FAQs on Controlling Filamentous
("Hair") Marine Green Algae 4
(Filamentous, Attached) Algae 1, Green Hair Algae 2, Green Hair Algae 3, & Green Algae Control 1, Green Algae Control 2, Green Algae Control 3, Green Algae Control 4, Green algae Control 5, Green Algae Control 6, Green Algae Control 7, &
By Group: Bryopsis & Derbesia,
Bubble Algae (Boergesenia, Dictyosphaeria, Valonia...),
Chaetomorpha, Halimeda, Neomeris, Hair (Filamentous, Attached) Algae,
Green Water (Planktonic) Algae
Blooms, & Algae
Control, Marine Algicide
Limitation, Marine Algae
Macro-Algae; Caulerpas, Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae,
Related Articles: Embracing Biodiversity, Green
Algae By Mark E. Evans, Algae
Control, Caulerpa Algae,
Maintenance, Nutrient Control
and Export, Marine Scavengers,
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"/(Cyanobacteria), Diatoms, Brown
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
Marine Aquarium Algae Control
by Robert (Bob) Fenner
<Free> Live rock with green hair algae
There is a guy around me breaking down his 125 salt tank. He is
basically giving away his stuff for free. He has lots of live rock that
I would like, problem is there is a significant amount of green hair
algae on it.
1) What would be the consequences to putting rock with GHA on it into my
tank that has none
<Not much... evidence of previous lax maintenance; can be cured by
improved on your part>
2) Is it safe to put the live rock he has without the algae in my tank?
<Likely so; yes. I would use it... a bargain... if naught else,
cleaned/bleached/air-dried as base rock>
3) Are there ways to get rid of the algae if I were to put it in my
<As stated, good care over time. A dearth of available nutrients (mainly
N, P...), competitors (macro algae culture principally), and stocking of
algae predators. >
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
<Let's have you read this review:
and the linked files at top....>
Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics
I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of the email, but I did want to
make sure I gave you every detail possible.
I have been combating hair algae for approximately a year now.
Here is the current stock and tank information.
180 gallon reef tank 72in x 24in x 24in, 80 lbs live rock, aragonite
<Mmm; well... let me comment as we go along. I'd ditch the Aragonite... see WWM
for rationale and alternatives>
30 gallon sump
<Oh! What do you do with this sump? I WOULD have a DSB here, RDP macro-algal
Livestock, inverts, corals: 2 black and white clowns, 2 ocellaris clowns,
mandarin dragonet, royal gramma, orchid dotty back, lawnmower blenny, azure
damsel, 5-pincushion sea urchins, purple Linckia starfish, peppermint shrimp,
handful shrimp and snails
Zoas, Palys, hammer/anchor, star polyps, mushrooms, Sympodium, candy cane, rock
anemone, rose bubble tip anemone, Acan (not doing so well)
<Likely it's losing to the Zoanthids and more... Better placed elsewhere>
Livestock fed about once a week-
<I'd increase this with smaller feedings to at least every other day... if not
frozen and freeze dried mysis, salmon roe(Asian market sushi), new life
spectrum. Stopped frozen stuff about 3 weeks ago after realizing the perils of
Coralife 2900 powerhead installed a couple weeks ago (prior to this Koralia
Hydro Koralia 1500
Kessil 360w x 2
one cheap recycled LED with just the actinic being used
Reef Octopus Classic NWB 110 in sump skimmer(I know this is under rated for the
size of the tank, clean out grime weekly)
Homemade phosphate reactor using PhosGuard introduced about 2 weeks ago(prior to
this phosphate was at 1.0)
Auto top off with unsalted RODI water
5 stage BRS RODI with chloramine for source water; filters changed about 2.5
months ago, but prior to that had not been changed in a while(well passed what
they should have been).
Seems like problems with algae started shortly after a major tank wipeout from
<Am wondering what your RedOx is here... I'd bet low; under 200 uS/cm.>
Left tank essentially fallow(no fish or coral) for about 3 months or so.
Started reintroducing fish and coral shortly after algae started. Measures
taken-removed all substrate(typical sand) and switched to aragonite and rocks
scrubbed about 3 months ago. Tank looked good for about 1-2 weeks
and then algae returned. I've bulb suctioned and manually removed the algae with
water changes. Water changes about 10-20% every week. Current levels as of two
days ago with water change were
<Mmm; low... s/b 7-9.... the higher value better>
<Better higher.... I'd shoot for 4 meq/l>
<Too high... I'd keep under 400 ppm>
<And this in proportion... about 3X>
RODI water nitrates and phosphates negative
<The above two mighty fine>
I've included some pics, taken two days after a water change
<Bunk and gunk!>
Again, apologies for the lengthy email. Thank you so much for your help
<No worries... you see my suggestions above? Dump the gravel, mod the
sump/refugium (add sugar fine DSB of 10 cm/4in plus depth), macro-algae of use;
lighting on a reverse photoperiod....); increase the feeding interval;
time going by.... and Wham! All fixed. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics
Bob thank you for your quick response and expertise. After your response I tried
to find all the articles about the RedOx and dsb/macroalgae use so I didn't ask
a bunch of already answered questions,
apologies if I didn't succeed. I'll decrease calcium and magnesium, increase
alk/kH. Would you actually recommend measuring RedOx level or just treating
empirically by adding Caulerpa?
<Am a HUGE fan of measure; and if practical, manipulation (w/ 03 admin.) of
RedOx... ALL public aquariums and bigger wholesale; many retail facilities avail
themselves of this useful tool/window into biological fitness of systems>
I'm running into a little bit of confusion regarding the substrate. From what I
am reading(please correct me if I'm wrong) the issue is more with the size of
aragonite and not the aragonite itself.
<You are correct; though many "aragonites" trend to be more calcite/insoluble
than useful period>
I will add a sugar fine dsb into a section of the sump along with macroalgae. Is
your preference Caulerpa or a variety?
<Please read here re:
Am decidedly against the use of Caulerpaceans nowayears; instead push species of
the genera Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha>
Whatever the substrate is would you recommend the display tank have sugar fine
<Mmm; yes; unless you're stocking some organisms that can/will use other... >
So after correcting all of this will all the algae dying off cause a spike in
nutrients and if so will normal water changes be sufficient or will manual
extraction be needed?
<Indeed it will>
Thanks again for all the help
<Thank you for your intelligent, patient involvement. BobF>
Re: Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics
Okay I'm eyeballing the Milwaukee ORP tester on bulk reef. As far as treating
with ozone, are the human health concerns reasonable and likely
<No.... as gone over and over... on WWM, books and articles I've penned...
get/use a unit (ozonizer, likely a corona discharge unit) that only produces a
few mg. of 03 per hour... No human danger>
(have a 13, 8 and 3 year old)? I went ahead and got some Chaeto and Gracilaria
from LFS and put it in sump with LED lighting. They had CaribSea aragonite
Aragamax sugar size oolite-would this be acceptable?
Thanks again for your advice
Re: Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics; Ozone/RedOx
Bob I received my Milwaukee MW500 ORP meter and you were spot on. ORP
read at 11.
<Yeeikes! Distilled water, milk, or dielectric oil used to fill submersible
Thoughts on such a drastically low ORP?
I'm planning on installing an Ozotech Poseidon 200mg/hr 30281 aw-blk and using a
Milwaukee mc510 (wish I would've got this in the first place) to control it.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but from any info I've been able to find it
appears the two can communicate with each other.
<Should be able to. Contact the manufacturers of both if a problem>
Based on the crews previous comments it looks like both units are typically on
the preferred lists compared to other devices, does this still stand true?
Thanks again for your insight
<And you for your participation, sharing. BobF>
Marine aquarium... no data; reading, using WWM 7/8/15
Hey my name is Michael I have an aquarium that is over run with green
hair algae what do you recommend.
I've tried everything pulling and brushing it off. Shortened my lighting
introduced a few fish recommended from local pet store and nothing it always
comes back I'm using water out of a ro system for water changes my pH levels
seem good in my water test. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Email me
backache XXXX@yahoo.com thanks
<Uhh; start here:
scroll down to the algae tray.... general and hair algae FAQs files... Bob
Hair Algae. Using WWM
I have a 125 gallon reef tank that has become an eyesore with hair algae.
I have been doing frequent water changes, control feedings to minimize waste,
and use a protein skimmer and phosphate reactor, all to no avail.
I have 180 pounds of live rock most of which is covered with hair algae and I
have to use a stiff brush every other day so it doesn't become overwhelming, and
I'm getting worn out with it. All fish and corals seem happy and healthy.
Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. Before I tear the system
down, I thought I would send a message to you to see if there is anything else I
Thanks in advance
<Have you read here:
and the linked files above? Do so. Bob Fenner>
Hair algae issue
Good afternoon crew! Ok I am going to make this quick and condensed for you, I
am have hair algae issues on my live rock and all other surfaces in my reef
tank, I have been battling this for over 8 months with no success.
I have tested nitrate it reads 0
<Being taken up....>
and phosphate and it also tests 0 I presume it is from the algae consuming it.
Brief on my tank its a 90 gallon, with 55 gallon sump, Mag 9.5 return pump with
dual returns one on each end, Hydor 1150 power head, large reef octopus skimmer,
gfo reactor which is changed every two weeks, carbon reactor changed monthly,
and uv sterilizer changed every six months,
lighting is reef breeder 48 photon with a 8 hour light cycle which only runs
peak intensity for 2 hours. I have about 100 pounds of live rock and a three
inch sand bed. I have upped my water changes to 40 gallons a week, over this
time period slowly thinking I am missing something, I siphon/ scrub/pull/ trim/
turkey bast/ and blow power heads directly on the rock
and toothbrush my rocks weekly but to no avail it comes right back! I only have
6 small fish in the tank, but several very large stony corals, SPS and LPS
mixed, along with a large maxima clam. All the corals are growing very well with
excellent color and polyp extension, all my inverts are normal with no signs of
stress, I have the clean up crew from hell but they aren't making a
<Which species? Do you have a Salarias, related species of blenny?>
The tank itself is only 2 years old but the rock is from previous systems I have
had over the years and just added as I upgraded over time, the rock ranges in
age from 8-2 years old. The sand bed is only 2 years old and ironically it is
the only thing the GHA isn't on. My sump has not single a spec of algae
growth in it.
<Do you culture macro algae there?>
I batch mix my water for all of my tanks and they do not have a single problem,
so it is not my rodi water or salt, I have a twin to this tank that is all two
years old and not single issue. So after researching and
trying just about every single thing I can think of
<.... Have you read on WWM re? There are other competitors, predators...
Lanthanum use, RedOx....>
I am and ready to pull my hair out! Is it possible my rock is leaching phosphate
into the water and the algae is just consuming it to fast to detect?
<Possibly a factor. Easy enough to test for>
Is the tank worth saving or just rip it down and by all new live rock? Am I to
the point of no return for the rock in the tank? I physically have tried all
methods I can find short of some of the chemical ones as I am nervous about
doing it with my corals... Please help thanks as always Brian
<See WWM re pest filamentous algae... Do you need help using the search tool?
(on every page), Indices? Bob Fenner>
Re: Hair algae issue
Hi Bob I have a starry blenny he is about 5 inches,
I have tried a sea hare which only lived for about 2 weeks and died however it
was making a dent,
<Most Aplysids sold in the trade are inappropriate for aquarium use>
I have 6 urchins, about 10 Mexican Turbos, no clue on hermits and other types of
snails, I have a refugium with Chaeto in it growing well on opposing light cycle
of the main tank, I have looked in to lanthanum and hydrogen peroxide, I have
already done the hourly PH testing with no major swing noted, I actually did it
for a full 24 hours I am that determined, I am considering "cooking my rock", I
have read page upon page on your site and others. As I said the only thing I can
think of is the rock being the culprit. Unless you can think of something I
<Am tempted to suggest you read/try Quinine for a few half doses... to "re-set"
the balance in your system.
Know that there are kinds, mixes of species of algae that can/do modify an
environment to vastly favor their existence, supremacy (sort of like the
two-party system at the fed level.... oh, okay don't get us started).
Oh; and I do want to direct you to reading re a new product: Nualgi.com ....
Spoke w/ the owner/mgr. at last years Aquatic Experience and more recently on
the phone (turns out we live in the same phone prefix!). Looks like the real
GHA Problems (Green hair Algae); SW, rdg.
A happy new year to you all! I'd love to say the same to my tank but
sadly, I can't. I'm actually pretty close to tearing the whole thing
down because of an outbreak of GHA.
<Can be over-come...>
Anyway, my problem started some time in December.
The system which has been running for over a year then is a 17G
nano cube with a 5G sump. Filtration is done by LRs mainly and
via protein skimmer (an RO NWB110, rated for 100G). Livestock is a
mixture of softies and LPS, with one false Perc and a tail spotted
blenny. Ever since the nutrient levels were a bit on the high side as I
tend to feed a little bit more,
10-20PPM nitrates and phosphates at around .5 (.5 PPM? I know right?),
but thing is, despite these relatively high levels, I have not had any
issues with algae. Corals were all looking great as well.
<Like weeds in gardens (terrestrial); having more than enough
fertilizer can be fine... given competition effects, other good
planting... weeding/maintenance... the same avenues for combating pest
algae in aquariums. Oh, all covered on WWM in articles and thousands of
Well, it was, right up to the point when I decided to reduce the levels
in November because I was thinking of adding SPS to the tank. I started
using Phosguard for phosphates and started carbon dosing (I chose
sugar). I gradually build the sugar dose and after a couple of weeks,
both nitrates and phosphates read 0. I was a happy clam.
<If you had a clam or the SPS they would NOT be happy... need both>
Then I started noticing patches of GHA growing from one of the rocks.
pulled them off (or thought I did) and thought it odd. After that, there
were more patches and this time
in all the places! I've been pulling them off where I can and have been
doing the usual maintenance of WS
<What is this WS?>
every 2 weeks, currently on a maintenance dose for sugar, and I've cut
down the light exposure to 6 hours a day, but
it appears that I am losing the battle. More and more GHA are appearing
everywhere and some of my Zoas are starting to close up due to the close
proximity of some of the GHA.
<Nope; lack of nutrient>
All this time, the nutrients are at 0.
Help! What do I do?
and the linked files above.... where you lead yourself.... till you have
a plan. Bob Fenner>
Re: GHA Problems 1/13/15
That was fast! Thank you for the reply. Sorry, water change (WC), not
WS. What confuses me though is that where is it coming from?
<The original spores? The air, rock, water... >
What's feeding it?
When nitrates and phosphates are at undetectable levels. In the past
weeks they really look like they're thriving :-/
<Don't write: READ. BobF>
Niger Trigger... Ramblin' gal... re? stkg? Alg. control? Bar
I had 3 different Triggers in my tank, I re-homed the Picasso
and Clown today but we couldn't catch the Niger. He is about 1 year old.
4 to 5 inches.
<May need to trap... or small hook and line... or drain the tank down>
He gave me a hand size Brittle Star in return. I have
Leathers and a few mushrooms, (I'd like to get more mushrooms). I
have a sail fin tang, hippo tang, lawnmower blenny and a plain hawk
fish. My question is regarding the Niger, I'd like to get
a sea hare
<Do see WWM re... These rarely work out>
to clean up the hair algae in the tank but don't want to
worry about the trigger messing with it and it letting off ink. I have a
110 gal tank with a LOT of live rock. I also would like to get a
couple more small fish, any recommendations?
<That you take the time to read on WWM re the compatibility FAQs
files... for everything you have, and intend>
I really appreciate your expertise.
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Niger Trigger... ? Full Luna? 3/9/14
The FAQ's seem to be specific to peoples questions that are not my
questions. I don't see anything about these rarely work out,
sorry but do you have a link or something?
<... a link to what?>
Re: Niger Trigger 3/9/14
What do you think about a fox face for eating hair algae?
<Siganids do eat several types...>
bio pellets vs. vodka 3/8/14
Hi, I have been running bio pellets(in a reactor) as a nitrate reduction
systems, I have a second reactor with gfo. I still struggle with small
amounts of hair algae. I have recently read some literature that
suggests doing vodka dosing instead of bio pellets. Do you guys have a
preference or recommendation for nitrate control?
<Six of one... either/both use is based upon a real need/shortage of
carbon... Well-fed, managed systems rarely are C deficient. Providing
more is counterproductive; even deleterious. Bob Fenner>
waters on Cape Cod; diving for Mespilia in the wrong sea
This post / question will be different, I'm sure, and I hope you can
I live on Cape Cod Mass and my 75 gallon reef tank is totally
smothered with GHA!
And yes, I have tried everything possible to rid the system ,
using tons of advice for the past 9 months!
Last resort, Tuxedo Urchins Mespilia globulus.
The problem is, I am totally out of money,..BUSTED!
If I were to dive into the waters here on the Cape, where would I find
them, if at all?
<Ah no... are tropical... in the Indo-Pacific. Nothing you could/would
find there will really do well in a heated system... possibly w/ the
exception of life swept up summer-seasonally from the south>
Hopefully, not too far down, as I can only hold my breath for about one
<Turn the lights off for now. Save up for a good scavenger. Bob Fenner>
Re: waters on Cape Cod 3/7/14
So glad I found you at the helm Bob,...lights are off!
Will keep you
posted, ........hold your breath, your lungs are more advanced than
<Well; more aged. B>
Like a good cheese!
RE: Help Needed!!
Filamentous algae in a comm. setting 5/4/13
Hello Crew , hello NateG !!
Here is a quiz on which I have spent too much time on.
As Mr. Bob already knows , I am a pet shop owner specialized on aquariums.
In my corals tank I have the following problem the last 6 months.
The tank "produces" 2 types of algae (as I believe) as per photos. First
time I noticed that was after I received for a customer a Caulerpa rock that
I hosted for about 14 days. In this tang as a cleaning crew I have a Lo
Vulpinus , a Ctenochaetus Tominiensis , Salarias Fasciatus , Six Line wrasse
and a Mandarin. Tomini usually was hitting the Caulerpa rock so at first I
was thinking that Tomini moved the Caulerpa at other places in the tank and
Caulerpa started growing , so after 2 months I removed the whole algae (or
as much as I could from the racks) manually. Removed all the corals and
cleaned theirs rock and then removed the sand bed , and cleaned all the
glasses and racks. After the cleaning procedure , changed the 40% of water ,
picked another sand bed (black one) but the quantity was less than what I
removed. After 2 approx months the same thing happened , cleaning once again
the whole tank manually. Right now , once again after 2 months we are at the
So here is the set up and parameters of the tank
700 Litres (350 x 40 x50 cm )
<I'd add/ w a DSB, a RDP lighting arrangement>
An external filter (Rena XP3) 1250 ltr/h , with Sera's activated carbon ,
Sera's Phosvec Granulat and Sera's Silicate clear.
Aqua medic Skimmer shorty 3500 with 2 x Eheim 1260
3 x Tunze Turbelles , 4000 ltr/h each and Tunze wave box.
All the parameters are measured by Hanna's equipment.
Temp: 25 Celsius
PH: 8,1 - 8,3
KH : 8,5 - 9
Ca: 420-445 ppm
Mg: 1260-1300 ppm
PO4 < 0,10
I dose manually every day Ca and KH , and magnesium as needed.
I use Seachem-AquaVitro Fuel twice a week ( I know that this could be fuel
for algae also)
I feed every 2 days Gamma NutraPlus complete feed (as per tank litres)
I feed every day Sera's GVG mix , and Gamma frozen Brine shrimp.
I use AquaVitro salinity salt.
If you need any other info please let me know
I would appreciate your thoughts.
<I'd likely add a phosphate limiting chemical (Lanthanum) or absorbent here
to knock the PO4 down an order of magnitude... The DSB arrangement will do
this long term. Bob Fenner>
Re: Help Needed!! Comm. alg. control... new eBook
Thank you very much for your reply and your thoughts.
Unfortunately is not possible to install a sump at this tank. (no space
<Maybe large canister filters then?>
Any idea what kind of algae are those?? I tried to match them with some
other photos from WWM but with no success.
<Have to look through a microscope... could be some sort/species of
filamentous green (Chlorophyte) or even a BGA (Cyanophyte), or...?
Algae/Thallophytes and the Monerans that are Blue-Greens are classed at
the Division level on the bases of their gross micro-morphology, storage
foods, photosynthetic pigments... see the Net or works on
Am writing an e-book re presently>
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire
<Hiya Dave. Nate here>
Hope all is well your way. I have some questions about a major
hair algae outbreak. I'll start with some history. The tank
is 75 gallons. The inhabitants are a banded sleeper goby
(Amblygobius phalaena), Tailspot blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura), royal
gramma, solon fairy wrasse(Cirrhilabrus solorensis) and a melanurus
wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus). I had been running a Remora pro
but was unhappy with the results(not the fault of the skimmer, just too
big of a tank and to big of fish) and a large CPR Aquafuge. I also have
90-100 lbs of rock and 3 inches of sand(that I think has become a
<What particle size?>
For circulation I have a Vortech MP40 that I run on either reef crest
mode or nutrient export. The lighting is 4 T5s with 4 month old bulbs.
I have plans to upgrade to a 90 gallon soon, but its not soon enough as
the outbreak has become a real eye sore. Plus I feel that it may be
adversely affecting my fish. Normal parameters are 0 on nitrite and
ammonia. PH usually is around 8.0-8.1 as best as I can read on a Seachem
test. **Nitrates and phosphates barely register though I am sure
they are there.
I've done a lot of reading and tried different things like adding Phosban
and carbon reactors. I have started another plan and would like
any thought and advice you would care to give:
<How about a clean up crew?>
Step 1. I have added a 10 gallon tank as a sump with an Eshopps U-tube
overflow( I am terrified of this, but until I can get my drilled tank
started this seems like the only solution). I know the 10 gallon is
small, but it was all I could get to fit in my stand. I use an Eheim
1262 with a gate valve for a return.
Step 2. Added an AquaC EV-180 with another Eheim 1262 pump plumped
Step 3. Added a 10 gallon trash that receives water from a pump in the
sump and returns it to the sump.
Step 4. This is where I need help. My first move was to manually
remove the large clumps of hair algae. I pulled several rocks from
the tank and scrubbed them as well as possible, and placed them in the
trash can where they will not receive light. My thinking here is that
the lack of light will choke off the algae and I can begin moving the
rock in and out of this area as the larger skimmer gets control of the
nutrients. Is there any value in this or would I be better off
just using this area as a remote DSB to help with nitrates?
<I wouldn't go with the DSB until you have other things under control.
Put those resources into an urchin or 3, several turbo snails, Trochus,
a small army of blue leggers, Nassarius snails (XL), Cerith snails. All
very useful cleaners. Let them do their job slowly over time. Once the
algae is under control start to pull out an urchin or two and the
Turbos. Bring them back to the LFS for some credit.>
Also, earlier I said the fish had been acting up. The Halichoeres
has suddenly been a lot jumpier for lack of better word. He is about
4-5" and usually just cruises the rocks picking at them when he sees
something he likes. Over the last few weeks, he has begun hiding
and darting around the tank more. He ate my large cleaner shrimp,
which he had never showed even a passing interest in (though I always
knew there was a possibility).
<Ah yes, I'd forgotten you had that little bugger.>
I attribute the attack to the reduced feedings I've implemented to help
the algae problem, but he has also become more boisterous with the other
tank mates. Could the water quality be affecting him, or should I
increase the feedings again?
<Continue to at least feed daily>
Sorry about the length of this. Thank you for the continued help I have
received from you over the years. It has been greatly appreciated
by me and all my friends who have asked me to help them set up tanks
after seeing mine.
<Is it a true fish only system? Although by putting the rock into the
10g trash can may eradicate the algae off of those particular rocks. Its
dissolution is feeding the rest of the algae in addition to being pulled
out by the skimmer. Run your skimmer thin for several weeks. Hair algae
is no doubt a lot of work to get rid of. I've found that the
easiest/best way to get rid of it is with a substantial clean up crew
and lots of water changes. But you must also address what gave the algae
a foothold in the first place. Hope that helped. -NateG>
Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire
Thanks for the quick response. To answer your questions and
provide a little more info:
The sand is mostly sugar fine with a cap of larger grain to prevent a
<A nice blend you have there>
Unfortunately, the goby and some snails took care of mixing that for me.
<haha yup. Looks more natural that way right? :)>
The photo period is 12 hours with a reverse period on the fuge.
There is some coral in the tank, but it is just pulsing xenia. Also the
rocks have a healthy coralline coat on them.
<Cut the display down to 6 hrs. Do you have the stock power compact
light on the AquaFuge? Up that cycle as well>
My cleanup crew is 3-5 Turbos. One of them was even involved in the
scrubbing the other night as it too had become overgrown. I have
an several Nassarius snails, 6-10 Cerith, a few Astrea and Trochus, and
a few Nerites. I gave up keeping track because I find a shell
every once in awhile from Halichoeres helping himself to a snack.
<Right...try and keep track anyways. Right now in particular. Turbo
snails are incredible algae eaters. A nice big handful of them will save
you a lot of time and energy. But all will starve afterwards when the
algae pop can only support a few. So what is your goal for the tank?
Mixed reef? Fish only? That wrasse really doesn't belong with reef
inverts. Gorgeous fish but be conscientious my friend>
I use R.O. water I get from the grocery store machines. I don't think it
is exactly 0 TDS. It was in the 20s last I checked it I think.
<Ook. That be a game changer haha. The "Purified Drinking Water" sold by
the gallon at Wal-Mart isn't the cheapest way of going about this, but
it tests much much closer to zero. There is really no way of telling
what that reading of 20 consists of (without doing costly mail out
tests). With all of the variables in play. Good RODI water is an easy
What kind of urchins would you recommend? I had always held off of those
because I was worried about the nitrates and wasn't sure if any of my
fish would harass them(I'm sure by now you know which fish I was
<Tuxedo Urchin (Mespilia globulus) is a personal favorite>
Would a sand sifting star or a brittle star be of any use?
<I don't have a lot of experience with fish only systems, so
unfortunately i cannot speak of their safety. But yes they could be
I have always been concerned that a brittle or serpent star could become
dangerous to the fish.
<Brittle=danger, serpent="peaceful". You may occasionally come across a
particularly aggressive serpent star like any other critter that can go
in a reef>
What about a Rabbitfish? I had seen Siganus doliatus recommended for 90s
on this site before, but hesitant to throw another fish into this mix
with the wrasse acting up the way he is. Also, when you say run the
skimmer thin, can I assume you mean very wet and keep up with top offs?
<Yep. You only have the one coral. At this point rip out as much as you
Oh and I forgot to mention another reason for the trash can fuge was to
provide a safe haven for peppermint shrimp while attacking the Aiptasia
that has gotten hold on some of those rocks as well.
<Ah. Yeah I would put using 0 TDS RODI as your top priority. Take a look
at getting yourself a solid RODI unit and perhaps an ATO down the line.
They are invaluable. -NateG>
Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire
I had meant it to be a mixed reef when I upgrade.
I did do a lot of research about the melanurus wrasse and found most
people had few problems
and even recommended them for reefs because they were excellent pest
<Yeah but ate your shrimp...I don't like him>
Unfortunately, I may have gotten one of the more rowdy ones.
For the first year+ it's been a model citizen. With luck it will
calm down again with more frequent feedings, otherwise I'll look to
remove it. I'll look into getting my R.O. unit going. I had
leak troubles and haven't had time to address it so it's sitting in my
<What model is it? What kind of a leak? Where from?>
Oh and one last weird question/observation. My solon fairy wrasse swam
in the powerhead current and rolled over and righted himself in less
than a second and just kept swimming like nothing happened. Is it normal
for a fish to do a barrel roll? I know I've never seen it. Thanks you
for all the advice, it is truly appreciated.
<This is in front of your MP40 or other powerhead? Either way I wouldn't
worry too much about it, the powerhead has pretty unnatural flow when
sitting right in front of it so its not unexpected for the wrasse to
behave abnormally -NateG>
Hair algae, SW...
Hi guys, I'm in need of advice regarding some sort of hair algae (long,
silky, light-brown, feathery strands, which enjoys growing on all
surfaces) in my 3 month old 40g long mixed reef. The tank was
started with 50lbs of dry Marco rock, 15 lbs of LR from a pre-existing
20 gal tank (with no visible algae--save coralline, whatsoever) and a
few cups of sand from that system. I also added 40 lbs of dry
aragonite, rinsed thoroughly with...well water, straight from the hose.
I did this because the sand was so incredibly "milky", and though I did
strain off the water, it was admittedly still quite damp. I think
this may have caused the algae, but also fear that I might have stressed
the system's biological balance, having, after one week, added my
existing livestock: 3 Pajama Cardinals, a Pencil Urchin, a few snails &
hermits, a few Ricordeas, Green Star Polyps, and an unidentified lime
green LPS "polyp rock" hitchhiker from the original batch of Fla,
<Have you measured Alkalinity, HPO4? This rock may be leaching...>
then, a Flame Hawk about a month later.
The system uses a single "east-west" drilled overflow, two Koralia
powerheads on a wavemaker, a 20g sump, including a Reef Octopus skimmer
(rated to 125g), a Liverock/Chaeto filled fuge, and a Mag 5 return.
Lighting is a 48" x 4 lamp TEK light, raised a ft. off the surface.
I use only RO/DI water (TDS measuring at 2ppm currently) for top-off and
water changes, which are done monthly at 20%.
<I'd do ten percent weekly>
Nitrates and Phosphates are undetectable, though I do run Phosban pellets,
<These may be a source of trouble>
stretched out in a media bag along the top of the sump's bubble-trap for
a couple days at a time. All other parameters measure within
recommended ranges, except for Alk, which is chronically low--5.4 dKH,
presently. I've heard that low Alk. can result from new aragonite,
and had been dosing a couple teaspoons of baking soda daily to raise it,
and though this worked, I've stopped this, preferring to find the root
issue. I feed the fish a quarter cube of frozen, rinsed Mysis
daily. Everybody appears to be doing quite well. I add no
So, as far as the algae issues, with continued proper maintenance, will
this correct itself over time?
<Maybe, perhaps not though>
If it is, say, phosphates or silicates from the well water causing the
algae, how long could it be these elements are finally "processed" out
of the system?
<Harvesting of macroalgae mostly... weeks, months>
I fear that manual removal will exacerbate the problem, as after cleaning
off the glass on a couple of occasions, I did notice more growth
(seemingly suddenly) on the rock.
Thanks so much, I really enjoy your website.
<Please take the long read here:
and the linked files re filamentous marine algae above... Nothing "jumps
out" here as a principal cause, and the usual general approaches
(nutrient deprivation/export, competition, predation...) are open to
you. Do you have space, interest in setting up a tied-in sump/refugium?
A DSB there... RDP algal culture... ? Many roads... Bob Fenner>
Hair Algae/Bio-Pellets - 030112
Second time asking a question, again after spending hours trying to
find the answer.
I have a 100g reef tank, approx 80-100lbs live rock, medium coral load,
with 11 medium sized fish. I changed my filtration method from
refuge with bio-pellets to sump with bag filters and bio-pellets.
The reason for the change was to try and get a better handle on my
never-ending battle with Aiptasia and hair algae.
(I brought in some pics to my LFS and the look of horror said
Most of my corals are happy but some are being choked out or irritated
by the hair algae.
<<Indeed…competes for the available space/resources like any
other reef organism>>
I regularly get the water checked and nothing is out of the norm,
<<Mmm, or maybe just nothing you can test/measure>>
nitrates were high before the bio-pellets but have stayed in check
<<This is likely still an issue…with the “excess” being
consumed by the nuisance organisms before it can be
I have heard that the bio-pellets will feed the corals, as a
<<This seems to be the conventional wisdom…supported mainly by
conjecture and anecdotal proof I think, but no real empirical evidence
as I am aware. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen and/or using
this medium is not of some benefit, but do we even know for certain
what bacteria strains are consuming/populating this media? Just
some “food” for thought>>
so I am wondering if this same food is feeding my Aiptasia and hair
algae as well?
<<I would think not, though who knows what may be introduced as
byproducts of the manufacturing process of the pellets. And if
the claims are accurate…this bacterial food element should be
“competing for the same foods” (DOCs) as the nuisance organisms you
list (FYI – Aiptasia are very good absorption feeders too).
To give you an idea of the growth, I buy 3-4 bottles of Aiptasia killer
<<Perhaps you need a different product/method of attack.
Don’t discount the effectiveness of a Kalkwasser slurry simply
squirted over the top of the offending anemone (shut down water pumps,
cover the animal completely, and give it a few minutes to work before
restoring water flow)>>
and pull cupfuls of algae out weekly.
<<I can sympathize (continually fight these battles myself)…and
can tell you, perseverance is key here. You need to determine and
address the issue of excess organics, if possible, but I also find
employing “biological” controls to be a big help in most
cases. I feed my captive reef very heavily by comparison to most,
so having a variety of herbivores available (Tangs and Rabbitfish, in
my case) is a must to keep nuisance alga in check. I also have
found that once Aiptasia have proliferated in your system, short of
“nuking” the system and starting over, you will never be totally
rid of them. Biological controls for the Aiptasia (Copperband
Butterfly, Raccoon Butterfly, Bristletail Filefish, Peppermint Shrimp,
etc.) are not always effective and sometimes even destructive to
desirable organisms, though in my experience CBs have always proven
As always, thank you for the help and the info on the site!
<<Happy to share… EricR>>
Re: Hair Algae/Bio-Pellets - 030212
I unfortunately tried the usual band of cleaners and herbivores with
little success; hermits, Mithrax, hares, Copperbands, etc., etc.,
etc. They all seem to either avoid the buffet or disappear never
to be seen again.
<<Does sometimes go that way>>
I forgot to mention I have Coralife 125g skimmer which when it's
not being finicky produces about half a gallon of skimmate per
day. I am going to try the raised magnesium idea next, seems like
a lot of folks with good results.
<<Mmm, possibly…have also heard anecdotal accounts of raised pH
(8.6) reducing/eliminating nuisance alga. But what risks are
there or what happens when you stop this? Finding and fixing the
issue is still preferred, or employing ‘long-term’ controls (i.e.
– biological) to deal with it…though I’m sure you understand I am
only stating the obvious. There is no ‘silver
bullet’…finding that “balance” is what’s key>>
The only idea next is cooking the live rock, but the LFS tends to
believe the rock I have may not be able to be rid of phosphates to low
enough levels (the rock is Caribbean that was used previously in a
fresh water setup with a few years spent as landscaping in
<<I see…and perhaps exposed to Phosphate/Nitrate plant
fertilizers? But even if not, you likely realize that completely
replacing this rock with quality live rock will probably go far in
helping with your current issues. Cheers…
Tufa Rock and Hair Algae 3/1/12
So I see on previous posts that Tufa rock seems to be implicated in
some cases of hair algae troubles. What exactly is it about Tufa that
could contribute to more hair algae growth than what you would get with
<Depending on where it formed or where it was collected from, Tufa
rock may contain significant detrital components along with
phosphorous and can be problematic re nuisance algae growth. Best
not to chance it.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Set-up Question 2/28/12
Crew @ WetWebMedia,
I have a two year old 180 display with two sumps totaling 225
Three months ago I left the country for three weeks and came home to a
hair algae problem that I have been fighting ever
<Always seems to be problems when this occurs.>
I believe the problem was overfeeding with an auto fish feeder.
My last effort in combating the algae is that I have purchased a
Reef-Octopus Bio-Media Reactor to remove any nitrates and phosphates
that may be feeding the algae.
<Carbon dosing is a proven method of reducing dissolved
If that doesn't resolve the algae problem then I would like to
redesign my setup and wanted your opinion before proceeding.
<This will not happen overnight, will take two weeks before enough
bacteria are present to effectively reduce the waste.>
I have a 180g display that is built flush into a wall with a
maintenance closet behind it. I'm considering buying a new
160 gallon bow-front tank and just pushing it up against the front of
the current display. The idea is to have the old display (no
longer seen) contain the 300lbs of LR (along with the unsightly algae)
and the new display would only contain a few large pieces of beautiful
dead coral that I used before switching to LR two years ago. Using this
method I could at least remove and clean the dead coral when
necessary. Of coarse, I would put also put a few pieces of live
rock in the new bow-front to set live corals on etc. I assume
keeping a few pieces of LR free of algae would not be as difficult as
keeping 300 lbs of LR clean. Obviously, I would plumb the two tanks
together to share water and establish proper water flow.
So, is having one tank to contain my unsightly algae ridden LR and one
tank to contain a few pieces of LR, decorative dead coral, fish and my
live corals a dumb idea? Am I making a mistake with this
<I believe so. You are masking the problem rather than
correcting it. I believe you will be pleased with the results of
the carbon reactor. You may want to read here as well and related
articles found in the header.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Algae, Marine 12/9/11
Question...I have a 45 gallon running for a few months. I am now
getting looks like green hair line algae I guess. It
grows on rocks and looks like miniature ferns foliage.
Is this a good or bad?
<Generally it is considered bad, although I guess if you like the
way it looks it's ok. It is usually an indicator that there
is a nutrient problem in the tank. Nitrate and phosphate is often
Some grows on glass which I scrub off. Someone told me its because of
using tap water (from Toronto). Can't buy r/o system right now.
<Tap water often contains contaminates that cause boost algae
Someone else said buy sea hair or snails or hermit crabs to control
<Figure out the root cause is best, most likely caused by either
overfeeding, too few water changes, overstocking, or all of the
above. An overabundance of nutrients is the issue here. See
here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm
Algae, Marine 12/9/11 12/10/11
Change 5 gallons a week a feed a dash only fr 1 fish
<Check your tap water for nitrates and phosphates, I'm guessing
this is the source of your nutrient problems.>
Mixed Reef with issues,
Good Morning Crew!
I have a 90 gallon mixed reef with issues. When I first started to
maintain it 2-3 months ago, it was a hair algae
forest, where you thought it was just fish flying through a
mass of algae.
Surprisingly enough though, there were corals underneath somehow
<They can be quite resilient.>
Now the algae is kicked back considerably, but it is still hanging
about in small clusters throughout the rock. The corals are all growing
well; Euphyllias are all splitting and branching out nicely, leathers
and rose bta are all growing nicely.
Still algae though. I believe the owner is overfeeding again, which I
know can lead to excess nutrients which are evident in the test
Test results 8/12/11
Ammonia- 0 mg/l
Nitrite- 0.15 mg/l
Alkalinity- 4.5 meq/l (KH- 13)
Calcium- 445 mg/l
Salinity- 33 ppt
(S.G.- 1.025 @ 77.6 F/25.3 C)
Phosphate- 5.0 mg/l
<As you said nitrates, nitrites and phosphates are all high.>
I have been doing 30 gallon water changes every other week to keep
these values in line, but as you can see, since my last visit, the
nitrates have gone from 5 mg/l to 40 and the phosphates have gone from
0.5 mg/l to way out of control (not to mention the nitrites!) There are
a few rocks that have a bit more than others, but for the most part it
is growing in small patches throughout.
<This could be part of it, all these nutrients were tied up in the
algae forest, and have been released now that it is dying off.>
When I perform the water changes, I scrub and siphon out as much of the
algae as possible, and it has been less and less every visit. Today I
am concerned due to the recent spike in nutrients, so I will have a
talk with the customer about proper feeding habits. (There are a bit of
fish as well.) Do you have any other suggestions? We have been
discussing installing a refugium (to help control nutrients as well as
the other numerous benefits of a refugium) as well as taking his (WAAAY
outdated) compact fluorescent fixtures away and replacing them with
T5HO kits... He has changed the metal halide bulbs as well as the cfls
within the last 2 months, and that has helped with coral growth, as
well as slowing the algae growth to a degree. I know the tank needs
more flow overall as well, and we are looking into the various systems
out there for "wavemaking"... Is this the right direction to
move to? (Refugium, T5HO/halide combo, increased flow, decreased
feeding, possibly adding some form of media reactor.)
<Is what I would do, perhaps add a deep sand bed in the refugium to
help a bit with the nitrates too.>
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply.
<I think you are on the right track, nothing I would do
Help! SW, hair algae bloom... mixed inputs
First let me apologize for the long email, but I think I may have a big
I have a 54 gallon corner tank as my main tank with live rock, some
mushrooms, toadstool leather, Zoas, some other soft corals that popped
up and 2 percula clowns, 1 green chromis, and 1 black neon goby that
flows into a half full 29 gallon tank through a filter sock with a poly
filter and Purigen bag with baffles where the water is forced under
grating up through the Fiji sand into the area with Chaeto, and
mangroves and then over the second baffle where a pump brings the water
down to a 15 gallon extra high about half full with water and live rock
and sand substrate that finally pumps back into the main tank.
A while back I was having trouble with hair algae and high
First, I changed my crushed coral substrate to live sand because people
told me that crushed coral can harbor waste which may have raised the
I also added wave maker pumps that move the water to get rid of any
"dead spots". After about a year or so of not a lot of luck I
did a 1/4 - 1/3 tank water change, moved some of the live rock around
to allow more water flow, replaced my protein skimmer because my old
one didn't seem to work that well anymore, and bought a new halide
bulb because I heard they should be changed every year.
<Mmm, was this new one "phased in" over time?>
I also added the bio kit reef glass tubes which includes:
Biodigest, Bioptim, Reef Booster, Iodi+ et Stronti and also put
"Two Little Fishies" NPX Bioplastics Nitrate & Phosphate
Reducing Polymer Media - 200ml in my poly reactor.
<This may have disturbed your stinging-celled life...>
Now at first everything seemed to be running normally, I was getting
the normal amount of coralline algae growing all over the place and
spending my usual time and muscle power scraping it off the glass. All
of a sudden, I started getting green hair algae in the spots where the
water was being pushed by the wave pumps and then what looked like
other types of hair algae in other spots. I had a Medusa coral that now
seems to be dead (really skinny and hair algae all over it). At first I
thought it was the new bulb because I went from a 15k to a 20k which
was a lot more blue, so I bought another bulb at 15k and replaced the
20k. Now, I have hair algae all over the place and bubble algae in
other places and my soft corals are all shrinking, including my green
mushrooms which were about 3 - 4 inches in diameter and now shrunk to
about an inch. I tested the water with my Aquarium Pharmaceuticals
master salt test kit and the ammonia was fine, the phosphates read
<Being taken up by the algae>
the nitrates seemed actually lower than it had been in the past, but
still a little high (around 10 ppm), and the PH seemed a little low
(around 7.9 - 8.0), so I put some reef buffer
<In your new/make-up water, NOT directly into the tank I
to bring the PH up.
I know the nitrates are high,
<Mmm, not really>
but I've never had a problem like this even when it was closer to
20ppm. I've been using trace elements like KORALvit Combi about
every other day and Amino-Life a couple of times a week with success,
but now it seems to be doing nothing. I've used Marine S.A.T. in
the past with luck and started using it again to try to get rid of the
algae, but I don't know what else I can do. I'm afraid my
corals are all going to whither and die. Also, my mangroves seem to not
be doing as well (2 died and the others are starting to lose leaves). I
feed the fish some sinking pellets every other day, and only what they
will usually eat in a feeding and keep the light on the main tank about
8 hours a day and over the plants at least 10 hours a day. I also seem
to have lost most, if not all of the hermit crabs I've had for
I think that's all the info I have, please help me!
<There's just so much going on here, w/ all these additives,
changes to the system... I would "punt"... i.e. do some large
scale water changes... 30-40% three times, every three days, vacuuming
the substrate one side, then the other... get rid or turn off the
Li'l Fishies product, and feed very lightly for a few weeks. IF
your livestock shows extreme signs of distress, I'd be adding a
couple of units of high grade carbon product (e.g. Chemi-Pure) and
Polyfilter in the filter flow path. Don't worry or do anything to
the green algae for now. Bob Fenner>
Your thoughts please, power washing
Wet Web Media/Bob Fenner:
FYI. I have discovered what I believe to be a novel approach to control
of hair algae and other undesirables. For about two years now, I have
been removing all my live rock (300+ lbs.) from my 210 gal. almost reef
tank and pressure washing it with saltwater.
It removes everything except coralline algae and well fastened Halimeda
(sp?) algae. The coraline algae seems to thrive after the cleaning.
Since I live on a saltwater bay, it works out good for my situation and
it only needs to be done about every six months. I still keep my water
parameters good, Do not know how long the pressure washer will last,
but so far, no problems.
<Run some fresh through it, assuredly, after each marine use>
I also pressure washed an aquarium I take care of for a museum using
the old water prior to changing (used a sump pump in the aquarium).
This seems to have potential, and I would like Mr. Fenner's
thoughts. Thanks for the good job you do. Jim in Florida
<Thank you for sharing Jim. I have a friend of the same name (Jim
Stime, of Aquarium Fish Guy video fame) who tried to power wash an
artificial coral construct in a tank, but underwater! It didn't
work out quite as well.
Cheers! Bob Fenner>
Algae: Nuisance Hair Algae -- 3/6/11
<Hey Les, Lynn here today.>
My 200g tank is now 8 months old and has been through a series of
changes in its development. Along that way I have fought many
battles and have been victorious with patience and help from the
great crew at WetWebMedia.
My new battle is with a new algae that is trying to take over the
entire tank and I'm almost conquered.
<Yikes, I've been where you are a time or two myself so I
know how frustrating it can be. The trick is to figure out what
the main contributing factor is that's allowing the algae to
suddenly take off/thrive and correct it. Most of the time that
factor is related to excess nutrients in the water (from
overcrowding, overfeeding, insufficient water changes, skimmer
not working efficiently, etc.).>
I contribute it to missing a 20% bimonthly water change and
<Yep, that among other factors can most assuredly lead to
Nevertheless, it has spread quickly. Can you help to identify
what type algae it is (see attached 2 pics) and what
fish/critters might consumer it.
<It appears to be something in the genus Bryopsis, Derbesia,
or Chlorodesmis, all commonly referred to as "hair
algae". If I had to guess, I'd say it's either
Derbesia or Chlorodesmis. Please see the following links for
photo examples (just keep in mind that there are many species
with varying appearance).
Nutrient control is going to be an important factor in getting a
handle on this situation. Do drop back a bit on feeding, resume a
good water change schedule, monitor water parameters, and if you
have a skimmer - check skimmate production. In addition, be sure
to review the FAQ's at the following link for more
information/factors to consider, as well as potential grazers:
More terrific info on algae/nutrient control:
<You're very welcome and good luck!>
<Take care, Lynn Zurik>
Yet Another Hair Algae Question(s)
Hello there Crew, Happy Family day from Canada.
<Haha, hello from mid-California!>
I will just say that I am sorry in advance for the many questions
and or concerns that I have but I am becoming beyond frustrated
with my continuing problem.
<Hair algae is!>
I seem to have the uncanny ability to grow hair algae really well
in my tank.
<Maybe you can teach others how!>
The tank is 125g with a 25g sump divided into 3
compartments..more on this later. I know there are plenty of
posts regarding this issue and trust me when I say that I have
read most of them.
These are my possible concerns or problems I can guess might be
causing my issues. I use only R/O water for top ups and fill and
pre mix R/O water with Aquavitro salt in a large 35g old water
softener tub. Do roughly 15g water change a week and clean out
sump and skimmer monthly.
<I am going to assume you mean the complete skimmer and not
I have plenty of flow, running 2 mp40w ES pumps and 1 mp20 on
back wall also. These are mounted near the top 5 inches of the
tank and I only have one small over flow box in one corner of the
I use 3x150w 10k metal halide HID bulbs with 4x39w T5 actinic.
These bulbs are about 7 months old now. Possible problem #1?
<Not likely, 7 months is not that old for a 10000K.>
My next concern is the output or power of my protein skimmer. I
am using a Euro Reef RS-135 older model skimmer. I have modified
it with an aquarium grade gate valve for maximum fine tuning.
Maybe this is not powerful enough?
<Good skimmer and size.>
I also use a filter sock on my return line which I swap out and
clean about every 3 days.
The third possible problem that I must consider is in my sump. My
first chamber contains my skimmer and my last chamber contains
some live rock and my return pump separated by a half wall. In
the middle I have a large ball
of Chaeto which is about 5" in diameter now.
<What light are you using? How long have you had the macro? It
should grow fairly quickly.>
I also have what I intended to be a DSB here. It is only 4"
deep and I put a couple Nassarius snails in
here to keep it stirred a bit. Is this acting as a nutrient trap
or am I missing something with its setup???
<Sounds fine depending on the lighting. As for a possible
nutrient trap, flow needs to be adequate over this too to prevent
All my parameters are ideal. Sg 1.024, Temperature 78-80F,
Nitrate and nitrite 0, Cal 390, PH 8.4 steady. Phosphates test as
below .5ppm although I realize this result can be inaccurate due
to the algae consuming the phosphates. I have also recently (15
days ago) installed a Phosban reactor with Pura Phoslock in it.
It is mounted hanging on my sump.
<The phosphate should drop quickly with this.>
These excess nutrients must be coming in from somewhere correct?
I will be sending my R/O water for testing this week for TDS.
I'm assuming this is my main concern apart from other
<You can buy a TDS meter that is "good enough" for
these purposes for next to nothing nowadays.>
I have reduced feeding for about a month now to once every other
day and feed New life Spectrum pellets and rinsed frozen Fish and
Reef #1 and #2 mixing it up each feeding. Never more than one
cube or a few pinches.
<Sounds fine too.>
Clean up crew is not huge but I am starting to think they do not
really deal with hair algae as much as I would believe.
<None really do.>
I have roughly 10 Mexican Turbo, 15 Cerith, 10 Nassarius, 20 blue
leg hermits, 5 scarlet reef hermits, 3 emerald crabs, 1 cleaner
shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 5 banded Trochus.
Tank vertebrates are as follows: 1 Hippo tang, 1 yellow tang, 1
oriole or bi-colour angel, 2 ocel. clowns, diamond goby, algae
blenny, 3 blue chromis. I would consider this lightly stocked. My
next purchase will be a Kole or most likely a Tomini tang. Will a
bristle tooth really eat as much hair algae as some people
Maybe this is my problem although I am more inclined to fix what
is causing the problem in the first place.
Sorry for the long email but I really am looking for something
that I may be missing here. Is it ok to scrub the rocks clean
while they are still in the tank also and then do a water change
after this or will this simply spread
more algae or nutrients throughout the tank? I have been picking
out and siphoning out as much as a care to lately.
<You could certainly scrub the rocks, say an hour or two
before you change the filter socks. Do continue to manually
remove all you can. Part of the cycle people fall into with algae
control is that as you do things correct and the algae dies it
re-pollutes the tank, fueling more algae.>
Thank you kindly for your time and wisdom!
Pictures attached. The rock with the Ricordea is by far the worst
P.S. All fish and coral are doing great and seem very happy and
is excellent. I do not use any additives.
<It sounds like you are on the right track here. Just continue
to do what you are doing and give it some time. Do confirm your
RO water is good.
Have you tested your makeup water for phosphate or
<Frustrating problem, we have all pulled hair out from this at
one time or another. Scott V.>
Re: Yet Another Hair Algae Question(s)
Thank you as always for the quick response.
Yes I did mean the whole skimmer not just the cup!
My light over my DSB and Chaeto in my sump is just a regular
fluorescent that only comes on at night opposite my main lights.
Is this ok?
<This is where I personally diverge from what most, including
some of the crew, say. I am all for lighting it up! A minimum of
65 watt PC is what I would use, a 96 watt quad compact or even
small MH do well. What I find is many actually make the light the
limiting factor on Chaeto growth.>
My RO water was tested at 18ppm TDS.
<Not bad with no DI.>
I have not checked my pre made salt mix water in a while for
phosphates or nitrates. Will do this today to see if something is
amiss. Also the flow across my sump is quite good. I will scrub
the rocks again and do a larger water change to see if it stays
<Welcome again! Sorry there is no magic bullet here, sounds
like you are doing all right. Scott V.>
Algae, Hair, SW, reading 12/15/10
I have a 3mo old 175g salt water display w/40g sump/refugium and 280lbs
<Mmm, like to state that though three mo.s may seem a good period of
time, your system is not really "that" established>
I run a Reef Dynamics INS 250 skimmer in the sump and Chaeto in the
refugium. I circulate 18x the total water per hr. I run a small amount
of Phosguard and charcoal that I change regularly. I use a AquaticLife
T5 HO (High Output) light fixture with 10ea- 420/460 nm (8 blue & 2
purple), 2ea 10,000K, and 6 - lunar LED lights. I have numerous snails,
<Mmm, keep your eyes on these>
and a Coral Banded Shrimp
whom I suspect recently ate two Lettuce Nudibranch (your thoughts on
<Likely so; or the decapods>
Recently I added a couple clowns, Goby's and one Lawnmower Blenny.
All water parameters are good.
All that said, my question is that I battle what I think is extremely
fast growing hair algae which grows only on the top rocks. These are
long single strands with a air bubble attached to the end that float
These strands grow 2+ inches or more a day and can quickly reach
None of my snails, crabs or fish seem to eat it.
<Some types/species are unpalatable to many erstwhile
I had hopes the Blenny would but he stays near the lower height rock. I
must vacuum it up every other day - lot's of work.
What is this, and do you recommend and animals or fish to combat
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FilamGrnAlgC2.htm
and the linked files above, where you lead yourself. Bob
Question about Algae 10/4/10
HELLO again everyone!
<Hi Maria, Misty here>
I just wanted to see if you guys can identify these types of
algae in my SW tank.
<Looks like hair algae in these photos.>
Just curious to know what they are and if I need to get rid of
some or none
<Yes, I'd get rid of this. Grows aggressively in the tank,
becomes a pest/plague easily That being said, please tell me more
about your tank (how long has it been up, bulbs recently changed,
inhabitants - fish, inverts including corals, recent parameters,
other recent changes, and do you have a sump/fuge?).
And read here (as well as related articles):
They don't seem to be bothering anything in my tank at the
<Can quickly start to take over, but several natural ways to
control growth...very common problem.>
Also they mostly grow on the top of the rock not they sides at
all most likely due to the light placement Thanks! Let me know if
you need more
pic got plenty.
Re: Question about Algae, Grn Hair, contr.
Hey misty! <Hello again :)>
It's a six gal Nano tank been up for two months have live
sand with live rock to start up not sure what strength the lights
are it came with the system as well as the filter which is built
in. I have one tomato clown, one firefish, one scissors tail
Dartfish, one zebra barred Dartfish
<OY, these fish all do better in a tank at least 30 gallons in
, two cleaner shrimp, two emerald crabs, two turbo snails, three
Margarita snails and three mushroom corals...just got the crabs
and snails to help control the algae prob. <on the right track
with the crabs and snails to help with natural algae control.
Since you don't have a sump or refugium, I'd recommend a
one-gallon water change at least once a week, making sure that
the new saltwater matches the parameters of what's in the
tank. With such a small water volume, nutrient export by way of
10-15% frequent water changes will be absolutely necessary for
the health of the system/inhabitants. DO also look at some
smaller fish choices, as all of your current inhabitants need a
larger tank...and I suspect that the tomato clown (one of the
"meaner" species) will become aggressive in such a
small space...will likely be an issue among the Dartfish/firefish
as well. There are some really cute options for Nano tanks, such
as the clown gobies, see here:
and DEFINITELY read this:
Six gallons is really small...I'd stick with no more than one
or two very small fish. I've often thought of adding a Nano
tank to my household specifically to keep a cute little clown
goby - they are big on personality. I think I smell a larger tank
in your future ;)>
Green Hair Algae Not Responding To Treatment Attempts/Algae
I still consider myself a newbie and I'm running into a recurring
Green Hair Algae. I'm new, but I've been aggressive about
educating myself but now I'm just stumped and my patience is close
The background and specs:
- 75 gals, set up for seven months
- CPR CY194 wet/dry, sans wet/dry media - basically just a 25g sump for
<What is your water flow rate?>
- 10g refugium with macroalgae ( primarily Chaeto)
- 350W T5's - half actinic, half 10k's (new)
<Reduce the actinic lighting to 1/2 of what you presently have and
replace with 10-12K lamps. Actinic lighting tends to promote nuisance
algae growth, and you will be benefiting your corals with more
photosynthetically useful light. Actinic lighting does little for coral
- 80lbs of LR from an established tank
- 40lbs LS, 40lbs "dead" aragonite sand
- 2 small percs w/ gbta, 3 small Chromis, yellow watchmen, 2 pistol
shrimp, 3 clown gobies, assorted cleanup crew of snails/hermits
- ... and recently added: 6 large turbo snails and a sea hare....
getting FAT, I'm sure, on all that hair algae.
- Large leather tree, yellow scroll, frog spawn, green star polyps,
- frozen Mysis fed once daily, a bit under 1/2 cube.
On the recommendation of my LFS (and despite my skepticism), I
initially filled the tank with tap water run through a carbon canister.
Let that run in the tank by itself for a couple weeks before I added
the live rock and sand. I recognize this initial use of tap water as
the likely problem so I have been doing weekly water changes of ~25g
for awhile now. Sometimes I'll throw in a bonus water change
mid-week, ~10g (I realize that probably doesn't do much but it
makes me feel better to do something). While cycling the tank and also
a couple other times between now and then I've ran the sump with
phosphate sponges in a media bag.
<Would be better to use a product such as RowaPhos.>
That's where I am today and I've got green hair growing like
there is no tomorrow. I even have green hair growing on the Chaeto!
pH 8.6 (I know that's a touch high)
My at-home kit has been testing these levels for awhile. Feeling
*something had to be higher than my kit was reading (or that I was
testing incorrectly) I brought some water in to be tested at the LFS.
They found the same results. This is so frustrating because if it had
tested positive for anything at all I would know what to do next. But
Everything I have learned about green hair tells me that phosphates and
nitrates are the culprits, of which I *apparently* have none.
<Problem with phosphates is that they are quickly absorbed by the
algae, thus the "0" reading.>
All livestock, including the anemone, are healthy and happy. Corals or
open and have great polyp extension, the nem has been growing and
become more and more beautiful since we purchased it. If water quality
readings were being falsely read I would expect to see distress.
I've added the Turbos and sea hare but that is just a
I want to get to the source of the problem. I'll continue my water
changes. What else can I do? What else can I look in to?
<You didn't mention what type of skimmer you have and/or how
often it is cleaned.
A quality skimmer sized correctly for your tank is a big plus. The use
of Chemipure or a good grade of activated carbon will also help removed
dissolved nutrients from your system.
Lets start by reading here.
<On it's way. James (Salty Dog)>
Severe Hair Algae Problem... Do and read over
I am having a significant hair algae problem, I have searched for the
answer on this and many other resources and I have tried many solutions
but still I have a problem.
<This tells me nothing re what you've actually done>
First some info on my tank, I have a 115 gallon mixed reef tank, I run
4 power heads in the tank, an Aqua C protein skimmer, a Phosban
and bio balls in my sump.
I run 2 12K halides (these are old and
probably need to be changed) and a set of 50/50's that are
I do not have a refugium at this point.
<You'd be better off with...>
I have had this tank for about 2 years now.
<Have you replaced, replenished any of the live rock as of
I am also making my water with a 6 stage ro/di system.
After testing my tank I have the following results:
Magnesium - 1250
Silica - .2
PH - 8.2
KH - 8
Nitrate - 0
Phosphate - 0
<"Corals" need some/measurable amount of both HPO4 and
Calcium - 480
<Too high, and disproportionate w/ [Mg]>
Iodate/Iodine - 0
In addition, I have had a little problem regulating my temp on the
really hot days, normally my tank is between 76/78 deg but on the hot
days it is getting up to 80/82.
<This should be okay>
I began to see the hair algae problem a couple of months ago. It
started with green algae on the glass that was hard to remove and hair
algae on the rocks. I began to attempt to clean it up by picking it off
and suctioning it out and doing weekly water changes. In the meantime I
went to the LFS and they told me first to put a sea hare in the
<... what/which species? Many sold are cold water animals... that
won't live in tropical settings. See WWM re>
which lived about 2 weeks and died. Went back to LFS and they sold me
bio available Carbon Source and Complete Bioculture to does
<dose?> the tank with, trued <tried?> that for a couple of
weeks and the problem didn't lessen in fact it probably got
Finally, I tore down the whole tank last weekend, scrubbed the rock,
changed the substrate, did a 25 gallon water change and put it all back
together. Today, 4 days after the big clean I am beginning to see the
start of green
algae growth on the glass and hair algae on the rocks. Help!!! I am not
sure what to do now. I am wondering if my RO/DI system is not good, I
just got it around January and it is brand new but I bought it online
and not sure how good it is.
<What does the water test like, tap and after going through
I am worried about the silica that may be present in it and I am
thinking about having it tested at a specialty filtration
My other concern is the lighting, I am going to purchase some new
halides but again not sure if that could be causing this issue. Please
let me know if you have any insight as to what I need to do to resolve
<Let's have you start again. Read here:
and the linked files in the series (above). Read over also the issues I
notice (use the search tool on WWM). Bob Fenner>
Re: Nuisance algae question, SW
Thought you might be interested in how this nuisance algae problem has
developed after 3 months, or at least the information might be good for
After further frustration, my LFS owner recommended a product called
<... the active ingredient is gone over and over on WWM... toxic
outright... and the use, even further toxic>
I was reluctant to use a chemical solution, but it did work.
Unlike ethanol, it did not kill the algae. after a few weeks, the
apparently healthy hair algae peeled off the rock with ease. A little
elbow grease was necessary to get the rest out with a brush, but my
aquarium is now basically free of hair algae. There were a few side
effects: it killed one particular species of Zoanthid entirely, as well
as my Anthelia. All other Zoanthids, corals, and clams were and are
fine, as are my fish. So there's that.
What I did learn in this process is that the hair algae was 100%
associated with detritus.
<Mmm, maybe these are positively correlated... but not
necessarily... i.e. both can exist w/o the other. Conditions that
allow/engender detrital accumulation DO encourage algal growth>
Where detritus collected, the algae grew. With my skimmer and running
Rowaphos, my nitrate and phosphate levels were completely undetectable.
However, I assume there was a lot of both locked up in the detritus
that settled on the rock.
I placed another Tunze stream (Nano) in the lower back corner to blow
water through the rock structure. A also
began using filter socks again (rotated out every 3-4 days) on the
overflow to my sump, immediately before the skimmer. And I regularly
blow detritus off the rock with a turkey baster. This combination seems
to do the
I thought I had enough flow with the original Tunze Stream and wavebox
but, in retrospect, I think the flaw is the rock structure. If I could
go back and do it again, I would build some PVC shelves to elevate the
<Easily enough done with your next re-model!>
<Thank you for sharing Ed. BobF>
Algae... SW... no reading
I have had a bad algae bloom for 3 months now. I clean the rocks do
water changes and within a week to two I have long hair green
I have snails I even got a big slug to eat it. (He died within a week,
ate <sic> to much J)
It's 75 gallons- Protein skimmer, under tank sump filter, Power
heads and Reef lighting.
<Not enough info here, but.. have you perused our FAQ's on this?
All the methods for control are gone over and
Live Rock one anemone a clown fish and one goby.
What can I do it's starting to get really frustrating.
<Agreed. Maybe one of the smaller-growing Rabbitfish might help
here.. an S. doliatus perhaps..http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-12/fish/index.php..
assuming of course you have tries all other avenues first...>
High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info
Hey guys and gals,
I have a ton of hair algae and a reoccurring pH spike issue. Most of my
5yr old, 90 gallon tank is wrecked but one scooter and blood red shrimp
continue to fight on. I also have a huge frog spawn (which is hiding
and 1/2 dead)
and a giant anemone which used to have 2 breeding orange skunks who
were killed by whatever is causing my pH spike. (I assume). I have been
using Instant Ocean and doing very frequent water changes. Every time I
did a water change, it seemed to shock the anemone. I've changed
out the metal halides and my RO/DI filters. I dont know what else to
I have a well established 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon
The refugium has a DSB and Caulerpa. The pH seems to spike from 8 to 9.
I add white vinegar to bring it back down but in a week or less,
it's back to 9.0.
I want to get rid of the hair algae and pH issue! HELP!
<Dan, what is your dKH? High dKH levels can cause high pH readings.
Have you compared your pH reading with that of another test kit. Is
possible your test kit may be giving you a higher reading than what the
actual condition is.
As to the algae problem, what are your nitrate and phosphate levels?
What additives are you using, and the frequency of dosing each. I need
you to draw me a better picture than what you stated above. Do get back
with me. James (Salty Dog)>
Green hair algae question 2/28/10
<Uhh, where's the prev. corr.? We can't tell whom you've
been corr. with or what you're referring to>
Thanks for answer a while back on my striped mushroom. The little one
is growing very nicely. About half the size of a dime now.
I have a new question though. When I set up my tank in October I
started having green algae on one of my rocks. My LFS told me to leave
it and that I would get something to eat it once it was established.
Well I got red &
blue leg hermit crabs, a lawnmower blenny and two emerald crabs. None
of these are interested at all in this algae.
<There are MANY unpalatable types>
So my question is...if I flip the rock over and the algae dies from
lack of light will it pollute the water?
This way I can keep up with new growth on the other side of the rock
instead of letting it grow too heavy like it is now.
Thanks in advance!
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm
and the linked files... Bob Fenner>
algae, contr., SW 2/26/10
I have an ongoing problem I hope you can help me with.
I have a 125G salt tank with about 100 pounds of live rock and 8-10
fish. I have been battling hair algae for about 3 of the 6 months this
tank has been set up.
<Look to your stocking/ feeding>
I bought a Aquaripure nitrate removing filter a couple weeks ago and
currently waiting on that to establish.
<This is a denitrator. Be aware that these are difficult to run
without an ORP computer>
My filtration is a Marineland Tidepool with the single large
<An integrated sump. Does the wheel trap debris?>
Should I remove it, and if so how?
<With the amount of live rock you have you could probably safely
remove this, assuming your fishes are not too large. If they are then
that is your problem, not the wheel>.
Is this wheel causing my algae breakout?
My nitrates read 0 but could be a false reading if algae is consuming
<I have to ask -- if your nitrates are so low why have you added a
denitrator? All life needs some NO3 and you will deprive your system of
it with this>
I feed sparingly and remove phosphates.
<How are you removing this, and what are your test results for
Should I remove the wheel? I can't remove it slowly like removing a
few bio balls at a time but can maybe stop it from spinning then remove
later. I have done all the tricks for the hair algae there is but
I'm convinced it's this wheel.
<You could try removing it, but I doubt if this is THE answer.
Combating algae problems is best done by 'attacking from all
fronts'. Have you read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm. Maybe try a refugium set up
to out-compete the algae>
26/02/10 Re: Hair algae
Thanks for your response.
As for fish, I have a Yellow Tang, 2 Brown Tangs
<Are these Ctenochaetus? What species?>
, 3-4 Damsels, a Lawnmower Blenny
<I would be surprised if this is getting along with your Brown
Tangs>, Scooter Blenny, Copperband Butterfly.
<This is overstocked with three Tangs, depending on what they are
and how big depends on how much overstocked. Please capitalise these
names in future correspondence Dean if you could>
I am feeding dry algae sheets every other day,
<How much? Are these eaten immediately or do you leave them in the
frozen brine once a day that I rinse in RO water, and sometimes shrimp
that is also rinsed in RO water.
I run the Aquaripure because I was told you do not want any nitrates in
a tank, and I do not know what a ORP computer is.
<Mmm, you do need 'some' NO3, these units can efficiently
remove all, to the detriment of the system. They should only be
employed when nitrates are high, and yours are not. An ORP computer is
a computer that measures/ adjusts the Oxidation Reduction Potential
inside the denitrator. This turns the pump/ flow on and off when
required. Without this, you will find you are constantly fiddling
around with drip/ flow rates etc. Also there are some bad H2S smells
that can come out of these units because they are operating in anoxic
conditions. The computer prevents this.>
I doubt the BioWheel is trapping much debris <Me neither> but I
have removed it and in its place I added live rock rubble.
<Mmm, may be counterproductive here>
Other than the fish I have 3-4 Mushrooms, a Leather, Zoanthids and
polyps. Also one Anemone. Could it be my feeding and if so, how much
would you feed and what?
The algae really took off when I installed a new MH light with
fluorescents. Also I am looking into a refugium set up now.
<This will help, benefit>
Bought some macro for the tank.
<Yes, this is a good weapon>
<No problem Dean. You really need to attack this from all
directions, and your main weapon is good old fashioned elbow grease.
Removing algae, water changes etc. Grow some competing macroalgaes,
reduce numbers of fishes, maybe look to using some GFO in a reactor to
limit PO4, aggressive skimming. There are many other small things you
can do, learn about by reading. Spend some time trawling through the
FAQ's here on WWM, there are MANY such. These problems are
difficult but also beatable. Simon.>
At my wits end - Hair Algae and Aiptasia
Hi WetWeb, <Hi Matthew> I'm a little stuck and hoping you
might have some advice. <I'll do my best> 400L - 2
Clown<s> + Bubble anemone, 2 Blue Tang <s> <Which
'blue'? Not enough space here for two, I'd reduce this to
one>, 1 Rabbit fish, 1 Hawk fish, 1 Bi-colour Lawnmower Blenny
<Please capitalise names of fishes and invertebrates Matthew,
I've had to go through and correct all of these>,1 very large
Brittle Star - and a darn 'clicking' Mantis Shrimp <Mmm>.
I fed my fish a mussel which was fine but unfortunately left the mussel
shell in the tank for a few days before removal <Should not cause a
problem in a 'balanced' system>. I also added
"live" sand to my tank.....not the best start. I have a
feeling the live sand has just polluted my tank. *grumble*
<shouldn't unless it was very dirty>
Since then I have green hair algae and Aiptasia growing through my
tank.(I think it came from the mussel) <not likely>. So
here's what I have tried:
Checked the water - all fine except phosphates showed a medium reading
<and is probably the root of your cause>. Minimised bright
lighting to 3 hours a day and kept the blinds down <For how long?
Your anemone NEEDS this light, and you have stated that you have high
phosphates, so the light is not the issue>. I performed some large
water changes (using filtered seawater only) <Is this real seawater?
If so, how is it filtered? Have you tested this water for nitrate and
phosphate?> and swapped out my filter medium <I would probably
have removed this completely - what filter medium and where is it
I minimised the amount of food entering the tank (I feed them only
frozen brine cubes <not nutritious, try Mysis> and dried seaweed
I now only feed them spectrum(dry food) <Is a good food> with a
little brine once a week. Added a weed to my sump with a light to try
and absorb additional phosphates.
<Good move as competition for nutrients is required in any battle
with algae> Introduced 3 Peppermint Shrimp -but I think my Hawk fish
ate these <or the mantis - and these are not really effective
Aiptasia eaters>. Added 2 large blue star fish - They move around
the tank and look happy enough but little dent in the algae
Added 2 Rhombus snails - Which are munching but are barley having a
noticeable impact. Added two additional lawn mower blennies.<two?
These are very territorial>.
one <One> fell victim to the Mantis Shrimp I think <Just as
likely to have fallen victim to the other blenny. Did you research
these animals before adding them?>. the <The> other isn't
making much of an impact although is growing.
Added a large and active abalone....it seemed ok for a while then it
shrank and died. Starvation perhaps? <hmmm, too much going on here
to tell. Have you looked here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/abalones.htm
>. Weird with all the algae about.
Still not much progress - So moving the rocks I pulled a little of the
algae off and manually killed many of the aphasia <Aiptasia> as I
could <full stop here?>
A little better but then growth returned...as I type this I have just
removed 90% of the sand in my tank leaving only a dusting to cover the
glass bottom as I figured the live sand must be the culprit. <No, an
unbalanced system is what you have, with nutrients as the root cause,
and it seems that you are trying to add a host of creatures to control
this without fixing the underlying problem. All these creatures are
doing is adding to the bioload, you are treating the symptom here and
not the cause. Herbivores are all well and good, but they must be
utilised as part of a well thought out plan and not relied upon for
So what to do next? <I would start by removing one of the
'Blue' (Paracanthurus?) Tangs, and keep plugging away with the
maintenance/ water changes. Grow the algae (Chaeto?) on a reverse-lit
photoperiod to out-compete the pest elements. Maybe try some Iron based
media in a reactor until your phosphate tests 0.003ppm. Test your
source water. There are many other approaches and you need to formulate
a plan, see here and the related FAQ's:
I read that perhaps I could introduce certain crabs but reading WWM, I
hear Bob is usually not pro-crabs in the tank and besides, I am
guessing my 'clicking' Mantis shrimp will likely take them out
(Had 6 black crabs (live rock hitch hikers) in the tank previously
which are now all gone) <Don't add anything else at all, least
of all crabs>
So my next steps might be...dispatch the shrimp, add some crabs and
cross what I can !! <No> I have attached a photo showing algae
and one or two cheeky aptasias <Aiptasias>. I was hoping that
perhaps you have some additional ideas on things I haven't thought
of. <I have posted some here but there are many other things that
you can do> (Perhaps a small muzzle for my Hawk fish so I can add
more peppermint shrimp?) <Matthew, I have spent a long time
correcting this post with punctuation and capitals/ spelling, there are
so many errors that I don't even think I've got them all, and I
do not now have time to go back through. You will get a better and
speedier response if you follow the directions here:
Regards -- M Matthew Stedman <Simon>
Green Haired Algae 1/16/10
Hi Folks <Hi Brian> This is my first time visiting your site, as
you were recommended by a friend <welcome to WWM!>. I have a
problem with green haired algae <as do many>. I kinda let my 90
Gal marine tank go as far as maintenance goes as I got very busy (I
know no excuse) anyway I have been battling green haired algae for 6
weeks now & am not making much progress <Can be a long-term
struggle>.My system 90 gal, 20 gal sump, 130 lbs live rock, 2"
live sand bed, no coral but would like to start, in sump aqua medic
protein skimmer <the make I use - efficient and reliable>. I was
using Instant Ocean Salt but started using Red Sea Coral Pro as I heard
that Instant Ocean was not really a good salt <Mmmm> & that
Red Sea is naturally harvested and a much better salt <sounds like a
marketing ploy to me, although this is a good salt>, started Red Sea
6 weeks ago hoping that a better salt would help to get rid of the
algae <not likely>, I pulled all the rock out and brushed every
piece in the water I took out for changes <labour intensive, but
ok>. I am doing 20% water change weekly, (I prepare my water 48hrs
ahead with air line, heater & powerhead for circulation) I also
have 4 #3 Hydor power heads in my tank. All my levels are right on the
money including my phosphate <but one persons 'right on the
money' might not be someone else's - what are the actual
numbers please?>, I vacuum the sand as well to get out the algae
<? the algae is on the sand? Is this BGA (Cyano?) or hair algae as
stated? I would only vacuum Cyano off the sand, otherwise if there is
not a major nutrient issue (as you seem to indicate)then I would
question the act of sand vacuuming, depending on grain size and
depth>. I have a 48" Current 6 tube Light Fixture 3 white's
3 blues running 10 hrs a day <This is a T5 fixture I am guessing,
but I don't think excessive light is the issue here> Have
scrubbed the rock twice now in 6 weeks and the algae keeps coming back
<yes>. It's improved a lot in 6 weeks but still growing
<keep pushing on, this is war!>, I'm not over feeding once a
day <ok>. 3 tangs <3 tangs in a 90? What tangs and what size?
Your tank is not suitable for 3 tangs> -2 clowns-clean up
crew-cleaner shrimp <ok>. Do you have any suggestions how I can
get rid of this pesky algae <a few, yes>, are there any additives
that you know of THAT WORK! or am I doing something wrong. <No such
thing as additives that work I'm afraid. There are no easy or
'quick' fixes here. 1) You have not stated your actual levels,
so I will assume from your post they are low. This means that you are
in a 'war of attrition' with this algae and that you need to
keep pulling it out and keep doing the water changes etc. Try using a
turkey baster on your live rock where the algae is growing to blow the
detritus out of the rock there. 2) You state that you had not
maintained this tank for a while, so now you are left with this
problem. That is part of the issue. 3) Your tank is overstocked with
three tangs. If it were me, mine, I would be looking at replacing two
of the tangs (the two largest growers whichever they are) with one of
the smaller-growing Rabbitfishes (Such as an S. Doliatus) to reduce the
load on the tank and introduce a real algae eater that might actually
tackle this stuff head on. If you do this don't forget to
quarantine! In the meantime please read here and get some other
opinions on what is a very common nutrient-related problem:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >Thanks <no
worries> Brian <Simon>
Green/Hair alg. control, SW 1/4/2010
Hello. Love the site... look it over all the time and you've helped
me a couple of times, thanks. Have a question that I couldn't quite
find the answer to. I went away for 6 weeks and had my daughter take
care if my two tanks... a 46 gallon and a 72 gallon. She had taken care
of them before and did fine with them. The 72 gallon was fine but this
time, I came home to find the 46 gallon over taken with green hair
algae which I have been trying to get a hold of for 5 months now with
water changes and manually taking it out all of the time. It is all
over the place. I have only had that tank for 2 years and the other for
1 but have had much success with them other than this. They are full of
coral and some fish and the parameters have always been right on. I use
r/o water and I hope my question is easy...
can I do a 50% water change a week to knock it out without making my
tank cycle again or mess the parameters up?
I hope that this will help me as I am battling way too hard.
Thanks in advance.
<Best to take ones time here. Green/Hair algae is not
Perhaps review other general strategies for control:
and the linked files above... A refugium... competing macro-algal
culture there... on a RDP light period, a DSB... predation... Bob
Re: 46 gallon over taken with green hair
Sorry it took me so long for my reply, had knee surgery and just got
back on my computer... another thing to help me battle this. Thank you
so much for the information... I will look all this over.
I do have a small refugium hooked up on the back. I ordered some extra
red legged and blue legged hermits, some Mexican Turbos which have
already started helping, and bought a Rabbitfish which I don't know
will help but I liked. Hopefully with these, the water changes, the
extra reading will help me win the battle.
<Welcome, and speedy recovery! BobF>
Hair Algae 12/30/09
I had a bad hair algae problem develop. Nothing really became a problem
until I left on vacation for 10 days. I tried to measure out food for
my tank sitter,
but I must have measured (way!) too much. I've been reading as much
as I can on this site for help to get the rather extreme problem under
control, with some success. About five days ago, the green hair
completely crashed. Basically all of the green hair is now gray and
dead or dying. My skimmate has turned a nasty green color.
I've been trying to siphon out all of the dead and dying green
This sudden crash has caused some havoc with my system. Most
noticeably, my ph has been in a constant free fall for several
<Keep changing water...>
I write to discuss whether my current course of action is appropriate
to resolution of the problem. I've been siphoning out as much as
The siphoning includes an approximately 10% water change. I've done
this twice in the five days. However, other than replacing the carbon,
I don't really have any other strategy for restoring order. Any
<All sorts... you might want to, even need to resort to pH
buffer/ing... but w/o actual values, I would just keep siphoning. Have
you read here:
and the linked files above in the series? On WWM re Alkalinity/reserve?
Timothy J. Hoppa
Re: Hair Algae 12/30/09
Thanks for your reply. I can't express how useful WWM has been in
my short reef career. I've read all the FAQs on Green Hair, and I
attribute this reading to the death of the green hair algae.
Unfortunately for me, it all died at basically the same time.
<Such crashes can be big trouble as we both know>
I've also read the articles on alkalinity and my confusion on this
topic prompted my original email. I've been using a variety of
techniques for maintaining and/or increasing ph during this rough
Specifically, I've moved a powerhead output closer to the surface
to increase agitation, I've added Sodium Carbonate (self-cooked)
and used Mr. Calfo's Kalk slurry.
<Mmm, I'd either just use a good (manufacturer's) product
here or simple sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) additions
I use a SeaChem alkalinity test kit. Today it read 3 mEq/l, which is
down quite a bit (looking at my heater, I feel pretty certain as to
where it went). To increase my ph, I added about a teaspoon of sodium
carbonate to my 90 gal. tank.
As you can see on the attached, ph has been in an ok-ish range during
the last two days. However, during the daylight hours, it's on a
steady decline, losing ~.1 every couple hours. I would have expected
<Again... just the bicarb... or the commercial prep.>
This is why I've turned to water changes (when all else
Seems to be working. Any reason to adopt a different course?
<Mmm, no, not really... What you are doing presently will very
likely work out long term. BobF>
New Print and
eBook on Amazon
Marine Aquarium Algae Control
by Robert (Bob) Fenner