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How To Deal With Red Bubble Algae In Your Aquarium Fast!

Depending on your aquarium setup, red bubble algae can be an eyesore or draw the eye away from the intentional decorations and live plants that you have added to your tank.

Due to this as well as the reputation that red bubble algae has for being able to rapidly spread in aquariums, we often see people reaching out and asking for advice on how they are able to get rid of their red bubble algae.

Red bubble algae is generally easy to remove from an aquarium but care should be taken to reduce the risk of the bubbles popping and releasing more algae spores into your tank water.

You can manually remove the bubble algae or add emerald crabs or nerite snails to your tank to eat your red bubble algae when it is in its early growth stages before the bubble packed spores even start to grow.

Although rare, in some live rock aquarium setups, some people will cultivate a small area of red bubble algae in their aquarium to use as a part of their overall look of the tank design.

We would not recommend this for people new to keeping live rock as there are much better options available that serve the same purpose.

Once you have built up some experience in aquarium keeping and are confident that none of your tank inhabitants will be eating the bubble packed spores causing a surge of red bubble algae in your tank you can look to add it to a permanent setup if you wish.

What Causes Red Bubble Algae?

Red bubble algae is able to grow from a single spore of the algae with most spores accidently being added to aquariums due to being attached to new rock, plants or substrate when added into your tank.

Depending on the conditions of your tank, it can take as long as six weeks for red bubble algae to grow to a noticeable size so you may have added the spore over a month prior to actually noticing the algae in your tank.

In some very rare cases, the spores can be added when new fish are added to your tank if a spore has managed to get onto one of the new fish but this really is rare.

Another rare way that red bubble algae is able to get into your aquarium is via the poop of animals that eat red bubble algae as emerald crabs and nerite snails can eat large amounts of red bubble algae but they often only eat it at the early stages prior to the algae they feed on producing their own spores.

This is why we always recommend that you do your best to quarantine anything that you are looking to add to your tank in its own body of water for a couple of weeks to prevent outbreaks like this occurring.

Not only can this stop problems with red bubble algae and other types of algae but also various parasites and other potential problems in your aquarium too.

Does Vibrant Kill Red Bubble Algae?

Vibrant is a popular option to remove red bubble algae in your aquarium and it has been proven to be able to kill red bubble algae at all stages of development.

The main advantage of using vibrant to kill a red bubble algae outbreak in your aquarium is that it will slowly cause the bubbles to perish preventing the spores in them from being active if released and reducing the chance of any released spores germinating and growing.

Just be sure to get the correct type of vibrant for your aquarium as they do have a number of products in their lineup now.

Please also note that vibrant is not a fast way to remove red bubble algae from your aquarium either so you have to keep that in mind too.

It will take a number of doses to full remove the red bubble algae from your aquarium with the more developed red bubble algae potentially taking a large number of treatments to get rid of.

This means that the prolonged use of vibrant can also end up having an effect on any other micro algae in your aquarium too.

If you have intentionally added micro algae to your aquarium then you may want to re-add it after your vibrant treatment is done, especially if your red bubbe algae is fully grown and you have been using your vibrant for weeks or even months to remove it.

Can You Scrape Off Red Bubble Algae?

You can scrape red bubble algae off surfaces in your aquarium but be sure to take as much care as possible as any damage to the bubbles can result in the algae spores being released into your aquarium water.

It is usually only recommended that you scrape off your red bubble algae from smooth surfaces as it usually lets you quickly and easily remove it from your aquarium.

Although algae removal tools can be excellent for other types of algae that can be a problem in your aquarium, they really are not well suited to any type of bubble or slime algae as they can result in the algae spores being released into your tank.

This is why we would not recommend that you use algae removal tools in your aquarium to try and remove red bubble algae from rough surfaces such as rocks.

One work around that we have seen people successfully use is to remove any rough surfaces in their aquarium that has red bubble algae growing on them and then put them in a quarantine aquarium tank or even a bucket of water to scrape the red bubble algae off.

You can then leave the rock in a quarantine tank with fresh water for a couple of weeks to see if any red bubble algae spores have taken hold and are starting to grow prior to re-adding it to your main tank.

How Do I Get Rid Of Red Bubble Algae?

The best way to remove red bubble algae from your aquarium is to manually remove it as soon as you notice it growing.

The earlier you notice the red bubble algae in your tank, the easier it is to remove as the bubbles are tougher when smaller and less likely to pop and release their spores all over your tank.

If you do have a consistent, reoccurring problem with red bubble algae in your aquarium tank then you can look to add suitable algae eatersto your aquarium.

Unfortunately, many of the standard algae eaters will often refuse to eat red bubble algae but emerald crabs and nerite snails do seem to be the better options if you are specifically looking for something to eat as much red bubble algae as possible.

The problem with both emerald crabs and nerite snails is that they tend to only eat red bubble algae in its early stages rather than its later stages.

This can work as a good way to prevent additional outbreaks if the bubbles of a developed red bubble algae sack have popped and you want to reduce the chances of the spores taking hold but if you have fully grown red bubble algae in your aquarium, it is unlikely that emerald crabs or nerite snails will eat much of it.

Is Red Bubble Algae Good Or Bad?

Red bubble algae is usually considered to be bad in an aquarium purely due to how easy it can be for fish to accidently pop the bubbles and release a large number of spores into the tank resulting in the red bubble algae rapidly growing and removing nutrients from the water.

A small number of people do intentionally add it to their aquarium due to the unique look but this is rare and only usually done by experienced aquarium keepers.

There are a very small number of tank setups where you could consider red bubble algae to be a good addition to the tank outside of its unique look due to it being able to provide a highly nutritious food source for some algae eaters.

This would often only be done in a heavily stock tank for breeders or in a nerite snail or shrimp tank as they can eat the red bubble algae at a rapid pace and ensure that it never gets to the stage where it produces large amounts of spores.

Even in this very specific situation, there are almost always going to be better options available as a food source though that offer the same advantages but without the disadvantage of potentially adding a red bubble algae spore to your main display tank in the future.

Again though, setups like this should only really be done by people who have experience with aquarium keeping already as they are usually not very beginner friendly for the majority of people.

Is Red Bubble Algae A Problem?

Red bubble algae can be considered to be a problem in some tanks as it is able to spread extremely quickly due to each bubble being packed with spores.

If the nutrient levels in your tank are high enough with optimal water parameters, this can quickly result in your tank having large amounts of red bubble algae in it that may require manually removing.

Larger fish can accidentally pop the bubbles on the algae releasing the spores with some algae eaters in your tank eating the bubbles causing the spores to be released too.

This can be more common than many people initially release as the bubbles on red bubble algae tend to be made of a thin layer of film even though it can look thicker and tougher in some lighting conditions.

This is why the majority of people do their best to quickly remove red bubble algae as soon as they notice it in their tanks.

It tends to be much quicker and easier to remove the algae when it is still in its development phase and the bubble sacks are still developing as the sacks tend to be tougher and more difficult to accidently pop when small.


That brings our article going over treating red bubble algae in your aquarium to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand that although red bubble algae really can be a pain to remove from your aquarium, it can still be removed with ease in the ideal situations. Still, if you have recently removed red bubble algae from your tank, keep a close eye out for any new red bubble algae growing and remove it as soon as possible.