Welcome to the dark world of Aquascaping. Today we’re gonna speak about reason number one of people leaving this beautiful hobby, and this reason is algae. “Aziz! Lights!” (Quote from the 5th element Movie) Much better, isn’t it? In this episode we’re gonna speak about this aquarium that is behind me. This aquarium is one and a half years old. It was built at a client of ours. Actually, I built it. And the client himself. The problem with this aquarium is that it had been heavily neglected. And… Well, you can see how it looks right now. Through the example of this aquarium, we’re gonna touch the algae subject. We’re gonna speak about what causes algae. Why algae is the number one reason for people leaving this hobby. We might be professional aquascapers, and we might know a lot about how to deal with… How to address different algae and we might have some clues as to what algae is caused by what reason. But truth is that Mother Nature is a very complicated thing, it’s a very complicated entity. We really need to be humble in face of its wonders and we really need to state that we don’t know anything about what we’re saying here. The real issue in dealing with tanks full of algae is that one has to fight with themselves, when it comes to what’s happening in the aquarium. Our pride prohibits us to understand Mother Nature. Many many clients that I spoke to, have told me that: “I have a good filtration.” “I have nice lighting, I have CO2.” “But still… I have a lot of algae.” “So, what’s the problem?” The problem is that you have started to enumerate what kind of solutions you had, and what is right in your tank. Algae is caused by something that is not right in your tank. So the question is; what did I miss? The problem is that we, people tend to blame others when there is a problem with something in our lives. Maybe the filtration is wrong. Maybe the guy who sold me the filter is wrong, as he sold me some kind of filter that I knew it wouldn’t be a fit for my aquarium. I’m not trying to be right here, don’t try to be right. Don’t try to beat Mother Nature, just try to be humble, to understand what’s happening around you. There is a way. In fact, there are multiple ways to operate algae free aquarium. Don’t think that what we’re saying here and what we’re preaching about here is the only right way. There are many right ways to operate an aquarium. This is one of them. Alright, it’s enough! Let’s start working! Okay, so what is the reason behind algae? Why do we have algae? At the beginning, people were saying that algae is caused by high Nitrates and high Phosphates. This turned out not to be entirely true. Obviously if you have more Nitrates, than 50 ppm, or you have more Phosphates, than 10 ppm, then you might have a problem. Because like higher Nitrates will prohibit plant growth, and you might have algae issue, because of plants suffering. But then, the modern technology and the modern science have taught us… No. Actually speculates on algae being caused by light and Ammonia. The more light you have, the less Ammonia you need to have algae. Okay, this is a problem, because aquascapes and modern aquariums have a lot of light in them, so only a little algae will cause your aquarium to have an algae bloom.
What is algae bloom? It’s the sudden appearance of algae and the sudden coverage of the whole aquarium by algae. I told you before, that you can leave this aquarium running for over two or three years, without filtration, without stop. Don’t do this, that is bullshit. You need to have strong filtration. Don’t believe what I said. I just said it because of those guys who wanna be alternative and and argue with us all the time. This is just not worth it. Because there are certain people to whom…
Whatever we do, it’s not good. It’s important that they have to oppose everything. That’s a type of guy, you know them, they are all over in the forums, commenting everything. We have a website: If you visit that website, you’re gonna find a lot of descriptions, describing the different algae, their causes and their so-called treatments. On what you can do to get rid of that algae. It is most important that you cannot fight algae by fighting the algae itself. You need to find what caused the algae and you need to work on eliminating that cause. Okay, what can cause algae? I have a number of things here, let me talk to you about this. Number one: filtration. Filtration is really important. I’ve been talking about filtration in many many episodes previously. You need to have a very good quality biological filter media in your external filter. You need an external filter because you need a high volume of filter media. Okay, what is high quality filter media? These are microscopic images that we made in a lab. Of different filter media. There are big differences in surface area for these different filter media. Another favourite! “You’re gonna disturb the fish!” “You’re gonna move the water.” “The fish are gonna be disturbed.” No! They’re hiding behind the rocks. The fish are disturbed, because you’re not keeping the water clean. You’re not doing your water changes. Do your water change, fifty percent per week. Don’t be lazy! “I bought this rock from you guys, it’s leaking something.” “The fish are dying!” No! The fish are dying because of the ammonia spikes. You don’t see that they’re just toxicated. Because you didn’t change your water. Number two: lighting. Lighting is very important. Why? Because you need to adjust your lighting to be good with the type of aquarium that you have. If you have a low tech aquarium, You’re not allowed to have a lot of light, because you don’t have CO2. Plants will start to photosynthesise under the strong light strongly. For that they need a lot of CO2 and if you don’t provide that to them, they will develop problems and they will start to rot. So algae and Ammonia is mainly caused by rotting organic material in your tank. Third: water parameters. Water parameters are really important. Why? Because plants usually are living in equatorial environments and water is not very hard. So you need soft water for most plants’ CO2 levels. In order for plants to have a nice photosynthesis, you need a lot of CO2. CO2 levels are also very very difficult to control. Fluctuation of CO2 is also not desired in the planted tank. Why? Because that will also cause algae, so please be aware that not only low levels of CO2 can cause algae. Fluctuating levels of CO2 can also cause algae. And one more thing! “I’m not gonna buy aquariums because I’m too busy.” “I don’t have time to maintain them.” Not true! We have one guy for 12 showtanks. A lot of fish tanks, plant holding tanks in the Green Aqua. That guy is working 40 hours per week. No, he’s working 32 hours per week. And he’s coping with them all! So, how much per aquarium? He’s not gonna spend more than one hour maximum one hour and a half on one aquarium. So, if you don’t have one hour and a half per week to have something… A beauty. Not like this was before, but like this is gonna look like in a week or so. Then this hobby is not for you. Just get… Watch another movie. Fifth: plant nutrients That can also can cause algae. How? Lack of them, or the excess of them? Or the imbalance of them? There are times when algae is good, for example in miso soup. Yummy! A useful algae session. Temperature. Temperature can cause algae as well. How? If the water is too hot, the rotting process will be faster. If the rotting process is faster, the bacteria living in the internal filter will not cope with the ammonia spikes. Ammonia plus light results in algae. “Seaweed on a stick!” (From the movie Madagascar) ADA tweezers, beautiful. Number seven: hardscape and soil. We’ve been touching this subject before, when we were talking about filtration. The good quality substrate system is very important, because the bacteria living there are contributing to the nitrifying process. They’re gonna get rid of the Ammonia, transforming the Ammonia into Nitrates. Plants will feel better, when they have a good… Their roots are in a good, quality substrate. Alright, enough of this very dark algae… Whatever thing. I’m sure that you guys are already bored. I’ve been talking about the very difficult system of maintaining an aquarium. So, let’s see how beautiful the aquarium looks like now! I’ve been describing you how the system, a properly set up system looks like. It sounds difficult. But it’s really not. Just get a good filter, set up a good CO2 system, have good lights, good substrate. Keep the regular 50% water changes and you’re gonna be fine. Okay, so what do we do if we see algae? All aquascapers at a certain point are seeing algae in their aquariums Always address the root cause, not the symptoms. Try to find out what caused the algae. Is your water too hot? Is your filter too small? Is the flow of the filter too strong? Is the flow too low? There are many things… Then, get some algae eaters. Then, try to physically remove all algae in your aquarium. It’s very important to get rid of as much algae as possible before addressing the root cause. Because you’re giving your tank a bigger chance. You can do a blackout. What is a blackout? You can wrap your whole aquarium into a black foil, or you can just cover it with blankets. Leave it like that for about two days. We have the detailed description of the blackout process on our website. Check it out! So, what helps you with algae besides algae eaters and the good system? You can use liquid carbon. You can get a surface skimmer, to clean the surface, and to make sure that the surface gas exchange is okay. And then, you can get a Twinstar, which is helping you to create an environment, which is oxygen-rich. This environment will not be favourable for algae. Alright, so I think you got way too much information for a short movie. Let me just tell you the common mistakes quickly. You stop dosing, because you see some algae. Problem. Your plants are gonna suffer so much more. Don’t stop dosing when you see algae Two: blame others. Don’t blame others! Don’t blame anybody, don’t blame yourself. Just look into what the root cause of the algae might be, try to experiment and that’s it. Don’t think you know everything! Don’t give up! Don’t try to be cheap! If you try to get get a cheap filter, with cheap filter media and bad lights, you’re gonna have algae. You’re gonna just stop this hobby. I’m not saying that you need to spend a lot of money. I’m not encouraging you guys to spend a lot of money on hobby. Just think of what you’re gonna do. If you can do it, just wait a little bit, save more money, just buy the right equipment. It’s imperative to have the right equipment! Also, be patient if you change something, like if you adjust your CO2 levels, wait a couple of days. To see what happens. Don’t try to solve everything at once. Mother Nature is not thinking in your terms. We know that our life is really fast, and we try to have immediate results in everything. But Mother Nature was here long before we were… And it’s gonna be here a long time after we’re not here. So, just take your time! Don’t overfeed fish when leaving for a vacation, and you ask your grandma to help you with that. Make sure that you tell them, fish are hungry all the time, So when the poor fish are running for food, it’s just their habit. So, if they cannot eat everything that you’re giving them in 2-3 minutes, then you have a problem, because rotting food can cause ammonia spikes and by the time that you get back from that beautiful beach you’re gonna just see the tank full of algae. Like the one behind me. Oh, by the way! Guys, if you want to have this beautiful t-shirt from Moss Cotton, check it out!! You can get 10% discount if you type the coupon code… The discount code: “ALGAEFREE”. Coupon code: “ALGAEFREE”. You can get the brand-new t-shirts. I love them! Alright? Jurijs’ website. Check it out! Okay guys, this was the algae session at Green Aqua. I hope that we didn’t bore you to hell with all the… I gotta eat to think! So, I hoped I did we didn’t bore you to hell with… With all the theory about algae. If you like the Green Aqua channel, please subscribe if you didn’t already do so, or you can get notified of our future uploads by clicking the bell button, which is right next to the subscribe button, I learned.


  1. Great film guys! I love the style and more importantly the content is great. Algae is the number one reason people give up the hobby. If we can sort that we can retain more hobbyist which is great news for us all!

  2. In most of episode, you suggested the Eheim skimmer, what is the different if we use Lily pipe surface skimmer ? (Hope you know this product :p )

  3. After this episode, I getting more alert with the tank water, and nutrition inside. Truly maintaining the water isn't easy as water in the tank isn't like the river.

  4. Thank you Sir. I just made a really nice planted Tank, but i have this problem. Ill start these tricks of the trade asap.

  5. Where's the coupon code for miso soup? :'(

    Seriously, I love you guys and your videos. It' s relaxing, interesting, entertaining, funny, well done… Haven't given so many Likes in years <3

    I really hope to get an riparium this year, but don't want to rush and still try to learn all there is to know so I don't kill too many plants or even animals.

    Looking foreward to more videos of you guys!

  6. Is it normal to have small amount of BBA in the tank? Tank is about 11 month old and last month started to realise some BBA in the tank and plants

  7. The music is great as filling any empty air, but maybe turn it down when you’re talking, as it’s a little over powering at times.

  8. I just wasted 17 min watching and learn nothing. Can you not be so dramatic in the video. Can do without the music and the puns and the jokes. Just straight forward answer and advice.

  9. I have algae growing in the rocks which I like because of the look it is giving. Am I missing something?

  10. Thanks For Adding That Amazing , Indian Flute And Tabla Music.. Becuase Im From India… Nice Video And Keep It ?

  11. 7:57 You said we need soft water for most plants. In my case this is true because the water in my city is extremely hard. For 2 years I haven't been able to grow most plants. They grow but start to die later on. However I'm not sure if this is the case because many people say they can still grow plants in hard water.

  12. Hi
    Could you tell me how can I choose proper light for my tank ??
    i have 144L (80*40*45) Tank .before i used 6*24w T5 but unfortunately I suffering from algeas
    what parameters should i consider ?

  13. if i had 1000 lph canister eheim 2217 using on my 60p tank, on full open valve, is that overkill? can this big flow from outlet causes some algae?

  14. i just found this and used the link to the other site, my tank has BGA and the recommended treatment is  erythromycin antibiotics, where do i get them in the UK no pet shops or aquatic suppliers stock  erythromycin antibiotics as ive been told they are illegal over here is this true if so is there an alternative

  15. I really love your videos! I'm not up to even close to your level. I'm about 1 month in. No C02 or anything yet but I love your approach to aquascaping. You try to understand nature, not control it. That's what fascinates me about the hobby. Seeing what nature does and trying to understand it enough to help balance it. Just wanted to say thanks! Learning a lot. Long way to go!

  16. Állati jó ez a videó (is)! Egy élmény végignézni és hallgatni 🙂
    Rengeteg fontos információ, és szórakoztató előadás módban. Köszönjük Balázs! és köszönet az egész Green Aqua-nak hogy létezik és itt van nekünk!!

  17. Hi Green Aqua, did you completely replace the soil, filter components, tubings when you redid the tank? I imagine that if you did not replace these, algae colonies and spores will just move to the new tank and increase the chance of a recurrence? Is this correct thinking?

  18. Informative and Beautiful video with Beautiful Indian music… I loved it. This is the right way to explain how to keep aquarium clean and neat. I am a person who given up my favorite hobby because of algae. Now it motivates a lot. Planning to start again. Thank you green aqua. Thanks a lot.

  19. Can't listen what he is saying. The fuk background music is so loud. Worst video of this channel. Nice content executed in a very bad manner.

  20. You are definitely one of the best aquarists I have known. I truly understand everything you said in this video and it was really informative and a lot of sense. Like others, I am also a beginner for this hobby since I only started last May 2019. But what it makes more interesting than any other type of hobbies is the fact that I learn new things everyday. That this hobby is much more of a complexity that you can't understand the exact science and formula overnight to prevent fishes from dying, withering of plants, controlling the co2, ammonia and ph levels in your tank. Choosing the right filter well, I spend quite a lot in different filters during the process. Then this algae issues comes in, you'll get tired of cleaning the tank, removing the algae over the course of time which is quite understandable but for me, those challenges and problems motivates me more to study and understand the science of aquascaping and fish keeping. This is a hobby which I will continue to work for many years to come.

  21. Thats why we have ecologist to understand mother nature. What is not natural with aquarium is the lack of biodiversity. Just like springtail and rollypolly in terrarium, aquarium needs infusoria and zooplankton to break down decaying matter properly. Amano shrimp also solves algae problem. All we need to control is the amount of organic material we put in and take out. The beautiful untouched self-sustaining lakes however have balanced plant to animal ratio to prevent algae. People dont do water changes on lakes. Just naturally toped off with rain water.

  22. I've been keeping fish for 40 yrs. I recently had the worst algae bloom (actually diatoms, in an established tank at that) in a 37 gallon tank. It's filtered with an Eheim 2217 filled with Ehfisubstrate, very low lighting (sometimes none), an air stone, and water changes were 50-90% per week. The problem wasn't anything you mentioned. I had 2 goldfish and was (not over) feeding them Repashy Soylent Green which apparently had a lot of phosphates. I have well water which I cannot get clear because of the sand dust in the water, thus it's probably high in silicates as well. Only live plants I've been able to keep with goldfish are pothos hanging their roots in a HOB filter or at the top, which I have in this one.

    I know for a fact it's the phosphates and silicates, and if I can't reduce that with some ferric oxide then I give up.

  23. best would be to have permanent test device for most of the parameters. For Amonia – seachem amonia alert, for PH – seachem PH test sticker, for co2 – drop checker, for temperature – temperature meter. We should have similar permanent testing device for nitrates, phosphate levels and water hardness level. Is there anything like sticker or permanent test easy to check ?

  24. So many true insights in this video. Problem number one really is the lazy and impatient aquascaper (aka myself) in front of the tank. A scaper’s work is never done :-). There will always be rewarding moments in this hobby. Just now I am enjoying a bunch of baby Corydoras woozling around my tank since a couple of days. So cool!

  25. wacky crap music made this unbearable to watch, what a waste of valuable info gone to waste do to idiotic music and editing.

  26. This guy is amazing! Hahaha! Loved the video, and comedy! Thanks for the great information. Probably one of the most informative, and accurate, videos on algae out there!

  27. I LOVE UR MUSIC!!! but most of all your aquarium looks so healthy and natural!! Every time i try to grow plants in my aquariums..they die..But I have a green thumb for outdoor plants.. go figure u crack me up!! .I love the calmness in the way that you talk..ur very handsome as well..LOL..Im engaged i allowed to say that? ha ha ..good video thanks for the info!!

  28. I have two brand new tanks both covered in diatoms. UGLY lol. I think it may be because I am already dosing when I should have held off. But I will go read your site and algae to see what I can do. Thanks for the great video and thanks for making me laugh.

  29. The tank at 2:33 , can a tank this badly infested with BBA be salvaged? That is, can/were those plants saved or do they have to be tossed and new plants planted?

  30. Great content and resources. I really liked the "Tank revival". I would love to see you guys rescue other aquariums like this. ?

  31. It's super emotional feel comes from the Indian classical music

    You guys really touched the real time reason for giys quitting the hobby.

    Just give the reason to continue

  32. Great information about algae, when someone asks me what are those long tweezers for, I now have a very good reason to say.

  33. Does "Green Aqua" always use Seachem EXCEL every day even though there is no algae?
    And is Seachem Phosphorus effective at reducing all green algae?

  34. Hahaha, am i the only one who keeps nerites anymore? I havent had algea in years and this is with dosing and high light. It only takes two of these little guys to keep my 40g spotless. I have to feed the 5g shrimp tank because my snail in that tank keeps it way too clean, and that tank is sitting in the window because im actively trying to grow some algea, but he keeps eating it all before the baby shrimp can get to it lol.

  35. I have followed everything recommended in your video. Except Giving Liquid Carbon, because I want to know in advance what causes algae. I have algae problems like in this photo (, but I'm confused what kind of algae is this? Staghorn, Silk, Cladophora or others. Because I've tried adjusting the filter with better currents, co2, light and fertilizer. Can Green Aqua help me tell what kind of algae this is? This algae grows on carpet plants but is very easy to take from plants. the color is Green and Branching.

  36. Love the way you described things in a natural way. Life will always find a way and nature definitely has its own balance everywhere. Being a doctor and a hobbyist for nearly 15 years I could relate to everything that you said. Keep going, cheers !!

  37. Hi thank you for the video. Couldnt hear properly on one part. What is that thing you press and makes the tank oxygen rich?

  38. Thank you for this amasing info on alga problems,I have Aquael slim led 32w plant lightning in my tank this to strong for a 110 Liter aquarium?I use Tropica co2 and have strong planted tank.

  39. I don't think the music is too loud, I think the goal was to get us into a kind of mystical trance to find the root cause of algaes deep in us. Works for me

  40. This video has really useful information but there are 2 things which really wound me up.
    1. Turn the stupid back ground music down, so it's easier to hear what you are saying. Having to turn the volume up to clearly hear you but in doing so ending up with a head ache from the ridiculous music is stupid.
    2. Stop talking with your mouth full of food. It's disgusting and rude. Were you raised in a barn?! ?‍♂️

  41. My co2 systems pumps co2 during day and keeping PH about 6.9…. it stops during night and ph raises to about 7.8,…. is this fluctuation safe ? Everywhere I read is that I need stable PH. So do I need to keep runing co2 during night also ? with ph controller _?

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