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Old 05/27/2010, 07:57 PM   #1
Praben
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Question Algae battle... help!

Algae everywhere! I went through normal cycle. Battled cyno for almost a month, which still has some small areas. Went smooth for awhile, then all of the liverock started getting a green coating on it (pictured), is this normal?

Hair algae is increasing day by day. I believe diatoms are going nuts over the past week and a half. There are some bubbles on it, but I don't think it's dino as I believe the bubbles are sticking to the algae (not originating from it) due to my micro bubble problem. Its covering most of the sand now and mainly the rocks on the far sides of tank (more lighting there). Can anyone confirm the algae I have and how to help reduce it???

My 125gal tank has been up an running 3-4 months now. I use RO/DI water. Minimal feedings. ML bulbs are 3-4 months old. I have 2 green chromis, 1 lawnmower blenny, 6 blue hermits, 18 snails (cerith, turbo, nass, asteria), ss star, few corals. My last test results were:
Salinity - 1.025
Nitrite - 0
pH - 8.2
Nitrate - 10
Calcium - 400
Phosphate - 0 - .25
kH - 8
TDS - ? Ordered meter today (RO/DI unit is 3 months old, resin is 1/3 redish)


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Old 05/27/2010, 08:06 PM   #2
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Do you have a sump? Could try placing cheato in the fuge. If not might want to try a sea hare for the HA, but that is all they eat so when it's gone you need to get rid of it. Worked wonders for my HA. I would also think about a good sand shifter. Possibly a cucumber. I see lots of recommedations for the tiger tail, but I have a black one that does a great job of cleaning my sand. Also for the 125 I would think a few more snails couldn't hurt.


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Old 05/27/2010, 08:07 PM   #3
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how long are your lights on? that was my problem in the beginning. i had them on way too long!


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Old 05/27/2010, 08:12 PM   #4
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Good point camel, also how much are you feeding? I only feed every other day.


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Old 05/27/2010, 08:43 PM   #5
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I have a sump/fuge, picture attached. Contains a small ball of cheato and some calarpia. My SS Stair doesn't seem to work hard enough! How many snails and what types would be best? I bought what I though was 10 nassarious snails the other day but considering they won't get off the glass I doubt that's what they were...

I feed a VERY small amount every day, and drop literally a few wet flakes in at a time so the fish eat them up and they are not swept away in the current.

Lights are running only 8 hours per day.


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Old 05/27/2010, 08:48 PM   #6
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My nassarius are all over my glass, help keep it clean. Lights could be cut down to 4 or 6 hours a day, that is what I run mine at. I have plain old algea eaters, and nassarious. Turbos are supposed to be good, but get big and knock stuff over. For the cheato try pulling it apart and let it grow, may help out some.


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Old 05/27/2010, 08:59 PM   #7
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I thought nassarius are mostly sand burrowing type snails? First few fancier looking ones I purchased are always under the sand. I have 2 turbos, they are workhorses!

Would 4-6 hours be ok for the few corals I have (zoos & ricordias)? Would this be a temporary fix?

I was planning on getting some more cheoto, my lfs is always out. I have think I found a new light setup 2 weeks ago that made it actually grow! LOL

Does the brown algae in fact appear to be diatoms? They only appear due to silicates correct?


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Old 05/27/2010, 09:03 PM   #8
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Try adding an urchin and a conch and some more snails, I think I have (or had) at least 30 in my 125. Try to brush off what slime algae and hair algae you can . Some people buy those battery powered sonic scubbers...
Your 'fuge although pretty is not doing a whole lot for the size tank you have...I would try to get some more cheato from some other local reefers and fill that section up so that the water will flow through it and not around it. I'm using a 5 gallon bucket full on my setup at the moment.


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Old 05/27/2010, 09:09 PM   #9
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look into GFO and carbon dosing, got rid of my algae problem that way. BTW what is your magnesium at? a low Mg can indirectly contribute to nuissance algae growth


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Old 05/27/2010, 09:13 PM   #10
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look into GFO and carbon dosing, got rid of my algae problem that way. BTW what is your magnesium at? a low Mg can indirectly contribute to nuissance algae growth
Good point, if you top off water (or even food) is high in phosphates the GFO will help.


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Old 05/27/2010, 09:31 PM   #11
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you have a nitrate and phos problem resulting in a HA problem.

you need stronger light on that fuge if you want the stuff to consume your bad stuff faster then your making it.

you need to do some large water changes to address the nitrate issue and a GFO reactor would not be a bad idea

id keep the fuge lights on 24/7


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Old 05/27/2010, 10:00 PM   #12
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Any downsides to urchins or conchs?

I don't want the fuge to be pretty! Just a hard time finding cheato. LFS trying to sell me 80 other plants, but never have cheato. Only know 2 local reefers, one I got the small bit of cheato from. I may try to order online if I can't find more. I'll switch light to 24/7 (was running 16 hours)

I have one bag of ROWAphos in the fuge (no reactor). I also have 2 bags of DrGs Chemical Filter Media (mostly carbon I believe). ROWA has been in there 2-3 weeks and the DrGs has been about 1 1/2months. I put a generic phosphate filter in there which seemed to help at 1st. I thoroughly rinse with RO/DI water every few days.

Any links or guidance that I could research GFO and/or carbon dosing in depth (I'm a newbie with no knowledge on the subject)?

I don't have a test kit for Mag, it's on the list. I will move it up the list quickly, as I didn't realize it could of caused these types of issues.

Thanks for the continued help and feedback everyone. RC and members like you are amazing and make this hobby feasible (if only you could send donations now).


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Old 05/27/2010, 10:04 PM   #13
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when i had an algae problem someone pointed me in the direction of these

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/...n-reactor.html

i got 2, one for carbon, one for GFO.. havn't had an issue since.. don't forget to get pumps to run them


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Old 05/27/2010, 10:10 PM   #14
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all you need is a small clump of chaeto. every week/month a throw out all but a piece about the size of a lemon and in a week its 5x's its size


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Old 05/28/2010, 06:31 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Think_Reef View Post
when i had an algae problem someone pointed me in the direction of these

http://www.bulkreefsupply.com/store/...n-reactor.html

i got 2, one for carbon, one for GFO.. havn't had an issue since.. don't forget to get pumps to run them
Thanks for the link, looks like a good price. I've been hesitant on the cheaper ones I found due to a friend having issues with a few of them. Particular kind of carbon or GFO (or good place to purchase them)?


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Old 05/28/2010, 06:37 AM   #16
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all you need is a small clump of chaeto. every week/month a throw out all but a piece about the size of a lemon and in a week its 5x's its size
What type of lighting do you run to get that kind growth? Do you run a small powerhead or supplement anything for growth? Is it possible for cheato to get old and not grow well? I tried two lighting systems with no success!


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Old 05/28/2010, 07:08 AM   #17
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$10 filter socks.


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Old 05/28/2010, 07:12 AM   #18
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I had the worst GHA out break, you could braid it. Big bushy 125. the only changes I made were to tie off the filter sock feeding the sump, so water can't bypass the filter. then I placed a filter on the output of the skimmer. 100 micron is best, but the trade off is you need to swap them out / clean at least every three days. Small price to pay to starve it out- if I can do it anyone can...cheap and easy.

I feed my tank heavily 3 0r 4 times a day...only coraline left.


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Old 05/28/2010, 07:40 AM   #19
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Your phosphate is high and I would suspect the TDS of you ro/di is going to be a little high as well.What are you feeding the fish or corals.


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Old 05/28/2010, 09:04 AM   #20
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Here is my experience with the hair algae. Take it for what it is worth, but it has worked for me in the past. First thing I notice is that your tank looks to be fairly new. Some of that will be normal, so probably the best thing that you can do is water change, water change, water change.
When I first got started in SW, and I was having these problems, it would **** me off to hear someone tell me this. I mean I had LFS telling me that all you have to do it put this animal, or that one, or buy this chemical or that one. All sounded easy, but in the end most of it is harder than doing water changes. When you have the kind of algae that you do, and your PO4 and NO3 are that close to being under control, then the water changes are going to be the best, and cheapest solution.
You can go buy all the crap that you want, and it will still not do as good as water changes.
You should start out with probably about a 50% water change. This should not be a problem since you dont seem to have too much in there that would be sensitive. So do the 50%, and then do a couple of 30% changes like every other 2 days. After you do these, it should be getting close to 1 week, and you should notice a change. Definitely on your test results, and most probably by the way the tank looks.
Now, what you will want to do is like a 10-15% change every 2-3 days until it is gone. It really is that simple, but you want to stay with it. The tendancy is to slow up once the algae starts to fade, but that is only the beginning. As this algae is dying, it will be releasing nutrients back into the water, and it will be more than you would think. That is what the 10% changes are for. If you do them every 3 days or so, then you are removing the nutrients as they are released. Eventually the stuff will die, and then you will see the nutrients level off.

Now this is all great, and the water changes are easy and cheap, but if you do not have sufficient skimming, with the skimmer getting the rawest water as possilble + good amount of flow in your tank, then the problem will return.

If your skimmer is undersized, or cheaply made, and your system is not set up to filter the water correctly then you will have to keep up with the frequent water changes until you change this. I know you hear of a lot of people who do water changes once a month, or even less, but these are usually people who have maximized the filtration in their systems.
People who's live rock is not leeching nutrients, etc.

You might also consider using some Vodka or Vinegar in that tank. This will help speed things along, but you have to watch your PH and the amount of oxygen in the tank while you do it.

One last thing that will speed this along is this, and this is probably your #1, best option. Again, I notice that you have very little in the tank besides the rock. So take this chance to clean it thoroughly, before you get that tank full of livestock. Here is what you do

#1. mix up a lot of saltwater. Enough to fill about 6 x 5 gallon buckets + enough to fill your sink a few times.
#2. pull all of the rocks out of the tank, either all at once or one at a time. Make sure you get all snails, crabs, corals off of them first.
#3. Now make sure you fresh saltwater is the correct temp, salinity, etc. Take it and fill up about 5-6 5 gallon buckets to about the halfway point
#4. Fill your kitchen sink, or utility sink will saltwater, until there is enough to submerge the rocks
#5. Now take an old tooth brush, and start scrubbing all that algae off. Change the water in the sink when it gets too dirty to be able to see what you are doing.
#6. when you get each rock as clean as you think you can, take it and dunk it in the first bucket that you have water in, and swish it around. Then go to the next bucket and do the same thing. Then the next, etc. Do this in all 5 or 6 buckets. Until you get all of the detritus that you can shake from it, out of it

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I promise that it is not. I did this once, and I never had hair algae again. I mixed up all the water one day, and then the next day I came home at lunch and did all the rocks.
This is probably the best, and cheapest method possible to the problem that you have.
#1. It removes all the algae in one fell swoop, and does not give it a chance to die off slowly, thus leeching those nutrients back into your tank very slowly
#2. It also removes any detritus from your rocks in one fell swoop. This is stuff that was either living on the rock when you put it in, or it is food and fish poo that has accumulated since you set up the tank. This stuff is slowly decaying, and just keeps on releasing nutrients back into the water as fast as you can remove them. This is why I say that the PO4 remover will not do you any good right now. It will help knock it down right at first, but after the first few days, it will just rise back up. That stuff is more useful when you use it to keep PO4 from accumulating. So then, you must first get the PO4 down to .03ppm or so. Then use the GFO to stop it from building

Anyway, these are just my opinions, but I promise you that they are from experience. Just think of it this way. Right now your tank is like a porta potty. Junk is being put in as fast as anyone can pump it out. You can either have it pumped out more, and that way you give it a chance to be clean, and to stabalize. or............You can continue to pour the blue smell good stuff in there to cover it up

I know that your tank is not a porta potty, but you are going to have to treat it like one right now.



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Old 05/28/2010, 09:37 AM   #21
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All of the water going through my my sump/fug is going through 2 filter socks. After a few days they might start overflowing, that is when I change them.

I currently feeding flake (not sure brand, not at home). That's it. The corals are recent additions.

@lukinrats - Thanks for the extensive information. Regarding the rock scrubbing method. You just place the rock back in the tank after the last step? What about the good type of growth on the rocks, wouldn't that wipe it all out? Did you do anything with the sand while you had an empty tank (clean, move around, add more, take out)? It sounds extreme but if I took care of the problem I wouldn't be against it. The diatoms are going insane lately, the GHA is slowly increasing.


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Old 05/28/2010, 10:07 AM   #22
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I currently feeding flake (not sure brand, not at home). That's it. The corals are recent additions.

That would explain the phosphates.
I'd switch to a good brand of frozen mysis and feed every other day.


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Old 05/28/2010, 11:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Praben View Post
All of the water going through my my sump/fug is going through 2 filter socks. After a few days they might start overflowing, that is when I change them.

I currently feeding flake (not sure brand, not at home). That's it. The corals are recent additions.

@lukinrats - Thanks for the extensive information. Regarding the rock scrubbing method. You just place the rock back in the tank after the last step? What about the good type of growth on the rocks, wouldn't that wipe it all out? Did you do anything with the sand while you had an empty tank (clean, move around, add more, take out)? It sounds extreme but if I took care of the problem I wouldn't be against it. The diatoms are going insane lately, the GHA is slowly increasing.
The good growth on the rock will not be affected. That is why I said to mix up the saltwater, just like you would to do a water change. Make sure the PH, Salinity, Temperature, and Alkalinity are just like they should be.

Then just do the method that I described. With the amount of time that the rocks will be out of the tank, there is no way that anything will be affected. The coralline algae (if any) cannot be scrubbed off with a toothbrush. At least not without you trying to scrub it off.
Whenever I take my SPS corals out of the tank to do any fragging, they can normally be out of the water for quite some time without any harm being done. With that said though, When you pull the rocks out of the tank, just try to keep them submerged as much as possible so that any copepods or amphipods, bristle worms, tiny snails, etc do not go TOO long out of the water

As I said in my original post, you might just want to try the large water changes to begin with. You will be able to tell if it is doing any good, if you do them religiously for about 1 week. The hair algae will begin to turn transparent, and that will signify that it is dying. Just keep watching those NO3 and PO4 levels to see how much they spike when the algae starts to die.

Now, on the flip side of this.... If you do the large water changes every couple of days, with the first one being about 50% and then subsequent changes being 30%, and the algae stays green..... That is when you will know that you have an overabundance of nutrients leeching into the water column. You will not be able to keep up with this very easily.

This is when I would suggest trying out the method that I described.

Too often, what happens is this.... I was very guilty of this in the beginning. People set up a saltwater tank, and when they start to look at the cost of things, they try to do it on a budget. This is fine, if you just remember that there are a few things that you absolutely can't skimp on. I am not saying that you are guilty of this, but I am mentioning it so that if you do need to upgrade that skimmer, then now is the time. If you have a skimmer that is efficient at it's job, then you should have very little to NO nutrients building up in your water.

If you do have a great skimmer, then aggresively removing the things that are spiking your nutrients will probably be just what you need in order for it to get caught up

#1. You need a good overflow going to the sump. About 5x the systems volume needs to be flowing through that sump every hour. More could be helpful if your sump is large enough. If you have a pretty standard sized sump, then 5x is probably about as much as you need

#2. You absolutely must have a good quality skimmer. Now I don't necessarily mean that you need to spend a fortune on the skimmer, but often times the more expensive ones are the skimmers that do the best. Beleive me, I have tried all the cheap ones. NOT GOOD!

#3. Do not get caught up in all the other stuff. Lights, Skimmer, Good flow, and good Husbandry (ie great water quality, and stable parameters) is all you really need. If anyone tells you different then they are probably trying to sell you something.

I personally do not use filter sox, because I know that I will not clean them out every day. If you let them sit there with food, and all the other junk in them, then it is just a nitrate factory. I use a turkey baster, or a power head to blow the detritus off of my rocks so that it gets back into the water column and can be removed by the skimmer. This is the only time that I use filter sox, and then I take them right back off. If you have a good quality skimmer, and you are feeding it with the rawest possible water, then you do not need filter sox. That skimmer is going to actually remove this junk from the water so that it does not get a chance to break down into NO3 and PO4.
Whatever detritus gets past the skimmer ends up on the bottom of my sump. It is minimal, but I use the water changes to suction it out of the system

I only suggest the method of removing rocks, because pretty soon, you will start to add a good bit of livestock, and then it will be too late to do anything that thorough.
It will put you way ahead of the game by removing most of what is causing your nutrient levels.

About the only thing you should do as far as the sand goes, while you have the rocks out, is to use a gravel vac on it. That way you will get any organics that have shed off of your rocks + you will be removing any organics that are caught up inside of the rocks themselves.
Once you are done, your tank will have the chance to catch up with the process of breaking organics down

Hope I am helping! I am sure I sound crazy to some, but I would rather head things off before they get out of hand. I wish I had someone to tell me all of this so that I did not have to learn it the hard way. There is no easy way to rid yourself of Hair algae. I have tried all of the clean up crews, chemical solutions, gimmicks, etc. I have even tried cleaning it all out of the tank manually, but it is hard to keep up with.

The complete removal of the most possible organics, is the most effective way. I cannot think of a better way to do this, than to remove these things outside of the tank, then systematically rinsing it all off in increasingly clean water. You will be able to tell the good you are doing, when you get each rock to that last bucket, and see how clean the water in it stays. It is actually quite satifying to this job well done.

Once you are done with this, and your PO4 and NO3 are at very low levels, then will be the time to start running the GFO and Carbon. That way these nutrients get absorbed there, before they can become a problem. In my opinion that is what they are most suited for. They are not very effective at lowering these things and keeping them low. There is only so much that they can absorb, and you will go broke trying to change them out that fast.

Best to just remove it all with some good ole elbow grease Nathan


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Old 05/28/2010, 11:55 AM   #24
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That would explain the phosphates.
I'd switch to a good brand of frozen mysis and feed every other day.
This is another great suggestion. Flakes are EVIL!

If I may add to what Stingy is suggesting. Frozen food is great! I use Rod's Frozen Food. A couple of times a month, I thaw it and then feed the tank with it just like it is, so that my corals can get some good food.

Any other time that I feed, ANY frozen food.....I thaw it in tap water, then I use one of those little fine particle strainers that you find in the cooking utensils section. I pour the thawed food in that strainer and then I wash it really really good with tap water. Next I go and get a cup of RO/Di water, and rinse it some more, so that it can remove whatever tap water is left behind. Then I put the food into the rest of the Ro/Di water, and feed it to the tank

Again, some may say that I am crazy, or extremely anal. I say that any unnecessary nutrients that you put into your tank is just asking for trouble. This is just another example of doing that little extra thing, in order to help keep the water quality pristine Nathan


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Old 05/28/2010, 01:43 PM   #25
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i run a 150w de mh 10k over my sump and growth is off the chart


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