Best Products to Remove Aquarium Algae

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington

It’s completely natural, but it sure does make your tank look gross! Here are the best products to remove aquarium algae.

Nothing is worse than waking up in the morning to find your aquarium covered in a layer of green. Aquarium algae is something every aquarium hobbyist must battle from time to time, but with the right products you can win the fight. Algae is completely natural, but it can be a nuisance and it is definitely something you don’t want to let grow out of control.

In this article, we’ll discuss the subject of aquarium algae and provide you with some helpful tips for getting it under control. We’ll also provide you with our top 10 picks for the best products you can use to remove or control algae in your aquarium.

Best Products to Get Rid of Algae

A little bit of algae isn’t going to do your tank any harm, but if it starts to grow out of control you’ll need to take action. Getting rid of algae involves more than just wiping it off your tank walls – you also need to get control of the nutrients it’s using to grow and improve the quality and cleanliness of your tank water so it doesn’t grow back.

Here are our top picks for the best products to remove aquarium algae:

1. Editor’s Choice: Hygger Carbon Fiber 6-in-1 Algae Scraper

This 6-in-1 cleaning tool makes it easy to remove aquarium algae without getting your hands wet. It includes a telescoping handle, gravel rake, metal blade, sponge cleaners, and a tube brush for a complete and thorough aquarium cleaning process. You can use these tools to remove algae and so much more beyond that: the stainless steel scraper attachment helps remove all the tough grime and buildup from the aquarium walls, the tube brush gives allows you to clean out the tubes of the equipment, the gravel rake removes debris and dirt from aquarium gravel, flat sponge can be used both for substrate and glass cleaning, and the right-angle sponge is ideal for those hard-to-reach corners of your tank. The telescoping handle you attach all these accessories to extended from 19.7 inch to 35.4 inch, which can be used for tanks that are up to 2.65’ deep. To boot, the handle threads together with extension tightly, so no water can go into the pole.

2. Runner Up: Tetra No More Algae Tablets

If algae starts to get out of hand, add these algae tablets to keep your aquarium water crystal clear. It helps remove existing algae and keeps it from coming back – no hard work needed. They work on all types of algae, from suspended algae blooms to algae that grows on the walls of glass or acrylic tanks. Convenient and easy to use, these tablets should be used once a month for regular maintenance or once you notice algae growth appearing in the aquarium. The dosage is one tablet per 10 gallons of water (40 liters). Word of caution, though: these algae tablets cannot be used in aquariums with live plants, snails, or other invertebrates.

3. Best Scraper: API Handheld Algae Scraper

This extra-long, extra-strong algae scraper makes quick work of even stubborn algae. The long handle keeps your hands dry and supports the ultra-durable scrubbing pad. Unlike flopping magnets, this is a heavy-duty scrubber that can reach every nook and cranny of the aquarium thanks to the sturdy, angled handle. The handle is also telescoping, and can be extended anywhere from 3.25” to 14.25” to accommodate different aquarium sizes and depths with ease. To boot, for your convenience, there’s a built-in hook that allows you to store the scraper out of sight but close by: hang it in the vicinity of your tank so it can dry in between uses and always be on hand for impromptu cleaning sessions. Just keep in mind that it is only intended for use in glass aquariums.

4. Best UV Sterilizer: Aqua Ultraviolet Advantage Inline Aquarium UV Sterilizer

While many aquarium cleaning products rely on chemicals or your ongoing cleaning efforts, this UV sterilizer will help you keep your tank in top shape with less work on your part. This small, lightweight unit uses ultra-violet light to kill off unwanted single cell organisms including bacteria, algae, viruses and more. This means that it will not only help to clean your aquarium, but it will also work to keep your fish healthy.

The sterilizer is easy to install and will clear up most aquariums in just 3 to 5 days. It will then continue to work to maintain clean, clear water moving forward.

If you are concerned about operating costs or balancing too many different chemicals in your aquarium, this is a great cost-effective and environmentally alternative. The only ongoing cost to consider is the replacement of your UV lamp every 12-14 months and it can be used on both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, as well as in small ponds.

5. Best Water Treatment: API Algafix Algae Control Solution

If you’re looking for a simple solution to aquarium algae, consider this water treatment. It helps control algae growth to keep your aquarium walls, ornaments, and plants clean. Simply dose the tank every three days until algae is under control then treat weekly to keep it under control. Formulated for freshwater tanks, this algae-removing solution will not harm your fish or plants.

6. Best Versatile: COODIA Internal Green Water Killer

Another affordable option in UV sterilization, this unit cleans up to a 150-gallon tank. It features a built-in 5-watt water pump and 5-watt UV light, helping get rid of cloudy water and excess algae to keep your tank clean. What’s more, this product is fast-acting – it will turn green water to clear in a period of 3 to 7 days! It is also very versatile, as it can be used in saltwater and freshwater tanks both.

7. Best for Stubborn Algae: MiguCo Stainless Steel Algae Scraper

For stubborn algae you need a strong scrubber like this stainless steel algae scrubber. It features a heavy-duty construction and a right-angle blade that makes quick work of tough algae, even in those tough-to-reach corners. Simply change the blade between uses and get to work! To make matters more convenient, this algae scraper is packed with an extension rod (total length 25.6” or 65 cm) and comes with 10 extra blades, so it will last you a long time.

8. Honorable Mention: Tetra Algae Control Water Treatment

If you’re looking for an algae solution that won’t negatively affect your plants, try this water treatment. It combats existing aquarium algae and prevents its return in a gentle way. It works against green water, blue-green algae, diatoms, and even stubborn hair algae.

9. Best Magnetic Scraper: Windbells Magnetic Aquarium Algae Scraper

Another great option to keep your hands dry, this algae scrubber uses magnets to clean algae on the inside of the tank. Simply place the inner glass cleaning pad inside the tank and the handle outside the tank, moving it with your hand. Awarded the #1 spot as the Best Seller in Aquarium Algae Scrapers on Amazon, this handy magnetic scraper comes in three sizes – small, large, or extra large – to make easy work of any size aquarium.

10. Also Consider: KASAN Magnetic Algae Scraper

A miniature version similar to the previous option, this algae scraper won’t scratch your tank but it will take care of algae. It keeps your hands dry while you clean and it features super suction so it won’t fall off. It is super easy to use, as all it takes is moving around the outside part of the magnet, while the part that goes inside the tank does all the hard work of removing stubborn algae. Despite being tough on algae, the fabric on the algae scraper is soft enough not to scratch or damage the fish tank, so you don’t have to worry about doing more damage than good when you’re removing algae from your aquarium.

11. Best 2-in-1: KEDSUM Magnetic 2-in-1 Aquarium Tank Algae Scraper

Combining the best of both worlds when it comes to algae scraper designs, this magnetic 2-in-1 algae cleaner will help with routine healing and with heavy-duty cleaning of stubborn algae – it has you covered no matter what. At first glance, it looks like any other regular magnetic algae scraper, but it has a secret feature: on the top of the cleaner, there’s a removable blade that can be attached for scraping off those really stubborn algae and grime. And when you’re doing routine cleaning, just remove the blade and use the fabric pads to clean any algae stuck to your tank’s walls. For your convenience, this algae scraper offers a self-floating feature, which means it will never sink to the bottom of the tank and you won’t have to wet your hands to reach it when it’s time for your scheduled cleaning. There are two sizes available, large and extra large, to make sure that you can clean smaller and larger tanks with the same efficiency.

What You Need to Know About Aquarium Algae

Algae takes many different forms, but none of them are particularly desirable in your home aquarium. In addition to making your tank look dirty, algae can compete with live plants and other photosynthetic organisms for valuable nutrients. Keeping algae under control in your tank is an essential task and, fortunately, not a very difficult one.

Here are some tips to keep algae under control:

  • Limit your tank lighting to 10 to 12 hours of broad-spectrum light per day – avoid leaving your lights on for too long or algae could grow out of control.
  • Perform routine water changes to remove detritus and other solid waste from the substrate in your tank as it decomposes it provides food for algae to grow.
  • Place your tank in a location away from direct sunlight – the heat and light from the sun can increase algae growth.
  • Keep your levels of phosphate, nitrate, and iron in check – these are the top nutrients algae needs to grow, so avoid over-fertilizing your tank and check your water parameters regularly.
  • Be sure to use a three-stage filtration system – removing solid and dissolved wastes helps control algae by removing excess of substances it needs to grow.
  • Keep the water quality in your tank high by performing small water changes every two weeks and larger water changes every month.

In addition to putting these tips to use, you might consider adding some algae eaters to your tank. Algae eaters come in many shapes and forms ranging from certain species of fish to aquatic snails. Just be sure that the one you choose is well-suited to your existing tank parameters.

Removing aquarium algae doesn’t need to be a long, complicated process. With the right tools, you can take care of it quickly and, with the right maintenance routine, you never have to worry about it getting out of hand. Use what you’ve learned here and with our top product picks to keep your tank algae-free.

What chemical kills algae in aquariums?

Some aquarists opt for chemicals over manual, mechanical cleaning of algae – it is less work, but you have to be careful which chemicals you use so you don’t endanger your saltwater or freshwater flora and fauna. Some safe chemicals people use to get rid of algae are copper sulfate or cupric sulfate, fentin acetate, endothall, and benzalkonium chloride – to name a few. However, most of these chemicals also kill other live plants, snails, and invertebrates, so be sure to double-check before using chemical solutions in your tank, as it might also remove other inhabitants in addition to algae.

Do LED aquarium lights grow algae?

This is a common misconception – LED aquarium lights do not cause algae growth any more than other types of aquarium lights do. In fact, this type of lightning doesn’t suit algae per se, as it can be dimmed or switch to colors that do not encourage algae growth. It’s the intensity of the lights that you should keep an eye on: the brighter the light, the likelier an algae infestation is.

Is too much algae bad for fish?

Algae can be good for the fish, but if there’s too much of it, the effects are the opposite. Excess algae growth in the tank is not just an ugly sight, but it can endanger the aquatic life in the aquarium: it can deplete oxygen levels in the tank and kill your fish. This is why it’s important to clean your tank regularly and prevent algae overgrowth on time.

How do I stop algae growing in my fish tank?

The first and key step is keeping your tank clean – regular maintenance will remove any algae before it has the chance to take over your aquarium. But in addition to cleaning, there are other steps you can make to ensure the environment in your aquarium is inhospitable to algae. Reduce lightning and prevent direct sunlight from hitting the tank, don’t overfeed your fish, and make sure to regularly change water in the tank. Another great tip is to keep fish or plants that feed on algae – they can be your right hand in the fight against aquarium algae.

What are the disadvantages of algae?

The most obvious disadvantage of algae is that, if left unchecked, it will make your aquarium look neglected and unkempt, and can even make the water murky. But it’s not just about the looks, as there are other, more serious consequences of algae overgrowth, the main being that it can endanger the fish by depleting the oxygen levels in the tank. Too much algae disrupts the balance in the aquarium ecosystem, puts its inhabitants at risk, and makes maintenance more of a hassle – more than enough reason to keep algae at bay in your own tank.

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Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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