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FAQs on Marine Algae and Their Control 15

Related Articles: Avoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, 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

Related FAQs: Marine Algae Control FAQs 1, Marine Algae Control 2, Marine Algae Control 3, Marine Algae Control 4, Marine Algae Control 5, Marine Algae Control 6, Marine Algae Control 7, Marine Algae Control 8Marine Algae Control 9, Marine Algae Control 10, Marine Algae Control 11, Marine Algae Control 12, Marine Algae Control 13, Marine Algae Control 14, SW Algae Control 16, SW Algae Control 17, SW Algae Control 18, SW Algae Control 19, SW Algae Control 20, SW Algae Control 21, & Marine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae, Phosphate

Friend Morgan Lidster of Inland Aquatics doing "the algae shake" at a service account that the counter-balance on the algal scrubber had failed.

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Macroalgae question       3/3/18
I have a really neat 60 gallon macroalgae display tank that shares a sump with my main reef. The problem is it’s being overrun by pink cotton candy nuisance algae. Is there any creature I can add to the tank that will go after this stuff as a preferred food source, but NOT devour my other macros?
<Not without knowing what all the algae are here, including the invasive species>
(Especially the non-calcareous ones.) The tank’s only other resident is a copper banded butterfly. Thanks in advance for any help on this...
<I'd try to favor your desired algae... likely by providing stronger light/ing; depriving excess nutrients... Have you read on WWM re algae control? Bob Fenner>
Re: Macroalgae question       3/3/18

Yes. Glad to hear stronger lighting might help... I was afraid more light might favor the nuisance stuff.
<Ahh, if the undesirable algae is a Red/Rhodophyte, more intense lighting will favor other Divisions>
I just installed a Kessil purple/magenta unit to supplement my Kessil Tuna Sun. (Any recommendation between the ‘grow’ and ‘bloom’ settings?(purple vs. magenta... or the other way around).
<The more intense and blue-end shifted setting/s is/are best here>
Cotton candy is the only form of nuisance algae. No Bryopsis... or green hair... or Valonia... diatoms or anything else. Display items include: Calcareous red branching algae (rhodopetis?)... Sargassum... botryocladia... bryothamnion... Unidentified ‘putting green’ green and red turfs (gorgeous stuff) ... and Caulerpa prolifera.
I use Phosban, but don’t measure phosphate. No nuisance algae in main reef... Main reef is mostly LPS and Montis, ten year old system, somewhat overstocked with respect to corals (all healthy)... moderate fish load...a bit under skimmed.
<You do have a DSB? Is the lighting on the refugium on a reverse daylight photoperiod w/ the main/display?>
I was thinking of depriving the system of sump flow for a couple days at a time to help lower nutrients... but am forced to travel extensively for the next few months... and there’s no one I can trust to ‘on-and-off’ the flow.
<I would leave all pumps running for sure>
Thanks again for your help on this.
Your fan,
<Cheers, BobF>

Diatoms or Dinos       8/22/15
I need help identifying this ‘brown stuff’ on my sand-bed and rocks.
<Can only tell; and it's simple to do; with a look/see through a microscope... See WWM, books I've penned re>
I’m not certain if it is diatoms or Dinos. (or possibly brown Cyano?)
<My guess is on Dinoflagellates, but could be....>
I am pretty certain it is not diatoms, but I wanted to be sure.
<Slimy? If not, not BGA>
I have attached a pic of my refugium however this stuff is rampant in my main tank as well (75 Gallon Reef-ready).
Some info…
Tank is 2 years old.
RO/DI water using ‘Silica Buster Resin’ by SpectraPure. (measures 0ppm PO4 and 0ppm Silicates)
<Do you have other chemo-photosynthetic life (on purpose) here? They will need HPO4, NO3...>
All filters and membranes are 3 months old.
TDS measures ‘0’. TDS meter calibrated with calibration fluid, not distilled water.
<Okay.... will not be 0.0 in the system, and with time, added foods, supplements....>
Currently running carbon and Phosguard.
<Not a fan.... more bio., less tech.>
Vertex Omega 150 skimmer
Emperor Aquatics 25 watt sterilizer (new, 1 week old).
I use HW Marine Mix Reefer salt, 1.025 SG
Nitrate = 0ppm (Salifert)
Phosphate = 0ppm (Hanna Checker)
Alk = 10dKh (Hanna)
Calcium = 425 ppm (Hanna)
Mg = 1400 (Salifert)
Silicate = 0ppm (Salifert)
Maxspect Gyre 150XF and Tunze 6055 for flow.
Maxspect Razor 420 x2 (50% both channels 4 hours per day).
I siphon the sand bed (to include sand removal) however this stuff returns quickly.
It DOES mostly disappear at night, only to return in the morning with the least amount of light.
I was doing 20% water changes weekly.
<About right>
Attempted to go 2 months without water changes thinking it was Dinos.
This stuff is driving me crazy!
<Would you read if I referred you? What avenues do all have? Restriction of nutrient, light, more circulation.... competitors, predators....>
I use filter socks and changes them daily!
It is beginning to smother corals.
<Actually; no... your actions are at base here.... SEE/READ re my stmt.s above... you're starving the "corals"; giving the Thallophytes precedence>
I can blow it off with a turkey baster but it returns very quickly.
However, ‘increased flow’ doesn’t do much except unless I blow the sand everywhere.
3 days of complete darkness helped at first but they returned within a week.
The remaining snails I have seem to be in ‘suspended animation’.
<Also symptomatic... they're being poisoned by the unpalatable algae....>
They haven’t moved for weeks. If I flip them over I can see they are still alive (or dying slowly). I’ve been reluctant to add more CUC in case it is Dinos.
I’m hoping a positive identification would help me in this battle.
<Not what you really need.... Are there friends, folks, the LFS nearby who can come by and give you some one on one? I'd be reviewing the set up.... adding a refugium w/ DSB, RDP, macro-algal culture, ditching the chemical filter media... And putting some time into reading some worthwhile articles, books>
Thanks for your help in advance!
<Am hoping to save you leaving our hobby.... do consider what I've written here; and do write back w/ specifics, your progress as time goes by please. Bob Fenner>

Re: Diatoms or Dinos       8/22/15
Thank you for the quick reply!
<Welcome Matt>
The pic I sent was a pic of the ‘brown stuff’ in my refugium.
<Mmm; I'd make that bed much deeper... likely by adding a few inches of very fine coral sand>
It is plumbed into the sump. That brown stuff grows in both refugium and display tank.
The refugium has about a 4” sand bed. Is that deep enough?
<Not really. See WWM re particulars. Sorry to state, I/we just don't have the time to re-key...>
Currently the refugium is NOT on a RDP. I guess I should change that…
<Oh yes I would>
When I do not run GFO or Phosguard, PO4 creeps up. I was blaming that for the ‘brown stuff’.
<The RDP macro-algae culture and increased DSB will solve this in a few weeks time>
I was running carbon ‘in case’ the Dinos were releasing toxins.
<Good point>
Yes, I will read anything I can get my hands on! Please!
<Do you see the search tool on every page on WWM? The indices?>
Will a simple microscope from Amazon work for ID?
<Yes... the QL et al. series are cheap and excellent... again, covered on WWM. B>
Thanks again for your help.
Matt Kasperski

Algae Problem, SW  9/23/08 I am at a loss with this problem, and I really cannot hesitate any longer to direct it to the experts here. <Hope we can help> We have been cycling a 120 gallon tank for approximately 1 month. We went through the stage of brown algae (probably diatoms) <agreed> , and now we are being plagued with green algae on the rocks and aquarium glass, and I mean a good amount. <There are many kinds of 'green algae'. Can you be more specific? Hair algae, Bryopsis, bubble, or just plain green tint> Someone advised us to let it be, let the tank continue cycling, and then scrape it off when cycling was complete. We have been able to do this for a couple of days at a time, but then we break down and clean things up by cleaning the glass. Our water quality checks out good, with the exception of Magnesium at about 1500, and Phosphate at .2. For some reason, Magnesium also runs high in our 47 gallon reef, but we have absolutely no problem with algae or coral deterioration there. So, my questions are a few: What might be causing this algae, and how, if possible, can we get rid of it? <Your tank is still new, there could be many reasons for this algae, which I wouldn't worry too much about for now. What are your tank parameters? Ammonia, Nitrate, Alkalinity, etc. These would help with determining your water quality more so than Magnesium.>  How will we know when the tank has completed cycling? <Test for ammonia, once that has broken down it becomes nitrates and completes the cycle. More info found here http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-06/dw/index.php>  There are 14 blue damsels and one scooter blenny in the tank. There are a couple of corals (ashamedly, I cannot give you their names at this time, but they seem to be doing very well). There are also a couple of feather dusters. Lighting is via two 150 W halides, and 4x54 W Actinics. We run the halides for 10 hours per day, and the Actinics for 12 hours per day. <Ahh, this could be the very cause of your algae problem. Excessive light. Try cutting your light cycle back to 6-7 hours on the halides and the actinics for only 8-9 hours max.>  There is approximately 100 pounds of live rock in the tank. We do not have any snails in the tank at this time, nor any other algae eating life. <Adding snails to the tank would be a great help in keeping your algae down.>  Is this normal? <It would be normal for someone with no snails and a 12 hour light cycle on a new tank>  I would greatly appreciate any help you may offer with this unpleasant situation. Thank you for your help, Best regards, Jeffrey Castaldo <Wish you the best, Jessy>

Brown algae in cycling tank, 9/18/08 Hello, and thank you for the great advice your website has provided to me so far. <Hi> I have been cycling a 120 gallon tank for approximately 4 weeks. We have had live rock in the tank for about 2 1/2 weeks (73 pounds) within the past week we added some bleached white rock in the tank as well (probably another 25 pounds or so). We are noticing a brown film on some of the white rocks, and just tonight when we came in I was shocked at the amount of algae on the walls of the tank. <Probably diatoms, or perhaps Cyanobacteria. Simple organisms that are first to colonize barren areas.> We remove the algae from the glass every day with a Mag Float. The algae on the glass is brownish , and there is definitely a brownish color on the white rocks, as well as on the aragonite bottom (in patches). <Can take over a tank quickly if allowed to. Control through nutrient limitations.> The water is reverse osmosis, and tests fine. We only noticed pH was 8.4. We have not begun doing water changes on this tank as of yet. There are a dozen blue damsels and one scooter blenny in the tank at this time, as well as a couple of corals and feather dusters. <Too much life too fast, and the blenny will likely starve in a new tank. This is also contributing to your algae growth by supplying lots of what the diatoms need to grow.> The fish have been present for a couple of weeks, the corals about four days (probably a mistake for putting them in this tank too soon). Calcium is about 400. The Skimmer we are using is an ETSS Evolution 500 powered by a Mag 9.5 as recommended. The lighting is two 150 W halides and four 54 water 460 T5 Actinics (Outer Orbit Pro). We run the halides 10 hours per day, and the Actinics 12 hours per day. We do not have any snails in the tank at present. Is it time to introduce them, and can you please suggest species and how many of each. <Depends on what you intend to keep in the tank. Turbos, Ceriths, Nassarius, and Astraea snails are generally all ok for aquariums.> I know that I have thrown a lot at you at once, but we greatly appreciate and highly respect your advice. <No problem.> Best regards, Jeffrey <See here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/diatomidfaqs.htm for more.> <Chris>

Cloudy green water... SW, algal world, die-off...    7/31/08 I searched your site but didn't find anything that really relates to my problem. I have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank (hoping to covert to a reef tank) that has been running for about 2 months. I cycled it with some new live rock and some from my old established tank. Ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and phosphate are all at zero. <Wow!> PH is 8.4, salinity is 1.025 and calcium is 250. <Mmm... a bit low... and your alkalinity?> Two nights ago I did a 10% water change, cleaned the power heads and replaced the carbon filter. The next morning the water was a cloudy green color. It appears to be some sort of dissolved algae which, by the way I have a lot of in my tank. <Mmm... see below> Red slime, hair, and lots of green. You name it I've got it. I also add strontium, calcium and PhytoPlex for my future corals. <... I would not add the latter... for future anything> I've done tests twice since then with excellent results but it keeps getting worse. Now I can barely see my fish <?!> (1 pink spotted goby and pistol shrimp pair, 2 false percula, 1 orange tailed damsel, 1 royal Gramma, various hermit crabs and snails and a peppermint shrimp, which don't seem to mind it. But the day after the water change I tried to add a green chromis and it was dead the next morning. <Trouble, you betcha> I'm totally stumped about this green water situation. Any suggestions on what to do or what is happening would be great. Thanks. Jamie <I suspect... as a good guess... that the listed lack of available (by your measure) of basic chemical nutrients (e.g. Nitrate, Phosphate), show these to have been limiting factors in the growth of the stated algae (they were "scarfing it all up")... along with calcium as a needed co-biomineral... With the addition/change out of the carbon, the "scales were tipped" with a massive die-off event of some of the algae occurring, this resulting in a good deal of their death, dissolution... and consequent coloring, poisoning of your system... For now, you need to do damage control with restoring present water quality (likely through some massive water changes)... going forward, you need to formulate a plan to control algal proliferation... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm and the linked files in-text and above... till you understand what you're up to, against. Do write back re specifics if you have questions, doubts, suggestions. Bob Fenner>

Re: cloudy green water  7/31/08 Thanks for getting back to me. How much water do you suggest that I change and how often? <... a bunch... see WWM re. B>

Brown Algae 7/30/08 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Scott V. with you today.> I have an 80G Marine tank with 2 Clarkii Clowns, 3 Large Tube Worms, Bubble tip Anemone, some snails, a microalgae colony & lots of live rocks with coral line algae. I use 6500K 500W (4 x 125) CFL lighting. I use a 4G Canister Filter, 5W UV Sterilizer, Remora hang on Skimmer (with 2000L/H separate power head), 2 Power heads (2000L/H), & Chiller. The tank is running well. I do a 20% water change every month and feed my fish and invertebrates carefully. My water parameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate < 100 (I am not so sure about the nitrates). <You need to get this squared away, either another test kit that is easier to read or just flat out getting the nitrate lowered, tis the fuel for the algae.> This tank has being running well for the past 1 year. I am introducing 1 Hippo Tang & 2 False Percula in a few days which are in the QT now . I am retuning the big Clarkii back to the LFS which is very aggressive towards my other small 1' Clarkii. <The remaining Clarkii will likely pick on the False Percs in time, if not now.> I have two issues that I need your help with. I have a brown algae bloom from the day I established the tank which forced me to buy an extra power head as advised by the LFS which by the way didn't help. <Flow is one factor of the equation.> The brown algae are only on my back glass and on my sand. It grows so fast. I have to clean every 5 days just to control it on my sand. I am NOT using live sand as a 2 inch layer of white granules (which are close to sand particles) were given to me when I bought the tank. <I would decrease this sand level to 1' or increase to 4'+. 2' catches you between the easy to clean shallow sand bed and a beneficial DSB.> I can deal with the tank glasses but cleaning brown algae every 5 days off of these white granules is a hard task especially with my full time job as a store manager. <Yes, this is too often to maintain your sand.> I see so many tanks that are cleaned only once a month or even less frequent that does not have this problem. Can you please tell me what's wrong with my tank? <Not with the information provided. Feeding, water flow, filtration (and lack of cleaning), among many other factors can have an impact.> Should I take off the white granules and put live sand or should I change my lighting or filtering? <With any live rock your sand will become 'live'. What exactly is this substrate made of? Filtration may be a contributor. Canisters (really all mechanical filtration) need to be cleaned quite frequently.> Please let me know your views. If you need any more info to come to a conclusion let me know. Secondly, I wanted to know whether two 1' false Percula clowns will be compatible with my one 1' Clarkii clown. <They likely won't be.> Thanks in advance for your help Best regards, Akila <Very welcome, more reading re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm  along with the linked FAQs above. Scott V.>  

Diatom Bloom   7/25/08 Hi Bob, For some time I have been having problems with a diatom bloom. I have done everything suggested and can not get it to go away. I was wondering if you would kindly take a look at this and see if I indeed might have missed something. The tank contains 2 pair of H. Barbouri. I have diatoms crawling out my ears! The whole sand bed is matted and it grows on everything. I have done everything suggested and read and they just will not go away. They have even gotten to the point that they are growing on the macro algae in the tank. <Mmm... are you sure these are diatoms?> I have added more CUC, I am skimming mostly green brown liquid not tons perhaps a 1/2 cup a day. I seem to have a hard time tweaking the skimmer so it skims constantly. <Mmm, there are circumstances where these don't...> Everything gets rinsed before going in at feeding time and all leftovers are taken out much to the dismay of the peppermint shrimp). I have changed my chemical media including adding a new batch of PhosBan. I currently use Chemi-Pure. I don't know what to do could it be a bad batch of salt? <Mmm, could be a contributor> Something wrong with the RO/DI unit as it tests out also at 0.03 silicates but TDS is 0 <Zero?! This doesn't jive with the silicates reading even... they are dissolved solids> Parameters are as follows 38G with a Pro Clear Pro wet/dry 150 sump. I have removed the bioballs and used LR rubble instead. <Good> The tank has been up and cycled since 12/07 had small bloom then and it went away, came back about a month ago along with green bubble algae which I also can't get rid of. I scrap and remove and pop and they come right back. No new additions nothing different was done to the tank. Temp 73 Sp 1.024 pH 8.3 lights on 7.9-8.0 lights off (Is this too much fluctuation?) Ca 400 Mg 1320 dKH 8.0 (2.86) Silicates 0.03 PO4 0 <Need some... I'd limit, or get rid of the PhosBan> Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrates 5 Bulbs are brand new 2 (96w) PC running 10 hours a day. Return pump is an Eheim 1262 I have good laminar flow as the gorg.s are very happy in there and the horses can swim without getting blasted around. Could this be a flow issue? I have two spray bars running vertical connected by one piece of PVC pipe that runs horizontal. Even the poor horses have diatoms on them. I just have no idea what to do anymore. I have waited...... but it is not going away..... or do I just have to wait longer? This is driving me crazy. <Does seem/read like you're doing most all just fine... I would switch salt mix brands, and try another species of macroalgae than you currently employ.> Suggestions taken. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. Mark <Keep the faith... and do make it known how the above changes help/don't help. Bob Fenner>

Re: Diatom Bloom... likely not  -- 07/28/08 Dear Bob, Thanks for the advice given. I followed all your of your directions and am still battling these "Diatoms" I for the life of me can not get rid of them. <... takes time... and from your pix...> I took out the PhosBan, have tried to skim more. I did the tests again on my RO/DI unit and found out the membrane although new was not functioning correctly, now I test out at zero on silicates <This is telling> and 0 TDS. I also cracked open a new bucket of salt, and have been using that. It seems to have lightened a little but not much. So I still have a nice tank but with very ugly brown sand. I am attaching some pics perhaps I am not really looking at diatoms at all perhaps it is something else, <Bingo... get out a simple couple hundred power microscope... I'd bet dollars to donuts that this/these are Cyanobacteria> you can also see on the rock the bubble algae. The rock has also been that color green forever! I was told it is green coralline algae. It can not be removed from the rock by the CUC. <... too much money, too little science...> I can scrap it with a scraper as one can with coralline algae, it is part of the rock. I hope perhaps with the pics you can shed some more light on the situation, and what to do with this scourge. I am running against the wall on this one. <Am very glad you did send along this further data and image work> Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. Mark <Do take a read re BGA: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and... the linked files... above. BobF>

Algae wit's end, SW refugium candidate    7/26/08 I know you guys usually like very detailed info but would probably take a lot of space to list EVERYTHING, especially history wise but I will try & cover all the pertinent info, please let me know if I missed anything. <Okay> 55 gal w- 325w watt PC 50/50 split actinic on 9 hrs & white on 8 (sorry don't remember the Kelvin) Overflow w- floss, Seagel (Carbon PhosGuard mixture) & Purigen & PhosGuard <Using such chemical filtrants...> by itself in sump, no bio-balls. Excalibur skimmer in sump about 2400 GPH flow, temp runs 82 in the day & 80-81 in the evening about 20 various snails, 8-10 red hermits & 1 emerald crab, 2 peppermint shrimp, 1 false perc & 1 lawnmower blenny, assorted soft & hard corals. <How are these last doing?> Nitrate, nitrite & ammonia never read above zero, calcium & carbonate hardness 420 & 8 respectively w- minor fluctuations. PH consistently 8.3 - 8.4 Phosphate, I have purchased 2 test kits & used one @ LFS & just don't trust the readings because the are always about the same @ .25 - .5 PPM regardless of whether it is tank water, tap water, API Tap Water Filter filtered water & have even added Tide to samples, but I starve my poor critters because of the algae, do 10% weekly water changes & use 2 ml of phos buster per 5 gallon on all water that goes into aquarium so I just don't know where phosphates come from (assuming they have to be there for algae growth). Only water ever put into tank has been RO from LFS or through the API filter. API filter has only been used about the last 2 months but no change in algae level. <... something else, other means to control...> This tank was a hand me down but even if algae was present in the 6 months I have had I would think I would have it licked by now. mainly hair algae & I just can't get rid of it. I have scrubbed the rock numerous times, usually out of the tank but early on I did in tank. I need the nuclear option if there is one. At this point the only thing I can think of is trying a Foxface (would it work ? <Mmm, no> but 55 is small so I would have to return to LFS @ some point) or just breaking the tank down for storage & coming back to it down the road. If that is the only option what is the best way to preserve the rock, obviously I need to get the algae removed 1st. Thanks in advance, you guys have been great & I tremendously enjoy your site. <... I would go the route of out-competing the current noisome algae with other... grown in a sump/refugium, with a DSB... and buy all this and more with the money you'll save on the chemical filtrants in time. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm and the linked files above... and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm Ditto. Bob Fenner>

Question about algae, SW... contr.  7/15/08 Hi! I have a 20 gallon salt water tank that has damsels, a serpent star, a small yellow tang and a few small crabs. <This tank is way too small for a tang.> I keep having a problem with brown algae on the glass that keeps recurring. It is only on the sand, not the live rock and covers the glass. I added a UV sterilizer, a protein skimmer and a new canister filter. It doesn't look like a red slime, is not hairy and has to be scraped off... Any ideas what this could be and how I can get rid of it? Thank you. Jim Hoffman <Sounds like diatoms, can be controlled through the normal algae control methods, along with monitoring and limiting silicates. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brownalgcontfaqs.htm .> <Chris>

Help, Brown stringy Algae  7/12/08 Crew, <Seth> Thank you in advance for you help, this site is the best on the net. My 75 reef is now around 2 months old... After my 75 lbs of LR cured I added some snails.. a week later a maroon clown and some pulsing Xenia. Finally added a small regal tang about two weeks ago. I've been battling Nitrate levels of 25 or so for a month. I do a 10 gallon water change weekly with RO). <Ok...> The problem. My tank has gone through the normal diatom bloom (seems to be done). Then moved to green hair algae for a week or so. Now, it's being completely overrun with Brown slime algae of some sort It's covered with air bubbles). I thought it might be Cyano.. <Likely mostly so> but I have SO much current in my tank. It's actually growing on an area of the glass that's getting pounded with current. Could this be Cyano? <Oh yes> This is my third tank.. I had Cyano blooms in both of my others but much more red color and not stringy) but both went away within a month. My filtration is the LR, powerheads, and a Remora pro with Mag 3. The skimmer is pulling out about half a collection cup per day of coffee colored skimmate. Do I need to do a 20 or 30 gallon change to immediately bring the nitrate way down? <Might help, but...> I know 25 is higher than it should be and is the reason I've been doing disciplined weekly water changes. Not sure how the nitrates are still that high. What do you think? <That you should read: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above... until you understand likely root causes, paths for possible control here> Thank You! <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Some Algae now - 6/30/08 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25456555/ <What a mess! Looks like some source of nutrient/s must be running off the coast... RMF> PeterC Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness-(Mark Twain). Blooming brown onion AHHH..... Algae 06/14/08 Hey guys, <Hello!> I'm having a little problem with brown algae growing in my 10 gallon nano reef. I'm trying to starve it to death by cutting out my 150 watt SunPod lamp by half a day. I thought I had it beat but when I turned on the sun the brown came back. <Light is only a limiting factor if you make it so. Nutrient is the underlying cause here.> My red scarlet hermits are doing a good job but not enough. So I was wondering if can cut the lights out for maybe 2 to 3 days so I can beat this problem? But I do have some corals in the tank...a small Monti and some mushrooms. By cutting out the lights 2 to 3 days would it hurt my corals in any way??? <Yes. Your corals need the light even more than the algae; besides, as soon as the lights returned to normal the algae would be close behind. I would check your nitrates; I imagine they are elevated, and try more frequent water changes to control the problem.> Thanks <No problem. Benjamin>

Seeking Any Comments, Hair Algae 6/11/08 Hi ... I have a reef system that is one year young now. Water tests have always stayed in limits (weekly testing & 20% water change: 77-79 degrees F, 1.025 salinity, 8.3 pH, 10dKH alkalinity, 420 nnm calcium, 0 NH3 & NO2). It's a small 30 gallon bow front tank with: 6 small-med various hermits, 12 various snails, 2 various shrimp, 1 sea hare, 1 each: clarkii clown, six line wrasse, Kaudern's cardinal, yellow tail damsel, and various corals: frogspawn, branching hammer, open brain, closed brain, Ricordea, pipe organ, Galaxea, various mushrooms, some xenia and Zoanthids, and a feather duster. I use a Red Sea skimmer, Penguin 200 bio-wheel filter, one Hydor Koralia 1 powerhead and one Maxijet 600. And finally I run a Coralife 65 watt 50/50 PC for 12 hours a day and only feed every third day and use purple up, some trace additives, reef complete and iodine supplement weekly as well. <I would drop the additives, if you are doing water changes they are unnecessary.> Problem is that for about six weeks ago I suddenly got an over !!! abundance of green hair algae (after which I added the sea hare, 2 more hermits and three turbo snails in an attempt to balance out the system and regain control over the algae ... it's even growing on the snails shells. <Adding more life creates more waste and actually increases your problem. Manual removal and lots of water changes are the solution. Also have you tested for phosphates? Finally drop the additives, they are just adding fuel to the fire.> I can not honestly see that I'm beginning to overcome the algae issue ... but at least it's not continuing to grow (although there's not much left that it isn't already growing on and doesn't look like an advertisement for ZZtop). I've read your forums and even done a few 40% water changes and thorough cleaning of the filters to overcome the algae ... and it's still in control ! Can you offer any suggestions ? <Lots of water changes, reduce phosphates and nitrates, control nutrients, manual removal, and patience. It will take some time to start to see improvements, nothing good happens fast in this hobby.> I don't perceive that I'm in danger of loosing the tank, as my research indicates that the hair algae is actually a good sign (just too much of a good thing can't be great and it looks disgusting !). <Usually indicates an overabundance of nutrients or phosphates.> I don't know what else to test for ... or what should be adjusted ... or if I should be adding more scavenger assistance ... seeking any comment ... Larry <Check your source water for nitrates and phosphates, these are the most common chemicals that drive hair algae growth. Keep up the water changes and do not add anything to the tank that you are not testing for.> <Chris>

Too Little Algae? - 6/10/08 Hello, <Hallo!> Hope all are well. <Thanks, we appreciate it.> I had emailed you some time ago about an algae problem I was having, and thanks to your advice it has completely cleared up. So much so that my question today is can you go to far in cleaning up your water. <Theoretically, yes. In an average home system, not likely.> All of my algae is gone, with the exception of coralline and a very few bubble algae which I have on the run. There was so much algae on the side glass that you could not see through it. Now it is completely clear. My front glass only needs to be cleaned once a week, if that. <Sounds wonderful...> My main concern is for my Lawnmower Blenny and algae eating snails. I have been using dried algae and they both seem to graze on it, but will this give them all they need or should I try feeding them something else. <If they're consuming it, it should do the trick- provided you use good quality dried green algae> I could try to catch the Blenny and return to the LFS to keep him from starving, but would rather keep him, he is quite a character. <Some of my favorite fish. Provided you keep him fed, he should be just fine with you.> Thanks for your help, <No problem!> Shawn <Benjamin>

Re: Metal Halide Algae Nightmare! 6/9/08 Hi again folks (you lovely, lovely people!) <Hee, there are many lovely people on the WWM crew! > I've disconnected the Phosphate reactor and tested the water after 2-25% changes. The first change I used water from the LFS, the second RO water from the machine that I aerated for six hours prior to using. I've replaced half of the bio bale. I've cleaned everything in the filtration department. <Sounds good.> Algae - winning! <Not so good.> I don't know where it's coming from. The only connection seems to be the MH lighting. I've vacuumed the substrate, I've vacuumed the rocks, everything is alive, it's just very green, very disgusting. I'm thinking of putting the old PC lighting back on and seeing if that makes any difference. <It will undoubtedly slow the growth, but still just fixes the symptoms, not the problem.> At this point, I just want to kill the algae. I'm open to any suggestions. <Honestly, no new advice. The algae is being fueled by something. Too much food, mechanical filtration or substrate accumulating detritus, inadequate skimming, poor circulation, etc. Even once you figure out what is fueling the algae, it may still appear that it is winning. As the algae dies off it can fuel new algae unless the nutrients are exported. Strong skimming, water changes and harvesting your macroalgae in your refugium to export what is produced by the algae die off will make all the difference (you said you have a refugium, I assume you have a macroalgae growing? If not this is a strong tool in your battle.)> Thank you! Lisa (offering plenty of free algae) <Welcome Lisa, thank you, but I have my algae quota here! Best, Scott V.>

Re: Metal Halide Algae Nightmare! 6/10/08 Hi Scott, Thanks for the quick answer. <No problem.> I temporarily put the PC light back up, whatever the MH helped, I have to get rid of for now. <OK> Can't be too many nutrients, I'm feeding maybe once or twice a week and seeing that the fish eat everything. I'm not feeding the inverts or corals at all during this time. <Current feeding may not be the issue, but nutrients from somewhere are, the algae is fueled by something.> I wondered if the PC light (Coralife Aqualight Pro 150) could bee too close to the water (about 4" above)? It came with legs, but I'm wondering if it's too close. <The lighting may have in impact, but still does not address the cause (it is not the light).> I do have macroalgae in the refugium, I'm now turning off that light to retard the macroalgae growth. Should I remove it completely temporarily? <No!! Just the opposite, you want that macroalgae to grow as fast as it possibly can. This is one of the most powerful tools you have. By growing the macroalgae it will use up the nutrients available in the water for the algae bloom in your tank. This coupled with water changes, siphoning off the dying algae as you go, will yield good results in time.> And if you wouldn't mind helping a feeble-minded old broad, when you say "export what is produced by the algae die off), when are you saying? (Please frame response so a five year old can understand :) ) <Hee, when you start winning the battle in the main display, the algae dying off will start to pollute your water. Sometimes this can cycle back into more algae if what is produced is not taken out of the system. The three tools for this are aggressive skimming, water changes and macroalgae growth. By growing the macroalgae, you must periodically harvest some of it out of your system to allow for new growth and more nutrient export.> I appreciate the help. I'm ready to throw my hands up in the air as my husband keeps taking me to restaurants with huge tanks full of slate, plastic plants and cichlids and coos that I too could have *that* instead. And it doesn't help that the overflow pump just died. I almost heard him giggle. <Hmm, frustrating. Do hang in there, this is a phase just about all of us have gone through. Once you win this battle, and you will, you will thoroughly enjoy this hobby.> Thanks so much, Lisa <Welcome, best, Scott V.>

Hair algae and Chlorodesmis Macroalgae or Invasive Nuisance? "Hair" Algae Strikes Again! 5/27/2008 Hello again Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member tonight.> Well, I've been having a lot of fun cleaning out some hair algae today. <Almost as much fun as wiping water off the floor!> I'd like to ask a few questions regarding it. 1. What eats hair algae? <Depending on the type of "hair algae", you can look to anything from Zebrasoma Tangs to Urchins. "Harsh" grazers will help. Here on the WWM site, we literally have volumes about various attack strategies against hair algae. Make a positive ID on the type of hair algae that you're dealing with, and add the appropriate grazer. Also, do identify and remove the potential sources of organics that are leading to the hair algae growth> 2. Does Chlorodesmis grow in the same pattern as hair algae? Or does it stay on a rock and expand (like an encrusting coral)? <It does tend to stay in tighter formation, and is distinctly different in appearance than most of the hair algae. It does particularly well in very high flow/high light situations. This macroalgae grows "taller" than a hair algae does, and is typically tougher in texture.> 3. If I get whatever eats hair algae, will it eat Chlorodesmis? <Quite possible that the grazer may take a bite, but Chlorodesmis tends to be distasteful to many grazers. In fact, it's actually a bit of a challenge to grow, so if you're getting this macroalgae, you're doing something right! Well, that's it. Thanks in Advance, Random Aquarist < In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I've got to say about that! Hope this helps a bit. Regards, Scott F.>

Algae Problem 05/10/2008 Hi there <<Hello, Andrew this evening>> I have recently had an algae bloom - see pics. <<Seen>> The algae is brown and stringy, but disintegrates when it is disturbed. It has engulfed all the live rock in my tank and it also seems to have tiny bubbles attached to it. Before the brown algae started taking over I had problems controlling the green seaweed-type algae, but the brown algae seems to be hindering the green algae growth. <<Yes, the algae is a type of algae called dinoflagellate. The common causes of this algae is lack of flow and excess nutrient levels.>> I've recently lost a clownfish, a dottyback, 3 hermits and 5 snails over a period of a few months (the tank is 9 months old). <<Esssh...not so good>> However, the snails started dying before the algae became a problem. I never found the bodies of the fish, but assume my brittle star ate them. My corals are still alive, but I'm not sure that they look as healthy as they have in the past. <<More than likely the case, yes, struggling in a tank infested with this algae>> My remaining livestock are: 2 bangai cardinals, 1 damsel, 1 blenny, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 brittle star and 3 hermits. <<Ok>> I have a 24g D-D Nanocube with live rock and all of the filter media that came with the tank. From reading your site, I think the filter media may be the issue, so I have gradually started removing the sponges. I plan to either replace them with new sponges and new activated carbon or remove the sponges and activated carbon and replace them with live rock in the back chamber - what do you suggest? <<My suggestion would be to slowly continue to remove the filter sponge's and replace with live rock rubble. This is of course, thinking along the lines that you have about 1 - 1.5lbs of live rock per gallon of tank water. How often are the filters cleaned / media replaced?>> I perform 10% water changes once a week with RO water mixed with Red Sea salt and Ph buffer and siphon off the algae, but it re-appears within a day.  My water levels are as follows: salinity-1.024; NO2-0.1; NO3-5; Kh-105; Ph8.2; and PO4-0. My lights are on for 8hrs a day and the tank is only exposed to a minimal amount of sunlight. I feed the livestock half a cube of brine shrimp every two days. Am I overfeeding them? <<Not over feeding no. Just ensure you thaw out and wash the frozen food in RO water to remove the juice that holds the frozen cube together as these are commonly high in phosphates.>> They do eat it all within a few mins, although I have noticed the tank is beginning to smell a bit seaweedy. What is the best approach to controlling this sort of algae problem? <<Do please start to read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and linked articles and FAQ's. The main thing with this type of algae is to lower your nutrient levels above. Start by doing 20% water change per week, continue to siphon the algae out, ensure lighting is only on for 8 hours max. More info and suggestions in the above linked article. Thanks. <<Thanks for the question, hope this helps. A Nixon>>  

Red algae plague 05/10/2008 Hello, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have been going over your faq regarding red algae and could find nothing regarding the use of Redox to control red algae. I read about this on another website as a possible way to help eliminate this problem. <<One of many bottled so called "wonder" products>> My nitrates are 0,my phosphates are 0. <<When suffering from a bad plague algae situation, its very common for your test results to show up as zero because the algae has already absorbed the nutrients from the water, hence the zero reading>> I have 1 protein skimmer running and intend to add another today. My lighting is a T-5 6 bulb, with 3 10k daylight and three actinic. <<How old are the bulbs? Old bulbs are another known cause for this issue>> I have reduced my light cycle twice from 12 hours to 10 and than from 10 hours to 8. <<This is good, 8 hours is plenty>> I also cut back on feeding my fish to once a day. My fish load is light, only 1 Clown and 1 Lawnmower Blenny. <<DO you use frozen foods? If you do, do you wash the food in RO water before adding to the tank? Frozen foods are notorious for adding phosphates into a tank. Its always best to defrost the food, put in a fine mesh sieve / coffee filter and wash well with RO water before use to remove the fluid which is used to hold the cube together. You could actually feed once every other day.>> I do have a wide verity of Soft and Lps corals. The corals are only fed lightly once a week. If this is of help, my sg is 1.023 and ph 8.4 and I do 10% water changes bi-weekly and I run Chemi-pure, activated charcoal and Phos-ban in my refugium. <<Switch to 10% per week, this will help, and check your source water for nitrates and phosphates>> The Red algae is becoming a bigger problem on a daily basis. Please let me know your thoughts on Redox and what else I may be able to do to help eliminate this pest. <<You don't mention your amount of flow. Low flow can also contribute to this issue, maybe add another powerhead to raise the amount of flow and see how you go. I would go with the natural methods of plague algae removal before entertaining the bottled solutions.>> Thanks in advance, Shawn <<Thanks for the questions, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Slime in a new tank! 4/29/08 New Aquarium-Old Problem (Nuisance Algae Bloom in Newly Established System) Hi there! <Good evening! Scott F. in tonight!> Hope you can settle my frustrations a little. <The doctor is in...LOL> I have just set-up a new 70G marine set-up. Have had 2 other marine tanks before. The new tank matured nicely and I have started to stock, with just a couple of fish and some shrimp (all from my previous tank). They have all settled in well and seem their usual happy selves. <Good to hear!> I have, however, got a Cyanobacteria bloom. I do a 10% water change every week and the tank has been going for 6 weeks (3 and a half weeks cycling and 2 and a half weeks with stock). In my other tanks, I have had this bloom when the tanks were not long set-up and so am not overly surprised it has happened. However as it is a bigger tank the bloom is on a bigger scale. I would like to know how long these blooms usually last and what I can do to get the edge over it. I have tried sucking it out, but it comes back within the next couple of days. Thanks a lot, Jamie! <Well, Jamie- I'm glad that you are aware of these blooms as a normal part of the aquarium maturation process. They are caused by excesses of nutrients in a system with immature (or even non-existent) nutrient export processes. Once the population of beneficial microorganisms reaches a sufficient size, you'll realize a decrease in the algae. In the mean time, your best bet is to contribute to the nutrient export processes any way you can. Nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary here. Start with continued regular water changes (your 10% is fine, or you can be obsessively geeky like me and utilize two 5% water changes per week). Make sure that your protein skimmer is functioning well, and regularly producing skimmate. Next, be sure to utilize some sort of chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon, Poly Filter, etc. somewhere in your system, and replace it regularly. Maintain brisk circulation within the system, which helps to drive off excess C02 and keep detritus in suspension for utilization by animals, or for removal by mechanical filtration media. Perhaps you might want to try to grow some "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, in you sump or a refugium (illuminated on a "reverse" day/night schedule with the display, which will help stabilize pH as a side benefit) to compete with the nuisance algae. Harvest the macroalgae on a regular basis, which will which will truly remove nutrient from the system. Finally, don't forget about the most important ingredient- a healthy dose of patience. Given time, good husbandry, and patience, the natural nutrient export systems in your aquarium will develop and your nuisance algae problem will be a thing of the past. You can do it- hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

Algae Bloom, Marine 4/24/08 Hi folks, <Hello> I am experiencing an explosion of green hair algae in my 38-gal reef tank. When this started a couple of months ago, I threw a bag of Chemi-Pure into my HOB filter, to no effect. I am also running a Remora skimmer -- rated for up to 75 gallons. However, I just now discovered that my well water has about 10ppm nitrate and -- you guessed it -- there's no nitrate in the tank. <Is bound up in the algae.> I've tested my well a few times in the year that the tank has been running, and never found nitrate before. <Probably seasonal, perhaps tied to local farming?> I've also got a Coral Beauty who may be showing signs of HLLE -- due to water quality, I'm guessing, because I feed a pretty good variety and supplement with Vita-Chem. <Good guess.> Are the skimmer and filter media not enough to take care of the nitrate? Am I going to have to break down and start using RO water? <Filters and skimmers have no effect on nitrates, in fact filters generally generate nitrate as an end product to the nitrogen cycle. I would try stepping up water changes using RO/DI water, manually removing as much algae as possible during these. With time and a little work you will eventually work through this bloom. Also test for phosphates which may also be in your water supply and is also a fertilizer for algae.> Thanks, Scott <Welcome> <Chris>

Bubble algae problem. Using WWM    4/22/08 Hello. <Shawn> I hope everyone is doing well. My question is if you have a way of dealing with bubble algae. When I clean it of the rocks I scrape it with a knife and vacuum what comes off so as not to let any float around the tank. But the next time it appears it is worse than the last time. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help, Shawn <Posted on WWM... learn to use the search tool... as requested before writing us: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm "dealing with bubble algae"... the cached views... RMF>

Algae Outbreak   4/20/08 Greetings, <Salud> I have been fortunate to have a 29 gallon? algae free reef tank for several months now (except growing coralline).? However, I recently tried feeding some mushroom corals and zooanthids with Marine Snow (Two Little Fishes) <Garbage... take it back to your dealer and demand your money back... Is this just cellulose? As in wallpaper paste?> ?and Reef Plus (Seachem).? The Marine Snow seemed to do little more than just cloud the water temporarily.? The Reef Plus did not cloud the water.? I added 1/2 the recommended dose of each.? I now have an outbreak of brown algae again (probably diatoms).? It appears most during midday and usually subsides by late evening.? It's not bad, but clearly is attempting to gain a stronghold.? My tank parameters are Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate all zero, Ph 8.3, alk 8 dKH, Ca 360 ppm, Salinity 1.024.? Phosphate shows 0 but I do not trust the AP test kit at low levels.? Recently did 25% water change using RO/DI water.? I use Kent Nano Reef two part calcium/alkalinity supplement and test for Ca and alk regularly.? Is? the algae outbreak? probably due to the invert feeding supplements?? <Likely spurred by the one TLF product> If so, what's the best way to get back to no algae.? <Start reading here: Mmm, having log-on prob.s... go to WWM, Marine, Maintenance, scroll down to Algae...> I have some Kent phosphate sponge.? Does this material work or just another useless product.? In the future, should I just skip the invert feeding supplements and rely on tank lighting (72 watts PC, 50/50) only? Also, I moved both mushroom rocks up from the sand bed about 3".? Both colonies were opening fully on the sand bed.? Now 1 colony opens fully and the other does not.? The problem colony also begins closing up much earlier.? I really would like to leave them both where they are.? Is there a chance the problem colony will adjust?? Are they really that sensitive to lighting conditions (3" move up).? Water flow is low and about the same in both locations. Lastly, do you recommend Kalkwasser or two part supplements for calcium/alkalinity control? Thanks Much, Greg <All these questions are addressed on WWM... go, read there. Bob Fenner>

Low Flow? Algae!! 4/16/08 Hi Crew, <Hey there Mark.> I have a 90 gallon soon to be reef tank (I hope). It has been set up for about 6 months with a Tom's overflow box and a sump/reverse cycle lighted (140watts daylight) 29 gallon refugium using a Hagen 70 powerhead as a pump. Using the macroalgae Chaetomorpha in refugium only. Protein skimmer is a Tunze DOC 9005 and is in sump. Lighting is a 175watt 10K metal halide. Water movement within the display tank is provided by a Hydor 4 powerheads. <It all sounds nice!> Only additive is Kalkwasser to replace evaporation. Inhabitants include algae, copepods, and 3 turbo snails. Water parameters include: ammonia and nitrite=0 nitrate < 5ppm phosphate < 0.5ppm calcium = 360ppm alkalinity = 9-10dKH salinity = 1.025 pH = 8.4 morning and evening Problem: Derbesia and Cyanobacteria in the display tank but not the refugium. Is it due to lack of flow? <Hmm, no, you should have plenty of flow. Perhaps look at you implementation of the flow, make sure it is directed in a way to prevent any 'dead spots'.> I thought that maybe because my pH is so steady (and it wasn't before I set up the refugium) that the flow was OK. <A refugium can sure work wonders toward PH stabilization! Take a look at your make up water. Your nitrate and phosphate are high for a tank with no fish or substantial livestock at all, especially when you consider your use of a macroalgae refugium. Unless you are adding something to the tank (food, food additives) your water source is very likely the problem.> Thanks, Mark <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.>

Re: Low Flow? Algae!! 4/17/08 Thanks for the rapid response Scott. <You're welcome my friend.> I wasn't very clear about my PO3 and NO3 levels in my last email. I meant to say they were 0 but only detectable to 0.5ppm and 5ppm respectively. <Okay, understood.> That being said I am using tap water. The city's water quality report states 0.0ppm NO3 with a test kit that can detect down to 0.4ppm. However it does not test phosphate (though phosphorus is 0.01). Of course the best PO3 and NO3 test kit of all (algae) indicates I need to use RO water. <Considering the addition of no food to this tank, yes, an RO is a wise investment. Regardless of the tap water quality, I am a proponent of RO use for the sake of consistency if nothing else. Tap water will vary throughout the year.> I just wanted a second opinion as to whether the Hagen was producing enough flow between my sump/refugium and my display. <I have had very successful systems with flow this low through the sump, sometimes I get stingy on electricity and do not want to pay to pump water up and down! More, 600-900 gph after head pressure is accounted for, is desirable for a system this size.> Thanks again, Mark <Welcome, happy reefing, Scott V.>

Re: Low Flow? Algae!! 4/19/08 I tested the tap water with my phosphate test kit and it was 1.0ppm and the RO water I bought from my LFS tested at 0.5ppm. <Not good for RO water.> So obviously I will have to purchase my own unit. <Yes, cheaper in the long run too.> What unit would get my tap/source water to less than 0.5ppm? <Just about any of the commercially produced RO units will do fine. Just be sure to maintain them properly through membrane flushing and prefilter replacement as recommended by the specific manufacturer. Buying a filter with a deionization component is not a necessity, but it is that much better.> Thanks again, Mark <Welcome, Scott V.>

Tank questions about 2 different tanks... Endogenous algae prob.s/SW, Piranha tank plant sel.   04/14/2008 Hello, <Hi there> Tank- 200 gal (7'Lx2'Wx2'H), 130+ pounds LR, 40 gal refugium plus a large hang-on refugium, 3-XP3's canisters, 2 Rio 2100 (694gph) and 3 Penguin 1140 (300gph) power heads on sides and back of tank. And a Coralife 220gallon Protein Skimmer.\\ <Mmm, I'd upgrade> Fish- 8" Russell's Lionfish, 3 triggers Niger, Humu, and a Bursa all 4", 2 yellow Tangs 4", 5" Foxface Lo, and a 13" Wolf Eel. I also have a lot of Red Mushrooms, Button coral, and 2 different leathers. And I do a 30gal water changes (w/ RO water) every 2-3 weeks. This tank has been up and running for over 3 years. I get brown algae out breaks, I also have green (hair) fuzz algae on most my rocks and back and sides of tank. I was told since I clean my canisters once a month (not often enough), <This is so... I'd clean them at least weekly> that the entire gunk they collected just creates more Nitrate, lots. What I should do is over time keep the skimmer and get rid of the canisters and add more power heads for more current so that the LR (and refugiums) can do there jobs. (20gph times your tank size ((4000gph)), so I need 1720gph more in my aquarium) Does that sound alright? <A beginning...> I do use Chemi-pure and Phos-Zorb in each filter. I also test water a Reef Master Test kit. My Nitrate and Phosphate are both low and are in the safe ranges but they both show up, always have. <These measures of nutrient ability are not entirely "accurate"... the real bulk of this matter is being expressed, taken up by the algae and BGA (the brown stuff)> I also have allot <Won't correct this time... a lot> of this bright yellowish-greenish sponge (Cecilia I think) <Not this feminine appellation; though a fave Simon and Garfunkel tune> growing on my LR. Is it bad or good? <Mmm, more of the latter> I'm setting up a 90gal (4'Lx18"Wx2'H) FW, I'm going to get 3 baby Red Belly piranhas. I do plan on having plants growing out the top of my aquarium. Just the roots will be in the tank. So with that said should this set-up be OK for 2-3 adult size Red Belly piranhas in the long run? And what kind of plants besides Bamboo should I use? <Yes and if only one, my fave, Ceratopteris> Thanks for all your advice Matt Owens <Welcome. I'd get a better skimmer, perhaps ditch the canister filters altogether, or clean out weekly as stated... add more/new live rock... and likely skip the Serrasalmines (too skittish and boring as you'll see)... Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Question on phosphates & hairy algae -- 4/11/08 Hello again <Hello Sam>- I have been fighting hairy algae for a while now. I have taken the following steps: 1) replace my light bulbs (have 2x 96w compact fluorescent for a 40BR); 2) got PhosBan 150 and put maybe 40% of it into a tray in my wet dry trickle filter; 3) bought more snails (now have 2 Mexican Turbos and maybe 8 smaller ones, I think, Astrea (?); also have about 8 sand-sifting snails and 9 or so hermit crabs and 3 emerald crabs. My water parameters are: Alkalinity: 3 (or 8.4dkh) Calcium: looks to be between 430 and 475 (I find the Calcium tests hard to read, both the Instant Ocean and Salifert one - am not sure 100% when the water becomes 'clear blue' ph: 8.4 (evening) phosphates: appear to be 0.03 (Salifert kit) salinity: approx. 1.025 Temp: approx. 78 mag: 1320 ammonia, nitrites, nitrates: test kit says 0 <So good so far!> I dose approx. 10ml per day of ESV B-Ionic Alkalinity and Calcium. I have a Aqua C protein skimmer, keep 3 fish (2 clowns and a royal Gramma) and several (mainly soft) corals. Tank is approx. 8 months old now. Do you have any suggestion as to what I should do to get rid of the hairy algae (would getting a phosphate reactor improve the situation a lot?)<Yes, a reactor does improve the removal capabilities> Also, it appears that whenever I am gone for a few days (4 last time) and thus do not dose alkalinity/calcium the algae has a new outbreak (could this be the case?) <Nuisance algaes have a better/stronger chance of competing when alkalinity is lower. What I see being the problem here is your phosphate reading is far too high. .03ppm will indeed grow nuisance algaes. You want this reading to be undetectable.(0ppm)What I recommend is that you check your source water for evaporation and new salt mixes and make sure the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) is 0ppm. To get to this level you need to be using RO/DI water. If you are not already using RO/DI water I suggest that you begin to. It will help greatly. If you do not have a digital TDS meter, then I suggest you purchase one as these are inexpensive handheld units that help you understand if your source water is OK or not. (nutrient/mineral free) Finally, I would continue the use of the Phosban, but would change the media every 7 days until the PO4 level reaches 0ppm. Then you could use it longer. You may go thru several(3)jars of the 150g size before you see progress. Just remember to check your source water with the TDS meter.> Thanks tons in advance for any advice.<no problem, Rich> Best Regards, Sam

Re: question on phosphates & hairy algae 4/13/08 Thanks Rich. I have a RODI unit and have been planning to get a TDS meter. Now I certainly will get one. ok, will test continuously for phosphates and continue to use PhosBan. I also have started to increase the Alkalinity dosage to 15ml. Maybe this will increase alkalinity a bit. Will write you in a while to report on (hopefully) progress. <Good to hear! I would also like to add that if this system is less than a year old it is part of the cycling/maturing process of the tank and some patience will be needed as the hair algae uses up the nutrients. Rich> Thanks, Sam

Re: question on phosphates & hairy algae Thanks again Rich. Good to hear that the system may get better with time (I have patience). Btw, I tested new RODI water and tank water for phosphates and doubled the sensitivity scale. In both cases the water was almost clear (one might argue for zero on the scale, but I'd conservatively say that it was 0.03, or 0.015 when halved given the double sensitivity). Nevertheless there must be phosphates as I have all the algae. I will take your advice and go through some PhosBans to get them down further. Thanks and regards, Sam<Sounds good let us know how it works out, Remember to check the RO/DI water for TDS.- Rich>

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