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How To Easily Remove Red Hair Algae From Your Aquarium!

Red hair algae is actually a controversial topic amongst many fish keepers as some people will intentionally add it to their tank and cultivate it as a part of their aquascaping efforts where as others do everything they can to remove red hair algae from their tank as soon as they see it.

With so many people looking for ways that they are able to get rid of red hair algae in their aquarium, we have decided to publish our own article going over the best methods to quickly and easily remove the algae.

Thankfully, red hair algae (Centroceras clavulatum) grows at a slower pace when compared to the other types of hair algae that can work to your favour if you are looking to get rid of the algae as quickly as possible.

It can also help you purge your tank of the red hair algae without it being able to cement a food hold too making sure that it does not quickly come back.

Due to seeing different people reaching out and asking various questions about how to get rid of red hair algae in a number of different tank setups as well as a few other related questions, we have added our table of contents below.

It should make it easier for you to skip to the specific section of our article that applies to you and your aquarium setup.

Is Red Hair Algae Bad?

Red hair algae is not considered bad due to it growing at a much slower rate than other types of algae.

The main reason that most fish keepers want to remove the red hair algae in their tank as it tends to stick out and go against the general aquascape look that they are trying to cultivate.

Some commonly kept animals will actually eat red hair algae too making it a food source for the animals in your tank but there are dramatically less animals available that will eat red hair algae when compared to white hair algae or green hair algae.

As we mentioned at the start of the article, some fish keepers will intentionally add red hair algae to their tank if they are trying to cultivate a specific look due to the unique look that the algae offers.

In the grand scheme of things, red hair algae is not considered to be bad and should not cause any problems with your water conditions or pose any threat to your fish.

Generally, it does not indicate that there are any problems with your water parameters either as some of the other types of hair algae can indicate.

What Will Eat Red Algae?

The best algae eater options for red hair algae are siamese algae eaters, amano shrimp, rosy barbs, and nerite snails with mollies, platies, and guppies sometimes taking to eating red hair algae but they will usually not eat large amounts of it.

There are a number of other shrimp and snails that will also eat small amounts of red hair algae but it really is minimal.

Just to be clear, we are specifically referring to red hair algae (Centroceras clavulatum), not red slime algae (Cyanobacteria) in this article.

We often see people getting the two confused but they are totally different with red hair algae actually being an algae that some fish, shrimp, and snails will happily eat where as red slime algae is actually a bacteria with very few things eating it.

The two look totally different though so if you do have thin, red strands then it is safe to presume that you have red hair algae. Our number one algae eater for red hair algae has to be the siamese algae eater with the amano shrimp coming in with a close second.

How To Get Rid Of Red Hair Algae In A Freshwater Tank!

Getting rid of red hair algae in freshwater tends to be easy and adding siamese algae eaters, amano shrimp, rosy barbs or nerite snails to your tank will often be able to reduce the amount of red hair algae in your tank.

When used in larger numbers, mollies, platies, and guppies can also help to get rid of red hair algae too.

Depending on your specific set up, you are also able to remove the surfaces that the red hair algae is growing on and clean them.

Just keep in mind that the red hair algae spores may be in your tanks water and have landed on other surfaces too so adding algae eaters are usually a better option.

Although a siamese algae eater would always be our number one recommendation to our readers looking to get rid of red hair algae, they can have issues with aggression with some other fish.

This is why we feel that adding a small number of amano shrimp may actually be the better option for many of our readers.

How To Get Rid Of Red Algae In A Saltwater Tank!

To get rid of red hair algae in a saltwater tank, we would recommend that you try to add a small number of cerith snails, tailspot blenny, foxface with emerald crabs sometimes eating red hair algae.

Using an algae scrubber to clean the surfaces in our tank is the only other real option for most salt water tanks.

The majority of our readers will be able to add cerith snails to their saltwater tank to counter a number of different types of hair algae types.

Not only are they very cheap but they are also very effective at removing red hair algae. If you have a saltwater tank setup that allows you to add a tailspot blenny, a foxface or an emerald crab to your tank then you are also able to try them too.

In many cases when it comes to saltwater tanks, your only option will be to use an algae scraper to remove the red hair algae and this is not a valid option for many tank setups.

This is why we usually recommend that our readers try to stick to one of the algae eater options if possible.

How To Get Rid Of Red Algae In A Reef Tank!

Getting rid of red hair algae in a reef tank is considerably more difficult than in other tanks due to the various algae eater options also having a chance of trying to eat the coral and algaes that you actually want in your tank.

This is why manually cleaning the area with the red hair algae is usually the best route to take rather than adding an algae eater to your tank.

We have a dedicated article going over cleaning and drying live rock if you have a reef tank with a live rock setup. Even then though, it can be problematic to manually clean things in a reed tank due to some of the ecosystems being so sensitive.

If you do you research for the various corals and other algaes growing in your tank then you may be able to take advantage of an algae eater like cerith snails, a tailspot blenny, a foxface or an emerald crab.

We usually would only recommend you do this for a general saltwater aquarium though rather than an actual reef tank, especially if you are keeping sensative corals.


That brings our article going over how to deal with red hair algae in your aquarium to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the various methods that you are able to try take advantage of to remove the red hair algae from your tank. It is generally much easier for you to remove all types of hair algae from a freshwater than than a saltwater thank though with there often being a number of potential problems for a saltwater aquarium that can be a pain to deal with.