Grows in bright green clumps in the gravel, around the base of plants like Echinodorus and around mechanical objects. It has a coarser texture than "beard algae". Beard algae will ripple in the water current, hair algae tends to form matted clumps. Individual strands can get to 5 cm or more. This is easy to remove mechanically by twirling a toothbrush in it. Can be troublesome if left unchecked. This is a popular food supplement for fish among European aquarists.
Grows in long, thin strands up to 30 cm or more. Tends toward a dull green color (hard to tell because it is so thin). Usually indicates an excess of iron (> 0.15 ppm). Easily removed with a toothbrush like hair algae.