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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 10

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 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

Algae Or Cyano 12/22/06 Dear Crew, <Nicole> I'm sorry for bothering you during the holidays but I've got some green and red algae that is popping up all over my tank and I'm not sure what it is and what I need to do! <No bother, is what we are here for.> I've looked through your website and I'm not able to ID it; however, I do believe it may be Cyanobacteria. <Does not appear to be Cyano.  Cyano generally grows in sheets.  What you have is typical red algae quite common on developing live rock.> On the first, second and fourth pictures you can see these green chunks in the sand and green on the live rock.  The third picture has red "hair like" stuff growing on it.  I switched tanks (from 12 gal. Eclipse to 24 gal. Nano) approximately three to four months ago and do a 20-30% water change every three weeks or so with RO water. <Would be much better doing three gallons weekly.  It will help control the growth and limit spreading.  Do consider using a carbon/resin media such as Chemi-Pure which effectively removes dissolved nutrients from the water.> At that time I will drop in a balance block. <Would not use this.  Maintain pH/dKH with additives designed for this purpose.> There's also a lot of Bryopsis?. <Will pass in time with continued water maintenance.> I have a green emerald crab (that's turning white - adding iodine) that doesn't seem to be attacking that and I   was told it would. <Emerald Crabs are generally used in controlling Bubble Algae.  Will not make much of a dent in your type.  If you do not already have hermits and snails, their addition will help algae control also.> Anyway, would you please help me to identify these things and advise   me as to what I should or shouldn't do? <It is a pleasing effect in what I'm looking at.  I'd leave it alone unless it gets out of hand.  Watch your bio-load, keeping it low keeps nutrients low.> Thanks a lot and happy holidays to you all!!! <And to you, Nicole.  James (Salty Dog)> Respectfully,

Re: Cyanobacteria and DSB   12/19/06 Hi, <Hello Petr, Mich with you tonight.> I'm including my original email with your responses in-line.  Since the last time things got a bit worse.   <OK> The Cyano has disappeared only to be replaced with Caulerpa racemosa taking over the tank. I have upgraded the skimmer to AquaC EV-180 and added two Tunze Stream Pumps to increase the circulation within the tank.   <Nice upgrade.> The skimmer is now producing a cup of dark stuff a day and I keep cleaning the collection cup twice a week.   <Good.> I have also started replacing 6gal of water twice a week.   <OK> I still use carbon and began to use RowaPhos to see if I can eliminate any traces of phosphate that might be in the water but not detected by my test kit. <OK> I have been also trying to prune the Caulerpa as much as possible.  It actually slowed down or almost stopped its growth, and it even looks that some patches are actually getting white or clear.   <Watch this, can be a sign of this algae going sexual, you don't want it to do this.> Unfortunately this seems to be fouling up the water in the tank and all the corals are looking REALLY bad and some seems to be dying. <Mmm, there are reports of toxicity to corals from Caulerpa racemosa.  Are you manual pulling the algae, or are you using something to cut the algae? I would remove as much as possible by hand, avoid cutting.>    I have tried to remove as much of it as possible but it is hard. <Yes, can be quite a challenge.> When pulling it from the sand, it tends to stir it up quite a bit and it is almost impossible to get it off the rock. <Did you turn off your pumps when removing it from the sand?  You may actually have to chip off some of the rock with a chisel to completely remove.> I have been thinking about pulling the rock out, scraping the algae off (somehow) and then putting it all back.   <Yes, chisel reference above.> I'm guessing that it would be best to do it with as much of the life stock out as possible and to re-introduce the critters back as soon as the "dust" settles.   <Possibly, hard to tell, may be OK just removing and chiseling the rock.> Additionally I was thinking about carefully adding a bit of sand (~1") since the deep sand bed has gotten not so deep (I'm guessing that the aragonite tends to dissolve over time) and is now between 5-4" deep instead of 6-5" as it was when I first put it in.   <You could certainly do this.> Is it common for the deep sand bed to have purple/green discoloration in places where the sand is pilled up against the glass starting at the dept of about 1"? <Yes.> Is it also common when a thin layer of the sand gets disturbed to see somewhat grayish color below? <Yes.> Does the above approach make sense?   <Seems viable in theory.> Is there anything that I should do differently, not do at all, or is there something that I'm missing? <You may get lucky and find an herbivore that might help you out.  There is much to read on WWM, on Caulerpa racemosa, please do take  a look.> I'm hoping that this coupled with several larger water changes and the skimmer working at its peek efficiency should be the end of my troubles. <Here's hoping!  Good luck to you!> Thank you, <You are welcome.  -Mich> Petr

Cyano Warfare and Mech Filter Removal   12/14/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Brian>   Your site is a tremendous service to aquarists.  Thank you for all your dedication.  Been reading for months, first time post.    <Welcome>   I have a question about the prudence of removing a mechanical filter in an ongoing war against our old nemesis Cyano, but first some background.      I am new to the game.  Set up my first tank after Independence Day, about five months ago.  Unfortunately, all the reading came after the initial visit to the pet store.  The proprietor, who has been gracious with time and tips, sent me out the door with the following:      Tank:               20 gallon, glass  (24x12x17)  [I did not know I was walking into a challenge with this nano-tank]   Filtration:           Mechanical:  Emperor 280   Biological:    Initial 7 lbs live rock, highly porous   Other:            Polyfilter added in Emperor chamber   Substrate:        10lbs silicate sand, black (store had recommended 15lbs)   Lighting:          Coralife brand (three bulbs, runs the full length, one bulb has a purplish hue, specs unknown)   Learnin':         Bob's fantastic CMA tome, which started me down the inevitable path to WWM.   Delightful LR hitchhikers:       Assorted 'pods, Asterina, dying sponges, etc.   Uninvited and unwanted LR guests:    Bristle worms and Aiptasia [the existence of which was unknown to me before I added the live rock]      I bought a timer, set the lights for 12 hours, and waited for cycling.  Started getting in the habit of making daily water changes of about 0.75 gallons (about 4% per day).  Instant Ocean mixed in a 30 gallon tank with R/O 'purified' water from the grocery store and aerated with a filter with air hose.        After the first week and since, there was no detectable ammonium or nitrite.  For the first couple months, no nitrate or phosphates (more on that later).  Over time, I added livestock and more live rock.      I went through some peppermint shrimp, and eventually had success getting rid of the Aiptasia.  I tried a six line wrasse, unsuccessfully, for the bristle worms, and ended up removing two so far physically (each about 3 inches long).        To the point where I realized I had the beginnings of a Cyanobacteria problem, the tank was:      3          Yellow fin blue damsels (one since lost -- cause unknown)   1          Pseudochromis diadema (to hunt bristleworm babies)   2          Emerald crabs (one smaller than a dime, the other perhaps size of a quarter)   Few     Assorted hermit crabs.   20 + lbs. live rock      I had been feeding as follows:  initial months was thawed cubes of krill and other marine meal with gel base, until I learned that gel is no good.  Since then, similar frozen food without the gel binder.  Given one cube three times per week.  One cube frozen algae veggies once per week.      All was hunky-dory.  Lots of coralline algae blooming as the LR matured. Keep the temp between 76 and 80, salinity around 1.025.      Everybody happy, until a red blotch started appearing on LR.  Soon identified it as Cyanobacteria and have been at war since.       Suspects and tactics:     <Like your descriptions... word choices>    Poor circulation and too much solid organic matter.  Bought the only hang on skimmer available at the pet store, Prizm Pro Deluxe.  Skimmer, in operation for over a week, <Will take a while to "break in"... do the voodoo, it's going to do so well> seems OK so far for my nano-tank.  Cyano absolutely unaffected.  Nitrate, which had been rising and peaked at about 15, now back down below 10ppm.      Phosphate buildup due to either inadequate rinsing of frozen food or addition of minerals from R/O 'purified' water.  Began rinsing food in strainer before feeding.  Bought phosphate tester.  No detectable phosphate in R/O water used for daily water change.  Phosphate level in tank below 0.25 ppm since skimmer.  Cyano unaffected.   <Been here a couple billion years... is tough, esp. once established>    Buildup of phosphates in active carbon filter within Emperor 280 mech filter.  Replaced carbon filter and swapped out Polyfilter.  Rinsed and cleaned Emperor 280.  Cyano was unimpressed.   <Heeee!>    Inadequate and/or poisoned substrate.  Bought 10lbs of 'live' aragonite sand from store, added on top of existing substrate.  Rented a 'hired gun' sand sifting star to chomp in the substrate for a couple weeks, then will return it to the store so it does not starve.  No effect.   <Don't consume BGAs>    Some other minerals are feeding the Cyano.  Got some macroalgae from the fish store to compete with the Cyano, hopefully trap whatever the Cyano is eating.  Intransigent Cyano bored with the banality of my seemingly futile struggle.   <Har!>    Predation.  Pet store is ordering some Cyano-chomping snails for me which have not yet arrived. <Good luck with these...>    Been reading hours of WWM, and I'm running out of ideas here. <I'm not>      Finally, my question ---        Should I try removing the Emperor 280?  Is this still a suspect?   Is there any benefit to leaving it as I am way 'over-skimming' with the Prizm Pro on a 20 gallon and more than one pound of LR per gallon?    <Yes, yes, and no>   The final Howitzer approach will be a bigger tank.   <A good idea...> Of course, that means more money, more time, more undiscovered fun (such as plumbing, drilling, sumping, refugium, complexity).  I will probably move within the next year, so I'm holding the upsize option as a last resort.        Thanks again for all your time and care.  Brian. <Could add a live sump, refugium here... but I suspect the removal of the Emperor, time going by with your new skimmer... will likely forestall your next venture with the larger system... Of course... you could use the present 20 as a sump for the new/er larger system... Bob Fenner>

Cyano algae   11/5/06 Howdy, <And to you> I have been having some major Cyano and Aiptasia problems.  I am fully aware that this is caused by an excess of nutrients in the water, <Which are in turn resultant from...?> and since I have cut way back on the feedings of my corals and fish. However, I just want to run my recent potential solutions by you to make sure I am not just wasting money.  First of all I have a 46 gallon tank with 15 gallon sump and hang on back fuge.  96 watt X 2 PCs and 250 watt MH pendant.  Fish list is: 2 perc. clowns, 1 painted fairy wrasse, 1 lawnmower blenny, and 1 shrimp goby.  I understand that this is probably on a bit of overstocked side, but I think I my case is mild compared with other people trying to fit white tip reef sharks in 75 gallon tanks (sad).   pH: 8.4 Salinity: 1.026 Nitrates: 0 Nitrites: 0 Ammonia: 0 Calcium: 400 Phosphate: 0.something small Ok moving on to my potential solutions.  First I do like to keep my fish well fed therefore I want to upgrade my AquaC Remora skimmer to a Euro-Reef RS80. <Mmm, either will/would do well here> Second I think purchasing a RO/DI unit is a good idea. <Yes... a better investment than the skimmer replacement> Third I am going to change out all of the bulbs in my fixtures.  Other than that I am not sure what else to do.  Do you think that these changes should be sufficient enough? <Possibly> Anything that you think may be a waist <waste> of money, or I should hold off on for now?  Any advice is greatly appreciated!  Thanks. Jonathan <I'd be (re)reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Cyano eaters? Not much of any   11/5/06 Hi,    I've read that amphipods will eat Cyano bacteria. Do you know  of the best species of amphipod for this task? Or do you know  of a better  animal for the job? <Mmm, as far as I'm aware, not much BGA is consumed by Amphipods... or any other crustacean group. And no other fish/group... I'd see WWM re other countervailing strategies for controlling BGA>    I have a red headed neon goby, 1sexy shrimp, 3 Nerite snails,  1 blue legged hermit crab, xenia, half inch sand bed, and 3lbs live rock all in  a six gallon tank.    Also wondering if there are any species of seahorses that  can be kept in a tank this small. <Not well, or safely, for long> Thanks, Greg <Bob Fenner>

More Cyano Problems - 10/15/06 Thanks for the help Crew/Eric. <<A pleasure to assist>> Over the last few days, my Cyanobacteria issue has gotten a little worse.  I don't really understand what the issue is, so I'm just going to give you a run down on my system and you guys can point out any potential/actual problems. <<Sure>> I appreciate the help, as you guys are pretty much the only advisors I have besides books (and I'm a newbie). <<Happy to help, but best not to limit yourself to a single source of information/opinions...collect information from a variety of resources and then use your own good judgment to make a decision>> 55ga tank, setup end of July of this year. Orbit Satellite light (two 96watt dual daylight [11hrs] and two 96watt actinic [13hrs] pc's) 1 Maxi-Jet 900 powerhead 1 SEIO M620 powerhead (on while lights are on) 60 lbs live rock 25 lbs lace rock <<Mmm...this could be the source of your problem.  The origins of this rock vary, some are mostly calcium carbonate (Tufa rock) from lime-rich hot springs, others are mainly comprised of silica from volcanic sources...all "may" contain other (toxic) elements.  Best to stick with rock from true marine sources>> 2 in. sand 1 cleaner "skunk" shrimp 1 coral beauty 1 yellow tang 1 lawnmower blenny 1 diamond (sleeper) goby 1 yellow tail damsel 4ea turbo snails & hermits Lots of small feather dusters 1 Turbinaria 1 toadstool leather 4 colonies of pulsing xenia (original 1) 1 colt 1 branching hammer 2 small Montipora frags 1 small zoanthid colony 15 gal refugium 1 65watt dual daylight pc (14 hrs) 1st compartment: Remora skimmer 2nd compartment: (9 gal) 3 - 4 inch sand bed, 5 lbs live rock, various macroalgae, 1 mangrove pod (rooting well), 1 conch, dozens of "pods".  All the detritus from the system seems to settle in here. 3rd compartment: bag of activated charcoal 4th compartment: 2 heaters, GenX 1500 pump back to main tank (refugium is next to tank, pumps aprox 8 in up to main tank input) pH = 8.4, Temp 79F, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all undetectable, specific gravity 1.022 <<Would bring this last up to NSW levels (1.025/1.026)>> Feedings are 1 cube "emerald entree"/1 cube frozen brine shrimp on alternating days, and a small piece of Nori on the brine shrimp days. <<This is too little for the livestock you have...I would at least "double-up" on the feedings>> Dosing with 3/4-teaspoon "reef builder" 2x/week, 1 ½-teaspoons "advantage calcium" 2x/week <<Testing for the need of both I hope>> My only livestock loss has been an unexplained blenny loss in mid-August, an improperly acclimated Linckia, and the zoanthids seem to be declining. <<Properly acclimated or not, the Linckia had little chance for survival.  These starfish are best left in the ocean>> I added the SEIO powerhead because I had a few spots of Cyanobacteria in the main tank (in addition to the large amount in the refugium), and I thought the added circulation would help. <<Indeed>> The thing is, I am now getting the stuff everywhere.  Red strings of it flowing off many rocks, little mats of it floating at the surface.  Nets of it on some rocks with bubbles underneath.  I think it is clogging flow through my overflow return.  I don't get why; I have good circulation, strong light, low nutrient levels (those I have measured), and macroalgae.  What steps should I take? <<You don't mention how/if you are treating your make-up/top-off water, as this could be a source of nutrients.  The lace rock could also be a problem, as already mentioned.  If you aren't filtering your source water you may need to consider doing so.  I would also remove the lace rock from the system.  Read through our articles/FAQs re 'Cyanobacteria' and 'blue-green algae' for further info/ideas to help determine and remedy the source.  Keep up with manual removal and be patient...can sometimes take months to get all back in balance>> Thanks very much, have a great day. -Mike in NM <<Good luck with your battle.  Eric in SC>>

Fish Tanks 101... BGA  10/7/06 Ok, I've been in the hobby for 4yrs now and you've shared tonnes of advice for me and I still battle Cyano issues. <Most all of us do> I had some existing live rock, about 60lbs and added another 35lbs in May 06.  I was told the liverock was cured, <Mmmm> it appeared cured, I had seen the rock tanks that my supplier was keeping... good water flow.  Anyhow, no problems with the rock after a couple of months... but add an upgraded lighting system to metal halides and I now have: -small leafy green fern looking algae growing <Neat... Not BGA here> -small white stems with green tips that are still growing into something interesting I hope -many many small white tube worms with red flowery heads -small red finger like growths out of my liverock ** I am happy thus far to have this; however, I also have noticed: -burgundy/velvety Cyano fuzzy clumps disappeared... dark green bubbly sickly looking Cyano growths - blackish green mold like looking growths on live rock - add a complete blanked of beige hair like algae that appears to have small air bubbles trapped in it. - a few patches of green hair algae 90 gallon salt tank, 20 gallons water in 30gallon sump 4" aragonite sandbed pH 8.2 No signs of ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphate Salinity 1.0025 Temp 26.5 - 28oc CP Fluorescents on 12.5 hours 2x250W Halides on 11 hours 36watts of fluorescent lighting Chaeto in square foot refugium in sump ~ Chaeto seems to be growing. Aqua-C Remora Pro skimming that needs emptying 4 or 5 times a week. 12gallon water changes 3X month = 30% monthly changes   in 1 week aged premixed water with 24hr aged freshwater top off.  Of note, I am also not getting a phosphate reading from my tapwater. My water flow is about 15/16 times water volume turnover/hour. I underfeed my fish.  (Two clowns, a Dottyback, and a yellow watchman goby, starfish, shrimp, crabs)...  I watch as every morsel is consumed and feed 6 times a week alternating flake, frozen mixtures, etc. I just bought some ROWAphos and a reactor hoping that this will help.  My retailed said that even though I have no signs of phosphate that I likely have a phosphate problem... and the growth of Cyano/algae is balancing the equation (phosphate high / algae & bacteria high and might get a zero reading). <Possibly>   He said I likely would've seen a decent phosphate level reading prior to the growth of all the bacteria/algae. I have the water flow and am adding a WaveBox to improve overall circulation.  I have great skimming, lighting, water change practices... I am using nutrient export although my Chaeto was only introduced about 3 or 4 weeks ago.  What gives? <Time going by, succession, removal of available nutrient...>   One of your other staff mentioned that my tank might be cycling and that the beige algae dust like stuff would disappear with time? <My overall guess as well> Although I did move... I kept about 70% of all my tank water.  I shouldn't be cycling after 4yrs should I? <Happens>   Or would my tank re-cycle due to the lighting and new liverock additions? <Of a certainty, this is a likely possibility> Reading through your FAQ's, any mention of new featherduster worms and green plantlike algae growth and Bob Fenner's comments are that things must be going well for the tank if it is able to support these new life forms. <Still my opinion>   Then again, the mention of Cyano bacteria Bob Fenner states that something seriously wrong is going on with the tank.  So, I am confused. <Mmm, depends on how much, relative BGA, how long it's about... if yours is going...> Hey wanna fly down to Calgary, Alberta Canada and make my tank look like a show tank? <Mmm, the convention in geography being what it is, would have to fly up... but, a bit busy. No thank you> I'm particularly concerned about the dark green/black funny looking patches growing.  Is something rotting all over my rock? <Likely some> One last note, I have about 20lbs of liverock that my water falls over from my tank to my sump. <Mmm... this could be an/the issue... LR should be submersed> I don't to anything with the rock... the rock and my sump are clean, no bacteria or algae growing (except my Chaeto in the refugium).  Do I have to rinse this liverock used for filtration off or anything ???  Or do I just let it sit. Help me... help me... Dave <Some periodic rinsing (to remove detritus), vacuuming of mulm in the sump is recommended. Bob Fenner, who would immerse the LR, be patient>

Algae and Patience - 09/30/2006 Bob and the other fishy folks.   <Sabrina with you, today.  Your email came to us in a format that very few of use were able to access.  Sorry about that.> I've written several times on a Cyano issue.  Thought you might be interested in my update and my new problem. My system: 90 gallon salt tank 30 gallon sump with one foot square refugium with Chaeto (2X 13W CF 6500K lights lit 24/7) 3" - 5" sandbed 110lbs live rock 2 x 250W halides on about 10.5hours within CF timing obviously 2 x 96W CF  on 12 hours Water Temp 26.5 - 28oc Salinity 1.0025 <I'm assuming here you mean a specific gravity of 1.025 - I think you slipped and added an extra zero.> pH 8.2 Nitrates, Nitrites, Ammonia (non detectable). <Great.> Aqua-C Remora Pro Prior to having the refugium portion of my setup as well as the metal halide setup, I was running one 40watt fluorescent bulb 6000K.  I had my tank running like this for 3.5yrs with a reappearing Cyano problem for the past 2yrs.  Reddish purple velvety Cyano clusters.  The tank looked disgusting.   <I believe it.> Increasing water flow from 8X tank turnover to 17X tank turnover did nothing.  Replacing a #### Seaclone Skimmer with an Aqua-C Remora Pro did nothing (although I get a cup of skim every second day).  I minimized my feedings keeping watch that my critters remained looking healthy and still, the Cyano was there.  Jump forward to the past month.  I now have the refugium setup above with 1" miracle mud as well as the metal halide lighting setup.  Within two weeks, I had what looked like a thick green hair algae grow (even right in the direction of direct flow from powerheads).  Shortly after, I had beige/whitish light fuzzy stuff growing. And it along with the green hair algae has overgrown and killed off my Cyano.  No signs of the Cyano. <This sounds like a typical "cycle" of meeting new Algaes that a new (or newly changed/updated) system might have.  I wouldn't be terribly concerned as yet.> At least the old red-purple velvety Cyano.  I also have, a small patch of dark green Cyano with tiny bubbles growing in one spot on the bottom of my tank on the liverock base.  Interesting that red/purple velvet Cyano disappears and ugly bubbly green appears instead.  Is this from my change of lighting perhaps?   <That and the other changes you've made.  These things (changes) do take time.> Looks like this portion of the algae I will clean my tank glass so I can take some good pictures.  My two or three sections of thick green hairy algae look like the following and I am getting what appears to be a few white stems growing out of the mass of this.  In the meantime, this picture taken by another concerned aquarist from the posting "IDs for algae and polyps 4/13/04"  very closely resembles the white/beige fuzzy stuff I was referring to.  Anthony responded and mentioned it was a harmless microalgae.  However, this stuff is covering my glass, snail shells, liverock, everything.  My tank is becoming 90 gallons of white/beige fuzz.   <I think this will likely cycle out over time.> I am referring to the same thing, but this other picture looks pretty much like the glass of my tank from the same stuff.  This picture was from the post "White Algae" and it scrapes off easily. but it is light enough that scraping it off makes my tank look like a dust storm hit it as it all floats away. <Sounds like a diatom algae.  Also common to meet this as you start or dramatically change a system.  It, too, should cycle out.> It's almost too fine to net, etc.  I'm aware of how to deal with the green bubbly Cyano bacteria.  From the 3 pictures, does anything jump out at you as being harmful or bad?   <I'd have a bit of concern over the hair algae, but again, these things happen, and do cycle out.  What sort of algae consumers do you have (or plan) for your tank?> I mean, it looks disgusting and I want rid of it.   <Patience, my friend.> I've setup my tank for corals and I'm a little bit leery of adding them until I handle this issue.  I will be adding a Tunze Wavebox soon to get more of a total water flow in my tank instead of a few direct flows from powerheads.  I bought a kit to test for phosphates in my water thinking that I was adding too many nutrients.  My test showed no results for both my fresh tap water. <What about phosphate?  I notice that you mention tap water - are you using a reverse osmosis or RO/DI system?  Might be worth looking into.> And it showed no results for my tank water.  Interestingly enough, this white/beige hair algae has been growing out of control ever since I started strict AGED water changes.  I change 12 gallons 3x month with week-aged premixed saltwater. Using freshwater top off about every second day that has been aged 24 - 48hours.  I'm adding about a cup full of regular tank water to all of my new water while it ages. i.e. everything Mr. Fenner told me to do.  Again, the only noticeable result was this beige/white fluffy algae(?) outbreak.  *sigh* My tank looks pretty disgusting right now and I have paid strict attention to the water changes, nutrient export, skimming, lighting, and water flow.  I'm thinking the WaveBox will remedy the small bit of green Cyano.    <Quite possibly.> I'm honestly most worried about the beige/white stuff taking over my tank.  Help me Obi-Wan-Fenner, you're my only hope.   <I'm not Obi-Wan-Fenner, but maybe reassuring or helpful nonetheless, I hope.  I do believe what's happening to you/your system right now is "normal", and I do recommend patience right now while things "start up".  Do please consider what algae consumers you will be employing in the tank as well.  I think everything will turn out quite okay as you continue to experience the system as it grows and matures.> - Dave
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Cyano Problem 9/24/06 Hi there, <Greetings> My aquarium is 120 g. and it has been running fine for almost 2 years. My two gobies were doing very good and seemed to be a pair.  We added some soft corals two months ago, Kenya tree, polyp stars and a sea mat.  Then, we started adding the Kent Marine Coral Accel because we wanted our corals to grow healthy and fast.  We follow its directions and added the liquid daily. Later, the tank started to create the red slime all over the place.  So we decided just to add the liquid once a week.  The red slime covered all the sand bed.  But the gobies were still digging things from it and were also eating what we threw into the tank.  We just noticed a couple of days ago that the gobies may be little skinnier than before.    Now, one goby is already dead and the other one is in his home below a rock and is breathing heavily.    It is because of the red slime that covered the sand bed what caused their death?  If so, how can we get rid of the slime?  I know there is a chemical, but it hurts the corals.  So, is there an animal or invertebrate that can help us out? Thanks, Winnie <Winnie -- Unfortunately the red slime sounds like Cyano Bacteria.  There are no critters that consume this and it can sometimes be difficult to get rid of.  Older bulbs and lack of flow sometimes play a key role in feeding it more.  The best thing to do is to check these things and test your water to make sure it is ok.  Siphon out as much as you can.  I agree, the treatment should be a last resort, but does help a lot.  Cheers! -- Dr. J>

Snot Algae & Bleaching Mushrooms. SW system out of whack, driven further   9/20/06 Hi Crew, <Richard> I have a 75 g. reef that I just tore completely apart and put back together again, due to a monstrous invasion of brown slime, or "snot" algae. Brown filamentous stuff (Cyano, I'm told) <Very likely so> that also produces lots of air bubbles within it. The tank had turned into one big swamp. I tried everything and couldn't get rid of it, and it had finally killed off all my corals, save a few hardy mushrooms of various kinds, which had shriveled up, but were somehow still breathing; and my 4 fish: a Maroon clown, Hippo Tang, Cleaner Wrasse, and a Neon Dottyback. I rinsed the crushed coral and scrubbed off all the rocks (in salt water, old mixed w/new). I added 2 more powerheads (4 in all now, 2 Maxi-Jet 1200's and 2 Aquaclear 50's), replaced all the lights (6x40w: 3 URI actinic whites, 3 actinic blues), replaced the lamp in my (25w) UV sterilizer, cleaned the bio-tower and protein skimmer (Kent Nautilus), put new impellers into the 2 Mag Drive 7's (one for the return, one for the skimmer), and reinstalled the plenum (4" of aragonite on top of it, with screens halfway down to prevent burrowing creatures from breaking into the plenum). I have the 2 Mag Drives plumbed externally, trying to keep the water temp down (still tends to run about 81 or so from all these heat sources). I used half/half old and new (Tropic Marin salt in distilled) water. I live in the mt.s, and my well water's alkalinity is just off the charts, about 30 dKH. Even the RO unit I put in doesn't do any good). pH 8.3, Alkalinity 13 dKH (not sure why it's so high), NH3, NO2, NO3, PO4 all zero. Calcium is very, very low right now, about 180. (I'd just stopped trying to fight the stuff, and had given up regular maintenance for quite some time). All started off well enough on restart, trying to keep everything very clean and in order, but within a few days the snot algae started to return: little air bubbles all over the rocks, etc. So, I went to plan B, and decided to treat the tank with Erythromycin (fresh water Maracyn), <Am sure you've seen my/our opinions on such... short term non-solution> (1) - 200 mg tab each day for 4 days, (air to protein skimmer cut off, and UV sterilizer unplugged). At first, I thought it was working, but after the 4 days, the Cyano all returned again, <Bingo> nonetheless. One day later, on advice from pet store, I did a 2nd round of ER, this time double-dosing with (2) - 200 mg tabs per day, & this time for 5 days. Every day I would get in with a toothbrush and turkey baster and scrub all of the little air bubbles and slimy brown stuff that had developed off of the rocks, substrate, glass, etc. Yet every new day saw new growth of the stuff. It's just invulnerable, tenacious as hell. Right now I'm running an old Magnum canister filter for a few days, while stirring up anything that's accumulated on the rocks and substrate over the last 2 weeks, just trying to keep things as clean as possible. So this is problem #1. How on earth do you kill this stuff, short of using bleach on everything: rocks, corals, substrate, fish & invertebrates included?! <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above...> 2nd problem: After re-establishing the tank, <It's not> I went out and bought a few easy corals, just to have something to make it look more like a real reef tank again. I bought some blue mushrooms, some (I think they're) Ricordea mushrooms, and some green star polyps. I also put in 40 new astrea snails, (as there is still a lot of green hair algae on the rocks, which had grown somehow underneath the snot algae), 40 tiny blue hermits, 2 scarlet hermits, and a couple of unknown hermits (?? I had one like them before, with salmon-coloured legs and dead-blue eyes. Cute, and very peaceable. A real workhorse at his job). I also added 2 new fish, (a Powder Blue Tang and a Tennenti Tang), <No...> and a 2" Linckia <... no...> starfish (brown in color, not sure what variety he is). All seemed well enough at first, the Cyano problem aside. After about a week, I woke up one morning and the Ricordea mushrooms had started to bleach (by now almost completely bleached, and drawn up). It happened overnight. There were 2 things different that I'd done the day before. I'd added a healthy (but not extreme) dose of Kent Essential Elements, <Of no use here> and added a dose of Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium (1 1/2 tsp of the dry crystals, mixed in distilled water). I did this on top of having already put in  1 tbsp each of  parts A & B, Kent  Tech CB Calcium Buffer liquids, (which I'd already been putting in each day before that, as well), <Such supplements should only be introduced with new water during change-outs... pre-mixed and stored ahead of time> trying to get the calcium level up a bit. 2 questions here: I'm sure that one of these must have stressed out the Ricordeas, and that they've lost their zooxanthellae. Which one of the additives would you suspect as the culprit, if either? <Does it matter? Both, mis-applied> I had the Ricordea high in the tank, but it had been doing great there for a week, until this happened overnight. The blue mushrooms are still doing great, as are the assorted little green and brown varieties that are making their comeback from the swamp era. The final question is, will the mushrooms ever get their zooxanthellae back, or are they just doomed? They look really bad at the moment, bleached almost completely white. Anything that can be done to save the poor things? Thanx for the help, RickG <Rick... you need to "get" your system to "center"... under regular control... I suggest you consider adding a refugium, incorporating a DSB and macroalgae... with a RDP light arrangement... this is the simplest, easiest, most straight-forward "thing" you can do to salvage this system. Bob Fenner>

Red Turf Algae  - 09/14/06 I have what I believe is red turf algae growing like mad in my refugium.  Originally I thought it might be BGA/Cyano.   However, under a microscope I can see clearly defined nuclei.      <Ahh!>   To date, it has not shown up in my main display, however I am concerned it will eventually migrate. Any suggestions?    <Keep the faith... not likely to "move" if conditions don't allow/favor it in your main display... and you can likely "re-center" the fuge to disfavor it there>   To follow are my current system parameters that I test for:   Nitrate: 0ppm   Nitrite: 0ppm   Ammonia: 0ppm   Phosphate: ~.5ppm   pH: 8.26   Temp: 80F    <Looks good. Bob Fenner>

Fire Shrimp Problem... new water? Cyanobacteria? Cat flea med.?   9/5/06 Hi Crew, <Tom> My Fire Shrimp has been having problems when I change water. <Very common>   He first appears to excitedly dash around the tank (very uncharacteristic) and then he will fall over and twitch.  I've seen this three or four times over the last couple of months - but not every time I change water. In the past, he has recovered after a day.  The two Gobies in the tank have never shown any sign of distress. <Need... to read... re the necessity of pre-mixing, storing, matching new and existing water quality...> Just over a week ago, I saw this again, and noticed that it occurred before new water went into the tank.  When it occurred, I was working on scrubbing what I believe to be Cyanobacteria off the rocks in preparation for siphoning it out.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and put new charcoal and a Polyfilter in the power filter. <Mmm, maybe an interaction here...> At this point, I remembered something about possible toxicity of Cyanobacteria.  Your site mentions possible toxicity, but provides no details of how toxic or what creatures are affected. <A huge topic... all affected to degrees> Later, my son mentioned the extreme toxicity of flea treatments for household pets. <Mmm, some... not all... to aquatic life. Can be investigated via the Net> I did some research and learned that the product we use on our cats (Frontline) has an active ingredient that is extremely toxic to shrimp (1 ppb kills some species) and furthermore that this poison gets onto a person's hands by handling a treated cat anytime within a month of treatment. <Yes, this is so> I had not been all that careful about washing before working in the tank (and I really find dedicated gloves just too hard to use).  So I became pretty convinced that flea poison on my hands was the source of my Fire Shrimp's difficulties. <I see> I resolved to be more careful about cleaning my hands and arms in the future before working in the tank. <Good> A couple days ago, I did another water change just after a shower and with no intervening contact with cats.  Everything seemed to go OK, though I did not make much effort to clean off the Cyanobacteria.  My Fire Shrimp did not seem bothered (though he has not fully recovered from the previous severe episode, and I don't think it likely at this point that he will).  I also re-introduced three Peppermint Shrimp at this time, and they had no problems.  (These had been removed on suspicion that they were eating my Xenia, but I later discovered a hitchhiker crab doing this, and so I am assuming the Shrimp are innocent.) <Mmmm> Today, I washed my hands with soap and rinsed my arms before spending half an hour using a toothbrush to clean off Cyanobacteria.  I tried to get the Cyanobacteria into a separate small container to be disposed off, as I was not planning to siphon the tank. After a half hour or so, I again noticed my Fire Shrimp looked disturbed, though not in truly extreme distress.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and began to compose this email.  Also notable is that the Peppermint Shrimp showed no signs of distress. So here's the puzzle.  Is the flea medicine to blame, and I really must shower or use gloves before working on the tank? <Doubtful... or all shrimp would be similarly mal-affected> Or is the toxicity of the Cyanobacteria to blame (or also to blame)? <Maybe> And, should we assume that the Fire Shrimp in its current damaged state is simply more sensitive to toxins, or perhaps by nature more sensitive to toxins? <I still am mostly placing the credit/blame on the new water...> By the way, I am also working on fixing the causes of the Cyanobacteria, which got out of control while we were away on vacation for a couple weeks this summer.  I'm running Polyfilter, changing 10% of the water weekly, and I've reduced the light (from 192 watts of 50/50 to 96 watts of 50/50 over a 30 gallon) in the hopes that the other algae will better compete for nutrients. <A good plan> Other algae present include Coralline, Halimeda, and an unidentified algae that is turf-like, attractive maroon under lower light conditions and faded yellow-green under high light conditions (hope this one isn't toxic too). Thanks, Tom <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpsysfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fire Shrimp Problem  9/6/06 Thanks Bob. <Welcome Tom> Below is some follow-up.  Reading is optional, and a reply is not required (though always of interest and appreciated): I have been following your advice about pre-mixing and aging my new water. <I see> I mix it to specific gravity of 1.024-1.025.  I rarely check my tanks, but I just checked the one in question and found it to have specific gravity right in the middle of that range.  I use B-Ionic for alkalinity and calcium. <Good product/s> Also, I've had this Fire Shrimp for 11 months and noticed no problems until the last few months.  One thing that changed was that we got a new kitten in June, and for a variety of reasons, he gets handled a lot more than does our older cat. <Mmm...> Finally, on at least one occasion it was clear that the Fire Shrimp's distress began before new water was added. So, I find it hard to believe that the new water is the problem. <I concur> Instead, your comments lead me to think that the flea medicine and Cyanobacteria might both have played a role here. <Yes, either/both could> And I guess I have to assume that the weakened state of the Fire Shrimp accounts for his reaction last time, when the Peppermint Shrimp were not noticeably affected. My take-home message: take care to have clean hands and get rid of the Cyanobacteria (as carefully as possible). Thanks again. Tom <Well summarized. Thank you. BobF>

New Tank Cyano 9/2/06 Gang, <Hi> I've waded through the voluminous info on Cyano outbreaks, and while I think I understand, wanted to check to make sure I'm not missing anything. <ok> Here's my setup: 58-gal Oceanic show tank, 2 months old, 85lbs Marshall Island LR, RO/DI water, Tropic Marin salt. Amiracle MR-200 wet/dry, bioballs, <Clean it often> Quiet One 3000 return pump AquaC Urchin Pro in-sump skimmer, Mag3 pump Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper 2 controller with Pinpoint pH probe Current USA SunPod light, 2x14k 150watt HQI Halides and white and blue LED moonlights. Occupants are 4 tiny Ocellaris Clowns, a small Potter's Angel and a Lawnmower Blenny, various snails and hermits. <4 clowns may be a problem later on> Parameters: Ammo and Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10 Phosphate 0 CA 440 dKH 11 pH between 7.95 and 8.1 <Good, pH a little low, but not horrible, closer to 8.3 would be better.> I'm doing about 40% water changes weekly at this point, but the Cyano is covering everything at a rapid rate.  Other steps I am taking: 1. Reduce photo period to 9 hours from 14 2. Boyd's ChemiSheet (supposed to be like ChemiClean, and remove organic phosphate) - in sump - will run for 48 hours per instruction. 3. after the ChemiSheet, hook up a Fluval 304 temporarily running Boyd ChemiPure and RowaPhos. 4. lowering collection cup on skimmer to collect more but wetter skimmate. 5. Feed only once a day. - Scrape and suction Cyano as much as possible daily. 6. continue 25-40% water changes based on Nitrate readings. Is there anything else I should be doing? Thanks, Dave <Sounds like you are on the right track, just takes some time.  Might want to try some PolyFilters as well, they are good at removing phosphate too.  Also, try feeding every other day for a while to see if that helps.  Other than that just need time to allow the tank to cycle through this.> <Chris>
New Tank Cyano Part II 9/2/06
Chris, <Hi again> Thanks. <Sure>  These are tank-raised Ocellaris from the same hatch, so I am optimistic they will remain non-aggressive.  Time will tell, of course, and I am prepared to move 2 of them if required. <Good> I've had a problem since day 1 with the pH in this tank.  I can get it to 8.3 using lots of Seachem Reef Buffer, but I start to plate out calcium on the glass if I use that daily.  I would think that at 440 CA and 11dKH pH would be higher, but it just isn't.  Sort of at wit's end on this one. <Are you buffering your water change water?  Otherwise maybe increase circulation, a build-up of CO2 can cause pH problems.> I am not familiar with Poly Filters - can you tell me who makes them? <They are made by Poly-Bio-Marine, found on most online supply stores.> Thanks, Dave <Chris>
New Tank Cyano Part III 9/2/06
Chris, <Hi> Thanks again. <Sure> The ChemiSheet is starting to do it's job, much less Cyano than even 24 hours ago. <Good> A lot of it seems to be attached to hair algae from that phase of tank startup, so as the hair algae dies, the Cyano removes rather easily. <Make sure you remove as much as possible, otherwise it will decay and release PO4 back into the system.>  I see some good patches of pink/purple coralline starting, and the first few bubbles of Valonia (which my Blenny LOVES), so I guess higher-order stuff is starting to make it's appearance. <Also good> On a whim, before I got your reply, I redirected my return pipes down onto some of the rock work to try and help dislodge the Cyano, which seems to work well.  And guess what?  With no added buffer, my pH is up to 8.2 tonight at lights off. So seems like a CO2 pool somewhere for sure. <Yep> I do buffer my water change water both for CA and Alk and pH and temp match, in addition to salinity. Dave <Sounds like you are on the right track.  Good luck.> <Chris>

Cyano, Hair, and Temperature   8/31/06 Good morning... <Getting to be...> Just wanted to get your opinion on my battle against Cyano.  I tell ya, except for learning the hard way once... not to add 4 fish into a new tank at the same time years ago, my tank has been running pretty smoothly.  My only problem is the fight against Cyano bacteria. <A common pest> I have a 90 gallon salt tank with a deep sandbed 3 - 5".  I have a 33 gallon sump that operates about half full.  I am getting really good skimming out of my AquaC Remora Pro (I have to empty and clean 3 times a week, sometimes more).  My water volume turnover per hour is approximately 17 times. pH 8.2 Ammonia: n/a Nitrite: n/a Nitrates: on my test kit, I'm either showing no signs or very minimal. Tough to tell between two shades of yellow on a piece of paper. Salinity 1.025 (am I missing a zero in there?) <Nope this spg is about right> I have just recently added a new lighting system, two 250watt metal halides, two 96watt compact fluorescents.  I have only been using one of the halide lamps in order to get a handle on my aquarium room temperature as well as my tank temperatures... in addition to let my critters get use to the new lights.  I don't have any corals yet. I am lightly feeding flake food maybe 3 times a week, and then using either krill, bloodworm, or Mysis shrimp, twice a week.  Fish are only fed 5 of 7 days.  Since I've been battling the Cyano bacteria for about a year... I had upgraded my protein skimmer (mentioned above) and my water flow.  As well, I am watching that I am feeding only as much as the fish are consuming.  With my light feeds, I don't notice much going to waste.  At times, I don't think my yellow watchman goby is getting any... but he's quite large and is staying fairly plump and healthy looking.  One of my friends with a fresh water tank is shocked that I feed them so little. <Likely getting quite a bit of nutrition/small animal life from the substrate infauna production>   In short, I don't think overfeeding is my Cyano issue. <Doesn't read like it... just a dearth of competitors thus far> I have a refugium being setup in my sump. <Oh! Good>   It's about a one foot square section with 1" deep Miracle Mud and I am waiting for a cluster of Chaeto' something-or-other. <Chaetomorpha...> You guys recommended it to me and I'm sure you know what I am referring to.  I figure this will help a little in biological filtration and competing for nutrients. <Oh yes> My water changes...   I am doing partial water changes about two to three times a month (5 gallons each time).  After reading Bob's wonderful book... I'm thinking, that this HAS TO BE my solution? <Is of help> With approximately 115 gallons in circulation... I should be changing out approximately 30 gallons a month, correct? <Mmmm, or more... more frequently... see WWM re... 10-20% every two weeks or so...> As well, I have been taking straight tap water at about 22 - 25oc, mixing my salt until it appears to be fully dissolved... adding a minute amount of additive that removes chlorine/chloramine/ammonia, and then adding direct to my tank within about 5 minutes. <Mmm... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm> As well, I have been topping off evaporation straight outta my tap without waiting. <I'd invest in an R.O. device...>   In your opinion, would you say that this would be a likely cause of a continuing Cyano problem? <Mainly a lack of competitors...> With all the other upgrades I've made: water flow, skimming, lighting, working refugium soon!!...    If increase my water changes to 10gallons 3 times a month from water that has been premixed an aged for a minimum 24hrs... if not 3-7 days    and if I keep aged fresh water available for top up, should this remedy my Cyano issue? <I give you very good odds> If so, will the Cyano just die off over a month or so?  Or, do I need to syphon what I see off first? <Will go a bit at a time... over a month or more likely... can siphon during water changes> On a side note, I have some pretty long green hair algae growing all over.  Ya, it looks kinda nasty, but this actually beneficial to my tank, correct? <Mmm... marginally> I will be getting a tang soon... Can I safely presume that I shouldn't have to worry about adding 'greenery' to my tank for food as long as I have the hair algae with my tang? <Mmmm... not really. Many such "greens" are unpalatable... and/or of little food value> I was reading in a book that with all the chemicals in municipal water systems... that basic tap water is a sure cause of both massive Cyano and hair algae outbreaks and that a reverse osmosis mechanism is absolutely necessary. <Not always necessary... but often desirable... I/we use such for our drinking and cooking uses... but I skip for my African Cichlids... they get "hose water"... and a bucket of hot straight tap during the winter...> Yet, Bob mentions simply aging the tap water.  Will aging tapwater really minimize nutrients and 'food' in the water?? <Yes... a good deal of the municipal additions and "picked up" soluble material precipitates, insolubilizes with time> Lastly, my aquarium room sits at approximately 23 - 25oc.  My tank seems to have a low of 26oc after the single metal halide has been off for a few hours, but rises over several hours to about 28 or 29oc with the single lamp on. <Mmm... this is too much of a thermal swing...> I'm fearful that if I use two lamps... my temperature will rise twice as fast and will peak at maybe 31oc? <Not good> The fans are working on my CoraLife lighting unit.  Is this daily temperature change going to be an issue for keeping corals? <Likely yes...>   Should I wall mount a fan to cool the air in-between my lights and my tank? <Can try... but you may be a customer for a chiller> We get cold winters, so I'm thinking 8 months out of the year this won't be an issue, but during the summer it's tough to keep the tank cool. <Maybe> You guys are always a tremendous help... don't know what I'd do without ya! <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cyano, Hair, and Temperature
 - 09/01/06 Thanks for the response. <Welcome> One other question.  I realize and am not looking at this as a solution... But... I am getting into some beginner corals.  Corals will feed off of dissolved nutrients, correct? <Mmm, some species to an extent... others are more/less to non-photosynthetic... many are filter feeders to carnivores...>   Will this aide in out-competing for the nutrients to which the Cyano is thriving on? <Yes> Will adding one or two corals be a bad idea if I am having Cyano troubles? <Might> I am still proceeding with my refugium.  As well, I think I will go ahead and purchase a reverse osmosis unit.  Have you heard anything good or bad about the Aqua FX Barracuda 4 stage  or the Kent Marine Maxxima RO/DI unit? <Please see WWM re...> Would one still have to age water that has been processed through the RO unit? <Better to do so... particularly if adding material/s to it as well... BobF>

08/25/2006 - Tank Cycling Problems Hi WWM crew! <Hi there EricS here> I have been reviewing the information on your Web site which has helped me figure out what I have done wrong clearing out a Cyanobacteria invasion and what I needed to do right, but now I am stuck as to where I should go next!  So I am hoping to get some one on one guidance. <Great start. Always refer to the web site first! Thanks much!> Here is the history - about a year ago, we set up a 30 gallon salt water tank which we enjoyed for about 6 months with no problems.  We decided to upgrade to a 55 gallon tank and for a couple of months had absolutely no problems.  The tank was set up with a Skilter Filter with a protein skimmer (that we weren't using at the time) and a wheel power filter. <My opinion on the Skilter is not a very efficient product for that size of tank they may work merely OK for a small tank.  But not for a 55.  Please look at the AquaC Remora or CPR Backpack for a hang on skimmer.  The BioWheel is merely optional when you have live rock> About 2 months into the 55 gallon tank, we began to lose fish - including a clownfish, a royal Gramma, a yellow tang, and a couple of cardinal fish (the first one and then one we got to replace).  These fish died at the rate of about 1 a day.  We had water tested which came back with normal results and the fish store said that we might have introduced an infection that affected our fish, but not our invertebrates (we had a couple of peppermint shrimp, a cleaner shrimp, a brittle star fish, and a variety of snails and hermit crabs).   <What did they exactly test for? What test kits?  Do get your own so that you can do these tests on a regular basis yourself> So we tried again with some blue/green chromis (started with 5) that began to die after a couple of days in the tank at the rate of one a day until we were down to just one.  After that one had survived for about a month, we decided to add some more fish and added a royal Gramma, a tomato clownfish, and a yellow and black fish that I can't remember the name. Around that same time we started to get this invasion of a red algae looking film that after some research I decided was Cyanobacteria.  The fish store suggested we add power heads to our tank and start using the protein skimmer.  We started the protein skimmer and added to 212 Powersweep powerheads.   <More current is definitely a good suggestion.  Try to point the powerheads more toward the areas that have the Cyano.  I think you still need more current as this is a 4 foot tank.  I have a 75 gallon with 5 powerheads in it and a return so quite a bit of flow :)  You do not need that much but do add more and point them as directed to help clear the Cyano.  Do not use any medications. > We really saw no difference in the tank accept that the fish appeared to enjoy the current!!!  Our red slime invasion continued to get worse!  Then death hit once again and we lost our royal Gramma, the blue/green chromis, and the tomato clownfish.  I took more water to the fish store to get tested along with the a sample of the red slime.  The water tested fine and they agreed that the red slime is Cyanobacteria.  One thing I had learned was that we weren't doing correctly is our water changes - we have not been vacuuming the gravel at all, just collecting water off the top - so I think that the "junk" we built up in the gravel may have caused many of our problems.  So, the fish store sold me a gravel vacuum and some "medicine" for the Cyanobacteria. <Again no medicine.  I believe in natural methods.  Need to find the main culprit.  Cycling and lack of flow are most obvious.  A minimum of a nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia kit.  I like Salifert.  These kits will allow you to watch the cycle.> I have now learned that the "medicine" is more like "poison" as within 12 hours of putting it in the tank, we lost our yellow and black fish and our cleaner shrimp.  We are down to one peppermint shrimp, a brittle star fish, and two hermit crabs. So, what we have done now is a 20% water change using the gravel vacuum, thoroughly cleaned all components of the tank, and changed all the filter media.  I also created a "sea storm" prior to vacuuming by shaking every piece of live rock prior to removal so I could clean under each piece.  I must say, the tank looks beautiful this morning!!!! My questions to you are what do we do next?  My thoughts were that we may need to let the tank cycle again.  Will it be possible to add fish in the next couple of weeks if the water tests O.K.?  If so, what fish do you suggest we start out with this time?  Do we need to go back to the damsel fish for a while or can we start with some others?  Also, in the mean time, do we feed the brittle star fish at all or can she find enough to eat in the tank?  Our plan is to continue water changes on a regular basis as we did in the past, only using the gravel vacuum from here on out. <What are you using for substrate?  Your next steps are to purchase your own test kits so you know that the reagents are fresh and the test is of good quality.  How good is the water that you are using to mix with salt? What do you use to test your salinity levels?  Next fish could be the chromis again.  They are pretty hardy fish so do a couple more water changes.  Get your tests done by yourself.  And then try the chromis I think you will find better success with the flow pointed correctly to rid your self of the Cyano problem.> Thank you in advance for the assistance with these problems.  We enjoy our tank very much and don't want to give up! <Don't ever give up!!  You will continue to learn all the time.  Buy some good books to start with and always try to read online as much as you can. Good Luck! EricS> Kind regards Leslie Bubble/Cyano Issues - 08/22/06 Greetings from Grayslake, IL <<Back at you from Columbia, SC>> I've read a lot (I won't say all) of the FAQs regarding bubbles but I am still running across an issue. <<Ok>> Here is my set up: - 29 gallon reef tank up and running for about 8 months now - CPR Bak Pak - Magnum 350 Canister Filter - 2x96 Watt 10k PC (On for 7 hours) - 2 actinic bulbs PC (On for 10 hours) - 40(+-) lb live rock - 2-inch live sand - RO/DI 4-stage system Here is my problem.  I still get bursts of air bubbles from the canister filter. <<Hmm, air intrusion from somewhere...builds up to the point where the bubble is large enough to "escape" to the outflow/impeller chamber of the filter pump...thus the "bursts" of bubbles>> I have broken down the system and have replaced the o-rings and have added metal clamps on the all of the hoses to try to tighten it all down.  Can't really find any leaks in the system. <<Have you tried "sealing" all the joints one-at-a-time with Vaseline? <Mmm, would not use a Petroleum-based material... too likely to act as a solvent... soften the tubing in the long/er run. Perhaps a Silicone-based lube. RMF>   Have you checked to see if bubbles are being generated/pulled in to the filter through the intake from the intake water chamber (sump?)?>> In addition to the bursts of air bubbles, when the lights are on I get a small amount of bubbles constantly. <<Check the placement of the filter intake/the possibility of bubbles in the surrounding water being pulled in to the filter>> Suggestions?  Replace it? <<Might be worth a try>> What would you guys/gals recommend for a replacement? <<I've always had good luck with the Fluval line of canister filters...and if you have the bucks, Eheim is a good choice>> I am also getting some muck on the top of the sand when the lights are on but it is gone when the lights are off? <<Cyanobacteria...possibly>> Some of my live rock has turned red on the tips, don't think that it is coralline algae.  Some form of algae was wondering if I need to be concerned here or not. <<Hard to say...likely not.  But do have a look through our FAQs/articles re "Cyanobacteria" and "blue-green algae">> Thank you for your time. <<A pleasure to assist>> Like everybody else...Love the site!  Very very informative. <<Always good to hear...thank you>> Sincerely, Richard Hunt <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Re: Bubble/Cyano Issues   8/22/06 Thanks for the reply. <<Welcome>> I am not running a sump, just the CPR Bak-Pak and the Magnum Filter.  Regarding the Vaseline...how is that done?  Do I pull out the connections and add it to the connection or to the hose? <<No need to pull apart the connections...just smear some around the "above water" connections to seal them temporarily.  Do this one at a time watching each for a bit to see if the bubbles stop>> The intake is behind a piece of live rock, so I don't really have any air coming from there I don't believe. <<The steady stream of air bubbles while the lights are on could be nitrogen bubbles from your rock/substrate being sucked in to the filter intake>> Again, Thank you Richard Hunt <<Regards, Eric Russell>>
Re: Bubble/Cyano Issues - 08/22/06
Now that's interesting.  I do have tiny bubbles all over the red stuff on the rocks that I spoke about in my original post.  Could that be what is getting into the filter? <<Ah, most assuredly Cyanobacteria then...and yes, the filter intake could be pulling-in these bubbles>> If so...how do I get rid of the bubbles from the live rock? <<Increased water movement often helps when battling this blue-green algae.  Do have a read here and among the links in blue for much more information:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >> Thanks, Richard <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Cyano/Control  - 08/11/05 Hello WWM Crew ! <Hello Steven> I'm sure you're getting ready for your weekend and I appreciate any time you can give on my question! <"Your weekend".  Thanks for the laugh.> I have a 250 gallon reef tank with corals, fish and live Marshall rock (250lbs to be exact).  About a month ago I setup a 90 gallon refugium with a 4 inch sand bed, a pound of chameto, <Chaeto> a pound of Caulerpa mexicana, two halogen lights from Home Depot with 600 total watts, and it is on a reverse lighting schedule from my main tank.  However, the refugium, is next to a window that gets direct sunlight for a few hours a day, and indirect sunlight for the rest.  As of the last few days I have had a breakout of Cyano in ONLY my refugium.  There is a slimy top layer to the top of the sand and parts are slowly creeping onto my macro's.  My question is, why is only my refugium having Cyano and how do I get rid of it? <Mmm, could be excessive nutrients in the sand and not enough flow across the sand.  What is the color temperature of the halogens? Read here and links above for more info. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Thanks so much! <You're welcome.  Mmm, everyone's shift key must not be functioning today.  In the future, please cap letters where required and do a spelling/grammar check.  Thanks, James (Salty Dog)> -Steven

Black Slime and Sick Trachyphyllia Geoffroyi    8/7/06 Thanks in advance for your help. <Welcome in real time> My problem in my 55 gallon is two fold: black slime algae and a sick Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. I have been battling black slime for about 2 months now and have done everything I know short of using some sort of chemical.  My water parameters are as follows: Ammonia and nitrites are at 0 Salinity at 1.025 Temp ranges from 79 to 82 Nitrates range from 10 to 25 About 3 weeks ago, I added the largest hang on refugium I had room for (only 2.5 gal) and started with 2 lbs of Chaeto which seems to be growing well.  I have not   noticed any drop in nitrates. <Good... takes a while... weeks to a few months to really "kick in"> I changed my actinic bulbs 3 days ago (they were 6 months old) but the slime still seems to be multiplying. <Can be a real bug-a-boo>   I use RO water and Tropic Marine reef salt and do a 3 to 5 gallon water change weekly. I have about 40 lbs live rock, 2 inches of live sand, a sump/trickle filter (with bioballs), <Oh... I would ix-nay on the bioballs nay... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm and the linked files above> and skimmer. My inhabitants are 3 chromis 1 small yellow wrasse 1 black and white ocellaris 1 flame angel 1 scarlet skunk cleaner 1 peppermint various snails and hermits <... how big is this system?> I have reduced feeding and now alternate feeding small amounts of frozen or flake on alternate days occasionally skipping a day. I am really getting discouraged.  My Trachyphyllia geoffroyi has been slowing declining and fading in color, and now has several black spots on the skeleton that are visible when it is all shrunken up (which is has been doing a lot more lately). <Yes... looks like Cyano growing on some portions of the exposed septa... very bad> I have read your FAQs but nothing sounds like my case.  The coral is on the bottom away from other corals and nothing has been picking on it.  My ocellaris hosts it, however, <Mmm, the likely original source of tissue loss, septal exposure here> and I am wondering if his sleeping in/wiggling on it may be the cause. <Initially, yes> I have some Lugol's Iodine and wonder if an iodine dip might be helpful. <I'd add this directly to the water... weekly, with water changes>   I usually do not dose iodine because of the weekly water changes. <Mmm, best to do immediately following> I have recently reduced my lighting schedule to 8 hours actinic and 6 hours MH trying to get rid of the slime. I have read that leaving the lights off for 3 days with get rid of   the slime, but I am afraid it would mean the end for my Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. <Maybe so... there are other avenues...> I would greatly appreciate any advice you can give me. I am attaching 2 photos of the Trachyphyllia geoffroyi. Thanks again, Angela Collison <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above... and consider (seriously) removing your bioballs, possibly modifying the wet-dry. Fix the environment here and the Cyano will be gone, your Brain/s recovered. Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

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