Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Coralline Algae?Faizan Khan
Do you often encounter coralline algae on the glass of your saltwater aquarium? The encrusting purple algae can grow and cover your powerheads, rocks, and everything else. Many reef keepers desire it for its natural look, but it can block your view of your colorful inhabited aquarium.
A study published in 2010 researched growth factors and concluded that temperature and calcium density in the environment directly correlated to algal growth.
Moving or removing the coralline algae from the glass can be challenging if you do not have the right tools. People have used things like blade tools and white vinegar.
If you do not remove the coralline algae, it may affect the other living beings in your tank. This is because coralline algae release sugar, encouraging bacterial growth in the tank’s surfaces.
These bacteria suffocate other living beings by cutting off the oxygen supply. When the aquatic life dies, it frees more space for more algae growth.
So, let’s see how you can get rid of them and if hydrogen peroxide can help you with it!
Does Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Coraline Algae?
Hydrogen peroxide is renowned as an ‘aquatic cleaner’ as it has incredible anti-fungal and anti-bacterial characteristics. It can get rid of coralline algae with full effect while also increasing the tank’s oxygen amount.
Being a potent oxidizer, hydrogen peroxide should be used carefully as the different concentrations are to be used in set doses only.
Otherwise, it may cause damage to your livestock or fish, corals, and even yourself in the form of burns and wounds. Ensure to use it with proper protective equipment and away from children and pets.
How Do You Get Rid of Coralline Algae?
You can get rid of the coralline algae on the rocks in two ways. You can either remove rocks from the tank and treat the area or simply treat the rock inside.
Getting rid of the algae can be tough, be it outside or inside the tank. Aquarium owners use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of this mess.
You only need to apply the chemical to the area where the coralline algae are present. Make sure to apply the chemical very carefully and do not touch any corals or non-algae livestock. If it reaches close to the coral, it can then travels ‘uphill’ through the capillary action and kill the coral.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Coralline Algae
Hydrogen peroxide is a quick natural method to get rid of coralline algae quickly.
A research paper study tested the effects of a range of hydrogen peroxide concentrations on algal growth in 1998. It was concluded that the daily treatment over three weeks reduced algal growth by up to 60%, proving the efficiency of hydrogen peroxide.
#1 Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Live Coralline Algae
Killing live algae can be a challenge as they have powerful regenerating properties. Therefore, you need to put in the extra effort to get rid of them. With its supreme chemical traits, hydrogen peroxide does all the hard work for you.
But keep in mind that even after you successfully kill and eliminate all the algae, it may grow back after some time. You need to keep regular checks with proper cleanliness maintenance so that it does not get a strong foothold again.
What You Need
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Clean water
- Eye dropper, cue tip, or paintbrush
Start off by mixing equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water. You can directly tackle rocks, corals, or areas with coralline algae growth. Use your desired tool to cover the targeted area adequately.
Leave the hydrogen peroxide solution to sit and bake for 5-10 minutes. Afterward, you need to generously rinse the area with clean tap water to wash away the hydrogen peroxide solution as well as the dead coralline algae remnants.
A research study published in 2017 found that the addition of hydrogen peroxide in a field significantly controlled algal blooms and reduced algal biomass.
#2 Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Coralline Algae Stains
Sometimes, you may notice coralline algae stains on the glass as well. You need to keep a constant check to ensure that it does not get out of control. We recommend that you may only tackle the worst areas on the glass.
You do not want too much hydrogen peroxide to be in the tank system at any given time, so we suggest that you clean in bits and pieces rather than a whole lot in one go. You can even use a BettaMag glass magnet to monitor the glass.
What You Need
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Latex gloves
- Paper towel
Start off by removing the water from the tank. Put on your latex gloves and hold the paper towel in a folded position. Next, you need to apply just a tiny amount of water and hydrogen peroxide solution on a small section of the paper towel.
The paper towel has to be moist on one side but not dripping, not even on your gloves. Gently dab on the glass with coralline algae stains. Let the solution sit and bake for 2-5 minutes.
Grab a new paper towel, and soak it with clean water. After removing excess water, wipe the glass properly to remove the coralline algae and hydrogen peroxide. Repeat if necessary.
Fill the tank with clean water and discard it to ensure no remnants of coralline algae or hydrogen peroxide are left.
If wiping does not entirely remove the algae, it will still have been affected by hydrogen peroxide. It will change color over the next 24 hours and dislodge from its position. Grab your BettaMag glass magnet cleaner when it reaches that point to eliminate the algae.
How Long Does it Take for Hydrogen Peroxide to Kill Algae?
If you follow the instructions correctly, killing all the coralline algae should take about 5-10 minutes. We recommend that you start off with five minutes.
In case you notice the algae on the rocks has not changed, moved, or died before the next water change, you can increase the time next time you are treating the area.
To kill algae on the inside glass, it may take as less as two minutes. You may even notice some fizzing and foaming when you leave it to bake. This will signal to you that the process is working well. Don’t worry if it doesn’t, as it would still be working gently. You will notice no growth after 24 hours.
How Do You Get Rid of Algae in a Saltwater Tank?
You can follow the same method as above, but you need to ensure the safety of your livestock first.
Before starting the treatment, remove your living beings from another area, as the hydrogen peroxide can cause death or extreme stress to the inhabitants. Another way is to use a safe concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
What You Need
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Clean water
- Eye dropper, cue tip, or paint brush
Start off by mixing equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water. If you prefer to do treatment outside the tank, remove the coral rocks and apply the hydrogen peroxide solution to the algae.
Be careful not to contact the coral or non-algae live. Let the mixture sit and bake for 5-10 minutes.
Rinse the rocks with clean, fresh saltwater generously. If there are any loose, stubborn algae, you can remove it with a toothbrush but do not do so with the hydrogen peroxide solution on it. You can treat coralline algae without removing the rocks from the tank as well.
Do this by taking out all the water and livestock from the tank. Use a paintbrush to control and place hydrogen peroxide solution in the area only where it is needed. After it sits for 5-10 minutes, fill the tank with fresh saltwater. Siphon it out and discard it before refilling it with fresh saltwater.
What Does Hydrogen Peroxide Do to Algae?
According to a research conducted in 2016 by Environmental Science and Technology, hydrogen peroxide can significantly limit and reduce algae growth. Hydrogen peroxide is effective in increasing the transparency of glass and plastic.
Additionally, it can dissolve organic carbon and increase the overall oxygen level. In simple terms, a chemical reaction forms when algae react with hydrogen peroxide. The ultimate result is that the algae are quickly destroyed on a cellular level.
How Do You Kill Algae Without Killing Fish?
There are various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide available. Using 3% hydrogen peroxide would be best to kill algae effectively without affecting fish. This concentration must be used in the correct dose to ensure it does not become toxic.
Adding 1 ml to 30 liters will increase the total peroxide levels by 1 mg/L. We, amongst many experts, think that this is a fish-safe concentration.
Furthermore, hydrogen peroxide cleans when it releases harmless byproducts such as water and oxygen. So unless there is an oxygen overdose, your fish are most likely safe.
How Much Hydrogen Peroxide Can I Put in My Fish Tank?
As discussed above, you can add 1 ml to 30 liters. This will amount to about 15 mg/L every 48 hours, which is safe for fish. Additionally, you can calculate a more accurate dosage according to your tank size.
Simply divide the gross volume of your tank by 50 and multiply the result with the lowest recommended dosage for 3% hydrogen peroxide. This amount also depends on the algae type you are fighting against.
Why Is Hydrogen Peroxide Ideal for Killing Coralline Algae?
Hydrogen peroxide has brilliant anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which will benefit aquatic life. It can increase the oxygen level of the water. This is because of the powerful oxidizing properties. Furthermore, it has non-toxic by-products which will not harm other aquatic life.
Robust Oxidizing Properties
A journal discusses the oxidation properties of hydrogen peroxide. It can treat various inorganic and organic pollutants and is an active ingredient in many bleaching processes. It is also used as a disinfecting agent in multiple applications.
Hydrogen peroxide self-decomposes when exposed to high temperatures, although it is not flammable. It readily releases into either hydrogen and water or two hydroxide molecules, making hydrogen peroxide a very powerful oxidizing compound.
Harmless to Other Aquatic Life
Hydrogen peroxide has no harmful byproducts. It ultimately breaks down into oxygen and water, both of which are harmless to other aquatic life. It is excellent as a water treatment disinfectant as the various advantages are not achievable with any other single form of chemical control.
Hydrogen peroxide is exceptionally eco-friendly as it is naturally occurring. It is formed when sunlight acts on water and releases hydrogen peroxide by both animal and plant cells.
Powerful Antimicrobial Properties Get Rid of Other Contaminants
Hydrogen peroxide is majorly responsible for bactericidal effects. This includes growth inhibition of certain bacterial species and the killing of microorganisms. It is commonly used in gaseous and liquid forms. The antimicrobial applications include disinfection, sterilization, and preservation.
Hydrogen peroxide produces destructive hydroxyl radicals, which attack bacterial DNA when used in the proper doses at suggested concentrations.
Its foaming and fizzing action release oxygen, which changes the environment. This inhibits the growth of anaerobic bacteria. So, in addition to killing coralline algae, hydrogen peroxide will also get rid of other contaminants without affecting aquatic life.
Safety Precautions to Follow While Using Hydrogen Peroxide
While hydrogen peroxide is a brilliant natural chemical, there are certain safety precautions you must ensure when you are using it.
It would be best if you avoided adding hydrogen peroxide to your tank of fish and other aquatic life as it will cause extreme stress to the inhabitants and even death in severe uncontrollable conditions.
Another precaution to look out for is that you should only apply hydrogen peroxide to specific small areas, to begin with. This will prevent too much hydrogen peroxide from getting into your system. Also, ensure to do proper rinsing and flushing of the system after using hydrogen peroxide.
You should never let even a drop of hydrogen peroxide reach anywhere that you do not intend, especially if you choose to use a higher concentration of the chemical.
Using hydrogen peroxide to kill coralline algae may not be suitable for everyone as it can severely burn you if not used properly.
Always store hydrogen peroxide in a tightly closed dark bottle, away from sunlight and ignition sources, in a cool, dry place.
This will prevent the chemical from decomposing and becoming useless. Make sure to use gloves and goggles when handling hydrogen peroxide, and take care not to splash any of the chemicals onto your body parts. Keep hydrogen peroxide away from children and pets.
The Bottom Line
Coralline algae may be attractive and part of a natural element in your ecosystem. However, if the growth gets out of control, it may do more damage than good to your system. The ideal practice is to keep regular checks to get on top of the coralline algae whenever needed.
Regular cleaning, proper light, and water conditions will keep coralline algae at bay. Whenever you encounter an overgrowth problem, use hydrogen peroxide to safely and quickly get rid of it.
So, order your set today!