How to Remove Algae from Your Aquarium Glass
By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise
Algae is an integral part of any dump space, and you are bound to come across it when keeping fish in a home aquarium. Regardless of the type (blue-green, black, brown, they’re all single-celled organisms that thrive where you have nutrients and light.
So, the first thing you’ll want to do to keep algae out of your fish tank is to regulate the amount of light available and stay ahead of your cleaning schedule to ensure they have nothing to feed on.
Now, if you already have algae growing in your aquarium, more so your aquarium glass, the best way to remove it is using an algae magnet, aquarium glass scraper, or a scrubber pad.
All of these items work pretty well, and you’ll achieve stunning results with either.
However, the magnet is a lot quicker to use, and you do not have to dip your hand in the water, while the scrubber pad is best when dealing with stubborn algae that won’t readily come off your glass.
See more insight below.
What Causes Algae on Aquarium Glass
As I stated at the beginning of this post, algae are caused by the availability of nutrients and light in your fish tank. They are several different types, but they all thrive in the same ecosystem.
Biologically, they are not plants, rather single-celled organisms that thrive in the same environment as plants.
So, where do light and nutrients come from in your fish tank?
Well, light is not too hard to explain since it’s an integral part of any fish tank. Light is beneficial to your fish, plants and helps you enjoy the aesthetics of your fish tank.
Both natural and artificial light will aid algae thrive in your aquarium, but mostly the issue is not so much the source of light but the duration.
Yes, sunlight is perhaps more potent, but if you leave your aquarium room or fish tank lights on for a long while, you’ll still have an algae problem.
To keep algae growth in check, I ensure my fish tank does not get more than 12 hours of light of natural or artificial light a day. I also make sure my aquarium is nowhere near a window to keep away too much sunlight.
Of course, when you have skittish fish or low light plants in your fish tank, you’ll only require 8 to 10 hours of lights a day in your tank.
Away from light, algae get nutrients from leftover fish food and dead plants in a fish tank. Basically, any biodegradable in your aquarium is enough to sustain algae growth.
Therefore, make sure you clean your fish tank and perform water changes every time they are due.
And if you are following your timetable, and you still have algae growing, consider increasing your cleaning frequency.
What Can You Use to Clean Algae on Your Aquarium Glass
Cleaning algae from your aquarium glass is not too complicated. It’s a fit you can achieve in less than 10 minutes if you clean your fish tank frequently.
There is also no shortage of items to remove algae from your glass in the hobby. Most are simple, barely complicated items that any fishkeeper can use.
These items include:
- Algae scaper
- Glass scrubber pad
- Aquarium glass cleaning magnet
- Automatic aquarium glass cleaner
An algae scraper is perhaps the oldest and most available item used to remove algae from fish tank glass and acrylic surfaces. Essentially, it had a handle and a scrapper a broad scraper at the front.
To remove algae from your glass using a scraper, you only need to dip it in your tank and gently slide it across the glass surface to remove the algae.
You may need to repeat the process twice or thrice or combine the scaper with another cleaning item, but it’s pretty effective, more so if you clean your glass frequently.
The best scrapers in the hobby will come with a detachable head, brushes of varying strengths which you can exchange depending on the algae, and an adjustable handle.
The only downside of using an algae scraper to clean aquarium glass surfaces is you have to dip it in the water, which could disturb your fish or move things around.
Personally, I use this hygger scrapper because it come with scrappers and scrubbers attachments with soft, medium, and corse blades and pads.
Aquarium Glass Scrubber Pad
An aquarium glass scrubber pad works a lot like a scrapper, but instead of a handle with a blade at the end, it will either have a sponge or scrubbing pad.
For the most part, I believe a scrubber pad does a better job of removing stubborn algae without leaving streaks on the glass, though if you first use a scraper, you will have cleaner walls.
As with the scrapper, the downside of using a scrubber pad is you have to dip it inside the fish tank.
Aquarium Glass Cleaner Magnet
An aquarium glass cleaning magnet is another popular tool used to remove algae from fish tank surfaces without the cons of an algae scrubber or scrapper.
The magnet comes in two detachable parts, a handle and a padded cleaning bit. The side with the cleaning sponge (or pad) goes inside the tank, then attaches to the holder through the glass.
Then all you have to do is hold and move the handle on the exterior side of the glass across the spot you want to clean, and the padded part will remove any algae on its path.
I have not used this Neptonion magnetic glass cleaner for too long, but I have heard good reviews from other fish keepers, plus it’s cleaning my glass seamlessly thus far.
Alternatively, you could get this hygger magnetic fish tank cleaner brush
Automatic Aquarium Glass Cleaner
If you work long hours, so you do not have much time to clean and remove algae from your fish tank, this is perhaps the tool you should get.
An automatic aquarium glass cleaner is also quite helpful when you have multiple fish tanks from which you need to expel algae every now and then.
This automatic aquarium glass cleaner looks a lot like a magnetic cleaner, albeit it activates automatically every 24 hours (or your preferred set time), cleaning your glass, whether you are home or away.
The cleaning tool is a tad more costly than the other three, but it will save you a lot of time and effort, plus it will maintain your glass aquarium free all the time.
It has working sensors that tell it when to go off or on at a set time each day and has cum charging unit pastable on your fish tank.
I’ve heard arguments around how much value you get for the money you pay for the cleaner, though I think you’ll only best know its worth if you have multiple tanks, have to works for long hours, or when you have a lot of algae that can’t be removed with a single wash.
How to Remove Algae from Fish Tank Glass (Step by Step)
Cleaning algae from your fish tank glass should not be too complicated. In a few quick steps, you should be able to remove almost all grime from your surfaces.
I like to follow these four steps (scrape, scrub, clean the tank, water change) when cleaning my glass, but of course, you can tweak it to fit your aquarium needs.
- Scrape your glass: Step one is meant to remove loose algae from aquarium glass, leaving only the most stubborn growth. It should not take you more than 5 minutes on an average-sized tank (55-gallon or so).
- Scrub stubborn growth: After the first clean with the scraper, I like to come back in with a scrubbing pad to remove the remaining algae stains. The best part of using a scrubber is you can exert a little more pressure than you would with a scaper using your hand to get inside the smallest nooks and crevices.
- Clean your fish tank: Now, because part of the algae debris you’ve removed from the glass will end up in the tank, I like to schedule all my cleaning at the same time. I’ll clean my substrate, dust my plants, clean the glass, then do a water change if I have enough time.
- Perform A Water change: After I’m done removing all algae from my glass, plants, and other aquarium surfaces, and I’m contented with how my substrate look, I’ll do a 15 to 20 percent water change to remove any nutrient that might cause another algae colony to sprout.
Thats all for this post, see you in the next one.
Have cleaning your fish 🐟🐡🐠 tank.