Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 20

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, Cyano Control 5, Cyano Control 6, Cyano Control 7, Cyano Control 8, Cyano Control 9, Cyano Control 10, Cyano Control 11, BGA Control 12, BGA Control 13, BGA Control 14, BGA Control 15, BGA Control 16, BGA Control 17BGA Control 18, BGA Control 19, & BGA Identification, Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Related Articles: Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria), Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae,   Diatoms, Brown Algae

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Long Spine Urchin with Zebra Moral Eel, comp.      9/21/19
Hi Bob -
Would a large long spine urchin with the body size of around a tennis ball be left alone by a Zebra Moral Eel that's about 2 feet in length? I've read Zebra Moral Eels feed on urchins, but I thought maybe the long spine urchin might be an exception.
<Mmm; I don't think it's a good idea to place morays in systems with sharp objects period... their vision's not all that good, and they have a habit of bumping into most all>
Further, I suspect a Zebra Moral Eel would eat a chocolate chip starfish?
<I don't think so, no. They mainly eat crustaceans in the wild>
BTW, I wanted to report back that your knowledge and feedback was correct on a question I asked last week. I've witnessed a large pin cushion urchin (close to 4 inches in diameter) has eaten cyanobacteria (red) off my live rock as you suspected might occur.
Thank you, John
<Cheers John. BobF>

Re: Long Spine Urchin with Zebra Moral Eel; plus BGA eater      9/22/19
Bob -
Thank you very much you're most helpful as always! Your feedback definitely helps me properly plan some aquatic living arrangements.
<Am so glad to share, aid your efforts... promote the proper/appropriate use of resources John>
Here's a photo of the pin cushion urchin I previously referenced with a smaller long spine that shows some cyanobacteria (red) removed from the rocks (see rock closest to the gravel).
Thanks, John
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Moray Eels and Coral      9/23/19
Hello Bob, Wil, Marco,
<Hello Iishan. Wil here>
Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my email.
<You're most welcome>
Here are the latest measurements from my 32 gallon Biocube:
Nitrate 0.0 ppm   <<? RMF>>
Phosphate 0.0 ppm
pH 8.0
<A bit low, I’d adjust it to 8.3>
Alkalinity 7.2 dKH
Magnesium 1215 ppm
Calcium 375 ppm
Salinity 1.027
<A bit high but not of concern, even though 1.025 would be ideal.>
The temperature fluctuates between 79 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning and 81 degrees at the end of the day.
I have no protein skimmer. Do I need one if the nitrates and phosphates are at 0 ppm. I measure these two things often and they are almost always at 0, even after feedings. A few times it has gone up to about 3 ppm.
<Proteins skimmers remove wastes, proteins and other organics that can’t be measured with conventional test kits but that are still there, so it would be a beneficial addition to your tank, you’ll be amazed of the improvement on your livestock with the use of one, still you can get by without one, provided you do very frequent water changes.>
The tank (Coralife biocube) has a small built in rear sump. It is very small, less than 5 gallons. I have a small carbon filter in it and that’s all.
<If it were me, I’d consider upgrading the system to at least twice the current water volume, this way you’d have a more stable, healthier ecosystem.>
Bob, you had asked for numbers regarding lighting and feeding. I feed it fish that I catch in tide pools at my local beach about one every two weeks. These fish are about an inch long. It also eats some pellet food that I give to the hermit crabs. I drop a pinch once every two weeks (alternate weeks) as well. The eel eats some pellets and the hermit crabs do too.
As for lighting I suspect there may be issues here as well. I have a retrofit kit I bought from a company called Steve’s LEDs. They specialize is Biocube lighting upgrades. I think I turned them up too bright, slowly over time, because all the coralline algae on the rocks that are exposed to the light turned white. I am slowly decreasing the intensity. I have no way of measuring the lighting other than the percentage of output and using the provided manual for a guide.
Thank you for sharing your experience with moray eels and corals.
<Glad to share. Wil.>

Coralline Algae, Cyano, or ???     8/3/19
Hi Bob -
I am stumped trying to figure out exactly what's growing on my glass and rocks in my 265 gallon FOWLR tank. I've attached a few pictures. It doesn't come off very easily at all. Frankly, to get it off the glass you have to use a scraper with some force, then to get it off the rocks, good luck as a tooth brush will very slightly thin it out, but if I really wanted it off, more likely it would take a steel brush with some force to get it off the rocks. Further, when I scrap it with force off the glass it comes off as a dust, not in sheets.
Thus, based upon this hard consistency my gut tells me it's Coralline Algae, yet I am used to Coralline algae being pink or light purple, not red in color. It's a dark, burgundy red, similar in color to cyanobacteria, but I definitely can't siphon it out like you can with cyanobacteria. Should I be concerned?
Thank you,
<Hey John. Coralline (encrusting Reds, Rhodophytes) are very different to the touch than Blue Green "algae"/Cyano... The latter are slimy; and of many different colors. Reds are not slimy, but hard, crusty... From your description and photos this appears to be BGA...
Yes to being concerned... conditions that allow, encourage BGA are deleterious to most all other life forms as are some of the metabolites of Cyanobacteria.
Please read here re the several approaches to control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked BGA Control FAQs above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coralline Algae, Cyano, or ???     8/4/19
Ugh. Terrific article. Thanks Bob!
<Cheers John! BGA is defeat-able, avoidable... Like steering a large ship w/ a small rudder; takes a while, but... slow and steady is the route to go. BobF>

Boron and Cyano relationship      6/27/19
Hey guys sorry to bother
<Hey Tom, no bother at all.>
but we have been sending water samples to ICP labs and when ever our boron level seems to increase to about 40
<40 what??... Typical values in nature are 4-5 ppm while in aquarium systems can be higher.>
you know it’s a very drastic increase in Cyano in normally pristine Systems we also noticed that when I was boron level increases our Coraline bleaches and flakes off the walls
<It may have to do with your salt, although normally it does not come in high levels in the salt mixes commonly used for aquariums, so , it could be more related to buffer additives, do you use any?...I wouldn’t worry, IF your B level is in the normal range. You can return the Boron to safe levels via water changes.>
Never knew that Boron was that important and that detrimental to both of these.
<Oh, yes, could be an issue if it gets off the charts. Thanks for sharing. Wil.>

Re: I'm back in the hobby! Cyano issue       12/11/18
Hello Bob and Team,
<Howsit Gene?>
I'm fighting Cyano (I think). Tank was established in July 2018. Small tank...45 gallon AIO. Running UV and skimmer.
<Mmm; these last two should help (indirectly) by limiting nutrient availability, raising RedOx, zapping and removing free-floating forms, spores>
Vacuumed the sand bed really well today tanking out the top layer of nasty looking sand. Running Purigen and ChemiPure Elite in two chambers in the back (one in each chamber).
<Good moves>
Nitrates = 0 (using a lousy API kit).
<Mmm; lo dudo>
Phosphates = .021 (using the ultra low Hanna digital meter).
I don't feed heavily and try to run lights at 10K for only 2 hours around noon. Other times running LED blue to show off the corals.
<Mmm; well, you might be better off w/ more light here. Convert the BGA to Greens, other Divisions of algae. Do you have some purposeful algae culture going here? Any room for a sump/refugium, DSB, RDP light set up?>
Fish and corals all seem to be doing well.
Fish = 2 clowns, 3 cardinals, 1 coral beauty, 1 royal gramma, and 1 Rainford goby.
Added a cucumber and conch -- they don't seem to do much.
pH runs about 7.9 with Alk at 7.7
<Yikes; I'd be buffering your new/make up water to boost the pH here... to at least 8.2>
Any additional recommendations are welcome.
PS Bob recommended an additional Rainford Goby -- one of my 2 LFS (ain't this sad) was out and I only buy Rainford's from Biota.
<Okay! Have you reviewed re marine algae control on WWM?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm
and the linked files above? Caution: You can/may sucked into a/the WWM black hole of reading! BobF>
Re: I'm back in the hobby!      12/11/18
Thanks for the prompt reply!
Darn, I'm confused. Some say less light -- you say more.
<Think about this... too little, or low light encourages a different group (Divisions are the equivalent of zoological Phyla) of algae; Blue Greens/aka Cyanobacteria are greatly favored under little light circumstances, whereas Greens prefer bright, long-light days. You WANT to encourage the latter, discourage the former. YES, if there's too much easily available (soluble) nutrient available, little water circulation.... BGA will proliferate under broader conditions including more light>
I've attached a pdf of the light I have. It's a bit old but I can program it within the limits of the LEDs of course.
<This is a very nice fixture. Again, I would leave it on 8-10 hours/day; See/READ on WWM re>
I read the linked article on algae.
<Ah good>
Excellent and really pretty easy to read for the novice (like me).
I loved the statement: "I take exception with most authors on the virtue of one salt mix over, etc...." I completely agree.
I do use Instant Ocean (seems to work for most folks)
<Around the world this brand IS the category killer, used exclusively in some public aquariums, e.g. Georgia>
-- and as you noted, my pH is on the low side.
I've really never had much success raising it and maintaining it (the pH that is :)
<Mmm; well; you could/might use the I.O. reef mix... has more alkalinity; but I'd just blend in some of SeaChem's line in w/ your new/change out water: https://www.seachem.com/marine-buffer.php
I thought regular water changes would do the trick since I think IO salt mix mixes at about 8.3
I do have the Brightwell 2-part additives -- but, so far I've been sloppy about dosing on a regular basis.
Sorry, adding a sump is not an option for my setup. This AIO tank has truly been a challenge for me. I had a 125g with 30g sump in Atlanta -- dang it was easy to maintain. This 45g tank is much more difficult -- as I knew it would be -- especially without a refugium!
<Ah, yes... bigger systems are much easier to keep stable, optimized; and am a HUGE fan of refugium use>
You guys are truly a great resource. I genuinely appreciate your time to coach me along this renewed & new endeavor. I WILL GET THIS RIGHT.....!
PS Oh, BTW, I may have mentioned at some point that I did treat my tank with Boyd's Chemiclean. It worked the first time I used it -- but, the problem returned. I tried it again, but not with the same degree of success. I do not plan to use it again since I think it's only a band-aid and not the solution!
<As you'll find, I am NOT a fan of such "algicide" use... They really don't work unless the conditions that allow/ed pest algae profusion are addressed, and too-often they poison the water, inhabitants indirectly.
Be of good life Gene (Anima bona fac). Bob Fenner>

Re: Cyano control       12/12/18
Thanks, Bob.
So, am I clear on your recommendation: Use Seachem's Marine Buffer to increase the pH of the water I use when I do a water change -- thus, raising my pH slowly.
<Yes; mix it in with your pre-made and stored change out/new water>
Actually, from the research I've done IO salt does not mix at 8.3 but more like 7.9. I will begin dosing Polyp Lab ONE tonight. It simplifies the 2-part approach by having all key elements (dKH, Calcium and Mg) in one. I think the Brightwell 2-part I have been using does not include Mg -- thus, no coralline algae for me :(
Also, I will review my light schedule per your comments.
My best,
<Cheers! BobF>

Hydrogen peroxide; use for BGA control      10/27/18
Good afternoon Bob.
<Hey John>
Hope all is well. I’d like your input on the method of treating Cyano with HP. First, I completely understand the importance of addressing the root cause of the problem.
<Ah yes; good>
I’m working on it. However, in the mean time I would like to know if HP is a safe and effective way to deal with the outbreak.
<Can be... a "cheap" one-shot way to raise RedOx... of all things was just chatting this (H2O2 use for diminishing BGA last night w/ friend JoyB at the SDMA club meeting!>
My tank is 750 gallons with a sump holding approx 60-70 additional gallons. I keep mostly sps. I do have some lps as well as a extra large Devi’s hand and toadstool. Several fish as well. Do you support dosing peroxide 3% in a mixed reef?
<Again; at times, yes. IS your Cyano "that bad"? You have tried other means? Best are increasing circulation, Ozone, UV... diminishing nutrient influx, increasing removal like w/ the use of GAC...>
If so, could you please advise on how many ml per gallon and the frequency of dosing?
<A guess that works out often is 1 ml. per ten actual gallons of system water (deduct for decor, substrate...) of 3% solution. Some folks continue to add... about half a dose in AMs, PMs...>
As always I appreciate your expertise.
Thank you,
<Best done in conjunction with an ORP meter; keeping the reading under 400 micro-siemens/cm. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hydrogen peroxide       11/1/18

Thank you. I dint know how I missed your reply, I just found it. So just to clarify, is the HP approach supposed to be a onetime thing or do hobbyists continue to dose daily until the Cyano is gone.
<Many dose daily...>
I did see where you mentioned follow up does at 50% afterworlds.
<? words?>
Is that a maintenance dose or for continuation of the original problem?
<... you should study re RedOx, ORP....>
My main concern is my sps coral. I just want to make sure this is a safe approach (given correct dosing) for coral and other inverts.
<Most of the time; better by measuring microsiemens per cm.>
Oh, also, just to be clear, you are referring to dosing the HP in the water column and not spot treating with a syringe right?
<... yes>
And to answer your question , yes, at the moment it is really bad. My entire sand bed is covered as well as several pieces of rock.
<.... have you read on WWM re BGA?>
Not sure where things went wrong. I’m still tracking it. GFO, ozone and UV is running and I have pretty good flow.
I was waiting several weeks thinking it would burn itself out, but it’s not. I suspect that maybe I did a 150 gallon change with water high in po4 or maybe some bad salt mix.
<Could be a factor!>
Thank you very much for your time!
<So glad to discourse w/ you. BobF>

Red slime algae problem     2/17/16
<Matt! Why have you sent 14k plus megs of pix to us. WHY:?>
HI guys and girls (never sure who will be answering so didn't want to be specific).
A quick thanks before I get into it - love the site and have learnt a heck of a lot from you all - as a relative newbie to the hobby, I really
appreciate the support offered.
My name is Matt - living on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia.
<... Hotay>
I have listed all my tank info below for reference (hope I haven't left anything out) but thought it best I ask my question first.
I recently had a small amount of red slime algae in my sump and a bit of rust coloured algae on some uncovered areas of rock in the display tank. I treated the tank with red Cyano rx
<A poor idea. SEE WWM re using such... w/o fixing the root cause/s, allowance/s... BGA will come right back; and in the meanwhile, you may well have impugned your system
by blue vet and managed to get rid of almost all of it (trimming the macro-algae in the sump and syphoning some sandbeds/rock). I know there is still some photosynthesis going on in the display tank as there are air bubbles on some parts of the bare rock work but my biggest concern in the red slime algae is back in the sump and I want to ensure that it doesn't
progress into the display tank and also want to make sure that there aren't any dinoflagellates!!! There is currently no algae growing on my display substrate and minimal on the walls of the tank. I have attached a few pics of the tank and sump (hope they aren't too big in file size) - your advice/assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.
<All recorded, archived....>
I have read a lot about how the Cyano and Dinos occur and treatment including Bob's books on marine algae id and treatment, and realise there is probably a lot more for me to read.
Could you please id the algae in the display tank (close up photos of the rock work) and tell me how to get rid of the red Cyano once and for all (if possible)?
<Can't tell w/o sampling, looking through a microscope>
Should I do another treatment of the red Cyano rx?
Is there anything I should be dosing or stop dosing?
Anything else you would suggest/change/do differently?
<... Reading>

I am reducing the light cycle in the sump at the moment until I hear back from you.
Thanks very much for your help and I continue to be a loyal reader - please let me know if you need any more info or photos.
Matt - Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
<Wish I was there diving w/ you; and a mate of mine in the HHH (Eats Bushes; and Leaves)>
My tank info... (apologies in advance for any spelling mistakes)
I have a 4ft (75g approx.) SunSun curved glass display tank and a 2 ft sump with refugium. A lot of live rock (possibly 40kg total), a shallow sand bed in display, 3-4 inch "deep" sand bed in the refugium with macroalgae and some live rock rubble. Tank has been up for a little over 9 months now - although had a few issues due to leaks - a total of approx. 350l for the
Fish - 1x Foxface, 1x scopas tang, 1x yellow tang (they actually don't get along too badly), 1x orange tail blue damsel (male I assume) and 1 blue damsel (female), 2x blue/green Chromis and currently a dwarf lionfish in quarantine (feeding on live ghost shrimp I caught in a river mouth and kept in a small tank with airstone).
Inverts - 1 large cucumber, 5 large trochus snails, 3 starfish (plus a feather star or 2 if they are still in there), 2 Strombus snails, loads of Stomatella snails (too many to count), 4 hermit crabs, a few snails from the beach in the sump.
Corals - loads of lps - Goni x 6, hammer x 3, maze brain x 2, jandini x 2, Helio x 1, short tentacle Fungia x 4, Acan x 6, leather x 2, some xenia, Zoa x 2, some gsp, 3 quad BTA (one just split to make 3 total), a Duncan, a galaxia and one sps (Acro)... I think that's it.
Hardware - 2 x 160w full spectrum led (generic brand from china but bright as hell and good growth rates so far) running from 7-7.30am sunrise with blues, 10-1030am full spectrum, 4-430pm whites off, 6-630pm blues off. Sump light is just a desk lamp that runs on alternate cycle.
<Great! And macro-algae culture there? A DSB? I WOULD install these ASAPractical>
1x aqua one G216 protein skimmer running 24/7 (I am trying to get approval from my wife to upgrade this to a marine sources skimmer - I know this is probably part of my problem but I do get pretty good skimmate from it.
Halea 300a chiller running 24/7 - temp runs from 24.9 to 26 degrees and the tank room is air-conditioned.
2x Jebao rw4 wavemakers @ 4000l/h, 1x circ pump @ 3000l/h.
1x 4500l/h return pump.
I built the plumbing, overflows and sump for my tank - Calfo overflow running almost the entire length of the back wall, into external overflow using bean animal syphon (1 full syphon, 1 back up syphon and 1 emergency overflow drain). I run a filter sock 24/7, cleaned weekly, feed the corals twice a week - target and broadcast with pieces of fish for the nems and
larger mouth corals, Cyclops frozen and coral diet (made by a guy in qld used by a number of lfs in my area - mainly Cyclops and microalgae I think). I also add some garlic and amino to the tank/feed. Fish get fed every 2nd day with new life spectrum Thera A+ - I ensure it is all eaten
where possible and once a week to once a fortnight with an algae disk.
They also pick at the coral foods.
I have 2 quarantine tanks - 1x4ft and 1x 3ft - both have a little bit of live rock in but can be replaced with seeded filter media from display tank if necessary to medicate. Both tanks are cycled. I quarantine all fish for 4-6weeks at 1.023sg and treat with Cupramine or formalin only if necessary - (I had some issues with white spot when first starting out in the hobby and learnt my lesson). I don't, however, quarantine my corals.
I syphon my display tank minimally during water changes due to the amount of rock in there, change approx. 45l (12%) of the water weekly either using NSW or red sea coral pro salt mix made up with RO water. My specs are as follows: nitrite/ammonia - 0 (api test kit)
nitrate - 7ppm (tested using nyos kit) - I can't seem to get them down any lower than this...
phosphate - 0-0.25 (api test kit - looking to get a better one soon)
calc - 360 (lowest) - 440 (highest) - 2 part dosing every 2nd day (api test kit)
<Get a better kit mate>

alk - 8-10 (usually stays at 10) dosing every 2nd day - (api test kit)
magnesium - approx. 1500 (nyos test kit) (dosing weekly)
ph - 8.0-8.3 (digital ph meter)
salinity 1.024-1.025 (refractometer)
also dosing weekly - continuum coral elements N (trace elements), strontium, potassium
dosing daily - continuum micro-fuel @ 8ml - I was told by my lfs this is similar to red sea nopox.
<Mmm; I'd stop this for now>

Gravity fed auto top off using RO water, all the above are dosed manually.
Thanks again.
<Let's have you (re?) read here:

and the linked files above. FOCUS on the refugium macro addition/culture, the DSB addition (at least ten cm. of fine, oolithic sand), AND RedOx measurement.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Tuxedo urchin; BGA hang ons issue      11/13/15
Hi, I hope you can help (or confirm) this little oddity about Tuxedo urchins.
I've had mine for almost a year now, and in the last six months everything he picks up becomes covered in red Cyano?
<Opportunist... conditions in the system are allowing the BGA to establish itself after a "grinding" from the Urchin. Increased RedOx especially (and what it takes to get there really) is the measure to use to guide the success of efforts in improving water quality (more circulation, less dissolved organics); possibly the incorporation of a live sump/refugium, RDP lighting there, macro algal culture.... Spiffed up, improved skimming, use of chemical filtrants like GAC, PolyFilter, adding a bit more live rock, fine substrate to enhance the DSB...>
I have absolutely no other cyanobacteria in my system. I make sure I relieve him of his infested trinkets, only for him to pick up a few more which become covered in a matter of days??
<Again; environmental improvement>
Are they known to do this?
<Mmm; yes; as are all Urchins really... they have "pincers" that penetrate the test for keeping such off their exteriors, but not the spines themselves>
Thanks for any insight,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

cyanobacteria vs. macroalgae lighting      2/27/14
Hi Crew,
Under typical aquarium conditions does cyanobacteria have a competitive advantage over red Gracilaria algae/macro algae in areas of low intensity lighting?
<Define "typical"... under more/less ideal/ized conditions; no>
 I have read on your site that cyanobacteria would have an advantage in low flow areas (I plan on increasing water flow) but I want to know if I should plan on adding more light.  Tank parameters:  temp=78degF; salinity=1.025; carbonate hardness=10dKH; pH=8.15; ammonia= 0.0; NO3=5ppm; PO4= 0.03ppm.
<More involved of course... >
P.S.  Wet Web Media is an extremely valuable site for the home aquarist. 
Anytime someone asks me about starting an aquarium I point them in your direction first.
<Ah yes... twenty years on; the site provides all I had hoped for.
Inspiration, information and outlet for my and others efforts. Bob Fenner>
Re: cyanobacteria vs. macroalgae lighting      2/27/14

Wow!  Fast response.  The ink on my computer screen wasn't even dry before I received your reply.  I will keep perusing Wet Web
<Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above>
 and try to find out what the Gracilaria needs that may be lacking.  My guess is water flow since the shift from macroalgae to cyanobacteria seems to correlate to removing air stones from the system.  I just wanted to know if lighting could be a contributing factor.
Thanks again, Mark  

Cyano Troubles... Rdg.    2/25/14
Good Evening Crew,
I hate to be the millionth email on the subject but I'm having a several month struggle with this bacteria and can't seem to beat it.   The setup  is a 40gallon breeder with about 2-3" of live sand
<Needs to be deeper>

 and about 45lbs on live rock.  There is an Eshopps HOB Skimmer rated for 75gallons and an  AquaClear
200 with ChemiPure and Purigen, foam and their ceramic circles, 2 Koralia 800 powerhead in opposite corners pointed near each other. An its lighted by a 4 bulb T5 fixture with bulbs that are only a couple months old.  The tank tests pH 8.4, 0 Nitrite and Phosphate < 0.25ppm, Ca runs about 420.
There is a small 2" Hawkfish, a 3.5" zebra lionfish and an 8" snowflake eel as the only inhabitants and they are all spot fed every other day so as to not pollute the tank with wasted food.  I've tried replacing the bulbs thinking the others were too old, and my skimmer can be a bit inconsistent with its skimming but it can usually pull out a nice color of skimmate.
I'm concerned I might not have enough flow or aeration because there is no sump on the tank
<I'd add... as well as look into competitors, predators... all gone over and over...>
and the top layer of water develops that "grease" look except where the filter agitates it and breaks the surface tension.
<What are you feeding? This film needs to be removed, avoided>
  Do you have any ideas or suggestions?
<All sorts>

  Oh I also change about 5gallons every week with pure RO/DI water.  I appreciate you taking the time to answer this and I thank you in advance.
Happy Reefing.    2/25/14
<Happy reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm

and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cyano Troubles... not following directions, rdg.       2/27/14

Thank you for quick reply. I am feeding the tank a mix of frozen fish and shrimp, I was originally thinking that there wouldn't be such a high waste with the fish being frozen but I will try soaking in rodi water to see if that cuts back on the nutrients causing the protein slick.
<Good technique>
  I've also pointed one of the powerheads at the surface to help break up the slick while increasing the skimmer production.
<... read where you've been referred... there are better means>
  The only new question is that you've suggested deepening the sand bed but I've seen mixed results with that as it in itself doesn't resolve an algae issue?
<... don't write: READ>
Thanks again!!

Ich - Red Slime - Mandarin Acclimation (sel., fdg.... gen.)– 02/19/14
Thanks in advance for your time.
<<Hiya John…quite welcome>>
I have three questions, which I'm sure have been answered elsewhere so feel free to redirect me.
180 gallon with live rock (no coral yet but hope to), T5HO lights right now but will switch to LED with coral addition, assortment of snails, crabs, two cleaner shrimp and a pistol shrimp, below tank sump, protein skimmer, no refugium, stocked early with about 2000 pods which I still see in the tank and on LR.  Tank was set up around October 2013
1. I had an outbreak of Ich (vacation, pet sitter) that wiped out my tank except for a purple Firefish.  Firefish has been in quarantine (bare bottom tank, sp gravity 1.016)
<<Do consider adding a length of PVC pipe for the fish to hide in
.  A ‘bare’ tank is unnerving for any fish, but especially so for shy, timid species like the Firefish.>>
and the DT has been empty of fish as well.  Adequate for breaking the cycle or at least putting the Ich into a dormant state?
<<Four to six weeks fallow should “break the cycle” as you say…but 3 months will do better towards eliminating any “dormancy” issues.>>

 Is a slow drip acclimatization okay to put Firefish back in, and if so how slow?  Slow drip acclimation is fine (though you could do the tried and true  “float the bag, add small amounts of water” acclimation as well).  One to two drips per second works for me in most cases…but do search the site re ‘drip acclimation’ for a lot more info.>>
2.  After all the fish were removed, developed an outbreak of red slime as well as green slime on LR and substrate.  Coincidence or correlation?
<<Hard to say, but may well indicate a chemical/biological imbalance that was already stressing the fish.>>
<<Check bio-mineral content and get things back in balance.  Keeping Magnesium, Calcium, and Alkalinity in balance…and at the upper limits…helps significantly with controlling nuisance slime algae, in my experience.>>
Thoughts on vodka treatment?
<<I have used this method on-and-off for years (once with disastrous results, if I’m going to be honest), and do see a benefit when used judiciously.  It’s no panacea, but can be a useful adjunct…though I would recommend here that you first address the water chemistry and see if this does the job.>>
3.  Getting ready and excited to restock tank.  Thinking about starting with a pair of Blue/Green Mandarins so there won't be a hold lot of competition and harassment to give these guys a head start.  Thoughts on ORA vs. wild caught?
<<Definitely ORA…these fishes will take prepared foods ( get/use New Life Spectrum pelleted food) and have a much better chance of surviving long term.>>
With the pods not really having a predator would the population be adequate for them?
<<Not likely in the long run…thus the need for animals that will accept prepared foods.>>
Thoughts on a method or need for quarantine?
<<Mandarins/Dragonets, in my opinion, are less risky…and do much better…when acclimated right to the display.>>
Would a UV sterilizer ran every other week or so have an effect on pods?
<<Little if any…and likewise re controlling any nuisance organisms. >>
Do these have a better chance of survival as a pair or singly?
<<They can be kept either way…though if kept together do try to get a true “pair” or at the very least add the male and female to the system “together.”>>
Thanks again,
John A
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>
Re: Ich - Red Slime - Mandarin Acclimation – 02/20/14

Can't thank you enough for the help and quick response.
<<My pleasure to assist, mate...I hope the info proves useful.  EricR>>

The most difficult question. Coral hlth. issues; some poss. influences, corrections     12/13/13
Hello again Mr. F.
how are you? I hope all is fine with you .
I have a very important question: what is wrong with my system?
Let me explain: my 250 gallon display was set-up 1 year ago. 220 cm long, 70 cm wide and 70 cm high. Sump, AquaMedic aCone 3.0 skimmer rated to 3000 litres, biopellets reactor, antiphos reactor, active carbon reactor running 24h. Ozone , full line apex Neptune system computer with the following readings: ORP 350-390, pH 7.9-8.1 , temp 25.5-26.5 and salinity 34.5-35.0.
Calcium reactor, kH 7.2-8.0 , Ca 420-450, Mg 1280-1300.
History: maybe you remember all my inquiries about crypt and fish disease after my initial ordeal
<A good deal; yes>
With all my fishes dying in the first month because of crypt and Oodinium, I have spent hundreds of hours reading and learning. I now have Coral magazine subscription ( maybe one of the very few in Romania ) and dozens of books all read. About fishes , I now have all the fishes I restarted the system with, P. Hepatus, Chelmon rostratus, A. Japonicus, pair or mandarins, Z. Xanthurus, Naso  lituratus, P. Imperator ( juv. ) all 10 months now in the system and a beautiful Z. Cornutus six months now in the tank, all doing very good. So lesson learned there. ( I have 3. Quarantine tanks , I always perform fw dips with Methylene blue etc )
4-5 months ago I started introducing SPS corals. I always knew I wanted a SPS dominated tank with these beautiful fishes I already have ( only one P. Diacanthus is missing but I will get there also..) then the problems started. I discovered that I had high nitrates: about 20 on Salifert test so I started the maintenance program: got rid of the 2-3 cm sand in the DT because of the wrong depth, siphoning of the sump, changing the media in the reactors etc. I bought some more corals, some Acropora, some more Montiporas, Stylophora.. Because of a faulty salimeter ( the paper with the scale moved inside the glass )  the salinity went to 43  and lots of corals died or dying .
I slowly went back. After that, in September I drilled my pavement and installed a 300 l refugium with 18 cm sand bed and Chaetomorpha in the basement with reverse light schedule. After 3 weeks I installed another  200 l tank there with live rock. At the beginning I had some problems with keeping levels of water ( maybe you remember our discussions ) so the salinity varied 1-1.5 points daily for some weeks.
Before installing the calcium reactor I had some variations in the levels of kH and Ca. ,   1 month ago.
After that I thought everything was stable, so I introduced some more corals. But I kept losing some of them. Apparently  lots of Montiporas digitata died and also some Acroporas. In November, after the last addition on sand in the RDSB  and some more live rock the Cyano started. I had to leave for one week and when I come back more SPS were lost due to Cyano this time ( even thou my friend was at my house every day feeding and cleaning the Cyano).
<I'd throttle back your carbon additions. In fact, I'd remove the bio-pellets entirely. This/these are likely driving your Cyano problem here>
 So when I come back I reduced the lighting for the T5 ( I have an AquaMedic 3x250 w CoralVue ReefLux 14000 K plus 4 T5 x 80 w ATI 2 white 2 blue ) turning them off . ( they were on 12 hours ON ) . I only kept the MH. The Cyano receded , every day I clean it and blast with a 1200 l/h pump every rock and coral. But it continues to grow on some corals killing them.
I fragged some of the Acropora and the frags until now seem to be doing fine . But every day I discover that another SPS coral is declining.
Other values : nitrates : 2-3 Seachem test
Phosphates : <0.01 Salifert
<Not an issue; in fact, I'd feed more to increase>
Silicates : 0
  About the lights: after turning down the 4 T5 I have seen lost in coloration also in otherwise hardy corals : Montipora plates , so I have turned them on again and I have measured the PAR readings : bottom 150 -100 between bulbs, middle 230 and top 400. Under the bulbs 1100 micromols/m2/second. . But before turning on again the T 5 (2 days ago ) the readings with only the MH were seriously lower ( 40-60 bottom between bulbs ).
In the meantime I have lost some Acropora that was with me for 10 months and survived all that. But there are some Montiporas and some a Acroporas frags that appear to be doing great so far. I have colonies of Stylophora and Porites that are ok.
So, why am I loosing  SPS corals? Is the stability of the system? All the changes I have done? Is there something wrong in the water even if I get all these " normal " readings?
<Toxicity from the Cyano likely is number one; perhaps a lack of chemical food (too little soluble phosphate) is an issue as well>
It gets pretty frustrating because is not only the money ( by the way water movement is done by 4 Vortech MP 40 ) but all the energy and study time ( we have 2 kids 2 and 5 years old so time is important)
<It always is my friend. An important "lesson" in life is to learn how to portion ones attention. "First things first"... your own health, happiness; the family and friends about you... petfish are way down the line of importance>
 and the willingness that I feel I am starting to question.  I feed the fish 4 times a day ( defrost and rinsed Mysis and krill and bloodworms, spectrum pellets, Nori and Spirulina and 2 big fresh clams ( I think this is the term, the black shells) that I keep in my hands until everything is eaten. All the fish eat a lot and they are fat. But I arrived in one point when I look away from the DT when I pass by, just to avoid seeing sick corals . It was not easy at all, all my friends consider me strange at least do all this for a reef tank, even if they like it when they come by. Keep in mind that I live in eastern Europe where LFS are far away and don't stock livestock, and for example a A. Japonicus costs 250 $. For me, having a SPS tank would mean that all that I have done is worth it, but something is wrong, and I am not sure what it is. My wife is supportive, but I would really want to see some results .
So in conclusion I feel that I have done a lot of efforts and at the moment I cannot see the results, so it seems it is very difficult, but I see a lot of successful tanks done with maybe less efforts and I am wondering what am I missing.
Thank you for your patience,
Andrei in snow covered Romania
<BobF in (today) sunny S. California. Do remove the carbon additions and increase the feedings>
Re: The most difficult question. More Biology, Less "Technology""      12/14/13

Hello Mr. F
<Mr. Andrei>
thank you for your answer.  I will stop the biopellets reactor, I was just not sure if my RDSB is mature enough to handle the denitrification by himself,
<You'll likely see no change in NO3>
 my plan was that when the nitrates would arrive to zero I would stop the biopellets .
About the nitrates, increasing the feeding sounds great, but aren't they the ones that fuel the Cyano?
<Not necessarily, no... see WWM re the several inputs here>
 Shouldn't the desired levels be zero absolutely?
The chemo-autotrophic life (e.g. corals, many microbes, algae... ) NEED some/measurable nutrients, including nitrogen compounds and phosphate>
Because I also have a anti phosphates reactor running as well... If the chemical food might be missing for the corals,
maybe I should feed more amino acids and vitamins ( I do it like once every 10 days half the dosage ).
<Am not a fan of such reactors in most settings... "More Biology, Less "Technology"" Is my motto here. B>
Thank you again,
Re: The most difficult question; further input re a/the mysteries of too much, too little and out of balance nutrient issues      12/14/15

Thank you. The biopellets are off.. will see what happens. I took the biological route for sure, with the refugium and live rock tank.
What about all the beautiful tanks in several ' tank of the month ' editions that report zero NO3 and PO4 ? Normally you don't see any outstanding SPS tank presented that has any detectable nutrients.
<Mmm, allow me to "try" explaining: All systems have something/s that are "rate limiting"... An example, let's think of you and I and our desire for more "stuff"... We're likely limited by funds/money... Most aquarium systems have a nutrient limitation... but it is not often well-understood what this is (a topic of huge possibilities): Your system is likely being "too driven" by an excess of available carbon... which is fueling the BGA/Cyano, that in turn is poisoning your stony corals... I am hoping by limiting the carbon and allowing sufficient simple nutrient presence, to have your Scleractinians (et al.) outcompete the Cyano. Now; as to those other systems that are in "apparent balance"; they have NO3 and HPO4 limitation... BY the desired organisms taking these up readily; NOT by their reactor/media removal>
I think this is very important. Lots of people out there would benefit from understanding these basic philosophies.
<Ah yes; I do so agree. Do you understand me above here?>
Please consider that I want nothing less than the most beautiful SPS tank with colors and corals health. I am willing to invest time, energy, and money. What would you recommend as optimal values for NO3 and PO4?
<Low, but still measurable.... a few ppm for [NO3], and 0.05-0.01 ppm or so for [HPO4]>
  And after my system description do you think I would need anything else as hardware or technique?
<Mmm... likely THE best investment in your study, gear is an understanding of RedOx potential, perhaps an investigation into ozone... >

Thank you,
<Thank you Andrei. BobF>
Re: The most difficult question     12/14/15

Oh, and this reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/phosphates.htm
Re: The most difficult question     12/14/15

Tank you, I understand.
One more question: I run ozone on my skimmer and have a 350 -380 ORP reading. What do you think about these values?
<I see... this is very good. B>
Re: The most difficult question; stony coral issues, BGA... ongoing, redux-ed      12/16/13

Hello Mr. F,
<Andrei; do please change your subject above. The spam filter is removing your posts>
How are you?
Here things don't look very good aquarium wise.
If someone would ask me I would say that I am now more evolved than any other time . On the equipment side I run a calcium reactor, 4 VorTech mp 40 synchronised, I use a PAR meter, I do KH and Ca tests every 2 days and they are OK, I have a refugium etc.
On the knowledge side, I read books, I understand the chemistry ( I am a chemical engineer ) , I know all the 'tank of the month ' on English and Italian speaking sites, I know who Julian Sprung, Sanjay Joshi , Daniel Knop and others are , and I communicate with you....
But my tank has never been worse. ( except for when all my fishes died ). The fishes are ok, but the SPS corals are declining under my eyes and I don't know what to do. All my tests are ok, I have a apex Neptune computer with all the readings all right ( including oRP) but my stony corals continue to die and hardy corals that have survived the 43 salinity and changes in temp in the past are losing colors and get covered in Cyano. This is drawing me crazy! What could be wrong?
<... as we've been e-chatting re... Mostly they're chemically starved; and poisoned by the BGA that has been allowed, encouraged to (over) grow your substrate and more here. Re-read our most recent emails re>
Maybe the changes brought by the introduction of the refugium  - ( 100 kg of sand 2 months ago - the last 20 kg of sand only 2 weeks ago ) and some 40 kg of live rock could trigger this?
I am lost and frustrated and I really need someone to help me ( here there are no reef clubs or LFS that could help me ) .
<Re read.... B>

Cyano and troubles; ongoing; re-laments re Scleractinian issue      12/17/13
Hello Mr. F
I have understood what you explained but sometimes one can feel lost in this hobby. But is still only a hobby, so we should get some perspective and go on learning more all the time. The hard part is that we deal with living creatures, but " it's all been done before " so...
Here are some photos of some of the corals that were doing great 3 weeks ago...
I am performing 5% ( 60 l ) water changes every day if you agree, I clean every day and dose amino acids and vitamins ( weekly dose of Fuel from Seachem divided daily ) .
Could I do something more?
<I wouldn't; no>

Maybe let the lights off for a couple of days? I don't know about this one, probably not a good idea.
Thank you,

Re: Cyano and troubles    12/18/13
<... change the title Andrei. This was relegated to the spam folder again>
Hello Mr. F
How are you?
Here, I changed all the filters in the RO unit and started doing daily 5 % water changes.
<Already stated>
 I discovered that my RO water had ten times more dissolved organics than it should ( I don't know the measures units but it had a value of 140 and after the change of filters had 15 ) .
I also dose amino acids togheder with coral snow from KorallenZucht that is supposed to facilitate the absorption for the corals. After 2 days the corals seem to be a little better, but the Cyano started appearing on the sand, something that before didn't happened . So in my opinion I am dealing here with chemical starved corals that are attacked by cyani
<A semantic difference: Not "attacked", more like "poisoned">
and need strength and the amino acids that I am dosing for them that probably is fuelling more Cyano.
Please tell me your feeling about this and what do you think I should do next.
<Nothing. B>
Thank you,
Re: Cyanobacteria    12/18/13

Thank you for answering,
I know the water changes were discussed, I just wanted your opinion on the dissolved organics matter.
<... not dissolved organics... Dissolved solids. And no; not likely a large issue, but an incremental (perhaps a few to several percent)>
Please be more clear if you like, should I continue the amino acids dosing even if they might fuelling Cyano ?
<I would continue to use>
Thank you and please excuse me if I fail to understand you sometimes...
<Your English is far better than my Romanian. B>
Re: Cyanobacteria    12/19/13

Thank you,
And if we don't communicate again, I wish you Happy and Worm Holydays.
<And you and yours as well. BobF>

Hair algae growing inside a clam     12/3/13
Hello WWM Crew,
I have a problem with a Tridacna clam for which I haven't found an answer yet.
Some hair algae started to grow on one side of the clam. I didn't take care of it right away as I was battling these algaes all over my tank. I have now won the battle but I noticed that some algae managed to attach on the inside edge of the shell (note : the algaes I fougnt were green hair algaes, the ones remaining still look like hair algae but are red-brown and less soft than the green ones).
<Could be... most anything... not necessarily a Chlorophyte. One can't "tell" the taxonomic group (Division) of algae simply on the basis of color. Requires microscopic examination and sometimes other testing (storage foods et al.)>
 It is apparently causing discomfort to the clam as the mantle stays retracted on this area. I've tried to remove the algaes several time but I cannot get to the root so I am only breaking the tips away. It has now been several weeks and I am afraid it will eventually cause the clam to die. I have several hermit crabs and snails but they don't seem to either care for this type of algae or don't want to go inside the clam. The only solution which comes to my mind is to block the shell with a little piece of wood so that the clam cannot close it and use tweezers to thoroughly remove the algaes.
However, I am afraid this solution will stress the clam and possibly kill it. Do you have any other suggestion ?
<... this may be Cyanobacteria... or that in origin, accompaniment... This IS one case where I would avail myself the use of antibiotics... Erythromycin of a few sorts is sold in the trade/interest... I would move the clam to a system w/o other life that might be mal-affected for this treatment. Search WWM with the terms "chemical algaecides"; read particularly re BGA>
Thank you
Best regards,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, USA>

Cyano    1018/13
Hello crew, my name is Ben
<I'm Bob>
Ill list my tank/equipment first, 180 gallon DT with a 90 gallon sump (macro kind of growing-explained below). Skimmer- Aquamaxx cone (rated for 350 gallons), reactor-MR1 with carbon, flow- MP60 and MP 40 (opposite of each other), lighting- 3 Radian pro's (custom settings at 55%), heating- two 300w heaters (controlled by apex), Probes- Ph and Temp, return pump- Mag5, ATO- double float switch, RO/DI 5 stage with double TDS meters. I do not does anything except Alk-explained below.
Parameters are: Temp-79.5 SG 1.025, Ph 8.3, Alk 10.5 NH3 0, NO2 0, PO4 0,
<... trouble w/ NO3 and HPO4... these are needed in measurable quantities to keep photo-chemo-synthetic life going... Your "corals" are likely suffering... and the nutrient unavailability is likely favoring the BGA.
How to re-re-re-explain/state this: the folks that sell reactors and media... make money from perpetuating the idea that zip is better than
some. They're wrong>
Ca 475 Mg 1400, TDS from RO/DI 0
Chromis x3
Potters Angel
Solomon Island Yellow Tail Fairy Wrasse
Randall's Goby
Tribal Blenny
Yellow Tang
Sailfin Blenny
Clown Goby- Green
Maxi Mini Anemone - Green
Maxi Mini Anemone - Blue
Sexy Shrimp x5
Blood Shrimp
Peppermint Shrimp x2
Glass Anemone Shrimp
Emerald Crab x2
Porcelain Crab x2
Hermit Crab
Brittle Star
Serpent Star
Tuxedo Urchin - Blue/Red
Green Slimer Acro
Plated Montipora - Red
Pocillopora Coral
Hawkins Echinata
Frog Spawn
Prism Favia (struggling)
Acan Lord - Red (struggling)
Acan Lord - Blue/Green (struggling)
Neon Undata
Most of this came from an established tank however; I moved houses and upgraded in May of 2013. I went through a mini cycle after the move and did not lose anything. I got the normal diatom bloom but it went away relatively quick.
<No worries; to be expected>
Once the diatoms went away I saw some red patches growing on the sanded and knew it was Cyano or din's since there were some air bubbles.
<Not necessarily indicative. Need to sample, look under a 'scope. Plenty of this is covered/archived on WWM; otherwise I've recently published an eBook (Amazon) on marine algae, control...>
I did not observe any of this on the rocks at the time. I continued my 20% WC every other week thinking it would go away on its own but it didn't.
<Ah no; not if conditions favor it over other life>
My macro algae continued to grow well in the sump but the Cyano began to grow on it so I trimmed that portion of the macro. I eventually trimmed the macro way back because it had tripled in size. Once I did that I believe the Cyano took off. I started to see it in more places including on my LR.
My macro soon completely died off soon after the second trimming. I believe this happened since the Cyano did not really have a competitor any more.
My wife then surprised me with a citron goby. I had him in QT for about two weeks and he was eating pellets. Once he was in the DT he would not go after the food since the other fish were more aggressive eating the food. I then began to feed frozen Hikari mysis shrimp however; the citron goby would only eat one or two I split the cube in half and fed twice a day to make sure he would be eating. Some days I would feed pellets as well.
My conclusion is this, by trimming the macro back, I possibly began to over feed that lasted for several weeks, skimming too dry (not mentioned above but I was-dark coffee color), and loss of several turbo snails (fouling up the water?).
<Could be contributors>
Which lead to the Cyano and eventually an outbreak.
For a week now I have began to skim more wet so it is more of a tea color, reduced feeding to normal (every other day; either one cube feed twice a day or pellets) added more macro and been raising Ph. My Ph was sitting at 8.1 and occasional going to 7.9 but my LFS told me to raise it to 8.4 for a short time to help rid the Cyano. It appears that it is working since some of the Cyano is starting to break lose from the rocks. I have only kept my Ph at 8.35 for about two weeks so I can't say for sure if it is helping,
more time will have to tell I believe.
Any ideas on what else I can do to help rid of this slime or suggestions on what I should be doing to lesson the odds of it coming back?
<All sorts; ditching NO3, HPO4 filtrant/s, measuring RedOx/adjusting in many ways, promoting competitors, predators... do you need help using the search tool, indices on WWM? There are articles, likely several hundred responses to similar queries stored there. Have a look. >
Thank you for you time!
<And you for sharing. Bob (Robert on the eBook biz) Fenner>

Blue-Green Algae/bacteria on live rock     9/28/13
Hi, first time writing although have read a bunch on your site, thank you so much.  I have read much of your algae section but I couldn't find this described on your pages: if I have overlooked the answer, please feel free to give me the link I missed.
I am transferring 3 fish (clown fish, yellowtail damsel and yellow watchman) from my 33 gal tank to a temporary 20 gal, in order to set up a 45 gal with 30 gal refugium, Caulerpa, protein skimmer etc.  I've otherwise had no issues with parameters, fish are fine.  But my live rock has gotten pretty badly covered with black ("blue green") and red algae and I don't want it in the new tank.
<You'll either have to bleach/wash the rock (and let air dry) or leave it out for months outside and brush, freshwater rinse it...>
 When I start setting up the new tank, if I scrub the LR under freshwater, not all the bad algae will come off.
 If I put them in the new tank, won't this bad algae re-establish itself?
<Depends on the conditions there; but know that BGA WILL alter the conditions to suit it... and poison other types of life>
Or is it safer to just start from scratch, boil the LR until they look decent (I know killing all life), becoming base rock which means I would re-cycle traditionally.
<Yet another avenue. Yes. Whatever route you choose, I would use the existing rock as cleaned/abiotic base, and add a few pieces of new/fresh atop it>
Thanks for your help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Blue-Green Algae/bacteria on live rock     9/29/13

Amazing how quickly you have answered, thank you so much. I will bleach/air dry the LR. One last question re: this transfer. I have heard/read that the algae/bacteria is on the solid things (LR, glass, decor). Would it be risky to use a small amount ( say a cupful) of original water to seed the new tank? (Although the new LR I guess does the same thing?)
Thank you.
<Spores will be transferred by anything wet being moved... but; they can even get here/there (thousands of miles inland!) via the air. Adding some will not do any harm. It's discounting the mass/majority that you want to avoid. Cheers, BobF>

Why so many bubbles? BGA...       6/8/13
As you can see in this picture I have hundreds of bubbles popping up in the algae growing on my live rock.
Wherever there is any kind of algae there are bubbles. While my Purple Dottyback loves them and enjoys chasing them to the surface, I'm wondering whats the cause?
<Rapid photosynthesis (notice this occurs only during the day)... of the pest algae species... They in turn caused by "excess" nutrients, a dearth of competitors, predators... Am penning my first e-book on marine algae, control... As this is such a "popular" topic; so common>
 I have never seen so many before! And yes, I still have a red Cyano problem as you can see on my rock and substrate. Should I take out all affected rock and scrub it again, or just leave it?
<... Did I refer you to reading on WWM? You need to consider, enact other practices, gear... and solve this BGA issue... much more trouble coming than annoying bubbles>
Thanks so much!!
<Do search, read on WWM re Cyano Control, Algae in general. Bob Fenner>

Re: Why so many bubbles?  BGA... plus now HPO4,      6/13/13
Sorry to bother you once again....I had a question(ok, probably more than just one) about phosphates. What's acceptable levels?
<Mmm, depends... less than 1, or 2 ppm, depending on what livestock you have, what you're trying to do...>
 Mine tested between 0.25 and 0.5 ppm. Isn't it optimal to have 0?
<Ah no; not zero... you want/need "some", measurable HPO4 (and NO3) to sustain basal algal et al. photosynthate life in your system... in turn supports all else; even if you don't have larger photosynthetic life like "corals", endosymbiotic-containing life that needs such>
 The guy at my LFS recommend a phosphate removing poly filter, which I bought.
<A very good product>
This blasted algae remains stubborn!!! Even with all of my modifications to prevent Cyano and unwanted algae, it still persists.
<These "things" take time... have I had you read re such... Oh, I see this below. Let's make a specific rec. Read here:
and "tick off" the list of causes, what can be done to tip the balance against BGA in your system>
We will be doing another filtration mod next week. Upgrading filter media to a media basket, adding Chemipure Elite and Purigen. Also will be adding a ball of Chaeto in the back. I'm sure I will find the right balance and my tank will finally submit!!!!
<Ahh! Good>
What are your thoughts on the media?
<Mmm, I'd add something more permanent that will/does support anaerobiosis... like Ehfi-Mech, Siporax... there are others, knock-offs>
 Should I add something like Seachem PhosGuard?
<Mmm, not with the readings you give here, no>
Keep in mind all of my water tests are still in great range (except nitrates are still 10-20)
<This is okay for now as well>
 and I've read every inch of WWM on all of these topics. Fascinating, to say the least!
<Heeeee! Thanks>
Everyone in the tank is happy and eating well but it's quite the eyesore having green and red(slime) algae waving back at me from the other side!!!
<Will soon be a vague memory>
Thanks SO much once again for your helpful advice!!
<Ahh, thank you for sharing this part, your journey. BobF>

Re: Why so many bubbles?      6/14/13
Oh, good! I have Ehfi-Mech already in place in the back of my cube.
<Ahh! A great product>
 Maybe a few modifications using that and the others I mentioned will do some damage to the Cyano.
<Oh yes>
Wondering now if I should upgrade the stock return pump since everything else has been upgraded?!
<Mmm, if it is working... perhaps you can save it as a back up...>
Thanks for the tips!
<Just stating what I would likely do given similar, detailed input/circumstances. B>

Cyano outbreak!!! Sm. SW     5/18/13
I've been reading all of the info about Cyano and hoping this is just a phase, but I do have a question(s) maybe you could shed some light on.
<I hope so>
I have a 29 gallon Biocube that I have done a few small upgrades on in the last week. I removed the Bioballs and replaced with Fluval ceramic rings.

 I also bought and installed the stock Oceanic protein skimmer made for the Biocube, and am still fiddling with it to find the "sweet spot." And lastly, I added another 7 lbs of live rock to the already 20 lbs I have.
All of this was done to help drop my nitrates. I have also started doing small, twice weekly water changes as per Bobs advice.
In the last few days I have had an out break of red slime on the front half of my live sand substrate. I notice in the morning, turning on the light it has almost disappeared, but by evening it has returned stronger than ever.
I feed a very small pinch of New Life Spectrum pellets in the morning and a bit of Mysis or some other frozen meaty food in the evening. I try my best to rinse the food, to get any excess juice off before I feed. Should I cut back on feeding?
<I definitely would... at least until the BGA issue is solved>

 I currently house: 1 Purple Dottyback, 1 Fireshrimp, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 2 Percularis clowns and an algae eating Urchin.
I test rigorously, today in fact, and my numbers are good: Specific gravity: 1.025 Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 Ph: 8.2-8.4  Nitrates: 10-20 (which I'm still struggling to get below 10, but a far cry from the 80 it was a week or two ago.)
Should I upgrade my stock circulation pump and get something to get my water moving better? Will that help?
<More circulation is better>
Some info says "yes" other info I read says "no."
Will this die off on its own in time and has only cropped up because of the new upgrades?
<I do hope the BGA will abate; your actions should help>
Do I need more (or less) sand? I have about 2 inches presently.
<More would definitely be better... 3.5-4" about ideal here>

Sorry for so many questions...again. Seems I'm full of them these days.
Thanks so much for all the helpful advice!!! Without this site, I don't know what I'd do!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cyano outbreak!!!     5/21/13

Well, I went out and upgraded my circ. pump to a Hydor Koralia 425 gph. And also added a piece of polyfil to my filter.
My skimmer is skimming and I'm feeding next to nothing (just a small bit of Mysis that I rinse) and only once a day.
I'm very happy with the circ pump and I've checked for dead spots, and there are none!! Yay!
However, that dreaded red slime is still popping up on my substrate and now moving to my rocks. I'm pulling my hair out over this!!!
<Patience Heather... Cyano abatement takes time... sometimes weeks>
My numbers are all still good, as you can see from my last email, and they haven't changed. (Still struggling to lower nitrates) but at this point I'm not sure where they're coming from. We test our water that we change and make sure it's the same as our tank water.
The only thing left is our substrate. We have Ocean Direct Caribbean Live Sand. We have about 2 in. And we've been advised to add more. How do I go about adding?
<Simply pour it in... unless it's "too" dusty... in which case you'll want to freshwater rinse it (swirl around in a clean bucket till it runs clear... like rice in a rice cooker), then pour it in>
 Since the slime is on the substrate, do I remove as much slime as possible then add sand?
<Fine to just pour on top>
Help please! This Cyano is killing me!!!!
Thanks once again!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Cyano outbreak!!!    5/25/13

Still waiting for the dastardly Cyano to abate. It's now creeping up on my live rock, and I was wondering, can I take the rock out and scrub them clean with some reserved tank water/freshwater for the time being?
 And the substrate, I don't presently have a vacuum.
<I would get (or make) and use one>
 Would using a fish net work to skim it off the top of my sand? If agitated and stirred up will my fish and inverts suffer deadly consequences?
<Could; I'd vac instead>
 (I don't plan on stirring it up though.)
Everything still remains the same in my tank. Just playing the waiting game.
And lastly, what are your thoughts on the stock Oceanic Biocube skimmer?
<Is a good enough unit for most folks>
 Do you recommend an upgrade and if so, to what?
<See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/skimrs4smsysfaqs.htm
Thanks for all your help and reassurance!! I'll just be sitting here tapping my foot, twiddling my thumbs till the Cyano decides its through with me!
<This too shall pass. BobF>

Cyano mostly gone    2/21/13
Hi, I've been battling Cyanobacteria for many months now.  I am so close to finally getting rid of this nasty stuff but I just can't seem to get over this last little hump.  This tank setup is a 55 gallon tank with around 75 pounds of live rock and about 1/2 - 3/4 inches of live sand depending on where you measure.
<Mmm, I'd add a few more inches of fine sand here; and/or in a tied in sump/refugium>
 The rock is in the middle of the tank and arranged with lots of tunnels to reduce the dead spots as much as possible.  I have a 260 GPH pump driving the UV sterilizer.  There are two 500 GPH and one 700 GPH circulation pumps.  There is a Penguin Emperor 400 and a Fluval C4 hang on back filter that I use to throw a media bag into when I need to but mostly they just move water around.  They never run floss, cartridges or bio balls.  I have a Reef Octopus BH90 HOB skimmer which has been fantastic, it may be the only thing I've bought that actually lived up to the glowing reviews on the internet.  The pH is 8.3 and really does not change.  I add Seachem marine buffer when I mix up salt but that's about it.  Ammonia is 0, nitrites are 0 and since I've been waging war, my nitrates have been significantly reduced and now hover around 2-4 ppm depending on how close it is to the water change.  There are a handful of snails, a few peppermint shrimp (my Aiptasia war veterans), the last surviving Green Reef Chromis, a Lyretail Hawkfish and a Coral Beauty so I think I'm stocked on the lighter side. 
For feeding, I take a cube of Mysis shrimp and a cube of something that has all kinds of random sea critters mixed in and thaw it into a cup.  I feed twice a day slowly to make sure as little as possible makes it to the bottom.  I get three feedings per cup.  I have a single 48 inch NO 32 watt T8 fluorescent bulb. 
<I'd add more light, to encourage other photosynthetic life>
It's a Reef Sun 50/50 which is 6500K and actinic 420 that is 3 months old. 
I change 11 gallons of water every week (it just happens to be how much my container holds).  I am currently running one cup of PhosGuard and 1/2 cup of activated charcoal both of which get changed every 3-4 weeks during wartime.  At this point, I've not had any Cyano on any of the rocks for a month or so.  The only Cyano I get is little splotches on the sand bed.  It is not a mat, the section of sand just has a pink hue to it.  If I leave them however, they will grow into a mat after maybe four or five days.  I siphon off these little splotches every other day or so to keep on top of the problem.  So since the start of the battle, I've went from every two weeks to weekly water changes, bought the skimmer, started using PhosGuard and activated charcoal and replaced the light.  I still have Cyano.
<Yes; you state/have conditions that favor it/BGA, and not other life here...>
So here's what I think the problem is.  There is just not enough stuff to out compete the Cyano.
 I have minimal algae growing on the glass, I can go a week without having to clean the glass and when I do, it's a couple of quick swipes.  There is no algae to speak of growing on the rocks other than coralline which is spreading.  I am toying with the idea of actually increasing the light to try to get more algae to grow even though the Cyano will probably grow like crazy at first.
<We'll see...>
 The other thing I thought about was trying to come up with a way to add bacteria that will also compete with the Cyano.  
<The DSB mentioned... do review here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm
and the linked files above>
What do you think my next move should be?
<Ahh, reading>
  I think right now that the Cyano and I have reached a stalemate so something has to give.
Thanks, Paul
<And we'll be chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Cyano mostly gone    3/2/13

Hello! I took the LED hood from my dormant coral tank (a failure for me but I am determined to try again so I kept it in storage) that has 25 x 3 watt 14K, 4 x 3 watt Actinic and some small number of moon LED's and was able to cover half the tank.  I moved some rocks around to get more of them under the high beams.  I'd forgotten how much I loved how those lights made the tank look.  I was prepared for a massive Cyano outbreak but it never materialized.  There may have been slightly more red tinged patches compared to the side that still had the old lighting on it.  I've been running the lights for 14 hours a day to encourage anything photosynthetic to get a move on and start growing.  The nitrates moved down over the period of three days are very close to zero so something is growing.  After the lights have been on for a while, I'm getting tiny bubbles on the live rock which I presume to be oxygen though it does not look like anything is growing on them.  They eventually break free and float away.  There is nothing holding them down and they are not the Cyano "red balloons" I've seen pictures of.  The light got something growing and it appears to have used up all the available nitrates.  I hope it's something green rather than something red.  So now is it just a game of patience?
<Unless you do something...>
  Do I just keep sucking the little red tinged bits of sand out every few days?  Since I'm trying to encourage things to grow, should I remove the PhosGuard?
<... have you read on WWM re BGA control, prevention?>
Now for the deep sand bed.  I read quite a bit about them the past few days.  I have plenty of room for a sump but I believe I've been scared away from it because of all the flooding stories of doing one without a drilled tank.  Then again, it's hard to know if the floods were caused by bad luck or bad judgment.  One other option that I'm not sure would work are some of the hang on back refugiums but I question if there is enough area to make a difference. 
<There often is>
Some are in the range of 20x4x15.  Would that even be enough to make it worth while?
<Likely so>
 One last idea that may or may not work is since I don't like the look of a DSB in the main tank, what if I were to slope it towards the back of the tank so that I don't have 3-4 inches of sand piled up against the front and side glass?  Would I be asking for trouble?
<Would also probably be an improvement. Bob Fenner>
Thanks, Paul
Re: Cyano mostly gone    3/2/13

Brain freeze...yes, I did read BGA control :-)
<Ahh! Well, I do encourage a "multi prong" attack. Limiting nutrient, increasing light and encouraging useful photosynthetic life as you're doing; measuring, improving RedOx, employing a DSB, refugium w/ RDP lighting....>
I exercised your PayPal donate button, seems to still work just fine though I wish I could do more.
<The thought itself is highly appreciated. BobF>
Thanks again.
Re: Cyano mostly gone    3/3/13

Good Morning (from Connecticut),
I've decided to get a CPR refugium later this month.
<Good units in my estimation>
 I'll let you know how it works out.  I just bought The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, beautiful photos! 
<Ahh! Mostly done by others>
I will let you know in a month or so how it all ends. Goodbye and good luck.
<And you, BobF>

Cyanobacteria - Light color impact on growth?     2/20/13
I've started to limit my light cycles to control my Cyanobacteria outbreak.
Does Cyano utilize actinic/blue (as used for moon light) or RGB lighting (as used for my algae scrubber)? If so, I just assume shut these off for a week or so, to see if this will help with my current scourge.
Thanks, Dave
<BGA span the use of useful wavelengths of photonic energy for photosynthesis.
... use your search tool: "blue green algae photosynthetic wavelengths"
Read esp. the Sci. Am. pc.:

Re: red turf war Continues!   2/18/13
OMG,..I totally forgot about testing for nitrate.
In the past, I never had nitrates because of my constant water changes. So I stopped testing for it.
As far as the phosphate is concerned, I figured, why test for it, when it's obvious I have it (the algae growth) but something tells me my reasoning is incorrect.
Going to the store right  NOW!
Thanks James!
Re Red Turf War Continues!    2/18/13

You're welcome Pam
James (Salty Dog) 

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: