FAQs on Marine Algae and Their Control 21
Avoiding Algae Problems in Marine System,
Control, Marine Maintenance,
Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit
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
Related FAQs: Marine
Algae Control FAQs 1, Marine Algae
Control 2, Marine Algae Control
3, Marine Algae Control 4,
Marine Algae Control 5, Marine Algae Control 6, Marine Algae Control 7, Marine Algae Control 8, Marine Algae Control 9, Marine Algae Control 10, Marine Algae Control 11, Marine Algae Control 12, Marine Algae Control 13, Marine Algae Control 14, Marine Algae Control 15, SW Algae Control 16, SW Algae Control 17,
SW Algae Control 18,
Control 19, SW Algae Control 20,
Marine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae, Phosphate
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....>
Hello and thanks for a wonderful site!
<We're here for you Curt>
I'm trying to get a general idea of what I'm fighting in my 90g reef tank
that's a little over a year old. The attached picture shows a small sample
of the brown slimy film that's on my rock and sand bed.
<Seen, experienced stuff like this ever since when. >
It doesn't seem to kill and/or attach to any of the SPS or LPS corals in the
tank and is easily removed with a toothbrush but will grow back within in a
few days. The only partial remedy I've found is when I soak each rock in a
mix of 50/50 salt water to hydrogen peroxide for about 15 min.s.
After the soak, the rock looks great for about a month or two before the
growth comes back.
<Yes; conditions still favor it>
Recent tests results show 0 nitrates and phosphates,
Calcium=445, Alk-8.1, Mag-1440. I'm leaning towards a type of Cyano but
really unsure and can't find any positive Id's on the net. Any idea what I'm
<From a macro pic only can guess; this could be dinoflagellates, Cyano, a
mix... need to sample and look under a low power (a few hundred time)
'scope. Send pix if you can. The usual mix of possible measures can be gone
over here to combat:
Am a big fan of a maximum, mixed approach: Competition, nutrient
deprivation; enhanced DO and ORP... Do you have a tied in sump? An RDP
refugium w/ a DEEP and large as practical DSB is a very good idea. Bob
A Better Understanding of Phytoplankton. Control 2/24/2017
Are all species of tropical marine phytoplankton the same in terms of
how one goes about getting rid of them from their display tank?
<Alike in some principal ways...>
Because I'm trying to figure out whether or not a microscope and UV
sterilizer is truly necessary to eradicate it?
<There are other approaches than UV...>
So is it true that regardless of the phytoplankton species, the remedy
is the same; water changes to reduce nutrients & dissolved organics
along with reduced photoperiod/ intensity?
<These help generally>
And Is it possible to have dissolved organics and nutrients (I assume
those are what the plankton are at least partially feeding upon)
extremely low (no fish in the tank so this isn't a tall order) and yet
the plankton continue to thrive solely via photosynthesis via high
output LED lighting?
<Can happen; yes>
justifying the purchase of a UV sterilizer? And not needing a microscope
to solve this?
<A 'scope is nice for looking/seeing small things... including algae.
UVs can help both by zapping DNA of single celled life happening by, as
well as by improving DO, RedOx...>
<Again; there are other approaches... Competitors, predators, filtering
mechanically, selective poisoning, nutrient limitation by using chemical
filtrants. Perhaps a cursory read here:
Brown Algae... New SW tank 12/6/16
I've been down this road before, but just wanted your opinion with a quick
question. New 60g saltwater tank, anxiously awaiting the delivery of my RO/DI
unit and my protein skimmer (this week in the mail).
<These will definitely help!>
I have some brown algae starting in a two week old cycling tank. I know this is
to be expected, and I know my RO/DI water, regular water changes, and
introducing a protein skimmer will wipe this out in a few weeks. My question...
if Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia are all in check at zero... is it appropriate to
introduce a clean-up crew during this brown algae bloom?
<Mmm; I'd wait a few more weeks myself. For me, the undue stress on this life is
just not worth it>
Is it harmful to hermit crabs, snails, maybe a banded or brittle starfish?
My plan while battling the bloom... intro the cleanup crew this weekend, and if
water parameters are still in check, then introduce two clowns and maybe a
watchman goby in two weeks.
<I urge patience. So easy to key eh? Bob Fenner>
Help with Anemone and Algae. Moved sm. sys., cascade event
<Eight megs... is there a full moon? Why are folks sending such huge
Hi there. I need help...About 1.5 months ago I moved to from San
Francisco to Monterey for a job, and moved my 24 gallon reef tank for
the second time in 2 years. My tank has been established since Oct.
2013, and has been thriving up until this move.
During move I followed the same protocols I used when moving two years
ago (which was successful), which were the following: Placed biggest
piece of live rock in bucket with airstone and heater along with all
non-coral animals. Placed all other live rock and corals in a Styrofoam
cooler in water. Emptied tank nearly all of the way, leaving 1/4" of
water above the live-sand. I was able to plug heater and airstone into
electricity with adapter in my truck. Drive 2 hrs, set up tank, all
seemed fine until 2 weeks later...
Fast forward two weeks and I started to get brown slimy/hairy
algae on sand, rocks, back walls etc.
<I see this... likely a release of nutrient/s... loss of RedOx/ORP...
alkaline reserve in your substrate>
I would siphon out as much as I could during water changes, revealing
nice white sand under the brown scum, but it
comes back after a few days. At the time of my move I also switched to
Reef Crystals from Instant Ocean for salt mix, and also purchased an
under-sink RO system. Where it got weird is when my normally super-happy
bubble tip anemone spawned, probably 1 month into the move. A big blob
of eggs were released from her (I guess it is a she) mouth. I netted as
many of them as I could. Ever since that spawn-night, the anemone has
been small, deflated and wandering. It slides from one spot to another
night after night, and never inflates to its previous 8-10" size. I
realize that I might have
stirred up gunk in my 2-3 year old live sand during move,
but wouldn't I see a noticeable uptick in nitrates? The tap water here
smells very chlorine-y also, but shouldn't my RO system be filtering bad
<It should... and you likely have a carbon contactor pre-filter. You
could test for free chlorine...>
My underlying question is; what could be simultaneously causing this
algae outbreak and also stressing the anemone?
<The gunk stirred up in your old substrate; subsequent allelopathy with
your other Cnidarians...>
Are there additional tests I can run to find out?
<Sure; HPO4, NO3, K....>
Here are some details about my tank: As mentioned 24 gallons, all-in-one
setup with Tunze 9002 protein skimmer, heater, power head, and bag of
MarineLand activated carbon dropped in back chamber every couple months.
Livestock: percula clown, royal gramma, Longnose Hawkfish, Banggai
cardinal. A couple hermits, a couple turban snails, 1 fighting conch, 1
tuxedo urchin, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp. Soft corals (Christmas tree,
various mushrooms, Zoas, leather), a few LPS (plate coral, hammer,
torch, war coral).
Levels: Nitrates, ammonia, nitrites all "0"
<Really? NO NO3? I'd check with another kit>
, pH 8.1, temp 78. I can measure for calcium and dKH but generally
don't. I used to dose iron but don't anymore.
<I would, and iodide-ate... I might skip ahead and dump the entire
existing substrate and replace first>
I have attached pictures of the algae (I think it is either
dinoflagellates or cyanobacteria),
<Likely... need a 'scope look and see>
and am desperate for a concrete way to put a stop to it.
I have also attached a picture of the anemone spawn, and anem pics
before and after move. Let me know if you need additional info to assess
Thanks in advance for your attention on this.
<Try searching, reading on WWM re these algae groups control.
Re: Help with Anemone and Algae
Apologies. I thought the pics were small enough, thanks for responding
anyway. I will replace my sandbed...are you able to make a
recommendation on live sand?
the linked files at top>
And yes, I have tested "0" Nitrate for the past year and a half...I just
figured my bioload was low enough or that I had a super effective bio
filter. I will get a new kit.
Alge... rdg. 4/23/16
Hi my name is jonas martin I have a 55 gallon salt water tank. And I
have an out break of brown algae.
I have sufficient flow in the tank. And a canister filter capable of
handling that size aquarium. Is there any way I can eliminate the brown
algae. I only have two blue damsels and one Condylactis anemone. How can
I fix this issue.
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Marine aquarium algae control book
Hi Mr. Bob, I just wanted to let you know I picked up the above book
written by you. I have been battling a very frustrating algae problem.
But from the links here and the book, I am slowly getting it under
control. I still have
a ways to go but know I will get bit fixed. Thank you for all of the
advice you have given us all , and of course thank you to the rest of
For anyone battling nuisance algae, I recommend the book and the advice
archived here. Have a great day! Stace
<Thanks Stace; you too. BobF>
Marine fix opinion.... Not a reader. Go elsewhere
What is your opinion on the API algae fix.
<A very poor idea to use most chemical algicides... as gone... Oh, good
I am currently letting my tank
run fallow, feeding one cube of food per week for coral and live rock,
have quite a bit of hair algae on the rocks.
I was told this is a biocide that will help destroy the gha. I am
running gfo, skimmer and carbon, and only feeding once a week.
Since I will be going fallow another 6 weeks or so, one part of me says
it run its course, and not feed, there half of me says to continue
the coral once a week and give this product a try.
Red Algae; using WWM 2/18/16
Hello gang. Is there some secret to getting rid of red algae?
<Saltwater, fresh? No to secrets; but yes to means>
I've had a 150 gallon tank for years now and can't seem to kick it. Fish in it
are happy and fat and have been in it for years. A powder blue tang, blue ring
angel, Stars and Stripes puffer and lemon peel angel. Filter is 55 gallon Wet
dry sump with bubble magus cone skimmer. Water parameters have been tested many
times and are always where they need to be. Nitrates at less than 5-10 ppm, ph
stable and in range. Red algae covers most things but isn't "hairy".
<.... need a 'scope, sampling to determine what Division (group) this algae
belongs to... Is it slimy to the touch? >
There is some green mixed in here and there. Added some powerheads a year or so
ago to increase water flow. That helped some, but red is still pretty prominent.
Not sure what I am missing here.
<.... Reading.... re nutrient deprivation methods, predators, competitors... The
Tank is pretty much problem free otherwise. One thing I've noticed lately, which
I found odd and wouldn't have expected, is if I go longer between pulling the
filter bags out and cleaning them the green algae starts to spread or red starts
to lessen, not sure which. Any thoughts on this would be a huge help. Thanks in
<Where should I refer you? Start reading here:
and onto the linked files as you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>
algae control 1/25/16
HI there! Exhausted my search and have finally decided to write. I have a IM
Mini 40 that has been up and running since February 2015. Equipment includes a
Tunze 9002 skimmer, two Jebao RW-4 wavemakers, and an IM Minimax media reactor
midsize that I am currently running with AquaMaxx GFO Phosphate Out Granular
Ferrous Oxide Filter Media. Lighting is a Maxxspect Razor set on a dusk to dawn
01:30 1B 0W
04:30 0B 0W
09:00 0B 0W
12:00 60B 100W
21:00 60B 100W
23:00 60B 0W
Tank stats are as follows: Salinity 1.024 Temp 76 degrees now, but in summer
will usually run around 78 degrees, PH 8.0, Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0
Nitrates 0 Phosphates 0
<Mmm; your chemo-photosynthetic life absolutely needs soluble N, P, K...
you need to understand this. You will not be able to keep "corals" long term
Calcium 420ppm Alk 12. I have 4 H Reidi seahorses in the tank, a leather coral a
chili coral, various mushrooms, metallic green star polyps, glove polyps,
red/green Blastomussa polyps, Duncan coral, a Dendrophyllia frag, a Muriceopsis
flavida(I think), blue Sympodium, another small star polyp around 6 dwarf red
legged hermits and an assortment of Trochus, Cerith, Nerite and Nassarius
snails, all of whom do a great job keeping the glass clean but none seem
particularly interested in the algae growing on the rocks.
<There are many thousands of species... a minority of which are palatable to
these Gastropods and Anomurans>
I had originally attempted to convert one of the back chambers of the tank into
a refugium using the Aquagadget custom caddy and the IM fuge light
<Ah, good. THIS is your best shot, modality for success period here. IF
there's room, find a spot for a sump/refugium elsewhere to tie in (plumb)... W/
a DSB, RDP lighting... as gone over and over on WWM>
but to date have been unsuccessful in keeping any kind of macro algae
alive in there.
<Not surprising... there's insufficient food...>
That is my first problem. I can't figure out whether the light is too strong too
close to the algae, do I have it on for too many hours?
<Would need to know the species tried, measures of at least PAR/PUR....>
(I was trying to reverse the lighting cycle from the main tank) I did reduce the
fuge lighting to on for around 4 hours, but I still can't seem to grow the macro
back there, so I gave up.
Problem two - I believe started when I purchased some macro algae for the fuge.
It never occurred to me to quarantine the macro algae (stupid, I know now) but
lesson learned the super hard way since I believe I became infested with red
Planaria as a result. The macro algae was the only new thing. Anyway, I spent
the last four months battling this monster, siphoning them out, water changes
and finally Flatwork eXit x three times. Just as an FYI, it still didn't work
100% and I ultimately ended up siphoning the bulk of my sandbed out because that
seemed to be where they were living. I have beaten them now (I hope) but at the
expense of several of my corals. Despite my best efforts to siphon, do water
changes after treatment, etc this whole process wreaked havoc with my water
parameters, causing just general everything all over the place (ph down nitrates
skyrocketed, ammonia stayed 0, phosphates high, calc and alk dropped - just a
general disaster) This began my algae problem. It was at this point that I added
the media reactor with the GFO and got the water parameters to what they are now
<But no added substrate? I would>
However, I can not seem to get rid of the algae. I believe it is the B. Plumosa.
It would be extremely difficult to remove the rock since I have corals attached
to it. I have tried to scrub it off with a toothbrush to no avail and it has
taken hold between some of the polyp frags I have in there and I can't get in
between the individual polyps. I am frustrated beyond belief at this
point and am desperate for help. I read that increasing magnesium levels may
kill it off, and I just purchased a magnesium test kit to monitor the magnesium
level. Just tested a couple of days ago and found Mag level to only be 930,
which is low anyway. I have been adding magnesium to the tank a little bit at a
time to try and raise it to correct levels. Can this be why the algae is still
growing, and will increasing the levels work with this type of algae?
<Maybe. I'd be considering the above approach I've mentioned>
Sorry for the long email but wanted to be as thorough as possible with what's
been happening. Any suggestions would be welcome along with a reminder about why
I got into this hobby in the first place lol.
<First of all; don't give up! There are quite a few approaches to try... IS
there room... nearby for the tied-in sump/'fuge?
THIS is the route I would def. go with. Bob Fenner>
Re: algae control 1/25/16
Sorry, yes did replace the substrate with about an inch of pink coral sand.....
and the Planaria are not beat as evidenced by my spotting several just moments
- hadn't really seen any for a couple of weeks now - there are just a few. My
next move was to add a refugium below the tank only room for a small one but
still not sure how that will help rid the algae since phosphates and
nitrates levels good.
<Will help in myriad ways... again, please search WWM, read books I've penned
re... And you HPO4 and NO3 are NOT good... See WWM re this/these as well.>
Pics of tank below if that helps. Thanks Bob - you and the crew are an amazing
<Glad to assist your efforts. Oh! Pix not attached. BobF>
Re: algae control
Ah yes I see that missed comment re the water parameters - looks like I have
much water chemistry reading to do -
<Not too much>
I feel very dumb right now. (sigh).
Thanks again and read I shall. Liana
<The subjunctive case; wow! Bob>
Liana tank 1/25/16
<Very nice. B>
Liana tank algae 1/25/16
<Not so bad.... B>
I am new to Saltwater tanks and I am having problems with algae. What can I do
to control this?
<Perhaps start by reading...
Lots of useful information there to get you started. Cheers, Neale.>
Mysterious algae or bacterial film. Please help!
<.... six Megs of pix. What and why do we limit file size?>
Hello! I am currently battling a strange film in my tank.
<Mmm; nah. Do you have a microscope? Can (will) you learn to/use WWM? >
At first, I thought it was cyanobacteria, but the normal methods
of eliminating that haven't proven to be useful. Reduction of lights, increased
flow, more/larger water changes, new/increased GAC and GFO,
<Try PolyFilter or its equivalent>
reducing feeding, and even products like Chemiclean
<A poor idea>
haven't made as much as a dent in it. Then I began to think it might be
dinoflagellates. I had an episode with them
before, and I was able to get rid of them by using a multi-pronged approach of
blackouts, hydrogen peroxide, a uv sterilizer, and DinoX.
<.... There's an endogenous source of nutrients here... either the rock or
substrate is feeding... Try boiling a sample... testing the water>
This stuff, however, also doesn't respond to any of those things, either. It
also doesn't have the appearance that the previous dinoflagellates had. It
doesn't create streamers of bubbles, and the texture isn't "snotty" like the
Dinos were. I am really at a loss here, and I would like to make a positive ID,
<The 'scope; reading on WWM, maybe my book on Algae (see Amazon,
figure out why they've gotten so established in the first place, and come up
with a treatment plan. I appreciate any light that you can shed on this matter!
<Have seen a 'zillion times as the saying goes.... the N, P, K source here? hard
material/s you've placed.... or much less likely the water, salt mix>
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
Mmm; plus Myrionema?
Re: Mysterious algae or bacterial film. Please help!
Thanks for the response. I was mainly looking for an ID, and I mentioned the
treatments, etc, to explain why I'm unsure what it is.
<And I responded that the only means to tell for sure was what? And what the
likely sources of nutrient? TRY using WWM. B>
Re: Mysterious algae or bacterial film. Please help! /Earl? 12/5/15
Why do you think that I didn't try that first? I did, and I wasn't any more
sure. After trying, I thought I'd ask the experts. But it seems like you were
just annoyed. I'm sorry if I bothered you.
<A detailed listing of your water parameters, whatever you can test for, would
be of a lot of use. There are a *lot* of faq's and pages of info about these
nuisance/pest algae and bacteria etc. on the site here but we can't do a lot
without more detailed, specific information. Your source water maybe, readings
as per above, inhabitants, what kind of feeding you
do and of what. Also please note the file size limit we have to work with.
Detail and close-up resolution is great but practical/functionality
considerations are a reality. I recommend simply using image editing software
(surely you use some for your camera...if not you can use GIMP which is good
freeware). Maybe home in on demonstrative areas of the photos, crop them smaller
to focus there, and be sure to "save for web" as a 72dpi file.>
Re: Mysterious algae or bacterial film. Please help! /back to
Why do you think that I didn't try that first?
<Because if you had you wouldn't have written>
I did, and I wasn't any more sure. After trying, I thought I'd ask the experts.
But it seems like you were just annoyed. I'm sorry if I bothered you.
<Not a bother.... are you a non-native speaker/reader? Do you know what I've
referred to as a "microscope"?
That this is the only way (apparent color won't do it alone).... DO please
re-read some of the articles and corresponding FAQs files on Algae Control on
WWM; and write w/ specific questions. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mysterious algae or bacterial film. Please help!.... 12/6/15
Is there a minimal magnification that you would recommend for help in
<Yes.... 200-400X will do it....READ here:
It wouldn't be money well spent for me to buy a research-grade microscope if I
only need it occasionally.
<Nah; a very simple QL series... do just read. About 30k people use WWM per
day.... not able to re-key all>
Unfortunately, I don't currently have access to a microscope, which was why I
asked for helping with an ID.
<Ask about at your local fish stores. Likely someone has one that they'll let
you bring a sample in and use>
I'm sorry if I wasn't specific enough with that question. I received your other
email about providing specific parameters, and I am currently doing tests to get
these numbers. I should be sending that shortly.
<Ah good.... and that wasn't from/me... or signed... another WWM Crewmember,
perhaps Earl. BobF>
Re: Mysterious algae or bacterial film. Please help!
Ah, I see. Thanks for the specifics.
- SG 1.026
- hw-Marinemix reefer salt
- RO/DI (via SpectraPure unit) water
- TDS meter shows 0ppm
- Always replace DI resin when TDS shows 1ppm.
- pH 8.1, according to calibrated Milwaukee pH600
According to API test kits:
- Ammonia: 0
- Nitrite: 0
- Nitrate: 0
<Mmm; how is NO3 rendered zip?>
According to Salifert:
- Calcium: 390 - 400
- Magnesium: ~1170
- Alkalinity: 8.6dKH
After testing, I added a dose of Kent Tech M to get my Mag level closer to NSW.
According to Hanna Checker colorimeter:
- Phosphates: 0ppm (Do I need the higher sensitivity (ppb) checker?)
<No; assuredly not>
With a bloom, I'm not surprised that NO3 and PO4 are not detectable.
<Yes; possibly the mix of Protists, Monerans here is "sucking up" most all
simple chem. nutrient>
- 2 percula clownfish
- 1 Cerith snail
- 1 red-leg hermit
- 1 colony of Zoanthids
The rest of the snails and hermits died during my dino outbreak 6 months ago.
Waiting for stability (and necessity) before any sort of scavenger re-stocking.
Formula 1 pellets, small amount (~10 small pellets) each day or every other day.
I feed only a few pellets at a time to ensure that they are all eaten.
I'll send you links to better pictures to ensure that the attachments
aren't blocked for size, and so that you can see the entirety of the pics:
<Mmm; well; there are a few "routes" you could/might go... for me....
I'd remove the useful biota, nuke/bleach the system and components (in place,
including the rock, gravel).... ADD a large refugium, w/ a DSB there, on RDP
lighting regimen.... and add a few lb.s of new live rock to restart; put the
biota back in.... Bob Fenner>
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
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
Green Hair Algae; SW, control, more rdg.
algae? Dinos? bacteria? alien life form?
Dear WWM crew,
Your site has been a huge help to me in setting up my saltwater aquarium in
I'm currently having a problem that I can't quite identify. I've searched wwm
pretty thoroughly but without a definite id I'm unsure how to proceed. There's
something growing on one pane of my aquarium glass. It started 3 weeks ago. It's
spreading quickly though! It's very gelatinous and clear, frondy at the ends,
but seems to grow from a brownish pin sized circle attached to the glass. The
fronds disintegrate when scraped or suctioned, the circles require some scraping
<I do so like these mysteries! Could be.... algal; perhaps a Ctenophore/comb
jelly, or a Hydropolyp of some sort, or...
Any chance of a high-res. photo? Do you have a USB-ready microscope (like the
Intel-Mattel ones plugged on WWM?)>
It doesn't produce bubbles and the fronds are thicker than the pictures of Dinos
I've seen. It comes back 2 days after I scrape/siphon it out. I put a filter on
the system whenever trying to clean it. The reason I'm concerned is that as soon
as it started, I started losing my Astrea snails.
<Ah, all good clues>
They are now all dead. I suspect it took out the tiny snails that came in on a
frag too, I haven't seen them. Nothing else is currently affected, in fact the
pods seem to like hanging out in the stuff, but I really don't want this toxic
whatever it is to spread! I have the typical red Cyano.
<Bunk; and dangerous at times. This along could account for your snail losses>
I've only started to see green nuisance algae last week, in one spot on my rock.
Ideally you'd wave your magic wand and make this stuff go *poof* but if it's on
the recharger, I'd really appreciate a more definite identification. I'm
hesitant to go crazy against algae if it's bacteria and vice versa. I hope it
<They are not the "end of the world" (have seen it/this and they're not there)>
What I've been doing to manage it: manual removal every 4 days, 20% water
changes after scraping, running filter cloth on return, activated carbon in
sump. Cut down feeding (mix of tiny amounts tiny frozen mysis, oyster eggs and
oyster ovarian tissue, new life teeny pellets mixed with tank water. I use a 5ml
dropper to feed and fill it maybe half full.) I haven't added
any supplements except alk/calcium- tailored aquatics is the brand name.
Nutrients have always been low in this tank, I only added the goby a month or so
ago. Pre fish I put in 5 or so nls pellets a day to give the worms/pods
something to eat. I notice an odd smell from the change water.
Not rotting or sulphur, ocean-like or that soft-coral reek, but sharp.
(Does Chaeto smell?)
<Do we smell them you mean I'll take it: sometimes>
JBJ 28g gallon all in one. Stock lighting-compact fluorescents, 105 watts, half
actinic half white, on for 7 hours a day. (Have ordered a new bulb, waiting for
it to be delivered)
<I'd sub another "white" of use for the actinic m'self>
No skimmer. (Worried about stripping already low nutrients in tank) Usually do
Weekly 10% water changes, bumped up to
20% every couple of days for the last few weeks. Been running for 5 months.
Chemistry: Temp 78F, Salinity 1.025, Alk 8.2, no ammonia, nitrite, nitrates >5
(tough to read kit),Ca 450, phosphates 0.03. Waiting for Mg test. I add alk
supplement about every 10 days. Running small amounts activated carbon.
Nutrients have been very low since the cycle. Started with dry rock and dry sand
due to unavailability of live stuff.
Livestock: Yellow clown goby.2 sexy shrimp, brittle star I haven't seen in a few
weeks and hope is ok, hermit crab added a week ago. 5 very tiny Euphyllia frags,
Discosoma mushrooms, 1 toadstool,
<Yikes; Sarcophytons can get very large and quite toxic>
1 Ricordea. Lots of copepods- they are all over the suspect goo. One of my
shrimp hangs out on it also. Ball of Chaetomorpha algae which hasn't been
thrilled with all the water changes.
Relevant tank history: 6 weeks ago a period of wild alk swings ended. It lasted
3 weeks, alk would drop 3+ dKH a day. This tank has been weird for not getting
green algae. Lots of brown stuff (diatoms probably) but no green. I take out
half the ball of Chaeto monthly. Coralline was starting to grow but has stopped
and is vanishing since this goo started.
<Mmm; more poss. clues.... You need to stabilize water quality... if
needed through larger, more frequent water changes; the new water bolstered
through supplementation if needed>
(close up)<Oh.... this does look like a Dinoflagellate mess... I'd have you
read re these on WWM; and...>
when allowed to grow undisturbed for a week
(full tank shot, early June. The suspect goo is on the left side panel, near the
sand. I believe this is day 2 since removing it. Have moved frags around since
but added only 1 Ricordea)
Thanks very much for your wonderful site and sorry about the length of this,
Ivy in Canada
<No worries; and the mention of a new "algae" manipulating product, "Nualgi"; a
promoter of diatoms; that deprives other, noisome algae of nutrients.... have
met w/ the owner/distributor; and though it works almost always in ponds, and
off/on in aquariums (mainly dependent on their make up bio/chemically); I would
try this out here. Bob Fenner>
Hi WWM crew,
First, I want to mention that I did search your site as best I could to
find the solution before resorting to emailing. The topics I
found covered things I have been trying for some time now, so felt it
prudent to email you.
I've got a 55 gal saltwater tank with a 10 gal filter tank
The tank below has a Remora skimmer, standard 100 micron filter sock,
heater, phosphate reactor using PhosBan product.
I've been battling green hair algae for 6 months now. It’s covering
about 60% of my live rock. I need to prune it by hand at least every
month to keep corals from being covered.
i know this is due to an imbalance with nutrients.
<Mmm; no; not necessarily... could be lack of predation, competition,
too much or wrong type of light... quite a few other important factors>
I feed minimally and slowly, ensuring the food is mostly eaten within 1
min, once per day (in an effort to cut down on nutrient overflow.) I
also feed 1 algae wafer per day for the tang and other herbivores. my
stock is 2 clowns, 1 cole tang, 1 cleaner shrimp, 3 turbo snail, 1 flame
angel, 1 Chromis, 1 file fish and about a dozen small hermit crabs.
Lighting is about 10 hours a day. Comprised of 4 x 48 inch T5 lights...
(2 actinic and 2 white.)
<I'd ditch the actinics... See WWM re>
I use 3 powerheads in the main tank for circulation. Also in use is a uv
Please let me know what you suggest.
<More or re-reading re general algae control. Start here:
and the linked files above. Don't know why you, others throw your money
away on "controlling" HPO4... The media here are likely a good source of
the "imbalance" issue you mention.>
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
what is it and how do I make it GO AWAY
<Nan; eight megs of pix? Why?>
It has been awhile since I contacted you, which is a good thing:) I have
downsized from the 180gal to a 75 gal and I can now reach the
bottom without swimming. I have the large
sized ECO filter, a small protein
skimmer, deionized make up water. Livestock is mostly soft corals and a
few fish, a large tang, large engineer goby
and perhaps 10 small 1.5 - 2' other fish. Oh ,
and the big Ritteri anemone :).
The red slime algae comes and goes with the season but is never a major
issue. I have developed this green stuff on my stony coral
<Mmm; looks like Cyanobacteria as well... the color is not indicative...
Need to look at a bit under a low power microscope>
There has been a small patch of what I would
call fuzzy green algae on one rock for years.
It stayed there and I ignored it. Awhile back I noticed a
small patch on the coral so I put some 'Aiptasia out' on it.
Needless to say it did nothing. So I had a bit
of Super Glue left from a job and covered the
whole spot over with it. It came back with a vendetta and as
you can see, is taking over my coral who will not even spread
I did not see anything on your site that covered algae annihilation.
Have you any suggestions?
<The usual reading on WWM. There's a few approaches... that work, and
some that should be avoided (use of antibiotics)>
thanks, Nancy D
yes, those 2 pictures are the same but I can't seem to get rid on one:)
I didn't see anything on your site that covered algae annihilation. Have
you any suggestions [image: Inline image 2][image: Inline image
<The reading. Bob Fenner>
Re: what is it and how do I make it GO AWAY
Under magnification will the Cyanobacteria look like a bunch of vibrating
<Vibrating? As in moving? This is artifactual... Cyanobacteria are
photosynthetic Monerans... look like bacteria... no nucleus, a single strand
or twisted DNA; peculiar single-walled plasma membrane. See WWM re>
I did see some of that many years ago but tend forget to use the microscope.
I will check out that topic and see what pops up.
I have to laugh at me--- I can save a life but I am technologically
<Want to start a club?>
I seldom watch TV cause there are too many remotes to deal with.
<I can barely use my cell phone... even just the phone functions... I taught
H.S. physics (and chem. bio. courses); can't wire a circuit. Your turn. Bob
Re: what is it and how do I make it GO AWAY
OK Bob. So I got on your site to look up cyanobacteria. You question my
8 megs of pictures but you have 10,000 pages for me to search through?
Are you sure you didn't use to write Congressional proposals :)
<Or a brief work on understanding women?>
I did read an article and yes, I do get a bit sloppy with my reef in the
summer. As much as I hate to admit it I probably caused the effect:(
Haven't borrowed the microscope yet but did get furring strips over the
board joints so my birds won't freeze. Winter is on it's way!!!
Re: what is it and how do I make it GO AWAY
I borrowed my grand daughter's cheap-o microscope (cause no one could
find the good one) and the dab of stuff I
scraped off the coral appeared to be
tubular with strings running lengthwise.
<Did these string have nuclei?>
I gave the coral a leisurely bath in Red Slime Remover then put it in
time out. I suspended it upside down in the
back of the tank. Since the stuff is green I
will consider it to be photosynthetic and I am going to shut
down it's power source. I suppose the worst I can do is kill the coral
and at least it will not be a slow painful death as it is invaded
Re: what is it and how do I make it GO AWAY
they appeared to be segmented but I really could not say I saw nuclei.
there was a couple larger circular critters which obviously did.
Bad encrusting algae 7/17/14
I am not sure if anyone is at this site anymore.
I have some questions concerning some algae that was diagnosed by Bob
Fenner as "Peyssonnelia".
I have a similar looking algae as the person on your site does here,
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/redalgcompfaqs.htm on 8/22/07
I have considered Dinoflagellates as a possibility, however I am not all
<This is a mix of a few Divisions of Thallophytes, plus
Either way here are the things I know about;
It's first sign of existence is the whiting out and dying off of
coraline algae. Then you will start noticing dead snails around the tank
as they eat the algae and it kills them. Then all other algae in the
system dies off as this algae will out-compete even Chaeto. It is dark
brown at its base and is very filamentous from its base up. It is hairy
yet it encrusts.
The hair on it in one of my systems is easily 1/2 inch long. I have
tried killing it with a saltwater/2(HO) mix and that doesn't even kill
it. The ONLY way I have found to kill this algae is through lack of
many days, an by many I mean almost 14 days. I have attached some
<Take the long read on WWM re marine algae control period.
Re: Bad encrusting algae 7/17/14
I took the long read and came up with nothing that would help with
<.... tis the same ole approaches: Nutrient deprivation, competition,
predation.... chemical filtrants/improved skimming/higher RedOx....>
I have tried many different techniques and most of them did not work.
I am not sure if either Thallophytes or Cyano is correct as neither
of these match the description of the algae.
<... have to look at under a 'scope. Easy to see the various parts of this
I have seen quite a few other with the same problem as I have and no
one has yet to be able to correctly ID this algae.
<..... my friend. Go back and READ. BobF>
I personally have written about it many different places and no one has been
able to ID it yet for me, or help me with getting rid of it. The only thing
I can say for sure that kills it, is lack of direct light for a
period of time; at least 2 weeks.
Re: Bad encrusting algae....
Okay, I'll go back and read it again.
<Let's have you start here:
and onto the linked files where you consider more info. will be useful>
I am trying to out-compete with Chaeto under
high intensity lighting as well as nutrient deprivation. I
am not going to lie, the two clowns, yellow
tang, and blue damsel were quite skinny before
all of this. How much should I starve the tank?
<"Keep reading....!" B>
Algae... just reading as usual
Can anyone one aquarium be so unlucky as to have : hair algae, Bryopsis,
green bubble algae, Gelidium, Cladophoropsis.
I have 0 phosphates and nitrates.. Running skimmer heavily, put a fresh
batch of gfo and carbon. Along with water changes. I don't feed heavily,
or have a heavy bio load. I'm not sure what else to do. Please help.
Thanks in advance for any tips.
<Uhh, predators, competition, nutrient limitation, export... READ here:
and the linked files... Bob Fenner>
Hairy algae 4/9/12
<Just search WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Hi my name is bradley I have had my marine aquarium set up for a year
half now but keep haveing trouble with green hairy algae I start getting
controll of it but it just comes back . I do 10 percent water change
week have nitra bio cubes in the sump . I have about 50 snails and 5
so a good size clean up crew for a 2 foot tank . If you could help me
some advise it would be grate thank you
erythromycin as last resort? Risky?
Hello Crew! I so need some concrete advice, as there is too much to sort
through on this subject and I want to know what YOU would do!
<Will do Pam>
I'm about to dose my reef tank with erythromycin.
I've been battling Dinos for four months, and have done everything, from
5 day blackouts, to keeping the pH high (8.5), to no feeding and taking
out the fuge that contained Miracle Mud,
Also, NO water changes for a month(Julian Sprung), to siphoning
and scrubbing , to melting down on Facebook, nothing has worked!
<"Running a large country is like cooking a small fish">
The Dinos have subsided, I'd say quite a bit , but in the last week,
they seem to be on the move again. I must mention, I also have some sort
of algae on the rock that hasn't budged at all.
I've had the advice of many knowledgeable people (ones YOU know !) and I
fear that erythromycin is my last hope.
Please, with all due respect, don't send me a link on Dinos, I've
been reading about them for so long, I know them inside out, I
just don't have a cure, if one even exists.
My parameters are excellent, something I've perfected (this is my third
attempt at keeping a beautiful reef!) Each tank was plagued with algae.
I do use ro/di ONLY.
I have included pictures of the Dinos, before and after various
treatments as mentioned above, (the computer put them in reverse
order, so you'll see the "after" photos first.
Also, I'll include a picture of the algae on the rock, hopefully you'll
be able to identify.
<Have to look at under a 'scope... this is likely a mix of species...
Thank you so much for your help, as you guys are always my "go to"
people before I take the final plunge!
<... I'd be reviewing my system... possibly boosting pH (with Kalk) to
8.6-8.8 temporarily to precipitate out HPO4... Do you have a
I'd deepen the DSB there... culture some macro-algae via RDP. Bob
|Re: erythromycin as last resort? Risky?
Bob, I removed the refugium (HOB unit) that contained "Miracle
Mud" because I felt it was adding too many nutrients
<... Do you have test kits for... what? N, P, K?>
to the system (under the advice of one of your friends :) ) So no RDP going
on for about 2 weeks.
<I'd put it back on, run it>
But initially, that is the way I set up the system, with loads of Chaeto
added to the fuge. And this tank has been set up new since May 2013!
Maybe it was a coincidence, but since I took down the fuge, the Dinos
No sump, unfortunately. Some day......
The sand bed is 4 inches right now,.... you recommend adding (on top)
of the Dinos?
<Yes I would>
Also, I DO use Kalk and throughout the four months can't seem to get the
system above 8.6.
<.... something... is your Calcium very high? Like over 450 ppm?>
Ahhh, so aggravating.
Re: erythromycin as last resort? Risky?
> <Patience. B>
Is a virtue, ugh! I know
Thank you Bob!
Hair algae growing inside a clam
Hello WWM Crew,
I have a problem with a Tridacna clam for which I haven't found an
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>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, USA>
BGA? Concern... Flako 11/20/13
Hi i have an issue with lights,and marron alge, i have all correct, so i
believe is my light i have a 75 gallon aquarium my fixturr is an
with a hqi 250w and 2 24w t5 and 4 leds, is good or not?_
<This lighting arrangement should be fine... depending on what you're
trying to accomplish, what life you have here; the age of the MH and
Fluor. lamps... There is much more to algae control than lighting....
Have you searched/read on WWM re? Bob Fenner>
So, i havr to keep it of most of the time
What u recommend for this problem? Thx
The fixture is 6 months old and is 24 inches, everything id goog, till i
turn the hqi on, all the botton start getting brown
<.... What? Read>
Mas Flako 11/20/13
How to eliminate marrone algae?
Red Hair/Brown slime in <a new> Reef Tank
I started up a new 72'' 165 gallon reef tank with the
live rock and soft corals I had in my 100 gallon tank. I also upgraded
my skimmer to one rated at 200 gallons. The new tank has been up
& running for 6 weeks now and I am having a terrible time with
red hair & brown algae.
<Mmm, well... "these things take time" to settle/sort themselves out.
The "run in" period with new systems often involves such pest algae
My nitrate, phosphate, and silicate levels are not detectable.
<These may be being "scarfed up" by the algae>
I am using (2) 22k & (4) 420/460 Actinics, & 2 15k daylight T5
bulbs, with the 15k lights on for 6 hours, the blues are on for 12
<Mmm, this is too much blue to suit me; and may be part of (at least a
delay of/for) the issue here>
I also have good circulation in the tank. The red hair algae just won't
give up and although it hasn't completely overrun my tank, it takes a
lot of effort dealing with it. Do you think it will cycle out on its
<In time; yes... This is actually highly likely a Blue Green algae...
Best to have you read here:
and as much of the linked files above as you deem useful>
I can't imagine what's fueling it
<... BGA predates much of other life on this planet... Is able to become
early-entrenched, create conditions that preclude other life from
unless my light configuration has
something to do with it. I am using more blue light right now to help
deal with it. (ps..I do not use tap water and I don't have any fish)
<Please do the cited reading... and consider some of the proffered steps
toward eliminating the problematic life here.
Algae ID, 'scope, sample, rdg.
Any ideas what this is? It's fuzzy and very moss-like. I have a bit of
red Cyano on my substrate and figure whatever this other stuff is it'll
compete for nutrients with the Cyano. It's only growing on the back of
my tank and the fish don't seem to be interested in it. Should I remove
it, or just leave it be?
<Likely a large mix of green/s, blue-greens, Protists... Need to sample
and go over w/ a 'scope. I'd remove a good deal of it with a scraper and
vacuum every water change. Bob Fenner>