is PX Pro. PX Pro showcases all the benefits of regular GFO (reduced phosphate levels, better water clarity), but showcases one huge twist – it can be regenerated up to 10 times. Tradition GFO, although effective, is typically one use; once it’s used, there’s no going back. PX Pro allows for repetitive use with the help of Reef Interests PX-R Regeneration Media. This can be a huge money saver in the long run, especially for those with large tanks – which mean more money for fish, coral, plants, or other livestock.

About the Guest Writer:

The writer, Mason V. hails from Build Your Aquarium.  Build Your Aquarium is a blog run by fish-keepers, for fish-keepers. They publish weekly articles, guides, and product reviews, all written by experienced aquarium owners with over 10 years in the hobby.  Build Your Aquarium offers articles on; Everything you need to know about setting up and maintaining a healthy fish tank.


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