If you own a reef tank at your home, then you are well acquainted with the hair algae. These filthy algae make your reef tank much messy and ugly. So, to keep your tank clean, you have to know how to get rid of these hair algae from your reef tank.

Initially, to get rid of the hair algae, you can change your water. You should minimize your phosphate and nitrates and the CO2 level as well. Or, you can release your reef tank from the hair algae by ripping it as much as possible.

Besides these, there are also some other ways to accomplish this job. We are going to explain some of the ways in this article.

Before starting your mission, you should know the ins and outs of the hair algae as what is the hair algae, how it comes, how it can harm your reef tank, and all other related things. In this article, I am going to explain all the information you need in detail.

Let’s dive in.

What Are Hair Algae?

Hair Algae in Reef Tank

Hair algae is a kind of plant relating to Oedogonium genus. There are various kinds of hair algae that are almost similar. They can be so much in number, but most of them come with the same appearance. It is very difficult to identify and differentiate them. From them, green algae are the most common and quite found everywhere.

Almost all of the tanks or aquariums have some algae inside. It is detrimental when it is left thoroughly untreated. If it is established once in your tank, it will spread the whole tank and you have to struggle very much to get rid of this entirely. Then It might seem quite hard to rescue your tank from the hand of algae.

Hair algae create a nasty environment inside the tank. It grows so fast that within just a few days it can take all over the tank with its spread and unusual growth. It covers all the plants and glass of your tank. Then the tank seems to look very ugly and even you will be a little bit shocked seeing your reef tank.

How Do Algae Come in the Reef Tank?

Algae can come inside your tank from many sources. Anything you gather into your aquarium or tank can carry the algae. It includes plants, rocks, snails, and water. So, when you transfer all the included things from another tank or aquarium, you should have the fact in mind that there is a chance of inviting hair algae in your reef tank.

So, be careful during doing such transformation, especially when you are choosing the plants.

When little hair algae grow in your reef tank, it can spread throughout the tank within a few days. Hair algae grow with the help of nutrients like phosphates and nitrates. The existing seawater contains adequate nutrients. So, it generates hair algae in the reef tank.

And even hair algae can grow up with the help of light inside the tank. Imbalance in the CO2 level also causes hair algae in the reef tank. After all, an imbalanced environment in the reef tank helps hair algae to grow up more healthily and robustly.

How To Get Rid Of Hair Algae?

Now, just think about the fact that your reef tank is filled with these messy hair algae. So, how will you get rid of these filthy algae within a short time? If you want to get rid of the hair algae from the reef tank, you have to follow the processes mentioned below and effectively apply these.

Ripping the algae

The first thing you can do to get rid of hair algae is by ripping the hair algae manually. For this, you have to rely on the number of hair algae in your tank. If you notice your reef tank is oppressed with this nuisance algae, and there is no exact way to get rid of this. You can take the action by ripping it initially.

Before ripping the hair algae, be more careful and watchful about this task. Find out the places, where hair algae have grown up. Before starting, you should wear rubber gloves. It will help you to complete your job comfortably.

Now you can start your work. Rip all the hair algae very carefully from your tank’s wall, surface, glass, and from the rocks. Even you should clip the plants that are mostly covered with the hair algae. But, be cautious so that the plants are not clipped much than required.

Reducing nutrients level

Excess nutrients like phosphates and nitrates are often responsible for growing such fishy hair algae. In saltwater, phosphates and nitrates have more domination. These nutrients fuel your water to grow up the hair algae more rapidly. So, to get rid of the hair algae, you must reduce the level of phosphates and nitrates. The level should be down to as low as possible.

Moreover, nutrient imbalance occurs due to mismanagement, lighting, unclean water, and irrational CO2 level. Afterward, I will discuss these matters also one by one.

Changing the water

As I said before, water is another important contributor to increase hair algae. Water causes an increase in the level of nutrients like phosphates and nitrates and even some other detrimental substances.

So, when you see that the algae growth is not decreasing despite lessening the level of nutrients, you should change your reef tank’s water immediately.

With the new water, you can add some micronutrients to the reef tank. Be considerate when you change your water. New water can be also more responsible for growing up the algae if it is not checked properly.

So, test your water whether it is suitable for your tank or not, whether it carries adequate CO₂ or not, and whether it maintains tolerable nutrients or not. Take the necessary steps to correct any imbalances you find. To free your reef tank from the hair algae, you should change your water following a routine.

Besides discouraging the growth of hair algae, regular water changes can help you more. It will keep your tank environment healthier and more secure. Confined water becomes toxic within a few days and this causes the water to become harmful for the creatures of the tank.

As I said just a few lines ago, you should check the new water when you replace the old water. Use the type of water which has the quality of the seawater with a proper level of nutrients.

Lowering the lighting system

The lighting arrangement is also quite responsible for spreading the algae throughout the tank. If you activate your light of the tank for a long period, it makes the nutrients and CO₂ level healthier to grow up the algae.

Keep the light on for about 8 to 10 hours. An average of 6 to 8 hours is good.

Arrange your lighting system according to the size of your tank. Provide as much as the tank creatures need it. Don’t add extra light in the tank to make it more enlightened. Rather, you should reduce the brightness of your lights in the tank if required.

Bringing algae eaters

Algae eaters can help you to get rid of the hair algae. There are several kinds of algae eaters that consume hair algae and make the tank algae free. Here are a few of the algae eaters you can try for your reef tank:

  • Dwarf Zebra Hermit Crab
  • Dwarf Red Tip Hermit Crab
  • Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab
  • Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermit Crab
  • Tail Spot Blenny
  • Blonde Naso Tang
  • Purple Tang
  • Emerald Crab
  • Chevron Tang
  • Yellow Tang
  • Foxface
  • Electric Blue Hermit Crab
  • Electric Orange Hermit Crab
  • Halloween Hermit Crab
  • Chestnut Cowries
  • Highfin Blenny
  • Mexican Turbo Snails
  • Starry Blenny
  • Two Spot Blenny
  • Sailfin Blenny
  • Linear Blenny

Buy some of these algae eaters and keep them in the reef tank. They will struggle with the hair algae from your side by eating algae. Though many of the aquarists do not encourage algae eaters, they are not so bad. You can try and see yourself.

Choosing proper plants

It is another important fact in decreasing the hair algae in your reef tank. All the plants are not suitable for the reef tank or any other kind of aquarium. Some plants might favor appearing hair algae rapidly.

Some sellers falsely sell wild plants as aquarium plants. So, be watchful when you buy the plants. Here are a few saltwater plants you can buy:

  • Red Mangrove Propagule
  • Turtle Grass Shoots
  • Shaving Brush Plant
  • Mermaid’s Fan
  • Halimeda

Choose the healthy and nutritious plants so that they can prevent the growth of hair algae when plants spread a shade throughout the tank.

Further, keep more plants as the more you have plants, the less you have algae.

Maintaining the balance of food

Maintain the rules while feeding the plants and fishes. Don’t overfeed your plants. Overfeeding contributes to the growth of the hair algae in the tank. And also make sure that you do not underfeed. Supply the food as much as the tank inhabitants require. If you overfeed, the nutrients level raises and it helps the algae to grow up quickly.

On the other hand, if you underfeed, your plants and fishes will not get proper nutrition. So, maintaining a proper food routine and quantity is a must.

Applying other substances or commercial products

There are some other substances and products which help to prevent hair algae. By applying these products, you can free your reef tank from the dominance of hair algae. Some chemicals work well in this case. For example, Algaecides are much more effective, but you need to handle them carefully and ensure if they are reef safe.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have got an idea about the different techniques of treating the nasty hair algae in your reef tank, you can try all of these methods one by one to get rid of it. You can change the water, lower the nutrients and CO₂ level, scrub the glasses, use different commercial products, buy the algae eaters, adjust your lighting system, choose the perfect plants, and so on.

Hopefully, this article will help you in removing the algae from the reef tank.

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