How to Get Green Algae Off Aquarium Glass

Green algae is common in aquariums, and small quantities are not harmful. However, when large quantities begin to grow on glass, it can interfere with tank cleanliness and make it difficult to see your fish. It may also indicate an imbalance in the tank ecosystem.

Scrape the algae off of the glass using an algae glass scraper. This will remove the majority of the algae, but will not prevent future growth. However, removing the algae will give you time to remedy the problems causing the algae before the algae regrows.

Put the aquarium lights on a timer and leave them on for no longer than 12 hours per day. Excess light can contribute to the rapid development of algae, and constant light can interfere with your fish's night/day cycle.

Add live plants to the aquarium. Algae grows when there's little competition for the light and nutritional resources in the tank, but live plants such as cabomba will compete with algae and may inhibit its growth.

Clean the tank regularly, and change 10 percent of the water each week. Algae is a natural part of a tank ecosystem, but rapid overgrowth of algae may occur when the water is dirty or inappropriately filtered. Clean the filter regularly, as algae on the filter can cause algae to grow throughout the aquarium.

Items you will need

  • Algae scraper
  • Live plants
  • Light timer


  • Algae-eating fish such as the Chinese algae eater can help reduce the amount of algae in your aquarium.

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About the Author

Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.