Green Hair Algae
Green Hair Algae


Green Hair Algae, not to be confused with Cladophora Algae, is a frustrating algae to get rid of because it will get tangled among plant leaves and roots, and is nearly impossible to remove entirely.  Green Hair Algae, like its name, is characterized by long green thread-like strands which can reach up to ten inches in length.  It doesn’t attach itself directly to rocks or plants, but if left uncheck, this algae can easily dominate your aquarium in a matter of weeks. Green Hair Algae proliferates in planted aquariums which have low carbon dioxide levels, and a high amount of light and an imbalance of nutrients (particularly iron, nitrogen, and phosphates).

Algae Removal Tips

Manual Removal

Manually remove by hand as much hair algae as you can.  You can also use a toothbrush by spinning it around the Green Hair Algae strands like spaghetti to a fork. 

Chemical Removal

Many hobbyists have found Seachem Excel to be an effective tool towards combating and preventing algae. A  double dose of Seachem Excel will kill Green Hair Algae to where it either disappears or becomes easily removed by hand. Applying Seachem Excel directly, via syringe, to the infect areas is the most effective way of applying this method.   After 3-5 days you’ll notice the Green Hair Algae turn from green to white. .

Nutrients and Circulation

Ensure Carbon dioxide levels are consistent and adequate for your planted aquarium.  Also, reduce the amount of nutrients dosed in the aquarium as too much iron causes this algae to appear.  It may also be beneficial to introduce a liquid CO2 supplement such as Seachem Excel regularly to tanks that are not injected with carbon dioxide to nullify the chances of this algae from appearing.


There are several species of fish and shrimp that will take a bite out of Green Hair Algae.  Siamese Algae-Eaters(Crossocheilus siamensis), Tiger Barbs (Puntius tetrazona), Molly species (Poecilia sp.), and Rosy Barbs (Puntius conchonius) are known to be great consumers of green hair algae. 

The Amano shrimp aka Caridina multidentata (formerly known as Caridina japonica), and the Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina denticulata sinensis) will also pick at Green Hair Algae.


Green Hair Algae arises from an imbalance of nutrients, and too much lighting.  Minimizing or reducing the amount of iron introduced to the tank will remove the algae from your planted aquarium.  If Green Hair Algae appears, immediately remove it from your tank and take measure to prevent further outbreak. 

Algae Profile
Scientific Name: Green Hair Algae
Common Name: Green Hair Algae
Difficulty to Remove: Moderate
Potential Causes: Excess Light
Characteristics: Green Thread / Hair
Algae Removal Procedure: Combination of Methods