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How To Get Rid of Red Turf Algae In An Aquarium!

If you keep a home aquarium for assorted reef organisms, then chances are you have run into an issue of too much red turf algae at some point in time.

This beautiful and brightly colored algae is commonly chosen by reef enthusiasts to add color to their tanks, without realizing how quickly it spreads and grows. 

Red turf algae is so stubborn that it will grow in lower light conditions and remain resilient even where brown and green algae will not.

This is why it can become such a pesky ordeal to get it out of your tank. In order to keep red turf algae from completely taking over your reef aquarium, you can employ certain kinds of LED lights, chemical solutions, and/or aquatic creatures that feed on the algae. 

In order to preserve the original aesthetic vision you created in your reef aquarium, you’ll have to tackle the red turf algae problem.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with a tank full of the algae, which your herbivorous fish won’t even eat. Keep reading, as we explore the effects of red turf algae in an aquarium, as well as ways to get rid of a red turf algae infestation, both naturally and chemically. 

Is Red Turf Algae Dangerous In An Aquarium?

Red turf algae isn’t necessarily dangerous in an aquarium. However, your herbivorous fish are deterred by it and thus won’t eat it.

Because of its quick-growing nature, it can quickly take over the entire aquarium ecosystem, leaving little trace of anything it covers. 

Some people don’t realize that red turf algae is actually a decent source of nutrients for corals and certain aquatic creatures. This is why some people are drawn to introducing it into their tanks (aside from the fact that it looks pretty).

However, it can be extremely time consuming to get its spread under control. Further, it can become expensive and take a lot of effort trying to buy the supplies to keep trimming down the algae over time. 

You may end up spending a lot of money on chemical solutions or urchins and snails, only to realize that they still don’t completely remove the red turf algae from the aquarium.

And at that point, you’ve already added more living creatures to your tank that you’ll have to care for indefinitely. This is why some may regard the algae as “dangerous”. In a sense, it causes a lot of problems, but it’s not directly harmful to the rest of the living things in the tank. 

How To Get Rid Of Red Turf Algae In An Aquarium!

So, you’ve decided you want to tackle your red turf algae problem in your aquarium. In order to successfully rid your tank of this algae, you can turn to a few different methods such as snails, urchins, and other algae-eating creatures.

LED lights do a great job of stunting the growth of red turf algae. And finally, you can also try using a solution such as algaefix or H2O2 solutions.

As for adding new algae-eating creatures into your aquarium, you should look for hermits, urchins, turbo snails, and tangs. The benefits of this fix include the fact that it’s a natural and chemical-free approach to cleaning off the algae.

Algae like red turf algae is extremely nutritious for fish like tang and Mexican turbo snails, who will readily eat it up. The main downside to this method is that now you have new life to care for, which adds more maintenance and effort into your life as an aquarium owner. 

LED lights slow down and sometimes stop red turf algae growth since this is not the ideal light condition for it to grow in. LEDs will lead to less red turf algae blooms, which helps significantly.

Amber-colored LED lights, in particular, are highly effective in this respect. Furthermore, if you find that natural methods don’t work, you can always carefully use a diluted chemical solution of H2O2 and water, which will kill off the algae growth.

Will Algae Eaters Eat Red Turf Algae?

Yes, algae eaters will eat red turf algae, but it depends on the algae eater. Although you may keep algae-eating fish in your aquarium, this doesn’t guarantee that they will eat up your red turf algae. Red turf algae actually deters most types of fish, with the exception of tangs. 

Snails, hermits, and certain urchins will also eat red turf algae. However, be aware that these creatures may not completely eradicate an aquarium or its coral/rocks from the red turf algae infestation.

This is because it’s sometimes impossible for certain algae-eating creatures to get down into the small nooks and crannies of reef life. Furthermore, you may simply have the problem of the algae eaters not eating up the red turf algae faster than it is capable of growing. 

If these algae eaters don’t fully clean out the red turf algae from your rocks and aquarium, then you may need to resort to some hand-cleaning. You can always go in and clean off the reef life yourself; however, you need to be gentle and careful not to damage them.

At the end of the day, many aquarium owners prefer using algae eaters because they take part in an ecosystem and have a natural benefit for you. 


Turf algae – specifically the red variety – is a relentless algae that will grow faster and cover more ground than other aquarium algaes in the same lighting conditions. It has evolved to adapt to even darker environments, and it can quickly take over a reef aquarium, making the rest of your rocks and coral concealed. If you want to get rid of turf algae in your aquarium, you can turn to a few methods, including natural algae-eating creatures, chemical solutions, as well as LED lights. And if all else fails, you can attempt to clean the red turf algae off your rocks and coral yourself, as gently as possible.