How To Get Rid of Red Algae in a Saltwater Aquarium

how to get rid of red slime algae in saltwater aquarium

Red slime algae is very difficult to get rid of in a saltwater aquarium.

Does your saltwater aquarium sand and rocks have red slime on them?

This post will help you to get rid of red slime algae in your saltwater aquarium for good.

You can get rid of this Cyanobacteria in your saltwater tank for good with a couple options.

What is Red Slime Algae?

Red slime algae is one of the oldest forms of bacteria to live on Earth; it is also called Cyanobacteria and lives off sunlight.

There are a number of different types of algae that can affect a saltwater tank, but one of the most widespread and harmful forms is cyanobacteria, also referred to as red algae or red slime algae.

Algae is one of the worst nightmares for any aspiring tank owner. Algae can very quickly gain a stranglehold over a saltwater tank and transform a once pleasant and tranquil ecosystem into a slimy wasteland.

how to get rid of red slime algae cyanobacteria in a saltwater aquarium.
Red Slime Algae in a Saltwater Aquarium

Algae reduces the level of dissolved oxygen available for saltwater fish and other aquatic creatures and throws the entire saltwater aquarium ecosystem off balance.

Cyanobacteria, or red slime algae, is one of the most common types of algae which is found all over the world; it will wreak havoc on your saltwater aquarium.

Ways to get rid of red slime algae in your saltwater aquarium

There are a few strategies you can use to get rid of cyanobacteria in your saltwater tank.

  1. Manual Removal of Algae – This doesn’t really work and is the most labor intensive.
  2. Change Your Saltwater Tank Water – 50% water change a few times – too much work.
  3. Perform A Chemical Clean – Add chemicals to your saltwater aquarium to kill algae.

Using chemicals is one of the most well-known and sure-fire ways to get rid of red algae (cyanobacteria) in a saltwater tank.

Your saltwater tank contains many colonies of healthy, helpful bacteria. This good bacteria are an important part of the nitrogen cycle and play an important role in the biological filtration in your tank.

CHEMICLEAN is one of the most well-known and sure-fire ways to get rid of cyanobacteria in a saltwater tank.

Many saltwater aquarium hobbyists have used CHEMICLEAN to wipe out red slime algae in saltwater aquariums.

  • cleans many types of stains from cyanobacteria
  • works in fresh and salt water
  • safe for all fish, corals, invertebrates, nitrifying bacteria and macro algae’s.
  • Age range description: all stages

I tried CHEMICLEAN to remove the cyanobacteria from my saltwater aquarium and it worked great, but returned a few days later since my saltwater aquarium was too far gone.

The red algae was all over the rocks, sand, power heads and bottom of the glass in my saltwater aquarium.

I was at my wits end and what I did completely removed all algae from my saltwater aquarium.

How I got rid of red slime algae in my saltwater aquarium

Red Slime Algae needs light to survive.

I turned off all the lights and covered my saltwater aquarium with a blanket for 2 weeks.

The lights for my saltwater aquarium were only on for 30 minutes a day for the fish during feeding time.

I do not currently have coral in my saltwater aquarium. Corals need light to grow and thrive.

Limiting lighting in your saltwater tank to one hour a day while your saltwater fish eat, and draping a blanket over the top and front of your saltwater tank for one to two weeks, will kill all Cyanobacteria.

If you have corals that need lighting, try keeping your saltwater tank lighting on for only 4-6 hours a day and check results after a week or two.

How I got rid of cyanobacteria in my saltwater aquarium – Rotter Tube Reef Video

How to prevent red slime algae in your saltwater aquarium

  1. Don’t overfeed your saltwater fish. Uneaten food will break down and rot, causing phosphates and nitrates to spike.
  2. Do at least a 10% weekly water change with new saltwater.
  3. Blow off uneaten food and fish waste from rocks with a turkey baster so your filter can get it.
  4. Get a good protein skimmer and clean it every few months.
  5. Don’t keep your saltwater aquarium lighting on all day long.
  6. Replace filter media at least once a week (sponges, foam, pads, etc.)
  7. Check nitrate and phosphate levels

Here are some great nitrate and phosphate test kits for your saltwater aquarium

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions let me know. 

My eBook is available on Amazon: How to kill ich and marine velvet parasites in your saltwater aquarium FOREVER.

Visit my Saltwater Aquarium channel on YouTube, Rotter Tube Reef.