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FAQs on Marine Algae and Their Control 12

Related Articles: Avoiding Algae Problems in Marine System, Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

Related FAQs: Marine Algae Control FAQs 1, Marine Algae Control 2, Marine Algae Control 3, Marine Algae Control 4, Marine Algae Control 5, Marine Algae Control 6, Marine Algae Control 7, Marine Algae Control 8Marine Algae Control 9, Marine Algae Control 10, Marine Algae Control 11, Marine Algae Control 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

Having other nutrient using, photosynthetic life present helps... Genus Hydnophora

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Aquarium Cleaning Magnets...Which Ones Are Safe To Leave In The Tank? -- 08/03/07 I have been looking into magnetic cleaners for cleaning everyday tank build up. <<Wonderful devices>> Of course I checked with/through your wonderful web pages first. <<And...?>> A little concern. <<Oh?>> You mentioned in one of the FAQ's that there are some magnets that shouldn't be taken out. ". . .Most aquarium magnets are safe for leaving in a system... but not all. I would pull these out when not in use... Please have your brother contact us re water chemistry checking, use of Polyfilter... as moves to correct the situation. Bob Fenner>" I have felt to use it every day or at least every other, it would be more convenient to leave it in. <<Indeed, and there are some brands that are very safe/designed for such use...is what I use. Please take a look at the 'Algae Free' and 'Magnavore' brands. I have a pair of Algae Free Tiger Shark Float magnets that have been in my tank for 'years'>> Somewhere else it was mentioned that not all magnets are made out of steel. <<Tis true>> So steel magnets are not good right? Or wrong? <<Steel magnets can be fine as long as they are 'sealed' from exposure to the water. Keep in mind that virtually all 'submersible' pumps contain metals>> Can you please tell me what to look for as far as what they are made of, or maybe even brands that you know of that are good or which are hazardous to the corals? <<Any of the cleaning magnets from the two brands mentioned will serve well. They are a little pricier than most others, but... There are other brands that are/can be safe as well, but these two brands are the best in all aspects, in my opinion>> Thank you as always for your never ending help. Trisha <<Always a pleasure to assist. EricR>>

Dinoflagellates/tank breakdown   -- 07/25/07 Good afternoon, <Hey!> I've been checking around your website (again) and can't seem to find the right answer I need. I'm currently breaking down my tank due to an outbreak of what I think may be a dinoflagellate outbreak. It formed a smothering layer of light brown slimy looking goo over everything-rock coral, equipment. I've had an ongoing problem with some hair algae when bam (sorry Emeril), this stuff took over. Due to the hair algae problem, I decided to break down the tank. Finally to my questions. I've removed and scrubbed the live rock that had no coral/polyps/etc still attached and have started to recure it-is it feasible that it will still be 'live' after all that has happened? <Did you let the rocks dry out? If they stayed wet you should have kept most of the bacteria that is in the "live" rock. Truthfully, even if it did dry somewhat out it still probably has the majority of the bacteria unless it was left out for a sustained period of time.> The sand substrate has a hard 'crust' where the slim has grown-is it worth trying to save some of the lower levels or start over with fresh? <You should be able to save all of it. If you can stir the top and suck the nasty stuff out. But your tank will look sorta icky.> I still have a few pieces left in the tank that are 1/4 to 2/3 covered with green star polyps and 1 with a toadstool that still has the slim/goo on them, but they continue to extend themselves daily-any ideas as to how to clean them up and isolate them to ensure the goo is gone? <Personally, I use a turkey baster and blast all that stuff off of them.> Last, any recommendations as to considering a total teardown to a bare tank is needed I hope not)? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated-Steve. <Steve, I would not tear the tank down unless I absolutely had to but you do need to get it cleaned out. I personally use a turkey baster to suck stuff out, stir stuff up and blast the rocks off that need to be blasted. I have worked on peoples tanks where I have actually pulled every rock out and scrubbed them off with a never used toothbrush to clean all the cracks and crevices off. One thing to note is that you should maybe consider getting some more current in your tank because I have found that with more movement in the tank, especially the lower levels you don't get the hair algae or the Dinos nearly as bad. A couple of basics here. Something is feeding the bad stuff so you might watch and cut down on your levels of feeding. You might also want to look some more in the WetWebMedia base for information about Calcium and alkalinity and its effects on Dinos. Good luck, MacL>  

Algae, SW, poor English, not just using WWM  - 7/23/07 hello <Your English...> wet web crew. thanks for the many helpful articles. I attached this picture of my tank. I have some brown algae that I assume is Cyanobacteria, but i am not sure. please verify for me if you can. i scraped the gravel around yesterday, but you can see it on some of the substrate and on the live rock. if i turn the gravel over it comes back the very next day. here are some specifics. FOWLR ph 8.4 nitrate 0 nitrite 0 ammonia 0 dKH 8 calcium 430 phosphate 0 i have a cascade 1200 canister filter cleaned regularly. Coralife power compacts 2x65. 2 actinic. aqua c remora skimmer. please help. <Please... don't write to us until you proof your message/run it through spelling and grammar checkers... Your system IS indeed out of balance, you DO have BGA... and you DID NOT have to write us to find what you need to know already archived on the site: READ here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm SCROLL down to the green tray on Algae. RMF>

Re: Brown Algae Issues. The Brown Algae Blues (Cont'd.) -- 07/18/07 Thanks for the response. <You're welcome!> I went and bought the test kits, and no signs of fuel for the algae blooms. <A good start, and a good investment...I assume that means that you have negligible phosphate, nitrate, a high pH and high alkalinity, right?> As far as food goes, we only feed flake food, and a quantity that can be consumed immediately once a day. Unfortunately, I don't have a sump filtration system, everything is hang on. I have a AquaC Remora skimmer, Millennium 2000 hang-on filter, and 3 power heads in the tank. Would changing 75% of the water help any? <Water changes with quality source water are always good. However, these kinds of problems should be corrected with consistency over time. Regular, modest water changes will do the trick. No need for sudden, massive moves. Get on a water change schedule that you can handle and stay with it. Try also to increase the flow in your system to increase oxygenation and maintain a high, stable pH.> Also, I've added 3 pictures showing you what I was describing, in case the verbiage I used wasn't adequate. This was 3 days after a cleaning. Jim <Well, Jim- I really think that you're on the right track. Continued good husbandry (especially the water changes and replacing/cleaning your mechanical filtration media regularly), time and your patience will do the trick. Remember the other things that we touched on in our previous correspondence, and stay at it! You can do it! Regards, Scott F.>


Hair algae help   7/13/07 Hi Crew, I have been trying to get rid of my incessant hair algae for months... help! Here's my info: 90g + 30g sump, ~500gph return, ~1500gph closed loop on a 7 outlet manifold, 20000K MH lights. I have 10 small community fish: 5 blue-green Chromises, two ocellaris, one hogfish, one purple Pseudochromis, one lawnmower blenny. Bunch of soft corals and LPS, as well. I change water with TM salt every 1-2 weeks, 5-10 gal. <Bigger water changes might help. Try 10-20g every two weeks for awhile.> My relevant parameters: Sal 1.0245 pH 8.2 KH 9.8 NO3 0mg/L Ca 400ppm PO4 0mg/L Mg 1195 mg/L Any suggestions would be helpful. I keep siphoning this stuff out, and it keeps growing and growing. <If you don't have a protein skimmer, I'd suggest getting one (that and doing bigger water changes). In the mean time, if it's growing on the glass you can scrap it off with a razor. If you're looking for a fish to eat it, one of the Bristletooth tangs might do the trick. However, once it eats all the algae in your tank, you'll have to take care to feed it well. They need a lot of algae and vegetable matter to survive.> Thanks, Jason <De nada, Sara M.>

Algae Issues - Need Help! -- 07/08/07 Hello WetWebMedia Crew, <Hello Suresh, Mich here.> I have a 90G Reef Tank. My setup as below: 90G Reef 440W VHO Phosban Reactor Protein Skimmer Live Stock 2 yellow wrasse 1 yellow tang 1 purple tang 1 maroon clown 1 scooter blenny 1 skunk cleaner shrimp 1 copperband butterfly 1 PJ cardinal <I hope this is your final stocking plan.> Tank Parameters are as below. Temp - 77 degrees 0 - ammonia 0 - nitrate/nitrite 0 - phosphate <Very good.> I use following chemicals regularly B-Ionic Calcium and Alkalinity - 30ml Reef Iodide - 10ml every other day. <Do you test your levels? You should...> DT - twice a week <OK.> Recently I had an outbreak of following algae in my tank. It is taking over my rocks. I am not sure if it is diatom or hair algae. It looks brown but like thick hair??. <Many possibilities.> I have included some pictures too. <I sort of see.> Could you kindly help me identify this algae and especially to address this issue please? <I'm sorry but I cannot ID the algae from the provided photos. I can help you hopefully address the issue. You may want to consider adding a refugium and macro algae, increasing the frequency/volume of you water changes, Hopefully you are using RO/DI water. Would be wise to check your source water for TDS. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm > Thank you so much. <You are most welcome! Mich>

Algae Issues - Need Help!   7/8/07 Recently I had an outbreak of following algae in my tank. It is taking over my rocks. I am not sure if it is diatom or hair algae. It looks brown but like thick bush of hair?? <The pictures are really blurry, but I think it's some kind of hair algae. It might be collecting sediment or growing other types of algae and/or cyano/diatoms on it too. But again, I can't make out much of anything in the photos. In any case, you'll want to lower your nutrients somehow. Do you run a protein skimmer? How often do you do water changes? More skimming and more frequent water changes should help. If you're looking for stuff that eats this, I've seen emerald crabs eat a variety of different kinds of filamentous algae. But there's no guarantee they'll eat what you have or eat most of it.> I have included some pictures too. Could you kindly help me address this issue please? <I don't have quite enough information about your tank to give you really specific advice. All I can tell you is that these types of algae problems are brought on by an excess of nutrients. You can battle this a number of ways; with skimming, siphoning of debris, water changes, etc.> Thank you so much. Regards,
<De nada and good luck :-)
Sara M.>

Bubbles... Tiny Bubbles, Nuisance Algae, Make Me Unhappy  7/8/07 Hello WetWeb, <Hi Mike, Mich here.> I have not been able to figure out what problem I have. <Looks like excess nutrients to me!> There is some algae growing on my live rock which I thought was Cyanobacteria but I'm second-guessing this. I don't think Cyanobacteria has tiny bubbles that grow on top if it. <It can, but could also be Diatoms or Dinoflagellates....some of the largest oxygen producers on the planet!> I'm sure it's not Ventricaria ventricosa. <You are correct here.> These bubbles grow very quickly after I remove them (2days) and they seem to constantly become loose and float the surface. I'm going crazy trying to figure out what this is. <The bubbles are likely O2.> I will attach some very crappy pictures but it's the best I can do with this camera. <Hee! Your description, not mine... but I won't argue! Perhaps check for a macro setting (The symbol usually looks like a flower.) on your camera for future close up shots.> Let me know what other info you need and I will try my best to provide it. <You should check you nitrates, phosphates and silicate levels in your tank. There is likely an excess of nutrients. You may also want to check the TDS of your source water, which is hopefully RO/DI. May also want to consider a refugium with Macro algae if you don't already have one. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm > Thanks for the help


Algae Issues - Need Help!  -- 07/07/07 Hellow WetWebMedia Crew, I have a 90G Reef Tank. My setup as below. 90G Reef 440W VHO Phosban Reactor Protein Skimmer Live Stock 2 yellow wrasse 1 yellow tang 1 purple tang 1 maroon clown 1 scooter blenny 1 skunk cleaner shrimp 1 copperband butterfly 1 PJ cardinal I use following chemicals regularly B-Ionic Calcium and Alkalinity - 30ml Reef Iodide - 10ml every other day. <no need to add the iodide> Recently I had an outbreak of following algae in my tank. It is taking over my rocks. I am not sure if it is diatom or hair algae. It looks brown but like thick bush of hair??. I have included some pictures too. <Would you kindly try sending the pictures again? We didn't get any attachments with this email. Thank you. Sara M.> Could you kindly help me address this issue please? Thank you so much. Regards, Suresh

Phormidium... BGA et al. "algal" woes   7/7/07 Dear Crew, Without going into a lot of tank details, I'm perplexed with algae (as is everyone). I think I've gotten hair algae under control. Now I believe I have Phormidium growing. I consulted J. Sprung's Algae, to read that this will take over in nutrient poor water and that Derbesia and Phormidium have inverse relationships. How do you arrive at the happy medium? Jeff <Mmm... either through nutrient limitation... though very hard to do with such established, or in settings with established BGA/Cyanobacteria and Greens as these... OR through prevention, competition... some possible predation... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Peruse the bright yellow tray (N2 wastes)... and the lower dark green Algae ones contents. Bob Fenner>

Nutrient Control= Algae Control - 06/27/07 Hi There, <Hey! Scott F. in tonight!> Love your site. I've been using it since I've started my 46 gallon marine aquarium 3 years ago. I searched all the algae related issues, but I didn't see situations that I considered the same as mine. I perform a 10% water change every week and haven't changed my regimen since I've owned it. <I love it when hobbyists get habitual about water changes- great practice!> However, for the past 3 months, I've had this terrible brown algae problem. It is extremely hair-like in nature, which isn't unusual according to the articles I've read. The part that gets me is that the day after I perform a tank cleaning, the hair algae is growing back quickly. To get rid of it, I scrub off any surfaces that possess it, including the 8 lb live rock that I have in there. Some of the artificial pieces are bleached each week to remove all the growth. By the time the week ends, my tank is completely brown again and the hair algae is about 1/4" in length. <Ahh, relatively common, yet exasperating problem.> About 4 months ago, I changed my light fixture to a dual fixture equipped with a marine Glo bulb to go along with the Aqua Glo bulb. All the pink growth that I had turned white (from what I could gather it was related to light shock), and it's finally starting to turn pink again. How do I stop the algae? Should I be testing for something else? <Well, the key to control of virtually any algae is nutrient control. There are a lot of things that you can do, as we'll see in a minute. I would also test for substances like phosphate or silicate, both of which are major contributors to nuisance algae blooms.> I only have a Clownfish, Royal Gramma, and Cleaner Shrimp in there. My numbers I've tested for are nitrate - 0, ammonia - 0, ph - 8.0, and nitrite - 0. And my water temp is 80 degrees. Any ideas? Jim <Well, Jim, there are lots of possibilities. The water parameters that you mention seem good, but there is something in there that is fueling these blooms. Likely suspects are the aforementioned phosphates and silicates. Start by investigating your source water. Most tap water sources do contain phosphates, and in some instances, silicates. If you don't already- utilize a reverse osmosis/deionization system to purify your tap water before you mix it with salt. Remember, if your source water contains these "algae fuels", every time you faithfully execute your water changes, you're re-fueling the nuisance algae bloom. Next, do utilize some form of chemical filtration media in your system, such as activated carbon, Poly Filter, or the like, and replace it regularly. Also, be sure to feed carefully, not allowing excesses of food, or packing juices from frozen foods to enter the tank...These juices are absolute "rocket fuel" for algae blooms. Carefully rinse food before feeding, and feed without letting these juices enter the display aquarium. Another thought would be to grow and harvest some "competitive" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha, in your system's sump, which will help compete against the nuisance algae for available nutrients. Maintain a steady, high pH and consistent alkalinity. Keep water movement vigorous within the aquarium. Attention to these details, along with your continued good husbandry habits, will ensure that you'll defeat this nuisance algae invasion. Good luck in your fight! Regards, Scott F.>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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