7 Easy Solutions To Naturally Get Rid Of Algae (Planted Tank)

By Billy | Updated: May 12, 2022 | Planted Tanks

Every aquarist is going to run into algae issues at some point. Figuring out how to control it comes with experience.

This was my biggest problem when first starting. Almost every week, my fish tank had algae outbreaks.

After trial and error, I finally have a good grasp of how to manage it. I’ll share what worked for me so you can get your aquarium looking crystal clear again.


First, accept that you’ll never fully get rid of algae. It’ll always be part of your fish tank, so embrace it. However, you can do a few things to decrease it significantly. Common solutions are lowering your lighting, adding more plants, doing regular water changes, or adding a cleanup crew.

The first solution might be to…

1. Lower, Consistent Lighting

It took me a while to realize, but I was running my Fluval LED nano light too long/powerful. My first aquarium light was too weak, killing some plants. So I thought the more light, the better.

While I did need more light, I didn’t need too much more. I used a default setting, which ran for 12 hours, peaking at 100% power. That was the main cause of my algae. I used a setting that was too powerful, so algae began to grow.

If the algae is very bad, you can do a blackout. Turn off your light for a week straight; this way, there’s no energy for it to keep growing.

Key Takeaway: Lower your lighting and put it on for around 8 hours. There’s a good chance your light is either too powerful or on for too long.

2. Add More Plants

Plants act as natural filters by absorbing the available nutrients and keeping your tank balanced. A good rule of thumb is to cover 70% of your substrate with plants.

Key Takeaway: The more plants, the better chance you’ll have at keeping algae controlled.

3. Less Fish

Don’t max out your tank with fish, especially in the beginning. Fish waste is a major contributor to algae growth.

Key Takeaway: Less is more. Don’t overstock your fish tank.

4. Regular Water Changes

I get it, not everyone wants to do water changes. But trust me, if you’re having an issue with algae, it will help immensely. Everyone’s tank will be different, but I try to do a 30% water change once per week. This helps keep the water parameters balanced.

5. Remove Dead Leaves

Algae is often described as opportunistic. Meaning, that when there are any dead leaves on your plants, it’s an opportunity for algae growth. If you notice any plants have dead leaves, trim and remove them as quickly as possible.

6. Clean Filter

I remember trying almost everything and still getting algae. I completely forgot that I didn’t change my aquarium filter for a few months, and it was overloaded with bacteria. It wasn’t doing a good job of filtering the water. Once I swapped it out for a new one, my water balanced out.

7. Add A Cleanup Crew

Although I still haven’t had any snails or shrimp, I’ve read extensively on the benefits of adding them to your tank. This will be my next addition. They are fantastic at eating any extra waste that the fish don’t eat. Do you know all that light brown organic waste that piles up? Snails and shrimp will help maintain that by eating them.


I've had a fascination with aquariums since a young age. A few years ago, I started to build low-tech planted tanks. My goal is to share my experience to help make yours easier.