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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 13

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, Cyano Control 5, Cyano Control 6, Cyano Control 7, Cyano Control 8, Cyano Control 9, Cyano Control 10, Cyano Control 11, BGA Control 12, BGA Control 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

Desperately need advice on red slime algae -11/18/07 Hello, Thank you for considering my problem. In the past, this site has proven to be most helpful on a variety of topics. However, I am stumped and frustrated with a slime problem for which I cannot get adequate advice. I have consulted the FAQs of this site, among others, and my local fish store...all to no avail. I have a problem with a red slime that covers my glass, gravel, rocks, and even the bases of my polyps. It is not Cyanobacteria (it shows no response to antibacterial treatments), <This does not mean that it's not Cyano...> and so far my best guess is Dinoflagellates. <Dinoflagellates aren't red. They're more brown/goldish colored.> My system is a standard 29 gallon BioCube, with an extra pump and a Sapphire protein skimmer. My light is on for 8-9 hours a day. All of my levels are good...I have only two fish that I feed sparingly. Yet, no matter what I try, this insidious red scum keeps coming back. It clings to gravel and rocks, has a very slimy texture to it, extends tendrils, and resists everything that I've tried. Following the advice I have seen, I have purchased a protein skimmer (Sapphire...mostly worthless...produces light tea only), I have treated with Kalkwasser, I have added phosguard, I have tried letting it run its course (it covered everything), cleaning vigorously and regularly (no luck either), lowering/raising water temperatures, lowering/raising light duration....all to no avail. It has gone on for months now, without any improvement. <When you do water changes, do you vacuum it out? This helps.> This stuff is maddening. It has killed my snails, and contributed to the demise of some very nice corals. <hmmm... really?> I'm so disgusted that I'm about ready to just throw the whole tank in the dumpster and give up on salt water all together. <Yes, it can get frustrating (especially with small tanks). What is the extra pump? Strong water flow helps a lot. Adding another power head might not be a bad idea. Do you run any activated carbon? I know you said you've already done a lot of reading, but just in case you missed it: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Please help! Frustrated Kyle <Sorry for your struggle, good luck. Sara>

Attacking Cyanobacteria!  11/15/07 Hello there. <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I hope you can help me and point me in the right direction. I have a 180 L sump set up and running through itself with a 2500 Ocean Runner as a return pump. I have a tank on order, but decided to set up my sump to mature the sand bed which is 17" wide by 9" long by 8" deep. I have an APF600 Deltec skimmer running, and I have added 2 small Clarkii Clownfish to add waste for the sand bed. <A very sexy way to make ammonia, if you ask me!> I have 6 Nassarius snails and 4 Cerith snails in the sand bed, which I thought would turn over the bed to stop the algae forming. <Snails will certainly turn over the sandbed, but they will not prevent the formation of algae...Denying the algae the nutrients and conditions that they need to flourish will do that.> The light is now on from 11am to 8pm, I have cut this down from 12hrs per day. The sump is an old fish tank with 2 x fluorescent lights - 1 blue & 1 daylight, these run the length of the 4ft tank. Hopefully this gives you enough information to work on....... Here is the problem, I have either red slime algae or red diatoms completely covering the sandbed and up the glass. The sandbed releases gas(?), which lifts the algae but does not break it. I have tried manually removing this ( I know this is fruitless ). <Sounds like Cyanobacteria tome...A common problem that can be rectified with some effort and time.> I have been advised to add a Conch - but will not be able to feed this once it has eaten the algae/diatoms and do not know enough about this animal to give it a good home. <That's an extremely conscientious attitude! Good for you! Besides, the Cyanobacteria are not readily grazed by herbivores.> I have read that turning the light of for 5 days will effectively eliminate this, but am unsure what else /problems this will cause. <It may kill the algae already present, but the root causes (nutrient excesses and environmental conditions) must be addressed to permanently eliminate this problem.> I feed the Clownfish twice a day. Could you possibly suggest any other way of managing this problem. My nitrate is under 5ppm my ph is 8.2. Hope this helps. Many thanks in advance for taking the time to help someone Algae issue's. Great Website. Neil, UK. <Well, Neil- there area few things that you can do to attack this problem. First, address the nutrient control and export issues affecting this system. You have a great protein skimmer...make sure that it's producing significant amounts of skimmate on a regular basis. Re-examine your feeding habits. Are you letting the packing juices from frozen foods get into your water while feeding? Those juices are filled with phosphates and other nutrients- and they are absolute "rocket fuel" for nuisance algae growth. Carefully thaw/rinse all frozen foods when feeding, and obey common sense feeding habits (no more than the fish can consume in a few minutes, etc.). How is the flow in this system. In most of the cases of Cyanobacteria that I've seen, flow deficiencies existed in the system...Move some water, man! Consider adding additional powerheads or incorporating other technology to increase water flow in the system. Check the alkalinity of your system-make sure that it's high and stable. Perform regular small water changes (like 5% o system capacity twice weekly, or 10% once a week) with high-quality source water (RO/DI, etc.). Be sure to make regular use of chemical filtration media (activated carbon, PolyFilter, etc.), and replace them regularly. Keep at these husbandry tweaks and you'll gradually see the algae problems begin to fade away. Steady as she goes- you'll get through it! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cyano And A LFS That Likes Algae 11/8/07 Dear WWM Crew, Thank you so much for your unsurpassed knowledge on saltwater fish keeping. When I started this hobby only five months ago I had no idea what I was doing (even though I thought I did), but your website has taught me so much and consequently has been the main reason for my success in this hobby thus far. <Glad we made a difference.> Please be patient with the length of this because it is complicated, but believe it or not, you are getting only the essentials. The final hurdle that I have come to is to eradicate a slime algae problem that I have not been able to solve. I have looked over all the great information on your website, and have tried to follow these guidelines to the best of my ability, but I am unsure as to the root of the problem, and I think that it lies within my bad setup and advice from my first LFS. <Quite possible.> I thought I was getting a good deal on the tank, but at the time I didn't know much about the components of a marine setup, and therefore didn't know what brands/specifications were best. I ended up with a 100 gal. tank with only 40 watts of 50/50 lighting, a Sea Clone skimmer, a wet/dry setup for a 10-75 gal. tank, a Rio 1700 for moving water to the filter, and no powerheads in the tank whatsoever. After reading your website about lighting, skimming, and water movement, I have upgraded to power compacts, a Corallife Super Skimmer (rated for 125, and I am obviously much happier with the results), and two powerheads for circulation in the tank, a Rio from the first LFS that only does about 175 gph, and a Hydor Koralia Powerhead <I like this product.> that is rated at 1200 gph. All of my levels for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, etc., are tested regularly and I don't have any issues here. I have about 60 lbs. of live rock and approximately two inches of "live sand" for the substrate. I understand that I could use more rock in the tank so that I end up close to 1lb/gal, and I have been slowly adding rock from a new LFS so that I can reach that point. Also, I understand that the sand isn't at the best level and that it should be either shallower or much deeper, but I do stir it when I do water changes. Is stirring the sand regularly a beneficial practice? <Yes, but better to use a gravel/sand cleaner type siphon.> I also perform 40% water changes every Saturday morning mostly in an effort to siphon out as much Cyano as possible. While this may be more than recommended, I am getting out a lot of Cyano in the process. My bio-load is as follows: 1-3 1/2" Sailfin Tang (will be obtaining a much larger tank as soon as I solve this Cyano problem, and will move this fish to that tank), 1-3" Magenta Dottyback, 5-2" damsels of various sorts, 1-3" Ocellaris Clownfish, 1-3" Sixline Wrasse, 1-1" Clown Goby, 1-4" Scooter Dragonet (one of the first fish I bought when my tank was new, stupidly, but luckily he has been eating Mysis, brine shrimp, and bloodworms quite readily and has grown to be one fat, happy scooter), 1-1" Geometric Hawkfish, two cleaner shrimp, and three snails which I don't know the name of, but two of them burrow in the sand. I haven't had any problems with ammonia, etc., but I know I may be pushing the limits of my capacity, and I don't plan to buy any other fish for this tank. I feed the tank twice per day with Hikari Bio-Pure products, <Good choice here, the Hikari products are very clean, use them myself.> whether they be Mysis, brine, or bloodworms, and for the tang, I provide a mix of Formula Two, Nori, and live macroalgae from my new LFS that he loves. <The LFS loves this food?:)> I feed two cubes of the Bio-Pure food at a time, not only because they eat the food within minutes, but also it provides plenty of chances for some of the shyer fish to get something to eat. Is this too much or too often? <As long as it is all consumed within a minute or two. Uneaten food turns into nutrients which will promote Cyano growth.> I never see food lying around because anything the fish do not eat the shrimp are more than happy to devour. <OK, good.> So now, we get to my solution to the problem, and you can tell me if I am on the right track. After reading your site and talking to the owner of my much more knowledgeable LFS, I am planning on taking out the bio-balls in my filter and replacing it with a filter sock. <Good move, do clean this sock weekly.> I also plan on upgrading to a pump for the wet/dry that is going to give me at least 1000 gph, and moving the current pump into the tank as a powerhead. This will give me a total of about 2900 gph total circulation, whether it is going to the filter or just moving around the tank. Obviously, I am going to have to upgrade that worthless overflow I have now as well. Do you think that just making these few, but important changes are enough to turn the tide on the slime algae, or is there something else that I am missing? Thank you so much for your help, it is greatly appreciated. <Water movement and a nutrient free tank are the two best improvements you can make to control the dreaded Cyano. Do read here on nutrient control. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm> Sincerely, David Johnston <Good luck Dave, James (Salty Dog)>

Microalgae Issues! Reading  11/08/07 Hi WWM Crew, <Robert> I've done as much research as I can, but I cannot seem to get rid of what seems to be Cyanobacteria! I've attached 8 photos for you to confirm. <Is this and a mix of other Divisions> My tank has been set up for about seven months now (70 gallon saltwater tank, 110 lbs of live rock, Marineland C-360 Canister Filter, Corallife Super Skimmer 65, Hydor Koralia 3 850 gph water pump, and a Hydor Koralia 4 1200 gph water pump with a blue hippo tang, two neon gobies, false percula, and a Valentini puffer) , and I've had no issues with water conditions, pH 8.3, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20ppm, <Borderline high> Salinity 1.025, Ammonia 0 and no animal fatalities. For nearly three months, I've had the stuff pictured in the photos growing all over the glass and live rock. I tried water changes, at one time I did an 80%, and have been keeping up with 30% water changes weekly. I only use RO saltwater that I purchase every week from my LFS. My setup is a FOWLR, but I ended up purchasing three fighting conchs two months ago in hopes that they might be able to do something. <Mmm, no... not with this mess> I have 110 lbs of live rock, <This is likely the source of nutrient...> all from the initial break in period (no new added), and now as you can see are covered with the green n and brown muck. They even cover up the coralline, cover the substrate, and cover the glass. The brown much is more of a filmy substance that actual stains my skin when I rub it. <Yikes, and bunk, at the same time> For you to get an idea of how quickly this stuff comes around, I just finished wiping all the glass, used a toothbrush to wipe off the film off the live rock, and used a feeder stick to mix around the substrate until its completely clean. The pictures you see are from today, less than 24 hours later. I cannot figure out what to do. My live rock doesn't even look like live rock anymore, and my tank always seems to look dirty because of the Cyano (assuming it is Cyano). Asides from aggressive protein skimming, constant water changes, and maintaining such a low nitrate level, what other options are there? <A bunch... competition, some predation, removal of nutrient base...> Thanks for your help, I hope there's another or new solution out there. Robert from California <All covered here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Cyano Issues 11/6/07 Hi. <Hello> Been having problems with Cyano for too long. However, it's only appearing on my SB, not on any areas of my LR. <How long, it is not uncommon for it to appear on newly established SBs, and will cycle out as more advanced organisms out-compete it.> Is this most likely indicative of a problem with the SB? <While it seems popular now to blame every algae outbreak on sand beds I don't think that is the cause of your problem.> My flow is good, so I have no dead spots. I have about 4" of fine aragonite mixed with some larger sized from my old system, which I used to seed. I used to have more, but I removed some sand during a water change 2 weeks ago, and am thinking about taking it down to 1", as I've had more luck with shallow beds, which I would just vacuum as opposed to continue to experiment with a DSB. <Up to you but the nitrate reduction done by a sand bed can be quite helpful.> I've taken several measures, though to no avail--changed from my questionable Corallife 3-stage RO unit to distilled water for weekly 10% water changes, increasing my flow, decreased my photoperiod, keep my stock low (4 small fish), ran Phos Guard in my Aquaclear, clean my skimmer daily and feed sparingly. I have a sizable clean up crew also. Getting fed up. Can Cyano be harmful to sand bed critters, and burrowing snails by the way? <Not really except that is can inhibit some water flow into the sand bed. What are your phosphate and nitrate readings? How long has the sand bed been established. Have you read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/deepsandbeds.htm ?> <Chris>

Can Cyano kill clams? Oh yes   10/2/07 I have a 55 gal saltwater aquarium. I'm having a bit of a problem with Cyano. I've repositioned my powerheads so that there is water circulation in all directions. <Helps> It seems to have gotten much better except on the substrate around my Crocea clams. I purchased a few queen conch, <Get too big...> some snails and a sand sifting cucumber <What species? Some of these aren't "reef safe"> to keep my substrate stirred up. I even stir it up myself and try to siphon out the Cyano. <I would do this VERY carefully> My question is this. I came home from work to find the mantle of my clams rather withered and retracted. Upon closer inspection I noticed I could see right through them to the substrate. Could the Cyano bacteria on the sand have caused this or is it more likely my cleaner shrimp or emerald crab (even though I've never caught them in the same area as the clams) <Could be the Mithraculus for sure... but also the BGA is a negative influence. Have you read on WWM re various means of countering Cyano profusion? I would. Bob Fenner>

Snails, Red Slime 1029/07 I was wondering for my 140 reef how many turbo snails would I need to keep it relatively low on algae. <Between 6 and 12 IMO, they really are pretty inefficient at controlling algae. Water changes and nutrient control work much better.> Also do you know of anything other then red slime remover that takes away red slime. <Again water changes and nutrient control. I would not use a chemical treatment here, will not solve the long term problem.> <Chris>

Cyano + Nitrates = I am freaking out! 10/2/07 Hello all, let me first start by saying I respect and value your opinions and have gathered a large amount of knowledge from your site, and I truly appreciate the resource. I have two issues to discuss. <Lets discuss then.> #1 I have read everything I could find about Cyano bacteria and Nitrates, have done water changes, tried treatment ( never again ), more water changes, etc and am still having problems. Let me give you some background before I get to my issue. 125g tank 4 power heads ( 2 802s? a MaxiJet 900 and a Koralia #2 ) 1 Fluval 304 and 1 Fluval 303 canister filters <Need to be cleaned very often, weekly at a minimum, which is one reason why mechanical filters like canisters are not terrible popular in the sw side of the hobby.> undergravel filter witch was disconnected form the uplift tubes about a month ago as per what I have read for UGF producing ridiculous amounts of nitrates. <I would get it out of the tank, the amount of detritus trapped under it makes it almost impossible to lower the nitrates. It will require a lot of work but pay off in the long run.> crushed coral substrate <I would replace this if/when you remove the UG filter, use a aragonite sand as a replacement, it traps less biological waste and will offer some nitrate reduction.> approx. 70 lbs of live rock 72" 4x96w power compact fixture with half actinics and half daylight ( cycles through dawn dusk night with moon glow LEDs and is on for 9 hours a day total ) Livestock: stars and stripes puffer 5" <Messy, definitely not helping the problem.> Blue face angel 5" 4 damsels yellow tang 4-5" flame angel 3" Recently lost my zebra moray ( tail was bitten off and head stuck into the CC, I think the Puffer may be the culprit, and a damsel that got stuck in the intake of one of my powerheads. <Both probably victims of the water quality, which gave the puffer and ph a chance to finish them off.> Neither fish was in the aquarium for more than overnight before being removed immediately upon discovery. ) Water parameters Nitrites: 0 Ammonia: 0 Nitrates : 180 ppm + ( very dark red test tube ) <Dangerously high as you know.> I tested the salinity and ph, do not remember the readings, but there was nothing abnormal there. I have read everything I could about the Cyano bacteria, initially I treated it with red slime removal powder ( never again will I do this ), <A double hit, doesn't really help get rid of the problem and attacks the biofilter.> and it went away but came right back. I then disconnected the up tubes for my undergravel filter, then I removed the top 1" of the crushed coral as I was told it was slightly too deep ( over 3" ). After this I decided that since the canister filters were most likely causing the nitrate problem I would modify there function. <The UG filter and trapped detritus is what I would consider the most likely cause.> I decided along with the consensus of my LFS that I would remove all the media and replace it with live rock. My thinking was that a sump is basically a container of water that has live rock and whatever else in it that the water flows in and out of, so in a sense I turned my canisters into mini sumps. ( please correct me if I am way off base on this ) I would think that the biological filtration of the live rock would be better than the detritus build up in the sponges and ceramics that were there before. <Yes, at least to some degree.> Over the course of the last month while I have been doing all these things I have done 3 25% water changes, and every time I vacuum almost all of the cyano out, but it always comes back sometimes within a week. There is no dead fish, and I can't figure out where to go next. I am intending to do a hang on overflow with a sump in the future, but I would really like to get everything balanced before I make any drastic changes. ( money and sanity have a lot to do with it as well ) What would you recommend? I am starting to think a more significant water change may be in order or something else that I cannot think of or have yet to read about. <A bit drastic and definitely some work, but I would get that UG filter and cc out.> #2 I recently purchased a CoraLife digital power center to run my power compact on a smaller tank I have just set up, and for some reason I cannot get the timer function to work properly. Do you have any experience with this product? <Only with the single timer model, I gave up and bought a normal digital timer, and just use it as a powerstrip.> Any tips you can give me? I tried to program it, but after numerous attempts, and even setting every program to the same setting ( 12pm to 9pm ), I turn it to auto and at 11 am the light is on when it shouldn't be. I don't get it. I am not sure why there are 7 programs, but only 4 programmable outlets, it doesn't logically make sense, but I am probably missing something crucial. The instructions are no help as they just tell you how to set each program, and I have looked online and found nothing. I tried to go to the CoraLife website, and it just has their logo and no menus or anything. What can you suggest for this? <I would try e-mailing them, maybe get someone of the phone, I have not had much luck with this and found it easier to just go out and buy a timer.> Obviously the Cyano/Nitrates problem takes precedence over my timer issues, but I would appreciate some insight into both if you can help. Again I truly value your opinion and appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my letter. Thanks again, <Welcome> Your red cyano covered crushed coral guy in distress Douglas M. Payne Jr. (DJ) <Test of phosphates as well, may also be fueling the cyano. Unfortunately I think you are in for a bit of work here.> <Chris>
Re: Cyano + Nitrates = I am freaking out! 10/2/07
Thanks for your timely response, I appreciate the advice. I was wondering, is there anything I have to worry about when I remove the crushed coral and UG filter plate?? I would really like to avoid losing any more livestock if possible, and love the way sand looks anyways. <Oh yes unfortunately, you will need to take everything out of the tank to do this, the amount of nasty stuff I suspect is trapped in there would likely cause harm to anything living.> I know the puffer is getting messy and quite large, I fully expect to have to trade him out at some point. I checked my other levels like PH and Alk last night, and again without having the results in front of me all I can say is that they read normal according to the card, although the PH was a little under the optimum of 8.2 I think about 7.8 or so ( is this correct? ) <Could be and something you will want to address, it is quite a large change.> On a side note, I turned all of the timer programs on the digital power center to the same program, and it seems to be working right as of yesterday, apparently the timer is not as cool as I though it was because you would think that you could program each outlet separately, but apparently you cannot. <I find I am often disappointed like this, I think the products are grander than they turn out to be.> Thanks again for your help, and as long as there is nothing too difficult that I have to watch out for when pulling the UG filter and CC and replacing it with sand ( how much would you recommend? ), <Less than 1 inch or more that 3, depending on if you want a DSB or not.> I am going to get to it this weekend and then do another water change. Does the sand have to cycle at all, or can I just put it in in the bag and dump it out slowly on the bottom? <You will be removing much of your biofilter in this process, so expect to see an ammonia/nitrite spike, and be ready for water changes. Also, I do not see you mention a skimmer, this would benefit you greatly I think.> You guys are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, I was almost ready to be completely disappointed because of the ugly cyano, but I think with a little elbow grease, and the right advice I can get back on track to a healthier aquarium. If anything ridiculously bad happens, I will be asking for more advice, but keep you fingers crossed for me that this works :-) <I wish you luck, I think it is going to be quite a bit of work, but will pay off in the long run.> <Chris>
Re: Cyano + Nitrates = I am freaking out! 10/3/07
Thanks again, and to avoid any costly errors, I have a few more items before I undertake this huge endeavor...... <Sure> My tank has only been set up and running for 4-5 months and I have done regular monthly heavy duty CC vacuuming with my siphon. All of the levels but the nitrates seem fine, is there really going to be that much bad stuff in there? <I think you will be surprised, they are actually very efficient for what they do, an still quite viable in fw where fish tend to be more nitrate resistant.> I do have a half empty 29 gallon tank that was fresh water and is kind of dirty, should I clean it out and fill it with water out of my main tank and then put the fish in there with a powerhead and some live rock? <Sounds like a good way to go at it.> I am guessing that I should remove the CC and replace it with sand ( I found a guy on Craigslist with 90 lbs of established sand that is in a tank running to keep it going that he is willing to sell to me for $80 ), <Not bad, although if you can get dead aragonite sand cheaper and just seed it with a little live sand it might save you some money.> then test the water. If the tests come out ok save for the nitrates, can I add the fish back immediately? <If you can give it a few days to get through the initial cycle, but it should go quick since you have established LR already.> How long should I wait if the levels are not ok and how long will my fish be able to stay in the 29 gallon with a powerhead until it does? <They should be ok in here for a few day without much trouble.> Sorry to ask so many questions, but you guys are the only reliable resource I have, the majority of employees at my LFS do not seem to be as knowledgeable, and I really would like to get the nitrate issue resolved to avoid losing any livestock. <No problem, it is a big endeavor you are about to start, but will hopefully help you be successful in the long run.> Oh one other piece of equipment I forgot to mention was a 25IL Aquanetics UV filter. Which I just replaced the bulb on 2 weeks ago, hooked up to the return on the Fluval 304. I have a red sea Berlin protein skimmer which is supposed to be in sump, but I had it running hang on, I turned it off when I treated with red slime powder, and ever since then ( about a month ago ) it just dumps tons of micro bubbles and the collection cup fills up with clear water whenever I plug it in within hours. <This model has a dubious reputation.> I have since disconnected it and cannot bare to have the microbubbles everywhere until I can get a sump. I am planning on purchasing a remora pro with a mag 3 pump, but as I am sure you can understand money is an issue at times so this might not be for another few weeks. <Understandable, and I think you will be much much happier with the Aqua-C, a very well regarded brand.> Would you agree that changing the CC and removing the UGF plates should take precedent over purchasing the Remora pro? <I would say yes.> <Chris>

Cyano problem after algae removal 9/27/07 Hello to the awesome crew at wetwebmedia, I am trying to solve a problem with a recent cyano outbreak in my tank. <Hello> I have a 55g reef tank, that has been up for about 1 year now, with a few soft corals, a 4" purple Tang, a juvenile emperor angel, and a neon goby (Yes, i know i am going to need a much bigger tank , in the near future.) with around 60-70lbs of live rock and 2" sand bed. <Need a bigger tank soon, environmental health issues are probably already starting.> salinity= 1.023 nitrates= 0.00 ppm alk= 9 dKH (should this be higher?) calc=430 ppm ph= 8.2 I usually top off with distilled water, that I buffer before adding. I also drip Kalk a few times a week. I run a Fluval FX5 canister filter, with carbon in top chamber and biomedia in the bottom two. (clean it 1 a week and change out 5 gallons water) <Ok> Also run a Prizm protein skimmer( probably need to upgrade) <I would guess so.> On to the problem, I had never really bothered scraping the back glass panel of my tank, just the front and 2 sides. Well, I thought it was starting to look kind of unsightly with all the algae building up on there, and thoroughly scraped it down, vacuumed the substrate and did a 5 gallon water change (instant ocean). Well within 2 days, to my dismay, I started to get cyano on the substrate and on some of the live rock and coral. Nothing had died in the tank that I am aware of. <The removal of competition and the release of nutrients is what is probably causing this.> Immediately checked the nitrates and they did not register, I performed a 5 gallon water change anyways, and siphoned and cleaned out as much of the cyano as i could. <Nitrates are probably not the issue here, test for phosphates.> I have done this 3 times now and the cyano always comes back, especially on the substrate. <Takes a while to get this under control.> Nitrate test always seems to come out as 0 ppm. <Ok> Same week I had 2 6500k VHO bulbs burn out.( I run 2 actinics and 2 6500k), replaced the 2 6500k, but not the 2 actinics. Has this occurred because the cyano now does not have competition from all the algae I scraped off the back panel? Or possibly because of the bulbs? <Mostly from the former, with a little help from the latter.> The Cyano has continued to come back even with the 2 new bulbs, should I replace the actinics as well, they are about 6 months old? <Could, although I don't think this will make a huge difference, but probably worth a try.> Been wondering what to do, was thinking I should make a 5gal H.O.T refugium with some kind of macroalgae to give the cyano some competition again. <Would help, but not instantly.> Do you think cleaning the algae off the back glass could have caused this, or something else? <Cleaning the glass both removed competition and release nutrients, so a bit of a double hit here.> Not quite sure what direction to take to combat the cyano, any advice would be greatly appreciated. <Pretty much what you are doing, waterchanges to remove nutrients and manual removal of the cyano.> Thanks, Shane Mitchell <Welcome> <Chris>

1 rock with algae, reading    9/25/07 Hello all, Algae question.... see the green algae on the rock? Pretty huh? I want it to go away! I was unable to haul water after having a non-planned surgery and spending a few days in the hospital in July. Therefore my water changes got neglected! I ended up with my phosphates being so high I couldn't get them down after three 50% water changes (over a 10 day period) I removed as much algae as I could from the tank almost daily after I was able to bend and reach and stuff. I also added PhosGuard to the filter in a pillow, that I change every 4 days. Worked great in my freshwater tank, but not so hot here. Maybe cause the phosphates were so high? <Mmm, and/or the algae so entrenched...> The algae would take over my tank over the course of 24 hours. During this time, I know my water quality was bad after not having a water change in 3 1/2 weeks. There were never any nitrates, nitrites, or ammonia, although alk was 300 and Ph was a little high at 8.4. Didn't check the calcium, I knew it had to be low. <High and steady will help...> I've done enough water changes over the last 2 months that finally the phosphates are down to 0.25 and algae is a little better, at least not growing so quickly. I have not ran full daylight since the problem started. I'm gradually turning my daylight fluorescents back on, I ran actinic only for 7 day period (twice), to help keep the daylights from growing more algae. I'm currently running 3 of my 6 10,000k 40 watt daylights. No sunlight enters the tank and I always watch the amount I feed my critters. (I feed once per day) Here's the thing, it seems if I scrape algae and try to let the filter get it and remove it later, it just seems to "replant" itself elsewhere in the tank. When I do a water change I physically remove the rocks individually from the tank and wash the rocks with a toothbrush in the water that I just removed from the tank to try to get as much algae out of the tank as possible. The question is, I can't remove the rock in question. There is a feather duster attached to it. He arrived at the LFS on that rock and I brought it home with the same rock, it's his home! I'm afraid if removed the duster and the rock from the tank then scrubbed around him, I may harm or stress him. SOOOOOO......... Do you have an idea on how to clean that particular rock? <Mmm, I wouldn't... I'd attack this issue/situation via other means> I have fabricated a "sucky toothbrush" where I've drilled a hole through the bristles and attached a tube for siphoning, but it can't suck the algae through fast enough and it just goes back into the tank. I've tried a single edge razor blade, with almost no success, I even tried to shave the rock with a plastic razor but stopped for fear of metal shaving getting lose and my fish thinking it was food. <Mmm, too much trouble... fighting the result instead of causes...> I've become obsessed. I'll stop and pick off some algae (off any rock that still has some) on my way by the tank. I do dumb things like, if there is some turbo snails or blue legs hermits eating, I'll relocate them to the rock! I've even relocated my pincushions if they're nearby. I'm trying to starve the algae and it won't go away! It been over 2 months, almost 3. It still creeps to the nearby rocks, I have to clean those again. *Ugg* Water parameters last night were, Salinity 1.023 <Too low...> Nitrite: 0 Alkalinity: 180 pH: 7.8 <Too low...> Nitrate: 0 Ammonia: 0 Calcium: 520 Phosphate: 0-.25 (in between the two) Carb-Hardness: 8 Thanks much, Rochelle <... If you had a microscope you'd likely find this is mostly a Cyanobacterial/BGA problem... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Scroll down to the multi-colored line/tray on Algae, their control... and formulate a better plan for nutrient deprivation, competition... Perhaps an added sump/refugium, DSB, macro-algae culture... Even a/the "Kalk trick" to settle out all soluble phosphate initially... Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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