No saltwater aquarium enthusiast is safe from the dreaded hair algae. It doesn’t matter if you are new to keeping aquariums or are a veteran with many years under your belt, sometimes the dreaded green stuff can take over at any given moment! It is one of the most annoying problems for many hobbyists as it spreads quickly and can really affect the happiness of your marine life. It also looks horrible, covering everything with green hair. 

But thankfully, there are things we can do to keep hair algae at bay, and the main one is a cleanup crew! Yes, there are animals that actually like the stuff.

What Is Hair Algae?

Before we begin talking about the best cleanup crew for hair algae, it is important to know how to identify hair algae, so we know that this is what is definitely infesting your tank!

Hair algae is called hair algae because well, it looks pretty hairy. This algae looks pretty awful and can cover everything and get everywhere, from covering the bottom and pushing out your plants, to covering the top of the tank and not letting in any light. 

Hair algae normally will appear as a furry carpet of green. It has long, soft filaments but these can look different between the different species of hair algae. However, if it is green and hairy or stringy, it is probably hair algae that needs to be treated! If left to its own devices it will cover every inch of your saltwater aquarium and not give your marine creatures space to live and eat. 

What Causes Hair Algae?

Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to stop hair algae from occurring. It can come from a lot of things, for example when you add plants and snails into your aquarium you might also add some hair algae that is attached to them. 

Mostly, hair algae occurs because there is an imbalance of CO2 and a lot of light. Hair algae needs sunlight or artificial light to grow, however so do the rest of the life in your tank. Having a day and night light timer will reduce algae growth, so if you do not have one of these, look into it. Also, it is really important to keep on top of the chemical levels in your aquarium, making sure everything is stable and at the correct amount.

However, even if you have the perfect aquarium, you still might have hair algae cropping up from time to time! Because of this, it is great to invest in a cleanup crew of small creatures who love to eat hair algae!

Best Hair Algae Destroyers

If you have a load of hair algae in your tank, you must manually remove the majority of it before adding your cleanup crew. Cleanup crews are great at keeping hair algae at bay, however, they will not be able to clear a massive infestation of the stuff.

But, once the majority of the hair algae is out of the way, adding these wonderful creatures will make sure the unwelcome green hairy growth will probably not come back! We have a cleanup crew that is specifically for hair algae, so let’s look at two of the wonderful creatures that are in this selection! 

Scarlett Leg Hermit Crab

There are quite a few crabs that are great for keeping on top of the levels of hair algae in your saltwater aquarium, but the one that we are going to focus on in this article is the Scarlett Leg Hermit Crab

This crab is easy to look after and is a peaceful species of hermit crab. It is reef-friendly and popular amongst many aquarium hobbyists because it does not ask you for much, but gives you so much back! When added to a stable saltwater aquarium, this species will need minimum care from you, as long as they are getting the food they need and shells to move into. 

It is around 1 to 1.5 inches, so on the smaller side compared to other hermit crabs. However, this means that it is more tolerable around snails and other crabs, rarely getting aggressive. Its small size doesn’t mean it lacks an appetite, though! This crab is known to consume quite a lot of food, from debris and animal matter to different types of algae. It is a scavenger, always looking around the tank for what it can eat. 

When you are wanting to add hermit crabs into your aquarium you must make sure there are bigger shells in the tank for them to move into when they are ready. You should provide them with a variety of shells as sometimes these crabs will become picky. This will stress the crab out and they might become aggressive to other inverts in the aquarium, attacking them for a home. You can buy ten, fifty, or a hundred empty shells from us to make sure you are well stocked up! 

Lettuce Nudibranch

When it comes to dealing with hair algae, this slug is a must for saltwater aquariums. The Lettuce Nudibranch is actually not a nudibranch, but rather a sacoglossa which means it sucks the chlorophyll out of algae. In the wild, these creatures mainly live by the coast and only feed on green algae. 

The chlorophyll that they suck out from the algae gives these creatures their green color, but is only half ingested. This is because the Lettuce Nudibranch then maintains some of the chloroplasts from the algae to continue the photosynthesis and thus providing the sea slug with more energy. 

These sea slugs are great creatures to have in your saltwater aquarium as they feed off the hair algae, but also look incredible. They add wonderful colors to your tank and also have a weird and unique shape that is great to look at. 

It must be noted that these slugs can run into issues in your aquarium, mainly from pump intakes and drains. They are known to gather at pumps and drains and therefore can get harmed depending on what setup you have. It is advised to have a screen between these and the area where your sea slugs are to make sure they do not come into harm. 

Keep The Hair Algae Away!

These are two amazing creatures that are in our hair algae destroyers pack and will do wonders for your saltwater aquarium. If you are struggling with the hair algae in your tank, look no further than these amazing inverts that will keep on top of it all for you, so you don’t have to do the cleaning!