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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 5

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, Cyano Control 6, Cyano Control 7, Cyano Control 8, Cyano Control 9, Cyano Control 10, Cyano Control 11, BGA Control 12, BGA Control 13, BGA Control 14, BGA Control 15, BGA Control 16, BGA Control 17, BGA Control 18, BGA Control 19, BGA Control 20, & BGA Identification, Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

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

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Cyano-NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! No more - 2/30/04 I have something that has started to grow on my live rock. It is a deep red and velvety looking. <Sounds like Blue Green Algae or better known as Cyanobacteria. A real pain but, alas, sometimes part of our lack of proper maintenance. Be diligent. Blow off the rock and siphon out. Take a look at your feeding regime and water changes. Also, if this is a newly established tank, say in the last 6 months or so, this is sometimes a by product of the maturation cycle. Also increase your water turnover by means of circulation. Also, be sure to look on our website for more info on this real nuisance algae: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>  I recently upgraded my lights on my 55 gallon tank in December.  I noticed my turbo snails have gotten rid of some of it, <Likely not.> any suggestions, am I doing anything wrong or do I need to check anything.  <See the above link as well as the suggestions above. Good luck, Karen ~Paulo> Thanks for any help you can give me!

Cya-NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! - 2/11/04 Can anyone tell me what this ugly algae is and how to keep it from growing on my beautiful rock? <Cyanobacteria or blue/green algae. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> It is easily removes by blowing it off with a baster, <after blasting loose, siphon it out. More frequent water changes, less feeding, less supplements, more circulation are just a few suggestions>  but in a few days, it's back. <I hate this algae.> and boy does it smell like low tide! <no kidding.> I feel I have plenty of circulation, 4 power heads a skimmer and a power filter. any help? <Hmmmm. See the link above and go through the FAQs. Not much to say here but keep up on the maintenance. Good luck. The war has begun! ~Paul> Thanks!

Exposing the truth about Cyano - 2/12/04 Gee Paul you make it sound like my tank is a real mess! <Wha?? No, not at all. Actually you made it sound like that. Heheheheh> It's actually quite beautiful, (I think) <I think so too!> I'll take a pic after this letter and send it to you. <Sweet. Really though, I make no assumptions on one's tanks. I am here to help> But I do admit to not doing water changes often enough. <Ummm.......I see....Heheheh> Sometimes a month goes by till I find the time. <More water changes means less algae (amongst other things)> But I am getting better at it. <Good to hear> I bought a new pump that can easily be used to pump my nicely aged, salted, aerated and heated water into the tank. <Yeah!!!! You go!!!> Also, I may be feeding too much, but not sure. <Well, cut back some, or better yet, move to the same amount just fed throughout the day> I just feel guilty at night when I dim the lights on the tank and then come back in an hour and plunge my little inhabs into total darkness, without anything to eat all day! <I totally understand. Thus feeding small amounts two to three times a day is a great habit and more natural to the fish> Sometimes I have let 3 days go by after inadvertently dumping too much frozen food in the tank. <Whoa!!! Holy smokes. Could be why there is Cyano, me thinks. Heehee!> But mostly, I feed about every other day.   About the Cyanobacteria, I guess I better wait till I do another water change so I can siphon it out as I remove it. <Good 'nuff.>   Thanks for the tips Paul! <My pleasure. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul>   Pam

More Cyanobacteria - 2/20/04 I have recently had a problem with red slime....actually looks more like black fur. <Blue green Cyanobacteria is a real nuisance.> I was advised to use Chemi-Clean which I did. <Never heard of it. I highly recommend against these remedies as they usually nuke the tank of nitrifying bacteria and in some to most cases kill your fish and invertebrates. The issue usually arises from lack of a proper maintenance regime, lack of water circulation and turnover, or maturation of a newly established tank. (can take up to 9 months) 75G tank 4 months old. <Ahhhhh....see?>  There are sparse instructions with the product. <May need to contact the manufacturer of the product or talk to the person who advised you to use it in the first place> It says to wait 48 hours and retreat if necessary.  My question is, how do I know if it needs retreated? <I have no idea> Will all the gunk disappear if it worked or will that residual stay until I vacuum it out and do a water change? <I would do both vacuum it out and do a 20% water change. Use a poly-filter or high grade carbon to extract the rest of the product. Increase your water change regimen and watch your feeding technique. Read through our FAQs and articles on algae control. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Thanks for your question ~Paulo>   Thanks.  JJ

More on treating Cyanobacteria - 2/22/04 I'm hoping it is due to the maturation process. <Could be likely but be diligent with your tank responsibilities.>  So if that is it and it can take up to 9 months do I just put up with it? <No. You need to fine tune your maintenance regime>  It is really depressing. <Siphon off, increase water changes, feed less, more circulation, read as much as you can> I do weekly 5% water changes, <More like 10% twice a week> use RO water, have a protein skimmer, <Is it a quality skimmer? Is it pulling about 1/2 a cup a week at least??> a Magnum 350 running with filter sleeve and carbon (cleaned weekly) <And the carbon should be changed weekly as well> and a CAP2200 powerhead.  Also run airstones. <Why?> Have 1 Chromis, 1 lawnmower blenny, 4snails, 4 red legged crabs, 1 Condylactis, mushrooms, 1 banded coral shrimp, 1 feather duster and 1 chocolate chip star (yeah, I know...not reef safe....he has his own room and I let him out when I am around to keep an eye on him:).  I only feed the Chromis once a day a very tiny amount of Formula One frozen food (a piece about the size of his eye that I mix with water and feed slowly waiting for him to grab all the pieces before I pour in any more) the shrimp and starfish each get about 1/4"  piece  of Formula One every other day or so and the Condy a 1/4" piece every 2-3 days. <Keep  an eye on these pieces>  Everything else scavenges or filter feeds.  The product doesn't have any algaecide or erythromycin in it.  It is supposed to oxidize any DOM and deprive the CB of its food source. <doubtful, but let me know if it works> All the inhabitants are doing well.  The mushrooms are reproducing and the live rock is showing signs of life. <Good to hear>  I'm not sure what to do differently unless I'm feeding too much. <Doesn't sound like it but keep an eye as the animal eats to see if any goes to waste> The stuff is tenacious... vacuuming doesn't remove much and it just comes back the next day. <Hit it with a blast of air from a turkey baster and then siphon off>  Unfortunately, when setting up the tank the guy at the fish store told me to use dolomite for substrate so it traps a lot of crap. <You can change it...>  I don't think removing it is an option. <Ahhh. I understand. Well then, siphoning is very important> Should I try to remove the top layer that is covered in the slime? <Oh yeah. Absolutely> Thanks for your help.  You guys perform a wonderful service. <Thank you for being part of it all> Let me know if there is something I need to do differently.  JJ

Cyano and Wet dry filters Can you send me some links on better understanding what causes red and green slime type algae and what I can do to rid my tank of them? <You betcha, a very common and annoying problem I was recently at a friends house and though the green Cyano in her reef was so much cooler than the red Cyano I am fighting. Then I realized it is all a pain in the uh... neck. Check out the link below and the links to related information on the top of the page.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > Also, I see that your opinion is to get rid of my bio balls or my wet/dry filter all together. If this is the case what do I replace my wet dry with? What is the best reef filter money can buy (for a 40 gallon breeder tank)? I have also read that removing bio balls is a good thing and something I should do to reduce my nitrates (between 15-20) Your thoughts? What would I replace with? <It depends on what you are keeping, wet/dries with bio balls are great for big messy eaters, but a lot of people have found that for other types of tanks, reefs for example, the space used for bio balls is better suited to hold extra live rock, the best dang reef filter out there. IMO the best filter you can use is a large sump, this will give you the versatility that your tank needs, you can mix and match different filtration methods, bio-balls, live rock, deep sand beds, refugium, whatever is best for your tank, not to mention adding to your water volume and giving you a place to hide heaters/other equipment. So yeah, if you can replace the bio-balls with live rock that would be cool, I am not sure how much space you have, but incorporating a deep sand bed 3-6 inches would be cool too. Use the google search tool on our site to search for deep sand beds, live rock, and sumps, I am sure you will find enough info to drive you nuts. Best Regards, Gage >

Cyanoooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!! Go away! - 2/1/04 Hello Crew, <Helloooooooooo>     My 55 gallon FOWLR tank is 3 1/2 months old and I cycled through the usual algae cycles very quickly in the first few weeks. <Means very little in the overall scheme of things unfortunately. Read Eric Borneman's Myth 15 here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-01/eb/index.htm A view I truly feel is very relevant!> I have a live sand bed, full clean up crew of snails and a queen conch but no fish yet. I have 50 lbs of live rock. <Sounds excellent> I use water filtered through my Spectra pure 4 stage RO/DI filter for water changes and top offs with instant ocean salt. <The top is not saltwater right?. Otherwise, sounds good> I have this lingering amount of Cyanobacteria film (brown and burgundy) on the sand surfaces and it is now sneaking up on some of my live rock. It has been hanging around for about a month. <Well, many things here and we have quite a bit written about this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm look through the links as well. Most people are only treating the effect not the cause. Look into maintenance issues in general, more frequent water changes, watch feeding of fish and corals, dosing of any chemicals you don't test for,  filtration issues (not enough or changed frequently enough) under circulating your water (are usually attributed as the main cause) and things of that nature> I have an Aqua C protein skimmer (urchin model) in my wet/dry sump which is filling up the collection cup about a 1/4 of the way up the cup per day with dark green scum. <Excellent. Great product> Will this bloom cycle out as the tank matures or should I intervene in some way? <Well, hard to say but likely a mixture of both. I personally would look to the causes and work that angle, regardless. Good luck! ~Paul>

Cya-nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! - 1/28/04 Hello! I have a 75gal tank with live rock, fish and some coral which I have had for about a year. <Sweet>  Recently I've been having problems with Cyanobacteria or red algae on my live rock. <Likely Cyanobacteria. Red snot algae. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm. May be the wrong color but rest assured, it is blue/green algae> My fish are doing fine but the corals are really suffering. <Yes. A fast spreader. Corals can't out compete it, unfortunately>  I have tried frequent water changes, I have taken the rock out and scrubbed it clean of all the visible algae, but it keeps coming back. <You are only treating the effect not the cause. Look into maintenance issues in general, frequent water changes, watch feeding of fish and corals, dosing of any chemicals you don't test for,  filtration issues (not enough or changed frequently enough) under circulating your water (usually attributed as the main cause) and things of that nature>  I have not been able to find information on this type of algae or bacteria on what causes it or treatment.  How can I get rid of it? <Check the links and my suggestions above. Good Luck to you. ~Paul> Please help. Denise

Quick question on progression of Cyano/algae 1/16/03 Good morning to you all, <Good Morning Paul.  Adam here> First, please allow me to apologize in advance in the event I missed this issue on your FAQ pages.  Second, thanks to you all for your time and commitment to advancing the hobby. <No problem, we are here to help!> Background - I have a 120 with a light load that has been an algae machine from the beginning - very much in part (I think) due to my poor skimming.  Consequently, I have purchased a Lifereef 36" venturi skimmer for better export. <Probably a good move, but herbivory is also an important algae control mechanism.  Do you have a few snails and/or any algae eating fish?> My question - Since running the skimmer for about 10 days now, I have noticed an overall increase in Cyano but more specifically more green/brown and less red Cyano.  Does Cyano go through stages as it gets starved of nutrients?  I am hoping that the change from red to green/brown is for the better? <I don't know that the change in type of Cyano is better or not, but different algae do flourish under different conditions.  One of the factors is the ratio of organics/nitrates/phosphate to each other.  You new skimmer is probably causing change in the relative proportions of these nutrients, causing the change in growth.  The bottom line is that it is probably a good sign that the skimmer is working.> And, since I have had an overall increase in Cyano, is it possible that other algae is dying from lack of nutrients and therefore increasing the load temporarily?<Probably not increasing the overall load, but may be a factor in affecting the nutrient ratios.> I hope I clearly explained my question and thanks again for the help. Paul <Very clearly!  and it is always a pleasure.  Adam>

Cyano Bacteria (1-4-04) hi,<Howdy, Cody here today.> Below I have provide some pictures of the algae that is growing on the bottom of my marine aquarium i was wondering if you could tell me some information about it? if it is good or bad and why is it there and what can i do to solve the problem if there is one???<Looks like Cyano bacteria to me.  It can become a problem if it gets out of hand, which it likely will if there is already some present.  It is caused by excess nutrients, aging bulbs...> In the aquarium i have 2 actinics and 2 daylight globes the tank is 5ft L x 45cm W x 2 ft H i was wondering if that is enough, and if it penetrates far enough because i was planning on getting some coral, the light is only 4ft long and the tank is 5ft is it still going to be enough?<Hmm, I am guessing these are NO fluorescents at 40 watts piece.  You should be able to keep a few mushrooms or some of the common polyps in the upper half of your tank.> Does and sea anemone some times give the aquarium foul water if it dies, and then do you have to change the whole tank water,<You should be ok if you remove it promptly but I would still run carbon and perform a water change just to be on the safe side.  Are you running a protein skimmer?  How does your water test?  It would also be a good idea to test your phosphate as that fuels the Cyano a lot.  You can do some more research on all this at our website: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody> thank you

Red algae I have a dark red algae on my live rock that is spreading, and now i have a reddish brown algae that keeps forming on my aragonite. i mix it up hoping that my filter will suck it up but it keeps forming. what do now?<the algae is most likely due to high nutrient levels within your system. Check your water parameters. such as nitrates, and phosphates. You might have to try a different water source. If you are using regular tap water I would switch to RO/DI water ASAP. Good luck, IanB>

ARGH!  Dia-damned Cyano! >I am currently experiencing a red slime and diatom outbreak that I cannot seem to get under control. The tank is @ 18 mo old and a moderately stocked reef with 5 sm-med fish. I know (or at least suspect) it is from an overload of nutrients. >>Mostly likely, or so much so that it's probably a sure thing. >I have tested for phosphates, but haven't found any. >>May very likely be "fixed" by the Cyano and diatoms.  Also, be sure you've got a good quality kit there. >I have added a Chemi-sorb bag, upgraded my skimmer pump, vacuumed my 2" sand bed (I now know what a nutrient sink is!) and done weekly 20% water changes for the last two weeks, and cut back on feeding. >>20% is hardly enough, and if it were my system I'd be testing the makeup water both before and after mixing the salts as well.  Assuming that's nutrient free, go for a 50%-75% w/c, being sure to remove as much Cyano as possible.  Also, you upgraded the fractionation, but do be sure it's producing dark, nasty, "thick" skimmate. >Outdated PC bulbs were switched to newer T5 lights. All this to no avail. I will also be adding a fuge when I move the tank in 1-1/2 weeks. Should I do a 50% water change when I move the tank? Vacuum out most of the sand  bed?  20% water changes every 2 days? Give up this hobby? Something - anything!  Thanks as always, Ken   >>I forget where to find the numbers, but mathematically (and practically) speaking, even back to back 20% changes are quite ineffective when battling troubles such as this.  Back to back 50%-75% (or as low as you can possibly take it!) w/cs are MUCH more effective.  The 'fuge is a great idea, know that it, like a DSB, really isn't "maintenance free", they do need care and attention.  Try the large w/cs, testing makeup as stated before, and move on from there.  I've had more than a few people test their makeup (RO/DI even) water only to find quite readable phosphorous levels!  Egads!  Marina

All it Takes.. The "Ano" in Cyano... >Hi there, >>Hello. >I have just begun this week to fight BGA.  It is a deep maroon color and forms bubbles.  I have done 2 H2O changes this week.  This stuff is so heavy even my python on full blast will not suck it out, so last night I was in there with a soft toothbrush pulling it out by hand, which I don't think is particularly effective.  Since finding this site I now know that I need to clean the filter more often and have done that.  Last night I added another Rio 50 Power Head to increase the current.  Is there anything else I can do?  This stuff is nasty.  I cleaned my display tank, but the refugium is covered with it.  Do I clean the refugium or leave it alone? >>I'd remove as much of the Cyanobacteria as I can reasonably easily by hand, then address the  most likely TRUE cause of your problem (as seen by test results below).  It has to do with excess nutrients, and exportation. >Tank Parameters: 29 gal glass tank with Remora Skimmer, Emperor 280 filter (run carbon and Seachem phosphate) CPR AquaFuge 12x13x4 all hung off the back.  Lights are Coralife AquaLight 2 CF 65 watt 10,000k bulbs (replaced 3 weeks ago), Rio 800 power head.  I use RO H2O.  Tank has 30lbs of live rock w/nice growth of coralline algae, 2" sandbed. Stocked with: Leather coral, variety of mushrooms, zoanthids, sponge, medium sized clam, bubble coral, something called a chili pepper coral (I'd really like to find out the genera and species of this one) open brain, Acropora, Montipora, small frogspawn and hammer coral. 3 perc clowns, sebae anemone, 1 mandarin goby,  emerald crab, variety of hermits and snails, 2 cleaner shrimp, sand sifting star, serpent star.   During November I added the Aquafuge.  It has 3" LS stocked with 2" Halimeda and what I believe to be a Grateloupia sp red algae. Water parameters are: >>And here's where it gets GOOD! >Salinity 1.024 @ 78' Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 5.0 ppm Phosphate: .2 ppm >>DINGDINGDINGDING!!  WE HAVE A WINNAH!  Your phosphate filtrant, the Seachem, may likely be saturated.  You would do well to test your makeup water BEFORE you mix the salts, and then after.  This MUST be addressed. >Iodide .3ppm dKH 8 Calcium 400 ORP reads 380 consistently >>Wow, you've darn near got everything covered a hobbyist could cover!  A Polyfilter prize for you!   >Feed twice daily Prime Reef flake early AM and a variety of Frozen foods in the evening  (Brine shrimp, Daphnia, Krill, Squid, Silversides).  I do phytoplankton 2x weekly and also use Wardley Reef Vital. >>I'd honestly nix the brine altogether.  Feed 'em Pringles instead, then you can share.  ;) >I use B-Ionic 2 part buffer daily, although I just bought Salifert All-In-One and that is supposed to eliminate the need for the 2 part additive.  Megan >>Well, Megan, you've got yourself a real phosphorous issue, haven't you?  Change out your chemical filtrants, and look to the beginning of the watery daisy chain to root out the source of your likely culprit to this awful PITA bloom (that's what it REALLY should be called, don't you think?).  Get that under control (read: down to zero), and once your little 'fuge kicks in, all should be golden.  Marina

All it Takes.. The "Ano" in Cyano... II >Alright then,  I will continue on my course and will test the makeup H2O both before and after mixing it up.  Thanks ever so, I had thought the Nitrates were more of a problem. Megan >>If your nitrate readings were giving you results above, say, 40-50 ppm, then I would agree with you.  But 5 ppm is really relatively low, whereas a phosphate reading of .2 is troublingly (is that a word? <shrug>) high, and much more likely to be the causative agent here.  If, after addressing this and bringing it to zero (remember, any/all Cyano and algae that has fixed the phosphorous will mean you get a zero reading, but still have it in your system), then nitrate reduction is in order here.  Marina

The "Ano" in Cyano... III - Gettin' Your Fix >Thanks for the info.   >>You're welcome, Megan. >You were right, my unmixed RO water is showing phosphate of .1.   >>NO SHEET!  Wow.. >I changed the filters, but I think I may have to change the membrane as well.  This is at the one year mark,  is it normal to have to change the membrane annually?   >>I am no expert on RO/DI systems, but I sure wouldn't be surprised if it's even more frequent than that!  I would suggest contacting the manufacturer. >I am planning on buying some distilled H20 in the mean time.  Megan >>I wouldn't suggest going DISTILLED, I would suggest going bottled (as long as it tests clean!).  Marina

RED SLIME ALGAE HELP I have an 85 gallon reef tank setup with a plenum on the bottom.  About 80 lbs of live rock, 1 small Naso tang, 2 small clownfish and a about 15-20 different corals mostly soft.  My water is as follows, PH 8.1-8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20, Calcium 480, Alk 2.5, <a little low> SG 1.023, PO4 .25, <po4 should be 0> and have been doing a 10 gallon water change about every three days will sucking out the slim. <are you using RO water? if not this will help>   The temp is 78-81.  I have upgraded to an AquaC skimmer <good idea> with a MJ1200, I have added an 18" Refugium with a Rio 200GPM pump, which now the Chaetomorpha is beginning to get the algae all over it.  I have a Lifegard system under the tank that has carbon in 2 containers and Phos-zorb in the third running by a mag 700 pump which goes through a 15 watt UV and returns to the tank.  I have 2 Rio 200GPH PH also turning over the water.  The lighting is all PC with 4 50/50, 2 10K and 2 Actinic bulbs for a total of 440 watts.  The red slime algae seems to be getting worse every day.  I was adding Iodine and Reef Plus but have now stopped that.  I feed the fish very little food once a day, that tang picks at the rocks most of the time.  The slime has now covered my red worm rock and is attacking my other corals.  Most of the corals seem to be growing and pulsing but the slime just keeps covering the gravel, rocks, snails etc, what ever it can.  I am at a total loss as what to do.  The skimmer is pulling about 1 cup of muck per every two days, not real dark but brown.  I am going to add some Halimeda to the tank and hope this helps.  I have read and read every article that you have on your site and tried just about everything and still no luck.  I take a toothbrush and clean off my starburst coral and reed worm rock and chili sponge as the slime just keeps coming.  I need some help and advice.  The lights are only about 4 months old as is the complete setup.  The AquaC skimmer has only been on the tank for about 2 weeks now and the other skimmer I had was just not doing the job.  Please help. <Ok let's see what we can do. First it is not an algae it is a bacteria, called Cyanobacteria. There are certain things that make this bacteria flourish. First is heavy nutrient load (you fixed by adding a good skimmer) next, water flow, this bacteria (believe it or not) has a hard time sticking to the rocks. If you add a few more powerheads to the tank to increase flow in tank (something like,2-3 maxi jet 1200)this will make it difficult for the bacteria to take hold. Last there is a product called ruby erase. It removes Cyanobacteria and is very effective. Always use chemicals as a last opinion. Hope this helps MikeH> Thanks Fran

Cyano and nitrate issues - chicken before the egg? - 11/24/03 HELLO I'VE BEEN HAVING A RED CYANO PROBLEM. I AM SLOWLY CHANGING MY BIOBALL CONTAINING WET DRY TO A LIVE ROCK CONTAINING LIGHTED SUMP. <A very good idea indeed!!!> EVENTUALLY I WILL INSTALL A REFUGIUM/LIVE ROCK SUMP WITH A MAJOR SKIMMER UPGRADE. <Awesome. Been reading', eh??> THIS IN THEORY SHOULD REDUCE MY NITRATES AND GET RID OF THE RED SLIME. RIGHT?? <Certainly will help. There are many contributing factors that don't bear repeating in this email. Check through our site. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and here as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >MY NITRATES HAVE BEEN AROUND 5PPM IF THIS WONT WORK WHAT CAN I DO. <Please read the above articles. It will take a multi-pronged approach. Frequent water changes will always help alleviate some of the symptoms. Might dilute the "bad nutrients" and give competing "good organisms" a chance to out-compete the "bad organisms". You also need to identify the source of the nitrate issue. (Not necessarily a bad thing but can be an indicator of why there is an algae issue) The new skimmer, bio balls being removed, adding and properly removing carbon and poly filters, adding live rock, feeding animals and organisms less (target feeding might help) this of this nature. Be sure to aggravate the algae and siphon out every water change. Use a soft tooth brush to remove from surfaces etc.> I'VE READ THE RED SLIME POSTINGS AND I AM NOT GONNA USE A CHEMICAL/RED SLIME ERADICATOR. <Very good to hear. Never a good idea WAY more harm than good> I WAS IN THE LFS LAST NIGHT GETTING WATER AND A FRANTIC WOMEN WALKED IN WITH MANY 5 GAL CONTAINERS ANGRILY SAYING THE READ SLIME ERADICATOR THEY SOLD HER WAS KILLING HER FISH <No surprise here!!! Maybe good you were there for that. Sounds like it had an affect on you….. ~Paul >

Lowering Nitrate! (Cont'd.) Will the decreased nitrates help get rid of the red Cyano I have dotting my reef?? <They certainly won't hurt. While nitrate is not the specific cause of nuisance algae, such as Cyano, it is a good "yardstick" of overall water quality, and reduced nitrate levels will certainly contribute to a lower nutrient level. I do weekly 12% water changes and spot vac the slime. <I love the water change schedule! If you're using high-quality source water, this will be a big help...just be patient. Manual removal of the Cyano, though not a "cure", certainly supplies a little "psychological boost!" Seeing that stuff go "down the tube" is oddly satisfying!> I also have a gravel/sand bed I want to make deeper. Will that help the nitrate break down?? A deeper sand bed?? <Although there are a lot of differing opinions out there on deep sand beds, if properly assembled, they are quite effective at reducing nitrate in closed systems. I have been a big fan of this method, as it has worked well for me. Lots of good information out there on this topic on the WWM site, the web, and in Anthony and Bob's book, "Reef Invertebrates"> Thanks for all the help, Scott!!  And thanks to the whole crew!! <My pleasure! And on behalf of my fellow Crew members, you're quite welcome! Regards, Scott F>

Bubbles & Red Slime Hi guys. I have 2 problems with my 55 reef. The tank is almost 1 1/2 year old. I have a tough time keeping an out break of red slime at bay. I assume it's from a nutrient problem<agreed>,specifically my sand bed (1 1/2 - 3"). I know it's a nutrient sink. Is there anything else I can do besides the weekly 10% water change I've been doing. I plan on adding a 4" DSB when I temporarily break down the tank for new flooring in the room.( @ 4-6 weeks from now)?<well first of all check your phosphate levels...maybe even feed your fish less, siphon the gravel? many ways to combat algae.> #2: I have a large amount of small bubbles rising from the sand bed. They stick to the glass and live rock. I assume it is from the sand bed, and is this dangerous. <probably not> There is no smell in the tank as some people claim to report.<good to hear> The strange thing is, this coincided with the addition of some new T5 lights to an existing older PC. Any thoughts? Is this as dangerous as it looks?<hmm.. don't know much about this. will send along to Anthony C> Thanks as always.<good luck, IanB>

Red Algae Growth Hello guys.  I have a 50 Gallon Fowler setup with a 4-5 inch DSB, tank inhabitants at this time are a lonely pair of percula clowns (tank raised).  I've got a question about some annoying red algae that's starting to take over my tank.  Now I understand that this type algae is the result of high nutrients or nitrates in the system. <agreed> It's weird stuff when the lights go out it all but disappears, they come back on and it's growing all over my tank again but anyway,  I have tested my water and nitrates are well under 10ppm (I don't recall the other measurements at the moment my recordings are at home sorry, but they were also within the correct parameters).  Is their another reason or cause for this algae to be thriving the way it is, could my test kit's be giving me inaccurate readings I use the Seachem test kits?  Until yesterday I was running this configuration for my filtration.<check phosphate levels, and If I were you I would purchase RO/DI water... which should eradicate the nuisance algae> Fluval 203 W/foam media in the top and bottom cell, and bio balls in the center cell.  H.O.T. Magnum with only the foam media no carbon.  4 powerheads of various GPH (1) 802, (2) 301's, (1) 201 Aquanetics UV Sterilizer (not sure of the model) running off of the Fluval's return.<ok> And until yesterday a Prizm Protein skimmer.  Now I've known from the start that the Prizm was my weakest link.  Yesterday I purchased one of the CPR BAK-PAK II's and so far it seems to be doing a much better job than the Prizm ever was. <yea they work well> Now in addition to the slightly more aggressive skimming being provided by the CPR I plan on doing a series of somewhat aggressive water changes, and I was also thinking about knocking out the H.O.T. Magnum thinking that it may just be providing an added breading ground for nitrates in it's foam filter media do you think I should cut back on the Fluval's Foam media as well?<it's not the nitrates you need to worry about it is the phosphates..>  I have also removed/cut the strainers from the bottom of my powerheads after I noticed all the debit and "Gunk" that had been collecting on them, once again a breeding ground for nitrates? <could be... but if your test kit reads that they are less than 10ppm you should not have to worry> Any questions or comments you may have would as always be welcome.<First of all check you phosphate levels in your tap and aquarium. Second purchase RO/DI water or if you want to save money purchase the unit. This will/should solve the phosphate problem-then the algae should go away. Good luck, IanB>  Thank You Kevin Conner

- Bubbles in the Gravel & Cyanobacteria - Hello, I have a 180 gal. tank with 4 four Ft. VHO'S on left side of tank and a 250 watt MH 20,000K on the right. When I put the 250 MH. on the tank I got a lot of little bubbles in the gravel on the side with the MH. Then I got a light brown algae with a little bubbles at the top, of the string like algae. The 250 MH has been on there for 4 mo. I clean it all up with water changes every two weeks 40 Gal. and its back in two weeks. I've had the tank up for a year. with a protein skimmer, using an ecosystem. Any idea on how to get rid of this gas in the gravel. <Not really - it is part of the natural processes that take place there... you could use a rod or stick and simply stir the gravel in that location which would allow those gasses escape.> Water is Ph of 8.2, Cal. is 440, KH is 8, RO filter was changed before and after same deal. Brown algae. <Is Cyanobacteria - consider more circulation in the tank to help remedy this problem.> Please any ideas. Thanks for your time. <Cheers, J -- >

- Cyano in Sump; Good or Bad? - HI there all, <Howdy.> Recently I put some macro algae in my sump and fitted two narva white T5s. The algae seem to be growing ok but I also have a thickish mat of dark red Cyano developed recently. <Undoubtedly spurred by the new lighting.> I never had any in the tank. Here is my question: is it a good thing? <Not really - it will compete for nutrients.> Will it spread? <It can.> Will it feed on the excess nutrients in the tank providing a suitable place for critters to multiply? <It will do those things, but there are other macro algae you should encourage - Cyanobacteria really isn't one of them.> Thanks for you great site. Massimo <Cheers, J -- >

-Cyano, Cyano, go away, come again... well... never- Thanks Kevin. I read a lot in your site about Cyanobacteria. It seems that I meet the prerequisites for not having them, but I still have them. <Well, let's see if I agree> My tank is just 20 days old, with cured live rock (44 pounds). Its capacity is 70 gal, sump is 18 gal (volume of water contained) I have two pumps (one in the sump and one operating in a closed loop) circulating the tank 15 times per hour. PH is 8.2, KH is 11, Nitrates are 2.5, <A little nitrate, sign that there are some nutrient goodies floating around> Ammonia 0 and Nitrite 0. I have not measured my Ca yet . I use a Poly Filter, which turns brown in less than a week, and some activated carbon. A Remora skimmer hangs on the sump and creates about 1/2'' of daily skimmate. Lighting system from Giesseman, 250 W MH and 2 9W blue actinics Osram Duluxe, operating 8 hours daily. On the LR there are some feather duster worms , some Sycon sponges, three to four species of Caulerpa, which is growing fast. All this came on the LR, which cured within 4 days after I put it in the tank. <If the rock was just recently cured, it is very possible that the Cyano is being fueled by the organics released during the curing process and those still trapped inside.> I have not fed anything yet for the filter-feeders. After the first week the green algae started to appear and some days later the red algae. I have a lot of it on the glass of the tank and on the LR, as well as on the substrate. Yesterday I cleared the tank's walls with a magnet and then I spent a lot of time getting it out of the mechanical filters in the sump. <I hope that in time you plan to remove these> Is this normal in a newly cycled tank? <Yes and no. You do get a quite obvious algae cycle and succession, but Cyano shouldn't be there to stay.> Do I need to take any other measure or just wait for the macro algae to outcompete the BGA? <The tank is still young, I'd just siphon it out periodically for now. You will also have to make sure that the source water for your tank (tap water) is free of any nutrients, and is best accomplished by either reverse osmosis or deionization (preferably both!). Check out the water purification FAQ's. Where I live, I find that 99% of the algae problems that I'm asked about go straight back to the top-off water. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Thanassis

-Cyano- Gear Kevin, thanks for the reply. I noticed that the air bubbles are appearing on the surface not only of the red but also on the  green "microalgae" and only there. If it is Cyanobacteria, what can I do about it? <Instead of spoon feeding you this answer (I'm evil, I know!) and to get you up to speed on searching our bazillions of articles, use the google search tool on the front page for Cyanobacteria and you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you find! -Kevin> Thanassis

Cyano, Surface Scum, and Unhappy Polyps >Dear WWM Crew, It's been a while since my last inquiry, and I've since encountered a couple of problems.   Here are my tank specs: 45 Gallon tank (36"x 12" x 24") Aqua C Remora w/Maxijet 1200 Whisper 3 powerfilter (for carbon / water movement) 1 x 250 gph powerhead 1 x 80 gph powerhead 75 lbs live rock (50/50 Tonga/Florida Gulf) 4+ inch DSB (sugar fine aragonite) 4 x 55 W power compacts (2x10K / 2 actinic) Current inhabitants: 1 yellow tang (3") 1 coral beauty (2.5") 1 solar fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus solorensis (3") 3 Mexican Turbos 7 blue leg hermits 7 scarlet reef hermits 1 small colony of green polyps The tank has been running about 10 months. Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia = 0 pH is a little low at around 8.0 - 8.1 KH - 9 About 2 months ago I began to notice some Cyano growing on my DSB. My water change regiment is 5 gallons (11%) weekly and I have always been very careful about not overfeeding.  The foods I use are Formula 1 and 2 as well as some marine flakes/pellets and Nori for the tang and angel.  I alternate between these. I had been using tap water for water changes aged/aerated 1 week and decided that since all or most other factors were ruled out (overfeeding, under skimming, infrequent water changes, inadequate water flow) that it must be the tap water.  So I purchased a 6 stage RO/DI unit and have since used this water for all top off and changes.  About the same time I got the RO/DI unit, I began to add as per manufacturers recommended dosage some Seachem reef calcium for my coralline algae growth, and Iodine for the inverts.  These are the only supplements I have ever used in my tank and am pretty sure that they are not a contributing factor to my algae problems (I have discontinued their use for 2 weeks to confirm). >>I agree, but you have yet to mention any phosphate/phosphorous testing. >Well the coralline is growing beautifully, however the Cyano is getting worse.  If I stir the surface it is back the next day. I realize that my tank is tall, and that this is not necessarily ideal for nutrient export in that there is more vertical space in the water column before the debris and detritus can reach my mechanical filtration, however by placing one powerhead on the bottom left front about 2 inches above the sand bed and one in the middle right rear of the tank I believe I am getting decent water movement.  With the skimmer and Whisper in addition to my 2 powerheads I have about 15X turnover. >>I generally agree, but let's say your change water is phosphate-free, then I would tend to lean towards insufficient water changes when compared to your bioload. >I am considering the purchase of some Nassarius snails an Archaster starfish, or an Amblygobius phalaena goby as I'm not quite sure what else to do. >>I will encourage the sea star, along with a serpent (Ophioderma squamosium.. sp?) sea star for detritus cleanup.  I'd also try making some large water changes, but first test at least for phosphates and nitrates before adding to the tank.  (Yep!  The Cyano may be "fixing" what's in the tank.) >This stuff is very irritating, and as far as I know I'm doing everything right. >>Indeed, my only other suggestion would be to add a refugium to the setup.  I'd also like to note that the yellow tang will quite soon outgrow that tank.  Woefully. >My next issue is the clear/whitish film on the top of my water.  This too is a reoccurring problem which I cannot seem to shake and would seem to indicate water flow issues as well, but as per above I think this can't be the problem.  I have tried placing a powerhead near the top of the tank pointing up to disrupt the surface, but this simply pushes the scum to the other side.  I purchased the surface skimmer box for the Remora, however this design is poor in that the evaporation in a day is enough to disrupt the supply of water to the intake pump and needs constant adjusting in order to function properly, so I removed this in fear of burning out my pump.   >>Ah, yes, unless you set up an automatic top off system.  However, a surface skimmer box is the ONLY way I know of to actually remove this very common occurrence. >I also remove the scum manually on a daily basis with a net but the next day it's back.   >>Yes, I wouldn't spend the time, myself. This stuff is very unsightly and I'm concerned it is disrupting my gas exchange and light penetration. >>Doubtful it's significant. >Finally, my green polyps which I purchased knowing are a very hardy are not opening fully and seem to be less than flourishing.  I have them placed about 6 inches below the surface and my lights are about 2.5 inches above the surface, so I do believe I have plenty of light.  The strange thing is that at night they seem to fully open and look much happier.  Could they be too close to the light? >>Not so strange, listen to what they're telling you.  Try moving them lower in the tank, or towards the ends of the lights/tank (assuming fluorescents are being used). >I don't feed them anything directly, however when I feed the fish flakes and the Formula foods small bits of food settle on the polyps.   >>I don't think it would hurt them to be target fed every once in a while at LEAST.  I would find a good coral food, do a search on feeding polyps on our site. >All my other inhabitants are in excellent condition.  Hopefully you have some answers for me, as I have worked very hard and patiently to set up a successful aquarium and am not getting the results I expected.  I have researched endlessly, and have tried most all the recommendations I have come across to no avail. >>And thus you learn that it's not all science, but often an art. >Best Regards, Jesse Canizio >>Try the testing, etc. mentioned, and hopefully you'll find some answers with the results.  Marina

More Freshwater Cyano Well, I have had marine tanks for 10 years and I think it at least looks like cyanoBACTERIA.  It is an emerald green, and beginning to carpet the gravel.   <Yeah, it could very well be Cyano.> It is a 30 gallon tank which now has 5 Otocinclus in it as well as 5 neon rainbows and a black angel.  The tank itself is a planted tank.  But I notice that the "algae" in question continues to spread.   <My recommendation, add more plants (many, many types that will help with the algae fight), consider any of the many algae-eating shrimp species (amazing creatures!), and manually remove as much of the algae as you can during water changes.  It might also be in your interests to test your source water for phosphates, as that might be part of the cause.> Thanks for all info and advise and I swear by your site!  -D <And thank you for the kind words.  -Sabrina>

New Tank Woes - 08/14/03 <Hi Kristin, PF with you tonight in the torrid Pacific NW> I am sure you have answered this question, but I am very new to this.  <We were all new to it at one time or another, no worries there.>  I started my tank six weeks ago and also started reading literature from The Conscientious Marine Aquarist. After reading through some of your questions and answers I think I did something very wrong.  <Ok Kristin, this is the point where I Wag the "Finger of You Have Done Wrong". Before starting a tank, you should have read the book, the other way around is putting the cart before the horse. Now that that's over with, finish the book. Remember, we all make mistakes, the trick is to not keep making the same ones.>  I have a lot of red algae and also I had a cloud of green algae that just seemed to get worse after my first water change. After asking around, we came to the conclusion that our everyday water supply was feeding this cloud. After adding another filter it got better but only about 80% Now that I can somewhat see my tank again, I was disturbed by the reddish stream of algae that seemed to go from one side of the tank to the other about 1/2 inch down in my sand bed. So I took a knife and scraped the side of the tank only. This mixed up the sand but made the sand bed look nicer. Have I done something wrong? And how do I keep this from happening? What do I do to get my tank crystal clear again? Also you talk about strong water flow, but is this to making my tank cloudy from mixing up the top layer of sand? Please help I am so new to this but already am in love with my tank.  Thank you so much,  Kristin <Ok, first off, what kind of tank do you want to have? Fish only? FOWLR? Reef tank? How big is your tank? If you have live rock, how much? What kind and depth of substrate do you have? What kind of filtration? Are you aerating your water before using it as top off? I assume it's tap water?  Lots of questions to be asked and answered before we can do more. In the meantime, read up on Cyano bacteria (blue-green algae, it comes in many colors), that's the red stuff in your tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Talk to you soon, PF>

- Cyano and Stuff - To the kind WWM staff- Good morning!  First off, I'd like to say thank you for the plethora of knowledge contained on your website; it really is the best forum going for those of us seeking knowledge concerning all things aquatic.  You guys sure are swell :)  <Awww, shucks!>  I have a couple of concerns that I'd like to run by you, and I hope it isn't too much of a bother.  First off, here is my set-up-A 20 gallon reef setup, with a 55 watt 10,000k PC and a 15 watt actinic blue strip, counter current protein skimmer (cheap, but amazingly productive!), 15 lbs of LR, 1 fire fish goby, 1 scooter blenny, and 2 green Chromis, a turbo snail, 3 Astrea snails, 15 blue leg hermits, a penguin 170 BioWheel filled with BioMax (no carbon, strictly bio-filtration), a penguin power head, a small hang on that I use to run carbon a few days a month, and lastly, a pulsing Xenia frag, 1 mushroom rock, a couple button polyps and a healthy growth of Caulerpa (absolutely necessary in this small setup, IMHO).  Now onto the tank parameters-KH-10, CA-350(can't seem to get it to 400), pH-8.3 am, 8.4 evening, nitrates <10ppm, 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia.  I dose c-balance and iodine, and that is it as far as supplements are concerned.  I change 4 gallons of water every 3 weeks, and I buffer distilled water with Kent super buffer to about 9 dKH for my top-off water.   That about sums it up. now onto the concerns.  I have been wondering if I shouldn't be running the BioWheel/BioMax setup, as I am concerned that it is so efficient at wiping out ammonia and nitrite that it is raising my nitrates at a fast rate. <Provided that the tank has ample live rock, you won't need the bio-material in the filter. All that stuff in the penguin is likely the root of your nitrate.> I didn't think that would be a problem, and that really doesn't make much sense to me, but after reading some articles on your site, I am beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just stick to the skimmer, macro growth and LR to handle the biological side of things.  <I'd recommend it>   If you think I can get away without it, I would like to remove it from my set-up, if for no other reason than aesthetic concerns (the large uplift tube isn't so becoming).  My obvious concern is taking away a large amount of beneficial system bacteria though, and I'm not sure if it is such a wise thing to remove such a large amount of it all at once. <Take it out all at once, half at a time, whatever, the live rock and sand in the tank can handle the load just fine.>   Do you think the tank will adjust accordingly, without a large amm/nitrite spike?  I really can't see how I can "wean" the tank off of it, since I either have to run it or not, there really is no in between.  <Well, if you wanted to be super careful, you could slowly remove the bio-material over several days or weeks>  Any thoughts regarding this matter would be welcomed with a smile.  Now, onto a matter that is quite puzzling to me.  I recently upgraded the lights to the pc bulb, after running the system on a bare bones minimum as far as lighting is concerned.  Previously, I had a 15 w 10,000 bulb coupled with the 15-watt actinic bulb (I know, I know hardly enough), and I upgraded to the PB bulb about a week ago.  I am now experiencing an outbreak of the dreaded Cyano, and it is driving me nuts.  It is relatively under control, only really spreading on the substrate in front of the rock setup.  It isn't on the LR, corals, tanks walls, etc.  I have been running Kent reef carbon, replacing it every three days, my skimmer is going full tilt, and my macro growth is running wild.  I really don't know what else I can do here, as I am putting all methods I know to work here to combat this dreaded tank buster.  Do you think it will subside as the tank adjusts to the high increase in lighting?  <If the nutrients are truly under control, you should be able to siphon it out and never see it again>  I know Cyano is a result of excess nutrients, and it warded off through proper nutrient export, so I can't think of any other way to get rid of it.  I have been keeping feeding to a minimum; I have stopped dosing trace elements (which I plan to stop entirely after reading your articles I really don't need to be adding them), so there really is a minimal amount of doc's available to fuel the Cyano growth.  Am I correct to say that I should just be patient and wait this out?  <Sometimes it can become a real problem, so I'd siphon it out. Also, try an aquacultured conch, they're pretty much the only critters that will eat the stuff.>  I'm sure the huge increase in lighting is quite a hurdle for the tank to adjust to, so hopefully this will work itself out in a couple of weeks.  AHH! Hehe.  Now, onto a question that I can't seem to find the answer to on your site.  It seems as though the carbon causes a fluctuation in my system ph.  I'm not sure if this is true, but it seems as though the ph fluctuates when I run it.  I know there is always a daily increase in ph, followed by a drop when the tank is resting, but the carbon seems to throw it off even more.  Could this be part of the problem? <Keeping your pH at or above 8.4 for several days straight is an old remedy for Cyano outbreaks, so keep it high!> Is there a more efficient chemical media that I should look into?  I'm thinking that phosphates could be a problem here, and I know the Kent carbon doesn't do much for that, so I was considering using Chemi-pure or PolyFilter instead of my present media. <Phosphate has no effect on Cyano growth, it's usually simply an indicator that there is a nutrient problem.> Is there something out there that will not affect the system ph as carbon does?  Am I just imagining this, or does super activated carbon really affect the ph in the tank?  <Not in my experience. You do change it out constantly, I'd back down to the once per month ritual.> Once again, any input would be much appreciated, as I'm thinking this may be a part of my problem.  Unfortunately, although I do consider myself to be a responsible and somewhat knowledgeable aquarist, I do not know much about the relationship between carbon and system pH, and I fear that my over zealous carbon use as of late may be upsetting something in the balance of my water.  <Carbon removes all sorts of stuff, but to my understanding, nothing that would effect the system pH> Oh, and before I forget, is it wise to say that I should stick to a continuous use of a chemical media since my set-up is relatively small?  I have heard so many mixed opinions on the subject, and I'm really not sure what to think any more. hehe.  <Between the skimmer, water changes, and macro growth, and monthly carbon usage, you should be all set.>  However, I do know that my system is small and there may be guidelines that I should adhere to that someone with a larger system may not have to.  I skim, employ a healthy macro growth, and was running the carbon 3 days a month (now I am running it continuously to rid the Cyano).  Should I start using a chemical media at all times?  <I wouldn't, just back off on the carbon> Will another type of media also soak up the "yellow" tinge as carbon does?  <I find it hard to believe that you would have any tinge to your water with that carbon schedule!!! :) > One last question!  Should I put more sand stirring critters in my tank?  I'm wondering if that could be part of the problem as well.  I was thinking about picking up a bunch of Nassarius or Cerith snails and getting some more blue legs to help with the sand bed.  <Nothing besides conch snails will touch Cyano, it's pretty raunchy stuff.>  I really hadn't given any thought to this previously, but now that I am having this Cyano problem, I am wondering if there is just too much accumulation of detritus on my substrate.  <If there's accumulation, you need some more water flow down below.>  It seems as though maybe what I have now just isn't enough anymore, but that may not be the case.   Thank you so much for your time and consideration in answering this email for me.  You guys do a fantastic job, and I can safely say that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to you and yours for helping me out on my journey into marine aquarium keeping.  I can't count the number of times I've told puzzled aquarists in my LFS to visit your site.  Rock on!  Yours truly,  Dave <Excellent, I hope this response has been of some assistance. Lata! -Kevin>

Cyano problems Hi Crew, <Hi Randy, PF with you tonight> I'm having a little problem with red slime algae (last month or so) in a 29g tank I've had running about a year. Here's the setup: 25lbs LR, (3) 1" Damsels, 2-3"coarse aragonite substrate with undergravels driven by 60 gph powerheads, 250gph tetra hang-on (carbon in 2 of 4 filter bags is changed every 2 weeks with 5g water change and gravel vacuuming), 60gph Eheim Canister cleaned every 3 months, and RedSea Prism skimmer (collects about 4-6oz of dark "tea" a week). 2 55w (10000K and actinic) light the tank for about 11hrs a day. Water parameters have been stable with PH 8.3-8.4, no measurable nitrite or ammonia, < 5ppm nitrate, .5 ppm phosphate ( I have a well water source with >5.0ppm phosphate which I treat with poly filter before making up saltwater changes, replacement water is distilled). I am puzzled by the sudden appearance of this pest since I have never had a problem prior to the last month. I did some things that may have caused it, I had a population of bubble Caulerpa that started to grow at a logarithmic rate on some LR, I picked it off, removing every strand completely with tweezers, then rinsed it off with siphoned off tank water, being careful not to leave any holdfasts (I did this after reading the new Invert book by Bob and Anthony). At the same time, I did my bi-monthly water change and did something new, I added a Kent coral mineral supplement and a Kent calcium supplement at the recommended rates. The slime algae growth was rapid (there were some small spots prior) with the majority of the growth taking place on the areas where I removed the Caulerpa, with the slime algae growing several centimeters a day, I have even removed the 2 pieces of substrate upon which the Caulerpa were removed 5 or 6 days ago, but the growth is continuing, starting to cover some very incrusted invertebrate and coralline algae LR. Any Ideas ? Randy in Indiana <Well, you might want to look into upgrading your skimmer first, personally, I would recommend the AquaC Remora unit for your tank. A very nice model, it worked like a champ on my 29 and on my 75 it now pulls out a very dark, nasty coffee like liquid. To remove your phosphate, you could add ROWAphos to your tank, it's a phosphate sponge that needs replacing every 6 months, but does not leak phosphates when full. Current: from what I've read and experienced, having sufficient current helps, you might want to add a power head or two. Have them point at each other, or perhaps hook one up to a SCWD to get variable current. Here's the page on Cyano: www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Sorry about all the product recommendations, I don't mean to sound like a commercial, but this is what has helped me with my problem. Good luck, and good night, PF>
Re Cyano problem
08/03/03 Hi Crew, <Well, Randy, I hit "send to soon"> I'm having a little problem with red slime algae (last month or so) in a 29g tank I've had running about a year...Any Ideas ? <Snipped for brevity's sake> Randy in Indiana <Several things Randy: some brands of carbon leach phosphates into the water, be sure and look for a brand that doesn't. Also, carbon, fills up in about 3 days. Consider removing carbon and running it in your filter for only 3 days out of the two week cycle. Also, your canister filter should probably be cleaned every day. A real chore I know, but I would say either clean it every day or remove it. Otherwise, it's a source of nitrates. Also, if you get a power outage towards the end of your 3 month cleaning cycle, the material in their will rot at a fast rate, and when the power kicks on, it will dump all that into your tank. Just some things to consider, PF>

Battling Cyano! Greetings to all, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Great site, keep up the super work!! <Glad you find it helpful! We love bringing it to you!> I have a 75gal marine DAS tank system, the tank has been set-up for nearly 1 1/2 years. Consists of about 60lbs LR, nearly 200watts total lighting split between 2 full spectrum & 2 actinics. (all lights are only 4-6 months old on a rotating schedule) DAS skimmer with over-sized return pump, along with 2 powerheads (Aquaclear 801's). I have a regular schedule of 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off with carbon (Black Diamond) plus a carbon sheet insert for the DAS filters. 15% water changes every 2 weeks on the nose. To which I add Strontium and trace essentials. Levels are as follows: Ammonia - 0.0 NO2 - 0.0 NO3 - under .10 Phos - 0.0 SG- 1.022 PH 8.5 Alk - 12+ (ALK & PH are highs in the evenings) I have been battling this Cyano for over 2 months now. It came very slowly and sparsely. I siphon it off the affected areas every water change, but it grows back the same amount every time. I use RO/DI water that I've had lab tested on several occasions, but everything is perfect with it. I use the same synthetic salt every time - Instant Ocean. I do not over-feed at all, and have a lightly populated tank: 2 small Perc's 1 Yellow Wrasse 1 Bi-color Blenny 10+ Blue-legged hermits 2 Sally Lightfoots 1 Pink-tipped Anemone 1 Bubble Anemone 1 Cleaner Shrimp 1 Blood Shrimp <A nice mix...Not too crowded at all> I test the waters ever 2 weeks, and every time things are within the above parameters. I test the water that I use for changes, which is pre-mixed 48hrs before & aerated. I have had many salt water tanks and have come across most of the "encounters" we salt water people are subject to, and have had good success in the past at battling them all. However this tank is a thorn in my side and have not been coming even close to winning this one. I have even tried Phos pads and more aggressive water changes - 20% every week. But always with the same results. Any help or views to ponder in my situation would be helpful, as I am at a point where I have no more options to try. Frustrated but open-minded to suggestions. Regards, Alex <Well, Alex, the frustrating thing about Cyano is that it keeps coming back even if the system water looks good. These nuisance algae can actually "manufacture" their own food...Often, the orthophosphate that these algae utilize in their growth are bound up in the substrate, so even changes with good-quality water don't seem to make an initial impact on its explosive growth. You'll often see it re-appear right where you manually extracted it from! The key is aggressive nutrient export, consistently performed. Make sure that your skimmer is pulling out a couple of cups of dark, yucky skimmate per week. That's one of your best allies in this battle. Also, revisit circulation in your tank. Brisk circulation is helpful, and an keep detritus and other nutrient sources in suspension, where they can be taken out by mechanical filtration. Also, the higher oxygen level afforded by brisk circulation will provide a better overall environment. Avoid liquid additives for a while...Trace element additions are not really necessary, IMO, if you are performing consistent, small water changes. Make liberal use of chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filter, and replace them often. Consistency in maintenance, and patience on your part will result in the elimination of this algae...You need to give it time...You will be successful in defeating this scourge! Regards, Scott F.> Stuck With Cyano... Thanks Scott (or on-staff Cyano-guru): <Yep- stuck with "Cyano Scott" again today!> This stuff got so bad in just a few days that it was trapping its own bubbles (O2, as you mentioned) under a very thick layer of sand-sludge. The bubbles in some spots collected for about 2 days and raised up the Cyano-gunk, creating an octopus-looking hot-air balloon-type creature. <Gross imagery- well described!> It quickly became the most interesting display item in the tank...until the only fish (Mr. Blenny) became startled by Casper the gunk-ghost and I power-headed the entire phlegm-blanket layer up into the overflow filter...which I then had to clean out due to the clogging. <Nasty stuff, huh? A well-worded description, however~!> Thanks, SLC <Hey- manual removal is quite effective. Again- keep up with the aggressive nutrient export processes, removing the sources of the plague! Than you won't have to deal with this nasty gook again! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Burying Cyano! Dear WWM DSB-Guru: <Well- just plain old Scott F...Hope that will be okay!> have a very fine (<1mm grain size) crushed coral sand bed that has been in a 4-week old cycling reefer. It had developed a nice layer of either diatom or Cyano scum. I increased the DSB depth to about 4" to get away from the magical 3" good-bad depth. I simply dumped the new coral sand on top of the existing sand bed, covering the scum layer. <I've done that before...LOL> About 2 days later the scum returned to the top of the new layer, <Inevitable...remember- address the cause of the Cyano- and it will go away!> but now there are numerous large bubbles (about 2-3 mm in diameter) trapped under this new layer, that occasionally break free and float away when a hermit crab tools across them...kind of like it's scurrying through a mine field. I see no problems yet, but could this gas be Hydrogen Sulfide, or Nitrogen or another mysterious gas? <Usually, just oxygen, believe it or not.> I have only a small jewel blenny (as far as fish) in 100 gallons, who eats only natural hairy algae and I don't need to feed, so there's not a lot of bio waste being produced to fuel a lot of processes. Or at least I think so ... ? Any ideas on what this gas is? Thanks, SLC <Well, as stated above- I think you're looking at oxygen bubbles...Remember, Cyano is still a form of algae. I would not worry, as long as the basic water parameters are in line, and the fish are not otherwise displaying any distress. Keep working the nutrient export processes to make this stuff go away! You can find a lot of information on algae control on the WWM site. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Cyano & Now Cloudy Water Now here is what I have done since, I got the iodine test, and it tests ok, but I also just got the test after doing a pile of water changing, I did one 45 gallon water change, I used instant ocean salt and tap water, I mixed the salt and aerated it and mad sure it was the proper temp before adding it to the tank, after that I noticed a difference in the Cyano, it looked like it was possibly receding a little bit after about a week or so, so about 10 days after the water change I did another water change, this one was a bit more, about 70 gallons (that's about 27% of my systems water), also with instant ocean salt and tap water, I also raised the lighting from about 7" to about 15", after the water changing I did all of the tests, results are as follows: Nitrate: 0.0 Nitrite: 0.0 Phosphate: 0.0 Ammonia:0.3 KH : 140ppm or 7.84dkh Calcium 400ppm Iodine 0.06ppm The Iodine is a Seachem test, the rest are from a Hagen test kit. Now for my results as far as the tank goes,, as you may have already guessed it, I wouldn't be writing this if something was not wrong, and there is, my tank water is very very cloudy, I have done lots of water changing in the past, some with tap water and some with RO water, but never has my tank gone cloudy at all, now I can hardly see 12" into it, also when I did the second water change of 70gallons, I also took out all my rocks and ornaments and scrubbed all of the Cyano off of them, and also vacuumed the gravel and got about 95% of the Cyano out of that, and removed about 90% of the algae and Cyano off the side and back glass, it looked great for about a day, then it started getting cloudy and ever since, has just been getting cloudier, the cloudiness has a green color to a greenish yellow, however the fish still look great, the corals look like they might be needing more light, and the leftover Cyano in the tank (the little pieces of it I missed in the gravel) do not look like they are dieing, it looks like the Cyano is still healthy, one thing I forgot to tell about the tank setup is that there are 2 48" 40W actinic bulbs that run 24hrs, and I top off evaporation with tap water which tests ca: 60ppm  kH: 20ppm or 1.12dkh  NO2 0.0  NO3 0.0  PO4 0.0 Ammonia: 0.0  ph: 7.6  Should I be using RO water for evaporation top off, and should evaporation water be buffered?  but the main thing is the cloudy water, any ideas? <I believe you are on the right track, but remember, nothing good happens fast, meaning that you may have done too much too fast. You may be seeing a small cycle caused by all the rock/sand cleaning. Sorry if I mislead you. I would continue with the water changes, maybe 10-15% every few days. Clean all the Cyano off the glass you can, then siphon what you can from the substrate Might be a good idea to run carbon. I like to use two bags and alternate changing them every week or two. Your tap water does look pretty good and yes it does need to be aerated very well for at least 24 hours and then buffered to get the alk up. Then after at least 24 more hours, use it to top-off or mix new change water. If you are making change water, aerate at least 24 more hours. I don't think the actinics need to be on 24hrs. Maybe an hour or two before and after the main lights come on/turn off. Total lighting should not be more than 10 to 12 hours per day. I think you need to be patient (this is not going to go away over night more like several weeks) and consistent now and you will get this under control. Hang in there, Don>

Killer Cyano Hi Crew, <Hi Clayton, Don here today> I am hoping you can give me some info that my local pet store has not a clue about, first off here is a quick run down of my setup, I have set up a 240 gallon tank with corner overflow to a sump with a bunch of bio balls filter floss, and a protein skimmer (Berlin red sea) which drains over a pound of carbon, circulation is via sump pump @ 1700 gph and 2 400 gph powerheads in the tank,  my lighting is 2 400W metal Halide bulbs, one at 5500 k and the other @ 6000 k, the tank is stocked with one 7" Foxface, one 6" copperband butterfly, three  2.5" coral beauty angels, one 2.5" dwarf flame angel, one 2.5" lemon peel angel, one percula clown, one maroon clown, one cleaner wrasse, one cleaner shrimp, one brittle starfish, one dwarf lionfish, one 2.5" Firefish, two mandarin fish (gobies) one turbo snail, one hermit crab, and two Mediterranean ghost crabs, that's the fish and crawly creatures, which by the way all look very healthy and active, and eat lots;  now for the corals, there are two soft leather staghorn corals ones about 8" X 8" the others about 6" X 6", and three other soft leather corals, I'm not sure what kind they are but they look like a brownish pink leaf, a dozen or so small purple mushrooms and a few dozen brown polyps. The tank has been running for about 2 years, but only recently with the metal halide bulbs and about 80% of the fish, and the corals  which have been in for half a year or so. I keep the salinity at 1.024 the temp at 81 and nitrate, ammonia, nitrite, and phosphate all test at near or at zero,  OK so that is the lowdown of my tank setup now my questions, first off, is the soft leather staghorn corals and the other soft leather corals, they all have very poor polyp extension when compared to cutoffs that have grown up in my local pet stores tank, but they still expand really good and get big and look ok, and grow at a steady rate, but not near at the rate they could be, so I wonder what they are missing out on, I bought the SeaChem Iodine test kit but it did not work, my friend told me to add iodine, but I have no way to measure it in my tank until SeaChem gets me a test kit that works, and I know too much iodine is also bad, any Ideas? <Wait for the test> Second question, my tank is 80% covered with red algae, which I was told by adding Marc Weiss's Reef Vital DNA would eventually get rid of it, but I had no results with it, all it really did at one time was turn all of the red algae to green algae that covered the tank the same way the red stuff does, then it turned back to red, so I don't know what's going on there. Third question, is for the small purple mushrooms, at first when I got them, they looked great, expanded really good and all that, but after a couple of weeks they stopped expanding and now they just look the same size all of the time and never expand at all. <Nothing you describe surprises me with this product> forth question, is for live rock, a few months ago I added about 40  pounds of live rock that I bought for $400 and it looked really good when I got it, covered with orange, red, purple, green, and pink coralline algae, the rock came straight from Indonesia, and all of the pieces I put in my tank very shortly afterwards were covered with the red algae and they were totally covered up, and still are to this day, I thought coralline algae was suppose to overtake the other algae and not let them grow over it, I don't thing the rock was dead when I got it because my pet store friend took some of the same rock in his tank and it looks really good, no algae grows on it, and all sorts of cool stuff is growing on it, my friends tank also grows news coralline algae on the front glass all the time that he has to scrape off with a razor, which my tank still does not do, I do also have green hair algae. <The red algae you are experiencing is Cyanobacteria. See here and the links beyond for more info on how to control this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Now one more simple one, do you think it would be beneficial enough to be worth it to get a UV sterilizer, and  a ozone generator for the skimmer?  I know this is a lot of stuff I just asked you here so anything you could answer for me would be greatly appreciated, Thank You. <I would use the money spent on the ozone generator and UV for a different skimmer. Maybe an Aqua C or Euro Reef. This will help with dissolved organics which are a major factor in the Cyano growth. I would perform several 25% water changes every other day for the next week. Dilution is the solution to pollution. I would manually remove (by hand or siphon) as much of the Cyano as possible during the water changes. You don't mention how high the lights are above the water? Should be 10-12". The temperature of the bulbs you have (5500K and 6000K) are great for growing algae as you have found. You need to be at 6700K or above with 10000K-20000K all the rage right now. Look at other tanks to see what temperature is pleasing to your eye. You should test for alkalinity/hardness (8-11dKh target) and calcium (350-400ppm target). Get these two into 'normal' range and you should see the coralline come back on the rock and glass. But, be careful what you ask for <G>. Honestly Clayton, you may have way too much light over the tank for corallimorphs and soft coral and that is likely why they are not opening as the did. You can raise the lights up or use some type of blocking mechanism. I have heard of folks using several layers of window screen between the light and the water. Be careful here that you don't create a fire hazard with the material you choose. Proper temperature bulbs will help with this too. Hang in there and work on the water quality issues, be patient, and you can bring this thing around. Hope this helps, Don>

Cyano outbreak! Hi, I am new to this hobby. I started up a FO marine aquarium 6 months ago. I had my share of algae problems (diatom, green slime) and things seem to stabilize now. I added some additional pieces of live rocks two weeks ago. The pink, purple and green coralline algae are doing fine (bright colors, growth .). However, I now have red colored, hair like, flexible stuff growing on the edges of a rock. This red stuff looks like a spider web and after a day or two, I see bubbles being released from it. Now it is spreading to the other rocks as well. What is this stuff? Is it good or bad? If it is bad, then how can I get rid of it. I have a few blue leg hermit crabs and some zebra leg hermit crabs, but they don't touch this stuff. Please help. <Sounds like Cyano, check it out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Thanks! Matt. <Good luck with this one! -Kevin>

Cyanobacteria >Hi Marina, Nice to know us girls are represented here:) >>Hello again, Christy!  Indeed, reefgeek girls rock, don't we? >I have been using WWM for sometime now and I am fully aware of the efforts and countless hours put into the site. This site is awesome. I go on about it to anyone who will listen. ("Here comes that crazy fish woman again") >>Excellent! >I have communicated with and asked inexhaustible amounts of questions to many of the Crew. The patience and polite manner is unmatched. It is actually what prompted me to get Fenner's book in the fist place. :) >>The Bobster will be pleased. >Our tank is 55 gallons, with a good skimmer (produces about half a cup on average, sometimes more, sometimes less).  I use FasTest regularly and my LFS to do all testing.  I do not have a DSB. I had one before we upgraded from our 30 gallon.  Don't know what happened just didn't put one in?  We have approx 53 pounds of LR. About 7 watts per gallon of VHO and blue actinic for color. >>If the skimmate is quite nasty then I would surmise it's doing its job. >The nitrates, trites are all at zero, no ammonia, PH 8.3-8.4 Calcium is good, Alkalinity about 10. >>All sounds good, but you haven't mentioned phosphate readings.  I suggest testing that, as well.  If you have detectable readings, do be sure your make-up water is clean of phosphorous or that could be the issue. >I have the Caulerpa in the main system. We unfortunately do not have the space right now for a refugium but that is our next project as we are planning a much bigger system as soon as we have space. >>What FUN!  The live rock is a great help, though.  I would suggest a bit more, we like 1-2lbs/gallon 'round here.  I'm sure you know that (but I gotta put it in for the noobs reading this stuff). >So, it is nice to know I can shut the lights off for a little while at least to get this stuff under control. Our system is otherwise very healthy and everyone seems happy. >>Yes, along with water changes.  However, since you have the Caulerpa in situ, I'd go with regular lighting and photoperiod, and try to give the Caulerpa time to outcompete the Cyano for the nutrients (assuming it's a fast-growing species of Caulerpa--or add more if you have the room).  This way you can feed your fishes daily. >We have had it set up for about 4 months. To me that is new and I expect some wrinkles in this period. Just wanting some tips on how to best control it until things are more seasoned. >>I agree, 4 months is still relatively young.   >Is the feeding every other day ok? They try to make me feel bad every time I pass by the tank with their "We are emaciated and close to starving" :) expressions. >>It's ok, but not best for the fish.  They really do need to feed daily.  How about making the feedings much smaller, and a bit more frequent?  If that Caulerpa can kick in, or if you can place a DSB in situ it might give better results, we all hate the look of the Cyano.  IIRC, there are some reef-safe hermits that eat Cyano, but I can't recall what species.  Try posting that question on our discussion board. >Thanks Again Marina, Have a great Weekend!!! >>If it's QUIET, then it's a great weekend (till football season starts, anyway). ;)  Marina

Cyanobacteria >Hi guys, >>Don't forget us gals!  Marina here. >I have read everything you have and anything else I can get my hands on about Cyano.  About two weeks ago I turned the lights off for a couple of days and that killed off what I thought was all of it. >>If we're talking a new system then, no, it may yet again rear its ugly head. >Then for Father's Day my husband wanted a coral or two to start our coral collection. So now, I can no longer kill it by turning off lights for a time because we have photosynthetic corals. >>If we're talking a couple of days, yes, you actually can (think about the darkness they're shipped in).  However, the main problem is more likely nutrient export.  I cannot address this without knowing certain information--pH, salinity, ammonia, nitrite and trate, phosphate, skimmate production, duration of setup, filtration, lighting and photoperiod are all very helpful. >It is back and now it is all brown instead of red. I have cut feeding back to every other day.  But it remains a problem. My water quality is excellent (checked by me and rechecked by my Saltwater specialty store just Monday). >>This tells me nothing, along with the fact that I know not what test kits are being used (I can't emphasize enough what a huge difference quality makes in test kits). >I don't know what to do.  I am changing water in our 55 gallon about 2 gallons every four days. I have even started a little patch of Caulerpa to compete for the nutrients from the Cyano. >>Excellent plan.  Not knowing anything about your system, I can only strongly recommend setting up a refugium with a deep sand bed (DSB) in which to grow as much macroalgae as possible, but cannot recommend sizing.  Generally, if you go with a minimum of 1/3 tank volume-sized refugium you should be good. >What else can I do?   >>You haven't mentioned anything about live rock, deep sand beds, or skimming, those all should be addressed if you're intention is to keep corals.  If that skimmer isn't producing skimmate most thick and foul, it needs to be adjusted so it's working properly.  Also, don't forget that this is a very common problem in new tanks. >I am reading Bob's Conscientious Aquarist book. Excellent. I am enjoying every page. Even the set up and fish only stuff. Well done!!!  I know I am a bit late getting the book. But I just wanted to thank Bob for putting the time and effort into such a valuable resource. >>Please do make more use of the site as well, the book was easy-peasy compared to the ongoing process and efforts of many on the site.  Go to the homepage of http://www.wetwebmedia.com and look up the marine aquarium articles for more information than you can shake a stick at (and that's just for marine aquaria!).  You'll find contributions by both Bob and Anthony Calfo, all of it excellent.  Best of luck!  Marina

He's Been Slimed! I have been struggling with this bacteria for a month and a half.  Three weeks ago my Amiracle protein skimmer broke.  Was down for one week.  Since then it has been all out war with this crap!  My question is this, with this slime covering my live rock, will it have killed my "life" such as copepods and the like? George <Well, George- it's not likely that the Cyano can kill animals like copepod, etc. However, it's possible that the Cyano can damage or kill sessile inverts by simply "smothering" them and causing them to retract, or inhibiting their metabolic processes. Just keep "fighting the good fight" with this stuff! Use everything in your arsenal to help defeat it! You can do it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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