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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 7

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, Cyano Control 5, Cyano Control 6, Cyano Control 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

Hideous Cyanobacteria  12/16/05 Hello! <Hello Matt> Just dropping a line to ask about the red slime problem that I have. My tank is a standard 55 gallon with 2 175 metal halides. I think I might be overloading on light but I want my anemones and corals to thrive! Anyway I checked my phosphates and cleaned my filter out and have done water changes but the red slime still grows back! It dies off at night leading me to believe again that its my light that does it? The light sits about 24 inches above my tank. All corals and fish are healthy. My tank tests read out P.H.8.2 Calcium 500 (Is this too much? I added some reef complete as the directions read) No Phosphates No Ammonia I cut my light time down to like 7 hours to maybe rid of this problem. <The light is  not causing it.> I was wondering if maybe I should upgrade to a bigger tank in order to spread out on the light intensity to maybe a 100 gallon to 125 gallons. Or maybe switch to a more actinic color of halide bulbs since I see those a lot in the store I buy all the corals from and they have no problem with that. Just lookin for any information I can get!! <Read here Matt.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks <You're welcome> Matt

Naso lituratus Care and Cyano 11/30/2005 Hello Crew, <Hi Steve.> Hope your holiday season is going well. Thanks for taking time to still tend to the questions posted here on a daily basis. <Thank you…and for me helping out here is actually a nice break from the hustle and bustle.> I recently added to the main display after a short QT a Naso Tang (Lipstick). The short QT was due to the fact that the 20 gallon QT tank was just too small and the Naso was not a happy camper in such small quarters. The Naso is between 6" - 7" long with good body thickness and great coloration.  <Oh yes this was far to small even for a short term stay, for larger animals like this (when buying a larger tank is out of the question) I like to use plastic containers or even Rubbermaid tubs labeled as food safe can work.> I was told this was a Blonde Naso (male with streamers) and I have researched the species before so I am quite familiar with the general characteristics of this fish. One thing I read was that they are a very powerful and active swimmer which undoubtedly is the case with the specimen I purchased. <Yes I swam with these animals on the north shore of Oahu, HI. I'm a near Olympic caliber swimmer and could not hang for long in the rocky tidal zone with these guys, very powerful swimmers indeed capable of great speed.> He loves to swim and shows off his power every now and then in his 250 gallon (7' long) FOWLR tank.  <Good size tank.> Other residents include a 4" Longnose Butterfly, 3.5" Chrysurus angel, 3" Chevron tang, 3.5" Orange shoulder tang,  and 24" Zebra moray eel. I know for the time being the Naso has enough room, however if the other tangs and angel reach full potential length I will probably move one of the other tangs.  <Yes and their may be some potential aggression with the Orange-shoulder tang due to similar appearance and habits.> Question: the Naso goes crazy for the daily feedings of Sea Veggies, Nori, and Seaweed selects (sometimes soaked in Selcon), as well as grazing all day on the 225 lbs. of live rock and substrate. He does not eat however the prepared foods that I feed the other fish in my tank, mainly frozen cubes of Lifeline, Ocean Nutrition's formula one and two, Mysis, as well as Angel formulations. <Well he may still be adjusting so I would not worry just yet. The Nori/sea veggies soaked in Selcon is a great food for this animal so since he's accepting that I am not too concerned. > <<Actually, this animal should be taking in a good deal of meaty foods as well.  I would offer him some krill to start, see how he likes that.  Marina>> I have also tried flake, Hikari Marine A pellet as well as Ocean Nutrition pellet food. I have tried soaking all of the above choices in Garlic Extreme and at times the Selcon or Zoe to entice with no avail. <Keep trying.> The only prepared food he has eaten (with vigor) is Sweetwater zooplankton.  He has only been in the main tank display for one week and was only in QT for one week so maybe he will broaden his range of food, however I wanted to know if the Sweetwater zooplankton is a good enough food along with varied algae sheets if he never adapts to other foods? Any suggestions? <Well he is eating so as I mentioned above, am not to worried just keep offering. I bet he takes to the above food within a week or two, still being a relatively new specimen. The food you have offered is great, especially the nutritional supplements.> <<I would do what the LBAOP does - free feed romaine lettuce (they rubber-band it to a bit of live rock and drop it in the QT tanks, and in the displays use lettuce clips.  Marina>> Second question: I recently removed the glass covers from the top of the tank and replaced with light grid (egg crate). I position the crate cover such that the skinny tapered section is facing up and the result was a substantial increase in light intensity in the tank. <How old are the bulbs? What is the Kelvin temperature?> I am trying to do everything I can to eliminate patches of Cyano that keep appearing on the substrate (DSB of fine aragonite). The Cyano has always limited itself to the substrate and I drain the frozen food, run Phosban, Purigen, activated carbon, skimmer is cranked up producing great skimmate, and a 40 watt UV sterilizer cleaned monthly. I also test all top off water (shows .1 Phosphate) and perform weekly 10% water changes with Coralife salt (aged for 1 week). <Where is your source water coming from is this tap or RODI? If it is tap I think that may be why your are getting the phosphate reading, if its RODI how old are your cartridges?> Ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate 5, Ph 8.4, temperature 81 - 82 F, salinity 1.24, and dKH of 12. I hoped that the intensity of light being increased may help with the Cyano so I removed the tank glass covers. Any other recommendations on helping to remove the few areas of Cyano that are so bothersome. I have positioned the large SEIO powerheads to increase circulation to these areas, to the extent that it visibly moves the sand in these areas, to no avail. I have read all of the FAQ's regarding this and think I am doing the right things. Interesting side note: the sand that I can see under the caves within the live rock are perfectly white with no Cyano, which is perplexing because these areas are not receiving direct light, nor the highest water movement.  Any thoughts on this? <Since the Cyano is limited to one area my first though was that these areas lack water movement and are accumulating detritus. I think you made a great move my adding those SEIO powerheads. At this point I would continue as you have with the water changes and I would also siphon these areas during those water changes.> Sorry for such a long email, however I am trying to give all of the pertinent information to help answer the email. <No worries.> Best regards, <And to you too.> Steven  <Adam J.>

Attack of The Green Slime! (Nuisance Algae Control)  11/30/05 I have a 55 gallon aquarium that has recently started growing a bright green slime algae on the sand. It looks to be the same consistency of red Cyanobacteria, but is bright green in color. What can be done to get rid of this? Thank you! <These types of nuisance algae are generally linked to excesses of nutrients in the aquarium. While not particularly "harmful" (unless it is dinoflagellate-sounds a bit unlikely, though), they are usually quite unsightly! The best ways to reduce an eradicate these algae are to embrace aggressive nutrient export processes, such as good protein skimming, use of chemical filtration media (activated carbon and/or PolyFilter), regular small water changes, physical removal of the algae, consistent high alkalinity and good flow. Typically, these types of algae will "peak" and decline over time, with your consistent good husbandry practices. Try a few of the ideas suggested above, and I'm sure that your algae problem will be a thing of the past! Regards, Scott F.> 

Cyano In the Reef Tank  11/30/05 Hey guys, <Hi Joe.> I have a 55 gallon reef with a AquaC remora, Eheim pro2 with Chemi-pure running through and a closed loop SCWD. I have the 260 watt PC Coralife Aqualight which I bought about, when should I replace the bulbs? <Every 6 to nine months for best results.> I have a problem with Cyano and it won't go away no matter what I do. <I see no water chemistry readings such as nitrates or phosphates which makes it hard to comment. Also what is your source water? Though I do see you have a canister filter which are notorious for nutrient problems. I would address this (the nutrients), water flow and the lighting issue before using chemicals.> Would Phosban and the reactor that goes with it help at all? <See above.> What other things could I do to stop this outbreak? <The tried and true method in my experience is low nutrient levels, RODI water, correct lighting spectrum, and lots of water flow. Of course patience and a siphon tube are good tools too.> Thanks Joe <Adam J.> 
Re: Cyano In the Reef Tank  12/2/05
I have a Quiet One putting out 1400 gph before it goes through all the elbows and at 0 feet on my closed loop SCWD, so it's pretty high flow. <Yes that sounds fine.> I have a 5 stage ro/di unit for water, <How old are the cartridges?> my nitrates are around 10 ppm, phosphates are like less than .1, my canister has the ceramic media to stop large debris then coarse foam pad, then ChemiPure, then fine foam. <Mmm…I think this is the culprit, canister filters with this type of media are notorious for harboring such detritus and thus becoming nitrate/phosphate factories.> <<The canister can NOT produce phosphorous unless it can get it from another source.  The problem then would not lie with the canister filter, but may lie with the carbon (though I don't see that mentioned here).  Some low-quality carbons can actually leach phosphorous back into the water!  Marina>> The red slime problem isn't as bad as it used to be. I read that sometimes phosphates won't show up in readings because the algae/bacteria is using it. <That's true and often the test kits just are not accurate or sensitive enough.> <<"Fixed" within the tissues. Marina>> Has PhosBan ever helped clear red slime? <Yes but it seems (to me) that it gets rid of the symptoms and not the problem…which would be nutrients from that canister in this instance.> <<There are those who have treated their systems with erythromycin quite successfully for chronic Cyanobacteria problems.  Try searching reefs.org, Googling.  Marina>> I've also heard before that PC can last 12-14 months and I was just trying to see if it was true. <Some companies claim this but honestly PC's severely depreciate in lumens output after about 6 months.> Thanks <Welcome.> Joe <Adam J.> 
Re: Cyano in the Reef Tank  12/2/05
What type of media would you recommend in the canister filter? I definitely want to keep ChemiPure in there. <Not much, just that and the occasional carbon or PolyFilter for water polishing,  <<HUH??  A diatom filter polishes the water, PolyFilters are chemical filtrants only, should NEVER be used for water polishing (mechanical filtration).  Marina>> I would definitely remove those ceramic rings though. Adam J.> 

Cyanobacteria and lighting  11/16/05 Hello, I have a 180 g FOWLR w/ 150 lbs of LR. Phosphates <.01, Nitrate 25 ppm, pH 8.2, Calcium 400, Alkalinity 13 dKh. Running Turboflotor Multi, ozone ORP 350, Small refugium with Gracilaria. Lighting 320 w VHO. 160 w Actinic 03 and 160 w of actinic white 12,000 K. On 5 hrs daily. I am starting to see some Cyano on the back panel. I have great coralline algae growth on rocks (pink, reds, greens ) Can I do anything different with lighting to encourage coralline and discourage Cyano? <Oh yes... trade out a good deal to all of the Actinics> Would two 160 w 12,000 K bulbs be better ? <Mmm, yes> Would a longer photoperiod be better, if so, how many hrs ? <More white, more hours...> Would a different spectrum of bulbs be better i.e. 12k and 10 k both 160w ? Thanks Jimmy <Mmm, not IMO... unless for your livestock, esthetics, you have a compelling reason to change. Just switch out some/all of the actinic... you'll lose some encrusting reds, but likely the Cyano as well... and do read on WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cyanobacteria and lighting  11/16/05
Hi, Just one follow-up question. Does Actinic lighting alone favor Cyanobacteria ? <Mmm, in a manner of speaking/understanding, yes. This spectra does not favor other/"higher" algae/thallophytes... which would/will compete for nutrient, light... delimit BGA growth> My fish seem to feel much more at ease with just actinic on.  So New Plan 180 g FOWLR.  Wake up to Blue actinic light ( 60 watts Standard Output ) in 6AM 15-30 min then add 320 w of 12K on for 1 hr ( Feeding time in AM ) After 1 hr only light is ambient room lighting. Actinics off for rest of day with 360 w VHO 12 K on for 8hrs between 1PM and 9PM.  Actinics on at night only 30 min after VHO turned off ( for transition 845PM -915 PM ).  Refugium : 10 hrs lighting 10 K at night.  Sound OK ? Thanks <Mmm, please read where you were sent to. Bob Fenner> 

Cyano Issues, Aggression From Centropyge Towards Tangs  11/01/05 Hi Crew, <Howdy Steve, Ali here...> I hope this query finds you all very well! I have been fighting a bit of Red Cyano lately and have made some progress by picking up more frequent water changes, cut back on feeding, and reducing phosphates. I read in several FAQ's from Anthony to "never allow thawed frozen pack juice" into the tank. I never really thought about what he was saying but maybe you could help me. I feed a large variety of food, however when I thaw my frozen cube food, I typically cut a small chunk of Angel or other "green" omnivore frozen food and also cut a chunk of omnivore frozen cube, in which I place in a small cup with a few drops of Zoe and tank water to thaw. Once thawed, I mix the food, turn off the pumps/power heads and dump the contents into the tank. I believe all of the thawed water, along with the Zoe that is in solution may be adding to my excess nutrient problems, do you concur? <Steve, consider keeping the following items near your feeding station/sink: a water bottle filled with ro/di water, a handheld fine strainer, and some Selcon (vitamin/essential fatty acid drops, MUCH better than Zoe). 1. Simply place the food you desire to feed your fish in the strainer; 2. Hold the strainer underneath the tap until the food is dissolved and excess oils are leached out; 3. Simply squirt ro/di water from the bottle directly over the strainer to 'clean' the food (final rinse); 4. Add few drops of Selcon over food.; 5. Feed fish. I would add Selcon at perhaps every 3rd feeding, however because you are having these excess nutrient issues, you can cut back totally from the Zoe/Selcon for the next month or so.> My fish consist of a 6" Bicolor Rabbitfish, 3.5" Orange Shoulder Tang, 2.5" Chevron Tang, 4" Bicolor Dwarf Angel, 5" Longnose Butterfly, and 30" Zebra Moray eel. These fish reside in a 250 gallon tank with 250 lbs. of Tonga Live rock, live fine Aragonite DSB, TurboFlotor Skimmer (producing lots of skimmate), 50 gallon wet/dry, 40 watt UV sterilizer, and refugium. In the refugium I have crushed live rock substrate, with mini PC (24 hours) on Caulerpa. <Sounds like a decent set-up you have going there Steve. You may consider upgrading the protein skimmer to an even more powerful model. Additionally, I would seriously consider increasing the water circulation and flow within the tank. This will help out tremendously with the red slime as well.> Second issue: My Bicolor Dwarf Angel is a recent addition to the main display tank and he is showing some signs of aggression towards the Chevron and Orange Shoulder tang. At one point he had the Chevron cowering in a cave and he would only come out to take a look and swim back in. Normally this Chevron is grazing off of the live rock non-stop and only hides at night when the lights go off. I know it is hard to say, but should this subside eventually? <Bicolors do have the potential to be somewhat overly aggressive towards tankmates. His aggressive behavior should however, subside shortly. Overall, they are not good choices for aquariums in my opinion. Just too finicky, perhaps improper collection methods.> The Bicolor Angel was in QT to settle in and never really fed well except off of the live rock and is still only grazing off of the live rock. Is the live rock enough to sustain him until he gets into the mix of feeding with the rest of the fish? <Hopefully he will do well. The LR should provide him with enough nutrients until he takes in prepared foods.> Your comments and help are greatly appreciated. Best Wishes, Steven  <No problemo Steven, Good luck with everything! - Ali>  <<No problema.  No hay "problemo".  MH>>

Cyano and Show Angels 11/02/05 Hey Ali, Thanks for your reply Ali...always informative and very helpful. It's always good to hear from you. <You too Steve...> Follow up question for you or any of the other gurus at WWM: I have two large SEIO power heads, of which one of them was moved to flow over the section of substrate where the Red Cyano is forming without much improvement. I physically remove the Cyano, but within a few days it comes back. I feed daily, and give just enough for them to consume quickly without settling out, then give a little more, until they have all received some food. The Rabbitfish is a "pig" (as you said he would be), so I have to sometimes trick him away so the others can eat. Also, I give a small piece (3" x 3") of Nori each day for grazing.  Do you think I should go to every other day with either of these? Every place that sells fish recommends feeding multiple times daily, so I considered my feeding practice less than that. I have chatted with other hobbyists and many indicate that the daily recommended feeding schedule is "hogwash" and that the fish should only be fed 3 - 4 times per week. I can tell you that since each fish have arrived, within a short period of time they gain girth and look very healthy.  With the Cyano however, I wonder if I should cut back? <Steven, how often are you doing your water changes? Siphon out as much of this gunk each time you do change your water. I believe you have a fish-only with live rock aquarium, correct? If so, what is your photoperiod? Do a large water change, siphoning out as much Cyano as possible. Then simply turning your lights completely off for 3 days. Afterwards, cutting your photoperiod back to 2 to 3 hours per day for 2 to 3 weeks.  I'm not sure how your current system is plumbed but consider once again increasing water circulation. Regarding the water changes, it goes without saying that RO/DI water is a must; however check your TDS as you may have old filter cartridges. Sometimes the cartridges can wear out in just a couple months depending on your tap water quality. It may also be time to change your membrane as well. Additionally, make sure you use a high-quality salt mix. This Tropic Marin Pro-Reef salt is just phenomenal and I would look into that further as well.> Last question: I am looking at adding a spectacular Angel. Considering the following: Pomacanthus Chrysurus, Gold Flake Angel, and last but certainly not least a Conspicillatus. What is your feeling on these with regards to quality of fish after transport, transition to captivity, and hardiness? <All three can be incredibly hardy once adjusted. The P. chrysurus being the easiest to acclimate to captive life. Small/Medium sized Conspics do great, where as the larger full-blown adults have a much harder time adjusting. If you do purchase this fish, make it a point with your dealer to provide you with the smallest one possible. Over the years however, the smallest Conspic I've ever seen come through L.A. was a little over 3inches. Smaller ones also do tend to fetch a higher price than the larger ones, but well worth it if you can locate one. Goldflakes are generally a hardy fish as well. Most tend to adapt quite easily to captive life. I know several people who have tried them and from I know, everything has been going smoothly so far.> I would like to get a large "show" fish, however it appears that the more common found for sell is a medium size at best. Would the medium be more likely to acclimate well, or should I keep looking for the large or extra large variety? <Medium/Small is always your best option. Generally speaking, avoid tiny, large or extra large fish unless they are aggressively eating prepared foods.> Again your comments are greatly appreciated. Y'all take care! Steven <You too Steve...Good luck! - Ali>

Acanthurus olivaceus pooping behavior, BGA control 10/30/05 Steve here. <Bob here, HI and Hi> Hope this email finds you well. <Yes, thanks> A couple of questions: I have a Juvenile Orange shoulder Tang around 3.5" long and have had him a few months now. He acclimated very well and getting along with his mates. He eats well, grazing off of 250 lbs. of live rock, Nori on a clip, and variations of Omega Flake food, Ocean Nutrition Pellet w/ garlic, frozen cube, etc. <We're out diving with this species most days> My question is that when he "poops" a steam of what looks like sand comes out. <Good observation> It almost looks like my very fine live aragonite sand that is in the deep sand bed. He picks and feeds off of the sand bed along with grazing off of the live rock. I can see his ribs, but I think I read on your site that it was not uncommon amongst Tangs.   <Correct... they do ingest bits of substrate... sort of helps... like some birds' crops... with tritiation/chewing...> Second question: I wrote recently about a fight with Red Cyano that has been forming on the sand bed. I physically remove it (siphon) and have performed weekly 10% water changes, watching that I don't feed more than the fish can eat and not adding any other nutrients to the tank. The tank is 215 gallons, 50 gallon wet/dry, refugium with Caulerpa, 250# of Tonga live rock and the water parameters are fine, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrates 10 ppm, salinity 1.024, water temp 80.5 - 81.5 F. I have ready on your site that treating chemically is not advised, so I have been doing all of the things this site recommends like clock work for two weeks and if anything it has gotten a little worse. <Mmm, you might want to consider modifying that wet-dry, switching to another genera/species of macroalgae... perhaps improving your skimmer/skimming...> I put a sock of Phosphate granules, increased aeration, cut down on nutrients, and performing water changes weekly (at least 10%). My Ph has remained stable at 8.3. Please let me know if I am missing anything, or should I be looking at something like Chemi Clean (by Boyd)? I don't want to add anything that will kill my live rock, or good bacteria and I suspect that anything that will kill Cyano bacteria may do so. Thanks for your words of wisdom. Steven <Don't know re wisdom... but do take a read (again?) through the WWM files on Cyano... not hard to control once you know how. Bob Fenner> 

Shy fish not eating - Cyanobacteria woes 10.19.05 Recently I added a Chevron Tang to my FOWLR system. He is active swimming around, almost constantly picking at the live rock; however he is very shy about eating when I feed the other fish.   <Hmmm... not uncommon. Although this is but one of the many benefits of using quarantine tanks faithfully. Shy fish get to establish a feeding routine in peace and quiet without competition from other/intimidating fishes. BTW - your Chevron tang is a fabulous diatom algae eater. Look for it to graze the brown film nicely off sand and glass, rocks, etc (especially sand)> I have a large 6" inch Fiji Bicolor Rabbitfish that hovers near the top of the tank when it is feeding time and given the chance will eat most of what is fed. <A bruiser indeed> I have a damsel that will become bold and get his fair share, but the Chevron doesn't seem to want to get into the mix of things.   <Yes... these active/aggressive community fishes can be intimidating even without so much as a nip. Please do check the archives for articles on QT. It is imperative that you learn the need to QT. It will save lives... and much time, stress and money for you.> Occasionally he will get a floater flake, or pellet that gets away from the other fish.  I have tried to stick a piece of Nori to the live rock but he looks at the Nori, but then as soon as the Rabbitfish sees it he eats it.  Same thing happens with the clips I use for the Nori.  Any suggestions?   <Try target feeding. Use a tube, pipette or turkey baster to blast a small amount of soaked food down to the area it is hiding near> Is the live rock enough to sustain the Chevron? <Almost certainly not. Especially with the Rabbitfish competing> I have read your FAQ sections regarding Cyanobacteria and the recommendation of refraining from using chemical treatments in lieu of addressing the root cause.   <True. It is extremely easy to rid from the tank in mere weeks with increased water flow, improved protein skimming (see the "improving protein skimming" thread stickied at the top of the All Things Salty expert forum at ReefCentral.com. It is a very thorough walk through). And also controlling feeding will help too (avoid admitting pack juice from thawed frozen food... feed smaller portions of dry food more frequently, etc> In my case I think it has to be a function of a "dead spot" where there is less aeration than other areas.   <Perhaps, yes.> I have removed it by vacuuming it out, but I am sure it will return.  I can add a power head maybe directed to this area, but I don't want to blow around the substrate (aragonite).   <Try a more diffused application of increased water flow like a closed loop manifold.> Are there any chemical treatments that are safe for the live rock and fish? <no my friend... anything that kills Cyanobacteria will surely kill other/more desirable life forms too. And this symptom is so easy to remedy. Nutrient control. Increased water flow keeps the solids/nutrients in suspension... and proper filtration/skimming process it> Thanks for your help and dedication! Regards, Steven <best of luck! Anthony>

Evil Cyano. I have looked all over and I can find the exact answer I'm looking for.  <Ok, I'll do my best to help you out.> I have a ninety gallon fish only with about a hundred pounds of live rock.  Recently a red slime algae has taken over the tank. <A.K.A Blue-Green algae or Cyanobacteria, a common occurrence in many marine tanks.> Now my question is what should I get to control this? <As in livestock? Honestly I don't encourage the use of utilizing livestock to control this particular nuisance. Most of the creatures that a are marketed as Cyano eaters don't do a thorough job. Furthermore even if they did devour it all it would only be correcting the symptom not the problem. You need to find the root cause of the algae bloom and fix it, in my experience the problem is usually nutrient build up. See here for more detail: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bgacont2i.htm .> I can get snails or crabs. (We already tried that and my Wrasse turned them over and nipped at them then left them for dead) I looked on the site and I think on of the best ways to go is a refugium?   <I agree.>  To my understanding this helps take away the nutrients that the algae in the tank eats.  <More or less, at the least it increase your water volume. And yes if set up large enough and properly refugiums can help tremendously with nutrient control.>  Or would there be a fish that could help eat this?  <I would rather have a refugium over another fish in the tank if there are nutrient problems.>  (Since I know your probably gonna want to know, I have 3 damsels all small- a Eblii Angelfish-1 1/2 inch-a golden striped maroon clown, a Lunare wrasse-2 inch-a Papua Toby-and a hippo tang-medium sized.  I have also checked the pH and phosphates and all that and their in good range. <What about nitrates?> If you can answer this it would really be appreciated. Thanks <Definitely continue your research on refugiums, Adam J.> 

Cyano Brother 10/11/05 Hi Bob, need some info on Cyano Bacteria? Red Slime, but not in a close system.  What it is. What causes it and how to get rid of it.  What damage it leaves behind.  Will explain more later Thanks, Dan <Read on my brother: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cyano 10/11/05 Thanks Bob, if OK I will copy part of this to send to a Friend in Cozumel where they are having problems in the shallower reefs. I'm sure it's from dumping of human waste from the Cruise ships and hotels. <Yikes, what a mess> Is it still cold there, how's the diving? 3 weeks and to the P.I. I go. Talk to you soon. <Am out in HI... on the Big Island... water is calm and warm (low eighties F)> Thanks, Dan <BobF> 

Red (Blue-Green) Algae/Cyanobacteria 8/20/05 Hi, I understand you get a lot over questions over this and I have read articles all through your site as if it were the answer to the question of life!!! <Wish I know more...> I have a problem with red slime algae at first I put that down to a Fire worm infestation I had but after going through my system and picking out about 200 of the blighters I purchased a large Arrow crab to take care of any left behind. My tank has 6 55w T5 lights which are U shape and 50/50 actinic and daylight, two on for 8 hrs and all 6 for 4 hours during mid day hours it's a 4'x2'x2' tank with 45 gallons, <Mmm, this size, dimensions... s/b closer to 110 actual gallons> 35kg of live rock 40lbs of coral skeletons and 40lbs of live sand. The Fire worms destroyed all but 1 of my corals so I don't use supplements as the phytoplankton that would develop on it's own should be sufficient to sustain it which it has, my clean-up crew consists of 50 Nassarius snails, 20 turbo snails, 25 dwarf hermit, a brittle star and a sand-sifter, I always go overboard a little on filtration and have an ecosystem filter designed for a 60 gallon tank and have planted with grape Caulerpa and have 6 other kinds of Caulerpa in the main display, <Mmm, you might want to consider other types (Divisions) of macro-algae...> so nitrates are around 5ppm at the most and have a hang-on protein skimmer that runs 8 hours a day which give me a cup every other day or so, all other stats are ideal 1.024 salinity, 8.2 pH, temp is constant at 25C as room is air-conditioned, ammonia phosphates and nitrites are 0, calcium is held at 420ppm. The only input in is a few drops of iodine for the coral per week, and food (frozen pieces about the size of my little finger nail) for the school of 6 green cromis and 2 common clowns, the tank is about 6 months old and only have been adding fish or inverts once every 2-3 weeks after cycling was complete to prevent a system shock. All life is quarantined in a 10 gall isolation tank for 2 weeks. I can't see where I'm going wrong I have heard that some Comb Tooth Tangs can help <Yes, but don't, won't eat BGA> but I would rather cure the problem then add a control that isn't guaranteed, I also have a feeling it could be as I'm lacking sufficient corals to use up any organic matter in the water, would appreciate any advice <I do think you're on the right thought path, trajectory here... I would switch out some or all of the Caulerpa species... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaqs.htm Perhaps add a bit more, new LR... try to disrupt the Cyano-directed control of your system... It is the BGA that are poisoning other life, using up the available nutrient... Bob Fenner>

Algae Out of Control 8/13/05 Hey there, how are ya? <Fine, thanks> Need some help/advice.  I've had my 90gal community salt tank for 3 years now.  In the past year, I've had a bit of an algae problem; however, in the past two months it's gotten out of control. I have 95lbs live rock, about 3inches of live sand, keep my tank around 25oc, salinity at 1.0025. The algae can best be described as burgundy/purple in color. It's felt like in appearance, and covers a lot of my liverock. It's like velvet purple carpet!  It easily flakes off in chunks.  It looks awful.  As well, in the past two weeks... I've noticed some green ghastly spots on my live rock.  Kinda looks like a alien/snotty/lime green about the size of a dime. <Yeah... very likely a BGA... aka Cyanobacteria> Biggest concern is the out of control purple carpet like algae.  I can't think of anything that has spurred this growth? <I can>   About 6 weeks ago, I removed my live rock one by one and took a toothbrush to the liverock, gently scrubbing the stuff off in a tub. <Lots of work!> I didn't do this in the tank.  When I was done, I had cleaned off any noticeable purple felt carpet algae off the rocks and had cleaned up the sand from the flaked off algae.  Now, it seems like it's grown back three times worse.  Advice? <Lots>    I was thinking of putting my liverock in my quarantine tank and raising the temp to 30oc to kill whatever it was off?  Advisable?? <Nope>   Would this algae be present in the water without rock to live off of?  Advice?? Thanks, Dave <Mmm, read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above, where you lead yourself... likely the route of nutrient control is where you want to head... better skimming, avoiding phosphate in your source water... use of a DSB, refugium, purposeful macroalgae culture... You'll soon see. Bob Fenner>
Re: Algae Out of Control 8/14/05
Thanks for the note. <Welcome> Further, I use a canister filter... don't have/can't afford putting in a sump.  What is a DSB?   <... please learn to/use the search tool on WWM... this is an acronym for Deep Sand Bed...> How can I avoid phosphates in source water? <... this is also covered, over and over on WWM> I am using tap water but then adding a 'chemical' to neutralize it during water changes ~ suggested to me by Big Al's. <Good> In reading that article you suggested... my 90gal tank is about 2 feet wide and deep by about 4 ft long.  I am using a "50% Natural Daylight 600K / 50% Actinic 03 Blue" light.  360o output, 48 inch, 40 watt fluorescent.  I can't afford expensive lighting...  Should I be using a higher watt bulb? <For what?> The lighting does look a lot dimmer than the non-50/50 light I had before.  Should I try to increase the wattage? <For?> Note, I did have a bit of this problem before with the brighter lighting. I do have a protein skimmer and have been using activated carbons in my filtering.  I do only have two powerheads. I'm thinking my steps are:  maybe add one or two more powerheads, increase wattage on lighting, and watch the feeding?  Do u think some more hermit crabs would take care of this? <No> I only have about 5 or 6. Last note, my algae is burgundy/purple... not really blue green.  Do you figure it is likely the same algae problem? <... read... Bob Fenner>

Cyanobacteria- The Causes....? 7/27/05 Hi Bob and the crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight!> I was curious if you knew something about the weird statement that Cyanobacteria in salt water tanks is caused by an imbalance between PO4 and NO3...I heard that statement on some occasions (without explanations of course...) and if I remember well, Marina told once a aquarist to check on that ratio as a cause (maybe it was related to freshwater and their plants for competition?) and I don't quite understand it... <Well, I don't know of a specific ratio of nutrients where there is a "threshold" you cross after which Cyanobacteria goes nuts. I have a hunch that Marina is referring to the need to export excesses of these potential algae nutrients. Cyanobacteria are essentially photosynthetic bacteria that can be limited by good overall water quality.> What I don't understand is that in what way could this imbalance of nutrients (which from what I know, they don't really need, specially NO3), could keep those bacteria from feeding on DOC ?? <I really don't know. I am not familiar with this theory. However, there may be some merit to it...I just can't say. In my opinion, Cyanobacteria are an indicator of a deficiency in your water quality; I don't think that a ratio is in play- merely an excessive amount of nutrients that the Cyano requires to thrive.> I keep searching for explanations, but curiously...none are available...I did try a search on your site without success, I've ask on RC with the same results...Maybe just another myth that E. Borneman could add to his Busting the myth article... Thanks <I'd love to have Eric write on this for "Conscientious Aquarist"! Eric...are you out there?>

Cyano Problem - 07/15/05 Hi Folks, <<Howdy>> I am so thankful that we (hobbyist's) have you to turn to in the event of aquarium problems. <<I hope I can measure up to your expectation <G>.>> I have a 225 gallon FOWLR that has been up and running about 2 years.  My fish are fat and happy and my levels seem to be perfect (0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, -10 to 15 nitrate, 0 phosphate). <<Yep, for a FOWLR this seems fine...>> About 7 months ago I started using Oceanic salt and started to fight an uphill battle with a reddish brown film on my live rock. <<Got caught up in the "fad" did ya?... A common story with this salt it seems.>> I would scrub the rock and perform very regular water changes (at LEAST 225 gallons a month) with R/O water. <<Thus feeding the problem maybe.>> I have since switched back to Tropic Marin and the tank seems to have stabilized a bit. <<Good move>> I still though have a small amount of this problem algae.  Do you have any clue as to what this is? <<My guess would be Cyanobacteria.>> Should I scrub the rock again.  Should I remove the rock and scrub it in a separate container? <<You can...try not to disturb/spread in the tank.>> Should I dump bleach in the tank (just kidding).  I hate the way this looks, please help and I will say a daily prayer for you. <<Increase your water flow to all areas of the tank and employ a quality skimmer if you don't have one already.>> Thanks, Matt
<<Regards, Eric R.>>  

Cyano question 7/14/05 Hi there....I've had a 210 gallon 7 feet tank up and have been having Cyano problems as of late.  I have recently done the last system upgrade which was finally switching to using RO/DI water for everything.  Already lessons learned :-) Can't tell ya how many consistent water changes I was doing and getting no where with NO3.  Now already the NO3 holds at 5-10 for about 5 days before a 7 bucket change is needed again.  Hope this calms down too. <Ten ppm of nitrate is not a big deal> I'm hoping doing this will starve the bacteria as it's not getting tap anymore (which wasn't too bad for local water on the TDS) and will eventually die off the rest of the Cyano.   I've always had NO3 issues where it was 1 fish, or the entire tank, never mattered on this tank.  I have a 75 gal that maintains 2-3 ppm NO3 very easily....just the big tank is stubborn since day 1.  It seems Chaeto does wonders when you have enough of it present as I'm learning as well...making life easier. Tank params are SG: 1.024, NO3: 5-10, CA: 440, Alk: 12 dKH.   I've already seen less build up of the Cyano but noticed these "roots" when you syphon the red stuff away.  I've included pics of these. <This is not much BGA...> Now I'm starting to wonder what this is.  The "roots" go deep too, because I cleaned my Tunzes and now I have sand blowing issues again, which is letting me see how long these roots are in the sand. Cyano/roots pics are: http://users.adelphia.net/~shadow_keeper/images/New/Cyano-1.jpg http://users.adelphia.net/~shadow_keeper/images/New/Cyano-2.jpg http://users.adelphia.net/~shadow_keeper/images/New/Cyano-3.jpg http://users.adelphia.net/~shadow_keeper/images/New/Cyano-4.jpg If you need more detail about the tank, my home page has tank specs and equipment: http://users.adelphia.net/~shadow_keeper/ Thank you and great web site !!! Larry <Thank you... You might check your synthetic salt mix... but I would "stay the course" here with your new water treatment, Chaeto... all should work out fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Red/purple patch cementing sand together... 7/5/05 Thanks Mr. Fenner! I didn't think about BGA because of the pretty pink-purple color... <Yes... if it were solid... likely coralline, and/or a precipitating incident with mineral, alkalinity...> If I vacuum the invaded sand, is there something I can do to treat it naturally and put it back in the tank (like boiling it 10 minutes maybe?) ? Dominique <Ah, no... read my friend. Bob Fenner> Re: DSB, refugium to combat BGA. 6/31/05 Hi Bob Thanks for the response. Had a question re your advise about the DSB / refugium to combat BGA. I have attached for you a picture of my sump. <Okay> I am not sure of how I can make this a DSB. <... Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm> I assume that the SAND would have to be on the very bottom (where the heater currently is). Any ideas on how I could do this conversion given the design of my tank? Regards Simon
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Cyano is almost victorious!!!! Good  morning.  I am at wits end here battling Cyano and would love your help so I can continue in the hobby.  I have requested information to help combat my Cyano problems several times in the past and have tried all the suggestions and this time will send a picture in hopes of finding the remaining piece of the puzzle I am missing.   <Do see your pix... is Cyano/BGA...> My system is a 55 FOWLR, 50 lbs of LR, 40lbs special grade reef sand, Aqua-C Remora Pro w Mag3, Fluval 304, RO/DI water from Kent HiS MAXX RO/DI, 15 blue leg hermit crabs, 5 Mexican Turbo snails, 10 Astrea snails, 3 bumble bee snails, 3 Nassarius (sp.?) snails, one fighting conch, one coral banded shrimp, and 8 fish (Heniochus, Percula Clown, Canary Wrasse, Royal Gramma, 3 PJ Cardinals, and a Coral Hawkfish). <At capacity...>   I have had the tank up and running for three and a half years and every two weeks I change out one of the two 100 gram bags of activated carbon run in my Fluval, perform a 15 gallon water change (RO/DI water with SeaChem Buffer and Instant Ocean salt), and change the polyester floss in the Fluval every week.  In addition, I run two thirds of the 4" x 8" Polyfilter pad in my Fluval and change this out once a month.   My water parameters are NH3, NO2, & NO3 = 0, Calcium 380 ppm, Alk 8, salinity 1.024, and temp 80 degrees C. <Mmm, no measure of soluble phosphate? But then again, this likely taken up by your chemical filtrants> I started having problems with the Cyano 8 months ago so I increased my circulation by building a 30 gallon sump with a Mag 12 as the return pump.  I teed off the return to have two jets of water from the pump help me with circulation. <All good improvements, techniques> I have created turbulence by directing each of these jets against opposing flow from my Fluval return on one side and a MaxiJet 1200 on the other.  I retired my Remora with a Maxijet 1200 and upgraded to the Remora Pro with the Mag 3 in hopes of removing more organics.  I now get good skimmate (say 1.5 cups a day but it is still light in color which I am working on by raising the cup a little each day).  I used to use my house water after treating it for chlorine but switched to the RO/DI system in hopes of getting rid of any phosphate. <Good idea... maybe there is some from your substrate/s, feeding...>   I read that my old bulbs in my standard fluorescents could be giving off too much red light so I purchased a new 4 x 65 Aqua Lunar Light. I only feed my fish one cube of food (Mysis shrimp, or plankton, or krill) a day and drain off the pack juices to minimize the amount of nutrients going into the tank.  So after my sump and return pump, my clean up crew, lights, RO/DI system, and new skimmer, I am $1200 lighter and still can't kick this algae/bacteria and would love some help if you could.   <Will> I am attaching a few pictures of my problem. And I almost forgot to say a few months ago I actually replaced my entire sand bed slowing over a few weeks to eliminate the possibility of having a nutrient sink there.  For the past two years I read your site almost daily and I covered a lot of the FAQs on Nutrients, Algae, Maintenance, System Set-up, etc. and still can't figure out what the problem is.  I thought with all my upgrades I should win but it appears not.  I also thought all these snails and crabs, and conch would help stir my sand as this is where most of the problem occurs but that was not the case too. <"They" really don't like Cyano either> Could you give me any suggestion on how to get rid of this Cyano so I can continue with this great hobby. Thanks, Ray <Mmm, well, first off, I can't tell (either) where your source of "algae food" is coming from... but I do take it, from reading your well-written history, documentation of gear, maintenance... that there is insufficient competition for same and light... I know what I would do definitely in your set of circumstances... Convert part of the existing or add a new sump to the whole set-up and make it a lighted refugium, with a DSB and live macro-algae. Please do consider this possibility thoroughly... not expensive, and your best shot at foiling the BGA by depriving it of nutrient as well as providing chemical competition. Your livestock will be that much "happier" as well. Bob Fenner>

More Cyano Questions - 06/03/05 Hey guys at WWM <<Hey Joe>> I am having a problem with what seems to be red algae.  It is covering the sand in some spots in my tank. <<Sounds like Cyanobacteria.>> It's not thick like I have seen in pictures but just turning some sand red.  What can be causing this problem. <<This is usually attributable to areas of low flow within the tank.>> I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 maxi jet 1200 and 1 RIO 800 and the outlet of my Eheim pro 2 with a rate of 250gph. I also have a aqua remora skimmer.  Recently the skimmer hasn't been producing as much skimmate as it used to.  It is on the lowest setting and is collecting green water and very dark.  It used to be more clear/brown water but tons of it.  I also have a problem with a film at the surface and a power head pointed trying to break it up but it is collecting on one side of the tank.  If i scoop it out it is back within 2 days. <<That "film" is an accumulation of proteins at the air/water interface at the surface of your tank.  I'm guessing you don't have some type of "surface skimmer" to pull this film off the water's surface.  It can easily be removed by turning off the pumps for a moment and gently laying clean paper towels on the water's surface and then lifting them way with the film.  Of course this has to be repeated periodically as you have learned.>> I do have some Caulerpa going in my tank hoping to eliminate phosphates but the Cyano keeps coming back. What can I do?? <<Maybe realign/add more power heads to eliminate any "dead spots...and have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cyanocontrolfaqs.htm">> Thanks, Joe <<Welcome, Eric R.>>

BGA, Refugium, Lack of Knowledge I am in the process of setting up a 210 tank with a refugium.  I have Caulerpa and starter fish growing in the tank for about 3 weeks.  With the addition of some bacteria I am now at the end of the nitrite cycle.  However, I just noticed a red film like algae covering the mud in the refugium. <Common> I was told by the people in the store where I purchased the set up that I will need to add an antibiotic to get rid of this bacteria and I will have to begin the set up all over again.  Is there any other option. <Not so... Please read on WWM re Cyanobacteria, Refugiums, Antibiotic/Chemical Algae Control... Knowledge is power... its antithesis? Be powerful. Bob Fenner> Fighting Red Slime! Hello, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I set up a 75 gallon saltwater tank about 3 months ago. I have around 100 lbs of live rock, about 3 inches of live sand, a Fluval 404, a Remora pro skimmer, 4x65 watt power compact, and 3 powerheads (making my tank push well over 1,000 gph). I have been using RO water to do bi-weekly 20% water changes, and vacuum the gravel. I only have 2 Percula clowns in the tank with many assorted snails, crabs, shrimp, and a few soft corals. In my Fluval, I am using 2 bags of ChemiPure, 1 bag of phosphate remover, and the rest is Biomax. Nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia are all at 0, and pH is 8.3.  My problem is with red-slime algae, this seems weird to me after reading a ton on it, I think my tank seems like shouldn't be having a problem. I only feed my tank what I can see eaten within a couple of minutes- 2 times a day. I read on this website that it could be my sandbed since I don't really have anything sifting it. What are some good sand sifters, and what do you suggest I do? <First of all, have you measured the phosphate level of your water? Phosphates in your source water and in the tank are some of the leading causes of Cyanobacteria ("red slime algae"). Check this important parameter regularly! Use RO/DI water for mixing your salt. Keep up with those water changes and your use of chemical filtration media. Maintain a stable high pH and alkalinity. As far as sand sifters are concerned- I don't think that they will eliminate your problem, but they are useful. I'd use some Sea Cucumbers to do this.> Also, I am interested in adding a few more fish soon. I already have the 2 clown and I have a Flame Hawkfish in the quarantine for a few more days before he goes into the main tank. <Make it 3 weeks and you'll be doing a great thing!> The biggest thing I am looking for in my fish is a great personality/ intelligence. The coral in my tank rules out puffers and triggers, so can you suggest any other fish that would be good for my setup/criteria. <I like Halichoeres species wrasses. They are colorful usually peaceful, and generally stay rather small. When you add in the fact that they have fascinating behaviors and great personalities- you've got a winner!> Thanks ahead of time for your help, -Dan-  <Glad to be of service, Dan! Regards, Scott F.>

Starfish & (My Friend) Goo Problems, Flame scallop Flamers... Hello! I need advice again oh wise ones! <More like wise n heimers> First off here's the tank specs - 29gal 3-5" DSB, 30lbs(-ish) LR from a previous large reef setup Double 55w PC 50/50 lighting Emperor 400 doing the filtering - I don't change the filters and there's tons of pods and shrimps in there so they keep it fairly clean. <Good> 2 - 225gph powerheads set on either end Water all checked out as normal and stays that way for the most part. I do a 10% water change about 3-4 times a week...no extra additives, I figured I was changing enough water that the salt mix would cover this. <Yes... good practice> Creatures 3 little red starfish (think they're Fromia) 1 "African" anemone. I still have not been able to find out what this thing really is but it is doing well. I see the dyed ones in the store a lot... most of them looked half dead.. 2 - true perc clowns 1 firefish 1 neon goby 1 yellow watchman goby 1 neon Dottyback 2 skunk cleaner shrimp Numerous little hermits and snails Trumpet coral and a small rock of green sea mat Ok my first question...I used to have 2 flame scallops that were doing well. They had supplemental feedings every other day and their shells were nice and dark. I had let them stay near the back of the aquarium for awhile and they were fine like that for a good 6 months. One day in my cleaning I got the brilliant idea to move them out to where people could see them! Evidently it wasn't a good idea... the next morning one of the shells was empty and that was quickly followed by the emptying of the other shell. Now could the 3 cute little red stars be the ones to blame here? I can't think of anyone else in the tank that would really feed on these guys. <These Lima's just don't live period in captivity... in the wild they're either on the move (can jet about) or way back where other animals' can't get to them> Second question/problem...I cannot for the life of me get the Cyano and hair algae to go away. I have read up on both of them on your forums but it seems no matter what I do it keeps coming back. <Is persistent> I put a lot more turbulence in the tank with the addition of two 225gph powerheads and like I said I do 3-4 10% water changes a week. <All helpful> The Cyano (pretty sure it's Cyano.. nice red slime that burns when it's on your skin) seems to love the added flow and has covered the back part of the glass overnight. I am in the process of getting a decent skimmer... <Good idea> ...evidently my water changes aren't enough. I don't add any extra additives and I'm very careful about how much food goes into the tank. Do you think the skimmer will help? <Definitely> I don't think it could hurt though I'm running out of edges to hang gadgets off of! Thanks! ~Angela <Mmmmm, am thinking about a bigger tank for you? You don't need that couch! You don't need that TV!... Bob Fenner> 

Re: Red Algae... Bob, Wow, quick response! Thank you. I apologize if my question left you believing an exacting answer was expected. Far from it. I see you are a local, so I'm sure you know Pettown. <Ahh, have not seen the two young fellows who own this venerable store for a few years... I take it Scott is still the manager> That's where I purchased my two Starfish. Your answer with question back had me stumped. We are far from knowing the many biological and botanical descriptions. We've noticed most of the posts and write backs look like dialog between marine biologists from Scripps. <Hee heeee!> So, I called Pettown about the star fish. They only have Sand Sifting Stars on their offering tank and couldn't find the species in their reference book. <Oh, most of these are rather common... put the name sandsifter starfish in the Google search tool on our homepage... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/> Their owner may or may not have a species name on the invoice, but wasn't in. They suggested I call the owner of Reefermadness.us to help. He translated what you wrote and knows the starfish I purchased. He said a well known shop in Dana Point carries them and will have a profile. The little starfish I have are not for looks. They are 4 inches and plain grey and sold for exactly why I purchased them. While I had his attention, he took a phone assessment of the number and type fish I have and assured me my starfish will be very happy eating what they leave behind in both food and other. He went on to agree with you, that they will not take care of the dust because it's a fungus (which is probably what you were trying to tell me in one long word I didn't know). <Mmm, no... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgid.htm> He said it sounds like we are needing more flow to the system. Hopefully our guy that services the tank will meet the challenge of being our "Tim the Tool Time Taylor Tank Supercharger Expert! Ar ar ar" My husband and I are newbie's, can you tell? <Yes> We have a very successful tank, but can't take credit. We decided to remain humble and get it all dialed in by hiring a professional. South Orange County has a healthy residential market with the money it takes to invest in putting marine aquariums in their homes. Like leasing a car, you can lease to own a tank. I suppose some customers just want them in lieu of art with no desire to learn, but for us, something we both dreamed of doing for years. And this latest turn is exactly why we didn't want to go it alone. I've been a freshwater fish keeper since a kid, but salt tanks are a whole different ball game. Best Wishes and thank you, Debi <Do keep learning... the more you understand... will be commensurate with your enjoyment... and capacity to interact with your petfish service provider. Bob Fenner>
Re: Red Algae... Algae
Yes, Scott is still the manager of Pettown. Thanks for the links. Obviously we have a lot more reading...I just hope I can understand it <sigh>. <You can/will> We have spent entire days pounding the computer for information about our tank and fish. And it's tough to find 'layman' terms. <All will become clear soon> However, I wouldn't trade it for the ol' days of going to the fish stores and public aquariums. We found out that unless teething, drooling in public is not acceptable. <?> P.S. don't be too smug about the marine biologist comment. I bet I could whoop you guys in environmental acronyms! Remember, we all have something we know really well, and then it goes downhill from there. Debi Stanley-Viloria <Keep reading. Bob Fenner> 

Peroxide for Cyano Hi to all. For the last 3 months, I have been fighting the dreaded Red Slime. Nothing I do works. pH 8.3 nitrite 0, nitrate 10, amm 0, alk 8. ca 400. I have a 75g RR with 90# of LR, 120# Southdown, Mag 9 return, 4 Maxijet 12, ASM g1x skimmer, 6 stage ro unit . A few different types of snails and hermits, serpent and black brittle star and 2 fish, 1 Clarkii and a algae blenny. I've tried just about everything there is, someone suggested to me to use regular household peroxide to wipe it out. What are your thoughts on it? Oh and my tank is 10 months old and I do 10% water changes weekly and I drip lime water (pickling lime) for evap.  <It's hard to believe with your light load in a 75 along with a 10 month old tank that your having this problem especially seeing the use of a skimmer and 10% water changes. Need a little more background. What kind and how deep is your substrate? If it is over 2" in depth, than you need to reduce that if you don't have the critters that help keep the bed stirred up, or if you don't use a gravel vacuum during water changes. You have plenty of circulation with the four maxi 120's, I believe they are pumping close to 300gph, plus the Mag 9. If the 75 is a deep tank, you may want to lower the powerheads so you get a stronger current at the bottom surface. I would also try using Chemi-Pure along with your skimmer. What we need to do is get rid of more organics, need to cut out the Cyano's food supply. I would shy away from the peroxide use. I don't know what a safe level would be. I believe peroxide is just water with an extra O2 atom. I have never heard of it's wide use in marine aquariums. Here is a link I think you should read to help you eliminate this. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bgacont7.htm  James (Salty Dog)> 
Peroxide for Cyano - Follow-up
The tank size is 48 in x 18 x 21, 4 in of Southdown sand. I have Turbos, Ceriths, Nass.., Astreas, Trochus, bumble bee and Marg snails, red tip, Blueleg and zebra hermits. I do vacuum the sandbed and stir it up when I do water changes and in between water changes. I'm thinking about picking up a sea cuke, either a brown Atlantic or tiger tail. I feed 2x a week, use to feed every other day. Thanks for the link.  <Glenn, I'm thinking it would be pretty hard to gravel vac the entire bottom with a 7.5 gallon water change. Without any stirrers in the gravel bed it's going to lean toward producing hydrogen sulphide gas which is something you certainly don't want, but in looking at your ph and dKH it doesn't appear this is happening yet. As I said I would start using either the Chemi-Pure or the Poly-Filter to help lower the organic level which the Cyano needs to grow. James (Salty Dog)>

Red ??? infestation... chemical Algicide troubles Mr. Fenner, <Bob, it's Bob, please> Okay, I am stumped and am turning to you.  Basics, 80 gal marine tank, 110 watts power lights, 15 gal bubble sump, protein skimmer; primarily fish only with 100 lbs live rock, coral sand, temp 78 (25 c), pH 8.2, phosphate < .02, hydrom.. 1.020. Critters powder blue tang, French angel, flame hawk, coral beauty angel, snowflake eel, cleaner shrimp and arrow crab (none the worse for wear). <Yikes... going to be very... too crowded in time>   Problem, a red something is propagating at and alarming rate; covers sand, rock, acrylic every 24 hours. <Heee... a good description> This is exactly the color of red slime but has none of the sheeting characteristic of slime.  Rather, it is like a fine powder.  It is readily removable by use of a paper towels.  It will hold to the paper towel but have trouble not having it "cloud" in the tank. Brief history, tank was in perfect condition, all critters doing fine.  Had a small red slime problem in that it began to show on the sides of the tank about 4 days after water changes.  Started to use UltraLife Reef Product's red slime remover about a month ago.  This worked remarkably well. <Uhh, that's what you thought...> Exit me on a business trip three weeks ago and my son takes over.  Begin to use store bought water instead of home mixed to safeguard against son making an error.  Over the course of two weeks this red stuff starts to show up.  Discontinue use of the red slime remover.  Two corals die, one a pulsing xenia, and the other from a similar family.  Came home to this red stuff.  Question, what is it and how do I take care of it.  Been doing lots of water changes, 5 gal every day for a week and then 10 gal twice in that time.  Any ideas? Bob <Yes... the treatment has changed your system... for the worse... Discontinue trying to selectively poison your tank... the red "stuff" is actually BGA/Cyano... growing back as it may... and it and the "algae treatment" are killing your other livestock... I would change a good quarter of your water out... wait three days and do this again, gravel vacuuming, use activated carbon, and likely Polyfilter in your filter flow path... Going forward, I strongly, make that STRONGLY encourage you to NOT use direct chemical means of controlling BGA... the stuff has been here, oh, 2-3 billion years... will be here when we're long, loooooong gone. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the links above. Bob Fenner>

Cyano Problem Hi Crew,<Hi Lynne> I have either a brown diatom slime algae or Cyanobacteria slime algae problem (I do not know which slime I have). <brown diatoms are not actually a slime.  Most Cyano is reddish in color> <<Diatoms ARE slimy, Cyano comes in all colors. RMF>> Here are my tank facts: 55 gallon Tank and top off water used after filtered through SpectraPure 5 stage RO/DI filter EV 120 Protein Skimmer (I clean daily)<excellent> 45 lbs live rock <borderline> 2 VHO lights (on 12 hour cycle) Iwaki 30 LT pump and Mag 5 pump circulating water through the system via 4 outflow places in the tank <sufficient water movement> No mechanical filtration No chemical filtration Substrate is: Southdown Play Sand (Silica Free) about 3" Additives: Only Kent Liquid Reactor Water Tests: Phosphate: 0 (LaMotte Kit) Nitrates: <1 mg/l Ammonia- 0 PH: 8.3 Silicates: 0 I do a 10 gallon per week water change and only feed my 2 clownfish a very small amount of food daily. I have about 15 turbo snails and 15 hermit crabs, emerald crab and a peppermint shrimp. I have had this slime algae from the beginning but cannot figure out the source. It does not seem to be bad water or substrate. I used PO4 minus but that had no effect. <The red slime (Cyano) is not actually an algae so I doubt the PO4 minus will do any good for that.  Do you have an abundance of hair algae?> The only thing I  can think of is a build up of detritus as I do not vacuum my substrate because if I do it all gets completely sucked out of the system and if I blow the detritus out of the live rock it just floats and re-settles at the bottom again. <the detritus build up would cause the Cyano to take off> My LFS gave me that Ultra Life Red Slime Remover and some carbon but I am very leery of using it based on your cautions on the web site. Your web site says my problem is easily remedied by nutrient controls but my water readings do not indicate any excess nutrients. <you wouldn't be able to read nutrients with any test kit.  Does your water have a yellowish tint to it?>   I have tried adding more circulation and my skimmer is working hard but nothing seems to work and I am desperate. <the red slime usually visits every aquarist and with good maintenance practices it usually goes away.  Do you change 10% of your water weekly? And, if you do, you should use your hose to suck the slime off the rocks during your change.> Pls advise so I do not make a mistake and use the Slime Remover product.<try using a siphon hose that has the larger tube on the end (gravel cleaner).  These stir the gravel up good and suck the detritus down to your pail.  James (Salty Dog)

Cyano Dear Crew: Evidently there are a lot of people with Cyanobacteria problem. My 110 gal tank has been set up for about 5+ years now.  The Cyano bacteria is getting out of hand and I really do not know what to do. It is very frustrating.  I have 4 powerheads; I thought they were helping for a while, but now I don't think so. What can I REALLY DO?  What do you Recommend. Your advice is very much welcomed and appreciated. Thank your for taking your time to answer. Lely <Hello Lely, First of all several things have to be addressed.  What is the animal load in the tank.  How much live rock do you have.  Are you using a protein skimmer, if so, what kind.  What is the gph of your powerheads, and how often and how much water do you change.  James (Salty Dog)>

Sand Bed Cleaning Question Hello Bob (or one of his cohorts): <Sam> I have a 180-gallon FOWLR aquarium that has been up-and-running for exactly one year.  It contains about 225 pounds of live rock and a 4-inch thick fine sand bed (sugar-sized).  A 50-gallon sump containing a large CS8 Euro Reef skimmer is positioned in the stand below.  This is a somewhat aggressive tank consisting of a 4" Sohal Tang, 4" Asfur Angel, a medium-size Foxface, a Flameback Angel, a Golden Wrasse, and a Tri-color Wrasse.  Despite having plenty of water circulation in this aquarium, the sand bed slowly gets covered with a dark (grayish to almost black) type growth that seems to grow better in certain areas; it is not a flat matte growth but rather it grows in spots across the sand bed.  I assume this is some type of algae growth and not a cyanoBACTERIA. <Actually, very likely mostly Cyano... with some other organisms> I added a few large Nassarius snails and a white sand sifting starfish to the tank to see if they could remedy these growths, but their help has been limited and confined to only small areas of the sand bed that they are inhabiting. <Yeah... they won't touch this stuff with a proverbial such a length pole> When I set this tank up my goal was to keep the front six inches clear of rock to allow for open swimming areas for these fish as they grow. <Good planning> However, exposing this much sand may have been a mistake.  I would still very much like to keep this design the way I have it, but I need something more to keep the sand surface clean.  The single starfish and the Nassarius snails can't get the job done so I'm looking for any suggestions you might have.  Given the aggressive nature of the resident fish, what additional sand sifters would you add if this was your tank? <Nope> Would a large sand-sifting goby (v. strigata or v. puellaris) be useful? <Negative> If so, how many for tank and sand bed of this size? <They'd likely die from ingesting this material>   Would a few dragon gobies do better since they are considered somewhat hardier? <Nyet> Is there something else other than gobies that you would recommend (i.e., a goatfish)? <Good choice for your size, type system, but I'd clean up the Cyano first> Whatever advice you can provide will be appreciated.   Sam Mancini <Please have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the (many!) Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top)... as you'll see, BGA are real trouble for many folks. There are a few approaches to their control... other than the algae-eating (they're actually more bacterial...) approach. Look to limiting initial nutrients, using added aeration, circulation, competing algal life (like in an attached refugium)... Many roads my friend, with lots of little side streets. Bob Fenner>

Cyano control... in Italy I bought some days ago from Amazon.com your new book! A good book! I have a problem in my 300 liters marine aquarium... is a mix of soft- hard corals.  Is lighted with 1*150 and 1*250 w HQI. Has a 1' sandbed, lot of live rocks, a refugium with 4' sandbed ,  a 6000 liters /h Tunze stream move the water and looking the corals -!- is a very successful aquarium. <Sounds very nice/bono!> No3 and Po4 are not measurable. I have two reactors in the sump, one for Kalkwasser, one co2 reactor. The co2 reactor is quite small, and often is difficult to keep kH above 6-7 and ca above 375-400. Ph is 8-8,2. The problem is one and is BIG! Cyano! I was thinking to the refugium... sediment rich, slow movement.. I have only two little fishes, and I feed cautious... What I can do? <Much to consider. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) re Cyano control> Attached is a photo of my aquarium, from the top... Marco Candini
<Very nice. Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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