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Green Aquarium Water

Green Aquarium Water

Green Aquarium water isn’t always bad for fish and plants, certainly not pleasing on the eyes but can be easily treated.  Green water is caused by an increased growth of single cell algae blooms, technically called phytoplankton.  When the blooms become too concentrated in your aquarium it turns the water green. Plants and fish like green water as phytoplankton is the start of the food chain in a productive aquatic eco-system in both fresh and salt water aquariums.  Healthy tanks have a balance of phytoplankton in fact, it creates oxygen and is a food source.

What are the Causes of Green Water in an Aquarium?

Bacteria and algae lives everywhere in the aquarium, in the substrate,  filter, filter media, and on decorations.   In order for phytoplankton to bloom, there needs to be excessive light, an imbalance of aquarium nitrates and room to grow.

  • Lots of light either natural sunlight or artificial tank lights
  • Left over food in the water
  • Too many fish and waste
  • Dirty water
  • Not enough good quality water changes
  • Dirty substrate
  • Poor tank maintenance

Rid your Tank of Algae Blooms

Algae blooms can be cleared in your tank once you recognize what caused the bloom to start in the first place. Algae need the proper amount of food and light to bloom.  You can rid your fish tank of green water by adding chemicals, adding a UV clarifier, half tank water changes and thorough substrate vacuuming.  Following a couple of suggestions can help get your fish tank or aquarium back to crystal clear water.

  • Chemicals, called algaecides can be used to help kill the algae
  • Control the lighting
  • Install an Ultra Violet Clarifier, often called a UV Filter
  • Completely break down your filter, clean or purchase filter media
  • Do a thorough water change
  • Clean the tank, substrates, glass, decorations, rocks or wood
  • Vacuum to clean the gravel or sand
  • Install an algae eater

Prevent Green Water in your Aquarium

Green water in your aquarium isn’t always a bad thing.  It creates food and oxygen for your fish and plants to eat, but an over amount of blooms will turn your tank water into pea soup like green water.  If the water remains untreated it will ultimately lead to problems for fish by raising the pH too high, starving the tank of oxygen, blocking filters, and trapping fish.  

  • Reduce the amount of light:
    • put your tank lights on a schedule
    • make sure you have an aquarium background installed to reduce light coming from back
    • control direct sunlight, do not put your tank in direct sunlight
  • Install a UV clarifier
  • Do regular tank maintenance:
    • Water changes, do a full water change of up to half or a third of the water
    • Proper substrate and gravel cleaning and vacuum your gravel and substrates
    • Remove visible algae from the glass with a proper Aquarium Glass Cleaner
    • Wash all ornaments, plants centerpieces, rocks wood pieces, and decorations
    • Perform regular water changes
    • Clean filter media
  • Regularly remove uneaten food and wastes, don’t over feed your fish (check out our blog on feeding aquarium fish)
  • Maintain proper aquarium water parameter’s by purchasing a water testing kit
  • Floating aquarium plants that eat algae like duckweed, water sprout or guppy grass

For all aquariums, big and small AquariumH2o has the supplies you need to keep your dream aquarium crystal clear! When we say we have all the supplies you need, we mean it, we are a one-stop shop for all that you need. If you have any questions call us at 856-985-9339 or email us at



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