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What Algae is This and How to Stop It

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I recently came back from vacation to my 20 gallon being taken over by what I assume is green hair algae. I’ve cleaned and removed it the best I could about 3-4 weeks ago but it’s come back. I have 5 Ottos and 3 snails that don’t help clean it up. What can I add to my tank to prevent this that would be good in a 20 gallon tank? Assuming it’s hair algae. 


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If you are looking for some help form algae eaters, Amano shrimp like to eat hair algae and are cool little creatures if you like shrimp.  If you don't like shrimp, nerite snails can eat hair algae sometimes before it really gets going-  so, there is a chance they could help in the effort while you are trying to curb it with manual removal.  However, they wouldn't just chow down on the stuff in the picture. 

Siamese algae eaters demolish hair algae but a 20 gallon would be a little tight for them when they grow up.  Otos are not really any help with hair algae unfortunately, but they are awesome for other kinds.

Your tank is really pretty by the way. 

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On 7/18/2022 at 3:52 PM, Mmiller2001 said:

Twirl it out with a toothbrush every time you see it. Drop light intensity a bit and reduce duration to no more than 8 hours. Increase water change and lean down your dosing a bit. Stay the course.

What mmiller said but id add also add reduce over aggressive surface aggitation, lower tank temp thru increased evaporation, and surface skim to help with gas exchange. That hair algea is thriving so it'll take time/work before it clears

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Its not a permanent solution, but I have found that "liquid CO2" products are great for spot treating. I have a big aquascaped tank by a window that grows hair algae in the java moss on the side that faces the window. I just use a pipette and spray any I can't remove by hand. Obviously you will want to do your normal algae mitigations but this is great for the stubborn stuff. 

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