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FAQs on Marine Algae and Their Control 10

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 11, Marine Algae Control 12, Marine Algae Control 13, Marine Algae Control 14, Marine Algae Control 15, SW Algae Control 16, SW Algae Control 17, 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

Parupeneus multifasciatus (Quoy & Gaimard1824), the Manybar Goatfish. Sandstirrers of various sorts can be great adjuncts to algal control.

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Algae on Sand  3/6/07
What's going on? <Too much as usual.> I have a 75 gal. FOWLR tank that is fallow because of an ich problem. <Understood.> pH is 8.2, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonium are 0.  I have a brown layer of something growing on the top of my live sand. <Algae, diatoms likely.> Is this is a sign of bad water quality? <Not necessarily, could be water quality issues...nutrients. Could also be a lighting issue, wrong/poor spectrum or not enough water flow.> I did a gravel cleaning 3 days ago and its back. <Grows quickly.> Also, can I put some invertebrates in my fallow tank to help with clean-up?   <Yes.> I have a Prizm skimmer, how much water should be collecting in the collection area per week?? <At least a few cups per week, ideally skimmers will produce a cup per 24 hours.> thanks for the help....keep up the GREAT WORK!!    <Thanks/Welcome.>   Jared, Dallas, Tx <Adam, Ca.>

Hair algae and other concerns... subst. ish  3/1/07 I first want to thank you for this awesome source of information, and helping so many reefers like me.  The website has been a source of reference, and answered countless questions through the length of my project. This is my first posting, I suppose it is an act of desperation.   <Yikes> I currently have a 65g reef, created over the span of a year and a half (1st reef after marine and freshwater tanks for 15 years), 1'-3' crushed coral/live sand/rock rubble mixture, <Mmm, a "detritus trap"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marsubstr.htm and the linked files above> 50+ lbs. live rock and 20lb lace rock, now seemingly live.  Lighting is 150MH Ushio + (2) 96w dual actinics (342w total), Remora skimmer with prefilter box, (3) Maxijet 1200's, Mag7 return pump.   Below the display, a 10g wet/dry and 20g. refugium with 65w fixture on a reverse cycle from display and 6' DSB (again relatively fine crushed coral/live sand/rock rubble mix), Chaeto., and HOB Emperor 400. The 'fuge is fed off the sump and overflows back to the sump (wet/dry).  The refugium is full of critters (micro brittles, Astrea, pods, bristleworms, Cap snails, 4-5 Nassarius snails, and who knows what else) though the population does not seem to be writhing as it once was, nor does the Chaeto grow as quickly as it used to.   <This sounds good> I am rather diligent with 5-10g. water changes weekly (R/O water), vacuuming display substrate, and changing wet/dry filter floss, carbon, etc, and careful not to overfeed.  Stocked in the tank are a pair of Maroon Clowns, Six-line wrasse, Yellowtail damsel, Skunk cleaner shrimp, Mithrax crab, Sally lightfoot, and a good mix of snails and hermits (about 30 of each). <Too many IMO> Corals included: rapidly spreading Anthelia, Kenya Tree corals that continually drop branches, small but spreading frags. of Green Star polyps, button polyps, and green mushrooms.  To many peoples dismay (yours included) a massive BTA (14' dia.) centerpiece that I would love to remove if I could find a way top do so with out injuring.  The BTA has not moved since adding it 9m. ago, but I realize it is only a matter of time, and would prefer a reef over an anemone tank. <Can be moved via the rock it's on... or gently scraped loose from the bottom...> I have done my best to use only captive reared creatures, and grow corals from small frags, unsuccessfully trying to create a spectacular reef on a budget.  Bioload seems moderate, the skimmer is working, but only pulls about 1-2c. a week (this is a mystery).   <Happens... No worries> The anemone has quadrupled in size, all the soft corals have grown very well.  Growth has seemed to slow, yet everything seems very healthy. <Likely influenced by the anemone's presence...> Water parameters (S, Temp, Amon, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH, Alk, Phos, Ca, Silicates) stay in good order, though I question whether I may be getting a false reading on the Nitrates due to the Chaeto and hair algae utilizing them. <Yes> For four months I have battled a serious hair algae outbreak, only in the display tank. I have done everything the wetwebmedia forums suggest (bulb changes on schedule, H20 changes, H20 parameters checked/rechecked, added hermits/snails).  I have added supposed hair algae consumers (Scopas tang, Foxface), only to see them eat small amounts of the algae, spit it out, and perish within 2 weeks. <A BGA either itself or mixed in... toxic>   I would like to add 1-2 cool display fish after fixing the algae problems   Finally the hair algae growth has been slowed, far from stopped though, only to have Cyanobacteria come in.  I scrub with a toothbrush and siphon much of the rock with every water change, filtering this through a fine micron bag (from a clam aquaculture facility I once worked at) and back into the sump.  This has helped curb the growth and makes everything look great for about two weeks.  Much of the rock has remnants of the hair algae, especially that out of direct light, it is impossibly to eradicate this manually.  My hope was to cull the algae/Cyano. and make cleanup manageable to for the recently supplemented janitor crew. <Mmm, I'd abandon hope re the clean up types... and STRONGLY consider changing out the substrate... see the above citation... at the same time you might move that anemone> I will not give up on this tank, and I am constantly looking to improve the system, still being sensitive to changing too much too quickly. <A good trait> I must get the algae under control, and feel as though it may take some major changes to do so.  Something is not right in this closed system, and I can't figure out what it is that going on in seemingly healthy system.     <It's the substrate amongst all you have mentioned> So'¦ finally to my questions, after a very long winded introduction:  Are the sand beds in the display tank or the refugium the source of undetectable Nitrates feeding the algae? <Yes> What should I do to fix (add to/remove) these substrates if that is the case? <At least the type, amount/depth in the main tank, yes> Flow seems adequate, though dead spots may exist on the lower rockwork and rear of the tank, this is not where the hair algae grows fastest, a light residual film exists in these areas and it is near impossible to reach some areas of the rockwork without dismantling and disturbing all inhabitants. <One time deal... and I would do it/this> I have thought about adding a DSB in the display, but the appearance and volume it would occupy is not to my liking. <Not necessary... can be done in the sump, refugium> Getting rid of the wet/dry has been in the plans, but I have kept it for fear that a crash is imminent, and it would be my saving grace. Thought of adding an UV sterilizer, in an attempt to kill off algae spores released when scrub-siphoning. <Might help... also in providing more 02,03...> Adding another powerhead, more flow seems like overkill.  Can the nuisance algae harbor compounds that not only make them distasteful, but toxic?     <Yes, for sure> I am determined to figure this out, but I am at a loss with how to proceed.  Any help/advice is most appreciated. Many thanks again! <Thank you for writing so clearly, thoroughly. Do read over the marine substrate areas... and formulate a plan for switching this out. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hair algae and other concerns... subst. concerns  3/1/07
Mr. Fenner,    Thanks for the quick response to my very long message.  I will certainly look over the substrate forum again, to formulate my plan. <Welcome> For clarification....do you suggest switching the substrates in the refugium, as well as the display? <Mmm, ideally both... but at least the main display... the refugium to a DSB with fine sand if at all possible as well> The display substrate is a must, I just need to figure out how to store the rock and organisms in the during the overhaul. <Not hard to do... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i6/Moving. tm and the linked files at bottom> If the algae that I am growing is in deed toxic, how do I get rid of it before reintroducing into the new (revamped) system? <Mmm... really best to allow it to "cycle out"... perhaps using a bit of activated carbon... a few ounces... traded out every few weeks... in the meanwhile... Other organisms, circumstances will prevail in the substrate switch to eliminate/supplant it> During this overhaul I will scrub and rinse well, but it is all over the live rock with corals attached. <I would leave this all be>   The algae is bound to return, it seems impossible to eradicate, and I guess nothing will consume it.     <Not much... but it will go... with time, patience> The refugium is alive and I would hate to completely trash the 5" substrate within? <Mmmmm> Because it is not a fine grain sand, are you suggesting to remove all of this substrate as well?  So much for LFS advice! <I would maybe save a good bit of this, maybe divide the space, placing the finer/new on one side... I would not toss any myself...> Also, through this process, will induce another cycle? I do not want to kill off much of the tanks inhabitants. <Will not likely induce a cycling event> I will take the opportunity to remove the anemone. Any suggestions on finding a replacement for the clowns to host in? <Mmm, posted on WWM... the ideal would be to have another set-up...> I'm afraid the female Maroon will become even more aggressive without the safe harbor of the BTA. <You may find that this fish "calms down" quite a bit w/o this territory to defend> Thanks <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hair algae and other concerns. Alg contr. f'  3/1/07
Bob- Here again with questions... I incorrectly identified my substrate, in both the main tank and refugium.  It is actually a Medium grade sand (NOT crushed coral), with some shells and rock fragments.  Some of the sand will come through the siphon when vacuuming, but most falls back down.  With this correction in substrate, and confidence I can rearrange the rockwork to minimize any dead spots; would you still recommend removing all the substrate? I would like to increase the depth in the display tank to increase the microfaunal life, the question is whether to strip it all out, or add over the existing? <Well... this is "a horse of a different color"... I would just mix in some very fine coral sand myself. BobF>

Green algae problem... looks green... BGA... but too palatable to be so    2/28/07 Greetings, <Howdy> I currently have a problem with green algae.  I'm not really sure what it is.  It is approximately 4cm in height, single stranded, bright green, flows in the current and is not easily removed by hand.  I'm pretty sure from looking at the photos on your site that it isn't BGA. <I wouldn't be so sure... do you have a microscope?>   The algae is covering my glass, substrate and rock.  My tank is a 100 gallon tank with (2) 54 watt T5's (10000 and a 460 blue), 150lbs live rock, 100lbs CaribSea aragonite, 2 maxi-jet (230 gph), Magnum Deluxe Pro (for my carbon 350gph), Remora Pro Skimmer (mag 3, 300gph).  The tank has been up for only 3 months.  I currently have a lawnmower blenny, 25 scarlet reef crabs, 5 blue-legged hermit crabs and a chocolate chip starfish.  The lawnmower blenny and crabs love the algae but can't keep up. <Oh! This is a good clue... They would not likely eat it period if it were Cyanobacterial> My water tests show salinity 1.023, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, phos 0, calcium 380, temp 77.8, alk 8 dKH, and ph 8.3.  I'm running a RO with add on DI unit with a house water softener.  I cut the light hours down to 6 per day.  Is my lighting to much for a 100 gallon FOWLR tank? <Mmm, nope> I can't see any other reason for the growth besides the lighting since all of my water tests are good. <"Because it can"... a lack of competitors, paucity of predators... and your nutrient readings are likely low... because the algae is rapidly taking up what is available> The only thing I'm currently feeding the tank is a little meat for the CC starfish, which he eats all of everyone else is eating algae.  Any help or algae identification is appreciated. Thanks, Jayson <Mmm, not able to ID over the Net... w/o "very" close up (microscopic) pix, showing a lack of nuclei, organelles... But, do know what avenues to consider in control here... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the linked files above... A refugium, DSB, RDP lighted macroalgae... BobF>

Algae Empire  - 02/15/07 Hi there guys- <Mark> Thanks in advance.  My friend asked me to take care of a reef tank at his work. I have my own for a couple of years and it has been doing great. <Good> The original owner of the tank recently died of ALS and "left" the tank to his company.  The people there had no idea of what to do and hired someone to come in once a week and take care of it.  Well the "guy" didn't do anything but water changes for 6 months.  No filter on it, and it had a CPR Bak-pak that wasn't skimming; just pumping water through.   <Bunk> It's a 20 gal tall with 45-55lbs of live rock and a thin sand substrate. It also has a Power Compact for light.  It has two Ocel Clown fish and one blue-leg hermit crab.  All the coral has died off.  The "guy" put in a xenia and some purple star polyps.  Neither are doing well.  Also, two powerheads to add current. <...> The entire tank is covered in algae.  Green slime algae all over the sand bed and the live rock.  Short green hair algae is also covering what the slime isn't.  The Nitrates were through the roof and the Ph a little low.  The other test ran normal.   <Time for a tear down IMO...> I added a HOT Magnum filter to it.  I am also trying to get the CPR to work properly but having VERY little luck. I think the original owner modified it in some way.  I shortened the lighting period from 12 hours to 8.  They are adding a Nitrate eliminator chemical to everyday, sorry forgot the name.  I scrubbed the algae off the glass and rocks. I vacuumed the algae off the sand bed.  I have also completed 3 five gallon water changes over the last three weeks.  I can only get there once a week.  BUT, the algae is not giving up without a fight. <I would start again, really> I really don't know what else to do.  I may be changing the skimmer if I can't get the CPR to work to a D & D Typhoon protein skimmer.  How are these? <Generic... not very good> I have heard good things about them and they are fairly well priced.  The Nitrates are slowly coming down and the Ph is getting to normal.  Once they are at good numbers, I want to add algae eating livestock (crabs snails and such).   HELP! Any ideas on what I can do?  Please.   <Third time's a charm... I'd tear all down, bleach it, and start again> One more thing-  if what I started to do, and any advice that you give me starts to eliminate the algae, how long do you think it will take to gain control? I know that's like asking when the next meteorite will strike the Earth, but if you could make a guess?    <This is such a small volume... I'd put the LR in the dark to kill off most the algae, bleach, thoroughly rinse and re-use the substrate...> Thanks again.  You guys have always been there with, if I dare say, Excellent advice. Sincerely, Mark Ryan <There are numerous articles and FAQs files on WWM re various aspects of algal control in marine systems... But I'd do the Billy Idol "Start Again!!!" here. Bob Fenner>

Refugium & Algae Questions   1/27/07 First - Great website with loads of info.  I have recommended WWM to several up and coming aquarists and they love it too.  Now I did read up but I still have a questions about my new refugium setup.  I started the refugium because of a major green hair algae problem which Im now on a war campaign to conquer this PITA.  First, the stats... *80-90lbs Live Sand, 70lbs Live Rock *Blue (Hippo) Tang, 2 Blue-Green Chromis, Starlight Blenny, 2 Pajama Cardinals, clown *several colonies of sea mats/button polyps, a massive green star polyp colony, medium torch coral, medium Goniopora, several mushroom polyps all over 1) 90 Gal Display with overflow 2) Dual 150w HQI, dual 50/50 actinics, dual 10k white and lunar LED 3) ProClear 150 Sump -Bio Balls removed -Seaclone Skimmer hanging off rear edge of first chamber (going to upgrade to AquaC very very soon) <You'll appreciate the difference> -Mag 9.5 off side of last chamber as Main Return -Mag 3 inside last chamber feeding U/V, Denitrate, Carbon and PhosGuard media all inside individual "Nautilus Phos-reactors" and then returns back into first chamber of sump (flow rate at approx 100gph with head) -Mag 5 inside first chamber feeding refugium (flow rate at approx 180gph with head) 4) 20 Gal Refugium (actual refugium between baffles is approx 8-10 Gal) -3-4" Kent Biosediment -Handful of Caulerpa steadily growing now for 1 week this weekend -One 50/50, and one 10k white at opposite schedule to main lights 5) Coralife Calcium Reactor with C02 injection located out of sump dripping effluent into last chamber ------------------------------------------------------- Q1) Everywhere I read about flow rates to refugiums it seems to be geared towards if the refugium is the main sump. <Mmm, not everywhere> In my case, it is a separate tank in which I have learned that it should be slower than the main sump. <Yes>   But what should the flow rate be?  I have a ball valve to adjust it but I am not sure how fast to set it. <About 3-5 times volume per hour is about right> Q2) Other than the skimmer, is there anything about the above setup that should be adjusted or is there anything out of the ordinary that you think I should change? <Mmm, not as far as I see... With the exception of trading out the Caulerpa for maybe a Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria species> Q3) On top of hand removal of all the algae, addition of a refugium, shortened main lighting schedule, thoroughly cleaned filters, etc...... should I tee off my C02 injection system and provide C02 to the refugium so that the Caulerpa can grow faster and consume more nutrients? Or is injecting C02 for plant growth really only for freshwater? <Carbon dioxide injection can be provided (during metabolically active light hours) but I would not likely do this... enough of this essential nutrient will make its way there> Q4) I'm currently looking for a Convict Tang to clean up the remaining algae and maintain future control with this herbivore but is there any other animal I can add that will attribute to algae control that is reef safe and compatible with my inhabitants? <Mmm, yes... quite a few. A Salarias or Atrosalarias Blenny would be my first choices here... though the existing Blenny may prove too territorial... best to read on WWM re your choices: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algeatrcontfaqs.htm and the linked files above...> I've also recently purchased a Lettuce Nudibranch which appears to be hard at work but how much can they really consume? <Mmm, not this much> Nudibranchs usually die after some time without food so I don't want to stock them and then die off once the algae is reduced. <One can only hope in these circumstances> Q5) Tiny bubbles are getting into the refugium chamber - is this going to be a problem?  Should I make adjustments to eliminate these bubbles? <Only time can tell if this will prove problematical... if the bubbles are staying there... I would not be concerned> Thank You, Christopher L. Mercer <Bob Fenner>

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>

Algae Control  12/19/06 Hi guys, <Hi Dan>    I reviewed some of the FAQ's on this and had some questions of my own. I currently have a 135 reef ready that has gone thru  its cycle (its has only been up for a month and a half). Its has gone thru its brown algae stage with the help of 6 large handfuls of Caulerpa Racemosa. I have a 55 gallon sump with 20 pounds of live rock it. There are 2x Mag 9.5 for the return's also 2x 701's Aquaclear powerheads. I have dual 14k 400 watt DE Metal Halides. Also there is 120 pounds of Caribbean live rock and 40 pounds of Marshall and Fiji. Sand is 135 pounds is a mix of special grade and Fiji pink live sand. My question is in the last week I have noticed a growth of <what> looks to be Bryopsis pennata <Definitely a pest algae, often called Sea Ferns.  Can be potentially invasive under high nutrient conditions and does produce a chemical defense that is toxic to most other plant life.> in my tank, mainly on my Marshall and Fiji rock which is near to the top of the tank (probably the hence the main growth place) and also on some of the sand. I have been doing 15% water changes every week to try to cut it down. When I had the brown algae stage I bought (with in a 2 week span) 15x Trochus calcaratus, 5x Tiger Trochus, 10x Margaritas, 1x Turbo (free-be), and 2x dime size horseshoe crabs. It looks like they are all having trouble keeping up with the hair-algae. I was wanting to know if there is any other snail's or what type of hermit's would be the best and how many I should get. <I'd go with a Lawnmower Blenny, believe these guys will eat this stuff. (Bob, believe this algae is found on shallow reef flats in HI.  Have you observed any critters that eat this during your many dives there?).> Or any other ideas you have? I also know that nothing happens fast in a reef tank I just don't want this thing getting out of hand. <I'm guessing the problem began with the introduction of the live rock.  If this rock was shipped to you, you will have some die off even the rock may have been cured at one time.  The added nutrients from the die off, along with the high intensity lighting, would provide all the necessary ingredients for an algae explosion.  I always recommend no lighting for the initial startup until excess nutrients get taken care of, either by protein skimming or a high grade carbon/resin combo.  Do read the article here, and linked files above for help re this matter. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm   Thank You, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>      Daniel

Algae growth in a new tank  12/5/06 Hello: < Greetings, Emerson with you today. > I have a relatively new 160 gallon reef tank (2 months old). < Quite new. > Several small fish with about a dozen coral (hard & soft).  This past week reddish/brown and greenish/black algae has started growing on the rocks and  some hard coral. < A typical stage in the maturation of most marine tanks. Algae growing on your corals is bad news though, and can lead to tissue death and infection. Increasing flow in the tank can help with this. 6 months is usually a good time to introduce corals since these types of algae problems have waned by this point. > I wasn't too worried, but after this past weekend it had  probably doubled its coverage. I am going out of town later this week and am  afraid of what I will find on my return. All water parameters are correct. < It would be a good idea to add a couple more powerheads or other  means of flow to the tank and get the algae off your corals before leaving. You should be able to find information regarding these subjects in WWM. Increasing your water change frequency and volume can also help greatly. > However, I did lower the water temperature a few weeks ago to 74  degrees. Everything seemed to react better with this change....but then the  algae stared....coincidence? < Most likely coincidence unless something unseen may have perished due to the temp change. Check out the FAQs and articles on algae control, nutrient export for a wealth of information. > Thanks in advance for your help < You are most welcome, and best of luck! > Rich

Nuisance Algae Help  11/21/06 WetWebMedia Crew, <Hello Michelle here.>      You guys/gals have been so extremely helpful.  <Always nice to hear.> Thanks so much for the service and very candid advice you provide.  I'm back again, however, seeking some help, or I'm going to go crazy.  <I hope we can provide the assistance you seek.>  I've read many of the FAQ's both here and at other sites over the last several months, but I've been unable to solve a persistent algae problem I've been having in my 90gal marine tank.  (Please see below for tank /water conditions).        I continue to have a problem with red hair algae and green carpet-like algae covering just about everything in the tank.  I do have some spots of coralline here and there, mainly on some glass, powerheads and rock. However, in the year I've had this tank running, I've never been able to get the coralline to take hold.  Meanwhile, the nuisance algae keeps growing and growing.      I've done everything recommended to try to combat the algae.  I'm lightly stocked, get good skimmate from the EV-180, have good circulation with the MJ 1200's, and I feed sparingly approx 3x a week.  I do 15 gal water changes every 2 weeks with RO water mixed with Instant Ocean.      I lightly suck up the algae off the substrate during water changes, only to have it return days later.  ARGHHH!      Lighting runs about 12 hours a day, with both the 50/50 + Actinic.   I'm at my wits end  -  Am I completely oblivious and have something out of whack here?   Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.  If you need more info, please let me know. <I have been where you are.  Hang in there.  I know it can be extremely frustrating.  There are several ways of combating the problem.  One problem I had that I didn't realize was just how poor my water flow was.  In theory it should have been fine but some of my returns were partially blocked and the SCWD was not always function, as it should.  So the water seemed to be circulating, but it was sub optimal.  I would recommend inspecting your circulation closely; you may have an issue that is not apparent.  If you have a sump you may want to consider keeping some macro algae if you aren't already.  The competition for nutrients will increase with beneficial algae, reducing availability to nuisance algae.  You didn't mention if you were keeping corals.   If you are, your light concentration seems a little low.  If you aren't you may want to consider reducing the photoperiod.  12 hours is fine, but reducing it should help the algae issue.  Reducing the amount of food you're feeding would also help.  But one of the first avenues I would recommend is a couple of large water changes.  By large I mean 75+%.  You could do several of them over a period of time.  Remember, dilution is the solution to pollution.  You may also want to check your Calcium levels.  I'm guessing that your calcium levels are low.  Raising the calcium levels will help the coralline algae get a better foothold.  Hopefully a combination of several of these will produce the results you're looking for.  Good Luck and give us an update at some point.> Thanks much, - Drew SETUP **************************************************************************** **** 90 gal marine, 30 gal Berlin sump Mag 9 return, 5 Maxijet 1200's in main tank AquaC EV-180 w/ Mag 12 Approx 1" aragonite, sugar size 90 lbs Walt Smith Fiji rock (approx 1 year old) Lighting: 2x 65W 50/50, 2x 65W Actinic (replaced every 6-8 months at staggered intervals) Livestock:  1x 4" tomato clown, 1x 6" yellow tang, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, various Mexican Turbos  (relatively light stock) Water Conditions (tested w/ Salifert & Seachem):   temp = 78-80 Ammonia, Nitrite = 0 Nitrate = approx 10-15 (still a tad high for my liking) Alk = 4 meq/L pH = 8.12 - 8.19 SG = 1.022 PO4 = 0 Mg = 300   Brown Algae  11/16/06 Hello WW Staff: <Bonnie> I've had various types of short-term algae in my reef tank over the years, but I haven't had the kind I have now.  It is very short, dark brown, fussy <fuzzy?> algae growing on one of my rocks and the outlet spout of one of my maxi-jet pumps.  I have used a toothbrush to scour it off the rocks, but this algae is very tough and stubborn.  I can scrub and scrub, and not much comes off the rock.  I have taken the maxi-jet powerhead out and tried cleaning that, and that proves very difficult to scour off as well.  What is this stuff? <Might actually be a Cyanobacteria/BGA... not all are blue, black... can be red, brown, green... and tough as you state. The only way to discern the various algal groups (Divisions) definitively is through microscopic examination.> My nitrates are low = 5ppm, <Mmm, might be being readily "taken up" by the algae/bacteria here... and actually be much higher... Akin to the mis-, lack of understanding many in the west seem to have of "terrorists"... there's not a stock/steady rate, but ready recruitment...> and I put a new poly filter in my 29 G. tank every 3rd week for phosphates. <Nice> I put in new carbon every week as well.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated.  Thanks.  Bonnie <Much more to be elucidated re the possibilities here... Please read starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself... Perhaps seek out a microscope... take a look/see... consider other avenues of control... listed/archived on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Attacking Nuisance Algae...   5/8/06 Crew - Good Day, <Hey there! Scott F. here today!>    I appreciate the assistance in the past, and hope your insight can lend another hand to a budding salt-water aquarist. <We're thrilled to be here!>       First, let me provide you the specifics of my tank:    37 Gallon FOWLR tank    H x W x D: 25" x 20" x 18"    Original Light Hood - 15w 6000K white light    Specific Gravity: 1.0255    PH: 8.2    Ammonia: 0    Nitrite: 0    Nitrate: 15 - Completing 3 gallon water changes daily to reduce levels - as of 3 days ago... down from 20    Alkalinity: 12    Phosphates: .25    Calcium: 420 <Looks good...Nitrate and phosphates are a bit higher than I'd like, but not bad at all>    I am currently running a Coralife 65G Super Skimmer, 1/4" dark brown water emptied every other day; and a Marineland 350 Bio Wheel Filter with 4 filters employed, 3 changed every 2 weeks.    Inhabitants include:    Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp - 2 (2.5" - 3")    Ocellaris Clown Fish - 2 (2" -  2.5")    Fire Goby - 2 (2.5")    Blue Legged Hermit Crabs - 6 (Very Small)    28 lbs. of Live Rock    2" of Live Sand    Problems:    1. My skimmer is producing many micro bubbles within the tank, though not truly a harm to the fish, I am sure it could be taken care of with a new sponge in its bubble diffuser. Any suggestions? <I'd definitely keep at it with the sponge and possibly consider some sort of baffle system.>    2. My live rock has brown algae covering much of its surface.  It looks like hair, patchy, and about 1/8" high blowing readily as the circulation in the tank flows from the submerged pump.  There is also some dark red algae that is smooth looking and covers a decent amount of 1 piece of rock as well.  Some spots also look white, I am assuming die off? <Perhaps.> I worry that the two types of algae are nuisance algae rather than the proper algae that should be growing and beneficial (coralline).  I thought that removing the live rock and placing it in another salt water tank to scrub it with a soft tooth brush would be beneficial, but also sounds like a horrible idea all at the same time. <This type of manual extraction is really a "band aid"; a sort if temporary fix to the symptoms, not the root cause.> I have read through the forums extensively and understand my Nitrates and Phosphates can be managed better, and hopefully the water changes correct this. Ideas? <Correct. Keep working with the skimmer to produce regular skimmate a few times per week. Also, utilize chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter, activated carbon, etc., and replace them frequently. Embrace a regular, frequent water change schedule, and keep changing the media in your mechanical filters frequently.>    2.Also, do I need more live rock... I am leaning towards yes...? <It really depends upon your goal for the tank. I never liked the "X" pounds per gallon "rule", myself. Besides, it will displace water volume noticeably in a tank the size of yours.>    3. Lighting?  I know 15w cannot be enough, as seen by the amazing amount of lighting schemes placed on aquariums now.  I was looking at the Coralife Aqualight Quad Tube Compact Fluorescent Strip Light.  Would this be sufficient, or can you recommend a proper lighting wattage and/or possibly send me in the right direction toward proper lighting equipment. <I like the unit that you are looking at. You should also look at T5 lighting, which gives you great "bang for the buck">    4. Am I missing anything else with my set-up?  - It has been currently running for 6-7 months. <Again, just keep at the nutrient export processes and overall good husbandry practices (feeding, etc.) with this system.>   Any assistance you can provide me regarding these questions is greatly appreciated. <You're on the right track. Do a search on the WWM site on "Nutrient Control and Export", and you'll find a bunch of information that may be of use to you!> From someone sailing the ocean, and hoping to tame a little at home. Erik, USCG <May the wind be at your back, buddy. Keep doing what you're doing, and tell your fellow crew thanks for all that they do for our nation! Regards, Scott F.>

High Light + Nutrients=Potential Algae Problem?  - 10/22/06 Hopefully a quick question... <Hopefully, a helpful answer! Scott F. here tonight> I've emailed you off and on over the past month describing how everything under the sun is growing in my 90gallon tank since installing a metal halide system. My tank height I believe is 22". It's a standard size 90gallon tank that's 48" long... sound about right? 22" tall? <Sounds about right...> Anyhow, my metal halide system is 2x250watt, with 90watt PC's.  I have the PC's on 11.5hrs and the halides on for about 10hrs.  Ever since my lighting system was installed, my yellow watchman goby never comes out... always stays under cover of liverock. As well, I have green bubbly Cyano, hair algae, beige dusty/bubbly algae, green fern like algae, feather dusters galore, etc... everything is growing.  I am using Chaeto in a sump that is growing. Heavy protein skimming and using a phosphate reactor. Water flow is about 16x water volume. No detectable amounts of nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, or ammonia.  Temperature for past month or so has been stabilized at about 26.5oc.   In addition to the algae problem... although I like the green fern like algae growing... I have a black bubbly looking algae.  I thought it was a different form of Cyano... but this stuff is really sticking to my rock. <Hmm...sounds yucky. Keep at the aggressive nutrient export/husbandry processes.> In concluding my ramblings... I finally had my new 200gallon tank delivered and the guy who owns the saltwater fish store and his 2 employees who looked at my tank.  All 3 of them agreed that my algae bloom problem was because I have waaay too much light for a small (90 gallon) tank. <Well, it's not just light that causes algae growth...It's light plus nutrients. Even though test kits may be reading undetectable levels of phosphates, etc- there is something favoring it's growth...Dig deeper and you'll find the answer.>   They recommended using 2x150watts for the same time period... or cutting my existing lighting system to have the 2x250watt halides on for only 3 to 4 hours... letting the PC's stay lit for 11hrs.  I'm using the CoralLife Pro metal halide system which sits about 2.5 - 3" off the top of the tank on legs... and my water height is pretty much at the top of the tank.  I only got the 2x250watt system so that my options would be endless for corals, etc. <It really depends on what you're trying to grow.> So my questions.  If I back off my 2x250watt halides to 3 or 4 hours a day... will this be sufficient to keep corals with high light dependency? <Conditionally...If you compensate by feeding, it is a possibility. Corals can get some of their carbon needs through feeding as well as photosynthesis within their zooxanthellae.> I'd obviously place them closer (higher in my rockwork).        Can I use 150watt metal halides in my same lighting system that currently uses 250watt halides?  Too much power coming into the 150watt bulbs wouldn't make them explode or anything would they? <I'd have to say NO! This could be a potentially dangerous problem, and I would check with the manufacturer to see if this works.> I'm hoping that cutting the metal halides to a few hours will be the answer to my problems... it would certainly help in slightly lowering the water temp and helping save on water... I am currently adding about a gallon a day due to evaporation. <Not all that crazy, considering. Do look into use of chemical filtration media, stepped up water change routines, etc. in your search for solutions. Nuisance algae problems almost always have their root cause in nutrient accumulations.> Of note, I backed the lighting off as suggested and at least my goby is out and about with just the PC's on. <There's always a side benefit to everything we do in this hobby, huh?> Dave <Good luck, Dave! Regards, Scott F.>

Algal Progression and The Mysterious Cloud! <Sounds Like a Novel To Me! -SCF> - 10/19/2006 Good day <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> Our tank is approximately 3 months old & overgrown with algae that leaves the tank looking like a green marsh land.. Also in the morning when the lights automatically switch back on the water is "milky-looking" & the fish don't want to eat. By midday the water looks fine & the fish look lively and well - can eat, why is this? <Hmm.. Hard to say. Could be anything from a bacterial bloom to a phytoplankton bloom, or even Kalkwasser falling out of solution. Without some parameters on the tank, I'm relegated to guessing, really.> As to the algae problem, we are aware that young tanks take a while to adjust with regards to algae but how long will it still take for this to stabilize before we can start adding corals etc to our system? <Well, patience is truly a virtue in stocking a new tank. Yes, you will see a progression of various types of undesirable algae as the tank matures. It will really test your patience, but the nuisance algae will go away and yield to more desirable corallines if you are persistent and consistent with your good husbandry practices. As your tank goes through this algae bloom cycle, rather than get depressed, whip out a magnifying glass and savor the many varieties of life "blooming" from your rock. It's actually really fascinating to watch! Knowing that this will subside with time and good husbandry will make it a more tolerable experience, trust me! As far as adding corals is concerned, I'd wait until the tank cycles (ammonia/nitrite) and until some of the nuisance algae subside. Keep cranking your protein skimmer, performing water changes, and employing herbivorous snails as part of this period. Don't think of it as a battle; rather- think of it as just one of the phases in the life cycle of a closed system.> Or is Biological warfare the only answer or can you suggest something please? Kind regards Rian & Nina <Well, Rian- I'd really like to hear some water parameters and a bit about your maintenance practices and set up before suggesting what the cloudy bloom might be. Please let me know and we'll see what we can figure out! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>
Algae Control 10/11/06
Hi guys, I'm back. <We're still here.> I think I've read everything you have on your site, including all the FAQ, re. algae but still am stumped.  I've been fighting this slime in my 100 gal reef tank for a few weeks now.  Nothing I have eats it, i.e. urchin, tang, blenny, snails or crabs.  I vacuum it out daily but it keeps coming back, I'm not even sure what it is.  I'm sending a couple of pictures to have you take a look at and see if you can help me identify it.  One picture is of the slime and the other a complete tank shot.  The pics aren't that great but I think you can distinguish the brown slimy stringy stuff clinging on to the rocks especially in the upper right quadrant of PA100024.jpg.  I'm getting desperate.  As usual am looking forward to your reply and thanks profusely in advance. <Not much to go on here.  What are your tank parameters, such as nitrate level?  How often is a water change done, are you using an efficient protein skimmer, and cleaning the reaction chamber weekly, do you overfeed, overdose invert foods? James (Salty Dog)>
Algae Control, Follow-up 10/13/06
Sorry,  all the parameters are good pH-8.2, sg-1.025, amm-0, nitrite-0, nitrate-0, KH-9dkH, calcium-480 phos<.05.  I'm using a Lifereef skimmer, have been settling for wetter skimmate since I don't get the thicker stuff frequent enough (in my opinion).  I have not been cleaning the reaction chamber weekly (as a matter of fact have only cleaned it once).  As far as water changes go since I've been vacuuming out this brown stringy stuff have probably been changing up to 5-gal per day while I'm vacuuming.  Hope this helps.   <You must clean the reaction chamber weekly for the skimmer to perform efficiently.  The brown slime build-up in the reaction chamber greatly reduces the ability of the skimmer to perform effectively.  Doing so will increase nutrient removal in your system.> Thanks again <James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Algae Control - 10/15/06
James, <<EricR this time.  James doesn't have the book you reference so I told him I would help with a reply>> This is my second response to your reply.  I was just looking through some of my books and happened upon a picture (all be it much much better than the one I sent) of the slime I was talking about.  I'm sure you have a copy of the book it's, "Aquarium Corals - Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History" by Eric Borneman. <<A great book...one of my favorites...along with Bob's and Anthony's books of course <grin> >> In it on page 388 he describes the slime I'm seeing all over my tank as a zooxanthellae release from a coral. <<Yes, have seen this a few times over the years'¦mostly with anemones, a few other cnidarians.  Is usually a reaction to a stressor in the tank (water quality issues, predation, etc.)>> And indeed I have seen my star-polyp with this slime on it.  However if this is what it is how is soooo much getting all over the tank, especially on the substrate. <<From your description I don't believe your problem is expelled zooxanthellae.  What you are experiencing is an outbreak of blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria...you can read up on it here < http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> and among the linked files at the top of the page).  Once it gets a good foothold it can be tough to get rid of (like any other nuisance algae)>> And where is it coming from?  I'm pretty sure it's not all being expelled from this coral.  The picture in the book is a dead ringer for the stuff I've got in my tank.  What do you think? <<Regardless of the similarity to the picture, what you have is very likely Cyanobacteria.  I doubt there is enough zooxanthellae among "all your corals" to coat your tank as you have described.  Peruse the pages I have pointed you to, you will find information to help you determine the source and a plan of action to correct/eliminate the problem>> Again thanks loads. <<Happy to assist, Eric Russell>>

Red Algae 10/11/06 Hey there WWM crew! <Hi> I had a quick question about an invading algae that I've had in my tank for a while. It's covering the substrate and the lower half of my rock structure in my saltwater tank. I have a PC system and a very cheap filter for my 40 gal tank. <Clean it often.>  I have our small mushrooms, a small clown, a brittle star, and about forty pounds of live rock. These thick red algae cover everything! It floats up to the top and takes the substrate with it. I did a few water changes, but it didn't help. <Takes time.>  I know I should get a skimmer if I wanted to get more corals, but would a skimmer help to break down the organics that this alga thrives off of? Thanks for answering my questions, and any suggestions would be helpful. Nate <I would not run any marine tank without a skimmer. I can not overstate their importance. It will help reduce the nutrients available to the algae along with frequent water changes and smaller feedings.  Please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm for more.> <Chris>

Pest Algae Problems. BGA   10/4/06 Hi there crew!             A quick question, I have a thick layer of red slimy algae covering the bottom of my tank on the substrate, and when it grows to large it floats to the top and carries the substrate with it. How can I remove this alga from my tank? Would some water changes do the trick? Thanks again,             Nate <Mmm, many avenues... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Red Turf Algae  - 09/14/06 I have what I believe is red turf algae growing like mad in my refugium.  Originally I thought it might be BGA/Cyano.   However, under a microscope I can see clearly defined nuclei.      <Ahh!>   To date, it has not shown up in my main display, however I am concerned it will eventually migrate. Any suggestions?    <Keep the faith... not likely to "move" if conditions don't allow/favor it in your main display... and you can likely "re-center" the fuge to disfavor it there>   To follow are my current system parameters that I test for:   Nitrate: 0ppm   Nitrite: 0ppm   Ammonia: 0ppm   Phosphate: ~.5ppm   pH: 8.26   Temp: 80F    <Looks good. Bob Fenner> Normal LR Algal Succession   8/2/06 Hello Bob,   Thank you for reply.  I have another question, this problem kind of give me headache.  I recently changed the tank, same size 100G, but added a 50G sump.  Updated lighting from 96W to 256W, replaced new deeper sand (2") and smaller size.  Starts to have brown algae or Diatoms (spell), <This is it> clean almost everyday.   one Yel tang, 1 tomato clown, 2 damsel, 1 small blue tang.  couple mushrooms, 1 brain, 1 flowerpot.  Except coral, fish and 100 lbs LR and water from old tank, added 40 lbs LR from a friend' sump ( consider no algae).  Water test from home and LFS  got results the same.  pH 8.1, Nitrate 15, ammonia kind of 0, phosphate 0. (Water mixed at home from Red sea product, been doing for 4 years).  3 power head (1000G/hr), 1 for overflow, 1 for circulation, and one for skimmer.       so, I have new tank, and a better systems, Purple algae grows good. Just don't know where the brown algae come from, <Is to be expected... natural... from the changes you list... all the new LR, the change in lighting, substrate... Will cycle out> Trying to do water change 5% weekly( 2 months now).    Don't see any better.  Need your advice?      Thanks,      Vincent <Just to be patient... keep monitoring your water quality, doing changes as necessary. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm and the linked files above for background. Bob Fenner>

Algae Control   7/28/06 Hi again! <Hello Krissi>    Alright, there is this hard green algae-looking stuff is growing all over our live rock, glass and seems to be growing on some of our sps. I don't know if is actually algae or something else. I spoke with one person who said it was some kind of colony of animals, despite it's appearance.  Another mentioned diatoms? I don't know what those are, but maybe?  It is not raised, bumpy, leafy or anything. It just looks like everything is getting a forest-green tint to it that gets darker and darker and I have to scrape off the glass with a credit card or razor. <Do read here and related links above on algae and control.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm> Here's some info about my tank: Levels: Nitrates, Ammonia, Nitrites and Phosphates are at 0, dKH 11, pH is 7.9, Salinity 1.024, Temp 79, Calcium 425, Chelated Iron .25, Iodine .6 mg/l. <I'd stop the iodine dosing until the problem is under control.> Our 2x96w VHO actinic combos are on from 1pm to 11pm, 3x25w 15k HQI MH's from 2pm to 9pm, moonlights from 11pm to 1pm. Lots of water movement and a 55gal refugium with Chaetomorpha and lots of 'pods. <Sounds good.  Did you mean 3x250 on the HQI's?> In our main tank are corals, inverts and decorative macro algae (Caulerpa prolifera maxima, Halimeda, Codium, red grape algae, lettuce Nudibranch, shrimp, clams, Gorgonia, sponges, Montipora, Blastomussa, etc). We have a dragonface pipefish, mated true perculas, sailfin tang and blue chromis. We do not use a micron filter bag. Half of the water from our overflow goes into our in-sump protein skimmer. The other half flows directly into the tank. I can't think of anything else pertinent. Anyone know what it is? And more importantly how to curb its growth? Or better yet, get rid of it? <See above links>    Thanks for all your help!  Keep up the good work! <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>    Krissi

Algae Control And Miracle Mud - 07/18/2006 Good evening fishy folk. <Good evening, Dave.> I've recently setup sump w/ liverock filtration for my 90 gallon tank. The sump is about 35 gallons and I've had it equipped with a refugium. I have approximately 16x water flow in my tank, I have a blue florescent bulb for lighting 10hrs a day, and I only feed my critters about 4 or 5 times a week, yet I still get hints of Cyanobacteria. My first question.   <Excess nutrients in the tank....> Would Caulerpa in my refugium be the next best step to fight Cyano???  The Caulerpa would take a lot of the algae feeding nutrients out of my main system, correct? <Could help, but could also cause problems.  Better to try Chaetomorpha first, in my opinion.> Second question.  I bought 10lbs of "Ecosystem Miracle Mud" for my refugium and I have been advised that I should have closer to 20lbs for the size of tank I have.  Are you familiar with this product? <Yes.> Am I getting ripped off on this? Is it simply.... dirt?   <I've met Leng Sy, and liked the things he had to say.  Many folks swear by his mud and many say it's nothing great.  I've not used it, so have no firsthand experience.> Is there anything else that doesn't cost $10/lb that would be beneficial with Caulerpa to help reduce nutrients that this Cyano is obviously feeding off of? <Do please read here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and all the algae articles listed here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marinvind1.htm .> Last question: if I were to use this Miracle Mud, I'd drain my sump as much as possible, at least the refugium chamber.  I'd put the mud in the chamber and fill the chamber with premixed salt water, scooping away any floaties left over.  When I turn my sump pump back on, I realize there will be a little discoloration in the water.  In your opinion, would there be any risk of drastic water chemistry changes from having the Miracle Mud in my sump?   <Mm, possibly....  best not to make sudden/major changes, if possible.  I'd go with this plan, and just keep a close eye on things.> Would the pH be harmfully affected?   <As long as your tank is of an appropriate pH and hardness to begin with, you should be okay.> I just don't want to lose my two clowns and goby. the shrimp, starfish, and crabs. Your advice?? <Mostly just to read more about algae! :grin: > Thanks a million! Dave <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Algae Control And Miracle Mud - II - 07/25/2006 Ya know what makes this hobby so much fun.... ummm... ha... ha.... ha... ha...    Is that you can read 10 different opinions... and get 10 different answers.   <True enough!> It kinda seems like LOOSE GUIDANCE to ensure you don't do anything stupid... but really, it's yourself that's gonna find the answer.   <Ultimately....  yeah.> I find the only way to fight Cyano is water flow, but how can someone possibly hit every angle of their liverock with sufficient water flow without stocking your tank with powerheads.    <Closed loop?> I have a pump that creates 800gph, a MaxiJet 900, and two 1200's.  16X tank flow rate should be sufficient, right?   <Perhaps.  There are other means aside from water flow alone to control this nuisance....  and I think you are (were?  will be?) pursuing them.> My typical water tests are to ensure constant salinity and temperature. Then I do a monthly (or more frequent if needed) pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate test.  Are there any other tests that would be beneficial for me to monitor??   <Phosphate, calcium, carbonate hardness, general hardness.... iodine perhaps....> I am not keeping corals... at least not yet.  Aside from that, I am doing 20% water changes semi-monthly.  Anything noticeably insane in my practices?   <Not particularly.> Any suggested improvements from what I have said?   <Maybe that you test phosphate, and try to ensure that your water is coming from a very pure source....  Preferably from a RO/DI unit http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i4/RO_systems/reverse_osmosis.htm or other such purification means.  This will help tremendously with your algae battles.> I also am using a deep livesand bed (about 4" across the majority of the tank).  I head something about using NO sandbed or at least one under 1" if I am using the Miracle Mud.  I dunno, sounds kinda strange to me.   <Me too.> Any biological reason for disaster if I keep my deep sand bed and the Miracle Mud?   <Nah, not that I can see.> I want the deep sandbed so that I can keep a couple of Jawfish in the near future.  Thanks again for all your help... could you sense the frustration in my first paragraph??   <Having experienced the same frustration myself, yes.  ::grin:: > I'm finally buying Bob's book!  So next time he has a drink, tell him I paid for it... sorta.   <Heh!> Your fishy friend always...   Dave P.S.  Just got back from the French Polynesia scuba diving (well actually it was my honeymoon... but the scuba diving was more exciting... shhh... don't tell). <Um, WOW.  Nope, I won't tell.> Those 12 foot lemon sharks look more cute and cuddly in pictures.  I was going to attach the picture of the one behind me while I was 70ft down... but the brown cloud (wetsuit my @$$) behind me was a little embarrassing JK! <Heh!  Sounds like you had a great time.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>   

Curing Live Rock, avoiding Bubble Algae?   7/18/06 Hey WWM crew quick query about some LR from a LFS... Its just a few pc.s about 7lbs worth but one pc had some bubble algae on it... How do I completely rid the rock of the bubble Algae before I cure it in some fresh sea water? I was thinking that a 5 gal bucket with double dose of Trace elements, a power head, and some stress-zyme to hopefully culture some good bacteria before I add it to my 55 FOWLR Does this sound good or what should I change? Thanks a lot Crew!!! <<Jacob:  If it were me, I would not intentionally buy a rock that already has bubble algae on it if you could buy another rock without it.  When I have found bubble algae on a rock, I have popped and scraped them off in a bucket of salt water.  I then rinse in another bucket and put in a separate tank to see if they come back.  Usually some will, and you can repeat the above steps until its gone.  If you already bought a rock with bubble algae on it, I suggest you cure it separate from the other rocks until you know it's bubble algae free.  Best of luck,Roy>>

Algae Control...UV Sterilizer 7/7/06 Hello, <Hello Joseph> Just in the past few weeks, my tank has started to accumulate green algae all over the tank (green water).  My tank is right at the entrance to our backyard, but does not get DIRECT sunlight because we have a huge canopy covering majority of the backyard.  I've done approx. 20% water changes every other day for the past few weeks, however, the algae just keeps coming back. The water parameters are ammonia/nitrite 0ppm, nitrates 10ppm, ph7.2. Because the tank is outside, I'm figuring a UV sterilizer might be a good buy in this case?  Please bear with me here:  I have a 40 gallon tank, Marineland Penguin 350b power filter that filters 350gph.  I'm looking at the Coralife 9watt UV sterilizer which has a flow rate of 100-200gph.  Would this be compatible with my Penguin power filter?  Are there any correlation between the flow rate of the power filter and the flow rate of the UV sterilizer. <The flow rate of the UV means, for an effective kill, the flow should not exceed 200gph for this model.  You would need a power head rated at 200gph or less, to pump the water through the UV.  I would install a sponge filter on the power head, such as Hagen's, that is designed to be used with power heads.  Much better to pump clean water through the UV.> Any recommendations on whether it would be best to use the UV sterilizer as inline with the filter or hang-on-back and how would you recommend hooking up the UV sterilizer? <Your Penguin would be of little use feeding the UV as there is no way to attach tubing to it.  As above, a power head will be needed to feed the UV. The UV will not do much good killing algae already growing in the tank.  All it will do is kill water borne algae spores.  Outside lighting, even though indirect, will greatly enhance algae growth.  You may be fighting a losing battle here.   Controlling nutrients in your system will help also.  Read here along with related articles and FAQ's above title bar. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm Even though it is a marine topic, it does apply to freshwater also with the exception of protein skimming.  A Pleco in the tank will definitely help control the algae, but it would soon outgrow the tank.  James (Salty Dog)>      Any info/help would be very appreciative! Joseph

Red Algae... likely BGA  - 06/30/06 Hey There, <Ho there>             I have a 54 gal corner tank that has a problem with excessive red algae and I have no clue why. <Mmm...> It has now coated all of the rocks and even smothered out some mushroom coral.  We're running a canister filter, protein skimmer, and U.V. sterilizer. We have a 60 watt white Daylight and a 60 watt actinic that we run for ten hours. Only four fish, 2 perculas,1 Sixline, and 1 Foxface. <This last needs, will need larger quarters> The only thing that I can think of is that it receives about 2hrs of direct summer sun. <Ooops... one factor for sure> It's pretty bright seeing as how we live in the mountains of Utah. I am clueless to why it is doing this, all of the chemistry is good. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brian      <No worries. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Many inputs, solutions to such "imbalance" situations (or balanced from Cyano point of view...). Bob Fenner>

White Algae Taking Over Sump  - 06/30/06 Bob, Would you agree that this is a bacterial bloom? Click on link below. http://www.reefmonkey.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=5529&highlight=white+algae Thanks, Rob <Does "read" like this... however, could be protozoans, even small crustaceans, cnidarians... but does "sound" like a "biological population explosion" to me. BobF>

Algae Frustrations 6/17/06 I was hoping you could help me with a problem that is driving me nuts.  I have a 55 gallon marine tank with 60 lbs. of live rock, 2 clown fish and a royal Gramma, tiger striped serpent star as well as a toadstool coral. <Sounds similar to my setup.>  I have a 10 gallon refugium sump style with 8 lbs of live rock and 4 inches of live sand.  The refugium hosts Chaetomorpha.  My tank has a chiller maintaining 80 degrees, and an AquaC Remora skimmer. <Are you getting good production from it?> Lighting is compact fluorescent. Water is filtered through an RO unit and left to sit at least overnight with a powerhead before adding to the tank.  Reading in the tank are nitrates, nitrites and ammonia all 0, Salinity 1.025.  I'm now having an algae bloom covering everything.  It mostly is green pond scum looking stuff.  I'm doing 4 gallon water changes twice a week.  I'm having absolutely no algae growth in the refugium.   I had a Fluval 404 canister filter but it stopped working a while back, after about a month of use.  So I've been hesitant in acquiring another one.  <Unnecessary in my opinion.> My plan for really attacking this algae is to get some type of power filter to run the water through carbon and to add some type of additional water flow in the tank such as some airpumps in the most heavily algae covered areas. <May want to try PolyFilter instead of carbon, I think it lasts longer.> Am I missing anything here?  I'm so frustrated and am inches away from finding a new home for it all despite the fact that I really enjoy  the tank and have found it really relaxing before the algae came. Best Regards Ken <I'm guessing you have a phosphate problem.  Have you tested for this?  Also, how new is the tank.  Most tanks go through different blooms when starting up, and this may pass with a little time if this is the case.  In either case you are doing just about everything right with the water changes, skimming, DSB, and macroalgae, but something is fueling the algae.  Try cutting back on feeding, maybe every other day for a while and see if it improves.  Manually removing as much algae as possible will also help as it is a good method of nutrient export.> <Hope this helps and keep at it.> <Chris>
Algae Frustrations Part II  - 06/17/2006
Thank you for the rapid reply.  <Sure>  My protein skimmer is filling up every two days. <That is very quick.> May be working too hard. <Impossible.>  The tank is about 6 months old. <Blooms are common up to about a year. The algae problem kicked in about two months ago.   Thanks for the advice.  I will try to remove as much algae as possible manually and research ways of testing and reducing phosphates as well as increase my water flow. Best Regards Ken <Phosphate test kits are available from most LFS or online.  They are pretty easy to use, but like all test kits be careful with the chemicals.  It may test 0, since the algae has all the lose phosphate tied up, but still worth checking.  Judging by how fast your skimmer is filling up even with the water changes I would guess that you are overfeeding.  Try cutting this back and see how it goes.> <Chris>

More Turf Algae Woes (Green This Time) - 06/13/06 Hi crew, <<Hello>> I was reading some answers yesterday regarding turf algae (red) and decided to do some searches since that may be what I have except it is green. <<Yes, have seen/dealt with this as well.  Am unsure of the species, but the green (and black) version seems just as tenacious as the red variety>> I do not know if it is turf algae but it is almost impossible to remove. <<Indeed...elevated pH (8.5-8.6) seems to slow/stem growth...ultra-pure make-up water/saltwater mix is key to its removal in my experience...along with limiting/stopping liquid foods and water supplements, other than Kalkwasser>> It only grows on rock and shells, not on the glass or sand. <<Mmm, yes...and power heads, overflows, etc.>> I assume whatever works to get rid of nuisance algae will get rid of this. <<Much the same, yes>> I must say it does not look bad but it is like a weed in that it is in places you do not want it. <<Agreed...and preferable to rampant "hair algae" in that it won't smother/overgrow sessile inverts...but a "nuisance" all the same if left unabated>> And once it gets on a rock it will eventually cover it. <<Agreed again...grows right over coralline algae>> I have it on two of my candy canes mostly on the rock base but it does grow on the skeleton near the polyps as well. <<Yes, just about any hard surface...especially those of a calcareous nature>> I just gave one of them a trim (out of the tank) with a small sharp scissors.  Now it looks like a mowed lawn. <<Ha!>> Are there any critters that like to eat this stuff? <<I've had "limited" success with tangs of the genus Ctenochaetus (Bristle Tooth).  Regards, EricR>>
Red "Turf" Algae II - 06/13/06
Thanks for the response. <<Quite welcome>> This alkalinity issue is driving me crazy, my pH is always good <<Alkalinity and pH are different distinctions>> but even though I am adding Seachem Reef Builder to raise my alkalinity it seems like it won't go any higher. <<Try new/different brand test kits...or test your kits on another tank of known values to confirm their validity>> ...just started using this product. <<Mmm, perhaps just needs some time>> I use Tropic Marin salt which is supposed to be one of the best and do more than enough water changes with deionized water. <<A very good salt, agreed...but still has need to "buffer" the water before adding the salt mix>> My 02 level is great.  I can't figure this out.  Any ideas?   <<Hopefully you are reading through our extensive data on this subject...begin here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm >> Thanks a lot. <<Cheers my friend, EricR>>

Algae Control   6/12/06 Dear Bob, I have a 200 litre reef tank, 100cm length, 45cm width, 50cm height. It was running on fluorescent tubes.. but four months back...I upgraded to a metal halide fixture with two 150  watt 10000 K metal halide lamps and two actinic tubes. The lights are on for 12 hours a day, the actinics for 12 hours and the halides 10 hours. Since then I have algae problem, that is I have green algae growing all over the live rock and a slime of green algae which forms on the tank glass every third day. <Yuk!> Now is the above lighting too strong for my tank size. is that why the algae is over growing? <No, excess nutrients are the problem.> Will switching to 14000K 150 watt metal halides help in reducing algal growth? <Little if any.> I want my live rock to appear to be purplish and not covered with green hair like algae. <Indeed.> Even the substrate is starting to get covered in green algal growth, but my fishes are healthy and the tangs are having a field day! I have mainly mushroom corals in my tank...with some zoanthids...and a leather coral. I am afraid the algae will start to grow on the mushroom corals...as it seems to grow quite rapidly.. <This won't happen.> I have nitrates under control, phosphates also in control and do 20% water change every two weeks. Please advise how I can prevent algae from over taking my tank. and promote the growth of coralline algae... <Coralline growth is easily obtained by keeping your calcium level at 350-400ppm along with adequate lighting which you have.   You do not mention fish load in your tank.  Heavy fish loads do lead to excess nutrients in the system which promotes algae growth.  Do read and follow advice given here along with related links above the title bars.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm and here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Anup

Sump/Refugium Green Algae Surface Scum   6/11/06 Dear Crew-- <Juli> Thanks for your books, this site and your consistent willingness to help.  I'm battling a problem with bright green algae scum on the surface of my 55G sump/refugium.  I've queried numerous sources, tried a couple of unsuccessful solutions, and I'd appreciate your insight. I bought my established reef system on 4/29/06. <A little less than six weeks back> It had been stable for the two years prior and is still maintained by the same personnel.  Tank specs:  125G TruVu acrylic w/corner overflow, 150 lb LR/4" DSB, 55G sump/fuge (LR/LS formerly with Caulerpa but replaced by Chaeto), Euroreef RS5-3 skimmer, Rio 2500 return pump with Sea Swirl, 2 Rio 2100 power heads in the main tank.  The   overflow drains through a filter sock to the in-sump skimmer.    Refugium lighting is 1 65W 50/50 12 hours per day on a reversed tank photoperiod.  Main tank lighting is 4x65W 50/50's 9 hours per day (lighting upgrade is on the way). Water parameters:  aver. temp. 78F (77-79 max), ph 8.3, alk 7 dKH, ca 400, phosphate almost undetectable, amm 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5ppm.    I use Bio Sea Marine Mix salt and I top off with RO/DI.  Any water is aerated for 24 hours before use.  I do a 20G water change every two weeks. Tank life: Fishes:  1 Regal Tang, 2 Yellow Tangs, 5 Green Chromis (spawning), 1 Maroon Clown, 2 Banggai Cardinals (mouth full of eggs), 1 Orange Diamond Goby. Inverts:  1 LTA (I'm surprised it has lived under these lights, so I feed it 3x week), 1 Leather, 1 Sinularia, 1 Tree, Yuma Ricordea, various Mushrooms, Star Polyps, 1 Open Brain, 1 Bubble, 1 Frogspawn, Button Polyps, 2 Mithrax crabs, myriad snails & small crabs.  1 Peppermint Shrimp, 1 Mantis Shrimp and 1 large red Serpent Star. The sump scum appeared ~3 weeks ago.  It is bright light green, somewhat bubbly and gets quite thick if I don't remove it manually.    Because the 'fuge contained Caulerpa I thought it had "gone sexual" and caused the problem, <Mmmm, no... would be quite different... green/ish water everywhere> I drained the sump and replaced the Caulerpa with Chaeto.  The algae returned within a few days.  I added a small powerhead to the sump to increase surface agitation, but it didn't help either.  I changed the filter socks & media and ran some carbon.  The algae returns within a couple of days regardless. <Is likely a BGA of some sort> Following the same regimen as the previous owner, I feed 1 cube Mysis & 1 cube brine 2x day with DT Phytoplankton, a few drops of garlic   and vitamin C.  I also give the Tangs Nori 2x day.  I dose the tank with alkalinity, calcium, strontium, Lugol's and Kent "Essential" at the proscribed weekly intervals. All tank inhabitants survived the move and some creatures seem to be growing and spawning.  The sump algae doesn't appear to have a negative impact on  the health of the organisms, at least not yet.    Perhaps I'm overreacting by thinking it could?  What do you think? Thank you so much. --Juli <This sounds like a very nice system... with even nicer plans for upgrading. I strongly suspect you're experiencing a transient effect of having moved, disrupted the dynamic of life processes here... with adventitious Cyanobacteria having exploited the possibility (the green-appearing scum)... I would do nothing other than what you list, let time go by, and the set-up will very likely re-center itself... This all takes time, and with the switching out of the extant macro-algae for new, a bit longer. Bob Fenner>

Red "Turf" Algae - 06/11/06 Hello, I am going to be a bother again as I have yet another question. <<Alrighty>> I have noticed some red algae in my tank in a couple of locations.  The algae does not appear to be Cyanobacteria as it is not slimy but rather threadlike.  It is so far quite short and very attached to the rock...yesterday I tried pulling it off but it is nearly impossible to remove. <<Ahh yes, am familiar with this algae...quite tenacious/difficult to eradicate>> Is this something I should be concerned about? <<Depends...in my experience this algae does not encroach/grow upon sessile invertebrates, but rather covers the bare rock surfaces surrounding them.  However, it can limit growth of your corals by restricting their "spread" upon the rocks.  All in all this algae is less "unsightly" in my opinion than most of the other so-called nuisance algae, but you should still try to determine the source of/limit its growth>> Is there such a thing as red hair algae? <<Many types of algae...this short turf-type algae is fairly common>> I looked through your database of red algae but cannot decide from the photos what it could be.  Sorry for the lack of a picture but it is so short I'm not sure you would be able to see it.  Like I said before it is very short and very tough I have seen green hair algae and this appears to be more course than that. <<Possibly a form of Polysiphonia>> My water parameters are all good, except alkalinity which I have written to you about previously. <<This may be factor in your algae problem>> Ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 0, calcium 400ppm, temp 78, salinity 1.023 and phosphate less than 0.2 ppm.   Thank you very much, Ryan Nienhuis....please let me know if I am driving you nuts with all the emails. <<Nope>> Also I was told my poor alkalinity is probably due to hydrogen sulfide buildup in my sand which is about 3 inches deep. <<Mmm, I don't necessarily agree...but I do prefer a sand bed an inch or three deeper.  Also...increasing your pH and alkalinity through careful dosing of Kalkwasser may go a long way towards helping with the nuisance algae>> I was wondering if you could recommend some sand sifters for me, I do have a Trachyphyllia brain on the sand bed and don't want him getting covered up. <<I really like the dragon goby (Amblygobius phalaena) for this purpose.  And don't fret to much about the brain coral and sand particles.  As long as it is meant to be on the substrate (conical/wedge shaped skeleton) it will have mechanisms for dealing with a bit of sediment accumulation>> I also already have plenty of bristleworms. <<An excellent/beneficial detritivore>> Thanks again. <<Happy to assist, EricR>>

Crab v Crab... New Mad Magazine toon heading    5/28/06 WWM Crew, <Charles> I have a Nano 24 marine tank and I have been up and running for about a year now.  I just recovered from a bout of Cyanobacteria.  I had to completely break-down the tank, clean up all the rocks and vacuum up all of the substrate.   <No fun> I did a >50% water change and then dosed the tank with Maracyn for 5 days doing some additional water changes each day.  Surprisingly, I didn't lose anything. <Lucky... thus far> I have 1 clarkii clown, 1 Rainford's goby, a dozen or so snails (mostly turban and Cerith), 10 or so hermit crabs (zebra, blue and scarlet), an arrow crab and about 15-20 lbs of live rock.  I have started using ChemiPure carbon, a surface skimmer and a current-usa fission protein skimmer in the back. I also put in some macro algae. <All good steps> After cleaning/vacuuming the substrate, I figured out I have been really overfeeding these fish.  And I switched from the flakes that I have been using to Hikari brand 'Marine-S' pelletized food.  I have really cut back on the amount and these fish are pretty hungry all of the time now.  And I certainly don't feed enough to create detritus for the inverts in the tank. I figure that they will have to live on the algae. <... watch the Arrow Crab... it will eat the others...>   However, today, I witnessed one of the blue hermits pull another one out of its shell and tear it up.  Then the clown pulled them into the back and the arrow crab took care of the rest.  It was quite a show. <Something about Romans, the Coliseums...> Should I feed this tank more? or is this just typical and to be expected? <The latter... given the size of system, life...> Learning every day! Chuck Martin <Thank goodness, or something like it. Bob Fenner>

Algae Control   5/27/06 I have a 44 gal reef tank, protein skimmer, 4 powerheads, 60 lbs of live rock, 6 fishies, about 20 different soft corals, and about 10 snails and 10 crabs. Also 2 gorgonians. I have a Rena Filstar canister filter up to 75 gal. Everything is doing very well but I am starting to get a small Cyanobacteria problem. That's why I have 4 powerheads. Some of the algae is starting to smother some corals.  I do a 20% water change every 2 and a half weeks. All tests revealed good water quality. Did not check Alkalinity though. Started small refugium on side of tank. -My question is if I changed to a sump style filter with a refugium set-up, would that help deplete the nuisance slime algae? <The refugium with Caulerpa or Chaeto or both will definitely help reduce nutrient levels.> -Also would my soft corals benefit? <Yes> -Would I be able to get rid of some of the tank clutter?-ex.- heater, filter bars, powerheads, refugium? <You can put heaters, skimmers, etc in the wet/dry filter.> -Is a sump/WD filter more efficient than a canister filter? <They do add plenty of O2 and remove CO2.  If you use a filter pad placed on the drip tray, this will trap food particles, etc and a need for the canister would not be necessary.  Keep in mind that the pad needs to be cleaned/changed weekly.  If you are not doing this with the Rena, this is adding to your nutrient problem.> -Could I hang the protein skimmer right on the filter itself? <Without knowing what kind of skimmer you have, I cannot answer this.> -Do you think my tank is overstocked. <Don't know, all you say is you have six fish.  All depends on the size of them.> -Should I upgrade the powerheads? I got two 125 gph and two 175 gph by AquaClear. Would the sweeper type be more efficient for a reef tank? <Personally, I do not care for this type power head.  I've tried one for a week and the small gears that create the sweeping motion get clogged with debris too often.  You would have to use a prefilter with them to avoid this.> Thanx a mil. please send some info <You've got it.  James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Algae Control   6/1/06
Thanx for the info. One more question.  Could a phosphate problem be causing the Cyanobacteria outbreak?   <Yes> Does activated carbon work well with a reef tank? <Yes, as long as weekly water changes are carried out.  I'd use Chemi-Pure or a Poly-Filter before carbon, works much better in helping to remove excess nutrients.  James (Salty Dog)>

Algae? Identification? Control? Reading?   5/27/06 Hi crew, I have something growing in my tank that I assume is algae. I really would like to find out what it is so that I may have a chance to get rid of it. <...?> Can you suggest some place that I could send it in so they can check it out. <Most any outfit, likely a local fish store, that has a microscope of a couple hundred magnification...> It is like grass and attaches to rock or shells. Not on glass or sand. It is as if it attached by super glue. It is on my candy cane and all I can do is trim it with a scissors or rip some of it off but most of it remains. <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm and the linked files above... With a bit of study you will find there are many ways to avoid algae problems... Bob Fenner>

Algae... what to do?   5/26/06 How can I deal with the real ugly brown algae? It is growing all over and it will not stop! <Heeee!> I am going to re-design my whole aquarium and clean it all out over summer but is there a product that will kill all the algae so there is none in my tank? Thanks <Uhhh... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/algcontFAQsMar.htm and the linked files at top... Bob Fenner>

Nutrient Control...Ozone And Lighting   5/25/06 Dear Bob, <James today>   I have a 180 FOWLR that is really starting to hum!  I have 120 lbs of LR, 2 wet dries, and 2 skimmers ( Euroreef CS 135, Aqua C  EV 180 ).  I did use ozone in the past but it seemed to deplete Iodine levels in the tank and I did have some HLLE...which reversed over months since I stopped the ozone. I have had an incredible growth of pink coralline algae, as well as a some green/brown slimy algae which is incredibly difficult to remove from the inner panes of my acrylic tank.  Also there is a green algae that likes to adhere to the aragonite substrate it seems to cause the substrate to stick together. I really do not know what this is. <Photo would help here.> Lighting is 180 w ice cap VHO actinic white 10 hrs daily icecap 180 watts actinic 8 hrs daily.  I have decreased the photoperiod to less than 2 hrs and the algae growth, of course has slowed down.  Tank chemistry is good ( pH = 8.2, Ca= 375, Nitrates 15, phosphates barely detectable )  Is there a minimum photoperiod I should have ? <The coralline will require at least an 8 hour photoperiod to thrive nicely.> Will ozone help prevent Cyanobacteria growth (assuming that this is what is on my aragonite substrate ).  <Will help some, but you must concentrate on nutrient control to reduce your algae growth.  See here and related links above.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jimmy

Algae Control   4/26/06 Hi Crew, <Hi Sam> I have a 10 gallon with mushrooms,  2 candy canes, a spotted cardinal (2 years), a clown goby (2 years) and a royal Gramma (1 year). <Pretty crowded for a 10 gallon tank.>  I change a gallon a week and have a penguin mini filter. I moved a while ago and set up a second 10 gallon with live sand and rocks and a standard 18 w fluorescent cover. After it cured I moved everything to the new tank.  It has been a month since I moved everything to the new tank. The old tank had a Coralife quad 50/50 96w and I was struggling with all kinds of algae. Now I have very little algae and the mushrooms have more color to them. I did lose a few snails and my one Ricordea. I am trying to figure out what had the most impact on the algae. Was it the lower lighting or the fact that the sand was new and thus was not contributing any nutrients for the algae. <Bingo.> The candy canes seem ok but I have not seen them extend their tentacles at night which they did before I made the move. <The 18 watt light isn't enough light for the candy cane to survive.  Do read the article(s) on coral/lighting/care.> I really appreciate this forum, it really gives the rest of us a chance to be successful in this hobby. <Thank you.  James (Salty Dog)>

Algae Control/Gracilaria Control in Nano - Last Resort!  - 4/24/2006 I downsized before a move, keeping only the choice coral and LR that would work with a nanocube. My previous tank had tons of Gracilaria, and a Foxface to eat it. No Foxface in a nano. In fact, I didn't put any fish at all. My LFS said a Sally light foot MAY pick at it. <The Sallys do eat some algae, but I believe a nano would be too small for one as they grow to three inches.> Everything I read online mentions tangs and Foxface, etc. (not keeping a nano in mind). Can't find help on message boards. It is starting to get out of control, so as I sit here bug-eyed from reading forums all night, with waterlogged hands from scraping red macro algae, I was hoping for one last opinion. Any ideas? What will help me control Gracilaria in a nano? <Read here and related links for some helpful info.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> -LH

Anenome lighting....algae problem   4/21/06 Hello folks, Thanks for all your wonderful information, I've read your site for hours on end.  I have a question if you don't mind. First, my water parameters: (pH=8.3, salinity=1.024, nitrite/nitrate=O, ammonia=0.15 mg/L, alkalinity=4.5 meq/L, temp=79). I recently (3 wks. ago) increased the lighting for my 75 gal. LR tank to a 250 watt MH (18,000 lumens, 6500 K) to provide adequate light for a newly purchased Ritteri Anenome, which has positioned itself on a perch only 12 inches beneath the intense light.  I acquired this tank from a friend who only used weak fluorescents for years (no anenomes, obviously).  I'm battling an algae problem now....looks similar to Cladophora sakaii on algaebase.org, sort of like a green moss, stringy, and obviously grows to several inches (I can send pic if needed).  All of my water is RO and water parameters are good (is ammonia OK at 0.15?....surprised me). <Shouldn't be detectable.  May be the test kit, try another.>  I actually had to remove the LR a piece at a time into a saltwater-filled tub and scrub it with a toothbrush. <Could be a reason  for the slight ammonia increase.>  All I have in the tank is my Ritteri, a resident Clarkii, three-striped damsel and a Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel.  I know acquiring a Yellow Tang or other algae eater would help, which I may do. <Tangs are selective in the type of algae they eat.  Your fish (other than the clown) will always be at risk with an anemone present.> I thought the RO water would keep the algae minimal, I was wrong.  The LFS didn't have any better ideas.  Am I going to have to continually scrub algae off of my LR b/c of the intensity of the MH?  Please say it will get better.  Any recommendations? <RO water alone does not prevent algae growth.  Dissolved nutrients, phosphates, nitrates all contribute to algae blooms.  Do read here and related links, Kevin. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >  How do other Anenome owners with MH's deal with algae?  <By control.  A protein skimmer will help immensely in this regard along with advice on the aforementioned link.>  Any info is very much appreciated. On another note, I'm hoping to be one of the few to keep a Ritteri long-term........MH lighting, 10-15 % water changes weekly with Iodine supplementation, varied crustacean/fish diet, good water parameters, strong water flow, etc.  I'll let you folks know if it's still thriving several years down the road. <I think a year will be all that is necessary as these animals do not live much longer than that in small captive systems.  There are a few exceptions and hopefully you will be included.> Regards,  <Good luck with the Ritteri.  James (Salty Dog)> -Kevin (aka "tired of scrubbing my live rock")

Marine Algae; Still Frustrating You After Death  - 04/19/06 Hi <Hello Simon.> I have decided to retire from my salt water hobby and move into fresh water. <I'm sorry to hear that'¦.I guess.> I have emptied/dismantled my old tank but am struggling to clean it. The main concern is what appears to be both green and purple (probably coralline algae) on the glass and plastic back divider - I have one of those JBJ Nanos. <Ahhh'¦.you started your marine endeavor with a  'ready-made' tank and a nano at that'¦..that is why you became frustrated with the hobby I surmise.> I have tried scrubbing at it using one of those algae removal pads, but that was unsuccessful. I am reluctant to use a razor because of scratching - particularly against the plastic. <I understand.> Do you have any suggested methods given that the tank is empty. <The tank is free of livestock and empty correct? If so do the following: Fill the tank with tap water and generous portion of distilled vinegar, let it sit for at least 24 hours, then attempt to use a credit card or straight edge (Kent pro-scrapers are great) to get it off.> The tank is stored in a dark place - would it be fair to say that the algae will die off ? <It is dead I surmise, just the calcified remains left over.> With regards to my next project, I would like to create a fresh water tank which is a microcosm of a particular environment - such as the Amazon or whatever may be suitable to my tank dimensions. So I would want it to contain the same livestock, landscape, parameters that you might find in such a setting. I was just wanting to know whether you have any resources that may describe those environments and their configurations so that I could plan. <Read through the WWM and net re: the bio-tope first then if you get any specific questions I would love to help.> Your response is appreciated. <Quite welcome.> Regards Simon <Adam J.>
Re: Marine Algae; Still Frustrating You After Death  - 04/19/2006
Will give it a go. Thanks for your help. <Anytime.> The nano was my third tank and I had limited success with it. I will one day hopefully return to salt water but it will be when I have a large bank balance. <Hehe, I understand.> Lessons learnt from salt water tanks: -You need RO water <Not a necessity for all but definitely preferred over tap.> -You need a hard plumbing sump <Again not a necessity but in my opinion, is preferred as well, more water volume and better aesthetics.> - You need a high end skimmer <Well an efficient one yes.> - You need a quiet high end pump <That's usually for the other half of the aquarist, hehe.> - Fluor Actinics wont do the job <Not for photosynthetic livestock, no.> Regards Simon <Good luck, Adam J.>

Algae Control/Ongoing Query    4/6/06 Someone else told me that regarding the Prizm Skimmer, I should not be cleaning the "neck" of the skimmer.  I am a bit confused now, when I empty the collection cup I clean the cup completely before placing it back on the skimmer.  this includes the outside, the inside, and the "neck" or "riser" part of the collection cup.  I am not sure now whether I should be doing this, or whether the "neck" referred to just the "riser" part on the skimmer itself and not the collection cup. <In the Prizm skimmer, the neck/riser tube is all part of the collection cup.  Cleaning the entire cup as you have been is all that is necessary. James (Salty Dog)>     Patrick Algae Control BGA?  I don't know what BGA is but I will search the WetWebMedia site for it.  So in the mean time while I search - the bubbles are something common? <Any excess nutrients will cause some type of algae growth.>    I don't know that I "need" the phosphate removal - I know I did right after the hurricane when I got power back - but I am sure it can't hurt to do it every other week. can it??<Can't hurt, but in my opinion, nutrient control is your problem now.> As for the Prizm... I do need to empty the cup every couple weeks so yeah, it is doing something...<The entire cup needs to be cleaned on a weekly basis or the efficiency of skimmer is dramatically reduced.  The brown sludge must be removed.> Algae Control I have a 29g, reef tank, lots of live rock, and only 2 Gobies and a few snails right now. I have a 65w compact fluorescent (SP?) and 2 24w fluorescents. I have a Prizm skimmer and a Marineland-200-filter (w/bio wheel). That said, I have a constant problem with algae. I did have bad red-slime (hurricane and no power for 3weeks) that is about gone now, I seem to have a constant problem with "bubble-algae". I don't think it is "true" bubble algae though, I am getting it as small clear 1/16" to 1/8" bubbles forming on the very tops of my live rock, about 3-5 inches from water top, in patches of 3-5" around and usually under a thin green or red film. I wipe the bubbles away with my feeder stick and within a couple days they are back in exact same spots... I don't over-feed the 2 fish and I run a bag of phosphate removal material in the filter every other week. <Are 10% weekly water changes being done?> Any and all suggestions are welcome.  <I suggest you read here, Patrick.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Patrick

Brown Algae? Likely A Cyano or Diatom Bloom - 04/02/2006 I have an algae, brown in color that forms in patches on the sand. It has some substance to it, almost, as it forms a thin blanket over the sand. It is easily removed with the suction of a good old fashioned turkey baster but it returns. This is not taking over the tank but is getting larger and more annoying. <Trying to take over.> Any idea what it is and how to remedy? <A couple.> Yes I know, water changes, find the source, improve flow... <Good then. You're well on your way.> I am trying to determine what I am dealing with and I do not have much experience. <Try searching under diatoms and Cyanobacteria.> I think a small emerald crab may have died, I haven't seen him in a while - weeks. <Maybe.> Numbers 0,0,0 / Phosphate .2 mg/l /Alk 2.5 / PH 8.2 / Water Temp 78 - 81. RO/DI Water for make-up and Water Change TDS = 001 <Hmm...should be at 0. Maybe time to change the filters out. Are you aerating and buffering this for the top offs?> Lighting 2 VHO 4 PC - Some Actinic some White 9 hours a day. 90 Gallon ­with a 20 Gallon Sump, no refuge but have some Chaeto (softball sized) in the tank and in the sump too for some export. I will say that it seems to form in low flow areas and I am struggling with how I am going to remedy the flow problem. <Shouldn't be too hard, many good ideas on WWM.> I could post pix if it helps. Thank you Crew Tom <Sure Tom. - Josh>

Too Little Algae - Everyone Wishes   4/1/06 Hi WWM Crew,  <Hey there> I have a question I never thought I would be asking. I am concerned with the lack of algae growing in my tank. 29 gallon 1 65 watt 10k PC 1 65 watt Actinic PC 35lb of Fiji & Tonga 3-4" of aragonite substrate Remora skimmer (produces .5 cup of dark skimmate per day), with box attachment for surface skimming, I also added some porcelain rings (can't remember name of them) for added surface area. Aqua clear 20 filter for minor mechanical filtration and added carbon filtrant. I use Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt with my tapwater. No other additives Established for 5 months. Inhabitants include 1 citron goby, full grown 1 neon goby, new addition last week 2 growing ocellaris clowns 1 Skunk cleaner (added 7 days ago) 1 Blue/yellow damsel, exceedingly well behaved 5 blue legged hermits 4 scarlet hermits 2 Astrea snails 3 Margarita snails 5 Cerith snails <All sounds good.> I stalked in this order, after LR was cured (took 3.5 weeks, not included in establishing timeline), 1st most of the snails & 4 blue legged hermits, 2 weeks later the 2 clowns. 3 weeks later citron goby and 2 damsels (took 1 back since it was of course a mean one), 2 weeks later added the scarlet hermits and 4 more snails, 1 week ago added the shrimp and neon goby.  <Once again... all good> The growth of everything from the liverock has been excellent, many small worms: feather dusters, spaghetti, tube, and bristle. Turtle weed galore, I did a cropping to knock it back some. Beautiful mermaids cup algae, scroll algae, fluorescent "finger?" algae, minor Valonia so far, and several small localized spots of other types. I have also found several small white sponges and at least two small clams. 1 Aiptasia anemone, and one small button polyp is growing. Excellent growth of coralline algae.  <Great for you.> I have not started any corals or other sessile inverts yet, although I do have one that has made a comeback from the LR, just can't remember the name of it at this moment. Finally my question and concern. In the first 3 months of establishing the system I had the usual outbreaks of hair algae, brown algae etc. <Very normal> I didn't panic about the outbreaks knowing that the system was going through establishing itself. <Good for you, most of us panic!> Wife sure thought it was ugly though. <haha, it is> About two weeks ago I noticed how clean the LR was looking (free of algae I mean) and saw that the scarlet hermits were voraciously devouring the algae, green & brown alike.  <Good little buggers.>  Now my system is practically clear of the stuff. GREAT. I figured that the system is stabilizing and finally got my last two inhabitants, the shrimp and neon, to put in the tank. My concern is that I now worry that there is a lack of algae in the tank for those creatures that eat it. I don't have to clean the glass very often and now as of two days ago I noticed that the turtle weed leaves are curling into themselves. I am wondering if I need to worry about a lack of nutrients available, seems silly but...? Or am I missing something else. I do want the turtle weed around, looks good and easy to manually control. I am also keeping an eye on a portion of coralline algae that seems to be turning white.  <Just keep an eye on all the algae eating guys.  They will, however, eat leftover flake and other things around on the sand bed.> My parameters are: SG 1.024-1.025. PH 8.1-8.2 No Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, or phosphates detected Alkalinity is a little low according to my test kit, it states I should be around 4 (can't remember units of what) but I am at 2.5. I have not measure calcium yet. Weekly 12% water changes with vacuum for the substrate surface and surface of the LR. I am wonder about the over filtering of the system or lack of certain elements such as calcium or trace elements. Do I need to be concerned or is it still the system finding a balance?  <It is possible to over skim, but I wouldn't worry about it.  You're getting the right amount of skimmate.> Oh yeah, great books CMA and Reef Inverts. <Yes, they are!>  What is a good one for sessile inverts like xenias, polyps and leathers etc?  <There are many, check WWM for reviews.  I personally like Aquarium Corals by Eric Borneman.    Anthony's book of Coral Propagation is very good if you get to that point.  Good luck, you seem to be doing everything great.  The key is just to watch.  Have a good one, Jen S.> Jeff Morgan
Edmonton, Canada

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