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FAQs on Brown, Diatom Algae 1

Related FAQs: Diatom Control 2, Diatom Control 3, Diatom Control 4, Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae

Related Articles: 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, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Scanning Electron Micrograph of a single diatom skeleton. Beautiful eh?

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Brown Algae Thanks so much some of the brown algae is gone or has moved to other places. <good to hear> Like at first it was all over the top of the tank and now it's at the bottom and I think some of it is turning green. My clown died in that whole progress. I know that is bad cause clowns don't die to easily. What should be some starter fish???? <puffers, damselfish, triggerfish, etc> I was gonna buy some other fish specially since it 's Christmas time and all the sales and all. By the way I'm in Colorado and it's kinda hard to find some good fish and rock. Where are you at do you get good selections ?? <I would check http://www. themarinecenter.com and http://www. liveaquaria.com  and there are other great retailers out there as well. Good luck, IanB.>

Good Algae or Bad Algae Hello I've got a little brown algae epidemic in my new tank it's only been setup 2 weeks and this brown algae has really just taken off.  My first question is.... Is this algae a sign of something wrong with my setup or water my water is nitrite 0, nitrate 0, ammonia 0, and ph 8.2.  Secondly will turbo grazers be interested in this type of algae and would they be able to control the problem or will I need another type of "scavenger"?  I have included a jpg of the algae in question below. TIA as usual Kevin <What a photo! 2 plus megs of diatom growth on base rock! Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm  and the Related FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner>

Brownish/Diatom Algae Hi, I have a 120 gallon saltwater tank, and I do about a 5 gallon water change each week. I have this brownish algae that grows so quick that I could do another water change 2 days after I do my weekly one. Do I need to do a bigger change or do I need to do 2 a week. <It sounds like you have diatoms and something wrong with your source water, salt mix, or perhaps nutrient export mechanisms.> I can't get rid of this stuff and it is starting to get on my rocks and growing on the side of the tank. <Please see this FAQ file, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm, and follow on through the related links.> Thanks <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Diatoms Greetings, My pre-drilled All-Glass 72 bow front tank has been running for 7 days now. I have a Sea Life Systems Pro 150 gal wet/dry with built in skimmer. My Magnum 950 return pump is providing me with a flow rate of 540 gal/hr. I purchased 25 lbs of live rock to last week to begin the cycling process. The rock was originally encrusted with beautiful red/pink coralline algae. The last 3 days the rock, substrate and glass have been overrun by a rusty slime. After scouring your site I have come to the conclusion that I have a bad case of blue green algae. <Sounds more like diatoms to me.> I have read all pertinent info regarding this form of bacteria. My lighting consists of 2 55 watt 9325 Kelvin power compacts (I will have a fish and live rock tank). I keep my lights on for approx. 14 hrs day. Is this duration OK? <A little long for me.> Or should I attempt longer periods of lighting to encourage the good algae? <If anything, I would cut back to 12 hours, a normal photoperiod.> I have been testing the water quality every day using Salifert testing kits. Temp= 80-82 Salinity= 1.022-1.023 Ammonia= <.5 Nitrite= .1 Nitrate= 4 PH= 8.1 Alkalinity=4.57 Oxygen=4-5ppm <For a new tank, most of your parameters are ok. I would like to see both your pH and O2 up a little bit, though.> I am concerned that the blue green algae has arisen by a lack of oxygen and/or build up of organics. <Again, my best guess is diatoms (very normal in new tanks) and not a cause of alarm. Please look here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm  to confirm. The first picture is of Cyanobacteria.>> Organics concerns: My skimmer has probably only skimmed out about a 1/2 cup of brown liquid this entire week. Could this be normal since I only have 25 lbs of rock in my tank or is this inadequate production even for a new tank? <Inadequate production, but you could still be getting used to the adjustments.> Oxygen concerns: I do not understand how my oxygen level can be so low. I would think that 540 gal/hr circulation with be enough to oxygenate the water, especially with the skimmer aerating the water as well. My return water is shot through a nozzle in one corner of the tank. The nozzle is pointed to the other side of the tank and I have it angled so it agitates the water surface while shooting out some air as well. My tank does have a glass hood that seals the top. Can you think of why the oxygen level would be so low? <The nitrifying bacteria consume oxygen for one thing, but 540 gph is not a lot for a 72 gallon tank.> Is there a way that I can increase the O2 level without additional equipment? <Perhaps increasing the production/amount of air in the skimmer.> If I must buy additional aeration equipment would you suggest powerheads) or airstones)? <First, lets test your O2 level. Drop an airstone in the sump and bubble it like crazy for one day and see if that makes a difference. If is does, I would add a powerhead or two.> I was really hoping that I could avoid powerheads. If unavoidable can you suggest a quality brand that is quiet and unobtrusive (powerheads or airstones-air pump)? <For powerheads, I prefer Hagen or Aquarium Systems units. IMO, the best air pump on the market was the Tetra Luft pump, now sold by Coralife.> The blue green algae problem occurred right after adding a dose of Kent Marine Essential Elements. Is this a coincidence or could these elements have caused the outbreak? <It may contribute, but again if diatoms it is nearly inevitable in a new tank.> Would introducing macro-algae to compete with the blue/green be prudent at this point? <Sure> Anything else I am missing here to eradicate this problem? <Time, it has only been 7 days.> I was also wondering if I should add more live rock this weekend. Would this be a good idea or should I wait until I get the problem under control? <Fine to add more liverock.> I apologize for all the questions. I guess that I am hoping that you will tell me that I am overreacting and my algae and oxygen problems with take care of themselves in the coming weeks as the tank matures. <You are overreacting at least partly. The O2 levels concern me because you have no fish yet.> I love your site and your advice has been invaluable so far. Thanks, Jeff <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Silicate Hi Bob and experts, <cheers> Today I got few questions, 1) Is there any algae that absorb silicate other than diatom ? <tons... literally metric tons :)> 2) Other then using skimmer, PolyFilter, and RO , is there any other natural way to remove diatom ? <many natural processes do and can be harnessed in system dynamics like mass-harvested refugiums... still, its like reinventing the wheel. Why bother when the most direct and reliable way is to screen it on the import side with purified water used for evap and water changes and then aggressive skimming in the system? Both are key ingredients to success with marine aquaria. buffered DI water and a good skimmer that produces dark skimmate every day. Best regards> Thanks.  Regards, Danny

Brown Algae Hi Bob: <Howdy> I have recently setup a 54 Gallon corner Marine aquarium. It's been running for 3 weeks with Nature's Ocean live Aragonite for the substrate, 7 lbs of cured Fiji rock and a few hardy Damsels. My question is that I have brown algae growing on the substrate and on the LR. Is this normal?, and will the algae keep on growing since I will be adding and additional 45 lbs of LR. <Likely forms of diatoms (siliceous single celled algae). Please see pix and articles and FAQs re starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm Bob Fenner> Thank You, Aram Nalbandyan

Re: Brown Algae Thanks, you guys have a great site... <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

Brown Diatoms and a Few Other Questions Hi Guys, <whassssup> I know you get a large volume of emails - GREAT job!  <thank you kindly!> I'll try to keep this simple... -30 gal flatback hex -Whisper 300 biofilter system (carbon cartridges) -Sea Clone protein skimmer (cup about 1/2 full daily) <surprised, impressed and grateful to hear it> -approx. 10 lbs live rock -3/4" live sand covering -1 arch-eyed hawk -1 irregular shaped white bubble coral -smattering of blue legged crabs and Turbos -55 wt. PC (10,000K and actinic 50/50) -Tank is 5 mo.s old I am having some trouble with diatoms (I read the FAQS, etc - great info). I am beginning to understand the silicate, phosphates, etc. sources and am attempting to limit their impact.  <yes... diatoms are all about nutrient control. Very easy to eradicate. A skimmer that produces coffee dark product daily can usually control it within weeks alone> Seems to be slowly coming under control. I have a few questions directly related to the diatoms and a couple of general questions (I was trying to save them up - catch them at once to help reduce number of emails for you.) -Distilled H2O (purchased as 1 g "consumer" type bottles in store) are free of silicates/phosphates correct? <likely but not a perfect water source... may use copper to distill the water... not guaranteed fish safe. Two column deionizers at home are best long term investment> -plastic containers (pails) to keep make up water in are also free of silicates/phosphates, correct? <yep... make a habit of using food grade plastics and you'll have little or nothing to fear> -What % and frequency of H2O changes would you recommend until diatoms under control? <hmmm... tricky to answer. Fresh minerals in the new seawater can contribute to growth in borderline displays... yet you need to dilute the accumulating nutrients in the system too. Best to control diatoms with aggressive skimming (two skimmers cleaned alternately is a surefire guarantee), chemical media changed frequently (1 oz carbon weekly per 50 gallons rather than 4 oz monthly for example. Then maintain a normal water change schedule (20% bi-weekly, 10% weekly, etc)> -After under control what % frequency do you personally find most effective? -I would normally use a 12 hour lighting period. While I'm battling the diatoms, what reduced period could I get away with and not harm the coral (is doing great at 12 hours and current conditions)? Tank looks great (clear) in morning and progressively gets browner as day progresses. <diatoms really aren't about light... they are about nutrients. In my coral farming greenhouse I had clear aquaria sitting in full sun under supplemented metal halide (one display) that were still diatom free after five years. Of course, I am a skimmer nut and ran two at all times... but the point is enjoy a normal photoperiod and don't compromise the animals... control the nutrients> -Do you recommend using the biofilter carbon cartridges in the Whisper system. I've read mixed reviews about the use of carbon (should it maybe be used only so often - or what sort of changing frequency would you want?) <carbon is necessary and does far more good than "harm". Small frequent doses IMO> -what is an optimal level of lbs live rock per gallon (wanting to have simple low-light corals (mushrooms, etc) and few a fish - wanting to leave room for fish to swim)? <the rule is for reduced dependence on man-made bio-filters. 1-2 lbs per gallon... 2 lbs to eliminate bio-filters on most display. Great if you can swing it. Much better and more natural (less nitrates, etc).> I was getting discouraged with the diatoms and general tank condition before I found your website. It has great info - and it was a morale booster knowing that other people have the suffering frustrations that I am (I am not alone). Great job and keep it up!!! Bill Prevo <best regards, my friend. What big city are you near by the way? A good aquarium society can be a huge support as well and great camaraderie. Kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Brown Algae - Could It Be My Substrate? Bob, We have had a 75 gallon reef tank setup for over two years and recently moved to a new house. We took the opportunity to setup a new 75 gal. tank with a Lifereef Berlin style sump, Lifereef Protein skimmer, and Calcium Reactor. We also decided to try to include a modest DSB. Well, the move was moderately successful (we lost of few things - a Flame Angel and Acropora - because we got delayed in completing the setup after we began the move) and after a few days of tweaking I had the water quality nailed (we were able to move a good amount of the existing tank water) and everyone looked happy. This was about two months ago. However, in the last two weeks a brown algae has developed that is taking over the tank. This surprises us because the original tank was doing very well and we've increased the capability of the protein skimming and the use of the Calcium Reactor provides even more stable PH and Alkalinity. We are also very careful about feeding. As we only have a small Purple tang, a Dottyback, lawnmower blenny, and a six-line wrasse, I feed a little Nori maybe once every week and a small amount of frozen brine shrimp once a month. <Definitely not overstocked nor overfed, possibly even underfed.> The fish appear active, colorful and healthy. As well, the Hydnophora, Torch coral, small Maxima clam, and assorted Mushrooms are open, vibrant and generally healthy (though I am concerned about the eventual "choking out" that may occur if the brown algae gets any worse). I have not added Iodine or any other additives to the tank. Test for ammonia, nitrate, phosphate, etc. are all good (I do understand that the phosphate test is dubious at best). <Yes> In addition to the RIO 3100 as my return pump (feeding four return lines that push water down behind the rocks) I have a submerged powerhead on both the left and right side of the tank to produce additional flow and agitate the surface. Note: the protein skimmer is working well and appears to be collecting a good bit of waste. <Good> I read a response you gave to someone about the depth of the DSB. Ours is about 2 inches, never more than 3 in any spot. Could this be the source of the problem? <The DSB was new right. 2" is not too good for denitrification and can become a nutrient sink over time, but it seems that the DSB was a new idea/addition.> And if so, how can we resolve it? Can I just order more live sand and carefully place it on top of the existing sandbed? <Yes, but not sure that is your problem.> Can you suggest a particular brand or type of sand to use? <CaribSea Aragamax is nice and has the appropriate grain size but there are others.> Another question: I have heard the blue legged hermits are about the only thing that will eat the brown algae. Is this true? (Note: this is not brown diatoms on the glass; it is a filmy brown layer). <Could be Dinoflagellates or Cyanobacteria.> I have some red-legged reef hermits, turbo snails, a Mithrax crab, Bali star, and a recently added impatiens cucumber. Finally, In addition to a pair of Power Compacts, we have two 175 Watt 10K MH bulbs (12.5 hours of PC operation - about 6 hours of MH). The MH's were almost a year old so I replaced them. This corresponds to about the same time that the algae bloom began to occur. Could this be contributing? <You need nutrients first, then lighting. All reef tanks must keep nutrients under control (the limiting factor) or else our photosynthetic inverts would perish.> (Note: these are the German True 10K bulbs - my last set were standard 10K that were incorrectly ordered for me by a LFS that then went out of business; so I made sure to order the True 10K's this time. In short, there has been a change, somewhat subtle, to the lighting) Any advice is greatly appreciated, Hugh Hegedus <My best guess is nutrients imported from your source water. It could be a difference in tapwater at one house versus the new place or it could be a seasonal variation. -Steven Pro>

Brown Algae - Could It Be My Substrate? II Thank you for reply. I wanted to get a clarification regarding your best guess. You surmised that the source could be the water. I should have mentioned that I use a Spectrapure RO unit for my top off water and a GE RO unit for making up my change water (the Spectrapure unit takes a several hours to fill 5 gallons, so I use the GE unit (with a built in 4 gallon reservoir) to fill my change water bucket. Tests of both of these sources shows no phosphate, nitrates, etc. If these are my sources of water, would you still consider them the possible culprit rather than a 2" DSB. <No, but the nutrients do have to come from somewhere. Hopefully, you are regularly changing the prefilters on both units.>> Finally, my PH never gets above 8.2 (near the end of the 6 hour MH cycle), and usually is around 8.0-8.1. I have also heard that low PH can contribute to algae blooms. Any truth to that? <Yes, definitely. I would pickup the amount and/or frequency of your water changes to see if that makes a change.> Again thanks for the advice, Hugh Hegedus <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Diatoms or Cyano? Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I have read the FAQs for diatoms and BGA already. Thanks for the info. I have a problem in my 55G reef tank. It has been up for ~14 months. I have this golden-brown stuff growing that grows in sheets. The outer edges at a lighter yellow. The sheets form layers on top of each other. When I try to remove it the stuff breaks off. It appears to be brittle. The sheets a approximately 2-3" in diameter. <sounds like a dinoflagellate possibly> I have a sump growing Caulerpa with the lights on 24x7. I do not have any of this stuff growing in the sump, just the main tank. What is your best guess as to what this is? I have a good microscope, so could you please let me know how to differentiate diatoms from BGA. Thanks, Jay <high pH (8.6) and high alkalinity (over 11dKH) have been shown to inhibit this nuisance growth. Raise slowly and your livestock will be fine. Kindly, Anthony>

Diatoms or Cyano? II Hi Anthony, <Steven Pro today as Anthony is traveling to Detroit now.> Thanks for the info. I have been having problems getting the pH above 8.1 and the alkalinity above 8. I use Kent Marine Pro-Buffer dKH and Liquid Calcium, but I can not get the levels up. What would you suggest to raise these levels? <I would do a bunch of water changes to get you in the ballpark and then maintain with the use of Kalkwasser and/or a calcium reactor.> Thanks, Jay <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Diatom Algae in New Tank Hello Guys. <Cheers, my friend. Anthony Calfo in your service> I would like to know whether or not it is OK to gently brush the diatomaceous algae that covers my curing rock?  <reasonably safe and helpful... but do make sure skimmer is functioning well to export these and other nutrients to prevent its return with a vengeance> There is almost no color to be seen at present and I am sure that the rock is not adequately illuminated with this hairy covering. The rock is about two weeks in the tank. I would also like to know if we can add another 50 lbs of uncured rock to that which is presently in the tank without too great an ill effect.  <no worries with a skimmer and preparedness for a water change> We have five left handed hermits in with the rock (about 50 lbs) and they seem to be doing fine at present. Thanks for your continued help. Fred, British Columbia, Canada. <best regards, Anthony>

Brown Algae, Diatoms Bob, Anthony, Steve: <Steven this evening.> I am obtaining a large amount of brown algae (similar to what grows on my glass) on my coral, covering the nice purple coralline that I am trying to expand, especially on my Tonga. Can I brush off with soft brush or will that take the coralline off with it? <No, the brushing is fine and will not remove healthy coralline algae.> When I do the cleaning on the live rock, if I place in a low salinity (1.18) bucket to clean will that help kill off the brown algae as well. <Maybe, but will likely kill other beneficial algae and animals, too. Better to lower your nutrient levels and starve out the diatoms.> I am in the process of adding carbon, and poly filters to my tank to see if that will help in stabilizing the algae growth which has begun to take over the tank. <Good idea as well as aggressive protein skimming, careful feeding, regular water changes, etc.> I do not know if my coralline additive is helping or aiding in the trouble called B-Ionic. <These two parts calcium supplements would be encouraging coralline growth and not diatoms.> Lights are on only for 5 hrs. (2 55W subcompacts) and little food left over from feeding to aid in nutrient help. <Good> Suggestions have been to check my water for phosphate. <Silicate is usually identified/associated with diatoms.> Can my water conditioner have any possibility to help my brown algae grow? <Unlikely> Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Regards, Mendy <I think you are well on your way with the carbon, PolyFilter, and careful feeding. See above notes for a few other suggestions. -Steven Pro>

Brown Algae, Diatoms I added more light to my tank now I have about 750 watts power compacts and metal halide lights and two florescent. My tanks temperature is at 84 now it when up by 3 degas and I put a fan it did not help and now I have brown dust algae bad an can not get raid of it. I have tried water changes I have a Ro. system and used phosphate removers and this does not seem to help I did not have this problem as bad before the metal halides lights. 1. 190 gallon tank. 2. Protein skimmer 3. 2 @ 40 watts fluorescent 10k 4. 2 @ 55 watts power compact 10k 5. 2 @ 65 watts power compact 10k 6. 2 @ 175 watts metal halides light 12k 7. Wave power head. 8. 225 pounds of live rock. 9. 135 pounds of base rock. 10. 1 40 gallon sump and 30 gallon refugium system with light and plants. 11. Have 5 fish and soft corals mushrooms, Hermit Crabs, Hairy Crab. 12. Large Green Button Polyps (Flowerpot Coral.), Formosa, Stylophora pistillata, Pulsing brown Xenia, Clam (Tridacna crocea) and brain coral and bubble coral  <the brown algae is a diatom that grows largely from silica (hence why your phosphate pad did little). It is also encouraged by higher water temperatures and warmer colored lights (ideally you halides will be 6500 to 10,000 K). High alkalinity and pH will also help to discourage it a bit (aim for 11+ dKH Alk and pH near 8.6). And finally... a protein skimmer is the single best tool against nuisance algae. Get your skimmer to produce a dark coffee colored cup of skimmate every single day and the algae will wane within weeks. Anthony>

algae I have brown algae on the glass and gravel of my salt water tank, I have never had it before. I bought a new light and only keep it on for a few hours a day/ the are only 3 damsels in the tank. can you help? thanks Richard <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the many linked files beyond. Bob Fenner>

Severe Red/Brown diatom algae bloom  Hello,  I have a salt water tank that is now 3 weeks old. I currently have a  *horrendous* outbreak of Red/Brown diatom algae. I put 48 snails into the  tank on Saturday, but they can't keep up. It is so bad that I am now  noticing some strands floating on the surface of the tank. They get pulled  into the overflow box and sucked down into the sump, but still...I am *very*  concerned. I have three filters running on the tank:  1) Eheim Pro II 2028  2) E.T.S. Super Reef Devil  3) Hagen Powerhead 402 w/Quickfilter attachment filled with carbon.  The skimmer is pulling gunk from the tank very well.  The water is clear. My water quality parameters are all good, but the  algae in intense. It has covered everything in the tank, including the live  rock!? The only thing not covered are my 8 damsel fish and 1 Coral Beauty  Angel. What can I do? I need some help and/or advise.  Sincerely, Mark Schwartz  <I hope this is a rather large tank, over 100 gallons. Diatoms are  completely normal is a new tank. They will run their course and die out in  a month or two. In the meantime, you may wish to cut back on your lighting  until they fade away. Also, do you have a lot of surface agitation. The  strands on the surface sound as if there is not enough circulation. -Steven  Pro> 

Brown Algae Bob <Anthony Calfo in your service> I'm looking at a type of algae in my tank that seems to be growing over the past few weeks. It's brown and covers the rock like a sheet. I can peel it off in some areas almost like dead skin from a sunburn. Underneath the coralline is still purple. I have had a small patch for a long time but lately its been getting worse. <as it usually is...fine in most tanks> Patches springing up everywhere, even on the shell of one of the snails. What does this sound like and how do I get rid of it?  <tough to say without seeing it/general descriptions. If it seems a bit gelatinous... may simply be a dinoflagellate> I'm guessing high nutrient levels my be present <almost certainly the cause> so I'm decreasing feeding and increasing water changes.  <nutrient control is the way to go.. but if you don't honestly think that you were overfeeding anyway, perhaps just work the protein skimmer and chemical filtration better with water changes to export the nutrients> I heard there is a chemical that helps reduce high nutrients (chem -lite ?) but I haven't tired anything yet. <I am only aware of chemicals/products that mask nitrate test kit readings...hehe> As always any help is appreciated. Jim <best regards, Anthony>

Algae/ Dinoflagellate I saw the same question here before but can't find it. If I remember it is not algae I have. It looks like red slime but there a bubbles with it.  <Yes... a dinoflagellate...same difference...hehe> My 15g reef is worse than the 48g. It did say something about the ph being not being constant but I do not get a big swing 8.1 or so in morn and 8.4 at night and all other reads or fine. I use RODI water and air rate and treat before doing water changes. What else could be done with this? <check alkalinity as well as pH...both should be higher. But the Dino is also growing from nutrients...make sure your skimmer is working to peak daily performance and think of any other ways that you can control/export nutrients to starve out this pest. Anthony>

Brown Algae Control Hi Bob, Steven, and Anthony, <Bob for now> First off let me thank you for your years of experience and sharing it with others in the hobby/obsession. I read your Q&A daily. I have a problem with my 1 year old reef tank. I have what I believe to be the brown wafer algae Lobophora variegata. It has completely covered two 8" diameter live rocks and is spreading to others. What can I do to remove it or control it. <If this algae (now considered a pest) is confined to these areas, rocks, I would remove, scrub them under freshwater, rinse and replace... Or trade, sell one of these "magic" rocks to a hobbyist, shop that is looking to culture this material... or seek a fish that will appreciate it... like a Naso species.> I have read through the algae section and cannot find what to do with it. I also have a small patch of Padina sp., Scroll Algae and a little bit of some type of kelp, but it is easily controlled. My tank parameters are listed below. Twice a week I add Seachem Reef Complete and Reef Calcium. Once a week Reef Plus. I would like to boost the calcium up to help the coralline algae grow(50% covered rock), but I have not been successful in raising the CA above 300. Should I try dosing Kalk to raise the CA level? <Perhaps... or better, a two-part (biomineral and alkalinity) supplement system... someday a calcium reactor...> Or switch to a two part additive. <Ah! Yes> Tank = 80gal + 13gal sump Fiji LR = 150 lbs Aragonite Sand bed = 1.5" deep Skimmer = Turboflotor 1000 Water movement = 1000+ gph 330watts VHO on 10 hr/day (I just replaced bulbs after 1yr) 1 50/50, 1 03, 1 Aquasun <This should help to favor other (green) algae over the browns> 100% well water (private well, I don't seem to have a problem with phosphates) PH = 8.0 measured at 10:00 AM (all Red Sea Pharm test kits) KH = 6.0 (what should this be?) <Ideally, nearer to 12 dKH> PO4 = <0.1ppm CA = 300ppm NO3 = 0 ppm SG = 1.023 Temp = 79 to 81 4 Yellow tail damsels 1 Green Chromis 1 fire fish 2 perc clowns 8 red leg hermits 12 adult snails + 500 babies 100+ small brittle stars 1 Green star polyps (growing well) 1 tree coral 1 toadstool leather 1 candy cane coral (tripled in size in 7 months) 1 green open brain red mushrooms I will be visiting Oahu, HI in March, is there any special snorkeling site there that I should not miss. <Oh yes, Sharks Bay, Three Steps, Hanuman Bay... Drive around the circumference of the island in a leisurely pace... do visit the Waikiki Aquarium, Bernice P. Bishop Museum... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Darren

R/O or No? Okay, who are you, Steve, Anthony, or Robert???  <You got Steven today.> Doesn't really matter, I think you all know your stuff. <Thank you kindly.> I'm the one with the ugly tank, <I would not say that. Most beginners make many mistakes. At least you have the courage to seek out the truth and to correct your problems.> well, I guess it has potential. I promise, I will upgrade my little Skilter, in the mean time, I want to ask about the use of RO water. What are the criteria for using one? <I prefer to use purified water whenever possible. It stops some headaches and minimizes the variables when looking to diagnose problems.> Originally, my reason was because I was reading about silicates in tap water, which would lead to unwanted algae, DIATOMS!! And if you recall my last letter, out of your million and a half, that was my problem,... diatoms. <Diatoms are a fairly routine problem/occurrence.> Are you following me? <I hope so.> I put off and put off water changes because I have to hook up the RO unit, then wait at least 3 days before I have enough water made for a change( yes, I bought the cheap unit!). <Temperature has an effect on the performance of RO units. Perhaps your will speed up once the weather improves and your tap water warms. Always use just cold water to feed the RO.> I have a 55 gal. I miss the fresh water days when I would just hook up the Python and let 'er rip! Do water changes REALLY have to be this complicated? On a limited budget, please! <You can still use the Python to drain water. I use a 30 Rubbermaid garbage can to hold my purified water. It is allowed to aerate and heat first. Then salt and buffer are added and allowed to mix. I then use a pump to send water back to the main tank.> Thanks! Pamela

Mo' R/O Rubbermaid huh? Well, that's cheap enough. But where do you keep this amount of water? Surely not next to the tank!  <My tanks are in my family room. I keep the new water in my laundry room, which is beside the family room. The Rubbermaid is about 20 feet from the tank.> UGH!....... AND, just as important, the pump,...... what do you use and are these units just a bit costly? <I use a Mag-Drive 500. I do aquarium maintenance for a living so I always have a plethora of pumps, hoses, heaters, etc.> Yes, I am a beginner for sure. I thought with the 20 some years raising so many fresh water species, that I would at least know SOMETHING! But I feel like such a beginner. For starters, I ALWAYS. used a UG filter, now I guess they're a bit primitive in reefs. That took a bit of convincing. And all this talk about sumps, overflows, pumps, plenums (sp?) ahhh, so much to learn. And I don't want my livestock to suffer as I learn, understand? <There is always something new to learn in this hobby. I learn something just about everyday.> Well, thank you for your time Steve. <You are very welcome, Pamela.> Pamela <Steven Pro>

Brown Algae Hello Robert, <Pamela... Anthony Calfo here answering Bob's mail while he meditates on what part of his body to place his next Koi tattoo> Reef questions are endless, lucky you, huh? <viva la reef!> Okay Robert, the age old dilemma,...... reddish brown diatoms, or, is it algae. Whichever it is, it's a constant ugly presence in my tank. Not like when I first set up the tank, but none the less, annoying! I have plenty of flourishing purple coral throughout the tank, but not on the rock that doesn't get churned up from the 6 powerheads I run, and this is where I have the diatom problem. I have 55 gallons to refresh your memory. About once a month, I go in and arrange the powerhead flow, but this is not a fun task. What happens when I am able to fill the rest of the tank with LR? The substrate also turns brown. Should I be churning it up also? <ideally you need enough current to keep nutritive elements (detritus and the like) in suspension long enough for nutrient export processes to handle the waste. If you have a diatom problem and a skimmer on the tank that is not producing even a small cup of dark product DAILY then I would begin there. In most every case... brown algae can be starved out of a system within 2-3 weeks just by aggressive skimming> Thank you Robert for your help. Pamela <with kind regards, Anthony>

Brown Algae continued <Hello Pamela. Steven Pro speaking (sort of). You caught me on my shift.> Thank you for waking me up! I just looked at my skimmer, and it was about to overflow!!! What a catch! But seriously, Robert did tell me to look into another skimmer regarding my constant 40 to 50 nitrate level, so I guess I'll go out and buy one. <Good advise.> That's annoying though, because when I began to purchase for this set up, the people at the pet shop told me that the Skilter ( I believe it's a 400? It is about 14inches long with 2 separate chambers) was all I would need for a 55 g. tank. I guess they were all wet! Ahhhh, I hate wasting money! <Me too. Tough lesson learned, do not completely trust sales people.>

Lighting question Hi Bob-- I've been reading thru the WetWebMedia website and your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist, and have a lighting question for you. I'm slowly adding more live rock to my 55 gallon saltwater set-up, hoping to add more inverts and reef plant life. I currently have a sea urchin and starfish, plus a few damsels, a Koran angel, a Flamefish, and a moon wrasse. I am using two fluorescent bulbs, but realize that I need to have at least four (or switch to CF lights) to stimulate more beneficial algae growth and to keep the inverts healthy (if/when more are added). <Okay> I have previously used a CF hood with two 55W twin bulbs, but could only keep them on for a few hours a day due to massive diatom growth everywhere, even with regular water changes, protein skimming, and UV sterilization.  <Likely a tap water nutrient source problem (e.g. mainly silicates, phosphate...) Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm and the linked files referred to there> All water parameters test fine, temp is constant at 78F. Do you have any suggestions on how to add more lighting without having the diatom problem all over again? <The best is to limit the sources of nutrient input, and additionally, provide competitors, like macro-algae, that will use up available matter and light...> I realize they're basically harmless, but they are not the most esthetic aquarium growth around. <Diatoms do have their place, uses...> Thank you in advance for your help, and for a great book and website. All good wishes, Daryl Klopp <And thank you for your kind words and help with the latter. Bob Fenner>

Brown Nori-like algae! Hi Bob, It's been awhile I'll say a year or so I have not had any problem, I guess I'm half way of being an expert.  <How can one tell?> Most corals are living well and growing like crazy that they started to touch and burn each other. Anyway that's the good part the bad part is that I know I have seen many set up but not like having the algae that I have. It all started as white coralline, then pink then purple that over lap each layer, then finally a brown but hangs unlike the other coralline that attached to live rock. This one starts out as a small circle and eventually becomes a bigger circle. It has become a sort of pest since all my live rock is covered with it and none of my tangs appreciate them or even try to nibble them. If you pull them out you can see the purple and pink coralline. Thanks for your help again my friend. Rommel <So... do you want to "get rid" of this pest brown algae? I'd change the conditions back to those that favor the reds/corallines. Please read over our site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs.htm following the Links where they interest you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Brown Nori-like algae! Hi Bob, Thanks for the fast reply, looking at WWM under brown algae I saw the picture and it is the same one it is called Lobophora variegata (left picture). Although what it's telling me is how to keep them it does not tell me how to get rid of them, but out of curiosity based on my experience with pest alga like BGA is to have a good water movement, less nutrient to feed them, good protein skimmer, and lighting, which I have and a good test result for water parameters like, ph, Alk/CA, 0 nitrate/phosphate, did water change every 2 weeks of 15% with R/O, regularly getting rid of detritus. Thanks in Advance! <Look to increasing alkalinity, biomineral content, perhaps checking the age of your lighting/lamps and trading them out for new. Bob Fenner>

Attack of the diatom cloud UGH!!!! I hate diatoms! Oh, by the way, hello, thanks for such a great site! Now back to my lamentations...I have been battling a diatom war, and am losing (it seems). My reef has been up and running since appx. February, 2001, and I have been dealing with diatoms since March. My set-up is: 46gal flat-back hex 50 lbs LR 3 1/2" very fine grain DSB Bak-Pak II skimmer (only using a very small amount of bio-bale for bubble reduction) <Replace this with other material> 2 additional powerheads for circulation 4X55 JBJ PC fixture 1:1 10K vs. actinic lighting Livestock: 1 striped damsel 1 Kole tank 1 cleaner shrimp 1 coral banded shrimp 1 horseshoe crab (I know, not the best but it is doing well :-) and the kids love to watch it) appx. 25 hermits (scarlet & blue-legged) lots of empty Astrea snail shells ;-( Stats are: ammonia - 0.0ppm nitrite - 0.0ppm nitrate - 0.0 ppm alkalinity - 12-14dKh ph - 8.3 I don't test for phosphates or calcium. <You might... perhaps too much HPO4, too little Ca...> My questions are many, and I'm at a dead end. First, I feed very sparingly. I don't think that I'm adding a lot of fuel for the diatoms to use so I must be adding organic matter somewhere else. My salt mix claims to be phosphate free, but is there a brand that you would recommend? <There are a few good, consistent ones... Tropic Marin and Instant Ocean are my faves currently> I haven't purchased a H2O filter yet and suspect that this may be my problem. I currently mix my sea water in advance (up to 2 weeks) to age it and bind the free phosphates etc. but my diatoms are completely out of hand. <Likely is a substantial contributing factor... too much silicate... other non-rate-limiting compounds in your tap> Have you heard much about the Aquarium Pharm. Tap Water Purifier and its effectiveness, or worth? Money is an issue for this, although I'm trying to convince the financier (money lady, aka wife) that a RO/di unit is great for the house. <Do just skip to, get an R.O. device... for all your drinking, cooking, pet-fishing uses (maybe some house plants as well)... the TWP is too expensive per gallon IMO, and an R.O. unit will likely have a reservoir... much easier to use, store.> Also, I've been having some dark spots appear in my substrate. To combat this I purchased the horseshoe crab (he likes to burrow and move about underground) and also mixed in about 10 lbs of course grain crushed coral. I don't smell any noxious odors, so I think things are OK there but I am concerned. <I wouldn't be.> Lastly, I had a question about the power compact lights. What is the normal life expectancy of PC bulbs. My LFS said I should expect about 12-18 months from my bulbs before a noticeable color shift <Hmm, I'd be contacting the manufacturer... likely have a website... for being on twelve/fourteen hours a day, ten months is about most lamps effective life times... Don't wait for apparent lumen depreciation, spectral shift... you won't discern this...> but I've noticed that my mushroom corals are not opening up like they used to and the diatoms are going crazy. Could my bulbs be the culprit here even though they are only about 4 months old?  <Shouldn't be...> I've been running them for a total of 14 hours daily, with 2 total hours of dawn/dusk. Currently the lights are suspended about 4" from the waters surface (for heat dissipation, it's hot in Sacramento). Would it be better to rest them directly on the acrylic surface, thereby placing them closer to the animals? <Probably so...> Please help, the diatoms, they're everywhere........................... Jason, who can't see the forest for the trees, or actually diatoms in this case! <Do read over our site re "Algae Control" and the many other related parts: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm, especially the FAQs section on "Diatom Control"... I strongly suggest you try culturing some purposeful macro-algae... on live rock in the main system and/or a lighted sump/refugium... Study on the WWM site re this approach... your single best here. Bob Fenner>

Diatom culprit? hi bob, just spent 2 hours scrubbing/vacuuming off the diatom brown scum explosion on the bottom and sides of my tank. any ideas on the potential culprit, so I can prevent this mess again?  <Sure... lack of competition for nutrients, light, not enough in the way of sand-stirrers, animals that eat diatoms... too much phosphate, nitrate... read through the algae control sections on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> here's the lowdown: 6 weeks old 125 gal fowler 100 lbs Walt smith LR Turboflotor skimmer w/d filtration 2 watts/gal power compacts (6-8 hours/day) two powerheads 3 damsels pH 8.4 SG 1.022 T 81 constant NH4 0.25 <This should be zero...> nitrate and nitrite zero ca++ 410 3 days previous to the bloom, I was adding one tsp of coral vital by marc Weiss per day (now halted).  <This is smart... you don't need to add any more sugar water...> 4 days prior, I place Dacron polyester in the return cup from my skimmer to decrease the fine air bubbles (now removed). I performed a 20% water change as well; water is made from aged tapwater and Coralife salt. I added a cleanup crew (emerald crab, scarlet hermits, blue-leg hermits, turbo snails) as well. any other insights or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <Look into getting a Ctenochaetus tang: http://wetwebmedia.com/ctenocha.htm for diatom control, growing green macro-algae (see the WWM site)> also, should I continue the marc Weiss coral vital (I added it because my coralline algae were not as robust)? <Throw that garbage away.> off the topic, 1) I bought a two inch stars and stripe puffer that is black colored. the salesperson said he had not really seen them before; most were the usual brown color. is this fish just a variant? <A variant> 2) please comment on the compatibility of these fishes (my wish list): porcupine puffer stars/stripe puffer powder blue tang regal tang Volitans lion fish Goldstripe maroon clown royal gamma flame angel <Could live together in a large enough system> thanks a million! without your guidance and sound advice, I would be one very frustrated aquarist! Knef <We will be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Tang Ques. Bob, Thanks for your great website! I have a 110g reef tank 6yrs.old. Added some Fiji rock from W. Smith and now have some Sargassum sp. growing. I'd like to keep it in check as I've been switching over to a SPS dominated reef. I've read that the Naso would be best. How about Acanthurus Coeruleus, or possibly a Desjardini from the Red Sea? <Hmm, for brown algaes that will be eaten by such fishes, the Naso genus is best here> Also, if I get the Acanthurus, think I might be able to place 2 juveniles in at the same time, or would I be best with just one? <I would leave off with Atlantic tangs here... Maybe give a read over the choices on the site again: http://wetwebmedia.com/tangs.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks again, G. Ski

Algae: The Invincible! Hi again Mr. Fenner, I wrote you a while back about some problems with brown algae (I included all those big pictures)... <Yes, I recall> I am in the process of attempting to fix the problem but am not sure if I am doing the right thing to completely eliminate this stuff. I've been doing 6-9 G water changes a day (my tank is a 40G+20G sump) for the last week and I did a 30 G water change today (I have no livestock yet so drastic measures are ok). When I started the tank, it was with city water (I know... big mistake) and that's what probably caused this mess. Last week I went out and bought an RO unit and that's what I've been using for all the water changes. Tomorrow, my DI add-on for the RO unit should arrive so I get better water. I've also had my CF lights (1 10,000K, 1 blue) switched off since the water changes began... I'm not sure how photosynthetic brown algae is. <Better to leave on a regular schedule to encourage beneficial, desirable types of algae...> The problem is that I'm not sure if I'm winning this battle, losing it, or sitting at a stalemate. <Sounds like the last> I've noticed that the spread of the algae has either slowed down considerably or stopped but am not sure if it is disappearing... it all is happening so slowly. <Yes... very persistent life forms... require little input, much of anything further... "recycling" minerals, nutrients already in your system at this point> Do you have any suggestions on how I can speed up this repair process (I've read the FAQs but am not sure if I'm missing anything)? <Not much more than is on WWM presently... you have live rock? I would place "cleaner uppers" of whatever type you intend, and start trying to grow macro-algae...> Also are there any kind of critters that you would recommend that eat this kind of algae, but leave corals and other inverts alone, and may be ignored by a lionfish that will be added to the system later? <I'd risk any, all the types listed on the WWM site as useful here> Thanks again for the help. Your faithful student, Stan <Let some time go by with the above protocol, changes... things will settle in soon... Bob Fenner>

Mini mantis, brown hair & hermit homicide Hi Prof Fenner - <Just call me Bob> Recall the "new reef builder" in Dallas ... I'm the guy with the 29g who was weighing the benefits of moving up only 8 gals in tank size. Well, I have set up a 37g and believe [as you advised] that I will be glad that I did. I'm thinking FOWLR+LS [so far @50lbs LR; @40lbs LS; and zero "F"]. Running for a little more than 2 weeks, water parameters are: SG: 1.0215 @ 77 deg F; PH: 8.4; Ammonia: "0"; Nitrite: "0"; Nitrate: 30-40 ppm; Phosphate: "0". The LR, LS and @25gal of water actually had a "head start" cycling ... these were 2 wks in the 29g before transferring into the 37g. <Sounding better and better...> Maintaining my Whisper 40 [carbon] and CPR BakPak IIR has been a disturbing experience to date. The reason ... every time I change filter bags or clean the sponge incorporated in the skimmer for bubble control, I've found they've trapped small [1/4" - 1/2"] mantis shrimp [positive I.D. by the LFS] ... four so far! Could I have acquired a "nest" with my LR? <Sounds like it... and glad to hear they're getting trapped...> Aside from the shrimp, the system has developed significant brown micro algae and a diatom carpet. I've read about cause/control and concluded that light and nitrates are the most likely negatives.  <Yes... coupled with a lack of light intensity, quality... and purposeful competition, perhaps predation... oh, I see from below you're aware of this...> I'm in the process of trading in the std double 20w fixture that came with the tank for a double 55w PC setup. Along with the boost in photo-energy I'll pay closer attention to calcium/KH and hopefully give the coralline an edge. Before finding your opinion regarding blue-legged hermits, I acquired five in an attempt at algae control. All seemed to go well for about four days ... then a morning tank check revealed one set of blue legs [nothing else]. For the past two days I've only seen two of the original crew ... can't even find empty shells. Could they have become shrimp snacks? <Oh yes, heck yeah> Do blue-legged hermits attack one another?  <Not likely... other Hermits definitely are much more cannibalistic> Id like to introduce a couple of red-legged and/or emerald crabs. Will they eat brown micro algae?  <Try a Ctenochaetus tang species (see the www.wetwebmedia.com site re choices here)... A Mithrax/Emerald might help...> Can the blues, reds and greens share the same tank? Should I try to resolve the shrimp question first by setting a trap ... or are the more rugged red-legged and emeralds less likely to fall prey? <Can all live together... but yes to solving the "mystery" predator problem first...> Regarding non-fish tank additions ... should crabs, cleaner shrimp and/or snails be fresh/salt/chemical dipped?  <Not generally... good idea to quarantine, see if are going to "make it", harden them, allow possible pests et al. to cycle off by leaving out for a good couple of weeks "in transitio" though.> I don't recall seeing specific reference to their quarantine? For the hermits I carried out a gradual acclimation ... a slow transition from LFS carry-home water to 100% from my system before releasing them into the tank. Your writing refers to invertebrate quarantine ... do you have a recommended protocol for feather dusters and fan worms? Or can these be "rinsed/acclimated and placed" without QT? <Nope... with quarantine in most cases> Fascinating hobby! Thank you for your patience and sharing your expertise. <Thank you for sharing yours> - Tom Stecik <Bob Fenner>

Brown tide I have a brown covering on the glass in my 75 reef. After wiping it off it returns in 1 day completely covering all glass in 3 days. I have been told that it is a bacteria and to raise the ph, lower the lighting. Ph is at 8.5, how high should I go if in fact this is the way to resolve this problem. This must be a common problem but I don't know how to deal with it! Tank 75 Oceanic Reef Ready. 100 lbs live rock, Powerful skimmer works well, Lighting 10 hrs day power compacts 30" 1blue 1 white, ESV 2 part alk/calc additive daily, 2 yellow & 1 purple tang, 1 Foxface, 2 cardinals, 1 marine cat, 1 scooter blenny, 1 maroon clown, shrimp,  serpent stars, 20 turbo snails, various soft corals (10), 3 small hard corals. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Bob Marchese  < Hmm, actually this is a diatom bloom (types of single celled algae)... many folks approach their control starting with limiting input of silica (silicon dioxide in the tapwater, live rock, sand is an essential material for diatom skeletons)... And some people use animals that eat these diatoms... like the Bristle-Tooth Tangs of the genus Ctenochaetus... Other folks install live rock, macro-algae, mud/muck filters to compete with/use up other essential nutrients to combat pest algae problems... Still others boost their lighting, causing other algal life to proliferate, overtaking the lower-light loving forms like diatoms... What/which of these will you try? Bob Fenner>

Brown junk Hi  My New saltwater aquarium (I'm a rookie saltwater person) has this  brown, tan yellowish stuff (growing) on the crushed coral substrate. What is  it ? Do I need to get rid of it? I would like to get rid of it. It looks  terrible. Jerry < Those are diatom (single celled algae species) "scums", large aggregations of siliceous skeletoned algae... they look bad, but are part of aquarium/aquatic life experiences... and will probably soon be supplanted by green algae types... Other than looking bad, they won't do your system harm... You can control them to degrees by limiting silica (silicon dioxide) input into your system via tapwater, feeding, other substrates... via filtration, competition for nutrients... some purposeful algae eating cleaner uppers, maintenance...  Bob Fenner>

Question: There is a brown crud in my 55 tank that turns to slime when I take it out of the water. It looks hairy, but seems to not have any rigidity or form. Sort of like string, but less than 1/8 inch long. Sort of fuzzy. Someone told me this was a dinoflagellate plague. The water quality parameters are fine. We recently installed new VHO bulbs, which caused the tank light shock, but then tried just using half the bulbs for a while. I think that had something to do with the bloom. Maybe accidentally killed off the good algae and the bad stuff moved in. I just put a phosphate bag, Kent carbon, and nitrate remover bag in the trickle filter. Should I go back to using full lights? I figured that maybe by turning the lights off for 24 hrs that we could starve it if its photosynthetic. Also I did a 50 % water change. I have 150 lbs-200 lbs of live rock with a live sand bed. The tank has been set up for 2 years. I plan on adding calcium hydroxide by IV drip tomorrow to raise the ph (now is 8.1) Any ideas on how to get RID of this brown slimy stuff? I do not want to use antibiotics unless it is a last resort. Bob's Answer: I agree with your diagnosis re: the apparent cause - it probably was the light changes (good to change slowly, like one bulb at a time over a period of weeks). By the description, it is not dinoflagellate. Probably some other mix of algal, and aufwuchs and will be soon out competed by bringing more of your lighting into play. So start phasing in same and leave off adding or changing anything else for a good month or so until you start to see the system "return to center".

Brown Algae Blues, You Make Me Cry... Hello Bob, You gave an excellent presentation at the Sea Bay meeting @ Palo Alto Interpretation Center. I was the Asian guy discussing Emerald crabs doing a good job of cleaning the brown hair algae. That was on by 55 gal reef tank, its under control and very clean. However, I have a brown algae problem on my 100 gal fish only tank. Its all over my decorative rocks and on the glass. What is the best way to get it under control? Should I transfer several of the crabs over? I have a total of 4 green crabs and 1 sally light foot crab. Or should I get some snails? Please advise, Thanks Bob. David Dea, San Francisco < Hey David! I'd get more Emerald Crabs before snails... by far. But I am curious as to the light and nutrient availability in your 100. Is there not enough competition for these resources from your other (purposeful) livestock? Do you have a sump you can boost Caulerpa growth, either continuously or with an alternating light/dark arrangement? If this tank has been up for several months, I'd look to finding other ways of curtailing the Brown algae as I've listed. Bob Fenner>

Too Many Fishes... and Algae I am currently cycling my 75 gallon tank for a fish only setup. In the future I plan on having a snowflake eel, a lionfish, two clown triggers, and a gold puffer. 1. Is my tank large enough for these critters 2. Are they compatible 3. Is brown algae normal during cycling with uncured live rock? I understand that it feeds in a high nitrate environment. I have had the tank cycling for two weeks. The ammonia is close to 0, the nitrites are off the scale they are so high, and the nitrates are high. The ph is around 8.6 and the salt is 1.021. Should this brown junk be scaring me or is it normal? (I have heard different opinions on this so I thought I would go with what you say.)  Matt Mills  <No, no and yes... 1) This mix of fishes will not fit in a 75 for long... 2) This mix of fishes is not compatible. Try only one Clown Trigger in anything but a truly HUGE system. They will fight... The interactions amongst/between the rest of the intended livestock read like a horror movie: Let's see, the eel and lion won't get any food, as the trigger and puffer gobble it all down. The trigger and probably the puffer will tease and chew the lion and eel to bits... Back to the drawing board with your wish list. Take a look at some of the marine books produced in the last several years; many of them have survivability and compatibility notes... 3) Your nitrites will come down (wait to put any livestock in till that time) and some of your brown algae should start being supplanted by greens... Do you know much about the use of live rock, appropriate filtration issues? Maybe take a look at the articles arrayed on the wetwebmedia.com site. Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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