How To Get Rid Of:

How to Get Rid of Slime Algae

What is slime algae? It is very slimy that grows quickly and covers all surfaces in the aquarium, often giving off an unpleasant swampy or fishy odor. It can be blue – green algae, red slime algae, and can also have colors green, brown or black. Where did they come from? Why do they exist? Cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as slime algae, are a leading cause of destruction in a well-established reef tank. High levels of organic wastes and anaerobic conditions are some of the causes of slime algae.

Slime algae often form long cell chains that result in a blanket-like slime that covers everything in the aquarium. Since it reproduces asexually by cell division, it takes over the tank very quickly. It is usually a dark green to a dark red and starts out as a small dark spot on the base of the aquarium or on the rocks. A slime algae bloom is not easy to get rid of until the main issue or source of the difficulty is dealt with. If the condition(s) that is causing the algae to form is not fully assessed and resolved, the problem will continue, and the unpleasant algae will not fully fade away.

It is the blue-green algae which are actually the organism cyanobacteria which grow when there are high levels of dissolved wastes and nutrients in the water. This emerges due to lack of water regular maintenance and overfeeding.


Use bulbs that are designed for aquarium use and run the lights 8 to 9 hours a day. Also try different types of bulbs to increase the intensity and the spectral qualities of the light in the aquarium, predominantly when it comes to any type of full-spectrum or color enhancing tubes being used.  As light bulbs get older, the spectrum will change, and often supply the right type of light to feed the cyanobacteria.

Keep tank clean

One of the best preventive measures is keeping the tank clean and performing regular water changes. Assess your water changes. The solution to pollution is dilution! Continually remove unneeded nutrients as well as replace those things that are used by the system. 10% weekly is a good change schedule. Some do 20% every other week and some vary the schedule from there, but a good start is 10% per week. Unluckily it is still likely to get algae in spite of regular maintenance. In fact, small amounts of algae are normal. Prompt attention to abrupt algae growth will prevent more serious problems.

Evaluate feeding

Overfeeding is one of the causes so it is better to know how to correct its feeding methods. Evaluate your feeding ways. It is too much if you are feeding more than can be eaten in about 1-2 and the remainder of it is falling to the rock and sand and becoming nutrient.

Assess flow

Evaluate your flow. Add power heads or repositioning the ones you already have in areas in the tank where there is little to no flow. It is not necessary to build sand storms just have water moving over the area to keep detritus suspended in the water column for removal by your filter – skimmer.

Vacuum the gravel

Remove fish waste uneaten food and other pollutants that are in the tank that can lead to red slime growth by vacuuming the gravel in your tank.

Reduce excess nutrients

Reduce excess nutrients that are allowing the bacterial growth. Siphon out what you can as it is a thick film that siphons readily with a small diameter tube. It took a few months to get everything back to normal.

What worked for you?

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