Terrible Advice Tuesdays: Interpreting The Haze


Terrible Advice Tuesdays: A haze-like film of algae on your tank’s glass means your tank has a nutrient problem.

The rest of the story: The amount of nutrients needed to grow a haze-like film of algae on your tank’s glass is much, much less than the nutrients needed to grow enough algae for a full-on algae outbreak. (A full-on algae outbreak to me means large mats green hair algae covering the rocks as well as cyanobacteria outbreaks.) Think of it this way: if you were going to give a pound cake a powdered sugar dusting, you’ll use far less powdered sugar than if you were going to cover it completely. Returning to the algae outbreak, more algae means more nutrients needed to grow the algae.

Of all the tanks I, or my clients have run, including ultra-low nutrient (ULN) tanks, the haze algae film always shows up in varying degrees. On my tanks, I notice the haze building up 3-4 days after I scrape down the tank with an algae scraper. Some of my clients can go a week to a week and a half before they need to scrape off the film. Regardless of scraping intervals, the film still occurs even though these tanks do not have an algae problem or nutrient problem.

Where I would start getting concerned is if your scraping intervals drops significantly. Ie…seven days to two days. If that occurs, then I would look for a rise in nutrient levels.

Dealing with algae outbreaks or want to prevent them? My algae guide is on sale until May 6th

Browse the Store! Questions?

Comments for this article (11)

  • mike says:

    I have a 2 month old tank. My phosphate is zero (using a digital test that you recommend) and my nitrates are at 10. I am getting small patches of hair algae here and there. Why is that?

  • mike…a couple of things: 1) keep in mind any test kit has some degree of error in it. The Hanna kit you are referring to has an error of +/-0.04. Therefore, you phosphates could be as high as 0.04. 2) Just because the test kit reads zero, that does’t mean the phosphates aren’t there. The algae is using some of the phosphates as well as other living things in your system. 3) Your tank is new and a hair algae outbreak is common during that time frame.

  • Robert says:

    Is there an algae scrapper you recommend?

  • mike says:

    Ok thanks. I gave up on my old tank because I went about it all wrong using tap water and the wrong filtration and it got overwhelmed with hair. I put a lot of time and money in this one and it is UN encouraging to see it sprout up.

  • Kevin says:

    Purchased your alage guide really was a good read learned somethings i thought i already knew!

  • Robert…I’ve been testing this algae scraper and am happy with it so far

  • Lisa says:

    Mark… I’ve been using that Tunze Algae scraper for about a month now. I love it… My glass is sparkling now!!! It even gets coralline off of the areas that I would prefer it to not grow (like the front and sides). Takes a tough little blade to scrape coralline!!

  • John says:

    I can’t see to get rid of diatom algae. I don’t over feed. Run GFO. But it keeps coming back the next day after I clean sand. I cleaned all my equipment and tubings. Changed filter socks. And still.
    Any suggestions?

  • Melody Miller says:

    I don’t know why but I only have hair algae on my asteria snails. They look like little roaming Christmas trees! They are really cute! But I have no idea why it’s not anywhere else in the tank.

  • billy mitchell says:

    just a tip on removing that haze algae
    shops here use the magnetic cleaner
    they place the outside part in a lunch plastic glad bag
    and it just glides over the glass

  • chad oliver says:

    Does this cover dino as well?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.