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FAQs on Marine Algae and Their Control 2

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 on Algae Control: Marine Algae Control FAQs 1, Marine Algae Control 3, Marine Algae Control 4, Marine Algae Control 5, Marine Algae Control 6, Marine Algae Control 7, Marine Algae Control 8, Marine Algae Control 9, Marine Algae Control 10, 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

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Algae Question 7/12/05 Good afternoon! <Already!?> Forgive me if this question has been answered on the FAQ's page, but I can't seem to find a solution and I'm really concerned about my situation!!!  Many thanks in advance to you all for your assistance! I've got a orange-brown algae beginning to carpet my FOWLR aquarium.  Could you offer some advice on a resolution for this? <Heeeeee!> The tank is about 5 months old, 60 gallons, and contains 35 pounds of live rock.  Water quality is good, <How good is that?> and at the proper temp. <Ahh, wonderful> The tank is located against a rear wall in the house, away from direct sunlight, but ample ambient lighting as the room is very sunny. <A good clue> I do not have a lighting schedule/timer, and using a basic agro-bulb in fluorescent fixture.  I will be getting a better lighting system and put it on a timer this week. Is this type of algae normal?   <Yep> Diatoms, perhaps? <Maybe... but diatoms are usually light brown overall... you have some BGA at least> Ideally, is green algae supposed to take over? <Nah!> Anything you can offer in advice is most welcome!   Thanks again to you all for being there for we rookies!  Couldn't do it without you! Jim <... time to read my friend... Let's have you start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm & like late night teevee, "Wait! There's more!"... read the linked files above... till you achieve Nirvana... or its pet-fish enlightenment equivalent. Simple answers for you there. Bob Fenner>

Tried 3 skimmers 7/7/05 Hi, I have read a lot of articles on algae and skimmers. I am ready to call it quits and take down the reef. Please help! :-( I have a 2 year old 90 gallon reef with a sump, Eheim canister, 150lb of live rock, UV, custom sea life ? chiller and a Kent Nautilus TE Protein Skimmer w/ a Mag 7 that replaced an Aqua c sea urchin pro w/ a Mag 3. I have a Little Giant 4-MDQX-SC. I have 3 Maxi Jet 900 power heads placed thought the tank for extra movement. My problem is algae. I have Cyano and a dark green almost brown hair algae that I can't get rid of. I also get the brown slime on my sand bed. I bought 2 sea cucumbers that really help. 60 blue leg crabs, 40 snails.  I have had a problem for over 9 months. I have tried everything all my water parameters are good. (Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0, calcium 450ppm+, pH 8.1 temp 77. Everyone says the same things "you have high phosphates" or "your bulbs are bad" or "it's your top off water. So I thought it might be my RO unit, but I started buying RO water from my LFS for the past month and nothing has changed. I feed very little one time per day, so I don't think I over feed. I just bought a 3rd skimmer and I'm not getting the dark stuff you always talk about. I never really ever had it. Even with my aqua c urchin pro. That's why I replaced it. The Kent nautilus Te is rated for 300gl. But I still get the same color, like a dark green to brown, but definitely not even close to a black. It fills up ? the cup a day but so did my Aqua C.  I know that it's not a good skimmer but I thought it might work better than the Aqua c because that was only rated for a 75 gallon. <Aqua C's are conservatively rated in my opinion.  I would probably use the Aqua C over the Kent.> What can I do to tune the skimmer? <Skimmers should be cleaned weekly for optimal efficiency.>I really think I would receive divorce papers in the mail if I bought the skimmer I want. Also when I hooked up the new skimmer I discovered a thick brown mud like build up under my LR in my sump. You know right under the area that you can't see. It was really nasty it felt like mud. Could this have been the nutrients feeding the algae? <Definitely helps grow the stuff.>Any suggestions would be appreciated. <Do you do 10% water changes weekly.  If your sand/gravel bed is more than two inches deep, this acts as a nitrate factory unless you are employing a DSB with all the critters in the sand.  When changing water you should vacuum the sand bed.  I do mine weekly and you would not believe how yellow the water being emptied is from the detritus in the sand.  Some foods also contain small amounts of phosphate.  Frozen foods should be strained in a brine shrimp net to remove all the yuk they are frozen in.  Hope this helps.  Also google WWM, keyword "algae control".  James (Salty Dog)>

Algae Morning to you all from England, I have set up an 65 US gallon tank about five months ago, my first. I really made an effort to read up beforehand, but am constantly surprised by the amount of information needed to be successful. Anyway, my main problem of the moment is with algae. Most aspects of the aquarium are improving, but I am confused about the large, fast growing algae on my live rock. I only have a little so far, about 15 of your American pounds of South Pacific rock from 2 different sources. The algae is more brown than green, has several stems with narrow, inch long leaves, has grown to around 4 inches tall and started to produce round gas filled balls. <Looks like a dwarf kelp? Probably a type of Sargassum. Not too unusual, very fast growing.> It is rooted on the LR and there are many clumps, not seemingly connected with each other. I recently pulled some out as it is covering the otherwise pretty LR. The Yellow Tang, snails & hermit don't seem to like it. There is also a dusting of brown diatom  algae on mainly the walls. I only have 2 * 40W of fluorescent lights. I have one internal filter & one external canister filter, a Bak-Pak skimmer (gets a little waste per day, not much) and use only RO water last few months. <The small daily production is ok, but could be better and I am glad to hear you are using an RO unit.> I have 3 Chromis, a yellow tang & a solid purple Gramma, which I think is actually a Dottyback. <Probably either Pseudochromis porphyreus or fridmani.> Also a blood shrimp called shrimpy, 4 turbo snails, 2 red legged hermits. S.G.: 1.023 pH: 8.0 (am currently raising with Kent buffer) temp: 26C amm: 0 nitrite: 0 nitrate: 0 phos: > 0, seems to be between 0 & 0.25. Have recently added a phosphate sponge. I don't use any other additives, except carbon. Can you tell me what to do about the algae? <Please begin your education here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeasfriend.htm  and following on through the other linked files.> Best Regards, Peter <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Re: blue green algae problem Thanks Steve, after viewing pictures I am sure the brown rusty growth is indeed diatoms - not blue/green algae. I must have panicked and assumed the worst. One more thing though, you wrote the following: <First, lets test your O2 level. Drop an airstone in the sump and bubble it like crazy for one day and see if that makes a difference. If it does, I would add a powerhead or two.> If the airstone does make a difference can I skip the powerheads and just add an airstone. <That will help your O2 level, but not your circulation problem. I like to have a minimum of ten times the tank volume in gph.> If so, can I leave it in the sump or would I need to put it in the main aquarium? <The sump is better, less splash/salt creep.> Again, thanks much for your time and knowledge. Jeff <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Hair / Slime Algae <<Greetings...>> I have the following set-up: 80 Gallon Tank. Turboflotor Skimmer. Filter through Eheim 2026 via UV to Tank. 40Kg of Live Rock Good Water Parameters. Nitrate at 10ppm. Water Change using RO at 10% per week. Tank been running 6 months. Good Coral, Invert and Fish growth. no deaths!!! <<Huzzah!>> Problem: Still getting hair and slime algae which despite my best efforts I can not get to stay away. Can you help with some advice as to what else I could do......is there any livestock that eats this stuff ??? <<Tuxedo urchins will eat this stuff, as do some pygmy angels although not in appreciable quantities. I would put a couple of powerheads in the tank and really up your circulation. That and manual removal I think will be your best bet.>> Am busy setting up a new tank of 7 x 2 x 2 with a 5 x 2 x 1 Plenum sump. and I would like to ensure I can eradicate my algae problem before I run this system as it is a real pain extracting the stuff when you have a tank full of Livestock and rock. <<True, but some would say is part of new systems coming into their own - a sign a maturation that like other life cycles, needs time to come and go.>> Please help Regards Steve Tope <<Cheers, J -- >>

Silicate Hi Bob and experts, <cheers> Today I got few questions, 1) Is there any algae that absorb silicate other than diatom ? <tons... literally metric tons :)> 2) Other then using skimmer, PolyFilter, and RO , is there any other natural way to remove diatom ? <many natural processes do and can be harnessed in system dynamics like mass-harvested refugiums... still, its like reinventing the wheel. Why bother when the most direct and reliable way is to screen it on the import side with purified water used for evap and water changes and then aggressive skimming in the system? Both are key ingredients to success with marine aquaria. buffered DI water and a good skimmer that produces dark skimmate every day. Best regards> Thanks Regards Danny

Maiden's Hair and a diving question.... (Goin' to California with an achin' in my heart) Hello Mr. Fenner,  Phil here, I have a patch of Maiden's Hair in my 12 gallon Eclipse. It's getting bigger everyday. I plan to remove it and cut it down to size today. Its about the size of a baseball, my Tomato Clown seems to think its an anemone.  <Neat> Should I remove most of it or just trim it? <I'd try cutting away about half... see how the Clown does... keep the patch at about what you consider manageable size/shape, attractive> Thanks! BTW I will be in LA area from Aug 15 through Aug. 24. I am a certified open water scuba diver. Could you point out any good diving sites? Thanks again!  <Mmm, well... I'd make it on down to Laguna Beach if you could... Scotchman's Cove... and there's a couple other sites near there (that might be better depending on the day's tides, currents, waves). If you can spare the time to drive up north, there are many fabulous sites (with a 7 mil suit or dry) in and around Monterey... Jade Cove all the way to off of the Aquarium... Do chat this up with the local dive shops, do take care in planning your dive/diving your plan... and DO dive with a local buddy who "knows the terrain". Bob Fenner>

Cyanobacteria & Diatoms Hello, I have a question regarding Cyanobacteria and diatoms. I have a 55 gallon tank with 1 false Percula, 1 coral beauty, 1 green Chromis, and 1 finger leather coral. The tank is about 1 year old and has approximately 30 pounds of Fiji live rock. About 3-4 weeks ago I had an outbreak of diatoms and a day later red algae (Cyano) started showing up. I was told that it was because of my water filter did not filter out all the necessary elements. I bought a new filter and have done a water change using the new filter but nothing has changed. <I would investigate purchasing a reverse osmosis or deionization unit.> I cannot get rid of the diatoms or Cyano, and glass cleaning is almost daily, and the Cyano is all over the rocks and on the substrate. It is becoming a real pain in the rear end. I was told by one LFS to buy a filter pad that is made for removing this stuff, and I was told by another LFS to use Kent Poly-Ox to remove this stuff. <I would much prefer you use the filter pad to remove contaminants rather than use some chemical. But, you shall soon see that the added expense of absorption media to remove contaminants (phosphate pads, Chemi-Pure, PolyFilters, etc.) could easily be off set by the purchase of a water purification unit to avoid adding them to the tank in the first place.> I am afraid to use the poly-ox because you have to remove the carbon filters while using it. Would you suggest another method, or is one of these better than the other? <The best is to use purified water, but of the choices I would use the resin pads.> Tank Specs: 55 gallon (No sump) Emperor 400 filter Seaclone skimmer (Upgrading tomorrow to an Agressor AVS-90) 2 x 55 power compacts 2 MaxiJet 1200 powerheads 30# liverock 2 - 5# of Caulerpa PH 8.6 Alk 8 dKH Amm 0 - 0.25 (Not sure of reading, Red Sea Amm test kit sucks!) Nitrate 0 Calcium 400 Your help and/or suggestions would be appreciated! Thank You, Jim Stawiarski, Pittsburgh, PA <I suggest you check out the Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society, Inc. The webpage is www.pmas.org. Our next meeting is Saturday, July 27th at the Palace Inn in Monroeville. Both Anthony and I are members. -Steven Pro>

Nutrients in Salt Mix Hi Bob, I'm wondering if when you do a water change do you add nutrients for algae growth even if your salt mix is nitrate and phosphate free and you are using RO-di water. <None of the major nutrients.> I think I'm doing too many water changes, 25% a week, and I can't control my hair algae in my 130gallon reef. My nitrates and phosphates are zero, I have a refugium with Caulerpa growing well, but can't control the hair algae. <Something else is out of whack; over feeding, over stocking, under skimming, etc. Please see here for additional information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm> My LFS told me that if you have no nitrates or phosphates to do very little water changes maybe 5% every 2 months. <I am a big fan of water changes.> He does no water changes at all in his reef tanks and everything is super clean even in the tanks with 400 watt metal halides. <This will eventually get the better of him.> I have a good skimmer, my alkalinity is 14-15 dKH, calcium 400 ppm, pH 8.2, corals are nice, no phosphates or nitrates in make up water. Do you know of another nutrient that could be in the salt mix making it grow. I use Kent sea salt, maybe molybdenum or something. Thanks, D <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Bubble Algae Dear Bob, Can you please tell me how to control green bubble algae? It is starting to get the better of my tank and me. I remove some but if you burst them more pop up. Hope you can help. Tom in the UK P.S. My tank is 60 gallon mini reef, only four fish at the moment and five shrimp, six snails, six hermit crabs, and soft corals. <Please begin your education here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm  and continuing on through the related linked files at the top of the page, in blue. -Steven Pro>

Hair, green film and brown slime algae Hi <<and hello to you.>> love your site very useful. I have a 130 gallon reef with plenty live rock corals and a few small fish. I have a refugium with Caulerpa growing nicely. Skimmer is producing nice skimmate everyday. Nitrates, phosphates, ammonia, nitrite are 0.I have tested these parameters with multiple tests and they all say the same =0.I have very intense light because I am planning to buy shallow water sps. I have 440 watts of actinic VHO, and 750 watts of metal halides at 6500k. My sump is lit with a marc Weiss photosynthetic sump 250 watts halide running 16 hours a day. Actinics are on 14 hours and other halides are on about 8 hours. My problem is hair algae, green film algae, and a new brown slime that has developed that is talking over the tank. The slime makes long strands with little air bubbles attached. Every week I do a 20%water change and try to siphon up as much as possible, but it just comes back a day later. <<Not really a surprise given the amount of light you've got cranking on that tank. Specifically, it's a multi-ingredient soup of which lighting plays a large factor, and you've got A LOT of lighting.>> I hardly feed the fish trying to get them to eat the hair algae but they don't seem interested very much.<<Snails are more likely to east this.>> Supplements I add are a 2 part calcium solution and some iodine. I have about 40 hermit crabs and 20 snails. I have tried a red slime remover but it has no effect on the slime. It is starting to suffocate some corals and a sponge. I do not now what to do. <<More circulation within the main display. Makes it more difficult for these types of algae to take hold. Additionally, you should also try some macro algae in that well-lit refugium of yours, and these will compete for the same nutrients as the problem algae and BGA.>> My LFS said to raise alkalinity to 16 dKH, but I don't now if it will work. <<I don't think that will help.>> I am planning on buying more hermit crabs and snails do you think they can help? <<Somewhat, sure - no crabs, just snails.>> how many should I add? <<Not too many, I would try 10 [snails, no crabs] and see if that helps>> and what kind? <<I'd say whatever you can get your hands on that is a guaranteed grazer. I rarely have the luxury of choosing - if you do, get a mix of grazers.>> I have tried leaving only my Actinics on for 10 days, but it did not do much. <<Still able to promote photosynthesis.>> My LFS also told me that bumble bee snails will kill other snails and hermits. <<No experience with these.>> Is this true? <<You might ask this question on our forum, http://WetWebFotos.com/talk/ >> please help my tank, it is getting greener and browner every day <<If you haven't already, check out these articles: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >> big d <<Cheers, J -- >>
Hair, green film and brown slime algae Hi again <<Hello,>> I forgot to tell you that my tank has plenty of circulation and that ph is 8.3,alkalinity is 12dkh and calcium is 425mg-l <<funny, I did suggest more circulation, but I would ask you, what is plenty? I would contend that you still need more circulation. Natural conditions are almost impossible to reproduce - so... in practical terms, one can never have enough flow/circulation. Cheers, J -- >>

Algae in a cycling tank Hi Bob, Anthony, Steve, Anytime I need to know about Aquaria your site is the first I go to! You guys do a huge service to the hobby. I started a 80 gallon reef tank a month ago. I put in the water and sand from the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily I live in Florida! Then 2 weeks ago I put in 90 pounds of live rock. I am using a wet/dry, a Red Sea Berlin Classic Skimmer, a Custom Sea Life 9 watt Double Helix UV Sterilizer powered by a Rio 200 running 24/7. My readings are- Ammonia .50 Nitrites .25 Nitrates 5.0 PH 8.2 Calcium 450 SG 1.026 There is algae (green and red) starting to grow on the rocks and sides of the tank. I can clean the sides of the tank but how can I get the algae off the rocks? <You don't want to. That is a major portion of the "live" in liverock.> Are my readings to high to support a clean up crew? <Yes, please wait until ammonia and nitrite are both zero.> If it is ok to get a clean up crew, what would you suggest? <Stay away from hermit crabs. Use a variety of different snails; Turban, Astrea, Cerith, Nerites, etc.> Thanks for the excellent web site! John <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Hair Algae problems Can Nori seaweed cause hair algae problem. RGibson <Not likely... not much "fertilizer" content (little nitrate, phosphate to it/dried, the Red Algae Porphyra). Bob Fenner>

Long Time Hair Algae Problem Hello Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro this evening.> I have been fighting long hair green algae in my tank for over 18 months. Have tried every method except chemical treatment, which I refuse to do. <Good, I do not like the chemical treatments either. They attack the symptom of the problem, not the root cause.> I have a semi-reef tank with 50 to 60 lbs of rock in a 46 gallon tank. The water conditions are right where they should be. <Algae does not grow without nutrients.> But this algae keeps covering all the rock. I have decided to take all the rock out, give it a good cleaning, and redesign my tank setup. I have read in one of your books about some people use a bleach wash and I have also read about fresh water dipping. I am interested to hear you feel is the best way to attack this algae problem. <I would recommend neither. First, take out and scrub all the rock of hair algae. Then do a large water change, 50% or more. Look into the use of purified water; RO, RO/DI, or DI. Also, look at your overall husbandry issues; water change schedule, protein skimming, other nutrient export processes, feeding, etc.> I am not worried about anything on the rock that I will treat. There is not enough coralline algae to worry about and the few small rocks with plants, I will clean separately. Thanks in advance for any advice, Dave Konwinski <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Long Time Hair Algae Problem
Hello Steven Pro, Thanks for the reply. I have taken most of the rock out before and scrubbed off the algae and still have a major problem. I only have two fish in the tank now and feed very minimum amount of food. I also have a good protein skimmer setup which has been doing a good job on removing heavy green protein. <How often? If not minimally several times weekly, it is not performing well enough.> I have tried all the different options to rid the tank of this algae including different types of snails, water changes, reducing light times, use only RO water, heavy circulation, pulled and scrubbed of the algae. I have read all types of articles and talked to numerous LFS people. I already know that taking the rock out for a scrubbing will not work, however if you do not recommended a dip treatment, what about just taking the rock out and letting it dry out completely? <I really do not want you to make dead rock out of your liverock. There are nutrients coming from somewhere. You just have not been able to determine where. These things do not happen in a vacuum. Hair algae requires food and light.> I just am not sure what to do besides just getting rid of the rock, but it adds so much to the tank. <Continue to look for the root cause.> Thanks again, Dave <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Algae Problems Hi I have a 130 gallon reef tank, I have always had a bit of algae. Recently, I have added a refugium and upgrade my lighting. Corals are doing great, but hair algae has started to be a serious problem. It is now covering everything and growing fast. It looks like it's starting to choke up the Caulerpa in the refugium. My nitrate level is around 2mg/l, phosphates are often non-detectable. <Phosphate test kit results are dubious.> I got a good skimmer and it is running ok. <Is it producing enough dark skimmate to fill its cup several times weekly. If not, it is not running ok.> Is there anyway to stop the growth. <Nutrient control, both import and export.> I've heard about only leaving actinics on for 2 weeks, will this help. <Treats the symptoms and not the problem.> I do not overfeed and watch everything I supplement in the tank. My halides are on for 6 hours a day. I don't think its too much. I test my nitrates and phosphates with 3 different kits so I think the numbers are good. Please help tank is getting greener and greener!!!!!!!!! <Do read through the many articles and FAQ files found on WWM regarding problem algae beginning here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm -Steven Pro>

Silica in my puffer tank Hi ..I have a new Tank (4 weeks after maturing) and I have 3 puffers in there...before I knew any different I used tap water and that has resulted in horrible brown water ..I have since moved on to RO water .. although reassures it will not hurt my cherished puffers I wondered if there was anything we can do top speed up the process of getting rid of the silica ..we have a poly filter and have put carbon into the filter .. thanks a lot Steve <Mmm, there are a few things... some chemical filtrants, using other organisms to take up the silicate... but I would just wait... time and regular maintenance will resolve/solve this issue best. Bob Fenner>

Algae Problems Hi Bob, <Steven pro in this morning.> Once again I'm back for your help..... In my 60 gallon tank I have only 50lbs of live rock and some sand. I also have few fish (Yellow tang, a couple of damsels, clown fish and cleaner shrimp). Water quality is perfect, fish are perfect and everything seems fine thanks for you and your crew's help. I'm planning on adding more rock soon, and the only problem I have here now is rapid growth of green algae that looks like sponge or maybe very thin hairy grass. The stuff that grows on the glass I can clean, but the one that is growing on the rock I can't. It's been very annoying. Any suggestions that you might have to control this. <Much has been written on the topic here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and on the subsequent linked pages.> I have been cleaning it once a week or else I can't even see the fish. Thanks again. ~Sam <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Moving Algae Bob, Or Steve :) <Steven here this morning.> If you are moving and hence setting up a new tank, is it a bad idea to move the rock on which hair algae has taken a strong hold? <No, but do yourself a favor and remove as much as possible first. I would give it all a good scrub with a stiff plastic bristle brush. I bought one at the grocery store that works well, like a large tooth brush.> Is there such thing as seeding a tank with algae? <Yes, but all liverock will have some hair algae on it anyway.> or it makes no diff cause the new tank will not be in balance and I will have to go through the bloom anyway? <Possibly, most people experience diatoms blooms in new tanks. Some have hair problems.> I was under skimming but have bought a new skimmer for the new 180 (old 108) <Properly sized and maintained skimmers and other nutrient export mechanisms help greatly. As well as, good source water, proper feedings, and husbandry practices.> Thanks, Robert <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stocking question et al. Hi WWM Crew, I originally sent this to Bob's hotmail address, but I think that's decommissioned? Lucky I checked the address on the WWM home page *duh*. I've got a few questions actually after re-reading a lot of the FAQs on the site (love how the content is always new!) 1. In my 30 gallon, I've got an ocellaris pair, 1 six-line wrasse, and 1 royal Gramma. All under 2 inches each. I'm quite happy with this mix so far, no aggression whatsoever from any of them to each other (except occasionally from the big ocellaris to the smaller male) and all healthy and active. If I wanted to get a butterfly or angel, which do you recommend? I'm leaning towards the Centropyge acanthops or eibli for the angels, or the threadfin butterfly...After reading the FAQs, it seems as though I'm either at the limit or could *maybe* fit one more small fish, not sure on that. <One more small fish, C. acanthops or argi would be ok.> 2. Tons of brown algae (very fine dots all over) after reading the FAQs, it seems my best option is to get a protein skimmer (I only have a big "bio-wheel" filter hanging now)...which do you recommend? I was going to get a Remora that hangs on the back, it's about 180 bucks, so I want to make sure that's a good one. I also want to upgrade to a 55 or 65 gallon tank in the near future, so the skimmer should support up to that amount (along with me getting a new wet/dry filter). <The Remora should serve you well, now in for the larger tank.> 3. One more question, should I get some snails to help with the algae? I had put two turbo snails before and they died fairly quickly (after eating some of the algae) and am scared that something is wrong with the water for invertebrates...is that possible? <More likely a problem with their acclimation. Snails in particular can be problematic. A slow drip is best. You can probably find more info with a search of WWM.> Thanks for any hints or suggestions, keep up the good work folks! -Jack <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Algae Hello Again: Sorry to bother you again but my algae problem is not going away. 90FOWLR.wet/dry started to take out bio balls on last water change w/9.5 return pump) 80lbs. cured live rock, magnum 350 w/carbon, 2 55W subcompacts( on 6-8 hrs.), cc. 1 Picasso trigger, recently added juv. emperor and blue guinea fowl puffer.  <yes...larger messy feeding fish will make nuisance algae a tougher battle and also makes good nutrient export processes so much more critical (change small amounts of carbon weekly instead of larger amounts monthly... also skimmer needs to produce daily! to have any hope of keeping up with the excess algae growth> All my parameters check out fine. I changed my live rock and cc approx. 3 months back. Since doing so, I obtain brown algae similar to what grows on glass growing on my live rock and glass every few days.  <yes...diatoms. Silica based and a sign of accumulated nutrients. If not overfeeding or messy feeding fishes, then the above nutrient export processes are compromised> I do not overfeed. What took 3-4 weeks for the brown algae to grow on glass, now only takes a few days. I recently did a 25 ga. water change, with all new filter pads, poly filter and carbon, and scrubbed all my live rock. Now I can see the live rock with brown algae growing on it similar to what grows on glass and starting on glass again. It has only been a 3 days. What is going on? This is really annoying me, I never had this problem before I changed the cc and the live rock.  <yes...but the trigger is a messy feeder and two new aggressive feeders were added (the angel and the sloppy puffer). The extra food they require and the subsequent waste they produce will contribute to the fertilizer for the algae> I add an additive for my coralline algae to grow, (B-Ionic) you indicated that would not effect anything. I will probably obtain a protein skimmer in near future, but I would like to know what is causing this algae to grow and make my beautiful tank look dreary in such a short time.  <wow, my friend. Once you get a skimmer that works well (buy the best that you can afford) you'll wonder in amazement how you ever lived without one. It is a critical piece of marine equipment for the aquarium> Have read under algae problems and prevention. Any help would be greatly appreciated so I do not pull out what ever hair I have left in my head. Thank you again for your support on this. <to experienced aquarists, this is a very simple dilemma... rest assured that it will all be fine very soon. If the budget allows, invest in a Euroreef skimmer and then enjoy a magnificent marine aquarium. Best regards, Anthony> Regards, Mendy

New Tank Overloaded with Algae Hello all It's been awhile since I've written with a question. Here's my set up: 90 gal, all glass aquarium, 100 lbs cured Fiji live rock, 2 powerheads, sump and overflow (no bioballs). <What no skimmer?> We've had the system set up for 2 1/2 weeks now. No fish, just cycling with live rock. We have a 40 watt actinic and a 40 watt regular bulb. For the first week we left the lights on for only 1-2 hours a day, then after the first week we have been leaving them on all 12 hours on a timer. The problem is there is algae everywhere!! Now I've gotten different opinions on this. Some say it's great others, bad. IT looks unsightly. <As you said, definitely unsightly.> We've purchased a magnet cleaner but it won't be in for a few days. There's brown and green algae on the sand and green fern like algae all over the glass. Should we be concerned? <You do want to try to control nutrients and therefore nuisance algaes. This is where a quality skimmer, good source water, and regular water changes help.> Our tank is almost fully cycled, 2 days ago the readings were: pH: 8.2-8.4, NH3 0-.25, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5-10. We're hoping to add a fish to our quarantine tank this weekend and hopefully in 2 weeks get the fish in the main tank and then get some snails and shrimp in there to clean up the mess!! I guess I'm just wondering if this is ok? <You could add the snails before the fish as long as there is no ammonia or nitrite.> The temp is about 78. Another question I have that I've also been asking around on, is do we need to be doing water changes while the tank is cycling? The woman I trust at our LFS said no but another LFS said yes. We haven't been b/c of the woman I trust. Just looking for your opinion. <The answer is it depends. You can screw up your time cycling by doing water changes, but I would not hesitate to do one when ammonia, nitrite, or total dissolved organics got high enough to begin killing off the live part of the liverock.> One other question. There is also an overgrowth of weird "feather like" clear tentacle looking things coming for all over the live rock. It appears as though they stretch way out and pull back in the rock but I can't tell if that's true or if it's just the current. It's all over the place. See through and very feathery. Very long too, 5-6 inches in some places. What is it? <Sounds like a worm of some sort feeding with a mucous net. Take a look around the Non-Fishes Section for pictures of various animals. Probably nothing to worry about. Again, part of the live in liverock.> Thanks for letting me pick your brain. Katie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Persistent Algae Accumulation Hello, I have an 8 week old 75 gallon reef tank with persistent algae accumulation. In going over materials on this site, a common theme is excess nutrients in the water. I feed twice a day, using frozen foods only. The foods I use are: Blood Worms -- 1/2 frozen cube per feeding Emerald Entree (mix of greens + Mysis shrimp) -- 1/2 frozen cube per feeding Daphnia -- 1 whole cube per feeding (the cubes are smaller than for the other foods) Spirulina enriched Brine shrimp -- 1/2 cube per feeding (when this is used up I will not purchase again) Livestock are all small: 8 Damsels (4 purple with yellow tail, 2 all blue, 2 Fiji) 1 Coral Beauty (*slightly* larger than the Fiji damsels) 1 Flame Angel 1 Yellow Tang (the tank 'giant' at about 3.75 inches in length. The Flame Angel is half the size of the tang, and he is the second largest fish) <A total of five cubes of frozen food per day seems like a lot for this group of fish. If you see any food hit the bottom or get sucked up into the various filters, you have given them too much.> I found this while reading: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm "Similarly, and tied together with high-heat-output lighting, there is an ideal range for the forms of algae you want and those you don't. Here comes another broad generalization. Most of the algae offered in the trade hails from the Caribbean, particularly Florida. It grows best in waters in the seventies (degrees F.). Many of the runaway algae problems I've seen were due to the water being too warm (in the mid-eighties) and fluctuating too much, negatively impacting the health of the desired algae and other livestock." My tank is run somewhat warm: 82-83 by day, 80-81 by night. I am following the recommendation from an article by Ron Shimek, Ph.D.: http://www.animalnetwork.com/fish2/aft/1997/nova/features/1/default. asp <Yes, I do know the recommendation well and I do not agree with it. Dr. Shimek is correct in stating that the greatest diversity of corals come from areas that are relatively warm, but that is not the best choice for captive aquarium where water movement and dissolved oxygen are lower than in nature and our stocking densities are higher.> I have a good skimmer (ETS downdraft Super Reef Devil) that consistently pulls 'gunk' from the water. I run carbon (from Kent Marine) 24/7 on a Hagen 402 with QuickFilter attachment. I also have an Eheim Pro II 2028 canister filter running on this tank. Nitrates are 0. I use the same kit to test Nitrates in my saltwater and freshwater tanks. The kit measures 40 ppm in the freshwater tank and 0 ppm in the saltwater tank. I have no reason to suspect stale reagents. My water supply is from a well (145 feet deep). Rather than state 'help, my tank is an algae farm' (it's not *that* bad anyway), what concrete steps can I take to start making an impact on either my water chemistry or the algae itself? <I would cut back on the foods first.> The algae is really only a problem on the substrate (but it does get thick). I get small accumulation on the glass, but it is easily removed with a magnetic scraper. I have noticed that it gets noticeably worse by day when the lights are on. During the evening, it dissipates somewhat. I do not want to control algae by turning off the lights. This strikes me as not only being a bad idea, but it really isn't a fix at all. <Exactly, much better to correct the root cause.> I'm looking for a battle plan. I do not believe I am overfeeding. Skimmer output is very good. Water is clear, with no measurable nitrates. Where do I go from here? <I would cut your feeding first. Your temperatures seem ok. I recommend no higher than 82 with as little fluctuation as you can control. I do not see anything about water changes, but do keep those regular. Small amounts weekly is best.> Thanks in advance for your help. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Persistent Algae Accumulation Follow-up No, no. ONE full cube per day. I feed half a cube in the morning, and half a cube in the evening. I was simply listing all the types of food that I use. <Ok, one cube per day and you alternate what you use? That does sound ok, no overfeeding. Perhaps something from your well water. Many wells' water quality will vary seasonally. Or could just be algal succession in a fairly new tank, 8 weeks. Keep your alkalinity and calcium levels in their proper ranges and hopefully coralline algae will begin to take over.> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: Persistent algae accumulation
Steven, My apologies. I should have read your entire reply first. I feed ONE full cube per day, as per the previous reply. I perform two 5 gallon water changes per week, typically Friday and Sunday evenings. <Very good schedule and dedication.> I change the carbon in the QuickFilter twice per week, Friday evenings and Tuesday mornings. <Again, very good.> Food never hits the bottom (except for the occasional Daphnia). <Better if none hit, but does not sound too bad.> Are the Daphnia OK to use? They seem very tiny. <Yes, I feed Sweetwater Zooplankton (which is Daphnia) and my fish and corals seem to like it a lot.> Since I doubt that one cube total per day is excessive, what would you have me try next? Maybe nothing? The tank is only eight weeks old. <Yes, see other note, but nothing extra for now. Your husbandry practices seem very good. Just keep up with calcium and alkalinity and good algal succession should begin shortly.> The tang and both are all aggressive grazers. I also have about three dozen assorted snails. The Astrea appear to be the best (there rather large, and one can actually see where they have been cleaning). <I like to use a variety of snails; Astrea, Turban, etc. They all seem to prefer different algae.> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Algae Problems Hello. I LOVE your site! I just stumbled over it, and it is so informative! <thanks kindly for saying so...keep learning!> I have learned quite a bit in the algae section, but have a couple of questions for you. I read (in the algae section) that water movement is important.  <yes... an increase can reduce many nuisance algae by keeping detritus in suspension for export (skimmers) before it becomes algae food, etc> I have a 55 gallon tank and one power head at the top-it is a 1140. I also have a protein skimmer and a Millennium 3000 filter. I have heard about sumps, and canister filters, all types of different things that I do not have. Are these items a must or a good idea?  <the sump is convenient, for many reasons and the canister is a good filter option but neither will directly influence your algae growth like a good skimmer producing daily can> I am beginning to think that my one power head, protein skimmer and filter is not enough. What would you recommend?  <definitely extra flow would be helpful and I would buy more live rock before I would invest in man-made filters... the rock is better by far> I have some live rock in my tank, but it is FULL of reddish algae! I don't want to add chemicals to the tank to get rid of the problem if I don't have to. <its all about nutrient export... you have algae because of nutrients accumulating from the skimmer not producing a cup of dark skimmate daily, overfeeding/overstocking, lack of water changes, etc. One or some of those reasons is the culprit. It is all easy to correct and you can be algae free in just a few weeks. Working a skimmer aggressively (adjustments/tweaking) is your best bet> One other question, should I have my power head placed at the bottom of the tank? I have seen tanks with power heads at the bottom, but I am not sure how you could place them there. <no worries about where to place the powerhead... top is fine where they converge on each other to produce random turbulent flow to prevent dead spots in the tank. Just make it crazy dynamic as best you can> Thanks! You guys are awesome! (I bet you cannot tell I am fairly new to saltwater!) Kelley <we are all new and learning more everyday... best regards, Anthony>

I Have an Algae Question Gentleman, <hmmmm...do refer to our respective photos on the WWM crew page before throwing that word about <wink>> My system (fish only) has been up and running for over 2 months now, with relatively few problems. At first a light brown algae began to form over everything.  <very normal until you get nutrient export processes under control> I was using a standard fluorescent bulb that was about 5 years old for about the first month or so.  <OK... the aged bulb that had surely strayed to the warm side of the spectrum made the algae worse...> I obviously upgraded, to a HO 110 watt 9325 Kelvin color temperature compact made by all-glass aquarium. Big difference I might add on the overall look of my aquarium.  <yes... quite sexy, borderline Swanky> All my parameters are normal, PH: 8.0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0, Temp: 78, Sal.: 1.021, Ammonia: .25 ( I plan on a 10% water change this weekend to fix this).  <do work on getting that pH way up... 8.0 by day means a nighttime reading in the 7's !!! Not only a big stress on fish, but guess what... contributes favorably to nuisance algae growth> After the new lighting, the algae began to take on a greenish tint. It became very heavy and thick turning to a dark green, especially on the substrate. Now certain areas of the algae seen to have "died". Large patches of algae have begun to thin out and turn green-yellow. Is this cause for alarm???  <not alarm, per se... but disgusting nonetheless!> To be honest I would like to remove the algae all together, tends to darken the appearance of my tank. I am assuming less feeding, less light, a good cleaning of my bleached ornamental corals and changing the directions of my power heads from time to time might help in my plight???  <close... small frequent feedings are better than fewer large feedings, less light will not help control algae grown by nutrients (most likely) and more water circulation overall would be better than oscillation. What you really need is aggressive protein skimming (daily production) which can starve out most algae within 2-3 weeks naturally> I know there are products available that claim to aid in this. Do they work?? and do you recommend any?? I have read allot about these "turbo snails" being useful with algae cleanup,  <Astrea species for brown diatoms and Mexican Turban species for green microalgae> but I am under the impression they are only beneficial in a reef tank????  <not correct... they will work for food anywhere they don't get eaten> Is there any biological (Fish, snail, shrimp...etc) remedy?? I prefer not to add any chemicals to my system. <if the algae is a mat forming Cyanobacteria...none will eat it and it may even be toxic. You simply need a skimmer that works well> Also, my LFS just received 2 Semilarvatus Butterflies. They are approx 3-4 inches, are eating (although they appear a slight bit thin, although I saw them just 2 hours after they were shipped in), are curious and swimming fine. Both have very small specks of Lymphocystis on there fins which were present from the shipper. The LFS wants to keep them in their tanks for about 2-3 weeks to cure the Lymphocystis.  <a viral infection that is incurable but is rarely fatal or contagious... just waxes and wanes with stress (long enough to sell them <wink.)>. Also both have small round black markings on the base of the caudal fins. Is this normal???, maybe juvenal markings??? I am very tempted to put the guys on hold especially at $80 bucks each!!!!!  <good things are seldom cheap and cheap things are seldom good> I have read it is not recommended to keep Butterfly's in pairs unless obviously mated. Is this generally apparent???  <if they are bickering and nagging each other then they are an established pair...heheh> If they are not beating the hell out of one another should I be safe??  <actually yes> The LFS told me that these guys were not even supposed to come in, there was a mistake in shipping, and that they are getting harder and harder to get.  <now that is a real pile of crap...er, I mean... an interesting sales technique. These fish are getting cheaper because of improved shipping and collection practices...more plentiful too> Wasn't pushy to buy them either, he knows if I don't someone else will. What do you think????? <Pass until you get a handle on good husbandry in your tank...why algae grows and how to easily control it. A system less than three months old is not appropriate for such delicate and beautiful butterfly fish species. Even as hardy among butterflies, they do not belong in this immature set up and they are not even choice specimens to be in position to fare well/better. Leave them be my friend> Thanks as always!!!! John (Cape Cod) <very welcome... keep reading/learning... do study a fish before you buy it. Kindly, Anthony>

Options for Problem Algae my reef has been set up for about 2 yrs now... the hair algae is driving me crazy. Is that my only option of getting rid of it...algae eating fish? <<No, you can use your hands... seriously, I re-read your other email and my response. Noticed you added the phosphate sponge but have you actually tested for phosphates? These algaes can do well without it, given no other competition. There are definitely fish that will do some damage on algae growth like this, but you can also "help" it along by just reaching in and pulling it out - speaking of which, I have to do this myself tomorrow morning to my fish-only. So you see, happens to me too... I've been growing Caulerpa in a separate tank and I'm going to add it tomorrow in an effort to kick back the hair algae. Between that and the algae eaters, I think we can whip it, yes? Cheers, J -->>

Nitrite-algae problem I have an 80 gallon tank with very fine crushed coral on the bottom, some fake plants and a few rocks, no live rock. I can't seem to bring my nitrite levels down they've been constant at 1.6 for about two months.  <often occurs when a competitive bacteria establishes (may not be a harmful or helpful species, but displaces nitrite converting colonies just the same)> I'm using RO water in changes and I do about 10 gallons a week's have a Fluval 404 filter. <do you have another means of biological filtration besides a 404 filter for this 80 gallon tank (trickle filter, over 40lbs of live rock, etc)? If not, this is your problem my friend> I also have an algae problem. yesterday I scrubbed the tank and vacuumed the sand and no algae left that I could see. by this afternoon there is lots of algae forming on the sand again. is there something that I can add to the water that will prevent this growth with out harming the in habitants.1- cleaner shrimp,2-yellow tangs,2-yellow tail damsels,2-blue damsels,1-3 stripe damsel. <algaecides are not a good habit or even possible with the shrimp in the tank. Algae is easy to cure... it is all about nutrient control. Careful feeding (thaw frozen foods but discard thawed pack juice), do not overfeed or overstock, keep up with those nice weekly water changes, and definitely get a skimmer that works hard and produces skimmate daily to starve out nuisance algae. Kindly, Anthony>

Brown Algae Mr. Fenner: <Anthony Calfo in your service> I did the incorrect thing and listened to my local fish store.  <of course...not incorrect if the advice is accurate <wink>> I added copper to my main tank.  <Ok...you were right. Incorrect. Yowzah... copper with calcareous media is very tough to regulate and generally ruins the sand, rock gravel from ever having invertebrates> Almost all fish perished. You recommended I remove the live rock now dead and cc. I inquired about my colored hard coral decorative and would like to know if I can add those back in again.  <since you are not keeping inverts, a good rinse and return to the tank will be fine but do add some PolyFilters for the first few months afterwards at least to draw residual copper if any> I replaced the live rock with approx. 65lbs. added new cc.  <very good> Have a 90 ga. FOWLR. Inhabitants are two fish. wet/dry, cc, canister running without carbon.  <wow...do use some sort of chemical media...if not carbon then the Poly filters> I have done several water changes. Here is my problem. I have brown algae appearing on my glass, cc and live rock. Some green algae is growing on live rock as well.  <normal algal succession like starting a tank new... as long as the brown waned in 2-3 months and is replaced by green, it is usually a sign that there is no significant nutrient problem> I have scraped it off but it returns in approx. one week.  <you can add a protein skimmer (or make one work better) to export nutrients and starve the algae out> My original tank was up and running for approx. 6-7 months. When I added the new live rock all cured and cc, I did approx. a 25% water change and have made several more. Brown algae would only appear after approx. 4 weeks or so on my hard colored corals, which reminded me to do my water changes. What is causing this to occur so frequently? What am I doing wrong? How do I correct this situation?  <again...no worries. You are simply starting anew since the copper kill> I cannot place snails or shrimp in tank, my Picasso trigger would make a meal out of them. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would like to add some new inhabitants to the tank, but I want to make sure my tank is ready for them. Thank you again for your assistance. <its all about nutrient control my friend... no worries. Anthony>  Regards, Mendy

Re: Algae after fallowing tank... Bob, <Anthony at bat...Bob on deck> I have been at this a while now trying to solve my problem BGA. Snails and some of my blue leg crabs are dying, lost a Fromia starfish and have a wilting anemone. It changes from AAA size to D size daily. This did not use to be true. Snails are sluggish or not moving at all. <not because of the BGA only...rather water ever the cause is that is creating the blue-green algae symptomatically> I have purchased a Remora skimmer and pre-filter box replacing my prism. My PH is at 8.3, ammonia 0, low nitrate 0, sg 1.021, temp 78. <skimmer produces coffee like product daily and has been?> Data: 55 gal, 220 watts cpf, 300 AquaClear, Fluval 340, 2 MaxiJet 1200. Clown Pair, 6 line wrasse, hawk, and yellow tang. 70lbs live rock. I have BGA and green algae growing like mad. I cut light from 13 hours to 11. Today I will give about 5 hours. BGA diminishes at night grows in light. (makes sense!) How do I get rid of this stuff before it kills more? <very simple matter of nutrient export. Skimmer must work daily (3-4oz in this tank of dark skimmate), source water for evaporation and w/c's confirmed low nutrient/contaminant, feeding controlled (frozen food is thawed and pack juice is discarded, etc). Following above (and really just aggressive PS alone), algae will wane within three weeks naturally without any extra work or money expended. Anthony>

Algae problem Hi My reef tank has this algae. Would you tell me this is what type of algae Cyano or diatom? <Mainly the former> When my reef tank light on, this algae appear light off, disappear.( I have turbo snails & hermit crab.) thanks in advance. <Take a long read through our site starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm following the links where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Weird new algae Anthony, For the longest time, Every square inch of my tank was the thickest greenest algae ever. So much, that if you put anything new in the tank, decoration or otherwise, it was solid green inside of 3 days. Within the last month though, almost every trace of green has disappeared and is slowly being replaced by a reddish purple almost like wine colored algae.  <yes, algal succession...could be good or bad>> This new algae is forming on the dried coral decorations and again on the glass. What is this? Is this good? <not sure of the species without a close look, but likely a nuisance species> As for changes I've made in the last month, I've added 100 blue leg hermits, 50 turbo snails, a long spined urchin and 25lbs of live rock. (to what was a 150gal fish only system) I'm starting to convert to reef, recently adding a 50gal sump and ordering a T-1000 skimmer. Just concerned about the new algae, making sure it is not a sign of something bad.  <is it hard/calcareous? It would be just perfect if it was a coralline, but if it is quite soft/fuzzy instead... a microalgae that you may not want. Not necessarily a bad sigh, but indeed a sign of deficient nutrient export processes (poor skimmer performance, light water changes, etc)> Thanks for your valuable time. -Pat <thank you for caring to know my opinion. Kind regards, Anthony>

Your fave topic... BGA Control! I have had my 40 gallon tank set up for a year now. I have a common clown fish, a green Chromis (used to have more), a cleaner wrasse and 1 boxer shrimp. I would like to add another fish or two. Could you give me a suggestion on the best approach? Also, my tank has developed what I believe to be brownish red algae. I'm pretty sure this is not good. Could you tell me what it is and what I should do to get rid of it? It is stringy. Thanks. <Please take a long read through the many articles, FAQs files on Marine Algae, Control posted on our site WetWebMedia.com, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm This is likely a blue-green algae/Cyanobacteria. Bob Fenner>

Re: Algae problems - Please help Anthony, Thanks for the advice.  <quite welcome> What do you recommend that the dKH be at? 11-12? <yes...11-12 dKH would be fine...with a free calcium level over 380ppm as well there wouldn't be much to complain about> I had used SeaChem Reef Builder in the past but I think that I wasn't using enough or, the lack of strontium made it ineffective. I was also using C-Balance. Is there a product that you have had success using? <Once alkalinity and calcium are both in a reasonably good range... using the two part mixes is very good, just expensive.> I am using CaribSea pink Fiji aragonite fine sand. Should I just replace the whole thing or just take the thickness down to > 1/2 "? <Yes... if denitrification is not a concern/desire...else 3+"> I am not too convinced my skimmer is working effectively. I used to have an ETSS in sump reef devil. It just didn't seem to be doing the job correctly. I have just purchased a Lifereef Venturi skimmer. Again I purchased an "in-sump" model, for some reason I cannot get it to work effectively. I was using the in-sump models because of space requirements.  <in sump works best only if you have a skimmer box working as a standing overflow from which directly overflowing water is collected into a static vessel. Fluctuating sump levels are nightmares for skimmers> I am now considering a AquaC Remora Pro HOT and getting away from the sump for a few reasons. I had seen an article on a web page that had done a comparison between the CPR Bak-Pak and the Remora Pro, both were used on a 38 gallon reef and the results were awesome on the remora. The second reason is that because of the fluctuation of my sump level evaporation), my current and previous skimmer performance would not be consistent. I would suggest staying away from in-sump models.  <actually easy to modify...simple diagrams on the net and in my book for doing so. You can then continue to enjoy the space savings. Tunze has an even better in sump skimmer that has a 4"X4" foot print and only needs 11-12 inches of water> I am also having a hard time dialing in for a thick effluent. (I think this attributed to the water level as well in the sump). <agreed> Lastly, the Remora is just plug it in and it works, obviously you would have to adjust the collection cup for skimmate consistency. < I still like Tunze and Euroreef skimmers better> Regards, Keith Broadbent <ciao, bub. Anthony>

Algae problems - Please help Bob I hope all is well. I am writing to you because I am a bit stumped.  <Anthony Calfo here in Bob's stead> I have a38-gallon reef, which I had set up back in October of 2001. I have been extremely passionate about the reef-keeping hobby and I enjoy it more and more every day. However, I just can't seem to kick the algae blues. I have, IMO, a break out of hair algae and diatoms. <I have read over your e-mail and can assure you that your problem is very common and quite easily corrected. I only wish that I had talked to you sooner> I have tried almost everything to reduce the algae from, only feeding twice a week, cutting back on supplements (to not even using them at all) <both bad moves that compromise coral health and prevent them from out competing for the various nutrients in the system...ironic> and photo period (I am using 96W PC lights 8800K daylight and actinic), <also bad for same above reason...besides nuisance algae depend more on nutrients than light...this just made it harder for the corals to compete> I even installed a larger venturi skimmer to maybe get more organics out of the water <excellent if you are getting 4-8oz daily of dark skimmate...if not adjust> along with adding numerous herbivores. I even tried lettuce Nudibranchs, however they just didn't do much at all except get sucked up the intake of my AquaClear 300. I have tried I would guess, everything except scrub my live rock with a wire brush, which I would like to avoid. <please don't bother...aggressive swimming and proper water quality alone will correct it albeit slowly/naturally in just a matter of weeks> To compound the situation I have started to encounter the dreaded Valonia bubble algae,  <unlike most nuisance algae...not so nutrient dependant and does favor light> which I had just plucked out of my tank with tweezers. <Aieee! Bursting bubbles in the tank spreads it faster! Needs to be siphoned out with a scrubbing/toothbrush tied to the end of a siphon tube> I would rather stay away from crabs since they can become nuisances as they get bigger harassing other tank mates. <agreed> I have been using Phosguard <not thrilled> and Kent Reef Carbon. I change the carbon once a week and the Phosguard every 3 days.  <sounds like a waste of money to me> My water is purified by KATI and ANI that was just recharged. <excellent if you are aerating it for 12-24 hours, then buffering it, then using it for evap or sea salt mixing...otherwise you likely have a problem with low alkalinity and/or pH> All of my corals look to be fine. I am also having trouble getting coralline algae to proliferate in my reef as well. I do have some coralline but not what would be expected of a reef that has been set up almost 5 months.  <what's your alkalinity and how do you dose calcium?> I did read in Wet Web Media, Reef Notes as well as The Reef Aquarium Vol. I, that additions of Strontium should aid in the growth of my LPS corals and coralline algae growth. <only if you have enough carbonates (alkalinity) in solution to help form strontium carbonate> I did purchase some on-line and a test kit to monitor and it should be arriving soon. I am also adding Kalkwasser via a dosing pump at 150ml per hour. I doubled the concentration since my PH wasn't' t getting to the desired levels. <and they won't without a strong buffering pool of alkalinity no matter how much calcium you dump in> This week I am actually pouring the Kalkwasser directly in to aquarium twice daily to help precipitate any inorganic phosphates that my test kit isn't reading. <if its too much or too fast you will precipitate carbonates out as well (yikes!) in a crystalline snowstorm> My water parameters are Temp = 75-77, Ph = 7.9 to 8.35, <ph is way too low. Ideally 8.3(night) and 8.6(day)> Salinity = 1.024 -1.025, Nitrates = 0 (probably because the algae is eating it up), Phosphates = .05 -.09 (using Phosguard and changing every 3 days), Ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, Calcium 420, dKH = 8.96. I have been changing 1 gallon per day since inception and siphoning the detritus from the sand once a week. <overall not too shabbily except the low pH and moderate dKH> I am using a 1-2" sand bed with 45lbs of live rock for nitrification with a Berlin style sump.  <sand beds MUST be 1/2 inch or less to be fully aerobic, or more than 3 inches (ideally 5"+) to become anoxic...else neither microbial niche can perform well and the 1-3" sand bed becomes a nutrient sink for algae to feed off of> Should I add some Macro Algae to help off balance the Micro algae? <nope...just will add to the problems> I have also heard that Desjardinii Tangs eat bubble algae, is this true?? <agreed...most do, although it is a large and aggressive community fish> Please let me know if there is any other information you may need to help diagnose my situation. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! <easy diagnosis... above pH/alk issues with purified water...remove sand and replace with very thin or very thick new sugar fine aragonite> By the way, excellent article in FAMA on Red Sea Fishes. I can't wait to read part 2!! <agreed, Bob is an amazing fellow. Kind regards, Anthony Calfo> Regards,
Keith Broadbent

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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