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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 14

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 13, 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

Healthy, established systems rarely have appreciable BGA.

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Sick Anemone / Possible unknown toxic conditions... Mis-Id on algae... recourses   4/1/08 Hello once again! I want to thank you for your previous advice and trying to help me save my BTA. Unfortunately it did not survive. I think I have finally discovered my problem though. I believe I'm dealing with a Dinoflagellate in my tank. <... not from the pic... this is BGA...> I stumbled across a post on aquariacentral.com that explained my symptoms exactly and even offered a picture that looks exactly like what I have in my tank (attached). Here is the link to the post http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86128&highlight=dinoflagellates So far I have lost only three Astrea snails, but have been noticing a little darting from my ocellaris clown fish and my yellow tang has been scratching against the rocks as well. <...> Anyways I took your advice and upgraded my protein skimmer. I choose to replace the SeaClone with the AquaC urchin. I also removed the phosphate resin filter pads. <Good moves> Currently I plan to follow this strategy to ride my tank of he Dinoflagellate bacteria. <Stop! Dinoflagellates are algae... and what you show are Cyanophytes...> 01. Turn off lights for a full 48hrs followed by a reduced lighting period of 5hrs <This won't do it> 02. Filter with ferric oxide hydroxide <... what other life is present? Can/will it live with HPO4 removed?> 03. Elevate any parameters which aren't at recommended levels 04. Add a good quality activated carbon to a canister filter 05. Cut feeding to at least every other day and feed small amounts 06. After a couple of days with no light siphon out dead material with 10% water change (using RO/DI water) Would this strategy alone be sufficient to kill the Dinoflagellate bacteria? Is there anyway to kill the spores or stop the dormant cycle? Thanks in advance for all your help. Brad <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Cyano problem 3/19/08 I've read the articles available on WWM regarding Cyano, (and other sources), however I'm not 100% sure that this is the correct ID. I have what appears to be pink to red, (& sometimes green), transformation of portions of the sand bed popping up in my tank. The sand looks normal other than color although when I siphon it up I noticed that the red sand does clump together. A different looking red algae has appeared on some rock as well. <Sounds like Cyano, although could have some diatoms mixed in as well.> The tank has only been running for about 15 wks. <Fairly common in this new of a tank.> I only have 4 fish in the tank with about 8 small coral frags. There is plenty of rock in the tank however the rock was dead coral rock, (Marco rock), which was seeded with pieces of live rock and live sand from a couple of my friends active tanks. Nitrates, Nitrites and Ammonia are all at acceptable levels. <Numbers please, less subjective. Also phosphate levels here would be helpful/vital to figuring out the problem.> I do not overfeed, feeding small amounts 3 times a day. <That's pretty often, most livestock does not need this. I would cut down to once a day.> I've been performing 10% water changes weekly and trying to siphon any of the red sand as soon as it shows up. The tank is an 85 gal with approx another 13 gals in a small sump/refugium. The refugium has some Chaeto with sand and rock rubble. I also have an Aqua C EV120 skimmer and PhosBan reactor running. I have a Pan World return pump rated at 1100gph with 2 Koralia 3 powerheads on each end, (each rated at 850gph). I can't seem to eliminate this problem. I clean it up and the next day or two it's back. I don't want to chemically treat the tank. Is there any other thing I can do? Yesterday I tried to direct the powerheads a little bit more toward the direction where the problem has been occurring, (in the front of the display). I had been feeding frozen brine and mysis shrimp but I now rinse the frozen food before feeding, (I'm not sure if that helps). <Does help, but you may want to switch to a good quality pellet food for a while, cut back on nutrients until your tank matures.> I read that the gelatin contributes to the problem, (if this is indeed Cyano). Is there a different type of brine/mysis shrimp that is safer to use? <Forget the brine, and mysis alone is not enough for the fish.> I'm getting frustrated at not making much headway in eliminating this "Cyano" problem. Any help is, as always, appreciated. Frank <In a 15 week tank Cyano is to be expected. For the most part here I would advise patience, time to allow more acceptable but slower growing algae t take hold. Test your source water for phosphates and nitrates since these can greatly effect cyano's growth. Also cut back on feed to limit nutrients. Otherwise just keep doing what you are doing. I would definitely NOT be chemically treating the tank, the Cyano will return after treatment, although your bio-filter may not.> <Chris>

Re: Follow up response to Cyano problem Part II   3/19/08 Chris, <Hello> I'm not at home so I don't have my log with me but I know the ammonia was 0, I believe nitrites were also 0 and I believe nitrates were >0 but <.5. <Ok> I did not measure phosphates. <This is important here, but check it out in you RO/DI water for it, most likely won't see any in the tank since it has already been bound in the Cyano.> I use RODI water and the unit has only been used for this tank, (basically less than 250 gallons filtered). <If the water is bad enough some undesirable materials will slip through.> I just changed the PhosBan media last night, (the previous media was used for the 15 wks). <Most likely past its lifespan.> Regarding feeding: you are suggesting feeding pellets only once a day, I thought I read that they need to eat SMALL amounts at least 3X's a day. <With the exception of a few fish, the vast majority do not need to be fed more than once a day, or even every other day. What fish are you keeping?> However I will follow your recommendations. I do have a Tang so I have been giving him Nori, (Is this a problem?). <Not really, just don't leave it in the tank to decompose.> thanks again, I will be diligent. Frank <Welcome>

Algae Control... Andrew, chatting...  03/11/2008 Hi crew. <<Hello, Andrew here>> i researched the BGA like bob told me to do, and i still don't see what I'm dealing with here. What's all over my stuff is a powdery sand. I also did not see any ways to control this or stop it. <<Picking this email up. Can you please explain in detail the type of algae your experiencing? Colour etc etc, even better, please provide a photo of the algae. Thanks, A Nixon>>

Re: Algae Issues 03/12/2008 Hey Andrew, how are you today? <<Hello, all fine thank you>> OK, the stuff I have (I'm not sure if it is algae or not) is a brown powdery substance, and when i add water you can see it floating as it gets kicked up, kind of like sand or dirt. I watched it just about take over a live rock I have in the tank yesterday. I will send a good pic of the stuff, and in the pic, the live rock is red, and the stuff on it, is the white colored stuff (it looks whitish-brown on the rock). Please don't mind Gary; usually the snails don't go near this stuff. <<the brown could well be diatom algae, which is fine and will pass in time. However the red tinge to the system looks to be the start of Cyano bacteria, which does need to be tended too. All info on this bacteria can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >> If you could help me out I would be really happy. Thanks Andrew. <<Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Red slime algae... continuation?  03/14/2008 What are your thought on taking out the live rock and cleaning it, two pails of prepared salt water-one to clean, one to rinse. <<I agree, just match the parameters of both pails>> I have 8 fish in my saltwater tank and a bubble anemone, and a star polyp. Since this red slime got really going my anemone has moved 3 times. Using a hose just doesn't get ahead of it. <<It can be a long battle, but one which can certainly be won. Some read material here and linked files and articles http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >> Also what do you think of deceasing the light to 8 hrs and slowing increasing back to 12 for the corals. <<Certainly. 8 Hours of lighting is more than acceptable anyway>> Marilees <<thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

"Don't wanna be an American idiot"

Re: red slime algae... still not reading...  Expect more...  03/15/2008 After many worthwhile hours of cleaning rock, water changing, etc etc I believe I have a handle on the red algae. Now it's day by day maintenance cleaning to get rid of it entirely. I could only do 1/2 of the rock because the bubble anemone and the star polyp were attached to the others. I didn't want to disturb them but I did use a hose to filter out the algae I could get off the rock. I did lose one cardinal fish, although it was always hiding or possibly not well. No spots or anything when it passed away. I've decided to not add anything else to the aquarium for awhile, to get it balanced first. All tests came out ok today high range ph, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, temp and salt water balance. Marilee <<Sounds like your moving forward well with this.. It's a battle, but it can be won. Sorry to hear about the cardinal though. Good Luck and good day. A Nixon>>

Re: red slime algae... reading? Nah, no time for that    03/19/2008 Hello again <<Hello Marilee, Andrew today>> I thought I had everything under control but I am faced with another issue regarding the famous red slime. I managed to clean the rocks, used my trusty hose to clean the remaining rocks and the glass but I am absolutely stumped about what to do with the crushed coral bottom. I use a large hose to suck it up, it rattled around and then drops down but still some of the red slime remains. I can't seem to get control on the bottom. Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Fish and coral are fine, aquarium is doing much better except ......for the Red Slime. <<Having crushed coral as your substrate does make it more difficult to deal with. Keeping good flow over the sand bed will help. Maybe consider in the future, switching to a better reef grade sand such as sugar fine aragonite. Continue as your doing, its not a short battle to win. BUT, you will win with perseverance>> Marilee <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>> 

Red Slime on sand, Antibiotic treatments 3/5/08 Good Morning. <And too you.> Sorry to bother all of you so early this morning, but I have a bit of a problem. I have been getting a case of red slime algae on my sand and rocks. Almost looks like pudding skins. I have done water changed with RO water and tried to remove it. It just keeps coming back worse than it was and is getting scary close to my corals which I heard is bad. By the way, my water param.s are as follows: Ammonia = 0 Nitrites = 0 Ph = 8.4 Nitrates = 5 - 10 ppm I took a trip to my LFS and they suggested UltraLife Red Slime Remover. <I would not use, is an anti-biotic, Erythromycin if memory serves.> I was hesitant to put anything in my tank, but after trying to get rid of it and failing, and because it was coming very very close to my corals, I decided to use some of this product. <Better approaches here, like finding what is driving its growth. Test for phosphates which are often the cause, and find and remove the source of it.> I know this is bad, but I felt that my corals were going to be victims very shortly. <Still may be due to lower water quality, potential restarting of the nitrogen cycle.> I used a diluted dose and it worked very very well. All gone in about 24 hours. <Will return if conditions are right.> All my life, snails, sand sifter star, 2 tank raised clowns, and corals are all healthy. In fact, my mushroom corals have about tripled in size and look great since dosing with this stuff. The only problem was that my protein skimmer started to go crazy (AquaC remora) and was foaming and filling in seconds. I had to turn it off until the water cleared up from the dose of red slime remover. After two days I turned it back on and the same thing. It is foaming like crazy and producing millions of bubbles in the tank. I know that this has to be because of the red slime remover. Because the damage has already been done, do you have any suggestions at all of how I can turn the skimmer back on without having to watch it 24 hours a day? <Lots of water changes.> Any help fixing this problem would be wonderful. Thanks for all of your time and efforts on this wonderful site. Matt <I would be doing lots of water changes and watching the water quality very closely. Your biofilter was very likely severely damaged by the Red Slime Remover. See here for more. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm .> <Chris>

Aiptasia and Cyanobacteria problems 2/21/08 Hello, <Hello, Scott V. with you.> I have a 55 gallon FOWLR saltwater tank with a small sump holding an ASM G-1 skimmer, a pump that's rated for a tank my size and a powerhead. My live rock came with some Aiptasia and I didn't know what it was until it became a big problem. <This happens.> I also had some small spots of red Cyanobacteria which I've been vacuuming up and with the addition of the powerhead have been at least held in check. I've since tried multiple attempts at squirting boiling water and a Kalkwasser paste on the aiptasia and it knocks them back, but they typically come back in full force in a few days. <These can be tough to eradicate.> I finally got frustrated and actually pulled the live rock out and squirted boiling water on the aiptasia over the sink. This was a bad idea because my live rock now smells like it's uncured. <Yikes! You likely killed more than the Aiptasia.> I figured this would add quite a bit of dead organic matter to the tank so I did a large water change the next day with RO water heated and aerated for a couple days with added buffer. <Good move.> Then I had to leave town for a few days so I decided to let the two yellow tail damsels I have go without food for a few days to hopefully knock back the Cyanobacteria. When I got back the Cyanobacteria had gone berserk. It's covering everything in the tank now and as an added bonus the Aiptasia is back too. <Likely nutrient/nitrate accumulation from the die off related to the boiling water.> I haven't had a chance to do a reading for PH, Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites yet, but I imagine there's something wrong due to the huge growth of the Cyanobacteria. <Mmm'¦yes.> All I have in the tank is two yellow tailed damsel fish and some snails. I don't really want the damsels because they're too aggressive for the type of tank I'd eventually like to have (even though I've grown attached to them). My LFS said they'd be willing to take them back. <Good, damsels are good to start with only if you want damsels.> I also recently bought an RO filter and since the switch the bacteria has been getting worse even though I'm doing more frequent water changes with supposedly higher quality water. It seems to be running much faster than it's rated 25 GPD (I can fill up a 25 gallon Rubbermaid in 6-8 hours). If I wanted to get this checked where would I go to see if it's good quality or not? <A TDS meter can be purchased fairly cheap. This can tell you the current quality of the water and help you monitor long term for prefilter/membrane replacement.> I'd like the learning experience of getting rid of the aiptasia and Cyanobacteria, but the tank is in bad condition now and my efforts don't seem to be gaining any ground on a bad situation. What are my odds of saving the tank at this point being new to the hobby? Would it be better to start over with a new clean tank, or keep fighting. <Keep at it, this battle can/will be won and you will learn much doing so.> Are there any more measures I can take other than being diligent about water changes and squirting the aiptasia with boiling water? <In this case I recommend revisiting the Kalk concentrate. Get hold of a syringe and actually inject the solution into the Aiptasia.> How effective are urchins at controlling Cyanobacteria? <They are not.> What about red-legged hermit crabs for aiptasia? <Some (Dardanus megistos in particular) are known to help.> At this point I think adding more invertebrates will just make the situation worse due to the amount of aiptasia and Cyanobacteria. <They are a related problem, excess nutrients in the system fuels the growth of both.> I'm concerned my skimmer isn't doing enough to keep up with all the organic matter from the dead aiptasia should I look into additional skimming/filtering/powerheads? <If you can more skimming would not hurt; otherwise just keep up with the water changes.> Thanks for your help <Welcome, do check out the links below for Aiptasia and BGA control. Good luck, Scott V.> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm

Red algae... BGA, ID, contr.  02/13/2008 Hi crew! <<Hello, Andrew here>> Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I have a red algae growing in my tank & I am not sure what to do about it. <<Looks like Cyano bacteria to me>> I have a 75 gallon tank set up last May/June. I have about 75 pounds of rock--some live, some not. There is about 20 pounds (guess) of live sand and crushed coral. <<Crushed coral sand is notorious for collecting debris and detritus>> The following is the livestock in the tank: 1 yellow tang, 2 clownfish, 2 anemones, 3 feather dusters, a sea cucumber, 2 mushroom rocks, a toadstool leather coral, a star polyp rock, 3 snails, 12 hermit crabs, 1 sexy dancer shrimp and a coral banded shrimp. All tank inhabitants seem to get along really well. (Had some trouble when introducing the second clownfish, but they are buddies now). I am running 2 powerheads, a Penguin BioWheel 350, a Coralife Super Skimmer 125G and a bubbler in the back and a heater. The temp in tank runs between 77 and 79 degrees. The lights--regular lights--are on from 8am to 8pm. <<When was the last time you changed the bulbs? Out of colour bulbs can be a cause of plague algae>> I am feeding a variety of foods--Kent Marine Zoo Plex liquid form, marine flakes and frozen Formula One cubes. <<Do you thaw out the frozen foods in some tank water and then wash in Ro water? If not, I would start to do this. Frozen feeds are notorious to carry high levels of phosphate. How often do you feed? Maximum once per day on your stock.>> The last tests I did showed the PH at 8.4, Ammonia at 0, Nitrite at 0 and Nitrate at 20. <<Ideally, you could do with getting the nitrates down, at by another 10ppm. The BioWheel filter could be the cause of this. When was the last time you washed the wheel on it? and wash it in tank water by the way.>> I do not know if the phosphates are high and that is what is causing the algae growth? <<Looks like it could be a combination of phosphates (which are currently at an unknown level), and nitrates>> The algae is really pretty--dark red, but it will take over if I don't get it out of there. We have siphoned out quite a bit. I am not sure how to test for phosphates? Is that the same as PH? <<Buy yourself a phosphate test kit to start with, and find out what the level is. After knowing that, you can then devise a plan to start eradicating the Cyano>> Should I try putting in a PhosGuard type of treatment? We have done 2 water changes in the past month hoping to get rid of this algae. <<Go for a 10% weekly water change routine until the problem is resolved. Continue to syphon out what you can>> The last time we had this algae take over--about 4 months ago, water changes seemed to take care of it, but this time it is not. Is this an algae that I even need to "worry" about? <<See comments above>> The mushroom corals really seem to like whatever is in the water that is causing the algae. Everything in the tank seems to be doing very well--the algae is just more of an eyesore than anything. I am attaching a picture--not a great one, but you can see the algae growing on the polyp rock. Also, towards the top left of the picture, you can see one of the anemones that I have. It was a stowaway on a piece of live rock--but I don't know what kind it is. <<The anemone you have there, in the attached picture is a glass anemone, or commonly know as aiptasia. These are pest anemone's and should be killed/removed from the tank so they do not spread. Review this link and read articles http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm >> <<Further reading can be found on this link regarding the Cyano bacteria issue your experiencing. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >> <<Thanks for the questions and I hope the above helps. A Nixon>> Any help would sure be appreciated! Thank you! Angela Anderson


SW questions and Cyano 02/08/2008 Hi Crew, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have a 10 gallon that is almost 5 years old. It has a neon goby and a clown goby and candy canes. There is a small filter and a small power head and about 10 pounds of rock. The lights are 65w PC. I know it is time to replace them since they are 10 months old and the coralline on the glass is starting to lose color. I am also having a Cyano outbreak. Is this related to the lights or more likely to ? <<Its very possible indeed. Some other factors that are involved with a Cyano outbreak are phosphates and lack of flow. Read more here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and linked articles and FAQ's >> I change one gallon a week and I do not test for calcium. Is it ok to use sea-lab 28 without testing? On the other hand, is it beneficial? <<As with any additive, never add something to your tank unless you can, and do, test for them to ensure the levels are correct>> Thanks <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Cyano? Red Hair Algae 02/05/2008 Hello WWM, <<Hello, Andrew here>> My tank has had an algae problem for a while, and I believe I am slowly taking it out. First of all, I got a better Pinnacle RO unit which replaced my crummy tap water filter. <<Certainly going to help no end>> The algae has decreased significantly, but it is not quite gone yet. The one I notice the most is a long, thin, hair like red algae, that grows in certain spots mainly the substrate. I wasn't sure if this is Cyano, but I guess I won't find out until I do more water changes and more skimming. Is there a different between Cyano and red hair algae? Its my main problem. Would a Phosphate reactor help here? <<There are a few different types of red hair style algae's such as Gelidium, Polysiphonia and Asparagopsis. Providing a photograph of the algae in question would help a lot to advise what type of algae you have. And to answer the question, yes, Cyano and red hair algae's per say, are quite visually different. A phosphate reactor would certainly be a good device to add if you feel the phosphate levels are high and your unable to control them yourself>> Thanks, Joe <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Re: Cyano? Red Hair Algae 02/06/2008 Its hard to identify. It is very long and tin and it is waving violently all over the sand. I thought it would be dinoflagellates, but I don't think so. Could it be my salt? When I my tank had a low water level, I did a lot of top of (over time) to get the level back up with the RO water. The algae never returned here, but one I did a water change with a 1.023 gravity, the same as in my tank, it started to appear. Could it be my salt? Is it because it is old and has been exposed to air since December 2006? Here are two pics. <<The algae in the two picture's are Cyano bacteria. Have a read here for more information. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and linked articles and FAQ's>> <Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Cyano/BGA Problems 1/26/08 Hi crew, <Hello, Scott V. with you.> I was hoping you could help me with a BGA outbreak. I am running a 54 gallon tank with wet/dry sump filtration, remora skimmer with Seagel in preskimmer box, 40 lbs LR and LS, 2 MJ 900 for circulation, and a PC current-USA orbit 130W. The tank is currently running fallow due to crypto outbreak (fish in QT, post copper treatment and are doing fine). <Good to hear.> The system residents include 2 emerald crabs, a few margarita snails, two turbo snails, and a peppermint shrimp. Many bristle worms, stars, etc on the LR along with two small colonies of red mushrooms. The system is approximately 6 months old. <OK> During the QT process I switched salt from Oceanic to Reef Crystals because my calcium was exceeding 500 with only dKH 6. Current tank readings are as follows: Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-0, Calcium-320, dKH-7, Phospates-0 (but I suspect it is higher), <Likely being consumed as it is produced, same with your nitrate level.> Temp-77.5, Ph- 7.95, Sp. Gr. 1.023. I did raise the tank temperature to 83 degrees and lowered specific gravity to 1.017 for three weeks during crypto treatment. I continue to buffer the system with Seachem Reef Buffer to raise alkalinity, although this is getting difficult because of the declining calcium levels. Obviously, I made changes to the system recently during treatment. During the last few weeks, red slime/BGA has been growing on the LR, LS, and glass. I am performing 10% water changes twice weekly, vacuuming the gravel and scraping the algae. I have not fed the system in weeks, but the skimmer continues to pull a cup of dark skimmate per day, so obviously I still have quite a bit of organic material. <Yes, it appears so.> Although the bulbs are only six months old, I replaced the 6700/10,000K and the 420/460 actinic bulbs in case this was contributing to the Cyano. So, I've read the numerous articles on WWM and I am trying to control the situation through not feeding the system, frequent water changes, replacing aging bulbs, scraping off the algae, etc. I was OK with this approach until I noticed that the snails are not doing well (I've lost several of them and the rest will follow shortly; I believe this is more related to the hyposalinity and increased temperature); <Likely so.> today, two rather large bristle worms are out during daylight, writhing on the substrate apparently dying. Could the BGA/Cyano be releasing toxins now that they are being removed? <No, likely the changes in water chemistry.> Would this affect the worms and snails? The 2 crabs and the pep shrimp continue to do well, as do the red mushrooms. I know that I have a problem with my calcium/alkalinity balance; <Your balance seems fine, both are just on the low side.> I feel like I could go back to Oceanic salt and continue to buffer alkalinity, or the other option would be to try a two-part dosing product. <I would try the latter, this will raise the calcium and alk proportionately. > Beyond that any imbalance in the system favors Cyano/BGA, could the low alkalinity and calcium be contributing to the Cyano problem? <It doesn't help your situation. Part of ridding your tank of Cyanobacteria is provide competition, which the lower levels impede.> The fish are doing very well in QT, and I plan on leaving them there until this is resolved. Anything else I could try? Thanks as always <Do look into removing the biofiltration in the wet/dry filter. They tend to be detritus traps and nitrate producers. Your live rock will act as your biomedia. Perhaps you could convert the section into a macroalgae refugium, very beneficial towards solving your problem. Also, I would increase the flow in the tank with another MJ or two. This will help keep things in suspension for your skimmer to remove. You are on the right track. Best of luck to you, Scott V.>

Re: Cyano/BGA Problems 1/28/08 Thanks, Scott-- <Happy to help Mike.> I've often wanted to convert the biofiltration into a refugium. Unfortunately, I have a ProClear SL 60, which is a very small sump. http://www.pro-clear.com/wetdry.html. I really don't know how I would modify this...could you direct me to a link? <None in particular that I am aware of'¦to do this will require some innovation and design replacing and changing the baffles in the system. Perhaps to mimic sumps out there with built in refugiums.> Alternatively, I was thinking I could put LR rubble in the biochamber and perhaps CPR's In-tank refugium in the sump. What do you think? If I just went with LR Rubble, would it need lighting <No> and would it make a difference that the rock was not fully submerged. <I would be inclined to put it only in areas that will be submerged, even increasing the water level as high as your transit volume (how much your sump catches with the power out) will allow.> Any ideas about modifying the SL 60 would be appreciated if you think it is worth the effort. Mike <There is no one easy way to do this. It may be more worth your while to add an additional tank or other container as a dedicated lighted macroalgae refugium. If you have the room for both this will likely be the easier route to take. Many benefits to you towards your problem. Either way I would remove the biofiltration in this system. Good luck, Scott V.>

Red slime experience -01/17/08 To the crew: We have been noticing so many people writing in lately about red slime, we thought we'd briefly share how we dealt with the problem ... and won (in no small part from the advice given here on this awesome site). <cool> Our 120-gallon reef tank (4x2x2) became so infested with red slime over the summer that almost everything died. All the coral. All but about five fish. The top of the tank was almost solid with the stuff. We tried Red Slime Remover about six times. When you use this, you must turn off your skimmer. It did nothing. <Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't...> Eventually, we gave up trying to fix it and emptied the tank. We sent the fish to a holding tank at our LFS. We drained ALL the water. Scrubbed ALL the rock. Replaced the bio-balls with crushed live rock. <interesting> Added two more power heads, <good idea> one that does nothing but keep the surface moving. We took out half the sand and added new sand. Then we replaced all the rock (ended up with a nice arrangement) and added new water. We let the tank stay empty two weeks while we monitored all the chemistry. Some slime started coming back, so we shut the lights for a week and it went away. After turning the lights back on for another week with nothing untoward, we brought back three fish. A week later, we brought back the rest of the fish. All has been stable now for three months. The tank is healthy and filled with coralline. An unexpected bonus was the rebirth of our Plate coral, which was dead ... so dead, we scrubbed it in fresh water and put it back in the tank because it was a pretty skeleton. It sat in the sun, out of water, for an hour. Today, it's huge and healthy. <Wow! Incredible, congrats.> And we learned about needing way, way more water movement than we ever thought we'd need. We learned about the importance of keeping the temperature stable and lower than it got without a chiller (on the agenda for this summer, for sure). We learned the importance of PATIENCE. <Ah yes, the true "miracle cure." ;-)> And we learned that everyone has a different opinion about what you should do, and the answer is somewhere in the middle. We are more diligent about water changes and keeping our stock of fish low and not mixing coral that doesn't chemically get along. <awesome> Thanks to all of you for your ongoing care of all of us who endeavor to keep a slice of the ocean (or a pond, or lake) in our homes! <Thank you so much for sharing your story/experience with us.> Michael and Dianne <Best, Sara>

Red Cyano outbreaks. Tweaking A New System For Long-term Success! 1/17/08 Right off the bat sorry about the length of this rambling email but if often seems people don't give you enough info. And I'm unsure where to start. <No problems! I appreciate the information! Scott F. in tonight!> Ok first off the tank setup. 90g tank no sump. 100 - 150 lbs of LR. 3 Hydor Koralia #4's and 1 #3. Also have a single Maxi jet 295 gph with prefilter for particle filtration which I clean ever 5 days. 1 Aqua C Remora Pro with Mag5 pump. 1 Phosban media reactor with Dr.s foster and smith Phospur phosphate remover. 1 Phosban media reactor with carbon. (am aware it gets used up quickly but I just change it every 2 weeks or so) Both media reactors are driven by 106 gph Minijet pumps. 2 Visitherm Stealth 250 watt heaters. Lighting is a Current USA Orbit extreme 130 x 4 watt strip. Everything except 50 lbs or so of the rock has been added within the last month to month and a half. <Nice equipment!> The tank was previously a stripped down bare bones FOWLR that had 50 or so lbs of rock. Equipment was a Rena xp3 canister with factory enclosed media. Had 3 Maxi jet 295 gph powerheads also. Lighting was a 260 watt Coralife. Tank was started up with tap water in middle of may in 07 and used tap water for the (few) water changes I did. (yes lots of horrible newbie mistakes that am earnestly trying to correct). <Well, as exasperating as they are- if you learn from them, they were a good experience.> Stock list varied, but finally settled on a 5 inch Honeycomb Grouper a 21 inch Blackedge Moray a 3 inch Bennett's Sharpnose and a 5 inch Naso lituratus. (Have since located a local reefer with a 250g tank that will take the Naso if am unable to get a bigger tank in time and the grouper I can setup a simple FOWLR if he grows to large but the max size in wild is supposed to be 12 inches) I am unsure if this counts as a heavy bioload or not. Before I started earnestly trying convert the tank to semi reef it was covered in long green algae am fairly sure is Bryopsis. Also had lots of red Cyano. Not sure what nitrates were due to learning that API test kits can be junk. They were reading as around 50ppm though. Ammonia and nitrites were 0 ppm. Phosphates were never tested. <Well, you've solved some possible problems and are on the way to solving others. A population of heavy eaters in a system with limited nutrient export capacity and unchecked nutrients is an open door for nuisance algae and other problems!> In preparation for cleaning up the algae monster I started doing large (35 gallons or so) water changes with distilled water. <Better.. RO/DI is even better still. Make sure that your distilled water source is a good one. Good source water is a huge component in successful husbandry practice.> I did about 4-5 of them before adding 25 lbs of LR from the LFS that turned out to be less then fully cured. I did two more largish ones while the rock finished curing. (this rock was added in late November) Most of the equipment arrived mid December and a couple days after Xmas I went to a LFS a couple hours from me and got another 80 lbs of Fiji rock. I was assured it was fully cured but upon getting it home I noticed bits of dead things on it. Picked off what I could and added it to the tank. <"Fully cured" is a tough claim to live up to. There is almost always die off associated with transport and acclimation of rock into a new system. Consider all rock as "uncured" to some extent and you'll be better off.> Skimmer was added about 2-3 days later. After the earlier large water changes the green hair algae covering the back glass started looking sickly so I removed it over the course of 4 days or so by scraping and siphoning it out slowly so as not to cause an ammonia spike. Current water parameters are 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrites, 40-50 ppm nitrates, 0.5 ppm phosphates kH is 10 don't have a gH test. Old calcium test was incorrect so it was way to high around 580 ppm. Will let it slide down to 450. I have been doing 25g water changes every 6 -7 days. (have done 4 IIRC since the upgrades) Essentially the tank has been complete since December 30th or so. Sand bed was supposed to be 3 inches or so but the eel moves it around so much its 5 inches in some places and bare in others. Should I add more sand to try and make it fairly deep overall ? <Well, it really depends. Deep sand beds do help with nutrient export and provide other benefits, such as supplemental food production, etc., in well-managed systems. They can be potentially problematic in poorly managed or overstocked systems.> My question are as follows. I keep getting red Cyano outbreaks in places. I siphon it out soon after spotting it. It doesn't seem to spread extremely fast. Mostly on sand but a couple on rocks in the back of the tank where I think I may have had low flow. <Often a supporting cause of Cyano outbreaks.> No huge patches...nothing more then a few square inches. (have since shifted flow to the offending area) I am new to the whole reef experience, so I'm unsure as to whether or not the green Cyano and the stubborn bits of Bryopsis still hanging there are something that is a result of massive nutrient build of from many months of bad maintenance or from live rock still curing? <A bit of both, I think. You need to sort of "hit your stride" with nutrient export and husbandry (ie; water changes with quality source water, use of activated carbon and/or other chemical filtration media, and aggressive protein skimming), and think about stocking and feeding your system for long-term success. These are skills that will come with time. You've don a pretty good job of identifying and correcting your mistakes thus far- keep it up! I do think that the stocking of this system needs to be re-worked. The fish population is too much for this system.> I don't know if this indicates something badly wrong with my tank, or just still settling down from the addition of all the live rock and general disturbance of the tank. <Again- a bit of both, IMO.> I feed the eel and grouper every 2-3 days with shrimp and cod. I only feed as much as they will eat with no excess floating around the tank. The puffer and tang get algae sheets a couple times daily. <Good- but you really need to think about trading these big guys for smaller, more sustainable fishes for this aquarium. This is just too much bioload for this system for any length of time. I'm having visions of sardine cans or crowded elevators here! Do some reading on the WWM site about small fishes, like Blennies, Gobies, Fairy Wrasses, etc. There are tons to choose from, many of which are every bit as sexy as the brutes that you are keeping now, and they are all better suited to a 90 gallon system!> So in short, do I just need more patience and keep doing what I'm doing? <Yes, you do need to "stay the course" and continue improved husbandry practices.> Or is there something major I need to change? <Well- yes again! You need to pair down the bioload, as mentioned above. In addition to endless water quality and nuisance algae issues, the fishes themselves will suffer from being in quarters that are simply too small. Make some tough decisions and trade in these larger fishes for small ones better suited for life in a 90 gallon aquarium.> I did so much work and put a fair amount of money into beefing up my tank in hopes of keeping several softies and a couple Montipora species. Just would like to know if the tank just needs time. <As above- time and some tweaking.> I have some small frags and colonies of Green Star, Green Tree, and some Clavularia, plus a couple colors of Actinodiscus. They are growing even with the high nitrates but slowly. <Yes, I would imagine. Do also consider "specializing" in one type of coral, too. In other words, just soft corals, or just the Mushrooms, etc. Better for long term success, IMO.> Thanks in advance, Brian <Hang in there, Brian- you are learning! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Red Cyano outbreaks.  -- 1/18/08 It's Brian again Would it help if I got rid of everything but the Moray? <Ummm, Bri... need to send prev. corr.. I can barely remember what's in my own tanks> Really cool fish and he's essentially full grown for his species according to fishbase. Im unsure about your comment on aggressive skimming. <Uhh... there are a couple dozen of us here... don't think it was I you were "chatting" with> I clean my skimmer daily and it runs 24/7. I'd like to not have to siphon out red Cyano every day or two and not have green hair algae on the rocks. That's my end goal. <... Okay> I'm still trying to decide what to do as the LFS in this area are less then wonderful with there saltwater fish. (goldfish feeders for all!) <No thanks... I'll have Cheerios> If getting rid of everybody is what I'll have to do in the course of making my tank a nice reef I'll end up doing it. Will it be possible to have a fairly coral laden reef tank without a sump and a fuge? <Yes... they can, usually do make all "easier" though> I don't want to give up my wonderful fish in exchange for a colorless tank. But also lack the space for a fuge/sump. As for specializing in corals I don't follow what you mean. Also am getting conflicting opinions on what corals I can keep with my 520w PC only reef. Opinions range from nothing but low light softies to high light sps. <Read on... read on> Thanks again for the help, Brian <Re: algae, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Thinking of upgrading 01/11/2008 Dear fonts of knowledge, <<Hello, Andrew here>> I have been running my marine tank for about 3 years now. All in all, it is quite healthy. I must say this is in part due to your website, so thank you. <<Thank you>> I have a 30 gallon tank with 1 big power head, 1 Fluval 4 filter, a red sea Prizm protein skimmer on the back, 192 W of 50/50 CF lighting. In the tank is a lot of live rock (to be honest, I bought it so long ago, I forget how much. I think I followed the 1-1.5 lb / gallon rule), a bunch of xenias, a leather coral, some star polyps and some candy cane coral, 2 clownfish, 1 yellow tang<<Will need a bigger home>> and a skunk cleaner shrimp. There are also lots of red and blue hermits and lots of tiny snails (no idea what kind, or really where they came from) and 3 bigger Astrea snails. Everything is running along just tickety boo - nobody seems sick, chemical levels are mostly good. My problem is that I have red slime algae. <<Read up here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>> Not a lot of it, and it's not that hard to control, but it does mean that I have to clean the tank with maybe higher frequency than I'd like. I usually do a 4 gallon water change about once a week. I also vacuum the substrate when I do this. <<If this is happening, then there is an apparent issue that needs resolving, rather than controlling>> I get the impression that this is perhaps more frequent than would be necessary in a completely healthy tank. I would like to upgrade things, but I am not really sure how to proceed. I would really like to keep the tank the way it is, for now as I am somewhat constrained in space and not rich, but I am definitely willing to spend some bucks on some kind of upgrade, as long as it will improve the health of the system. What would be ideal, in my opinion, would be a 20 gallon sump underneath the main tank. Unfortunately, the tank is not drilled for overflow. I can see you don't really approve of the siphon driven overflow boxes, but I'm not really sure what my other options are. I'm sorry this is a little bit rambly but I'd like to make sure I get all the information across so I can get enough information to make a good decision. <<As a suggestion, I would spend the money on upsizing the display tank, as some of the current stock is not suited to your tank size>> My options, as I see them: 1. Replace the gravel I have with a deep sand bed. I worry that this conversion process could be detrimental to the health of the tank while the changeover is going on. <<Done in small amounts, it will be fine, just keep an eye parameters>> 2. build a hang-on refugium with a built in protein skimmer and a deep sand bed. The trick with this is that I'm not sure how much benefit the few extra gallons and small sand bed would provide. on the plus side, it would be gravity feed back into the tank, so there would be no chance of overflowing the tank or the fuge onto the floor. <<If I was doing that, I would just do it as a fuge, not with the skimmer>> 3. use a siphon box and put a sump under my tank with a DSB and protein skimmer and so forth. <<Sounds feasible, a far better option>> 4. set up a refugium next to my current tank. this is obviously undesirable from a space perspective, but I could drill the new tank to avoid the flooding problem. 5. I guess I could put everything into a temporary tank of some sort and get my tank drilled. I have no idea what kind of stress this'd put on everyone, or how much getting my tank drilled would cost. I suppose I could do it myself, even, although I would be a little scared of that. <<The best option out of the above, besides spending the money on upgrading the display tank size, is to add a sump with a refugium and skimmer. Drilling tanks are not hard and well documented with instructions on many forum sites. Drilling many tanks personally, and all have been easy as long as the process of drilling is done slowly and not forced>> Anyway, I would like any feedback you have on this, including if there are better options that I haven't even thought of. I think what I am going for best nutrient export bang for my buck, where buck equals money and time and effort and low chance of disaster.<<Sump tank/refugium>> I've scoured your site, and the rest of the internet, and I think I've hit information overload and am having trouble making a decision. Thanks, Colin <<Thank you for the questions, hope the above helps. A Nixon>>

Blue Life's Red Slime Control = Death -12/16/2007 I used Blue Life's Red Slime Control to get a nasty out of control Cyanobacteria problem under control. The directions are 1 scoop of "poison" for every 10 gallons of water. Overdosing WILL reduce oxygen levels. Do not use your protein skimmer and don't dose at night. Check. OK, I'll start off by saying you're right, I should have listened. It's a sad day in the reef today. Massive loss of fish...OK all 8 of my  fish have died. <Huh... that's odd.> Now I'm wondering how many corals will survive.?!?! <Not all things/conditions which can kill fish affect corals the same way.> What can I do at this point other than protein skimming and water changes to ensure there isn't a total collapse. <Run plenty of activated carbon filtration (preferably through a canister filter or media reactor).> Any advice right now would be appreciated. Lastly I would like to warn all of your readers out there to avoid this product like the plague !!! <Yikes. Ok, true enough, I usually do advice against the use of broad scale antibiotics for Cyano control. However, I've met and spoken with the Blue Life guys on multiple occasions and I don't think they'd sell an outrageously dangerous product (at least not purposely). I suspect something else might be going on here/contributing to the problem.> Blue Life's Red Slime Control = Death <Hmm... maybe in your experience, but let's not light the torches just yet.> Thank you,
Sara M.>

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