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Old 11/20/2020, 05:50 PM   #1
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Damn algae

Hi all.

I have a 100g tank which I have had setup for about 3 and a bit years now. There is a stack of live rock in there and currently only 2 maroon clowns and a chromie. A couple of softies but thats it.

I cannot get rid of the algae in there. I have tried everything. I had the following reactors on the same loop running which made absolutely no difference: Carbon, rowaphos and a sulphur denitrator. (also tried bio pearls before with no success)

However, I say this, but my levels aren't as bad as I thought they would be.

Nitrate 8ppm
Phosphats 0.1ppm

Over the last year I have done numerous 40-50% water changes and sucked out all of the algae on the rocks and a few days later... its back.

I am running 3x XR30W's which I have turned right down and removed the red and greens completely... still growing. I feed the fish a very small amount ever couple of days so can't see that its that.

I just have no idea where this algae keeps coming from. Its usually just the usual thin green coating on the rocks and rear glass that sucks off quite easy, but don't know why it keeps coming back!

Have a cheato refuge running which is growing slightly, but making no difference to the DT.

Please help. Any advice would be welcomed.

Thanks, Steve


Last edited by steve1981; 11/20/2020 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Adding picture
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Old 11/20/2020, 11:43 PM   #2
Michael Hoaster
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Clean up crew? I like a diverse selection of reproducing snails. For fish, bristletooth tangs, pygmy angel fish and algae blennies have the right mouths to feed on a thin green coating on the rocks. Even a new bag of pods can help.

Get your fuge performance up. Is it lit well? If chaeto isn't doing much, diversify your macro algae. Ulva grows fast, Grasilaria grows slower. Different macros will work in variable conditions.

Are you adding any Calcium? That would help coralline algae establish and displace the green stuff.

As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/22/2020, 09:46 PM   #3
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You should have extensive coralline growth all over by now covering the live rocks, are you using just reg sea salt & not Reef salt? Coralline needs higher mag, Cal, & Alk then just what a fish tank requires, and if you want the algae gone then you need to get coralline outpacing it.
Forget extensive water changes waste of time & energy for nitrates lowering or ridding algae, raise minerals and the tank will mature & look pretty like you want in a few months.

Montipora Digitas, Cyphastrea, Blastos, different Leptoseris, Green Stylo, GSP, gorgonions, Ricordea mushrooms, psammocoras, Birdsnest coral, Clownfish, Watchman goby, Royal gamma, cardinalfish.

Current Tank Info: Nano Reef tank
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Old 11/23/2020, 08:13 AM   #4
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To be honest it looks to me like the rock in the picture you posted has very little algae growing on it from how bright it looks. The rock looks to me more like a 4ish to 6ish month old system. It should be completely covered with some kind of algae including and maybe esxlusively coraline as mentioned above or, preferably, corals and polyps. Even with urchins which scrap rock bare there is still going to be endoliths that bore into will discolor the rock so the surface will never be like what I see in the picture. Keep in mind corals and algae are competitors and there's very complex microbial processes that help regulate which predominates on a reef. If this was my system I would be focusing on adding more corals and not any other type of algae control beyond manual removal and additional herbivores.

To help get a better understanding of the role microbail prcesses play I would recommend Forest ROhwer's "Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas". Kindle version is ~$10 and paperback is ~$20.

"Our crystal clear aquaria come nowhere close to the nutrient loads that swirl around natural reefs" Charles Delbeek
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Old 11/30/2020, 07:24 AM   #5
Convince'em or confuse'em
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I agree that at 3 years there should a lot of coralline algae on the rocks. You didn’t mention your water source, that might be an issue. Getting my own RODI filter was one of the best purchases I ever made.
If you want to try the “chemical” route, I’ve had great success with Vibrant. It takes a little time but my results were very good.

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Old 11/30/2020, 06:57 PM   #6
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100% invest in a bunch of turbo snails

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Old 12/05/2020, 07:44 AM   #7
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Hi all. Thanks for your comments. Apologies but I haven't been on here a lot.

Turns out it was blue/green cyan bacteria and not algae like I thought. I added a few extra fish including a Kole tang and put one dose of Ultralife Red Slime Stain Remover... all gone within a day!!

I know I know... treat the cause not the symptoms... to do that I have been adding phytoplankton, cleaning the rocks from debris and adding more fish (I was advised that might be a reason why I got the cyan also, too low nutrients) I was told that in the fight to battle algae (which it wasn't) It made the cyan worse.

Now I can concentrate on getting the best parameters for coraline algae growth.

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