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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows what's the best way to get rid of hair algae? I have a betta in a 5 gallon cube, when I set up the tank I bought a cheap light from Amazon, turns out it was too bright and helped the algae get out of control. There are a couple of live plants and bamboo in the tank but it has all been overrun by algae. I recently went to Petco and bought a smaller light, not a bright as the previous one. I got rid of as much algae as I could but it just keeps growing and it's all over the tank now. I'm considering starting over and re-scaping the tank, but before I do that I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations that could help getting rid of it without risking re-cycling the tank. The tank has been set up since October 2021, I could do a fish-in cycle with the betta since he's the only inhabitant but I would rather not do that if at all possible.

Attaching a picture of the betta from when I first got it, not sure if it's a male or female, he was sold to me as a Marble Male but he has turned a very dark blue, I'll try to attach pictures of what the tank looks like now once I get back home.
 

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Hi! I think your betta is a female! ;) About the algea now- I've had exactly the same problem, what I did was cleaning as much algea as I could, and when it grew again, clean it again... in a month, the algea was gone. IDK if its gonna work with your tank, but I'd advice against re-scaping the tank, and starting the cycle again... OR, you can keep the filter running in a bucket(with all the sponges inside), clean the tank and everything inside it with hot water, put them back in the tank, fill the tank with dechlorinated water, and THEN, put the filter back in the tank- that way, the benefitical bacteria in the filter will stay alive, and you won't have to recycle the tank! Hope i could help a bit- and don't forget to keep us updated!
 

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Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows what's the best way to get rid of hair algae? I have a betta in a 5 gallon cube, when I set up the tank I bought a cheap light from Amazon, turns out it was too bright and helped the algae get out of control. There are a couple of live plants and bamboo in the tank but it has all been overrun by algae. I recently went to Petco and bought a smaller light, not a bright as the previous one. I got rid of as much algae as I could but it just keeps growing and it's all over the tank now. I'm considering starting over and re-scaping the tank, but before I do that I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations that could help getting rid of it without risking re-cycling the tank. The tank has been set up since October 2021, I could do a fish-in cycle with the betta since he's the only inhabitant but I would rather not do that if at all possible.

Attaching a picture of the betta from when I first got it, not sure if it's a male or female, he was sold to me as a Marble Male but he has turned a very dark blue, I'll try to attach pictures of what the tank looks like now once I get back home.
Hi! I definitely wouldn’t give up on your tank. It takes lots of time and hard work to cycle and set up a healthy tank and algae is not an unhealthy sign on a newly set up tank. It actually is a good sign especially if your tank was cycled over the last few months because this means, your plants are growing!


Hair algae is a pain to remove, but doable with some time using a toothbrush. Basically, you’d twirl the hair around the brush and pull. You can also pull or wipe it off as you siphon.

A nice algae eater such as a nerite snail for your tank is allowable in a 5 gallon. No matter what planted tank you have, you will always get algae. It’s keeping up with it so it doesn’t get out of hand that’s key, and it’s pretty tough to do without a “cleanup crew (I.e. 🐌)”. Nerites are great because they do not reproduce in freshwater so you won’t have to face or worry about overpopulation.

If you can attach a photo of your tank now, I can see what I think of removal. I’m not sure how planted your tank is but the more the better. This way your plants will outcompete the algae for nutrients to starve the algae.

Definitely don’t take your tank apart! Give it time. It’s so annoying but every single person with planted tank, professional or beginner, experiences algae. It’s all part of a healthy ecosystem!

Witg your tank pic, if you can also give me your fert schedule and current parameters, that would be helpful. Light is one aspect as you know, but a balance in nutrients are too. Everything is about balance!

Also, how long are you running your lights a day. Thx

Edit: if you’re considering a snail, don’t do a mystery snail as they require more than a 5 gallon with a betta AND they don’t eat much algae.
 

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Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knows what's the best way to get rid of hair algae? I have a betta in a 5 gallon cube, when I set up the tank I bought a cheap light from Amazon, turns out it was too bright and helped the algae get out of control. There are a couple of live plants and bamboo in the tank but it has all been overrun by algae. I recently went to Petco and bought a smaller light, not a bright as the previous one. I got rid of as much algae as I could but it just keeps growing and it's all over the tank now. I'm considering starting over and re-scaping the tank, but before I do that I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations that could help getting rid of it without risking re-cycling the tank. The tank has been set up since October 2021, I could do a fish-in cycle with the betta since he's the only inhabitant but I would rather not do that if at all possible.

Attaching a picture of the betta from when I first got it, not sure if it's a male or female, he was sold to me as a Marble Male but he has turned a very dark blue, I'll try to attach pictures of what the tank looks like now once I get back home.
Here’s an article I’ve referred to in the past while pulling my own hair out trying to deal with algae. I trust this site and he makes some really simple good points and tricks. Now I have 4 horned nerite snails that are super peaceful and algae munching monsters. I’m telling you it makes a world of difference. Great article though:

 

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How long are the lights on? Does the tank get direct sunlight? Algae is caused by an imbalance in the ecosystem. You need to find the cause so you don't keep getting the algae back. For instance, the only times I've had algae in my planted tanks is when I forgot to turn the lights off for a few days. Now I have a timer set for eight hours on. For the tanks closer to a window, six hours.

High Phosphates and Nitrates also contribute to the growth of Hair Algae. This is why fast-grown stem plants are a must as they will devour both. Slow growers like Anubias and ferns are useless in the fight to prevent Hair Algae. If you are seeing Hair Algae in a planted tank you are 1) Over-fertilizing; 2) Don't have enough fast-growing plants and/or 3) lights are on too long. Almost forgot: If you are adding CO2, that can be an issue, as well. Unless you are growing high-maintenance plants there's really no need for supplemental oxygen. A well-maintained, balanced planted tank will not have algae; hair or otherwise. (See quote below.)

IME, the easiest way to get rid of hair algae is to remove as much as possible and then turn the lights off for a week. Won't hurt your Betta and shouldn't hurt your plants. When it's gone, add fast-growing stem plants.

Nerite or Mystery Snails will help keep it at bay.

But, first, you must find the reason for the imbalance or it will return or another algae take its place.

"At the core of the issue, poor plant health causes algae. In a plant-dominated system, algae will only be able to thrive when the dominant organism (the plants) are failing in some sort of capacity. Algae is opportunistic and will often grow on plants that are weakened or are actively decaying. This is because the dying plants release organic matter as it decomposes, which is an easy source of food for the algae. Theories of allelopathy and competition have been proposed as mechanisms to explain how plants suppress algae growth within the planted aquarium. While the mechanisms in play is a bit irrelevant to the discussion, the key takeaway is that poor plant health = algae." From an Internet Source
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi! I think your betta is a female! ;) About the algea now- I've had exactly the same problem, what I did was cleaning as much algea as I could, and when it grew again, clean it again... in a month, the algea was gone. IDK if its gonna work with your tank, but I'd advice against re-scaping the tank, and starting the cycle again... OR, you can keep the filter running in a bucket(with all the sponges inside), clean the tank and everything inside it with hot water, put them back in the tank, fill the tank with dechlorinated water, and THEN, put the filter back in the tank- that way, the benefitical bacteria in the filter will stay alive, and you won't have to recycle the tank! Hope i could help a bit- and don't forget to keep us updated!
Thank you! I also think it might be a female, but at this point I'm not too sure 😆. I'll make sure to keep scrubbing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi! I definitely wouldn’t give up on your tank. It takes lots of time and hard work to cycle and set up a healthy tank and algae is not an unhealthy sign on a newly set up tank. It actually is a good sign especially if your tank was cycled over the last few months because this means, your plants are growing!


Hair algae is a pain to remove, but doable with some time using a toothbrush. Basically, you’d twirl the hair around the brush and pull. You can also pull or wipe it off as you siphon.

A nice algae eater such as a nerite snail for your tank is allowable in a 5 gallon. No matter what planted tank you have, you will always get algae. It’s keeping up with it so it doesn’t get out of hand that’s key, and it’s pretty tough to do without a “cleanup crew (I.e. 🐌)”. Nerites are great because they do not reproduce in freshwater so you won’t have to face or worry about overpopulation.

If you can attach a photo of your tank now, I can see what I think of removal. I’m not sure how planted your tank is but the more the better. This way your plants will outcompete the algae for nutrients to starve the algae.

Definitely don’t take your tank apart! Give it time. It’s so annoying but every single person with planted tank, professional or beginner, experiences algae. It’s all part of a healthy ecosystem!

Witg your tank pic, if you can also give me your fert schedule and current parameters, that would be helpful. Light is one aspect as you know, but a balance in nutrients are too. Everything is about balance!

Also, how long are you running your lights a day. Thx

Edit: if you’re considering a snail, don’t do a mystery snail as they require more than a 5 gallon with a betta AND they don’t eat much algae.
How long are the lights on? Does the tank get direct sunlight? Algae is caused by an imbalance in the ecosystem. You need to find the cause so you don't keep getting the algae back. For instance, the only times I've had algae in my planted tanks is when I forgot to turn the lights off for a few days. Now I have a timer set for eight hours on. For the tanks closer to a window, six hours.

High Phosphates and Nitrates also contribute to the growth of Hair Algae. This is why fast-grown stem plants are a must as they will devour both. Slow growers like Anubias and ferns are useless in the fight to prevent Hair Algae. If you are seeing Hair Algae in a planted tank you are 1) Over-fertilizing; 2) Don't have enough fast-growing plants and/or 3) lights are on too long. Almost forgot: If you are adding CO2, that can be an issue, as well. Unless you are growing high-maintenance plants there's really no need for supplemental oxygen. A well-maintained, balanced planted tank will not have algae; hair or otherwise. (See quote below.)

IME, the easiest way to get rid of hair algae is to remove as much as possible and then turn the lights off for a week. Won't hurt your Betta and shouldn't hurt your plants. When it's gone, add fast-growing stem plants.

Nerite or Mystery Snails will help keep it at bay.

But, first, you must find the reason for the imbalance or it will return or another algae take its place.

"At the core of the issue, poor plant health causes algae. In a plant-dominated system, algae will only be able to thrive when the dominant organism (the plants) are failing in some sort of capacity. Algae is opportunistic and will often grow on plants that are weakened or are actively decaying. This is because the dying plants release organic matter as it decomposes, which is an easy source of food for the algae. Theories of allelopathy and competition have been proposed as mechanisms to explain how plants suppress algae growth within the planted aquarium. While the mechanisms in play is a bit irrelevant to the discussion, the key takeaway is that poor plant health = algae." From an Internet Source

Thank you both for all the recommendations. Definitely need to keep scrubbing. I was having a lot of difficulty with a sponge so I might try a toothbrush next. I am attaching the pictures of what the tank looks like now. There has been some water evaporation as I do not have cover on the tank because of the bamboo plants. They are taller than the tank.

To answer a few of your questions I do not use any fertilizers or oxygen in the tank. The only fertilizer I used was one crushed API tablet for the bamboo to use. I put this in first and then on top added black sand and on top of that some pebbles. I currently have a large leaf anubias, some ferns, and a couple of stems of water sprite, pogostemon stellatus octopus, rotala rotundifolia, and the bamboo sticks (about 8 of them). I have not checked nitrates/nitrites yet but I can do that after work. I do have one nerite snail in the tank but I think even this has gotten way too out of control for the snail to keep up with.
I had the lights on for 10 hours initially since the tank is nowhere near a window and does not get hit with sunlight from any of the windows in the room. I also liked seeing it lighted before and after I got home from work. After the algae started growing like crazy I reduced the lights to only 6 hours (they are on a timer). I'm now considering turning the lights off completely. The lighting is also not as strong as it was previously, I bought a different light from Petco (Aqueon Freshwater Clip-on LED light) they are so much dimmer than the initial light I bought from Amazon (10W Clip-on light) which lighted almost the entire room. That was my mistake number one. I'm thinking I might need to do another deep clean of the tank again this week. The last one I did was about two week ago and since then I've only been getting rid of algae by hand little by little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also forgot to mention I have a sponge filter on the tank. I don't think this makes any difference as my other 5 gallon also has a sponge filter with Lucy (my other betta) in it and I have no issues with that one.

Thank you all for all the advice, I'll keep at it some more before I decide to re-scape the tank.
 

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Hair algea grows on the plants, the substrate, the decor, the wals.... everywhere. The magnetic aquarium glass cleaner is great, but only cleans the glass
 
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I had hair algae in my tank too. I left it in for a few months. Then it died and disappeared. I haven't seen it in my tank since.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Day who knows what of trying and failing to get rid of hair algae 😅. I’m ready to rip all of my hair out. Sponges, magnetic glass cleaners, and paper towels have all been unsuccessful at fully removing the algae from the glass. I’m going to need something stronger or sharper to fully remove it but on the bright side it looks a lot better than it did about a month ago. Attaching some pictures from today’s progress. I also added a couple of floating plants to hopefully help some. No idea where they came from they just appeared in two of my tanks one day so if anyone has any idea what floating plant this is please let me know. Thanks! 😁
 

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Duckweed. Probably hitchhiked in on some plants. If you are not careful, it will take over. Eventually it can block lights to your plants (and the algae won't mind) and even clog filters. It thrives when there little if any water movement and surface agitation (so does algae) and high Nitrates. You can, however, corral it in a floating ring.

If you know someone with a Goldfish or Koi Pond those guys love it. Or discard into trash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Some pictures of the betta. I think this might be a girl and not a boy like the cup said. She turned a very dark blue. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be her color but she is super active and food driven.
 

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She's a healthy little girl! May she live a long and happy life with you!!
 
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