Green Hair Algae Removal

Green hair algae can be a real nuisance but it is easily preventable and if you are unfortunate enough to have it take over your tank it is fairly simple to cure. Once it starts to grow in your tank it can get take over in a very short span of time. It can cover ever surface in your aquarium in a matter of weeks if not treated which is exactly what I discovered for the first time with my 29 gallon reef tank.

My reef tank is now over a year old. The corals are well established but over the past few weeks my tank was completely taken over by green hair algae. Removing green hair algae is fairly simple, but this being the first time I have had to deal with it, I tried a few of the wrong ways to remove it. First thing I tried was to just start pulling the clumps out as they grew. I didn’t perform any water changes or test my water to see if the chemicals were out of balance. While pulling the algae out I ended up spreading it and making the problem worse. Within a week the algae was back and in more places than before. That’s when I started researching better ways to get the green algae under control. I found my solution on

Here are the steps that I took:
1. Tested the water and discovered my phosphate level was way too high. At the time of my test it was around .25 ppm and it should be closer to .03 ppm or less.
2. I pulled as much of the green hair algae from the tank as I could reach and rinsed my hand in freshwater each time to keep from spreading the algae.
3. Performed daily water changes for 5 days to help clean the water and I replaced the carbon filters.
4. Added two Turbo snails to help manage the growth of the algae. They immediately started eating the algae once I put them in the tank.

The tank is 1 week into its treatment but it already looks much better than it did. The green hair algae is on the decline. Here’s a video that I put together of the treatment process and a look at the tank two days later:

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