Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Controlling Marine Green/Hair, Chlorophyte Algae 6

Related FAQs: Green Algae Control 1, Green Algae Control 2, Green Algae Control 3, Green Algae Control 4, Green algae Control 5, 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

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Hair algae problems!!! -- 08/17/07 Hey all.... <Justin> I have been battling a hair algae problem for some time now. It has really started to get to my patience level. Even to the point of giving up my tank!!! <Mmm, only so many inputs, outputs to consider...> Anyhow....here is the skinny. I have had my tank up and running for over a year. <Ahhh! One... see WWM re augmenting, replacing part of the LR, substrate... > Within the last three months I have had a bad hair algae problem that I cannot contain. All of my levels are within normal ranges, <Might be being adjusted by the algae...> my lighting is new, water temp never changes because of a chiller and I have taken every piece of live rock out of my system at once and cleaned them and then put them back into the tank. Still it comes back. I was told to try Algone <I would not> and still is grows. I was told to try a tuxedo urchin and sea hare's, but still it grows. <The conditions allowing/fostering "it" haven't changed...> The newest thing that I was told to do was to try adding Ammonium Nitrate as the LFS thinks my water is too lean. Whatever that means. Any ideas? I have read the stuff on your website about it, but I can't seem to find out an answer of what works. Here is the breakdown of my system. 120 gallon with refugium and sump system. 2X250W metal HQI halide system from CoraLife=692 total watts of light CoraLife chiller Euroreef skimmer PH:8.2 temp: 80 degrees Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0 Phosphate: 0.1 Magnesium:1350 Calcium: 410ish Carbonate Hardness: 10dkh I do water changes every week to two weeks and I perform a 15% to 20% water change each time. The micron filter bags get changed each time that I perform a water change as well. Thanks again for your input. One more thing....over the months I have lost a lot of blue and red hermit crabs. If I buy a bunch more, would that help out? Thanks, Justin Wayne <I would go the competition and bio-nutrient limitation route... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Green Hair Algae...what else can I do? 8/16/07 Hey crew! <Hello> I need some help with a relentless case of hair algae. I've got a 55 gal with a clownfish, firefish and a goby, 80 lbs of live rock and a couple of emerald crabs. I've been doing 12 gal water changes 2x/week for weeks now. Water parameters all read 0, including phosphate. <Have you tested your source water?> I use RO/DI water mixed with Instant Ocean salt. I use a protein skimmer constantly and clean every other day. I use carbon in between the filter pads in my sump and I change them and the carbon weekly. The live rock was covered something horrible but I took it all out and scrubbed it off but it's growing back again. I feed the animals brine shrimp. I now rinse the shrimp, could the algae have been a result of not rinsing, I just drained it before? <Stay away from brine, very little nutritional value, try Mysid or a good quality pellet.> I don't know what else to do...I'm getting a brown film/algae growing on the glass almost daily that I scrap off and use a turkey baster to siphon out. I have 3 powerheads in the tank and great circulation. I've read Scott F's article on algae and followed it to the letter for 2 months now and I still can't make a dent in this...what else am I missing? Thanks! Jennifer <Step up your attempts to remove the algae manually, by doing this you are both removing the eyesore and the fuel that drives it's growth. Try cutting your feeding in half as well, this is also a common source of problems. Poly-filters may help some as well, they are quite good at removing phosphates and other organic material. I am guessing that your source water is the ultimate cause here, test it before adding it to your tank and see what the readings are, once it is in the tank the algae will use the phosphates up before your can test for them. Just for fun also test your water change water after adding the salt, I have never had a problem with IO but have heard that people get phosphate reading after adding it, and while I don't put too much stock in this it may be worth testing for.> <Chris>
Re: Green Hair Algae...what else can I do? 8/17/07
Hi Chris, <Hello> Thanks for your response. <Welcome> I incorrectly told you brine when I meant Mysis shrimp. <Ah, much better.> I was feeding 2/day, but I've cut it down to once. I do have a PolyFilter in the sump as well. Should I increase the water changes? I've tested prior to adding salt, I'll test after. <Worth checking out, although I doubt you will see a problem here, and 2X a week water changes is plenty. And just to be clear the Ploy-Filter I am referring to is chemically absorbent, not just the polyester filter material available for sale.> I bought the RO system about a month ago, prior to that I bought water at the LFS, who used a RO. <This very well may be your problem, often the LFS' RO is not properly maintained and may have fueled the algae growth.> I've also used bottled purified water which I tested. Where did I go wrong? <I bet you see an improvement now that you are using your own RO water.> I'll keep up on manually removing it from the rocks. Also, in the FAQs I've read that you should try to get the calcium levels up to get rid of green hair, does that sound accurate to you? I've was adding calcium (Seachem) but stopped because I thought it might contribute to the hair algae. <Will help establish Coralline algae to compete with the hair algae.> Thanks again for your help! Jennifer <Welcome> <Chris>
Re: Green Hair Algae...what else can I do? - 8/17/07
Chris, I've tested all water sources for phosphate before adding salt and they always tested 0. Maybe I need to get a new test kit. I'll keep up on the water changes and scrubbing rocks, power heads and glass. Thanks for your help...it's much appreciated!! Jennifer <Very good, I would guess the RO from the fish shop was the source, now that it is no longer in use I think you will start to see improvements.> <Chris>

Bryopsis Problems  8/14/07 Hello guys, <Brad> I really enjoy your site and everything you do for us!! My problem lies within my newly setup 55 g reef tank. The specs are as follows: 60 lbs of LR, 60lbs of LS, aqua c remora w/MJ 1200, and 500+ gph circulation within. I am having a serious breakout of Bryopsis, a little bit came on some of my LR. My parameters are as follows: pH 8.2, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Ammonia 0, Alkalinity 140, Phosphate 0, Calcium 320, SG 1.025, and Temp 79 F. I recently removed my canister filter thinking that was the cause of my growth. I did have a 5 Meq/l reading of Nitrates, when I ran with the canister. So I did eliminate that, although I doubt that was all of the cause. <I agree> I use RO water and have tested it for Nitrites, Nitrates, and Phosphates all Zero readings. <May be being absorbed/taken up by the pest algae... such point to point non-thinking is what Americans seem to believe re "terrorist production"> I just mixed up a fresh batch of water, I will be testing that tomorrow for the same 3 things to see if it my salt mix that has something that is feeding this stuff. I use Instant Ocean salt. <A good brand... well, used to be... consistently> I cant seem to find what is my cause.... Would an investment in a phosphate remover do any good? <Possibly... but your other life likely need HPO4...> I should add my livestock- 1 black ocellaris clown, 1 skunk cleaner, 2 peppermints, 1 emerald, 4 snails, 5 blue leg hermit, organ pipe coral. I do feed daily but only my clown and its direct feeding, the shrimp get the rest . I also am very good at performing weekly routine maintenance, water changes, manual removal of algaes, syphon sand, and cleaning skimmer. <Good> The main reason I am asking this is my Organ Pipe Coral is now being over run by Bryopsis. The algae is very thick and covering 1/4 of this coral. I have increased flow a bit near it, but doesn't seem to help. The 1/4 that is covered never opens its polyps. This is a shame because I rescued this from a LFS in bad shape, a lot of die off. It was just starting to grow new polyps and look lusher so to speak. Anything I can do here? Thank you for your time in this matter! Brad <Perhaps a Ctenochaetus, Mithraculus... Definitely the use of a refugium with DSB, macroalgal culture... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalgcontfaqs.htm and the linked files above... to gain an understanding of what your options are, may be here. Bob Fenner>

Algae Control, greens  7/18/07 Good evening and again thanks for being such a great service to the fish keeping community. <You're welcome.> I am trying to control not only Caulerpa racemosa but Valonia (Bubble Algae) as well. Both have started taking over the tank. I was able to control the Caulerpa to a certain extent by manual removal but after being gone for two weeks it is now gotten out of control. The Caulerpa is now past the manual control stage. The Valonia is really gotten out of control and is everywhere now. I have been reading through the many FAQ's on both subjects. I have considered a tang for controlling the Caulerpa but was worried about the tang police showing up in the middle of the night because it would be in a 58 gallon tank. <No guarantee that they would eat the type you have.> My next thought is a small Rabbitfish/Foxface of some type. Which one would be best? I am also concerned long term about the potential size of the Rabbitfish/Foxface. My question is would a Rabbitfish/Foxface also do a good job on the Valonia? <Doug, we do not want to put a band-aid on the problem, we want to try and cure the problem, correct? Algae gets out of control by excess nitrates/phosphates/dissolved waste in the system. You do not mention the use of a protein skimmer or chemical media, such as Chemi-Pure. The use of an efficient protein skimmer along with a chemical media is a very effective way of reducing dissolved nutrients in your system. Bi-weekly water changes will also help in this regard. Do read here and related links above on this subject. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> Or would I be better off with an army of Mithrax crabs in the tank to handle the Valonia? <I'd put a couple of these guys in there but don't expect overnight results.> Regards, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Doug
Re: Algae Control Question 7/18/07
James, <Doug> I should have posted more info on the tank. <Yes, always give this info, it allows us to form a more accurate response.> Recent test by myself and another hobbyist using two different kits showed that tank was well within desired parameters as far as water quality. <What are your desired parameters?> If anything I am over skimming <No such thing as over skimming.> the tank with an Octopus NW-150 rated up to 180 gallons. The only media that I am running is carbon. <I would go with Chemi-Pure rather than carbon. All carbon processing uses phosphate in the process. Some brands contain more, some less. Try putting a teaspoon of your carbon in a glass of seawater for 24 hours, then do a phosphate check on this sample, see what you get. Chemi-Pure has a very low phosphate content, and their new product called Chemi-Pure Elite also contains ferric oxide to remove phosphates and silicates. Another avenue to check is your make-up water. Make sure the levels of nitrate/phosphate are unreadable. If you use a R/O system, your membrane may need to be replaced. A TDS check (total dissolved solids) will verify this. If you are not using a R/O system, you may consider getting one. Overstocking...never mentioned your animal load, this can lead to poor water quality also, as more waste is produced, and in most cases, faster than the system can remove. Sand/gravel beds are another area of concern. Siphoning with a gravel/sand cleaner during water changes will remove more detritus than you can believe. I prefer a very shallow (1/2") sand bed.> I do weekly water changes of ~ 10%. <Great.> I do have the standard assortment of snails and crabs including 2 Mithrax and a Sally Lightfoot. So I am stumped on what is going on. So I am not really looking for a band-aid but a solution. <Good, James (Salty Dog)> Doug

Green Algae--HELP!  7/7/07 Thanks again for all your help! <Hopefully..> I have gone through the green algae topics etc before sending you this. I have started a fairly new system (2 months old). 20 Gallon 1 AquaC Remora Protein Skimmer (MJ1200) 15 lbs LR MJ400 with Bioflow and Anaerobic Filter 150w 14000k HQI (On 11-12 hrs a day) 1 small leather 1 small bubble coral 1 Medium Frog Spawn 1 Medium Alveopora (Branch) Coral 3 2small 1 large Clowns 2 small peppermint shrimp Nitrite- 0 Nitrate- 10ppm KH- 220 pH- 7.8-7.9 <pH really needs bumping up to the 8.3 mark> Temp- 80 After the tank cycled I had the normal small brown algae bloom. Nothing too bad. Within the last 3-4 days, I am having a horrible green algae bloom. The algae have no hair, almost like a dusting over everything. It has now started on my Alveopora (which was doing well). <This will need manual cleaning, gently> It is not opening up as much anymore and the algae is growing on the closed polyps. I can clean the glass and within 1 hr the glass is covered again. I have made the skimmer produce more skimmate. I am almost contemplating restarting the system. Any idea or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. <John there are other things that need to be known here. Do you have a sandbed and if so how deep is it and has it been disturbed recently? Do you have any natural nutrient export mechanisms other than the LR i.e. a refugium and are you both testing for phosphate and running any phosphate remover? I would suggest a fairly substantial water change, which should almost always be your first port of call. Then test for all nutrients again possibly with a fresh test kit and possibly add some Polyfilter to your system and extra water movement. Have you added anything recently? This is still a very new tank and certain biochemical imbalances will still need to stabilise and this can lead to apparently random algae blooms> Thanks so much! <Pleasure; Water change, Nutrient tests especially phosphate and likely water change again> John <Olly, get back to me with those answers and we'll try and help get to the bottom of this>

Elysia viridis. Looking For A Bryopsis Grazer - 05/06/07 Good Morning all, <<Greetings>> I have been working on a Bryopsis problem for a while now and have been doing regular water changes to combat the situation. <<Have you looked through our info re nuisance algae?  Raising your system's pH to 8.5/8.6 and keeping it there for several weeks has shown anecdotal proof of helping to eliminate this pest alga>> My battle has lead me to research additional means. <<Ah...ok>> I have found that a sea slug of the order Sacoglossa, Elysia viridis, has made claims to eat Bryopsis exclusively. <<Mmm, not "exclusively"...at least not according to seaslugforum.net>> The problem I am having is finding this slug in stores? <<I think this animal is more a cool/temperate species than a tropical species, based on its distribution in the Northeast Atlantic>> I have been told my LFS that the Lettuce Sea Slug is the same thing as the Viridis, however I am not sure if they are. <<Elysia crispata (Lettuce Sea Slug) is a distinctly different species from E. viridis hailing from different locales...and quite apparent when viewed>> I know they are of the same family but not the same species? <<Correct>> Can you help me decided on whether or not to buy a Lettuce Sea Slug for my battle, or if not, where I can obtain an Elysia Viridis? <<I would NOT buy the Lettuce Sea Slug.  Little is known of what these animals really eat (even though they are actively marketed/sold as grazers of "hair algae").  Many of these slugs are able to harbor the living chloroplasts of the algae they consume which continue to photosynthesize within the body of the sea slug, providing it with sugars for its own nutrition.  E. crispata have been found to contain the ingested symbiotic plastids from Halimeda incrassata and Penicillus capitatus...hardly "hair" algae.  My own anecdotal observations and experiences would seem to bear this out as I have never known one survive more than a few weeks to months in a home aquarist's system, even with an abundance of hair algae present, as they all seem to ultimately shrink and die from starvation.  I think a better choice of slug to try would be from the genus Aplysia...the Sea Hares.  These slugs; at least in my opinion/experience, are more hardy and much more likely to consume the filamentous algae than E. crispata>>   Thank You for Your Time <<Happy to share.  EricR>>

Persistent green stuff...help! Bubble Algae  4/26/07 Hey guys, <Hello.> I've been using your site for years and I thoroughly appreciate all of your help, <Very nice to hear, you are welcome and thank you.> the results of which have been a moderately successful 50 gallon saltwater tank with live rock and inverts. <Well lets see what we can do to change that "moderate" rating to "highly" successful.> I am writing because ever since I placed a yellow Fiji leather coral in my tank along with the rock it was attached to, the algae/green stuff that was on that rock has been slowly taking over my tank. Its been about two years now. <It looks to be Green Bubble Algae; Ventricaria ventricosa.> The green algae/stuff is short and crunchy and very hard to remove. Also, it crowds out other living things on the rock, such as my xenia. <Yes this creature can outcompete the best cnidarians in the "space-wars."> When I remove it manually it does not take long to re-grow, gets stuck in my intakes and never seems to be fully removed in the first place because it clings to the rock so well. <And the spores, seedlings..."parts... from manual cleaning tend to find there way back to the rock.> I was wondering if you could identify it for me from the attached pictures <See above ^^ .> and whether you could tell me any sort of solution (hopefully a natural grazer of this pest green stuff!). <I have a few questions for you as well; *Do you test the water; if so what are the parameters (particularly nitrates and phosphates)? *What is your source water? *How is the water flow in the aquarium? *What is your water change regime? *What type/how much lighting, how old are the bulbs? Sorry for all the questions but they will help me to give you a better plan of attack. In the meantime you did mention natural predators. Many aquarists have had success with employing emerald crabs, however the crabs are opportunistic omnivores and that presents an issue itself.  Other have recommended employing Zebrasoma sp.; tangs but they grow quite large and often times there are territorial. compatibility issues with pre-existing tank mates...or the tank is simply too small. Check out these articles/FAQ's as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i6/Algae.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/swcrabs.htm .> Any help or suggestion would be much appreciated.  I just really hope I do not have to buy all new live rock! <No I don't think that will be necessary.> Thanks very much, <Of course.> Keith <Adam J.>

Re: Persistent green stuff...help! Re: Bubble Algae -- 04/30/07 Sounds like I need some crabs. <Well ....oh you don't mean those kinds crabs...never mind. Seriously though do look into the pros and cons of utilizing crabs in a mixed reef tank, there are some cons....I'm sure you have heard the phrase opportunistic omnivore.> Here is the info requested, <Awesome.> and again, thanks you so much for your help. <Of course...> I do not know what I would do otherwise. My Nitrates are always at zero; <Okay that's good.> Am not sure what my phosphates are at this time because I am out of that test solution and failed to write down that info in my tank diary (and that's probably gonna be the source of my problem!). <Could be, is a prime culprit.> My source water is tap water form NY. <Hmmm....I would test this as well.> Water flow is excellent. <Good.> I have two large powerheads running, a skimmer, and a Eheim filter. <A canister?> I change a little over 5 gallons every week (46 gal tank). My lighting is two 175 MH (12 hours) <Too long.> and at night two 96w actinic compact fluorescents (3hrs) (one hour of overlap between the two) (all bulbs about a bit more than a year old). <Time to change them out, especially the PC's.> I hope this helps, and sorry for being a bad fish daddy- not knowing my phosphates! <No worries but at your earliest convenience I would test them.> But thanks again, Adam.  Your efforts and time make a real difference. <Thank Keith
<Adam J.>

Aiptasia, PLUS bubble algae   4/21/07 Hey guys, couple of problems here. <Let's sort it Batman> I've got Aiptasia (right now just one that I can see, but what's the chance that its the only one in my 55 gallon?)  Also, I've got bubble algae. I forget what kind it is, but one is the big clump of tiny dark green bubbles, and the other kind is what I've read to resemble "bite sized green hotdogs". These "hotdogs" are still pretty small, but spreading, the same as the darker ones. <Likely the infamous bubble algae Valonia and possibly Neomeris annulata for the second ID> Anyway, I know that peppermint shrimp can take care of the Aiptasia, and an emerald Mithrax crab can handle the bubble algae. My question is, will the crab and shrimp coexist in my 55? <They will probably coexist, however I think the excess nutrients probably present to allow this recent up growing of Nitrate loving organisms needs addressing without forcing upon animals. I believe that fish/inverts should not be bought to cover over the problem. If these animals keep on top of these problems, then your water quality could deteriorate without these indicators. Also there is no guarantee what so ever that these animals will work; especially the peppermint shrimp> I also have a pretty small blue damsel, a lawnmower blenny, 3 tiny mollies, 2 blue leg hermits, and a snail of some sort (about the size of the blue legs). If all of these will co exist (I'm not really worried about the mollies <No animal is disposable because of human desire> would getting 2 Emeralds and 2 Peppermint's be pushing the overload limit? In the future, I plan on having 2 Ocellaris clown's, and 3 to 5 reef chromis, so this may or may not add to the equation (in both overload AND compatibility).. <In terms of bio-load and compatibility, this selection should do fine in a tank this size. With crabs there is always a area of risk, this comes with such a successful and adaptive omnivorous diet. By all means add these but check and continue checking nutrient levels as the source of your problems> Thanks much for your help! TwanDeezy <Pleasure, Olly>

Tips for combating green hair algae  -- 4/15/07 Hey crew -- <Hi Chris, Jorie here.> Hope this e-mail finds you in good spirits. <Indeed- you as well.> I will keep my question as short and sweet as possible. I have a 125 gal. reef with a 45 gal fuge. I am having a major problem with green hair algae. Due to a Niger trigger and a flame Hawkfish, I am limited to the cleaners I can put into the tank. My nitrates are at 0, phosphates at 0 and I am running 750W of 15K MH for 8 hours per day. This algae is driving me crazy and starting to take over some of my corals. I have done lots of reading on this subject and aside from breaking my 4 ½ year old reef down and using R.O. water to possibly remedy this problem; I am desperate and in need of some advice, PLEASE. Are there any algicides that really work and do you recommend them? <I do not recommend using any chemicals to rid a tank of algae. In fact, I am not a believer in adding things to a tank to rid it of others.  Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I honestly believe that good husbandry (in the form of regular and sufficient water changes, feeding sparingly, not overstocking, etc.) is th best way to combat algae.  Of course, not over lighting a tank and keeping phosphates as low as possible are other essential elements to algae control.  Your lighting setup does not seem excessive, and your tank has been established for quite some time (otherwise I might suggest a normal "algal bloom").  What and how often do you feed this tank? Here's a helpful article on "pest" algae control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> I am only having this problem in the main show tank, not in the fuge, if this means anything. <Not uncommon, especially if you have a lesser-amount of lighting over the fuge.> I have tried taking the 'infected' areas out, scrubbing off the algae with a tooth brush and the rock with corals I use tweezers to remove the algae only to have it grown back as dense as before a week later. <We face the same battle in our 46 gal. SW tank - it is frustrating.> Please help, I'm getting very discouraged here and don't know what to do.  I perform a 10% water change weekly with tap water (which I do test also, it does contain very small traces of nitrates and 0 phosphates). I check all my water parameters weekly, everything is in check. I put Denitrate in two weeks ago to get my nitrates to 0; they were running 15-20 PPM prior. <I am not familiar with "Denitrate", but would recommend simply increasing water changes to rid the tank of nitrates. Excess nitrates could be contributing to your algal bloom issues as well; try doing twice weekly water changes for a bit and see if this helps.> Do I just need to give it time to starve itself out? <As mentioned above, the factors that need to be considered include overabundance of nutrients (you don't mention anything about feeding; do be sure you are only feeding what the fish can consume in 3-5 minutes, usually no more than twice per day. Depending on whether or not you have any "difficult" species of fish, with regards to feeding requirements, you may be able to get away with feeding only once per day. This will help reduce the amount of nutrients available to the algae. Also, I recommend trying an additional filter media called "PolyFilter". It is by no means a "cure all", but does aid in removing excess nutrients and toxins from the water. See here: http://www.poly-bio-marine.com/polyprod.htm Third, you don't mention the kind/amount of circulation going on in this tank; if possible, add another powerhead or two, to increase circulation. With regard to your lighting, you briefly mention "corals", and talk about your metal halides, so I presume you do have some higher light requirement livestock.  If not, then consider decreasing light. Also, a "siesta" period can work wonders on combating algae - generally, higher order corals and such will not suffer from an hour or two break from lighting during the day, whereas algae, being a very simplistic organism, most certainly will. Finally, I do recommend switching from tap water to RO/DI water. We saw an enormous improvement in algae in all of our tanks once we did this.  www.airwaterice.com has a very nice, reasonably-priced unit called "Typhoon III" that I recommend.> Thanks in advance, Chris <Hope I've helped. Successfully battling algae requires patience and a variety of techniques; there is no one true "miracle cure", but rather good husbandry, etc. all contribute to a limited amount of pest algae. Best of luck, Jorie>
Re: Tips for combating green hair algae PART 2
- 04/17/07 Thank you for your quick reply Jorie. <Sure!> Hopefully I can answer some if not all of your questions. I did cut my light period back an hour already (FYI). DeNitrate is a chemical media made by Seachem. <I've Googled it - know I see that it's a sort of filter media. I thought that it was some sort of liquid nitrate remover, and I was suggesting that you skip that step and increase water changes instead...> I didn't mention that I am running 3 protein skimmers as well. <WOW! Better too much than too little, in this regard, eh?> I feed my fish twice per day very sparingly; in the morning I give them some pellets and flake food and I put 2 small sheets of green marine algae for my tangs; at night I feed them a variety of frozen brine, mysis, and marine cuisine all made by Sally's. <Excellent. For what it's worth, I much prefer Hikari frozen products to Sally's, as I've found there's less "debris" - for example, when I thaw a cube of Sally's bloodworms, there's inevitably a whole bunch of dead, black ones; with Hikari, I virtually never  see  that.  You may account for that by straining the food after it's been thawed (I'm too lazy to do that!), but in case you don't, you may be adding excess nutrients to the tank load that the fish aren't consuming, thus adding a bit to the algae problem.  Just a thought.> As far as circulation goes, I have a Mag12 (1200GPH) for my return in the sump with 2 directional output nozzles at each end of the tank; 2 - 300 GPH power heads with rotating deflectors on them; and a RIO 650GPH in the center. <Sounds good.> Lastly, I do use a micron filter pad in addition to a more course pad if you will in the sump which I change daily. <OK.> You mentioned doing more water changes to bring my nitrates down, the DeNitrate brought my Nitrates to 0 in about 4 days. I still do 10% weekly. I wasn't quite sure why you said to do more water changes? <Hopefully  explained above.  What I can say that an additional water change would have brought the nitrates down immediately, as opposed to over a course of days... In any case, I do believe that RO/DI water is your best course of action - I really don't see too much else creating problems, as your entire setup is very well thought out. I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but that is my opinion:-) Do look at www.airwaterice.com - those are the best prices on quality equipment that you'll likely find. A bit of an investment, in any case, but I promise you you will not be disappointed! Best of luck, Jorie> Thanks - Chris
Re: Tips for combating green hair algae PART 3   4/21/07
Hi guys, <Jor> This question has gotten to the point of being over my head - can someone answer Chris' question about whether or not corals can tolerate a "siesta" period re: lighting, for purposes of combating hair algae? This is one of my favorite solutions for FW plants, but I don't know about SW corals... Thanks! Jorie <Hotay! BobF> Re: Tips for combating green hair algae PART 3 Thanks again for your quick reply: One more very important question, can my high light loving corals survive a 2 day blackout (in your opinion)? <Can... if in initially good health (there are times, meteorological events in the wild where these sorts of black outs occur naturally... But there are better approaches to such control> My wife will leave me if I spend anymore money on this tank! The highest light lovers I can think of would be the following: -Bubble coral -Hammer Coral -SPS different varieties -Montipora (green and orange) -Pink birdsnest coral (this one is covered bad and very hard to clean, not sure how long he will make it) -Green star polyps (not a light lover as much but really covered with algae) -LT anemone <... I would remove this last... not compatible with these other cnidarians... and "an accident waiting to happen"... one day> I am at a point where I'm feeling like I don't have much to lose here. <You are wrong here...> Thanks again and I appreciate your opinion - Chris <You have read re Algae and their control on WWM? Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Scroll down... Bob Fenner>

Green Hair Algae control options.  4/14/07 My current sent up is about 8 months old. My main display tank has 260 liters water after displacement, 4 inch deep sand bed of 1' 2 mm marble chips, <Mmm, do see WWM re better substrate choices> concrete rocks (no live rock in New Zealand), and corner overflow via Durso stand pipe into a 100 liter water sump. Sump is partitioned with two sets of baffles and contains 3 liters of sintered glass beads, <Good product> Merlin Fluidized bed filter, 3000 liter hour return pump. Display tanks has a 6000 liter/hour Tunze Turbelle pump, Deltec MCE 600 hang on Protein skimmer (300 liters air per hour, thick dark skim produced), Ratz Sulphur reactor attached to an IKS dosing pump, 250 watt Giesemann 14,000 metal halide light 10 hours a day. There are two blue chromis, two clown fish, one damsel, two cleaner shrimp, and one fire shrimp. I feed flaked and dry fish food three times a day, all consumed in less than one minute. One torch coral, one pineapple coral, one folded brain coral, one bubble coral, one large Xenia, one open brain coral and one pipe coral, one blue 4 cm Tridacnid Maxima clam and one feather duster, all growing. I do light supplemental feeding with 10 ml.s RedSea CoralGro Reef Success supplement 5 times a week. This is less than recommended on bottle. There is some early coralline algae and green hair algae covering the concrete, walls and even covers the red macro algae in the tank. Surface gravel cleaned five days a week with gravel siphon attached to 850 L/hour circulation pump with filter floss in siphon to convert this to a vacuum cleaner. (This works better than the Eheim sludge extractor which clogs too easily) I have removed the concrete rocks once a month the last three months to scrub them down in salt water (to preserve the tube worms and some coralline algae that are on the concrete). The water volume of sump (100 liters) replaced every 4' 6 weeks (premixed and circulated 5 days before). Sump is drained and washed in salt water to get rid of any accumulated trapped detritus. Top up water prepared through a four chamber ion exchange resin unit. Calcium supplied as CaOH slurry at night and alkalinity maintained with Reef Builder Supplement. Water parameters are pH 8.3, SG 1.023, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, silica levels ZERO, calcium 380, alk 4 Mg 1200 using Salifert test kits. Still there is a hair algae problem. I do not want to continue to dismantle my tank on a monthly basis for a scrub down. The reason may be that the corals are still small 6' 15 cm in diameter, so there is not a lot of coral mass to compete with hair algae, and a lot of bare concrete (see picture). There may be too much DOC in the water that the algae take up before it registers on a test kit. My options *as I see them¦ Continue to push the pH up a bit more with Ca OH to 8.5 to precipitate out any residual phosphate and aid in saponification. <Worth trying...> Get more compatible corals (more algae competition, but more to dismantle with concrete scrubbing if it does not work) <Mmm...> Get a large clam (a living filter) <Not really a good option> Add ozone to the protein skimmer (expensive and care need to be taken with implementation) <Worthwhile> Install a large vegetable filter refugium to out compete the hair algae (low wife acceptance factor) <Yes! I would do this... along with switching out your substrate... OR adding another more soluble one in the added veg. filter here... that I might term a refugium... with a DSB, lighting... this WILL do "it"> Add another protein skimmer like the Tunze models into the first sump chamber that collects the overflow water. This could add another 150' 300 litre air per hour to strip out even more out of the water to starve the algae. This may also strip out other micronutrients that corals and clams need. Can you get back to me on my current problem, and line of thought? <Can, will, am. I see that you have a very nice collection of gear, and a good grasp of what is current knowledge and practices in the reef interest... If it were me/mine, I'd add a bit more biologically here, not so much more technology. Bob Fenner> All the Best from New Zealand...Mike Lomb

Saltwater Algae Woes  4/14/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Drew> You all provide such an awesome service, as I don't know where I would turn otherwise. Thanks so much for your ongoing help over the years!! <Welcome!> For about a year now, my 18 month old 90 gal bowfront has been continuously plagued by green hair/thread algae, which tries to grow on just about everything in the tank.  It's absolutely unsightly.  Over the last 6-12 months, I've taken the following steps to try and combat it: - upgraded skimmer to an EV-180 - bumped bi-weekly water changes from 15 to 30 gals - switched from IO to Reef Crystals - more frequent changing of 4 stage RO cartridges - added additional flow with a Tunze 6000 + 7091 controller - lightly stocked - 1 tomato clown, 1 yellow tang, few snails, no coral / inverts - light feeding, 3x-4x weekly, Nori put out for tang <All good...> Things improved a little after doing two large 75 gal water changes and removing all rock and scrubbing it down.  However, I'm starting to see this algae reappear and I'm going crazy.  I have seen an improvement after switching to Reef Crystals, which I know probably wasn't necessary, but tried anyway.  I've seen much more coralline growing, especially on the walls and rock. However, the thread algae moves right back in again and ruins the look.  I do plan on adding a few smaller fish in the future, perhaps Gramma or goby or two, but small stuff.  I'd like to get the algae problem fixed before adding additional livestock.   At this time, I plan on maintaining this as a FOWLR tank, but coral could be in the far future.  Do you have any last minute recommendations before I lose my sanity? <All sorts... the best... to read, consider re installing a refugium, with DSB, macroalgae...:  http://wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm Then the FAQs on Rationale/Use... then on to Designs...> Additionally, my Ca levels have always been a bit low, on the 280-300 side. While not ideal, I've been under the impression that this wouldn't cause any great pains. <Mmm, actually... need to be balanced with other aspects of chemistry/physics... per the biota, your driving same with feeding, lighting...> I've been periodically dosing Kalk at night via the drip method to keep things in check, but this gets to be a pain after a while.  I considered a calcium reactor, but I really don't have room for it and thought it'd be overkill for my setup. <Mmm, the fuge, DSB... would solve a good deal of this...> Any advice you can provide, I'd be greatly appreciative.  I'm usually good at reading all the forums and opinions and deciding a course of action for myself, but this time I'm at a loss. <Just temporarily... Give the starting link a go above... and cogitate furiously> Thanks again for all your help and generous advice. - drew <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner> ************************************************* Tank Specs 90 gal bowfront (approx 48" W x 15" D x 28" H) 30 gal Berlin sump, Mag 9.5 return <Convert or add to...> 75 lbs Walt Smith Rock 1/2 " sugar-size aragonite EV-180 w/ Mag 12 Tunze 6000 + 7091 2x Maxijet 1200's 2x65W Actinic, 2x65W 10k - approx 12 hrs per day pH = 8.15 - 8.2 sg = 1.023 temp = 79-80 ammonia = 0 nitrite = 0 nitrate = <5 alk = 4 meq/l phosphate = 0 ca = 300 <Do check on your Magnesium...>

Hair Algae from Hades, Redux. Algae Control 4/4/07 WWM Crew, et. al. : <Shannon.> You've been helpful in the past three years with my algae questions, and I ask one more. I have a 4 year old reef, 135 gallons, lightly stocked with fish ( 1 "Dory" Hippo Tang, 2 Tomato Clowns, a mated pair of regular ( read : cheap ) Firefish, 1 standard issue Lawnmower Blenny, and 1 Six Line Wrasse, with inverts focused on mainly LPS and softies, with a few SPS that sprung out of the Fiji LR situated near the top of the tank, free of charge. I also have a lucky pair of mated Peppermint Shrimp, a large black long spined urchin with amazingly painful spines, and a handful of other benign critters that have sprung out of LR now and then, including 3 baby ( for now ) rock boring urchins. I have a 4" DSB of 90% sugar aragonite and the rest (the top layer) made up of crushed seashells and gravel sized crushed coral. Salinity is 1.025 and all measurements of nitrogen-based stuff has been 0 since cycling ended. Phosphates are 0, using a Salifert kit. Temp ranges from 76 in winter to 86 in summer, with the delta between the extremes taking weeks during season changes. Water changes are 3 - 4 times per month, 25 gallons each time with RO/DI water and SeaChem Reef Salt ( out of total system volume of about 200 gallons. ) Skimmer is an AquaC, with outlet going over carbon/PolyFilter basket. Additives are only 2-part calcium/alkalinity from AquaC. Here's the problem : I have a hair algae problem, which was made worse by the following changes in the last three months: Lighting - Before : 6 54-watt T5s, 3 full spectrum 6500K GEs, and 3 actinic blues @ 420 nm. Photoperiod was 12 hours for daylights, 14 hours for actinic. After : 2 full spectrum 6500K GEs, 4 actinic blues. Photoperiod is now 11 hours for full spectrum, 10 hours for actinic. <Your problem lies here in decreasing the intensity.  Nuisance algae thrives much better in lower lighting conditions.  Do not understand why you did this, especially with SPS sprouting up as you mention.> Food : Before : Twice daily fish feedings, 2-3 times a week corals (Cyclop-Eeze, spray dried phyto, pureed meaty foods like brine shrimp, squid.) After : Once daily fish feedings, 2-3 times a month corals (same ingredients.) <A much better feeding schedule for the corals.  I'd stay with the Cyclop-Eeze and eliminate the pureed stuff, just adds to the nutrient problem.> Chemical : Before : 300 mgs Ozone run 1 hour every day through skimmer. After : no ozone. <Any idea what the ORP level was, before and after?> Fuge - Before : None. After : 10 - gallon with 5 lbs of LR, 4 inch DSB, green grape Caulerpa algae, some weird red hair algae, and Chaeto Brillo, all lit by incidental light from main tank lighting, above. <I'd use a dedicated light for this refugium.> I believe there is no smoking gun but a gradual increase in the amount of available nutrients not absorbed by the system or fuge, and not removed by water changes, skimming, fuging, or chemical filtration. <I believe the change in light intensity is the major issue here.  Your reduction in coral feeding will help in this regard.  Do not expect overnight changes to take place. Read here and related articles above for more help on algae control.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> So my question is : Uhm, help ? <James (Salty Dog)> SLC
Re:  Algae Control 4/7/07
James : Thanks for the reply. As for as your question, "why did I reduce the light intensity", well it was in the hope of nuking the hair algae, <Will actually make it worse.> at the expense of the Fiji out-sprung SPS. By intensity do you mean the color (6500K ... actinic blue ), the duration in hours per day, or the wattage? <The light intensity, referring to wattage, lux, not color temperature.> Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that nuisance algae loves as much light as it can get, especially in the lower frequency ranges (reddish, greenish). By shifting my total color spectrum more to blue, and reducing the hours on per day, I thought I was giving the nasty algaes less usable light. <Nuisance algae does thrive better in lower Kelvin temperatures, but also requires a food source such as dissolved nutrients.  Lowering nutrient levels should be your target along with getting the light intensity back up.> You've indicated otherwise. << Your reduction in coral feeding will help in this regard.  Do not expect overnight changes to take place. >> Understood, and agreed. I've never noticed any difference in my coral's health due to feeding or not feeding, targeted or otherwise ... But light and Calcium/Carbonate, definitely so. <With proper light intensity, most corals produce much of their own food and a small weekly feeding is all that is necessary.  Some folks do not feed at all and have good success.> <<I'd use a dedicated light for this refugium.>> Done! I put a 9/9 watt 10000K/Actinic CF over the 'fuge, on when the main lights are off. <Much has been said about toggling refugium lights with tank lights, but personally, I prefer to run both lights during the same photoperiod.>   Maybe it's time to get one of those fake plastic fish tanks with the bobbing fake plastic fish ? <Ahh, would be much easier, yes?  There is much to learn about this hobby and the more you read/learn, the greater your success level will be.> Thanks for any further advice - <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Cheers, SLC

Hair algae invasion - 3/17/07 Hi Alex! <Hi Michael and Dianne!> Just wanted you to know we have returned our LTA to the LFS. <Good for you.> On the agenda tomorrow is removing all the rock from our 120, scrubbing it with a toothbrush and returning it to the tank in a new configuration. <Have fun!  Keep in mind, it is good to have a bucket of tank water to rinse the rocks in.  You want to avoid disturbing any of the life on the rock except the algae.  Knock off the algae, rinse in tank water and keep submerged as much as possible.> We will keep the Foxface in a five-gallon bucket during this process .... don't want to have to take a break for the emergency room! Thanks again for all your help. We'll keep you posted. <Good luck.> Michael and Dianne
Re: Hair Algae Invasion, Continued - 3/17/07   3/21/07
Alex: <Hi, y'all> We did it. Cleaning the hair algae out of our 120-gallon tank took almost five hours.  But it's done. The stink was incredible and the amount of algae we removed amazing.   We also rearranged the rock...the tank looks much better now and there is more room for the fish to swim. And, it's much brighter. <Excellent! This should help in the long run.> We will have to wait and see when/if the algae comes back. HA! Of course it will come back! It can't be that "easy" to remove it. <That's the spirit!  Keep changing water and improve your skimming, and it should slow down.  This massive removal will definitely set it back.  Can have amazing results sometimes.> Our biggest surprise was when the actinic lights came on tonight...there is a ton of rock that glows pink and pale purple. <Neat!> All  that color was coated with algae and we have never seen it before. It was beautiful. There are also spots of deep red here and there. <Hopefully this coralline algae will be able to compete better now that it gets light.> Anyway, we wanted to let you know the outcome so far. We took some before-and-after photos ... if you're interested, we'll send them. <We would be glad to see photos.  Size them so they are under a couple of hundred kb, please.> Again, our thanks! Michael and Dianne <Best wishes, Alex>  

Bryopsis/Derbesia...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ) 3/14/07 OK crew, here is the deal.  I have been fighting with Bryopsis and Derbesia in one of my tanks for the last 4 months and it has gotten way out of control.  I would say 100% of my tank is covered.  I have tried anything and everything and I am to the point of taking the tank down - which will come with much dismay.
The tank is a 30 gal with 2 DE 250 14k with a 15 gallon sump.  I know it seems a bit excessive with the light, but it is needed for the 30+ heads of Acro in tank.  I only run the light cycle for 5 hours.  Fish are:
1 small scribbled fox
1 small scopas tang
1 six line
5 tiny damsels
1 Vanuatu Chromis
I use a model ASM mini G - running wet, phos reactor with Phos, mini fuge, calcium reactor, UV.  I have tried sea hares, snails, crabs, manual export - siphoning through UV to kill spores, nutrient reduction, blackouts...you name it.  It just keeps getting worse.  I was contemplating running a 5 gallon bucket off to the side filled with m Acro to try and out-compete the Bryopsis, but I am thinking that the only way that it can be beat is starving it the light which is the last element that it seems to be utilizing - hard to do with  SPS.  Any suggestions?  I know the tank info is brief so if there is anything I missed, let me know and I will try and answer.  Thanks in advance for your help.
Dr. J / Justin
Re: Bryopsis/Derbesia...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ) 3/14/07 Without lifting a finger or scrubbing a rock, you can watch the nuisance abate significantly (if not wholly) by strictly maintaining a steady pH of 8.6 for three weeks while increasing water flow in the tank and skimming aggressively (making the skimmer yield daily skimmate to the tune of 4 oz min per 75 gall AQ per day)
Applying ozone at the same time (increasing Redox a bit.. a steady 400mv is fine... no need to get too aggressive here) will also favor desirable organisms and functions that will quickly in turn outcompete the nuisance growth.
This recipe (high pH and skimming) has been shown time and time again to work... there may be some posts in the WWM archives by me and from folks that attempted it. I'm sure such testimonials are on RC, RF, MD, etc. I would be surprised if you applied the advice and did not say a month from now that the algae was nearly gone.
The key is actually maintaining that steady and strong pH. Most people are too lazy to do this faithfully and/or they are not using a dual stage Ca reactor and instead just blowing algae fertilizer into their aquarium (excess CO2 mitigated by the already excess CO2 in the well-insulated winter-time homes)
As far as the "keep off the record comment," I ask... WHY? Do you not want to share with others in the same spirit that you take information? I don't see why more people than a two-way exchange should not benefit from the discussion and suggestions/solutions. On the contrary, it seems a shame (read: selfish) to horde the advice and discussions.
Justin... don't be afraid of appearing typical my friend. We are all (beautifully) typical people/hobbyists at least in some ways.
Bob... please do archive my excerpted response if you like.
kind regards to all,
Re: Bryopsis/Derbesia...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ) 3/14/07 Anthony-
Thanks for the quick response!  I just didn't want it to be a waste of time to record.  If it can help, then by all means post it, please.
I tried the high PH for a few weeks with devastating effects on my SPS.  I was dripping Kalk continuously and maintaining a ph of 8.5.  The only problem was my alk would shoot up to 14 dKH and the SPS would begin to fade in color.  I had my reactor off line for a bit after to try and keep the alk around 9 or 10, but then it would drop down to 6 or 7 during refills.  The tank currently has 3 maxi 1200's for flow on a wavemaker.   I fill the collection cup up full everyday and also clean daily.
I thought about the excess co2 from the reactor and tried taking it offline completely.  This also proved disastrous with an outbreak of dinos - not sure from what exactly, though.  I run the effluent into a fuge that is lit 24/7 ( used to do reverse light cycle.  Is there a good way that I can increase ph without the flux in the parameters?
Re: Bryopsis/Derbesia...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ) 3/14/07 indeed... the pH is not the problem bro, the rollercoaster in water chemistry was. The average of natural seawater is 8.45 (often higher in places with heavy stony colonies).
Now in aquaria, the high pH can be more dangerous if ammonia or a heavy bioload is present, but those are exceptions and not an issue here with you/experienced aquarists.
For maintaining a high pH and solid ALK without the rollercoaster, you can just do large weekly water changes, supplement with Calcium hydroxide, and forget about all other supplements and spikes.
The NSW brings in a moderate level of Ca and ALK... the carbonate matter in your aquarium carries the ball on the Alk between water changes... the calcium hydroxide replenishes waning Ca levels while indirectly supporting ALK by its caustic nature (neutralizing nitric and carbonic acids that would otherwise burden the Alk of the system)
Its all really that simple my friend. Water changes and Kalk slurries.
Confirm how much calcium hydroxide to use by determining your daily demand for calcium (run three days without Ca supplements... test Ca before and after then divide by three to get a more accurate reading from your hobby test kits
Re: Bryopsis/Derbesia...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ) 3/14/07
Sorry for more questions: )
 When you say slurry, do you not recommend dripping constant Kalk?
Would you recommend switching synthetic salts - I use CoraLife? 
Thanks again for your help.  I will put it to use ASAP.  My wife and I are expecting our first child this week so hopefully I can find the time to do this treatment faithfully!
Re: Bryopsis/Derbesia...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated ) 3/14/07 Justin,
Along with the good advice Anthony suggests, I feel you have waaay too many fish in your 30 gallon tank.  I believe nutrients are being produced faster than
they can be removed.  I run a 40 mini reef and have three fish, False Lemon Peel, Dottyback, and a Goby/Pistol Shrimp combo.  I do not feel comfortable adding
another fish.  Even though they are small, the five damsels alone, being very active fish,  can produce a good deal of waste.  Good luck on curing your
James (Salty Dog)

Green Algae; crustacean breeding...death of other tankmates  3/5/07 Dear Bob <No Bob...Adam J with you tonight.> i <I> have found since i have had Green hair algae problems MY small  copepods and tiggerpods and other small Crustaceans are breeding more .. <Possibly due to the "safe-haven" algae provided micro-fauna...one of the reason's refugia is so useful.  Also there are likely nutrient problems, food for the algae and pods.> Want  some ? <No thanks.> My cleaner shrimp The blood red and the normal ones are also breeding more. <Interesting.> That's about it though its killing everything. <Umm...do you want help/advice with that?> Thank you for having your books and this site Tammy <Glad you are making use of it...**AJ**>

Re: Green Algae issues Re: Green hair Algae Useful YUPP LOL  3/5/07 AJ please I just tried the Kalk Trick and had to pull out <Okay if you have an algae problem it could be a few issues: nutrient problems. If it is a nutrient problem there could be a few factors causing this; source water, over-feeding, water changes, overstocked tank, lack of nutrient export (look into larger protein skimmers and macro-algae refugia)...see WWM re: nutrient export for more detail.  It could also be a water flow issue...as in lack there of. Lighting could also be an issue, poor/incorrect/bad spectrum...what type of lighting do you have, how old are they?> My fish Please, its been in there 6 months my roommate since he put in 2 mushrooms that I  think had the algae is now just a roommate I'm wanting to leave . <Okay, I'm going to help but I would like a few more details about your aquarium first, water chemistry, set-up. What is your water change regime?> I would love help reef tank is 250 Gallons , 2 Scio 1500 1 Eheim. <I would like to see more water flow, personally in this large of a tank.> Sorry my spelling is very bad i got shot in the head in 97 . <Ouch, I'm sorry to here that. The english correction is nothing personal it's just standard procedure for posting for public view.> light on 5-7 hrs a day and a pair of cheapo skimmers . NO sump or fuge yet   <Yes the water is near stagnant then in this large tank...this is a problem.> since my Over slow pump died on me last week and the Eheim needed replaced  it cracked near the cord . <Okay you need to get this fixed as soon as you can and also address the issues I mentioned above.> any advice and help . Tammy <Adam J.>

Thank you... Found! Source of air entrainment/bubbles, Not-Caulerpa control/biol.   2/23/07 Bob, thank you for the advice, I found out that the bulkhead to the return nozzle was the culprit for the air pouring into my tank! No more air!! <Ahh! Congrats!> I also found a way to manage the algae problem I mentioned in a previous email. It   turned out to not be Caulerpa, but I am guessing hair algae, I didn't know hair algae could be feathery in appearance, but the Trochus, and Nerite snails, along  with the red tip "equal handed" hermit crabs I added seem to be really doing the  trick working as a team on it, I stocked the tank sparsely with them so they  would have enough to eat and hopefully wont run completely out of food. I will  be putting 10 Nassarius snails in the tank soon also. The Trochus snails  are really going at the diatoms in the aquarium as well, I have been seeing a  lot more coralline on the rocks. The tank does have animals in it now, three  crocea clams, the smallest 2 are three inches, and the larger is 3.5 inches.  There is a yellow tang, about 4.5" in body length, a coral beauty that is  about 2.5 inches in body length, a mandarin dragonet, a large six line wrasse, a yasha haze (white ray) shrimp goby, a young Banggai cardinal  fish, and a group of squamipinnis Anthias 1 male, and 4 young females. I  also plan on getting a lineatus wrasse in a couple of  weeks. This is all in a 90 gallon reef, no corals yet, but it is looking to  be possible soon. The fish and clams have been in for almost a week now and no  signs of stress, illness, or anything to a negative effect. I check the water  every few days for calcium levels, dKH, PH, Nitrate, Nitrite, and  Ammonia, haven't had any readings on ammonia or nitrite since I set the  tank up, I cured all the live rock in dark vats before hand for 5 weeks with  vigorous water flow and protein skimming, and left lots of area for water flow  when I set up the aquascape. The readings have all been great, calcium just  above 420, dKH at a constant 12, PH at 8.3, Nitrates at 0, Phosphates  at 0. The temperature in the aquarium is 80 degrees F. around 12  PM to 8 or 9 PM then it slowly cools down later to no lower  than 76 degrees F. <Mmmm, would raise the settings on your heater/s to about 78 F.... four degrees in a day can be a bit much>   The tang still hasn't become fond of prepared  foods, but seems to prefer the algae growing in the aquarium, I feed the tank  small portions 3 times a day with Cyclop eeze, brine shrimp, krill, oyster eggs,  and blood worms. I use Kent's garlic extreme, and Selcon in their food. I also  use Kent's marine C. to boost their vitamin C. Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it, and my animals do too! Thanks again, Brian <Thank you for this follow-up, insights. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identify Friendly or Foe ??? Padina... now hair alg. contr.   2/16/07 Wow... thanks for the help... I would have had to research the corals an awful long time to find this brown algae in that area!!! Thanks again! <Welcome> Just a heads up, I have been using the info from your site since I started and it is great. I started a 40gal reef at home last march, and have now started a 130 gal reef at work. <Nice!> The boss spent a big chunk on it, so I am sure you will be hearing more from me.  Unless I can find some miracle for hair algae... <A large refugium... w/ DSB... macroalgae... time going by> well, some is hair some looks like Easter grass, anyway, my specs on this tank - I am proud of it... the boss has deeper pockets than I, so it was a joy putting together. Specs: 130 Gal rectangle 35 gal homemade sump/fuge - growing Gracilaria on reverse daylight protocol <Oh! Good> 72" Outer Orbit light 894watt  3 HQI@ 150watt, 4 actinic PC's at 96 watt Tradewind chiller Panworld Return Pump, pressure rated at 1750gph AquaC EV120 skimmer I estimate I am turning the tank about 12 times per hour.  Plus I have 2 pumps in the tank with rotating deflectors. Current Inhabitants: 1 Powder Blue Tang (4 ½") 1 Sailfin Tang (4") 1 purple Dartfish 1 Royal Gramma 3 Assorted Wrasses (3") 1 Six line wrasse (2") 2 Sailfin Blenny's (3") 4 Blue Green Chromis (1.25") 2 Scarlet Skunk Cleaner shrimp (2.5") 1 Blood Red Shrimp (1.5") 3 Kaudern's Cardinal Fish (1.5") (who haven't shown themselves in 2 weeks) An assortment of snails and crabs as cleanup crew. If you want to see any of it, I am keeping the info at http://www.mmrcsl.org/fish <Thanks> Now after putting you through all that... I have hair problem.  I didn't trust the quick dip strips from Wal-mart, so I ordered som tests from SeaChem as well. <Much better> The quick dip strips are actually accurate as the SeaChem tests report the same results Ammonia Free 0 Ammonia total .5 <... where is this coming from?> Nitrites 0 Nitrates 0 as of yesterday, I tested for phosphates which are 0 why does the hair algae still grow??? <It's likely absorbing all the phosphate... understand?> I want to get clams and corals, but am waiting in case I have to turn off the lighting and leave it off till the algae dies. <Mmm... likely adding these invertebrates will go a long way to correct the hair algae problem... and who wants to have the tank in the dark at work? I would go ahead with their addition> Thanks Again...  BTW, I have read much about the hair menace from your site and .... ya - MENACE DanH <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Hair algae, P. diadema, and Zoanthid rejuv. 1/25/06 Hello folks, <Deb, glad you could join us.> Thanks so much for all of the helpful information. <We *try* to be helpful!> In the next 6 months, I'm going to be upgrading this tank to between a 150g and 250g system.  At that point, I will make my 55g into the sump for the main tank.  I will either section part of this off for a refugium, or I've got a 20g that I can hook into the system as a refugium.  When I do this, my canister filter will go away, and I will be implementing a DSB in the main tank.  Until I can do this, I plan to continue weekly 20% changes (replacing one section canister filter media each time), continue aggressive skimming with the CPR BakPak, and continue to ensure that the current in the tank is strong. <Very glad to hear that you are moving beyond canister-filtration. You will be moving into a much more versatile/useful configuration.> At this point, my Cyano problem has seemed to cure itself.  In doing the weekly water changes, I found that the pump servicing my SQWD system was clogged.  This was inhibiting water flow significantly in the tank.  Now that I serviced it, there's a pretty strong current in the tank, which probably helped to eradicate the Cyano growing in the tank.   <Most likely, this helped a lot!> Also -- my Halimeda is making a comeback, though I still need to continue cleaning hair algae off of it every couple of days.  The bubble algae is still present in the tank, but somewhat manageable, as I can gently pull it out during water changes and dispose of it. <Are you sure you have bubble-algae? Sometimes, I think folks think BGA is bubble when it has gaseous packets in it's layers...> So, the only real problem in the tank is the hair algae.  It's still growing quite rapidly.  In trying to fix this problem, my bicolor blenny stopped eating and has "disappeared" in the tank.   <Maybe he needed a vacation. Heck, if I had to eat hair algae...> I'd like to pickup a lawnmower blenny to replace him and to help with the hair algae problem. <Remember, Deb: This is dealing with the symptoms of a water-quality issue. IIRC, your last phosphate test was .03ppm, and I was asking how sure you were of the accuracy of that result. Where do you stand now? Did you ever buy a new kit?> Once the hair algae is gone, I plan to supplement his feeding with various algae foods (as I already do for my Coral Beauty). <Should pose little problem with a little research...> Adding him will result in having the following fish in the tank:  1 coral beauty, 1 Dottyback (Pseudochromis diadema), 1 yellow-tail blue damsel and 1 lawnmower blenny.  Does this seem like a sound decision to add this fish? <As long as you aren't hoping for a total massacre on the hair algae, yes. In my experience, algae-eaters always choose to ignore the one thing you bought them to eradicate.> Otherwise, my zoanthids have stabilized a bit.  They're not dying off anymore, but they're not flourishing as they've been for the past few years.  Only a handful are opening up, and not fully at that.   <All this points to a water chem. issue to me.> I'm hoping that they are on the road to recovery.  I'm supplementing the daily feedings now with Cyclop-Eeze, in hopes that the added nutrients will encourage their growth.  I also use a plastic turkey baster to blow water over them with each water change to try to free them of the hair algae that grows around them. I've ordered new test kits for my phosphates, silicates and nitrates, and they should be arriving any day now.   <Ahh, very good. A reputable, reliable manufacturer, I hope. Mmm, one note: Silicates aren't a factor unless you have huge diatom blooms, so worrying about the concentrations is moot IMO. I don't own a silica test kit.> I've taken the water changes down to 1x per week, 20% using RO/DI water.  I've just gotten new cartridges in for the RO/DI unit and will be replacing them this week. I've also cut back my lighting schedule, taking 1.5 hours off the back end for both the daylight and actinic lighting. <Good steps, all.> In doing all of this work, I've realized that I haven't replenished my cleanup crew in years.  I've still got about 10-15 Astrea and turbo snails in the tank, but all of the small crustaceans are gone.  I'd like to replenish this crew, but am afraid that any crustaceans I add will be decimated by my Pseudochromis diadema.  Any ideas on what types of inverts I can get to replenish this crew that will survive the presence of the Pseudochromis diadema?  Having a well stocked cleanup crew may also help with the algae problems in the tank. <Hmm... I never worried about a P. diadema bothering hermits to the point of murder. Types and compatibility of hermits is not a strong-suit of mine, but I know we have the info here on WWM if you look for it.> So, to summarize: -Lawnmower blenny for this tank -- good or bad idea? <Good, in your case.> -Any ideas on how I can nurse my zoanthids back to health? <Provide optimum water conditions: temp, movement, quality, feeding, lighting spectrum/duration.> -Any ideas on how I can supplement my cleanup crew without buying an expensive smorgasbord for my Pseudochromis diadema? <Mmm... *I* don't see a problem with the "generic" red-legged hermits here. (RMF strike me down if I am in error)> Thank you so much for all of your help.   <Oh, Deb. You know we love you. -GrahamT> Deb

Hair Algae Control 1/22/07 Hello Crew! <Hello Lisa> After many water changes, hand cleaning live rock in a separate bucket, using anti-phosphate filter pads, and physically scooping out chunks of algae hair attached to crushed coral I am still battling this green hair devil.  It occurred to me today that my wet dry filter might be holding a lot of algae spores within the system and on the bio balls.  What are your thoughts on totally cleaning out the wet-dry including rinsing the bio balls in boiling hot water to kill of any spores hanging on.  Good or bad idea? <Lisa, algae requires light and food to propagate.  The light we must have, food for the algae can be controlled.  Lets start by reading here and linked files above.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm> I am also slowly getting rid of my old crushed coral and replacing it with either new coral or sand (and how does one clean sand? Obviously I will no longer be able to use my "python" brand siphon/suction hose). <Yes, can be difficult but is best done with a smaller size gravel cleaner.  The trick here is to squeeze the tubing with you fingers to control the amount of sand being sucked up.  A little practice here will increase your proficiency at it.  Personally, I'd go with a larger size coral sand/gravel.  If you have no animals requiring a deep sand bed such as wrasses, etc, I'd keep my gravel depth no deeper than 1/2 inch.  This will help prevent nutrients from accumulating in the sand bed and make the cleaning process much easier.> While battling algae issues is it better to have crushed coral or sand substrate (or perhaps none, like a fish store?) <As above, I would use crushed coral.> Very confused on how to proceed next.  I would hate to do the wrong thing if you guys could prevent me from committing a big "no-no"! <Do read the link above and you will get a good idea of what has to be done to control nuisance algae.> Thanks ever so much, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Lisa

Green algae 1/15/07 I've read a lot of posts and forums on green algae and they all point to Nitrates, phosphates and Co2. I have run tests after tests and even had 2 LFS test for me. I have 0 Nitrates,0 phosphates. My ph has been the same for 8 months,8.2,Alk 2.0 and Cal 420,sal 1.023, Ammonia 0.25(?) <Not good.>, nitrites 0 Is this an Algae bloom cause I'm going thru a slight cycle again? Do not know why I would be going thru a cycle. But my Ammonia does read .25 <Did something die fueling both the ammonia and algae bloom?  Otherwise it could be from large amounts of algae dying/rotting.  Need to find the source of the nutrients and eliminate.> <Chris>
Green algae Part II 1/16/07
Well if anything died, it would of have to of been in the LR. I just switched to a bigger tank, and the LR was out of the water for about 15-30 minutes.  <There is your answer, the new tank still needs to cycle, although it will go much quicker with the LR from the old tank.  Also explains the algae bloom.> And I put new Oolitic Sand w/a cup of LS to seed in the tank. Although I'm wondering if the Algae it's self is dying slowly and giving me the Ammonia reading. <Maybe, but normal in a new tank.> As far as Nutrients, will additives such as Marine Snow and Reef plus be the culprit as far as Nutrients? <Yes> I feed flake food once a day, and Green marine Algae sheets(1"x1")? <Although the LR is old, you need to remember this is still a new tank which needs to cycle and go through the normal progression of algae blooms.> <Chris>
Green algae Part III 1/16/07
I thought that was maybe the case. In other words, Just let it take its course, and it will eventually clear. <With time.> I had a similar thing about 4 months ago w/ a bacterial bloom. White cloudy tank for about a month. <Yep> It finally went away. Thanks for your help. I think you told me want I needed and wanted to hear.   <Good luck with the larger tank.> <Chris>

Cyano and Bubble Alg. with zero PO4/NO3? 1/5/07 Hello, <Hello, Deb. Graham replying tonight.> I sent this one a few days back and hadn't received any response.   <Happens...sorry.> I've searched the online FAQs for response (just in case something blocked your email), but I don't see one up there.  So, I figured I'd resend it. <Good idea, thank you.> Happy New Year to all of the WetWebMedia Crew!!!! <Cheers!> Deb <Graham T.>

Encouraging beneficial algae  1/5/07 Hello folks, <Hello... again.> Well -- I've gone and done something really stupid, and I'm hoping for some sage advice on how to correct my problem.   <C'mon! If we never did anything stupid, how would we know how to fix problems... well, I guess we wouldn't have any?> Here's my stats: -55 gallon reef tank running for about 8 years <Thumbs up.> -Fish (1 of each):  Centropyge bispinosus, Ecsenius bicolor, Pseudochromis diadema, Chrysiptera cyanea -Invertebrates:  1 Lysmata amboinensis, ~10 Astraea tecta, ~5 Trochus sp. -Corals:  yellow polyps, various Zoanthids, orange Ricordea, green metallic mushrooms, pulsing xenia, white clove polyps, green star polyps, red mushrooms , cabbage coral, 1 toadstool leather. -Parameters:  Salinity-1.025, pH-8.1, calcium, 380ppm (working to raise this), Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-0 (I don't trust this, since the core of my problem is algae related.  I'm guessing that the system is simply absorbing Nitrates present in the water and this is lowering my reading) <possible, yes.> , iodide-<.2ppm, iodate-<.03ppm , Phosphate = 0. <If you are sure of these results, then have you checked-Hardware:  1 Fluval 304 canister filter, 1 CPR BakPak skimmer, 1 SCWD with pump, running inside the tank with a sponge over the basket (this gets rinsed out in removed tank water with every water change), 1 airstone So -- here's my problem.  I used to have, on either side of the tank, beautiful bunches of Halimeda algae.  However, it started creeping across the rock and interfering with coral growth, <Mm-hmm.> even though I would regularly prune this back.  So, I pulled out the vast majority of it during a water change about 2 weeks ago.  At the same time, I added the airstone to the system to help break the surface area of the water (not sure if this is significant, but wanted to add it).  From that point, I began having a HUGE outbreak of bubble algae, Cyanobacteria and hair algae.  I've also noticed that my Zoanthids, clove polyps, xenia and mushrooms are all shrinking back and dying.  Possibly this is from the fact that algae is now covering everything in the tank. <Yes, possibly.> Oddly enough, my cabbage coral and yellow polyps look fantastic. I've begun doing 20% water changes using RO/DI water every three days to correct this algae bloom and I've stopped putting in additives, with the exception of dosing some calcium.  I either rinse or replace one section of filter media with each change.   A handful of my Zoanthids have started coming back, but overall, it still looks very dismal in there. Polyps are shut tight and hair algae and Cyanobacteria are still creeping there way across everything.  I've been using a turkey baster to push water across the rock and polyps to try to clear the algae away without damaging the polyps.  I've turned off the airstone for the moment, as well.   <I'm going to stop you here. Consider this: Ignoring your test results, I suspect that the biological filtration in your setup has just been largely removed in the form of your Chaeto. The fast-growing macro is a nutrient-hog, hence it's wide use in refugiums for NNR. When you remove it, the bacteria that a system without the fast-growing macro would need some time to catch up. What are you using for test kits? Have you tested your water change water?> Here are my questions:   1)  I still have some Halimeda growing in the tank, but it's getting covered with hair algae and Cyanobacteria as well.  How do I encourage the growth of my Halimeda while stifling the growth of these nuisance algaes?   <Cyanobacteria is *sometimes* unhappy with higher than 400ppm in addition to actinic 03 light. Cyano also dislike strong current, and usually fade away within a day when in the path of a good powerhead/pump return. Halimeda is a Ca hog, so keeping these levels up may require frequent monitoring.> I know that staying with a frequent water change schedule will decrease my nuisance algaes, <Unless the source is the tapwater... though unlikely, since your system was pristine just weeks ago...> but will it also stifle the growth of the Halimeda?  I'd really like to encourage that to grow again.    <what is your light setup made up of? How many hours, etc?> 2) Is there anything else that I can be doing to fix this horrendous algae issue and revive my corals, aside from the water change regimen? <You know that algae control begins with water quality control. You are doing the right things here, but I just don't trust the test results. Frankly, I have to wonder if Bob would see something here that I am missing...? (Bob?!?)> <<Mmm, removal of the sponge, canister filter... addition of a refugium/DSB... RMF>> Thanks much! Deb <Welcome, Deb! Keep up the work, I'm going to think on this while you work and we'll get through it! -Graham T.>
Re: Cyano and Bubble Alg. with zero PO4/NO3? 1/5/07
Hello, <Hi Deb.> Thanks for getting back to me.   <What I'm here for.> I'm currently using Red Sea test kits for P04 and NO3.  I'll pickup new ones in case these are bad.   <K> I'll also test my tank and RO/DI water with the new kits as a confirmation. <Am often tired when I do my posting, missed the part about RO/DI water with 20% changes...> Typically, I use different brands for different tests.  My CA and Silica tests are Red Sea, Copper, pH Ammonia and Nitrite is Aquarium Pharmaceuticals, KH is Nutrafin, but I've got a Salifert backup on that, Strontium and Magnesium are Seachem, and Iodine is Salifert.  Does WWW have any recommendations regarding which brands are most reliable? <Salifert, LaMotte... do a little search here on WWM. My LFS actually says the Sera kits are just as reliable as her husband's kits that he uses at work in the water... testing... field. (Tired again, stupid language)> Regarding the biological filter -- that makes sense that it would be removed.   <You mean the Chaeto? I was referring to the natural ebb/flow of supply and demand for biological filtration: If you have some prosperous macro-algae, then your compliment of nitrifying bacteria would need time to bounce back.> I neglected to mention that I have about 80lbs of live rock in this tank, so I'm thinking that there will be enough beneficial bacteria provided by this rock to balance the system out in the short term -- especially given that the bioload isn't really heavy.  Do you think that I'm on target with this assumption?   <As long as you have sufficient flow in the system, which is actually a chief cause & enabler of Cyano/BGA problems.> Also -- there are ceramic tubes in the top layer of my canister filter which are never rinsed/replaced. These may also have some beneficial bacteria. <Should, but that reminds me that a 304 isn't really sufficient by itself for a 55gal. Consider Bob's advice (in the FAQ posted 1/6/07) and implement a DSB for NNR, or a (Chaeto ;) refugium or both. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > To get rid of the unwanted algaes, I'm working to bring the Calcium up to about 450ppm.  This should encourage the Halimeda regrowth, providing competition for nutrient export, and from what you've indicated there's even a chance it will serve to discourage the Cyanobacteria from growing.  I'm also cleaning any accumulated hair algae and Cyanobacteria from the Halimeda so that it can get direct exposure to light and current.  I'm a little worried, though that the frequent water changes will inhibit the regrowth of my beneficial bacteria, thereby preventing enough Nitrates from being provided for the Halimeda.  Is this a valid concern? <The bacteria are present on the surfaces, not the water. That said, 20% every 3 days makes for unsteady conditions that the Cyano can tolerate, but other competing/beneficial forms of algae have a harder time with.> Finally -- my lights are as follows.  I have a Custom Sealife PC fixture with the following:  2x 10,000W daylight bulbs, 2x 6,700W actinics and 2 small "moonlight" bulbs.   <Ummm... ok. If I take you literally, I think we have the solution to your problem in your lighting. 20,000 watts of daylight will definitely feed BGA and then some! (I think you mean 10,000K, as in Kelvin) LOL. Whew, told you I was a little tired.> My schedule is:  Moonlight 8am-10am, Actinics 10am - 11pm, Daylights 11:30am - 9:30pm.  The moonlights come back on from 11pm-12am.  I've set this up to try to resemble a true dawn through dusk scenario.  Please let me know if there are any temporary or permanent adjustments that I can make to this setup for this tank.   <temporarily, you could lower your lighting schedule to 6 or even 4 hours total daylight. This does happen on the reef sometimes, in the form of cloudy days, storms, etc.> Last questions -- my circulation, with the SCWD delivering alternating current at each upper-back corner, the CPR BakPak on the right shooting left, and the Fluval on the left shooting right has seemed appropriate. Any thoughts on this?  Possibly a powerhead at the bottom, back of the tank that serves to stir up the bottom?   <Yes. More and more I realize many aquarists aren't utilizing flow to their ultimate advantage. Can't have too much.> There is no substrate on the bottom of this tank, and once a month I move the rock as best I can and vacuum up any trapped detritus.   <Ahh... a glass bottom, eh? In that case, the DSB would be an easy process.> Also -- my temp stays between 78F and 82F.  Does that have any affect on algae growth?   <Warmer temps mean faster metabolism.> Finally, I feed this tank once per day a mixture of mysis shrimp and marine algae mixed with Zoecon and Zoe for vitamins, etc.  I keep the skimmer running during the feeding, and only feed as much as it takes the fish about 3-5 minutes to consume.  Is this appropriate? <Absolutely, though you may try skipping every other day and watch for BGA reduction.> Sorry for the lengthy email, and thanks so much for your help! <Ack, not too long! Welcome, Deb.> Deb <G-man>

The Solution to Hair Algae ...Diligence 12/4/07 Hello friends at WWM. <Hello> This is my first time I have felt the need to e-mail you all. I have been using your site for 2 yrs to research every question or problem I've had in addition to many other sites/forums. <Good> The truth is I always seem to fall back on WWM's info. In fact, one of the LFSs that my wife and I frequent had asked several times where I get the info I had absorbed. I said "Bob Fenner" (as if I knew him, LOL) and I'll never forget the reply..."Oh Fenner, He's my guru, If he said it, I would go with it". <Dangerous, have spent time drinking with Bob, that attitude will lead to trouble.> We have had as many as five tanks going  in the house and we had consolidated these small nanos to a 20g H , a 26 bow, and a 10 nano. We recently purchased a 50g, with plans of yet another consolidation attempt. After setup with 3" of crushed coral I removed approx 40lbs of live rock and cultured tufa (2 1/2yrs old) from the bow tank.  <Not a fan of crushed coral, but sounds good otherwise.> I put 10 gallons of the water from that tank in with newly mixed instant ocean and "seeded" the substrate with a few cupfuls of the aragonite from that same bow tank. I watched this empty for a week and decided to move the 40lbs of live rock from the 20H. When I got to the bottom of the tank the only fish left, a tomato clown, his BT anemone, and the large rock the BT resided on for a solid year seemed really unhappy. Against my better judgment I decided to move them that same day. MY BAD. <A learning experience.> The anemone died within a week. One month later the clown seems to be doing fine and even growing a bit. We used the HOT magnum from the bow tank for filtration, added a PowerSweep 228 and a unknown powerhead marked with 660 for water movement. We began with the light from the bow tank a 50/50 reef sun 24"  then two weeks in,  we switched to a Coralife lunar light  (two 96w PCS one 10,000k and one Actinic plus two lil blue LEDs) that fits the 50g. ENTER CYANO/HAIR ALGAE BLOOM !! All my beautifully colored rock looked like my back yard in a week's time, followed by a trip to the LFS for a cleanup crew. I knew I wanted a few Nassarius snails and maybe a lawnmower blenny. Joe at Hoffer's Tropic life pets (Wisconsin)  suggested a sea hare and I bought it without question or research. Again MY BAD although "Fast Freddie" is doing fine I knew nothing and wasn't warned about Inking or toxins. <Watch carefully obviously.> Four Nas snails, three Turbos, five small zebra legged hermits, three Scarlets and one "Halloween crab" which I'll remove if he messes with any corals we add later same with the Turbos. My twice a week 10% water changes for two weeks and weekly after that along with my wife's constant obsessive plucking of hair has proved to be the best action we could have made. <Agreed, removes the fuel for the algae two ways, good approach.> We finally invested in a skimmer, a super skimmer by Coralife which we think works great it has removed three cups of the nastiest gunk I've seen in the first three days.  <Will also be a big help.  Quality skimmers are worth their wait in beer/gold.> Wish I would have got one sooner. MY BAD. The Hair algae is not gone, but we have definitely made a large dent.  <The beginning of getting it under control.> I should have known with all the reading I have done that a phosphate problem existed in the small tanks but the light wasn't there for a symptom to appear. We have added a firefish and a Hawkfish (Falco). Again without research. I wish we could stop these "impulse buys" but the firefish seems to be just as good of an eater as the more boisterous tomato clown, in fact I can find all three hanging out together and eating without competition. After learning Firefishes usually get bullied out of food I was saying MY BAD again but it doesn't seem to be a problem after a month of observation.  <Wait until the clown establishes himself in the new tank, that's when trouble may start.> We still are interested in a lawnmower blenny but research has made me afraid that one will fight with the three fish I have mostly likely the Hawkfish.  <Definitely a possibility.> What do you think?  <Skip it.> We kept the 20g H as a Qtank and I have thought of putting a blenny there to remove algae from rocks one at a time from the 50 and swapping as needed. Good idea??  <Not really, tough on the fish and inefficient.> Our future plans to have a garden variety reef tank scares the hell out of me. I've got a rock with 3 Ricordea Yumas on it in the Qtank (two weeks) and a small xenia frag in our ten nano (also two weeks) when can I move to the 50?  <Another 2 weeks ideally.> These two items came from a LFS who has had them for a year under much better lighting than my qtank or nano. Also we were wondering what else we can add to the 50 coral wise?? Could you give us a small list of corals that we can research? <Unfortunately the list is too much, check out the WetWeb articles for more.>  We want to give the clown something to a host and we were lucky that the old BT never moved. Don't scold me for wanting another BT, I know the risks. <Not good to mix with corals.>  Is there a coral that will be safe with what we have. <Few> I do know he has gone symbiotic with everything from Condylactis to feather dusters so all I need is something that will survive his affection.  <Depends on his fancy, hard to say what he would choose when given options.> Thank you so much for the constant influx of knowledge. There isn't a day I visit a LFS without recommending WWM to another aquarist. <Please share your own knowledge with others too.> David Conway <Chris>

Selective Hair Algae Herbivore? - 01/03/06 Greetings Crew! <<Hello Greg!>> Hopefully 2007 finds you well and prosperous! <<Doing well so far...as for prosperous, hmmm...I guess time will tell...but thank you>> I do have a minor dilemma I hope you can help me solve. <<I shall be happy to try>> My refugium has begun to grow significant amounts of hair algae.  Although I have two 50-gallon refugiums, the lower refugium (bare-bottom, used for growing Chaetomorpha) is the refugium with the algae problem. <<Hmm...>> The upper 50g refugium has a 6" DSB, Chaetomorpha and feather Caulerpa. <<Ack!  I see/hear this a lot (mixing macro-alga), but prefer/recommend folks choose on or the other.  Not only do the alga fight/compete/release noxious compounds and expend energy re that could be better utilized, but the two have differing care requirements>> These 2 refugiums support a 180g display tank with 200# of LR, SPS and LPS corals as well as several tangs, small wrasses, maroon clown pair, mandarin, inverts, etc. <<I see>> Water parameters are as follows: Salinity=1.025, Temp=77F, pH=8.3, alk=5 meq/L, NH3=0, NO2=0, NO3=5 PPM, PO4<0.5PPM, <<This last may be your problem re the hair algae.  Try to get this below 0.02 and see if it helps (Poly-Filter and/or a Ferric Oxide media along with increased/more efficient skimming)>> Ca=380 PPM.  All water is provided via an R.O. unit.  A 6' airstone protein skimmer processes all overflow water from the main tank and a Red Sea Berlin skimmer is used to remove any remaining contaminants from the surface of the lower refugium. <<Are these skimmers performing efficiently?  Perhaps an upgrade is in order>> The larger skimmer produces approximately 1 cup of skimmate daily and the Berlin skimmer produces skimmate only if the larger skimmer has been out of adjustment or sometimes after feeding. <<Unfortunately this "measurement" is of little/dubious use (akin to "watts of light per gallon") as a system's capacity for producing skimmate is highly variable>> I would like to add some sort of herbivore to my lower refugium to control the hair algae issue. <<Mmm, also of dubious use in this instance as most any macro algae predator will also prey upon the beneficial organisms culturing in the refugium...even if this is only the epiphytic matter on the Chaetomorpha>> Since my purpose for the refugium is NNR and to provide a continuous supply of food for my mandarin and for the corals, I want to add a herbivore that would eat hair algae but would not disturb the 'pod population or eat the Chaetomorpha. <<Therein lies the rub...  About the only critter I could recommend that may "selectively" prey upon the hair algae would be a sea hare of the Family Aplysiidae.  If you go this route, do be sure to acquire tropical specimens (I believe Ocean Rider, Inc. sells viable eggs of a tropical species from Hawaii).  But my experience with sea hares, like most any organism obtained for algae control, has been highly variable>> I do have a flame angel I removed from my main tank for nipping at corals.  It is a terrific hair algae grazer but I suspect it would eat the Chaetomorpha as well. <<Possibly...but more likely it would make quick work of the copepods, amphipods, etc.>> I have added a few blue leg hermits but they are not making much of an impact. <<Overrated algae grazers...and much too opportunistic for my display tanks, let alone for addition to a refugium!>> I assume they would probably eventually eat the Chaetomorpha as well. <<Not before the "other" food options are exhausted I think>> Most options I can think of will probably eat 'pods or macro algae (lawnmower blenny, lettuce sea slug, Mexican turbo snails.). <<Agreed...though the lettuce sea slug would probably "just die">> What do you suggest? <<Other than already stated?...attacking the problem at its source.  Reduce the amount of measurable PO4...and if the funds are available, consider investing in a proven quality skimmer (Euro-Reef, AquaC, H&S, etc.)>> Thank you, in advance, for the help! --Greg <<Always a pleasure to assist.  Eric Russell>>

Algae Question   12/28/06 Hello, <Hi Michael, Mich here> I have a 75 gallon with live rock and a few small fish.  It is filtered with a 16 gallon upstream refugium loaded with a sand bed, Chaetomorpha and live rock.  The tank is well circulated and skimmed with an Aqua C Remora Pro.  Hair algae has been a battle for the last 5 months.  I perform water changes with RO water.  My readings are ideal <?!?!>, ph - 8.3, temp. - 78, PO4 - 0.03, <This is contributing to your problems.>  salinity - 1.025 with nitrates a bit high at 18ppm. <Also part of your problems.> I had a fish only tank years ago with a large grouper and triggers and artificial corals.  I was much more careless then as I am now and I seemed to have less problems.   <Ironic eh?> The  tank ran for 5 years without any hair algae at all, just a little bit of green diatom algae.  My question to you is where did this hair algae come from with my more recent 3 year old tank?  My theory is it found it's way in through the live rock.   <A viable possibility.> I also use sand now as opposed to crushed coral.  Does sand hold more nutrients than coral?    <It can, depends on how often you cleaned your crushed coral.> Finally, I've read not to decrease the photoperiod but it seems that the lights have a lot to do with algae growth.   <The growth is currently being fueled by excess nutrients in you system.> I am a bit confused.   Please begin by reading here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Start with the above reading, and explore the related articles in blue text at the top of the nutrient control page.> Thank you,
<Welcome!  -Mich>

Chaetomorpha antennina predators   12/18/06 Hi, I need your help... again loll I have, what I think is Chaetomorpha antennina growing in my tank... and it's growing really fast!! what can I put in the tank that will eat this algae? (an urchin? what kind?) Thanks for your help! <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algeatrcontfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Bryopsis concern, control   12/17/06 Hello Crew, I have had a break out of what seems to be Bryopsis, from everything I can read it seems the closest match to what I have. It is grassy, but very fine and grows in clumps that seem to root into my live rock. <OK> It seemed to start growing when I switched out my 10K MH's to the 20K's? The other only thing that I changed was that I started directly feeding my corals with Borneman's recipe about twice a week. <Maybe more than your tank can handle, cut back.> I'm sure this contributed to an increase in available foods for algae. <Sure sounds like it.> I have a sump with a skimmer and a bunch of grape Caulerpa to help combat the nutrients. <Chaetomorpha would be better, less potential for problems than the grape Caulerpa, may want to consider switching.> Also there is a decent patch of Halimeda growing in one corner of my tank, also on the live rock. <This is fine.> My parameters are: Nitrate-0 dKh- 9 cal- 360 ph- 8.6 constant day and night <A little high.> phosphates 0.1 according to Red Sea test kit <Here's your problem.> spg. 0026 An idea I had was to cover portions of my live rock which are covered with this algae with black plastic, thus cutting off the light to the algae.  Would this be a viable means to try and kill off this nuisance algae. <A band aid, better to address the source of your phosphates.> I have stopped using the coral food and feeding very lightly to decrease added nutrients...my tank is a 65 gal with four powerheads for circulation and my return from the sump, Deep sand bed, 4 inches deep. <This, along with water changes will be most helpful.> <Welcome!  -Mich>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: