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FAQs on Controlling Green/Chlorophyte Algae 3

Related FAQs: Green Algae Control 1, Green Algae Control 2, Green Algae Control 4, Green algae Control 5, Green Algae Control 6, Green Algae Control 7, & By Group: Bryopsis & Derbesia, Bubble Algae (Boergesenia, Dictyosphaeria, Valonia...), Caulerpa Compatibility/Control, Chaetomorpha, Halimeda, Neomeris, Hair (Filamentous, Attached) Algae, Green Water  (Planktonic) Algae Blooms, & Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; CaulerpasControlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Related Articles: Embracing Biodiversity, Green Algae By Mark E. Evans, Algae Control, Caulerpa Algae, 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

Valonia macrophysa, here in an aquarium. Generally an unwanted/pest algae species.


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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Controlling Hair Algae A Rocky Mountain ALOHA! To the crew, <Hello back at ya!!> I have a beautiful Radiant (Iris) Wrasse (H. iridis) that is in a 20 Gal.  Quarantine Tank along with A Juv. Chevron Tang (C. hawaiiensis). Also in the QT are the permanent residents 2 huge Cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis) and 4 gold strip Neon Gobies (G. randalli). The Wrasse and tang are going into display tanks next week after a 4 week quarantine, the required 1 week copper quarantine at my LFS, and 3 weeks in my QT.<Quarantine at a pet store doesn't count.  The fish can get sick in the transfer to your tank.> Usually 4 weeks in my QT but I have had no problems with using the 1 week at LFS before. I'm beginning to have a hair algae outbreak in my reef (29 gal).  Being in the hobby 30+ I do all the correct things to prevent as little nutrients for the algae as possible.  Water changes (10%) done on a weekly basis with Reef Crystals.  Using tap water for mix.  Never could measure any nitrates or phosphates in my tap water.  I just don't believe using RO/DI water is drastically going to change the algae growth.  What suggestions would you have for an algae consumer?  Preferably a fish, but not necessary.  I understand lawnmower blennies (had one before) are selective on the type of algae they eat. Thanks, Salty Dog <Hello, MikeB here to help today.  Even though the tap water doesn't show phosphates or nitrates that doesn't mean that there are not any in the water.  Another element that is in tap water is silicates and even iron.  Those too can cause algae growth and can be mitigated by the use of RO/DI water.  The best fish for that size tank is a lawnmower blenny.  Any tangs would easily out grow that size tank.  Hermit crabs, Emerald crabs and various types of snails will also help with the situation.  Good Luck MikeB.>

Pesky Hair Algae Hi, Adam, my son Dave is here today for Father's Day; Dave's been a reefkeeper for years, and got me started.  He looked at my RO system, and told me that it was installed wrong by my former tank service guy.  He says that I've been putting the equivalent of TAP WATER into my tank. Could this have caused my hair algae problem?  << It could, but I've been using tap water in my tank for years. >>(Dave helped me fix the RO system problem earlier this morning).  Thanks much for your thoughts. << The real problem isn't tap water.  Lots of people use it.  But those who do, usually have macro algae in their sumps, frequent water changes, protein skimmers or things like that.  So the water may contribute, but remember you still have to take things out of the water to combat excess feeding.  So, having your RO up correctly is great, but you still need to look at ways to remove nutrients. >> Best, << Good luck. >> Ralph <<  Adam Blundell  >>
Re: Pesky Hair Algae
Hi, Adam...sorry for the late response, but my computer's been down for the past two days.  Thanks for the guidance; so, using good RO water is apparently not a "silver bullet."  I will continue to treat the fish with "tough love" and cut back a bit further on the feedings.  The hair algae is now under better control, but now I think I've got a bit of Cyano (red slime). << Again, watch for excess nutrients.  Also, slime can be removed using a turkey baster, hopefully before it gets out of control. >> Anyway, thanks much Best,<< Good Luck >> Ralph <<  Adam B.  >>

Hair Algae ready to tear down tank.       Mr. Fenner,                                                                      <Hi there>                                                       My name is Christy, and I have been in the " Salt " life for over 2 years now.  I started by purchasing your book  " The Conscientious Marine Aquarist ",  and I swear by it on almost a daily basis.  My friend and I have come to refer to it as  " The Bible ".   I took the advice of many people to go larger with my tank size. I purchased the Oceanic R/R 175 Bowfront.  We have the sump in our basement b/c of  the noise and heat issue.  It was doing great up until we switched our light bulbs at the end of March of 2004. Also at that time I spoke with a rep. from Kent Marine, well he sold me  Coral-Vite and also Liquid Reactor. Under his suggestion I added the Coral-Vite weekly and then added the Liquid Reactor everyday.  I kept this up for a almost 1 month, then stopped on account of the massive outbreak of Hair Algae.   <Yes, related events> Between slamming my tank with all new bulbs and adding additives, I am at a total loss of how my tank turned from beautiful to almost dead.  I now know that I shouldn't have changed my lights all at one time, a little too late for that kind of knowledge.  But I'm also wondering if the additives that I used could've caused more harm than just the lights? <Likely so>   I belong to a site called " Reef Central " and they are all great with problems and questions.  But I am afraid to post on the site regarding my H/A problem as they are all great fans of R/O units, and I do not have one of these. <Mmm, is your source water "that bad"?>   I have found an article that you had written stating that these units aren't a major factor in the home aquarium. <In the majority of cases, no>   So are there any suggestions on what I can do with my tank to get rid of the H/A that is consuming it's beauty? <All sorts. Have you read through the "algae control" articles and FAQs posted on WetWebMedia.com?>   Here are my readings as of yesterday 6-20-04... amonia-0.25   Nitrite-  0    Nitrate-  20   PH-  8.4    Salinity 1024   Temp- 78    I only use the one test kit,  Aquarium Pharmaceuticals  Saltwater Master Liquid Test Kit.  It was purchased in May of 2004, so it is a new one.  I have attached a photo of my tank. It  is an after photo of it  filled with H/A.  My old computer has the good photos of it and it is upstairs I am having a hard time pulling it out of there...                I want to thank you Mr. Fenner in advance as I know that you must be a very busy man.  I am at a total loss here as to what I can do with my tank.  It was such a pleasure when it was beautiful, and not covered in algae.   We have invested so much money in this and it is causing a lot of major headaches.  I was so pleased when I saw that you had an e-mail address that I could contact you directly. Any advice that you can give to me and my husband would be greatly appreciated.  My tanks future doesn't look very good until I can convince my husband and myself to not tear it down.                                                                         Thank You,                                                                              Christy <This hair algae problem can be defeated with a twin approach of lowering available nutrient (stopping the supplementation as you have), water changes (do check your tap for phosphate content), possible chemical filtrant use (like Polyfilter) to remove nutrients, AND the growth of desirable macro-algae (with a light added) in your sump, and possibly the addition of a couple of algae-eating blennies (of the genera Salarias, Atrosalarias). This may take several weeks to a few months, but don't despair, you will win out. Bob Fenner

Long green algae, unwanted Dear WWM, <Hi Adam, MacL here> I have a 30g eclipse style saltwater tank, with 1 false eye puffer, 1 Catalina goby, 1 clown fish, and 1 cleaner shrimp and some crabs.. I have a aqua c remora skimmer, and the eclipse filtration through the back, and a mag 900 aerator, along with 30 lbs of LR .. all parameters are good, I have salinity of .026. <Little high, really consider lowering it slowly.> My question is, I keep getting long green algae growing on the aerators and pumps, and now I have them growing all over the LR.. I think it may be from the higher salinity with over nutrients in the water, or possible over feeding from my mom when I'm at the university. <Over feeding will definitely do it. Let me recommend you take a look at the algae faq's http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm. Many people are also dealing with this unsightly stuff. I have gone so far as to take a toothbrush and brush my live rock to get it off. Take a look at those and the connecting frequently asked questions and I think they will answer what you need.> Any tips on how to get rid of this ugly green hairy algae!!!-thanks, Adam <Good luck Adam. I'm pretty sure all your questions will be answered there. MacL>

Green reef (algae problem) Hi! I have a 45 gallon reef tank with some seriously green water.  Green enough that I can honestly say that I miss being able to see my fish. I've got a couple of damsels, a small hippo tang, a tomato clown, and a rose anemone, and a few other miscellaneous inverts and macroalgae.  I use and Eheim Ecco canister filter, CPR BakPak skimmer, an Ebo, a couple of powerheads for water flow, 196 watts in powercompacts, and about 50 pounds of liverock.  My system is about 9 months old, but saw a major revamping about 3 months ago.  My water conditions are perfect, aside from about 10ppm of nitrates.  The green started two weekends ago when I was out of town for a few days, and has become progressively worse ever since.   I did add iodine, strontium, essential elements (all Kent), and calcium (Salifert) with a water change before I left (about the time things started to head downhill)...big mistake?   I did a 15% water change a week ago, and another 25% change yesterday, but the green just comes back with a vengeance.  My LFS assured me that it was because of the heat spell, which made sense to me, because we DID have a heat spell last week which brought my water up to around 82, but I've since brought it down to 78 and the problem continues.  I clean the skimmer daily, I've got all my fish fasting, and I've been using RO/DI water with Tropic Marin sea salts for the changes. Aside from water changes...what can I do?  UV sterilizing?  Will my system be fine if I just sit it out and wait for nature to run it's course through my tank?  Thanks for your help! Scott << Scott, it just may be your lucky day.  A club member of mine had this exact problem about two months ago.  People suggested everything, and he tried everything.  Then one day he added a UV sterilizer.  None of us thought it would work, but it cleared it up in one day!  It was unbelievable.  Please borrow or purchase one, and let me know if that works.  I would be very interested to know if that was the real solution, or a coincidence. >> <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Hair Algae- Circulation Related? Good Afternoon, <Hello! Ryan Bowen with you today> My hat goes off to you on a most informative and educational website. <Thank you!> My problem is the dreaded hair algae, I have been battling it for a long time now and am at my wits end. My tank is as follows 75G reef with 90lbs of LR 10 Gallon sump 15 Gallon Fuge 4 inch DSB with 440 watts of VHO. 2 actinic and 2 daylight 50/50. My inhabitants are 1 yellow tang 1 coral beauty 2 Percs 1 Banggai cardinal and a LMB <Not familiar with the term> ,a standard crew of blue hermits and a few Astrea snails, also a selection of LPS and softies. I am writing to you as a last resort in hope of a miracle cure...lol.<I laughed too> My water parameters are as follows Amm 0, Trites 0, Trates 0, Phos 0, calc 400 Alk 10 dKH. My lighting is only on 7 hours per day. I have tried it all except I have not yet resorted to chemicals. <Good...Don't> I removed my bio-balls and added a fuge with a 4 inch deep aragonite sand bed with some grape and spaghetti macro algae which in turn brought my nitrates down to 0 from 10. <Great! Sounds like the competition for available nutrients is just beginning.> I replaced my VHO bulbs about 2 months ago thinking that may help but to no avail. <I'm sure your photosynthetic animals liked it.> I use R/O water for changes and top offs and drip Kalk religiously. I have tested my source water and it contains no Phosphates or Nitrates. Is there anything that I may be overlooking? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated and implemented. <What's your circulation like?  It's one of the most overlooked things in the hobby, in my opinion.  I like to see a reef's turnover rate between 10-20 times an hour. Rio makes a new inexpensive hyper-flow pump, called the Seio.  I'd recommend that you add some flow.  I'm not sure how long ago you added the refugium, but it sounds like it's just starting to take effect.  I'm quite sure that with religious water changes, no more adding fish, and adding circulation, you're going to be rid of this algae.  Do you use a skimmer?  You didn't mention.  If not, I would highly recommend that you add one.  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks for your time and effort, Scott Lewington

Valonia and Mithrax (3/13/04)   Greetings and a huge thanks to all you in the crew for providing me and others such invaluable guidance, in the year I've been reading the posts daily, my tanks are UNBELIEVABLE!! Everything is growing and thriving at exponential rates. <Good to hear.> Which brings me to my question. I am getting a ton of green bubbles popping up all over the live rock in my 40 gal reef. I know nutrient control is the issue, and I've greatly cut back my feedings, tweaked my Remora for optimal skimming, and do 2 gallon water changes twice a week religiously. I have been hearing more negative than positive comments lately about Mithrax crabs being destructive and difficult at best to remove when larger, so I'm hesitant at putting one (or any crab) in my system. <Wise to be cautious.>   Additionally, it seems to be the general consensus that in trying to remove Valonia (various species) one has to be very careful not to puncture the "bubble" so as to not release spores into the water column. My question is: if I do put a Mithrax crab in, isn't that exactly what they do, puncture the algae, and consume it (if they have a liking for it) so why does it not spread under these circumstances? <Some risk I suppose, but does seem to work for some.> What are your thoughts on just slicing the bubbles open as soon as I see them appear (i.e. real small) with a razor blade? <Vacuuming them off would probably do better. Anthony & Bob's book (Reef Invertebrates) recommends attaching a toothbrush to the end of the siphon. That way you can suck up spores as the bubble bursts. Another option would be to remove rocks that are heavily infested and scrub all the Valonia off in a bucket of saltwater before returning the rock to the tank.> Doing this persistently, would the situation get worse, or better, not allowing any to reach a size greater than 1/8th inch? <I would worry a bit about making it spread more. Your nutrient control approach is vitally important to successfully controlling this algae.> I was thinking doing this, the skimmer and other inhabitants would consume/remove any spores that may get released.. <Will help to some degree.>   Other than that my tank is looking awesome, and in less than 3 months running, the ENTIRE back face of the tank is totally encrusted in what appears to be at least 4 colors of coralline algae, and the fauna is exploding! ((I chose not to add any fish until 6 mo. to a year) <Your patience will be richly rewarded. Keep up the good work. Choose your fish carefully and quarantine them.> Thanks again for all you've done to assist! keep up the good work. Blair <A pleasure. Hope this helps.>

The Green Algae Blues? I'm having a major algae problem in the tank, and I thought I was doing everything possible to avoid such an occurrence.  Here's the details... 90 gallon tank ~100 lbs live rock (of which 30 lbs was added about 4 weeks ago) Euro-reef 6-1 skimmer (that took a while to break in, but is now doing a very good job) Calcium 460ppm pH 8.3 dKH 9 Nitrate 0-5 ppm Buffered RO/DI water used for top-off and water changes Aqua-clear 300 filter running filter-floss, carbon, and phosphate remover. 2 X 175W Ushio 10K MH bulbs run by Ice-Cap ballasts (just added 12 days ago) 8 hours per day. 2 X 40W fluorescents (both about 3 months old) 12 hours per day. Water flow ~1200 g.p.h. 1 Koran angel (3") 1 Hippo tang (3") 1 Maroon clown (1.5") 1 Cleaner shrimp Various hermits and snails. The two new pieces of live rock were added un-cured, but I monitored the nitrate levels and they never went above 5-10ppm the whole time.  Since adding the MH lighting the algae exploded...there's so much photosynthesis going on in the tank that almost everything is covered in bubbles.  The lighting is of a proper spectrum, the water flow is fairly high, the skimmer is working hard, and all the water should be phosphate free due to RO/DI water.  What gives!?!?!? <Well, "should be phosphate free" is the key word here. Do check it to make sure. It is quite possible to have some phosphate in the water if your RO membranes need replacement. Also, phosphate-laden detritus can accumulate in the crevices on the live rock. It may not be detectible in the water column, but it is impacting the tank, no doubt. As part of your routine maintenance, do siphon from the live rock. I'd also consider using some chemical filtration media on a regular basis, such as activated carbon or Poly Filter. Perform smaller (like 5% of tank capacity), frequent (like twice weekly) water changes to prevent organic compounds from accumulating at all.> New I've added a home-made refugium made from a 20 gallon tank, with 5" DSB, and a few small pieces of Grape Caulerpa (just added a few days ago) which is lit 24 hours by a small PC bulb and reflector 24 hours to try to reduce the problem, but I think it's too early for that to have much effect. <True. You may actually want to run the PC on a "reverse daylight" schedule to maximize growth of the macroalgae. Harvest carefully and frequently for nutrient export> I thought I was doing everything right, and I really don't know what to do about this.  Please help. Jeremy <Jeremy, you are on the right track. Algae problems require tenacious attention on your part. Just keep doing what you're doing. Be sure to monitor all basic water chemistry parameters, and stay on top of any changes. Consistency in both husbandry and environmental monitoring is important. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Hair Algae Fan Club Hello,  thank you for the fantastic resource you've been in my first year dabbling with saltwater. Sorry if I'm about to write a book but maybe others have the same issues in a year old tank. <Exactly the reason we post these! Ryan with you> I have a 75 gallon FOWLR, 80- lbs of LR, 402 pump for flow, Magnum 350 (will be replaced), an actual working SeaClone skimmer-replaced twice by LFS due to leaks from the so called "easy snap seal" (produces 2 thick cups/week), 4" sand base, 8.1 ph, 1.021, 0-.25 phosphate, 20ppm nitrate, 0 ammonia/nitrite, 77 F, 2 50/50 48" fluorescent. 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Raccoon Butterfly, 1 percula, 1 purple firefly, 2 neon blue gobies, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 sand sifters, 20 snails. looking to add more fish. All was going well until recently. Now I'm plagued by green hair algae on the rocks.  It sounds strange, but I think it came into my tank on the shell of a snail, about 6 months ago.  I shouldn't have introduced the snail, oops.  It grew in small patches and I picked it out over the months, got lazy, and now it's on most of my rock.  I have tried water changes (I use TAP, it tests 0 phosphate and 5ppm Nitrate), and just purchased an Eheim 2026 to replace the Magnum for better flexibility and biological functionality.  I've always had easily removable brownish/green algae coat on the glass every week or so, it seems to be growing faster now, the coral beauty likes to scrape it off, leaving lip marks.  I rarely find purple (Cyano?) on the sand and a few rocks, not recently.   A few weeks back, I lost one 8 month old clown fish.  It suddenly grew a white slime of sorts and died.  Then, I just lost a new $75 purple tang that was perfectly active/eating and healthy for 2 days, then the next day was fully covered in ich and died that night.  I truly don't have space for quarantine right now, I know......  I dipped it before introduction. All my other fish are healthy and fought off ich after introduction and continued proper feeding with vitamins/garlic (butterfly and coral b.) I'm now frustrated! My confusion is that my tests show good water quality, acceptable Nitrate and barely any phosphate, the temp/salinity/ph are stable. At one point during the summer, I lost power for three days and everything was fine. I don't overfeed, the lights are on for 10 hrs a day.   My tank is rapidly deteriorating into an ugly algae paradise. <Lots of things are contributing to your algae plague.  One is silicates.  They're in your tap water, and without running your water through some sort of filtration, they're adding up.  Phosphate should be undetectable, I recommend RowaPhos for this.  Your skimming could certainly be improved, but it's money better spent on an RO Unit.  More current will help eradicate dead zones in which the algae flourishes.  The last thing you want to do is add more fish now.  Take the loss of the last two fish as a blessing in disguise, it allows you to conquer your algae problems before adding to the bio-load.  If you truly want to get rid of the algae, leech your system of phosphates and silicates, invest in an RO Unit, and do small water changes daily.  This, in combination with better skimming, should solve your problems.  Good luck, Ryan> What are your thoughts? Happy fishkeeping! <Same to you my friend!>

Eliminating Caulerpa From A Display Hi, <Hi there. Scott F. with you tonight!> We have reef tank with an Ecosystem sump that we are changing from Caulerpa to Chaetomorpha.   <Yaaayyy!!! Good call!> The problem is that the Caulerpa got into the main tank (Caulerpa Taxifolia - or feather Caulerpa).  It attached itself to a 25lb piece of Marshall Island rock and we can't get rid of it.   We removed the rock and scrubbed with a toothbrush and it just came right back - stronger than ever.  Removing it all with tweezers is impossible as it has invaded the crevices of the rock.  This rock is at the base of our reef - so removing again would be really hard.  Will darkness kill the Caulerpa (dead enough so that it won't return)?   <Probably, but at potentially greater cost to the other photosynthetic plants and animals in your system> We could move all corals to the other side and cover that rock with black plastic for a month if it would work. <I suppose that would work. On the other hand, as long as you keep it "contained", that could be an acceptable outcome, too-right? If you can keep the stuff contained to the point where it won't threaten to overrun more desirable sessile life forms, than maybe you can live with the Caulerpa.> Our tangs and algae blenny won't eat this stuff.  Any reef safe way to destroy it would be appreciated! Doug   <Unfortunately, Doug, total eradication of this, or any macroalgae species is a difficult proposition at best. On the other hand, if you simply don't want this stuff in your system, you could either remove the rock entirely from the system and replace it with another rock, or you can remove it and "chip away" the sections of the rock "infested" with the Caulerpa, and then replace the rock into the display...But you never know-this macroalgae could come back if even a single holdfast or runner remains. In the end, you may be better off just learning to live with it. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

-Algae growth- Hi and thanks for the response.  I wanted your advice on a green algae/bacteria problem I am currently having.  I have a 60gl with 4X65 PC's.  I am noticing that I am developing a green film on my front glass as well as on my live rock.  When I try to wipe it off it just comes off like dust. <Sounds like common green microalgae, not a problem so long as your nutrients are in check. Everybody's tank has this.> I am going to purchase a test kit but need you r recommendation as to what to buy so I can eliminate this problem. <Phosphate>  The tank is a FOWLR and some mushrooms and green star polyps.  My skimmer is a Euroreef CS6-1.  Any advice would help.  I run the white lights for 8 hrs and the blues for 10 hrs. <Make sure that your source water is pure (either RO, DI, or both), and that a phosphate test yields an undetectable result and you should be good to go. No worries about the light film, that's why they make algae magnets! Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks again,

Hair algae from wet/dry 2/5/04  Hello,  I have a 55 gal reef tank that has been set up for about 14 months. I have a wet/dry with one layer of bio-balls and some nylon mesh below about four inches of crushed coral as a medium. I have a Turboflotor skimmer and currently have mesh bags of carbon, Phosban and Purigen as chemical filtration. Additional mechanical filtration comes from my pre-filter and filter pad on the drip plate. I have about 80 lbs of live rock and 50 lbs of live sand. There is a striped cardinal fish and a royal Gramma. I also have two banded coral shrimp, two lettuce Nudibranchs, a few Mithrax, blue leg and scarlet hermits, misc. snails and two Caribbean starfish. There are two ivory corals, two bubbles, a Galaxea, a pagoda, a cup, a pipe organ, a gorgonian, a long tentacle plate, some zoanthid polyps, pulsing xenia, three flower anemones, and two yellow tree sponges. The problem is that I have had a hair algae infestation for about the last 6 months. I do water changes of about 10-15 gallons 3 to 4 times a month. I recently removed each individual rock and scrubbed the algae off. I knew this to be a temporary fix, but figured if I stayed on top of the water changes that I would keep nutrient levels low enough that it wouldn't get the upper hand again. It is coming back thick as ever and I don't know what to do next. Water parameters are as follows: Ammonia <0.01 mg/l, Nitrate 1<5 mg/l, Nitrite 0.02<0.05 mg/l, PH 8.2, Alkalinity 9 dKH, sp. grav. 1.024, and temp 80. I am beginning to think that the crushed coral is building up nitrogen that the algae is binding so it is hardly detectable. I would think that the Phosban is removing any phosphates.  <I agree with your assessment that the algae is taking up the nutrients as fast as they are introduced. See comments below about your filtration set up.>  My question is: Do you think that my filter medium is the primary cause of the problem, and if so what should I do to fix it?  <I do think it is a major contributing factor. The highly aerobic nature of a wet dry favors the accumulation of nitrate, and unless you maintain them meticulously, filter pads accumulate detritus. Detritus in filter pads rots instead of being re-processed.>  I have a refugium in my garage that I have considered adding to the system. Do you think that my current filtration should be removed altogether and replaced with the refugium?  <I would definitely remove your current mechanical filtration/wet-dry set up. They are not necessary with the amount of live rock you have and are certainly contributing to your problem. When removing the wet/dry, remove each component (filter pads, bio balls, gravel) one at a time, about a week apart so that the bacteria in the live rock can increase to handle the load. While doing this, please monitor water quality and continue water changes. I am a fan of refugia, and it would probably be beneficial.>  One last note, my Turboflotor doesn't seem to pull all that much gunk out. It does good after I clean it which is about once a month. Do I have to step up the maintenance on the skimmer?  <If it works best after cleaning, you may want to do so more often. Also be sure that the air inlet tube is kept free of salt build up (letting it suck up some hot fresh water occasionally helps a lot). If working properly, a Turboflotor should be a very appropriate skimmer for a 55.>  Thank you very much for your time and any input. Sincerely, Quinn Whitten <Always a great pleasure! Adam>

Clearing The Green Cloud (Algae Problem) Hi - I was reading through your FAQ on diatom filters and info on algae, and it seems you have the expertise to know the best way to solve my aquatic issue. <Well, maybe not "expertise"- but lots of experience! Scott F. with you today!> I have a 75 gallon tank that started out great, and developed serious algae problems - characterized by water so cloudy and green that it was difficult to even see the fish. The only way I was able to temporarily solve this problem was via large - at least 50% - water changes. The tank has MORE than adequate filtration with a Fluval 400 canister filter and 2 forward powerheads and 2 reverse powerheads connected to an undergravel filter. I now have no fish in the tank, and the water is clearer than before, but some cloudiness remains. I am afraid that as soon as I reintroduce fish, the water will go to hell again. Interestingly, the physical tank itself is almost spotless -no algae on the glass, etc. <Unusual, but not unheard of!> Anyway, I think the following is true, please correct me if I am wrong. The algae is "green algae", possibly Volvox, and will not be filtered by a canister filter - it probably is a result of too much light, I live in a "light and bright" town home and installed a 99% UV blocking window blind to attempt to solve the problem -- this helped, but did not fix it. <Well, light and excess nutrients conspire to cause these algae blooms. Light in and of itself is not so much of a problem. What you need to do is to work on lowering the nutrient load in the tank. Utilize aggressive chemical filtration, with carbon and/or Poly Filter to help scavenge nutrients, and use high-quality source water.> A diatom filter or a UV filter/sterilizer might be needed to solve the problem. <A good combination with free-floating algae> I've been reading about diatom filters and that would seem to address the cloudy water issue. I've also seen UV filters mentioned, although I don't know what this is exactly. If this is a different type of lighting - a special tube with a certain wavelength range or something - that would be worth trying. <Well, you essentially described a UV sterilizer. Water passes through at a rate which is conducive to "zapping" undesired organisms...> No live plants or rock in my tank, and it uses 2 48" fluorescent tubes. Also, I'm "cloaking" the entire tank with a large comforter for a 72 hour period to see if that helps. I want the crystal clear water I've seen in other tanks, including my other aquariums. <A worthwhile goal. I think that a diatom filter, in combination with the aforementioned chemical filtration and good husbandry techniques on your part will do the trick!> So what is the best course of action? Should I run out and buy a diatom filter? Other comments? Thanks! Jason <Well, Jason, I hate to recommend another expensive piece of gear, but the diatom filter sounds like a good idea here. Also, invest in some test kits and see what's going on in the water...Should give you some good insights! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> ps - LOVE the website!! wish my LFS had this kind of expertise...

- Filament Algae Problem - Hello, Let me first just say "thanks" for a wonderful site.  I've learned a great deal here and hope to learn a great deal more. I have a 55G salt water tank that's been running for about 18 months now.  I am having a horrific time with filamentous algae and I'm at wits end on how to get rid of it. First the tank: 55G with a ~27G sump, an AquaC Urchin skimmer, and a Whisper power filter that I use to clean up quickly after water changes and vacuuming.  For lighting I have 4 VHO 110W bulbs, 2 white, 2 actinic.  I only run 1 of each right now thinking that they might be contributing to the algae problem. For livestock, I have the same fish and live rock that I had when I started the tank.  I have a hardy damsel, a strawberry Basslet (Pseudochromis porphyreus), and two tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus).  The larger of the two clownfish has mated up with my Bubble anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) which I've had for over a year.  I have 2 small scarlet hermits and about 7 very large snails for cleaners.  I also have about 75lbs of live rock. The filamentous algae came on gradually.  First I had an infestation of bubble algae, but after carefully picking and scraping, it went down to a manageable level, but then suddenly brown, leafy algae started springing up all over.  Once I started pruning that back, "grape" Caulerpa started taking over from I know not where.  Luckily, that too was easy to prune back, and once I did, I started having a lot of large, leafy, segmented green macro-algae.  At the same time, the filamentous algae started taking over, getting in everywhere.  For the last 9 months, I've been fighting a losing battle to get rid of it.  It's gotten so bad that there's algae growing on my snails! All of my water readings seem to be fine, with only the slightest hint of ammonia on occasion.  At first I thought there was too much light, so I cut back from 4 bulbs to 2.  Next I thought I was feeding too much so I went from twice a day to once a day.  After no results, I dropped down to feeding every other day.  No change, and I went to twice a week.  With still no change, I'm down to feeding once a week and it's having no effect.  I was doing 10 gallon water changes weekly and cleaning out *maybe* a 1/4" cup of skim.  I've started doing 20 gallon changes weekly for the last 4 weeks and haven't seen a change either.  I understand that a) this algae is feeding on something, <Likely phosphate and nitrogenous wastes.> and b) since I've only been feeding once a week for over 6 months now, it's not ME that's introducing the nutrients in the tank, so... where is it coming from? <Once the algae is established, it can operate on much less than you might think.> I use bottled RO/DI water for my changes, and even with that, I pull out what seems like a good two fistfuls of algae every other week.  My current theory is that there is SO much algae that the algae I am not getting is dying and providing nutrients to other algae to grow. <Well, that and your fish produce nitrogenous wastes... these would all combine to make plant food.>  But why isn't that reflected in the water readings? <Quite likely taken up as soon as it appears on the scene.> Please help if you can... <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm > Mark <Cheers, J -- >

Algae, algae, algae........still more algae - 1/24/04 I believe I have the green hair algae. <Kinda like having "THE gout">  It is really starting to drive us insane, my mom's already taken the toothbrush to it but, it came back in a week. <This has been covered way too many times for me to rehash. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm read through all the blue links and all the correlating information>  I have a yellow tang, a blue tang, a sea urchin, a snail of some sort, and 4 algae eating crabs to help but they don't seem to help much. <Age of the tank makes a difference, size of tank makes a difference (especially if one keeps inappropriate fish for the correlating size of the tank), water quality (top off and salt mix) as well as general water husbandry (water changes and chemical additions to the tank) and last, but certainly not least, inadequate water circulation, too just name a few. I guess I rehashed it didn't I?>  I just need some good advice to, rid our tank of algae. <Read the above link and the embedded links within>  What is the best way. It makes our tank look as if it is "dirty" I mean we have hair algae growing on the back of our glass.  I know that saltwater aquarists say algae is good, but I don't like it. <Understood, but algae is good to a point. Read, educate, and execute. You will find the balance, my friend. ~Paulo>  Thank You,  Chris

- Hair Algae: The Battle Rages and Rages... - Hi again all, Thanks in advance as usual.  Here is a summary of my ongoing battle with hair algae.  The reef tank is a 120 with 4' DSB and 140 lbs LR and 30 gallon sump.  I have been battling this menace for about 6 months now and followed all suggestions given to me.  First I purchased a Spectrapure RO Unit (6 months ago).  No noticeable difference.  Next (3 months ago) upgraded from Berlin Turbo trash skimmer to a Euro Reef CS6-1 as recommended by many (getting approximately 1.5 to 2 measuring cups of gunk each week).  I do weekly water changes of 10+ gallons with Instant Ocean.  No noticeable difference.  Water flow is about 1700 gph and is random (2 Seaswirls, 2 Powerheads).  Most LR is on PVC frames although there are a few pieces on the sand to hide the PVC.  Fish load includes:  1 Midas Blenny, 2 Percs, 1 Flame Angel, 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 2 Gobies, 1 Six Line Wrasse, 1 Royal Gramma.  Lots of hermits (and at 1 point lots of snails which the hermits wiped out).  Purchased a couple tuxedo urchins and they died within days.  I use 2 units of Chemi-pure which I change monthly.  They are placed in the filter bags (where display drains into sump) which are washed every other week.  All frozen food is rinsed to remove pack juice before going into the tank.  Only added supplements are Lugol's Iodine (1 drop daily for inverts and Xenia), Tech M (magnesium) (follow instructions), Strontium/Molybdenum (follow instructions), and Kalkwasser.  Occasionally I add Kent Essential Elements in small quantities.  Once a week max I soak food in .5ml of Selcon.  No "pollution in a bottle" is added.  Are there any other suggestions that you might have to help conquer this menace? <Well... do look to quantities of food you may be adding, in spite of the melt water being removed - is still a source of nutrients when it becomes fish-waste. Also, I'd give another try to the tuxedo urchin - could have been a bad source, or perhaps acclimated to quickly. Usually very efficient problem-algae scavengers and generally pretty hardy. Having something that eats problem algae is almost always the best place to start.> It is driving us nuts.  I ripped all the LR out last week and scrubbed it in buckets with water change water to clear it off as I couldn't stand it anymore.  I know you aren't supposed to do this but I am getting desperate.  Thanks, Andy <Cheers, J -- >
- Hair Algae: The Battle Rages and Rages... Follow-up -
Probably a dumb question, but would adding a 30 gallon 'fuge with macro algae's aid in the nutrient export and thus reduce the hair algae through starvation? <Hmm... probably not as well or as soon as you like. The existing algae is already established and will make it difficult to establish desirable algae because they can out-compete for the same nutrients. That doesn't make this a bad idea, I just don't think it will help right out of the gate. Cheers, J -- >

In The Grips Of An Algae Nightmare! Hi Guys , I am in desperate need of help . I have been a salt hobbyist for 15 years and have never seen an algae problem like I am encountering now. I have a 120 Gallon reef , with 140 lbs of live rock . I am dumping into a wet/dry minus the bio-balls , strictly using it for oxygen and a place for heater, chiller and for charcoal pouches . I am also running an ETSS 600 skimmer with a MAK 4 pump . My water is filtered through a Spectra-Pure ro/di 4 stage 60gpd unit . My husbandry is excellent . The load in the tank  is light , I have a yellow tang , flame angel , Copperbanded butterfly, cleaner  shrimp , candy cane and a fire shrimp . Also 2 brittle stars , one blue Linckia and numerous snails and hermits . I feed the fish once a day with either one cube of frozen or a pinch of flake. My lighting consists of 440 watts of VHO . My coral load are all softies , a few leathers , polyps and mushrooms . I recently added 2 black urchins ,trying to see if they help. My parameters are good 440 calcium 11dkh Alk , 8.4 day 8.3 night. I have absolutely no nitrates and the ro/di takes care of any phosphates , But just in case I have a net bag with a phos-absorb . I scrub the rocks one at a time with a tooth brush about once a month because this green hair algae grows in inches not in fuzz . I can't continue this task . I am going to smash this tank and try to forget about all the money I could have made on Yahoo stock instead of getting into this hobby . You are my last resort or it is all over.   Thank you , Wits-End <Well Witt- DON'T QUIT! You've got too much time, money, and effort invested here to just give it up, your parameters appear good, and your equipment is fine. This types of aggravating algae blooms happen in even the best-maintained tanks from time to time, and it often helps to step back and look at the root cause of the problem. Generally, nuisance algae blooms can be attributed to two things- accumulated nutrients and lighting. "Nutrient Export" should be your mantra here. Yes, you have a great skimmer. Make sure, however, that it is adjusted so that you're getting at least a couple of cups of dark, yucky stuff a week. I use an ETS on one of my systems, and I know that this unit is capable of pulling this much product out of even a well-managed system like yours. Also, do verify if your membranes on the RO unit need servicing or changing. The prefilters, in particular, can expire pretty quickly, depending upon your source water. It may help to change your chemical filtration media (activated carbon and phosphate removers) on a more frequent basis, as the potential does exist that these media can exhaust quickly, and even re-introduce absorbed substances back into the system. Although I'm sure that you do them, you didn't touch on your water change regimen. I'd shoot for frequent, small changes (I like 5% of tank volume twice weekly, siphoning from the nooks and crannies in the live rock, as well as the surface of the substrate.). Another thought- do check your test kits- particularly the phosphate taste kit, to assure that the reagents are fresh and not giving poor results. How is your water movement in the system? Good water movement throughout can help, too. Keep focusing on nutrient input and export mechanisms here, and re-evaluate all procedures. Nuisance algae problems are annoying, but are among the most "solve-able" of all marine aquarium problems. It just takes a great deal of patience and persistence, not to mention some re-evaluations now and again! Urchins are good herbivores in many cases, but you may also want to consider an armada of various grazing snails, such as Trochus, Strombus, Astraea, and Turbo, in sufficient quantities to have an impact. Still another thing to investigate: Your lighting. Are the bulbs nearing the end of their useful life span? When did you last replace them? Many times, the spectrum can shift over the life of a bulb, and when combined with just the right amount of nutrients, can result in an algae nightmare like you are experiencing. I know-I've been there myself. Keep searching for the answer, and don't quit! Look at the obvious- then the obscure! The answers are there! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Hair Algae I have a hair algae problem, it has taken over my tank in the last six months. I have changed 90 gallons of water in my tank in 5 days. my tank is a 92 gallon tank. I use a RO DI system, which I have just replaced the filters for except the membrane which is only six months old. I have been told by a couple of aquarium store owners, to do more water changes, take all rock covered with algae, scrub it with a brush till all algae is gone in a separate tub and add about 200 blue leg hermit crabs. But I do have a lot of life in my rock that would get killed off (mushrooms, xenia, etc). One of the  store owners had the same problem. This is what he did and he had great success. I want to know if you have any other ideas that might work. My phosphates are at .1 and nitrates are at .10. but I have read that it  might be inaccurate because the algae suck it up so you cant get a true reading.<Do you have a skimmer on this tank.  If you don't that would help out a ton.  I like the aqua-c remora pro.  That's what I have on my 80 and I love it.  Scrubbing the rock and doing a large water change would also help a lot but would be very stressful on all your critters.  I would just keep up with your water changes and make sure you have a good skimmer.  How about your bulbs how old are they and what is the light schedule?  You can also find tons of info on all this at our site: www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>  

Remedies for controlling Caulerpa racemosa? 1/11/04 Napalm or Flamethrower? <G> To Bob and/or Anthony: <howdy my friend> My name is Lucas Grathwohl and I have written to you before about the plague known as Caulerpa racemosa. <arghhh... a tough one. Allegedly the most toxic of its family. Very noxious and not readily consumed by the best herbivores (for good reason)> I inadvertently put some into my main tank, and it is know growing at epic proportions. <you mean like the vegetation in in the cinematic interpretation of Conrad's "Heart of Darkness"... the classic: "Apocalypse Now!". If so... we may need to re-enact the final scene with fighters and napalm. What's that I hear in the distance?... Wagner's "Flight of the Valerie's"? Oh, sorry... just a cell phone ring-tone.> I fear that it will soon overtake my entire tank, making the keeping of corals and inverts. all but impossible (due to the overgrowth and shading). I will get right to the point: can you give me a detailed list of remedies that could/will work on this pest? <yes: 1) manual extraction and a water change. 2) a water change, then manual extraction... then another water change. 3) napalm and a flamethrower> I have tried Elysia sp. sea slugs in the past (I believe they were the right species) but these did not work, disappearing in a matter of weeks. I have also tried the Tang approach, but this is not very practical, either. <it has been demonstrated to be mildly to very toxic to many grazers who knowingly avoid it. Prolonged grazing of it by some fishes leads to death> I know Bob has mentioned hermit crabs, but he did not mention any specific species that might work (I already do employ some "blue leg" hermits within my tank). <they only graze microalgae... not macros here> I do manually pull the stuff out, but this gets to be a BIG chore, not to mention the fact that the stuff grows right back in a matter of days, anyway. <persistence my friend> Is there some magic bullet that will work, or am I doomed to have to completely start over from scratch? <neither. Simply manual extraction, diligence and perhaps some large Turban snails and/or urchins> I don't really want to do this (seeing as this hobby is expensive enough already), but if I need to, then so be it. I have written to Bob Goeman's in the past, but all I get is the manual removal approach. <I agree... trust the words of wisdom/experience> If you can provide any remedies/answers, I can be reached at XXXX@mn.rr.com. If any biological avenues do exist, then could you by chance also direct me to some vendors who sell such specimens (and by vendors I mean people who will go through the trouble of positively identifying their livestock by species name, etc.). Thank you for your time. <best of luck> P.S.: I did add a Foxface Rabbitfish a few days ago (out of desperation and idiocy), and this of course has yet to yield any results (if any). Do you happen to know of anyone who could use a Foxface? <do look up your local or regional aquarium society. Many have forums on the big message boards like reefcentral.com  Anthony>

Will An Angel Save Me? >I have a reef tank with mushroom corals only.  I have a lot of hair algae. I don't like tangs because I have had bad luck with them in the past getting ick. >>Eh.. mate, it's not *their* fault.   >I want to get a pygmy angel and wanted to ask you which are best at eating hair algae and NOT my mushrooms, lol. >>Angels are NOT noted for their algal control abilities at all. >What about Butterflies.   >>What about 'em? >Do any of them eat hair algae and not Shrooms?   >>None, to my knowledge, are known to eat algae.  Check the mouth and jaw structure on these fish, they're made for picking small and medium sized critters.  Some, as I think you've sorted, are obligate feeders on corals and the like.  However, if you have such trouble with tangs, I don't believe you'll have better "luck" with angels or butterflies.  It takes a lot more than LUCK to do this fish thing.  Knowledge is power, and it'll help you sort your hair algae AND fish selection issues.  If you have any "luck" keeping invertebrates I will suggest instead trying a tuxedo urchin, maybe a lawnmower blenny (an animal NOTED for its propensity to eat hair algae - which might be controlled if you can get a handle on nutrient export).  Marina >I recently set up a tank with 75% dead rock and 25% live rock and in just three months the dead rock has pink coralline algae growing on it and hair algae of course so for $1.50 a pound I will have full live rock in 6-12 months, yea, and it is on the bottom of the tank under the live rock and it is still sporting algae growth! Oh, oh, the dead rock is also sporting quite a few tube worms. I sliced one of my Shrooms and put it in a convo holder I drilled holes in and I am hoping the Shrooms will attach to the rock in a week or two and then I will have dead rock with Shrooms, lol. >>Thanks, mate.  Marina

Not-So Tiny Bubbles.. Where's Don Ho When Ya Need Him? >Hi Crew, >>Hello. >I have a small leather coral "frag" growing on a Aragocrete plug. On the top of the plug there is some bubble algae (Valonia?) growing. I have taken the plug out of the tank and scraped of the bubbles, but they return. How can I safely remove the algae without harming the coral?  Thank you for any ideas you may have. >>That's a tough one, and I'm inclined to suggest actually chipping away the bit of the plug where it's growing.  That, or consider the animals that eat it (the dreaded Mithrax crab).  Don't burst the bubbles, I believe this spreads them.  Also, please use our Google bar at the bottom of our home page and search Valonia.  Marina

Algae on a Leather Coral 1/8/04 Hi Crew, <Hi there!  Adam here today.> I have a small leather coral "frag" growing on a Aragocrete plug. On the top  of the plug there is some bubble algae (Valonia?) growing. I have taken the plug out of the tank and scraped of the bubbles, but they return. How can I safely remove the algae without harming the coral? Thank you for any ideas you may have. <If you can remove the bubbles without rupturing them, they shouldn't grow back.  If that doesn't work, several scrapings should eventually kill it.  Best of luck!  Adam.>

Need advice finding a Caulerpa racemosa predator To Bob or Anthony:     What type of animal would you suggest to help aid me in keeping Caulerpa racemosa in check within my aquarium? I know it shouldn't be in the main tank in the first place, but I made a beginner's mistake, and now must try to rectify it. I have tried Elysia sp. sea slugs in the past, but they always seem to disappear mysteriously (perhaps getting sucked up into the intakes of my pumps). I remove it by hand, but I find I have to do this QUITE a bit! I also thought that a type of tang might be the answer, until I did some exploring on your website which suggests that this is not the case. Any thoughts or suggestion? <Actually... a Zebrasoma or Ctenochaetus species of tang would be my first choices> It is starting to get out of control, which has me VERY concerned. I do like to feed (to maximize the growth of "cryptic" organisms within my tank), using DT's phytoplankton (I intend to switch in the very near future to BioPlankton). Any thoughts or suggestions?  Thank you for your time. <Try a/the tang first here... And if this doesn't "do the trick", we'll discuss the next tier of controls. Bob Fenner>                                                                                                                                     Lucas Grathwohl

Bob, already have a Ctenochaetus sp. tang for Caulerpa control, but it doesn't help too much To Bob Fenner at Wet Web Media:     This is Lucas Grathwohl again. I read over your first email regarding Caulerpa racemosa control (about using several sp. of tangs in hopes they will eat it). <Most Bristlemouth tang species are more keen for filamentous types, even diatom scums... I would add a smaller (or much larger) Zebrasoma species if it will fit> Truth is, I already have a Ctenochaetus sp. (Kole) tang in my tank, but it doesn't seem to help in the control of this "weed". It will occasionally rasp at and chew on some strands, but buy and large leaves most of the Caulerpa alone. I don't think it would be wise to try another sp. of tang, seeing as I already have one in the tank. As you know from my previous email, I also tried in the past (on two separate occasions) a Elysia sp. sea slug, but these did not help either (seeming to disappear in a matter of weeks). In the past, I wrote to Dr. Rob Toonen about the problem (actually having more to do with Bryopsis), and he recommended a Sea Urchin, which I added (I believe it to be a Diadema sp.). It by and large has done its job well, with just a few patches of Bryopsis here and there. <There are a few algae eating urchins per se...>     As far as skimming and filtration go, I use a Remora skimmer by Aqua C, and in the overflow compartment I have hung with a lettuce clip some Polyfilter, which allows water to pass through rather than over the material. Lighting is a JBJ Formosa fixture with 4x65 watt lights (three 10k and one blue). Water current is provided by two Marineland 660 powerheads, one AquaClear 300 filter (with no medium or foam inserted), and the flow from the Remora. All equipment is plugged into a "Power Center" wavemaker/light-timer from Energy Savers, which provides for switching of the powerheads, a dawn/day/dusk/night cycle, and powering all other equipment. Trace elements are provided by "Balance blocks" by HBH enterprises (I use the big brick supplement and place it in the AquaClear filter). I also perform weekly five gallon or so water changes using Coralife sea salt and R.O. water. R.O. water is re-constituted by using Bacter Vital and "Funky Old Reed Mud". I also like to feed (to bring out the cryptic organisms within the rock). I have used DT's plankton, along with ChromaPlex and ComboVital. In the very near future I plan to switch over entirely to BioPlankton. <Of these I would definitely drop the "vital" products (they're not) as these are likely contributing much more to the Caulerpa problem than not>     Any suggestions? Thank you for your time P.S.: I also have some Halimeda algae in my tank, which is doing fine also, but it is not the plague that the Caulerpa is. Hopefully any other solutions you have will not do damage to this plant. <Do you have use for/tolerance for some hermit crabs? There are some of these that are good at picking out Caulerpas... but my first choice is switching out the tangs... or mechanical (groan) removal. Bob Fenner>

Bad Hair Day.. >Hello, >>Hello. >I currently have a 75 gallon reef tank w/90lbs Fiji rock that has been setup now since Feb 2003. I have been battling hair algae since the beginning after cycling my tank. My parameters are Ammonia- 0, nitrites-0, Nitrates 0-5ppm, Phosphates- 0(according to Hagen test kit.) >>One thing to note (besides the fact that I, and others, would recommend a different kit-we like Seachem, Salifert, LaMotte..), is that phosphorous very well may be present, but is being taken up by the hair algae, thus leaving you with zero readings. >pH-8.1 - 8.3, Ca-420ppm, Alk-9dkh. I am using a sump with live rock and my turn over rate is aprox 10-12x. My lighting is 2 - 03 actinic, 2 - white actinic. (440watts). CA reactor, 8 watt sterilizer. I had hair algae long before adding reactor. >>I wouldn't expect the reactor to solve the issues that are root causes of such blooms. >I have done water changes every week to once a month since the beginning and no difference. I use RO/DI water for all make up and salt mix.  My water temp is controlled by a chiller and is a constant 76-77F. I am using two 200 gph power heads for circulation in main tank.  I understand that algae needs water, nutrients & light to thrive. My light period has been adjusted from 7-14 hrs with no difference. My livestock is not overfed, as to me this has not mattered because even from the beginning I have had this problem. I have half covered coralline and hair algae live rock. I must scrub algae to clean tank.  What can be done to stop this algae?  I also do not have ANY other type of algae in tank. I do not have to scrub my glass to remove film algae either.  I only have coralline algae on wall and glass with of course the hair algae.  Anything I am missing or not informing you of? >>No, certainly nothing that I can think of.  You've given all the information any of us would want.  I would go ahead and test the make up water both before and after you mix the salt.  I would also find another test kit just to be sure (check the brands I've mentioned).  I'd say that your Ca is a wee bit high, but nothing problematic.  You haven't listed residents, but I don't know that this is entirely pertinent.  I'm still stuck on the test kit, I keep getting a feeling that it may not be accurate.  If you don't have in situ already, I will suggest adding something like a lawnmower blenny, yellow or Z. scopas tang, or small abalone (VORACIOUS consumers of algae!), or tuxedo urchin to consume what's present.  After that, I suggest a non-calcareous macroalgae in the sump with the live rock, with the intention of creating competition between it and the hair algae for whatever nutrients the hair algae is utilizing (most obvious, of course, being nitrate and phosphorous). >I have tried all sorts of sponges, pads, you name it to remove phosphates and organics. Please Help!!  Thank you in advance, Miles >>As I mentioned, Miles, if the algae has already fixed the phosphorous, it won't come up on readings OR be able to be taken up much by such chemical filtrants (until it dies and releases them, at least).  Your lighting might be an issue, but I'm can't make an assessment on the quality of your light without knowing more about its output.  I can tell you that we don't actually NEED actinics (outputting light of 420nm) to grow photosynthetic animals.  Wattage is not a good means of calculating quality or quantity of light for photosynthetics.  More important is knowing color temperature and lumens.  I doubt, however, that the *quality* of your light is the root of your problem, but, consider changing out one of those actinics (the 03 blues) for a full spectrum bulb.  Hope this is somewhat helpful!  Marina
Bad Hair Day, Revisited..
>Thank You kindly for your response. >>You're welcome. >I will as you advised get another brand of test kit. To add further info, I have currently in the tank: 4 blue Chromis 1 Regal Tang 1 Sail Fin Tang (Hawaii) 1 cinnamon Clown 1 Copper Band Butterfly 1 Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel 1 Blue Bird Wrasse- sweet does not cause havoc 1 Tuxedo Urchin 5 Turbos 1 Sand Star Flowerpot coral Colt coral Gobs of blue, red & green mushrooms 2X Torch coral Red bulb Anemone Orange Bulb Anemone Cabbage Leather Xenias Dose Kalk once a week to help precipitate phosphates I have tried, lawnmower blennies, Yellow tangs (I have an omen with yellow tangs, they Always get ich).  Everything that supposedly eats hair algae will not in my tank. >>Unfortunately, this is not entirely uncommon.  However, I must, at this point, make note that for a 75 gallon system, in terms of your fish load you are grossly overstocked.  One tang in a 75 is alright, as long as we're not talking about a Vlamingi or something similar.  But two of any species is ultimately going to be too much (considering adult sizes).  These animals are poop machines.   >Every blenny has starved to death as I have tried two. My urchin does eat it but he is so slow. >>Then I would get at least one more urchin, you see that it's successful, so go with what works.  I might also suggest a tropical abalone. >Yellow tangs did not.  I have found that red foot snails are excellent hair algae eaters, however they quickly die as I suspect my water temp is too high as they require 62 -72F water. >>You definitely suspect correctly. >Is it possible I introduced this algae with my live rock? >>Well.. possible, but the issue really has much more to do with available nutrients than anything else. >I forgot to mention that I have Berlin Red sea Skimmer XL in my sump which is rated to 250gal tank. It produces nice scum at least twice a week. >>Hhmm.. I'm wondering if a skimmer that produces more, more frequently might be helpful (I know, SPENDY).  I'd seriously consider getting rid of one of those tangs. >This algae has really plagued me and I cannot seem to find the source. Is there something leaching nutrients from the sand or rock? >>Could be, though least likely.  As I mentioned, if the algae is fixing it then testing may not show it. >I feed my fish 3 times a week which I feel is not a cause to nutrients. >>I disagree, and this feeding schedule, *especially* for the tangs and butterfly, is neither natural nor healthy. >Back to lighting, I am running 2x 03 actinics and 2x white actinics(12,000K) 110 watts (440 watts total). They were brand new when purchased and I had this problem from the beginning. I believe the lighting definitely helps, but I need this light for the anemones and xenias etc... >>Agreed, lighting is a must for photosynthetics.  If these animals are responding (GROWING) well under this lighting, then there should be no need for change.  I do not believe the 03s could be a "nutrient" source for the hair algae, but I do believe that your fish load IS. >Why would I ONLY have hair algae, no red, slime Cyano, green brown you name any other types of algae? >>This is the one that got its foot in the door, so to speak.  Just because you have one does not mean you'll get the others, and it's unusual to get everything present. >Everything is very healthy and growing well.. along with the hair algae :-) >>Heh..  That song from "Hair" just popped into my head. >Oxygen saturation is fine, gas exchange etc.. circulation seems fine, in fact areas that get direct current have the strongest concentration of algae????  What bothers me is EVERYTHING is healthy. >>Um.. that's just whacked.  Wouldn't it bother you more if it WASN'T healthy?  :p >I just want the algae to die. Bad hair day needs a make over. Thanks for your quick response. You guys are great!!! >>Most folks, once they have their tang(s), don't want to give them up, but I honestly think this would be your best move.  Ultimately, both those tangs in this system will be quite crowded.  Whether or not you feed them enough, you're probably feeding enough to prevent starvation, and this just may be sufficient to add just enough excess nutrients to keep the hair going (thank goodness it's not Bryopsis, eh?).  The abalone is a VORACIOUS algal consumer, check online.  Do test your source water for phosphorous, nitrite, and nitrate before you mix.  If the Kalk is precipitating phosphate out, then that means that it's present, yes?  Something needs to be done about any phosphorous present other than just pushing precipitation.  Oh yeah, the flowerpot, Goniopora, if I recollect correctly, actually occurs in nutrient RICH lagoon areas.  Marina

Need Some Culture.. >I have a 120 gal tank with the following: 1 Sebae clownfish 2 peppermint shrimp 10 or 12 Aiptasia, at last count (on the decline) >>Should be if you've got Lysmata wurdemanni in there. >3 bubble tip anemones 1 bicolor blenny 10 or 12 margarita snails about 5 turbo snails lots and lots of algae about 150 pounds of live rock good water readings ( ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate: 0, sp. Gravity 1.024) 1 4ft. VHO 50/50 1 4ft. VHO Actinic 1 150 watt (or 175 watt, maybe) Metal Halide 10,000K Red Sea Berlin skimmer in sump 4 to 5 inch bed of aragonite sand in main tank Lots and lots of Caulerpa and hair algae >>Did you mention something about lots of algae?   >I transferred most of these from a smaller tank to my big one about 6 months ago. The anemone divided upon reaching its new home, and one of the daughters divided later. >>Wow, speaks to your skills in husbandry, most folks are better at killing anemones. >Everything is doing fine, with the exception of the Margarita snails, which aren't so good at righting themselves when they fall. About 30 lbs of the live rock came from the small tank, the rest came from Liveaquaria.com. I bought a Scopas Tang to work on the algae, but one of the Anemones got him after about three weeks. >><insert big googly eyes here>  No sheet!  I would not have expected that.. but, it happens.  Poor tang, Z. scopas is by far one of my favorites. >To get to the point, this is the first time I've had an ongoing problem with algae, and I have an idea as to what the problem might be.   >>Ok.  You do seem to be on top of things. >When I previously had my large tank in operation, it had a lot of amphipods and other things roaming around at night. From barely visible ones to larger, almost shrimp looking ones (maybe Mysis). Since bringing my large tank into operation this time, I've seen none of these. Would you recommend trying to get them back with cultures?  I've read a lot of your FAQ's and this seems like a viable idea. Would a culture of 100 Mysis shrimp be O.K. (provided you think this is a good idea)? And I've found "live plankton" cultures, although, from dealing with plankton type foods, this may be more of a pollutant than anything.  Also, Palaemonetes vulgaris, shore shrimp. >>While the "pods" are quite important, and I would strongly encourage you to do what you need to get good cultures going, I don't believe that they are related to the problem with the hair algae.  It's likely fixing nutrients, and the only way to narrow down source is to be sure you've got a good quality, fresh kit (as mentioned previously, we like Seachem, Salifert, and LaMotte kits), test make up water both before and after you mix the salt.  Testing the tank may or may not yield results, as the algae may be fixing the nutrients.  You've given no test results, nor brand, so I'm just guessing here.  Beyond that, I suggest trying other algae-eating animals; abalone, tuxedo urchin, lawnmower blenny, maybe even another scopas (letting themselves be nailed by an anemone is unusual). >In summary, Do you think it would be a good idea to try and regain some biodiversity with some cultures? >>Absolutely. >If so, what kinds do you recommend? >>More problematic, as we humans can't really hope to artificially place the actual diversity possible with a few pounds of really good live rock. >Would buying a few pounds of "cured live rock" from the LFS do the trick, or be more of a gamble? >>No, if you can get it uncured, and cure it yourself, you'd have the BEST chance of getting that diversity in there.  After that, then go with the cured live rock, and some patience, as it may take a bit of time to get these cultures up, especially if you have many animals eating them. >Do you recommend any place to get cultures from? >>Sorry, no, though I can recommend Inland Aquatics for advice on this subject, and on creatures that may help control the hair algae. >Thanks, John Jordan >>You're welcome, John.  I hope this garners results for you.  Marina

Its all about the algae 11/23/03 Hi everyone , I am going to ask a question that's been asked a million times before . How do I rid my 4 year old reef tank of Green hair algae? <its all about nutrient control. I have never seen a marine system that could be cured of plague algae in 2-4 weeks or less with aggressive protein skimming. Most aquarists skimmers are poorly maintained or designed. If you do not get 3-5 cups of skimmate weekly from yours (if not more) then you are one of the masses that fit this bill. Increased water flow and improved skimming alone can likely cure this problem for you> I have read your FAQ's and I am not new to the hobby , although this is my first real battle against this overpowering menace . Lets get the tank stuff out of the way first . I have a 120 gall reef, <check to see that you have 1200 to 2400 GPH of water flow in this system... else add more> with 150 lbs. of Walt Smith's finest rook . My inhabitants are a yellow tang  , a flame angel , and 2 blue Chromes ,all of which have been with me for 4 years . I just added a Lawn Mower Blenny hoping it would help but his blade is not sharp enough . <and the latter is treating the symptom and not the problem (nutrients). You might consider 20% water changes weekly instead of larger ones monthly too... very helpful> I also have a Blue Linckia Star , 2 brittle stars , fire and a cleaner shrimp , also some snails and hermits that do not help . My equipment consists of a ETSS 600 skimmer , <wow... very nice skimmer. Works well, although too tedious to clean and adjust in my opinion. If this unit is properly tuned and giving you good skimmate, then your nutrient problem is severe... re-examine feeding, water changes, weekly instead of monthly changes of carbon (please say you are using carbon <G>), etc> wet/dry minus the bioballs ,numerous power heads , Chiller , and a digital PH meter that is always on . I drip Kalk in my top off water and I change 20 to 30 % every two to four weeks . <very good> This algae is growing off the live rock and grows the most on dead bleached corals that I had from my fish only days . It is extremely hard to remove , it can not be siphoned , only manually removed with a tooth brush. <heavens no... this should never be required... any algae can be starved into submission in mere weeks> It takes about 8 hours to take each and every rock out and scrub them , only to have it return in a matter of two weeks . As you can see I am about to smash the tank with a bat and hope the insurance will cover all the  damage , just kidding , I love this tank and it is a passion , But I can no longer watch it deteriorate. What other avenues do I have. <no worries.. this will be simple... increased water flow may be the ticket here in light of your good skimmer and good water changes. Little things too like never pouring the thawed pack juice from frozen foods in to the aquarium (algae fuel!)... but drain and decant> One other thing, I have various soft corals that are being over run and my parameters are all good . No nitrates no phosphates ,which I am sure are conducive to green hair algae . By the way the algae grows to 4 to 5 inches in length . And I do not over feed .  Please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Richard <tune that skimmer my friend and increase water flow, again... you should be able to easily get 3-5 full cups of coffee dark skimmate out of this brand skimmer. If not, those nutrients are accumulating. Read the archives and do strategic keyword searches with the google search tool to learn tips on how to improve skimmate production. Best of luck. Anthony>

- Hair Algae & pH Issues in a Nano - Hi guys & gals! I sure miss chatting with you and answering all of the fun questions that get sent in but now that I've let go of some things my life is much more relaxed so I think I did the right thing. Anyway, I am writing with a purpose. I have a terrible hair algae problem and my PH is slightly low in my nano. The specs on the tank are: 10g, 2x13w PC bulbs (1 actinic) run from about 8am to 5pm (I'm getting a timer soon so I can leave these on longer!), about 15lb LR, 2 small Ocellaris Clowns, 1 small Yellow Watchman Goby, 3 or 4 Cerith Snails, 3 or 4 Nassarius Snails, lots of feather and "coin" Caulerpa, 1 cucumber, Ammonia/Nitrites 0, pH 8.0, Nitrates <5, temp 78, crushed granite substrate approx 1" thick, water changes, 1 gallon every week or two and I use RO water for all water changes. Filtration is a trickle filter that's built into the tank (Via-Aqua) with the round bone looking filter media. I don't have a skimmer because with the style this tank/filter is I can't add one without adding a sump which involves plumbing I'm not ready to do. The first problem is my pH. I'm getting a couple of corals and want to make sure they live but I think my low pH may be a problem here (everything else is thriving!). How can I safely bring this up? <I'd start with baking soda... add a little [1/8 tsp.] to a cup of tank water, then add to the tank and test the pH. Repeat as often as necessary until the pH is in proper range.> I know the granite doesn't provide the buffering that other sands and stuff do and I'd much rather have a DSB but I'm afraid of shocking my tank by removing everything and adding sand. Would I be better to use baking soda or just go ahead and do the sand? <I would do both - the granite isn't doing you any favors.> The second problem is hair algae. I was told that phosphates can cause hair algae problems so I bought some PhosGuard and have been running that for 4 days. I don't know what my phosphates were when I put this in but they are now 0. Now I'm assuming (and we all know what that does!) that if my phosphates were actually high enough at the start to cause a hair algae problem, they wouldn't have dropped to 0 in just 4 days so this leads me to believe something else is causing the problem. Any suggestions? <Perhaps too many nutrients present, not just phosphate. Likewise, problem algae is almost always an issues in areas of low circulation, so you might want to add a powerhead, give things a scrub and then see where you stand after that.> Thanks in advance for the help! Ronni <Cheers, J -- >

- Hair Algae and pH Low - Hi Guys, I've been a reader of your excellent site for some time now. Here's my situation. I have a 55 gal. tank with 2 inches of live sand, 50 lbs of live rock. My circulation and filtration is all hang off the back. I have two whisper filters and a bio pack II protein skimmer. The tank has been up for over a year now. Initially, the lighting was poor with two 18 inch fluorescent bulbs. I replaced them with two 55w compact fluorescent combo bulbs. Still not enough light for corals. I want to go in that direction. I am planning on adding a couple of 175W 10K MH bulbs. But in the meantime, I have a hair algae problem. Also, even though I drip Kalkwasser and add Kent super buffer, I can't get the pH higher than 8.0 and the KH is 13. I added a Xenia about a month ago and with the PH at 8.0, I'm surprised it is still surviving, it certainly doesn't pulse at this time.. So here are my questions: What can I do to get the pH moving north? The super buffer says it's goal is to get the PH between 8.0 and 8.3 but from what I read on your site the Xenia like pH in the 8.6 range. Can I add baking soda in small amounts? <Yes.> What do you suggest? <Perhaps try buffering your water change water before you add salts... try to make sure all new water going in has good alkalinity. Would be a good place to start.> On the hair algae problem and I've been taking the live rock out and using a toothbrush to remove the hair algae but it keeps coming back. What can I do to starve the algae out? <You might want to run a phosphate test to see what your levels are - this acts as a ready source of plant food for algae and often becomes a problem from overfeeding. Another thing you can do is increase the circulation inside the tank by the addition of a couple of powerheads.> Will the addition of two 175 MH bulbs increase it's growth or help to kill it off? <It will most likely increase the growth.> I've  got one of those cleaner gang packages from Marine Depot so I have many snails, crabs, etc. They don't feast on the hair algae, so I'm at a loss as to how to get rid of that problem. I have a few small fish in the tank as well. The ammonia and nitrate levels are zero. Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

Hair Algae Problems Dudes <What up?>...thought I had won the battle with hair algae but after 2 weeks of nothing, it came back?.. I switched from natural seawater to ro water and instant ocean salt mix, with water changes weekly. about 15% or so. Tried PhosGuard by SeaChem and man that did the trick. I figured it had been exhausted and that was the reason for the return of the "green". My question was can carbon leach phosphates that fast back into the tank? <Quality of the carbon is the real question> I change it weekly when I do the water change. <Even bad carbon shouldn't leech anything in a week.> I am running a mag 350 canister filter in a 10 gallon mini reef tank. 1 lawnmower blenny ( but he looks more like an Eyebar goby?) either way he seems to nibble at the green, as well as 1 small wrasse. I have a small ice probe chiller for keeping it cool but it was a freaky hot summer here in Kona and temp in the tank was in the 8o to 82 range at times, ..tank animals are fine and corals open ...feeding for the fish is very small amount of formula one. each fish gets a little chunk( I mean little) twice a day and skip a day once a week.. If I remove the carbon from the filter are there any chances that it may help?. <May try running it on/off every other week.> More live sand?<How much do you have?> live rock? <Can't hurt> .. my eyes are buggy after reading as much as I could absorb on the site about nutrient control. I would rather not use the SeaChem stuff all the time and am spying a remora skimmer in the future. No magic bullet I know but any suggestions ? <Blue leg hermits?  Do you use any snails?  I need more info to provide a decent suggestion.  Sorry!>   Thanks Pete ps: pray for surf!. winter is around the corner!!! <My surf-prayers are with you!  Mahalo and good luck! Ryan>

- Dealing with Problem Algae - To the Wet Web Media crew: My name is Lucas and this is the first time that I have written to you. Before I present my problem, perhaps some background information on the tank itself would be appropriate. The tank is a fifty five gallon with standard dimensions (20x13x48). Lighting is provided by a JBJ 2004 model Formosa light fixture with 4x65 watt bulbs (2 10,000k, 1 actinic blue and 1 6500k). Lights are on for about 10-11 hours per day. I do not have any sophisticated dawn/dusk or nighttime cycles but would like to look into them should I clear up these basic problems first. Filtration is provided by a Bak Pak 2 skimmer (I am thinking of upgrading to a Remora from Aqua C) which is equipped with the bubble catcher to prevent any micro bubbles from entering the tank. Instead of the blue bio-bale, I hang a mesh bag filled with foam and Phosphate/Silicate magnet from Marc Weiss (this is the ONLY Weiss product that I use, for I have not been too impressed with the performance of their products, although I might try their Moonshine moonlight in the future). I make sure that the mechanical media is cleaned weekly at the least and the phosphate media is replaced regularly. Circulation is provided by two Marineland Penguin 660 powerheads placed in the back corners and aimed to the center front with their output breaking the surface of the water and one AquaClear 300 power filter. There is no media in the AquaClear, I just use it for circulation. The tank is located near a window, but there are no noticeable drafts that affect the tank (the window is well sealed and remains closed) and I blocked out any light that may enter through the window and shine upon the tank. Substrate consists of 1inch of Florida Crushed Coral topped by another inch of Nature's Ocean Aragonite live sand. There is no plenum; substrate lies directly on the bottom of the tank. There is enough live rock to fill about one-fourth to one-third of the tank volume, and I make sure that adequate water movement is present around and through the rock. I am trying to replicate a sort of Caribbean biotype within my tank, and the inhabitants as such try to reflect this niche. Organisms are: Two green Chromis, one mimic tang, blue leg hermits and Astrea snails, one Diadema Urchin, one cleaner shrimp, three ball sponges, one finger sponge, Caulerpa algae, one fire coral, button polyps, feather duster worms (solitary and colonial), and various copepods and amphipods. Now, finally, to my question/problem: the tank is in the midst of a severe Bryopsis algae bloom that has persisted for some time now. The tank itself has been set up for about ten months now and went through the other algae stages (diatom and Cyanobacteria) before this infestation arose. Also, Aiptasia anemones are multiplying like crazy, and I am at a loss to try and stop them. Am I doing anything wrong? Water changes are performed weekly at about five gallons per change using Instant Ocean salt, and the specific gravity is kept at 1.025. The only additives that I use (besides the weekly water changes) are DT's phytoplankton, which is dosed according to the recommended dosage on the bottle, and "balance blocks" from HBH Enterprises. I put a block in with filter medium and phosphate magnet and let it dissolve as needed. Bak Pak puts out lots of gunk daily, and I take very good care of the tank (in regards to the daily maintenance and monitoring). Please help, as I am not sure how much longer I can stand to see my tank suffer like this. <I don't know if I would characterize this problem as 'suffering' - almost all tanks go through similar issues, it is part of a system of natural progression. Two things come to mind that you can do to deal with this algae - first, increase flow within the tank; add more powerheads, randomize the flow. Next, start removing this algae by hand, perhaps with a toothbrush... but never the less, manual removal is the best way to get the upper hand. Also, give this article a read, should provide some background: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm > Any help and/or suggestions would be deeply appreciated. Sincerely, Lucas <Cheers, J -- >
- Dealing with Problem Algae, Follow-up -
To Wet Web Media crew: Lucas again. Forgot to mention that only RO water is used for water changes and evaporation top-off, nothing less. <Sounds good. Cheers, J -- >

Your books bought both books the natural reef invert book and Conscientious Marine Aquarist which I enjoyed both very much !! just a thought but not everyone that buys and reads these books have PhD's !! <You'll soon be "speaking" the lingo... and relating what seem like obscure concepts, formulae... I assure you> and knowing that ya would like to see people using the scientific names I feel it would be a great idea to have the punctuation of these names somewhere in the back would be such a great help ! <Agreed... but "have to" leave somethings out... and many folks have what they consider to be fine pronunciation (the medium IS the message) that is VERY different from others> with out having to look that info up else were to continue to read the book!!  cause ya have to admit they can be a bit of a tongue twisters to say the least !! <Again... you will be surprised at how quickly you will be versed in Linqua Latina and leave the realm of non-pet-fish-cognoscenti... You'll see> lol and I know I had to skip past many due to being somewhat retarded I guess heheh <Nope. Just unfamiliar... as yet> one other ?? that I didn't read about is when growing any type of algae when is the best time to harvest it ?? <When it's too big, too much... most are best regularly "pruned" by being pinched off (with fingers), fed to the main tank or removed> I have Caulerpa prolifera and it grows quiet well but after reading that you guys don't really like it due to many issues looking for some sea grass !!  but my LFS has his in his main display tank which lights are off every night and either has got lucky that is hasn't crashed like stories I have read ?!?! <Happens... but not all that frequently> kinda confused on that !#!#$@!$ I have some as well in my main display and some as well in my fug which I leave light on 24/7  as it grows out should ya pull out the older parts or clip the new and leave to older to try to spread out further !?!? <I would do both... likely on a weekly basis... keep it cropped, illuminated in the refugium> how long due most wait till harvest time?? hope I'm not to confusing here but maybe cause I'm confused on that issue thanks for the great site and books love them and turn everyone I talk to check them out before doing anything !! <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

-Weeds!!!- Hello there, I am running a 450 litre reef tank with about 60 kilos of live rock, no sand (to speak of), skimmer, controlled injection of ozone and a wet/dry with bio-balls. 2 x 150 MH on for 10 hours a day. PH range between 8.0 and 8.2 (v stable), ammonia, nitrate and nitrite nil, winter temperature range between 26.5 and 27.5 c. <Sounds good> Fish inhabitants are Flame Angel, Mandarin, Yellow Coris (canary), small Kole and Purple tang, pair of Percula clowns, purple Blenny. Invertebrates are boxer shrimp, hammer LPS, mushroom LPS, Elegance LPS, a Duncanopsammia axifugia, one large Sarcophyton, one Lobophyton, 6" maxima clam. I feed all corals that will take it and fish well but carefully.  This setup is 16 months old and still maturing.  Current phase is experiencing quite heavy growth of Caulerpa Bryopsis which keeps getting a dusting of rust coloured "stuff" which makes it look quite scummy.  <Ew> I have two questions, 1./  Why has the Bryopsis, which seems to be reducing in overall volume, started to be covered in the rust coloured stuff (probably algae) <Sometimes it can get covered in competing algae, there's likely some sort of nutrient problem going on.> and 2./ How do I encourage coralline to start to dominate and get rid of this stuff. <Best way to get coralline to go is to make sure that you have introduced plenty of different species and to keep your calcium and carbonate hardness levels high. As for the algae problem, check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and run a phosphate test. Good luck! -Kevin> I am getting really sick of weeding every second week! Thanks and regards, Michael

Hair algae Thanks for the reply.  As stated, I have always used RO/DI water (I have an RO unit connected to a deionizing chamber).  I will check the phosphate levels, but I wonder if this is the most significant factor considering that I do use RO water and the nitrate levels are fairly low (would think that the latter correlates with low phosphate levels).<agreed, I would also check the filtration components of the RO unit maybe they need to be changed). Let me know what the phosphates, nitrates etc test out at. Good luck, IanB>

Hair algae problem 07/29/03 <Hi Tim, PF with you tonight> I have a 180 gal. reef tank with an Ecosystem filtration system.  The tank has been established for over a year now, and over the past five months I've had an unsightly hair algae problem.  I have a power blue tang, sohal tang, lawn mower blenny, bi-color blenny, four PJ cardinals, six green Chromis, a four line and a six line wrasse, and a green mandarin.  I have two clams, a few dozen small hermits, three peppermint shrimp, a few colonies of polyps, six fighting conchs, a couple dozen snails, and about seven LPS corals.  The tank has plenty of circulation, lighting consisting of three 175 watt 10,000K MH and three 5 foot long VHO tubes.  Also have about 200lbs + of live rock, the substrate base is crushed coral and the Caulerpa in the refugium is very healthy.  Also I have been using Sea Chem brand sea gel, the Ecosystem reef solution and Sea Chem brand reef calcium, and reef carbonate.  My nitrate levels are nothing, my pH, my salinity, calcium, and alkalinity are all ideal.  Please help me get rid of my hair algae problem and help me grow beautiful coralline algae. Thank-you Tim Horn <Well Tim, that's quite a collection you have there. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that it might be phosphate. Have you tried testing for it? If that's the problem I can recommend ROWAphos with no reservations, it worked wonders for me. I would think though, that with all your herbivores, that the hair algae would be history. My lawn mower blenny and tang both chow down heartily on what little appears in my tank. I did notice that you didn't list a skimmer among your pieces of equipment. Why the Ecosystem method doesn't require one (I know, I use it myself) I've found that it does help (and I'm not alone in this). If you do decide to do supplemental skimming, I or someone else can recommend a good brand. Have a nice night, PF>

Hair Algae (7-23-03) How can I get rid of hair algae???  I know what to change to make it not come back but how can I get rid of it right now?  Do I need to take out each base rock that has it and scrub the surface or is there a safe chemical that will make it die off?<I would stick to scrubbing and siphoning and avoid chemicals. Cody> Thanks for your help.

-Turboflotors and hair algae- Thanks for the quick reply, yes it is hair algae. When I purchased the Turboflotor 1000 it said for tanks up to 250g, is this wrong. <I suppose that would depend on who you ask. I rate it for a 50-75g mixed reef.> Only one of my return lines goes through the UV sterilizer. If I remove the DSL from my wet dry and use the chambers for Carbon and/or Chemipure should that help with the hair algae? <Neither the carbon or the Chemipure will help, use phosphate remover even though it's not detectable. Good luck, -Kevin>

- Algae problem! - How are things going, good I hope. <That they are, I hope all is well with you too!>  I have a algae problem and am a little confused as to why. I have a 180gal reef with a 30gal sump and a 55 gal refugium. From the main tank one overflow runs to the 30 gal sump, in the sump there is a wet/dry filter with two compartments each has the swirl wands and bioballs. Also in the sump is a Turboflotor 1000 skimmer. The other overflow from the main tank flows into the 55 gal refugium, this has 40lbs of live rock and 3 inches of live sand along with macro algae on a 24 hr light cycle, this is plumbed to overflow back into the 30gal sump where water is then pumped back to the main tank first passing through a UV sterilizer. <Aw, you're nuking all those critters that left the 'fuge for the main tank! I'd kill the sterilizer or at least only run it when there is a problem.> I perform weekly water changes of 10-15% using a deionizer to make the water, and for topping off evaporation. I feed very sparingly usually every two days ( most fish are grazers). I only have 10 fish in the tank plus corals ,crabs and shrimp. Still I have hair algae problems? My skimmer puts out half a cup daily and when testing my phosphates and nitrates read zero. But I am obviously getting nutrients from somewhere? <You got it> My thoughts are that my wet/dry filter is producing excess nitrates and the hair algae is utilizing it before I have a chance to measure for it. <With vigorous algae growth, that is very possible. Hobbyist grade PO4 kits read only high levels of phosphate, and only one kind.> I am now debating on removing the wet dry all together. Based on this would you agree that the wet dry is possibly causing my algae problems. <You should be able to remove all the bio-media at once with no ill side effects. Your skimmer is also a bit undersized for a 180, so you may want to think about upgrading to something like a Precision Marine or an AquaC. Unless I missed it, you didn't specify what kind of problem algae you had... If it's a green algae, keep running phosphate remover, get algae growing in the 'fuge, do something about your skimmer, and manually remove as much of it as you can (if it's hair algae, think toothbrush.). -Kevin> Thanks Mike

Caulerpa racemosa predator 6/25/03 Dear crew member <cheers, my friend> Have enjoyed and benefited from this site for years - from the times when Bob was handling it alone. <outstanding... and thanks kindly. Really wonderful for us all/the hobby to see it grow <G>> This is my 1st message sent. My 70 gal reef has been up & running for 5 years. I have about 100 lbs of live rock, 1/2" to 1" sand substrate, 2 Tridacnid maximas, a branching frogspawn, a hairy leather, a colt, and various polyps and mushrooms. I have a percula clown, a Banggai cardinal, and a chevron tang (4"). The system is stable - it has been over 2 years since I have introduced anything. My problem is Caulerpa racemosa. <heehee... rat weed. And one of the most legitimately noxious of all Caulerpas. My least fave> Once a month or so I harvest it by hand. <be sure to thin (pull fronds) and not tear or cut> I skim aggressively, use activated carbon, perform monthly 15% water changes, feed the fish twice a week rotating frozen Mysis, blood worms, and krill. <excellent> the chevron will rasp at the almost non-existent microalgae on the rocks and aquarium glass, but will not touch the racemosa. <correct... it is quite noxious to many/most fishes> I think my fish load is light enough to introduce another, but I need a big time algae eater, and I'm concerned about mixing tangs. <not a great idea or even likely to work> Is there a prodigious macro algae eater I can add to this group, or should I consider trading in the chevron in favor of a different tang? Thanks for you time and consideration.   Larry <seek instead some of the algae grazing sea slugs of the genus Elysia =Tridachiella... they are cheap, hardy (one of the few Opisthos that it is true about)... and certain species are voracious Caulerpa eaters. They harvest their chloroplasts like the nudibranchs harvest cnidarian stinging cells. Best regards, Anthony>

Algae control 6/23/03 Dear crew <cheers!> I need your help with an algae problem. <napalm and a flamethrower... works every time> I have a Bryopsis (it's green algae so I think it's Bryopsis) in a six 5 months tank. <double napalm> I have a deep sand bed, about 15 kg of live rock (waiting on some more), Sarcophytons, brain corals, clown anemone etc.... I have about 20 medium size  fishes (mostly tangs, 2xmarron clown, 2xyellow tangs etc....) Tank is 150 gallons, and I keep removing by hand quite a few grams of Bryopsis every week. Levels at everything are normal, and water changes are about 10% every week. Is Bryopsis going through a cycle or it's being fed by some factor which I haven't checked ? Waiting for your reply Kostas (Greek reef) <Bryopsis is actually not so dependent on "poor" water quality (nutrient/low flow, etc) as many other pests. It can be tempered, however, by maintaining a more consistent pH (very steady day and night 8.6) and a high Redox (400-450mv). You may also try some of the Rabbitfishes (AKA "Foxface"). We also have almost 50 pages of coverage on plants and algae in our new marine aquarium book: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html Best regards, Anthony>

Caulerpa Gone Wild! Good morning, <Hello there! Scott F. with you today!> Could you please give me a bit of advice on how to reduce the amount of Caulerpa in my tank?  When I purchased it I tried to keep it localized in the tank, but it has gradually spread and is causing me to move my corals.  It is just impossible to remove it by hand effectively though I am trying. <It's tough! The fronds tend to put down holdfasts that make removal without breaking them very difficult>   It is a 55g tank and is generally causing me few problems, water quality is fine and fish and corals are healthy.  What would be an appropriate macro-algae eater?  My yellow tang has a nibble, but I don't think the red legged hermits touch it. Many thanks, Peter Harris <Well, Peter, I'd like to recommend a "natural" approach, such as another tang (like a Sailfin tang- which, in my experience, is a macroalgae-eating "machine") or rabbit fish- but I think that your tank could not comfortably accommodate one at this point. They simply get too large. I'd stick to a "low tech" approach, unfortunately- which means manually extracting the stuff! Try to take care when extracting the Caulerpa, as ripping the fronds can leach some potentially toxic substances into the water. The other thing that you could do is try to remove the rocks that the Caulerpa has attached to, and rip away at the stuff once it's outside the tank. Although I am not a big fan of Caulerpa (for a lot of reasons- some of which you are now aware!), it may be worth simply keeping contained as much as possible. Remove all "adventurous" holdfasts that journey out of your "designated Caulerpa zone". Easier said than done, but it may be infinitely more simple than removing your rocks, etc. to extract the stuff. Good luck! Regards, Scott F> temp 25 sg 1.024 ph 8.4 at 8pm lights on nitrates < 10ppm phos is hard to measure, just detectable with my kit calcium 300ppm (I am trying to raise this) I run a hang on skimmer, canister filter, 70kg live rock, no sand.  I have a yellow tang, one purple Dottyback, 3 green Chromis, 1 blood shrimp, 1 red starfish, 4 turbo snails, 4 red legged hermits.

Hair's The Problem! (Hair Algae) Hello Crew, I have a problem with green hair algae in my 150 gallon reef. The tank's been running for 3 months now and has a skimmer running 24 X 7 and the water is RO/DI water but yet I still have a huge amount of green hair algae growing even if I pull it out it will regrow back in a week. <Yep- pulling out the algae is basically treating the symptoms, but is not affecting a "cure"...You need to delve deeper to find the root cause> I don't feed the tank anything except an algae sheet every other day for the blenny. Tank inhabitants are (1) Bicolor Blenny (100) Blue Leg Hermit Crabs (Which I regret buying since they've eaten my snails) (50) Astraea snails (had 100 but the hermit crabs have been eating them) and (2) Cleaner Shrimps. I also had a Chevron Tang but he died in a flood and I never found his body (this was 2 months ago). <Sorry to hear that> At first I didn't have any filters running except for the skimmer but I have now added an Emperor 400, and placed a sponge filter on my return pump. <Clean and replace all mechanical filter media regularly...If not tended to, these media can accumulate detritus and become "nutrient traps"> I tested the water coming out of the RO last night and it showed 5 PPM but I don't know if that was because of the tub it was being stored in. <5 PPM nitrate? If so, do check if membranes need replacing, or if, as you suspect, the storage container has some dissolved organic material in it- you'll need to clean or replace it.> Lighting is provided by 220 Watts Of Actinic VHO and 500 Watts of 10,000K USHIO Metal Halide. The Actinics are on for 6 hours and the Halides are on for 5 hours. Calcium is at ~380. Any ideas? Thanks. <Well, what about protein skimming? You should have a skimmer working away, yanking out at least a couple of cups of dark, stinky skimmate weekly. Also, try more frequent, smaller water changes (like two 5% changes per week). Utilize chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filter regularly, and replace them often. Control of nutrient algae is all about nutrient control! In fact, being the geek that I am, I wrote an article called (what else) "Nutrient Control and Export" that's on the WWM site. I think it will answer a lot of your questions- do review this and the many other related articles on the topic on the WWM site...So much material to review here! You'll get rid of the algae with a concerted effort and an attempt to eliminate the root causes of the problem. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

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