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How to get rid of staghorn algae

September 17, 2021 1 min read

How to get rid of staghorn algae

Staghorn algae appear as thick grey hairs on the edges of leaf margins. They can be hard to remove by hand. They differ from BBA (Black brush algae) in that BBA has a finer texture and usually darker color.

Staghorn on crypt flamingo

They can be triggered by tank instabilities that cause plants to be stressed - such unstable CO2 levels or irregular fertilization or a spike in ammonia/organic waste levels such as skipping water changes in a tank that has previously been on a stricter water change schedule.

Staghorn algae is commonly found attached to the edges of slow growing plants.

Common Causes

  • Spike in ammonia/organic waste levels
  • Stressed plants/old growth
  • Change in tank regime that causes temporary instabilities


  • Have a regular maintenance/water change schedule
  • Have a regular fertilization schedule and stable CO2 
  • Pruning and replanting of healthy tops, discard old growth
  • Spot-dose with APT Fix directly on algae
  • Don't panic - it may be temporary and will pass 

Go to this page on how to do a water change for planted tanks.