How to Remove Algae From Plastic Aquarium Plants

Written by darla ferrara
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How to Remove Algae From Plastic Aquarium Plants
Overfeeding fish can lead to algae build-up. (colourful fish image by FJ Medrano from

Aquariums are marvellous accents for a room, unless of course they develop a slimy algae problem. Algae in your tank is not a bad sign. It means the environment can support life. However, the occurrence of algae can distract from the beauty of the container and make it difficult to enjoy the fish. If you use plastic plants to add colour and balance to your tank, you might find the algae like to settle there. Without regular cleaning, the plants will eventually become unrecognisable.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Hot water
  • Clean gallon bucket
  • Stirring tool (spoon or stick)
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Chlorine neutraliser

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  1. 1

    Pull the plants from the aquarium and rinse them off with hot water. This may remove some of the surface debris from the plastic.

  2. 2

    Pour hot water in a clean, gallon bucket.

  3. 3

    Add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the water in the bucket. For one gallon of water, use one-half to one teaspoon of bleach. If you have many bright-coloured plants, use just one-half teaspoon to avoid fading the colour.

  4. 4

    Stir the bleach into the water with a spoon or stick.

  5. 5

    Place the plants into the bleach solution and let them soak for 15 minutes.

  6. 6

    Remove the plastic plants from the bleach solution. Rinse the plants thoroughly under running hot water. Alternately, you could prepare a solution of chlorine neutraliser, following the instructions provided with the product. Either way, you want to get all the bleach off the plants before introducing them back into your aquarium environment. When you touch the plastic, you should feel no slimy residue from the algae. If you do, repeat the process.

Tips and warnings

  • Excess algae can indicate overfeeding or lack of proper water changes.
  • You can save time by cleaning decorative rocks and other decorations in the same solution.
  • Do not use dish soap or other cleaners on plants. Some cleaning solutions are toxic to fish.

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