How To Get Rid Of Green Hair Algae In Your Saltwater Aquarium

Published: 16th July 2010
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Green Hair Algae (abbreviated as GHA for this article) - Derbesia - is a form of algae that looks like its name. It is usually dark green, grows quite long if left unattended and spreads across your tank rapidly. Once this problem has begun, it can get out of hand in a matter of weeks. And soon you start to look at your saltwater tank in disgust, thinking "Why me? What did I do to deserve this plague?"

A number of things may have contributed to it gaining a foothold in your system. Your nitrates might be too high, your phosphates may be too high (.03 or less is the goal), your aquarium lighting has recently been replaced or perhaps your bulbs are so old that the spectrum of light has shifted, fueling algae growth.

Okay, so your water is great. To get rid of the algae, you are going to have to prune it back manually. Fortunately, you can get some help from ocean dwellers like blue legged hermit crabs, but like anything, when you have too much of something, you have to get radical to bring it within manageable levels. Nothing good ever happens quickly. This is going to take some specific attention on your part for a few weeks, but you can overcome it.

You can start by ripping it out in bulk, this will prevent it from spreading, and you give your hermit crabs something they can actually keep up with. Also recommended is to get some snails to help with the battle. Turbo snails are a good choice for this. Foxface, Blennies, Yellow Tang fish, and other invertebrates including the Green Sea Urchin, which feed primarily on algae are all good choices, and will work to beat Green Hair Algae overgrowth.

Clean your protein skimmer completely. Clean the pump thoroughly and make sure your air intake is clear. Clean your collection cup often, so you don't have slime build up hindering it. You want to skim out as much of the Dissolved Organic Compounds (DOCs) before they can break down in your tank and add to the Green Hair Algae's reproduction cycle. Remember nitrates fuel algae growth. You want 10ppm or less to avoid feeding Green Hair Algae. If your protein skimmer is under powered for your aquarium, consider upgrading to a better unit.

If you'll keep up with these cleaning processes for a few weeks, along with your regular maintenance, and correct water parameters you will notice less and less Green Hair Algae in your tank, until one day your tank is pristine again and under control. If you have any further questions regarding anything aquarium related including saltwater aquarium and freshwater aquariums, please visit us at OC Reef Aquatics



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