Getting rid of algae in aquariums is a multistep process which requires time. Resist using algaecides as they only cover up the symptoms instead of eliminating the conditions that cause algae growth.
Once algae become a problem in the aquarium, a water test will not always be conclusive in determining the cause of the outbreak or algae bloom.
However, a low reading of nitrate or phosphate in an algae infested aquarium can be misleading. Because algae is constantly taking up these nutrients as a food source and fuel for growth, getting an accurate reading can be difficult. Nitrate, more often then phosphate, is usually abundant in a problem tank.
Follow these steps to get rid of algae in the aquarium:
- Clean the gravel with a siphon in order to remove waste and debris
- Clean the aquarium filters. Just rinse under cool water. DO NOT USE SOAP!
- Increase water flow with a higher rated filter or supplemental power heads
- Reduce feeding of fish to as little as once every other day
- Replace light bulbs if older than 6 months as their light spectrum changes as they age, often favoring algae growth
- Use a nitrate remover. Nitrate are a primary food source for algae and a leading cause of algae outbreaks in aquariums
- Remove phosphates
- Discontinue any supplements and fertilizers
The best way to prevent algae is to be pro-active
- Use a aquarium nitrate remover even if the nitrates are at low levels
- Perform regular and consistent aquarium maintenance
Eventually every aquarium will experience some level of algae growth. Acting on the steps outlined above can avert larger problems.