7 Pro Tips On How to Get Rid of Hair Algae in Reef Tank

Hair algae are most common in aquariums and can appear for several reasons. They can overgrow and starve corals.

If this situation persists, hair algae can grow fast everywhere in the tank. It can grow near or on coral, blocking them from light and killing them.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of hair algae. It begins with reducing and controlling it, with the eventual aim of eradication.

So let’s explore how to get rid of hair algae in reef tanks now!

How to Get Rid of Hair Algae in Reef Tanks?

Choose Proper Plants

By choosing healthy and nutritious plants, you can expect them to prevent hair algae growth when they spread shade throughout your tank.

In addition, the more plants you grow, the less likely algae will appear. Here are our recommendations for saltwater plants that you might add to your tank:

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

Add Algae Eaters

Purple Tang

Purple Tang is one of the algae eaters

Adding algae eaters to the aquarium is one of the most common ways to remove the algae. Here are our recommendations for algae eaters that will work well in getting rid of algae in your reef tank:

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

Lower the Tank’s Lighting System

The lighting also plays a significant role in the spread of algae throughout your tank. Enable tank light for a long time will make the CO₂ and nutrients level healthier to thrive for the algae.

We recommend keeping the lights on for a maximum of eight to ten hours, ideally six to eight hours.

You should only provide enough light for the creatures in your tank. Avoid adding extra light to your tank. Instead, reduce the lights’ brightness in your tank if needed.

Maintain the Balance of Food

You should maintain a proper diet. Avoid overfeeding your fish and plants as it can lead to algae growth.

If you overfeed them, the nutrient levels increase, allowing the algae to thrive.

If you feed your plants and fish too little, they will not receive the proper nutrition to grow. Hence, the key is maintaining a reasonable food routine.

Lower Nutrients Level

There is no denying that excess nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphates, are the main cause of hair algae’s rapid growth and spread.

So, to minimize hair algae, it is essential to lower nitrate and phosphate levels.

Change the Water

If you have reduced the nutrient levels, but the situation has not improved significantly, it is time to change the water in your aquarium.

For your new water, adding some micronutrients to your reef tank is okay.

However, note that your new water might also cause algae to grow faster if you don’t check it properly.

So check out your new water to determine if it is proper for your aquarium, whether it maintains adequate CO₂, and contains tolerable nutrients.

Regular water changes will allow you to minimize the growth of algae. In addition, it may keep your aquarium environment safer and fresher.

Apply Commercial Products or Substances

Finding some substances or products that can help prevent algae is easy. Some chemicals will work great in this case.

For instance, Algaecides are very effective, but handling them carefully is essential. You also need to ensure the product you choose is reef safe.

How Does Hair Algae Come Into Your Reef Tank?

Hair Algae in tank

Hair algae can get into your tank from various sources

Hair algae can enter your aquarium from various sources. Anything you put in your aquarium can be the cause. It consists of rocks, plants, water, and snails.

With just little hair algae in your aquarium, they can grow and spread throughout the tank within a few days.

They thrive primarily on nutrients available inside the aquarium, such as nitrates and phosphates.



What Are Hair Algae?

Hair algae belong to the Oedogonium genus. Hair algae come in various kinds that are pretty similar.

As most of them have the same appearance, it is difficult to differentiate and identify them. Green hair algae are the most common and found everywhere.

What Eats Green Hair Algae

Fortunately, various invertebrates and fish eat hair algae. Lawnmower blennies, rabbitfish, tangs, and other algae-eating fish will eat hair algae.

For invertebrates, Cerith snails, hermit crabs, emerald crabs, sea hares, conchs, and urchins will eat hair algae. The fact is that almost any herbivore will eat hair algae, making it easy to get rid of.

Will Green Hair Algae Go Away on Its Own?

Green hair algae will usually not disappear on its own.

Instead, they will grow and spread over time, making it more challenging to get rid of later. So it is wise to intervene early with the tips we mentioned above.

Are Green Algae Good?

Green hair algae are harmful to the saltwater aquarium.

They will damage corals and starve your tank of oxygen at night when they’re metabolically active and not photosynthesizing.

What Causes Green Hair Algae?

Green hair algae result from excess phosphates and nitrates. When nutrients get so high, they will consume these nutrients, grow, and spread throughout your aquarium.


Regardless of the algae species, a few rules apply to help remove, control and prevent it in the future.

Hopefully, by now, you should know how to get rid of hair algae in reef tanks. Let’s get rid of hair algae as soon as possible to protect your precious coral reefs in your aquarium.