How To Stop Green Dust Algae Grow In The Aquarium

How to Stop Green Dust Algae Growth in an Aquarium
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In the aquascaping world, you may find some issues that infected our beloved tank. Start from fish problems until the equipment trouble. The algae invasion is the common problem that usually strikes out the aquariums of many aquarists.

Many different types of algae are often seen in aquaria, including Brown Algae (Diatomaceae), Green Spot Algae (Choleochaete), Green Dust Algae, Green Fuzz Algae (Oedogonium), Green Beard Algae, Red Spot Algae, Black Brush Algae (Audouinella sp.), Green Water, Water Silk (Spirogyra), Green Thread Algae, Hair Algae (Rhizoclonium), Staghorn Algae (Compsopogon sp.), Blue-Green Algae – BGA (Cyanobacteria), Fuzz Algae and Blanked Weed (Cladophora).

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A focus point that we can talk about wholly at this time about the ‘Green Dust Algae.’ Keep reading, and do not move your display from this page.

How to Stop Green Dust Algae Growth in an Aquarium
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How to Stop Green Dust Algae Growth in an Aquarium


What Is Green Dust Algae?

These algae types are primarily found in an aquarium that is new to set-ups. They usually stick on the glass, hard and smooth aquarium decorations, and equipment such as stones, woods, and aquatic plants.

In fact, green dust algae (GDA) are zoo-spores. They establish a green film with dusty-looking on the glass; in a critical case, these algae could cover the whole of tank glass.

The aquarium algae species actually loves attaching to the glass, so the germans named these algae “Grüne Scheibenpest” which means green glass plague. Their growth is faster; when they begin to develop, you will see them immediately turning like a green carpet layer with a thicker size.

The algae clipping on the glass usually has a green lighter color than the algae forms that stick on the equipment or hardscapes. It causes by the lights hitting the algae from both sides of the aquarium wall, making it seem brighter tint.

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How To Identify The Green Dust Algae?

These aquatic algae type only clip on the glass without turning the water. The watercolor should not be unchanged when you try wiping the algae with your finger. The GDA will float for 30-90 minutes before sticking themselves again to glass.

Many aquascapers sometimes made be confusing with green spot algae because they look relatively identical. But, when they compare by their characteristics, the distinctions become clear.

The green spot algae grow to form unique circular shapes between one and each other that slowly will merge together. To ensure the difference between both of them is by use your finger. Touch them softly; if they are easy to lift off, that is actually green dust algae. While, if they are stubborn, you have another one.

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How to Stop Green Dust Algae Growth in an Aquarium
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What’s Causes The Green Dust Algae Thrive In The Tanks?

Unfortunately, there are still no exact reasons universally agreed upon why the green dust algae could thrive in the aquarium. But, there is a reason which makes these algae can bloom in the tanks.

According to the information from some experts, over lighting the aquarium may lead these algae varieties to grow. However, it’s not a precise reason, but obviously, these aquarium algae prefer to attach in brighter places, such as in front of the glass wall.

The second theory is that the spores of green dust algae are introduced into your aquarium by riding on the bodies of fish, aquatic plants, hardscapes, or equipment from another tank. They wait for the perfect time for spreading out in your tank.

The third is caused by the biological of the aquarium is still immature. This thing makes the unbalance substances in the water parameters that help push the algae to bloom.

Fourth, the GDA may appear by significant changes in the planted tank. For example, drastic changes in the equipment or plant mass (e.g., after an excessive trimming leaves session).

Fifth, some aquarists tell us that green dust algae infection their tank contain a ton of dissolved nitrogen in the water, caused by magnesium nitrate or urea lead these algae to grow (generally happens in a tank with high NO3 > 10 ppm).

Sixth, the accumulation of organic debris on the aquarium’s bottom can also help these algae develop.

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Is The GDA Harm Your Fish And Plants?

Nope, the green dust algae are not dangerous for fish. A particular fish can still be healthy alive although kept in the aquarium which is covered by it. Even a bristlenose pleco will happily inhabit the tank that is full with it.

How about the plants? An aquarium hobbyist tells us his experience; he said his aquatic plants’ look don’t particularly disturb by these algae. His plants were coated by it for a couple of months and are still alive. Once the green dust algae are removed, they grow healthy again.

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How To Stop The Green Dust Algae Grow In Your Tank?

The green dust algae cover your aquarium wall, plants, equipment, and soil. How to fight and stop them from blooming again? We will show you how to get rid of them from your beloved tank.

There are some methods that can help you to gain success in anticipation growth of the GDA. Below are the ways:

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Balancing The Water Nutrients

Like the statement above, one of the problems the green dust algae grow is high nitrate dissolved in the water. So, grab your aquarium test kit and check all the required nutrients of your aquarium plants, such as pH, CO2, phosphate, etc.

If there is an imbalance of elements, fix it immediately. It is a good list that could become a reference to create an environment with the balanced nutrition which is preferred by your aquatic plants:

  • CO2: 20 – 30 mg/l
  • Nitrate (NO3): 10 – 25 mg/l
  • Potassium (K): 5 – 10 mg/l
  • Phosphate (PO4): 0.1 – 1 mg/l
  • Magnesium (Mg): >10 mg/l

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Stopping The Green Dust Algae Spores To Develop With UV Sterilizer

The spores are incredibly tiny, making they can not to see with naked eyes. But, if you abandon them there, they will mutate and produce themselves more and more until coating all parts of the aquarium.

Using UV sterilizer may become a powerful way to kill the spores. This innovative device can hit all tiny creatures which are floating in aquarium water using light beams. You can also combine this tool with a 100-micron polishing pad in the filter to catch them there. It will increase the effectiveness level to stop the algae from developing.

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Remove The Green Dust Algae Manually

This way is our favorite method, but we may spend more time fighting with them. Many fishkeepers also gain success by manually removing the green dust algae. Here is the trick:

The GDA assumed has a life cycle, so they will come back again if you clean them up in the early days. So, it would be best if you wipe them when they are old.

They usually take about four weeks to complete their life cycle. After four weeks, reduce the water level until the algae are exposed around 3-4 inches above the waterline. Once the water is low, clean the algae that attaching to the glass with paper towels. Be careful when brushing them, do not lets any piece fall into the water.

After that, pick up carefully any equipment in the aquarium such as powerhead or heater to outside the aquarium. Next, clean it from the algae using the cloth.

To eliminate any remaining spores on the glass, take another fabric, spray 3% hydrogen peroxide onto it, and then wipe it to over cleaned sections. After that, fill up the tank with clear fresh water. Utilization of distilled water is very suggested use when filling up new water into your tank. It is free from dangerous metal elements such as iron and manganese that are risky to water quality. You can buy a RO water kit for home aquaria on the trades to generate it by yourself. It will save your money significantly than buying the bottled distilled waters in the stores.

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Adding Algae Eaters

A simple way to fight green dust algae is using algae eaters. Snails and shrimps are most used by aquarists for getting rid of the algae plague. They will be helpful to clean up green dust algae in small doses.

How To Stop Green Dust Algae Grow In The Aquarium
A Nerite Snail Wiping The Green Dust Algae On Glass (Copyright: @oksana_tissen On Instagram)

But, how if the algae spread out and coat almost all places in the aquarium? Indeed, you need a giant algae eater to control it.

Bristlenose plecos are the correct answer; they are freshwater fish with a big appetite to consume algae, mainly the GDA. Many aquarists use these most popular algae eater types to do away with it without wetting their hands.

You can integrate the manual removal method with bristlenose pleco; you will have a great punch to defeat the green dust algae in your tank. Ensure, do not make your fish are starving when the algae are gone, giving their favorite food such as zucchini or algae wafers will make them continue their duties happier.

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Other Methods To Eliminate The Green Dust Algae

Maybe you want to try another easy way to cut the green dust algae growth before using all methods above. The first is to perform a blackout between 3-5 days on your tank. This thing might be preventing they are spreading out.

Use a thick blanket to cover the tank, do not overfeed your fish, and do not add fertilizers during the treatment. But if you keep a shrimp tank, you may unfeed your pets. Turn off the CO2 injection if you apply it, supply more oxygen by installing an air pump into your tank.

Once the treatment session is complete, make sure to make your fish can adaptation to the normal environment by opening a half part of your tank and leaving like this for around thirty minutes. After that, remove the blanket entirely and leave it like that for another thirty minutes, before turning on the aquarium lamp.

Next, clean all remaining algae on the objects, equipment, and wall glass. Then do a water change around 30%-50% depending on the conditions. The last step, install any equipment and object into the aquarium, switch on the lamp, carbon dioxide and add some doses of fertilizers.

And, the second is using a liquid algae remover or liquid carbon such as “Seachem Flourish Excel” that can purchase you in fish stores or online markets. It’s slightly effective in decreasing the growth of the spores. This liquid works well in mild cases.



The green dust algae are one of the common problems that attack the new aquarium setup. Some new tank keepers probably quit their hobby by this issue.

But do not be static; for every problem that comes to your tank, there must be a way to solve it. Always learn more information to prevent it is not happen to you, so keep on fishkeeping.

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