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FAQs on Marine Algae and Their Control 3

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 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

Tydemania expeditionis 

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Algae Hi! <Hello Michelle, reminds me of the Beatles song.> Your website has been very helpful to me over the past 6 months and I have been very successful so far in setting up my first saltwater tank.  However I have some questions that I seem to find contradicting answers to, hence here I am.  First my set-up: 45gal FOWLR, 2-300gph powerheads, BakPak skimmer (produces approx 1/2 cup daily), Magnum 350 filter w/ Bio Wheels. Last testing results: Ammonia 0, Nitrate a little under 20ppm, Nitrite 0, Alkalinity high around 300ppm,<6 meq/l, not super high> PH 8.3, my water is consistently hard and results have been the same since the very first test so I haven't been too concerned.   My live rock is producing coralline at a gradual pace and my critters are doing fine. (1-Yellow tang, 4 Blue damsels (used them to cycle my tank and they all survived!), 1-Maroon clown, 1-yellowtail blue tang small, 1-coral banded shrimp, 1-tri-color blenny, 1-small panther grouper (just visiting) 1-CCS, 1-large tentacle anemone and dozens of snails and small hermit crabs). Approx. 45lbs. Live Rock - tank size is 36x12x18.  My lighting is cycled as follows; blue actinic on for 12 hours, daylights on for 8hrs, lunar light on for 12hrs. (w/ 30" Dual Satellite 2x65W SunPaq) So, now my questions; Are my Bio-Wheels competing with the live rock? <Not competing, but helping each other denitrify> I seem to be having a recent algae bloom where I find myself cleaning the glass (those magnetic cleaners are great!) every other day due to green powdery like forming on the glass, it sometimes looks brown.  Is my lighting cycle too much?  I do a 20% water change religiously every other week and have never added any chemicals.  My water temp is consistent at 80 degrees.  I feed twice a day alternating between various foods - flake, pellet, frozen cubes, and dried. I also have a seaweed clip in the tank using that approx. twice a month. Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated. <Michelle, sounds like you are doing everything proper except for one thing.  Your tank is overstocked with fish, whether they are visiting or not.  Those tangs will only get bigger.  If the grouper stays in much longer he may help your overstocking problem.  "Today's grouper menu: four blue damsels and a bi-color blenny for dessert".  Of course I don't know how large the grouper is.  Anyway, your algae problem is from excess nutrients.  You will have to give eviction notices to some of your fish.  My rule of thumb is one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of water. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Michelle

Re: Algae Thanks!  I can't believe all the time I spend on your website and all the other research I do and my common sense never thought of overstocking!  By the way, the grouper is still only the size of the damsels but he will be leaving by the end of the month.  My plan will be to evict the damsels, (my Dad will inherit them as he is now compelled to start his own tank) and see if that improves things.  My goal is to have a flame angel someday - any advice on that thought? <Michelle, your 45 is going to be too small for the tangs eventually.  If you do not plan on a larger tank, do not add any more fish. Read here,   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tangs,.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Michelle

What's That Brown Stuff On The Live Rock?  Hi,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today!>  I have a question about my live rock. We purchased 75 pounds of Tonga Eva uncured live rock around March 19 for our 90 gallon saltwater tank. It is cured now, But I notice that the rocks are getting quite brown on the top row. Why is this happening? We used Kent Marine concentrated liquid calcium and now are using Combisan full spectrum marine supplement. We put this in the tank once.  We were using 20,000 K lights for about 10 hours during the daytime and a 50/50 in the early morning and one hour before bedtime. All night long for about 1 week we have a moon light. Today, when I noticed so much brown on the top layer of rock, I switched the light to the 50/50 K in the day and will use the Actinic blue 03 for the morning and one hour before bed until I hear from you. Did the 20,000 K cause this brown discoloration?  <I doubt it...Light alone is not probably not the cause. I am a big fan of 20000k bulbs, myself. See my thoughts below on your potential issues...>  What type and how much light do we need in the daytime and what should we be using in the early morning and one hour before bedtime. How many hours do we leave the lights on?  <I like to keep my lights on for 10-12 hours per day. The "dawn-dusk" simulation is interesting, but I don't think that it's absolutely essential.>  Is the moon light ok to use all night?  <Sure...not harm. It looks pretty cool, too!>  Will the rocks turn back to the pretty colors from last month? HELP  Thanks, Cindy  <Well, Cindy- a couple of thoughts here. First of all, the brown" coloration that you describe sounds to me like it may be some form of algae, which is not entirely uncommon in newer systems with an abundance of nutrients and immature nutrient export mechanisms. I don't believe that the single dose of Combisan could have created an algae bloom, but continuous use of such products could create nutrient excesses over time. It's a good product, IMO- but I think that most well-managed systems which are on a regular water change schedule will need these types of all-in-one products. How do you know what substances and nutrients are being removed, and in what quantity-unless you test for them? Just a thought. As far as the rock returning to its original splendor- sure, I'm sure that it will, given time and continued good husbandry on your part. Keep at those regular, small water changes, continuous use of activated carbon/Poly Filter, and aggressive protein skimming. Use of herbivores, such as snails of various species, is never a bad idea! Don't forget our oft-repeated advice: If you are going to add something to the water (such as additives, etc.)- be sure to test for it, so that you can, indeed, be sure that its use is warranted. Be patient, and I'm sure that you'll be admiring the rock once again! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Lighting for algae control? I was having a problem with purple slime algae, so I tried going to just actinic blue lighting.   <hmmm.... that only treats the symptoms (at best) and not the problem which is nutrient accumulation (overfeeding, lack of water flow, inadequate water changes, poor skimming etc). Even if lights were the original problem, it would be that your daylight lamps were too old (over 6-10 months) and strayed to red/orange. Lack of blue is not the issue at all bud> Is that ok for my lionfish?   <not a big deal if you acclimated it slowly (days/weeks)> It works out to be about 1 watt of light per gallon.   <Doh!> I just wanted to make sure my lionfish doesn't  need more light then that to be happy =) -Adam <my advice would be to resume daylight with fresh lamps, increase water flow, demand better skimmate production (3-5 times weekly if not daily) and increase water changes to 15-20% weekly. Best regards, Anthony>

Tangling With Nuisance Algae! If you have time, I have a question about a powder brown tang (the "bad" kind, contrary to what I was told, I found out after I got him home) that I recently got from a local supplier here in Canada.  I know you guys are busy, and I greatly appreciate all of the help you have indirectly given me from WWM. <We're always here for you! Scott F. with you tonight> This is my tank -90 bow front FOWLR (45lbs) - 28 Inches tall -15 gallon sump -650 gph flow through sump -4 maxi-jet 1200 -5 inches "Florida crushed coral substrate" (have since discovered the values of live sand, but I vacuum the substrate religiously, and I don't know if a DSB will be an asset since I can't have all the critters that stir the sand and keep it clean because I will eventually have a Trigger in the Tank) <Just keep it clean...> -15 lbs of tufa rock -Aqua C 180 EV skimmer with mag drive 5 pump -2-65 watt 10 K full spectrum PC 12 hrs per day -2-65 watt 03 actinic blue 14 hrs per day -2-300 watt heaters -2 bags of carbon (app 1 cup each) replaced alternately once per month <Great procedure!> -1 piece of square shaped block filter in the sump dam used to filter the water before it is returned to the aquarium (keeps bubbles down in the display tank) This is cleaned once per week water parameters <I like that...If you're going to use a material that can trap detritus, keep cleaning it regularly!> -ammonia - 0 -nitrite - 0 -nitrate - unknown (tank is 2 months old and the test kit is still on order) -temp - 79-80 -calcium - 275 ppm  (slowly bringing up to 400 ppm, with Seachem Calcium supplement 12 ppm / day, unsure why so low because I tested freshly made water and it is 360 ppm. Although I think I had a precipitation problem in my mixing container when I made the mix to quickly and without first aerating the water) <Could be the case> -s.g. - 1.025 -ph - 8.22 - 8.35 (buffered occasionally with Seachem Reef buffer) -RO water for everything -mag - 1250 ppm -Total Alkalinity - 4.5 meq/l -Borate Alkalinity - 0.8 meq/l  (not sure why so low, Instant Ocean Salt Mix) Inhabitants -4 true tank raised clowns about one and a half inches long (bought together, unsexed, very healthy, lively, playful, hungry- I think I know which one will eventually be the female) <Yep- you're right!> -3 small feather dusters which are growing about 1/4 inch per week (got free with LR) -1mushroom which gets really big during the day (also got free with LR) <A nice bonus> Questions (1)-I purchased the Powder Brown from my supplier when he got them in from the plane, only 36 hrs transit for the poor fish.  I acclimated him myself over 4 days (s.g. was good in bag water, ph was 7.4) in a 25 gallon Quarantine tank (bare bottom, Aqua clear 200 with 3 filter inserts that were seeded in the main display sump for 2 and a half weeks, half tank water half new water, 5 gallon water changes every 2 days, fake plant and coral decorations, covered on three sides with a 20 watt fluorescent on 12 hrs per day, one 5 lb piece of algae covered tufa rock, test are similar to main tank, except temp 81, nitrite was once at 0.3 mg/l - promptly did 80 % water change) -the powder brown was healthy looking, not thin, no sign of disease -started eating the first day (feed mysis shrimp, Nori, dried unsweetened algae from oriental supermarket, various other frozen foods) -after 2 days started noticing scratch marks on lower half of fish, glancing on rocks after 5 days gave a 9 minute freshwater bath (ph and temp adjusted) he didn't seem to mind it that much. After 10 days less scratching better eating and less timid, after 14 days still a little bit of scratching, so one more freshwater bath, 10 min. <Good move> After 16 days he is eating from my hand, less timid, his top and bottom fins are relaxed (fully extended). Now he has about 20 small white pin head sized dots on his body, no scratching. Why does he have signs of parasites now when he appears to be healthier? <Ich is a funny (well- not funny) illness. Just when you think you have it licked, it comes back! Many fishes can endure an amazing outbreak of this illness before they begin to decline dramatically. The bottom line is that, once ich is in your tank- it's in the tank! You may have to treat this fish in a separate aquarium, and possibly go the "fallow tank" route to let the parasite population decline in the absence of fishes> (2)When I first got the clowns (no quarantine for my first fish) <Yikes! I know that you'll never do that again!> They all got about 5 or 6 pin head size white dots on them.  After about 3 or 4 days it disappeared and they are all doing fantastic.  Does this mean that my tank is now infected, and I can only get rid of ick if I let the tank go fallow?   Does this Have something to do with the similar problem with the powder brown?  If so, why did he not show signs of it right away, since I used tank water to set up the q. tank initially? <Well- I'm afraid that the parasites have established themselves in the system. Part of the life cycle of he parasite is a free-swimming phase, where they seem to drop off of the fish, only to reappear some weeks later. The life cycle of the parasite seems to synchronize with the appearance and disappearance in your fishes> (3)I have an algae problem in the main tank.  I think it might be Cyano but I am not sure.  It is red, does not mat on the gravel, appears to flourish on areas of high circulation, is very thin and stringy, grows from a one inch long string to 12 inches long in about three days, is easy to remove.  I don't believe I have a build up of nutrients in the tank, since I just have four little fish, that are fed sparingly (when I get the nitrate kit I will know better). <That's my thinking, true!> My protein skimmer is mounted in the sump with a varying water height of 6.5 to 8 inches ( due to evaporation - cannot build dam in sump, for consistent water height, because not enough room left over).  I know the skimmer is oversized for the application, but I believe I should get more than 1 to 2 ounces of fairly dark skimmate per day.  Jason at Aqua C thinks that considering the bio-load it is functioning fine.  I clean it every 2 days (cup and foam tower). <Great procedure> I have experimented with small incremental changes to the gate valve and air inlet valve, but it is always pretty much the same result.  Is this appropriate skimmate? <Yes- sounds quite good, actually!> Is the possible lack of skimming the reason for the algae problem?  Is it the lighting?  Is it the substrate? < It's all about nutrients! Well- I think it's a number of things, all "working together"! The coarse substrate, even though you clean it regularly, has a propensity to trap and retain detritus, which can provide nutrients for algae. The tufa rock has also been indicted by many hobbyists as a nutrient trap, too! Do revisit the water chemistry parameters, particularly phosphate and nitrate. You need to keep perfecting your nutrient export processes. Consider making smaller, twice weekly water changes as a routine part of your husbandry. Consider growing "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria, in a lighted area of your sump, to compete with the nuisance algae. If harvested regularly, this is an excellent nutrient export vehicle. Just keep doing all the things that you're doing, and make some minor corrections...You'll lick this nuisance algae!> Thank you very much for your time and patience with the long e-mail (first one to you guys) Ben <Don't make it the last, Ben! Feel free to call on us any time! Regards, Scott F>
Tangling With Nuisance Algae (Pt.2)
Well, the powder brown appeared to do well in quarantine for the next few days.  Then all of a sudden one night he was covered in ick, died the next morning. <Sorry to hear that- ich can be a deadly disease if it begins to infect the gills of the animal> Question 1 The display tank has shown no signs of ick for 8 weeks now.  The four clowns (only inhabitants) are doing great.  Should I still let the display tank go fallow for 1 month? <This is a tough call. Part of me wants to say "no problem", but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking that there may be "resting" stages of the parasite in the substrate...I've also seen scenarios where people add fish at a later date to a seemingly "clean" aquarium, only to have the fishes contract ich soon after introduction. Almost like an "immunity". If you're the conservative type, let the tank go fallow...If not- just proceed with caution> Question 2 The quarantine that the powder brown died in is still up and running.  If it is advisable that I go the fallow tank route, can I put the clowns in that same quarantine tank, or do I have to clean that tank out first?  If I have to clean it out, do I have to use bleach, or just rinse it a few times in hot water? <You should clean the tank out after each use...Should not be a permanent setup...and do clean it with hot water and a small amount of bleach...Fill with H20 and dose liberally with a Dechlor product to get out some of the bleach, then drain and rinse again> Question 3 If I have to put the clowns in quarantine for 1 month, should I use Cupramine (spelling)?  I don't really want to seeing that they have been healthy for 8 weeks now. <No need for copper unless specifically treating a disease> Question 4 I got a nitrate test kit (Seachem), my display tank reads 0 or at least undetectable.  What could be the nutrient source feeding the nuisance algae? I don't really feel like getting a phosphate test kit because I feel that there is nothing that I am doing that would introduce phosphates. <Believe it or not- the majority of phosphates in aquariums are introduced through source water and...FOOD! Feed carefully, and keep that skimmer working hard...Check the source water 9if RO- make sure that the membranes are clean> RO (tested at 4 ppm dissolved solids) IO salt.  Could the tufa rock be introducing phosphates or something else? <Could be. Tufa has been implicated in nuisance algae in marine tanks...I'd pass on its use, myself> Question 5 Is it advisable to have live rock in a refugium?  I was going to use an old 5 gallon tank as a refugium.  It has a Hagen fluorescent hood, is that adequate lighting? How many gallons per hour would be advisable flow for a 5 gallon? <Sure, live rock is fine in a refugium, IMO. The lighting is fine for most undemanding macroalgae, etc. that you'd keep in a small space. Flow rate should be fairly slow in this sized refugium> Thanks again for the support <Any time! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Re: colors (of algae) in the sand Hi.  I have been going strong with my 8 gallon tank for 6 months now.  Kept 3 fish alive and have some invertebrates and polyps.  My newest problem is red and green (algae?) growing in the sand on the bottom of the tank.  It isn't on the top level but is growing deeper below the top level.  Is it serious or just colorful (ugly)?  What do I do????? Marleen. <Mmm, there are a few general "inputs" to such algal growths... maybe your lighting/lamps are just "aging", too old... perhaps an accumulation of nutrients has "snuck up on you". Please read here re all the possibilities, actions you might take: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm and the many linked files (at top, in blue) beyond. Bob Fenner>

Algae Attacks! Hi crew! Hope everything is groovy. <Yeaaahh-Baaaaby! I'm smashhhing! Scott F. with you tonight!> I've had my 55g tank with 60lbs of LR running now for about 7 months. At present I have a yellow tang, a percula clown, 2 cleaner shrimp and maybe 10 snails in there that I've had for about 4 months. I use a water purifier. My readings are : PH - always 8.0 (can't ever raise it), Nitrates 0, Amm 0, Phos 0, Ca 410, Alk 7 dKH (I know that needs to come up) I currently use Kent's 2 part system. Is there a better way to adjust my purified and tank water? <I think that you're doing okay...You may want to investigate a calcium reactor for long-term calcium and alkalinity control. Simple buffering preparations will work with your source water> My problem really is that with this light load and regular water changes, is that my 1/2 inch substrate (aragonite sand) gets greenish dirty within 2 days of cleaning. My rock has lost it's purple luster also and has turned brownish (yuck). Is this just a new tank syndrome? What am I doing wrong? I'm running a Bak-Pak skimmer that pulls a good amount of skimmate out daily and a quick filter on one of my powerheads that I clean regularly. I have 3 powerheads plus the one on my skimmer working in my tank. Think I need another? I just ran some activated carbon for a couple of weeks. Do I need more filtration? More LR? Aaaack! Thought I had all the angles covered. Thanks so much for any help you can give me.. Justaguy. <Well, you have a few things going for you: First- good protein skimmer production (your first line of defense), a moderate bioload, and good water chemistry. A few minor adjustments should help...Try using the activated carbon regularly (a few ounces), and change it every couple of weeks...Use PolyFilter (a great product, IMO!) for continuous organic removal, as well. Perform small (like 5% of tank volume), frequent water changes (twice weekly is great, and easy to do) can really help get a "leg up" on preventing organics from accumulating. Check your water purifier...The membranes have a definite life span, and once they are no longer removing the impurities found in your tap water, these substances can begin to accumulate and contribute to the algae problems. Review your feeding habits...I'm sure that you are careful, but make sure that nothing goes uneaten and accumulates in the substrate. The excessive algae on the rocks and substrate is a direct product of nutrient accumulation. I think if you keep up the good husbandry practices and are patient and consistent, you'll lick this algae problem in a few weeks. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

The dinoflagellate fight Good morning. I have been facing a tough battle with apparently- dinoflagellates.   <they are tough indeed... toxic to many herbivores> I have a 500 gallon tank with 6 -250 watt metal halide lights, <hmmm... there are both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic species. If yours is the former... and your heavy light system is on for more than 8-10 hours (perhaps too much), then they could be aggravating the condition> a calcium reactor, and an ETS 2000 skimmer powered by an Iwaki 100. I have heard various debates on where the water level in the skimmer should be versus foam.   <none of it matters as long as you get a daily (every day) dark coffee colored skimmate here (should be easy with your tank size and evidence of high nutrients via the nuisance algae). Adjust skimmer until so> I am not sure if that would be a contributing factor.   <DOC levels yes if skimmer is not tuned> The lights are on about 10 hours.  When the lights are off, the sand looks fine. When the lights come on, the dinoflagellates seem to come alive and expand with a rust colored tinge. <heehee... answers that question: photosynthetic. Still... its nutrients and pH that will limit them> Just prior to the lights going off, they seem to begin to bubble and float to the surface.  It has spread to some of the rocks and I blow it off of the corals. I have tried water changes and carbon and fooled with the skimmer levels but as of now no success. I also have reviewed your archives and have not read any other solutions.   <actually... there is another option (in the WWM archives?... well... it is now at least)- high pH. Maintain a consistently high pH of 8.6 for some weeks. Chronic low ph (below 8.3 by day) is a catalyst perhaps> Decreasing the time with lights may help but it does not help the invertebrates like my anemones.  It seems like I have been treating a broken leg with an aspirin at this point.  Even vacuuming seems like a short term fix.  Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks <aggressive skimming and high pH bub... Anthony>

- More on Problem Algae - <Sorry, I clicked the send button too soon... again.> I test phosphate levels and always get 0, I used the pads here and there just to see if they would make any difference, I do have a long spine black (purple) urchin as well as a pencil urchin, I guess they munch on it, but it is a 130g tank so they likely cant keep up with the large amounts, I could add more, but am worried about them eliminating coralline algae, <Seems like a small price to pay.> I'm at a loss as to my next step in this battle, I've read all I can on the WWM site concerning this problem, tried all suggestions, stuff still grows like crazy, <then there is a reason.> I have 4 AquaClear 802's in the tank for circulation as well as 2 air stones, lots of movement and aeration, <You could use more circulation than this.> the floss in the main tray of my sump I toss every couple days, carbon I toss every 4 days, skimmer is working excellent, all levels inline, lots of water changes, just don't get it, I could toss a load of crabs in there, but I guess they would be Huma trigger food....riot.... <Well, I would examine again just exactly how much you are feeding... what seems like a cut back to you may still be too much considering there has to be fuel for this algae to grow on. Likewise, I'm never convinced crabs will do any good on algae - it's not what they're built for. Do examine your husbandry a little more carefully - I think you will find the answer in there somewhere. Cheers, J -- >

Dinoflagellate or Diatom: Stringy Brown Algae I have a 75 Gallon Reef with 100LB Live Rock and about 3 inches of Aragonite sand. The tank houses LPS, SPS and a few soft corals, 2 bubble tip anemones, and a Derasa clam. I have 3 fish, Purple Tang, Hippo Tang and a Maroon Clown. All corals and fish are doing very well. Tank Specks are as follows: 3 URI VHOs, 03, 50/50 and one Actinic with Ice Cap Ballast Custom Sealife Skimmer No Ammonia, Nitrite or Nitrate Calcium 400 Alk 9dkh 0 Phosphate (by test kit anyway) Temp 75 10% water change every 2 week with RO water. I also use RO water for Top Off Use Poly Filters often <hmmm... my first concern regarding a nuisance organism query in hearing your details is that 10% water exchanges every 2 weeks is very weak if the anemone and fishes are fed well. The best we could hope for to support this and not get pest algae and the like is very aggressive skimming (dark daily product) and aggressive chemical filtration (weekly carbon). I suspect this is a large part if not the catalyst for your bump in the road> My problem is I have some stringy, bubbly clear algae like stuff growing on a rock. It seems to be spreading on the rock. This rock is in a high light/high water flow area of the tank. This stuff blows around in the current and some strings are about 4 inches long. Very little color, almost brownish/opaque.  It does have bubbles in it. Any idea what it is and how to get rid of it? <its a diatom Yes, they do indeed strand and get bubbles) or a dinoflagellate. The Dinos are tougher to kick... but all should respond to limiting nutrients as described above. Better skimming alone can erase a diatom in less than 2 weeks> I had an old reef tank that I think was covered in this stuff.  Got all over the glass and killed off the coralline algae.  Tank got very ugly because of it <Yikes... please consider a more generous water change schedule too... at least 10% weekly. More with heavy feedings> Thanks Andrew <best regards, Anthony> Re: Algae I Have A 240 Reef tank-Euroreef 12-1 Skimmer-UV-All Testing Has Shown System Is Stable, I Have Had This Tank For 7 Months. My Question Is The Green Algae Growing On The Back Of Aquarium, Should I Scrape It Off, Or Leave It Alone For My Snails To Eat? Also Will Purple Coralline Algae Overtake The Back Glass If I Leave It Alone woody <I would leave the algae on the non-viewing panels be... better for your system all the way around. The encrusting red (coralline) can be encouraged to grow... Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs.htm and the second FAQs file beyond (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Re: lighting and green algae Hi Anthony et al, <Hi Andrea, you got Craig today> I am having a big problem with green algae in my 100 gal tank and was wondering if maybe my lighting was part of the problem.  I have a JBJ VHO with four 36 watt bulbs the front, an actinic and 50/50 (each 40 watts) and a 22 watt mystery bulb I put on the back because it seemed too dark back there (I transferred it from my freshwater tank when I broke it down) and the lights are on between 8 and 10 hours a day.  There is a Remora Pro skimmer, a Lifeguard fluidized bed filter, a Rena Filstar filter and about 5 power heads moving water around .  My tank levels (ppm) are ammonia = 0, nitrate = 10, nitrite = 0, Ph = 8.2, phosphates = 5 (I lost almost 30% of water due to a freak skimmer accident and am going through a slight bloom right now).  The green algae is taking over the tank and I don't know how to stop it without chemicals, which I don't want to use.  There is 100+ lbs of live rock and a 2 inch live sand bed with about 15 turbo snails, 6-7 hermit crabs, a cucumber, an urchin, 2 scooter blennies, 2 emerald crabs and 3 peppermint shrimp.  They aren't helping.  How do I get rid of the algae?  And if I get MH lights will that help or harm the situation? Thanks for the help, Andrea <I think your lighting is fine. You have too much nitrate and phosphate which is feeding your algae. I would suspect the fluidized bed not operating correctly or overloaded, the sponges and biomaterial in the Filstar canister, the sponge on the Remora, and perhaps the slightly shallow sand bed as the possible sources of nitrates. The phosphates are likely coming in with your water or with food. I would perform larger water changes with RO/DI water to eliminate phosphates in source water, use Kalkwasser to precipitate the phosphates, replenish calcium, support alkalinity and maintain pH in the early AM. Also make sure fluidized bed is working efficiently (according to directions) or remove it and rely on LS/LR and your skimmer and perhaps carbon in the canister changed weekly to avoid nitrate production. Sponges and filter material should be cleaned weekly. This should resolve your algae problems.  Craig>

Re: janitorial work needed What's up WWM crew! I have some questions about the cleanup crew I am about to purchase. I was thinking of getting about 75 hermits:     25 Blue Leg Hermits (Clibanarius tricolor)     20 Red Tip Hermits (Clibanarius sp.)     25 Dwarf Zebra Hawaiian Hermit (Calcinus laevimanus)     5 Scarlet Reef Hermits (Paguristes cadenati) <Wow! That's a lot!>      I was looking at around 75 snails as well:     10 Margarita snails (Margarites pupillus)     15 Cerith snails (Cerithium sp.)     5 Turbo snails (Turbo fluctuosa)     15 Astraea Conehead snails (Astraea tecta)     15 Banded Trochus snails (Trochus sp.)     10 Nassarius snails (Nassarius sp)     5 Red Foot Moon snails (Norrisia sp.) <Jeez-o- Petes! You really want a lot of these little critters...eh?> Here are the inhabitants and the parameters of my tank: -125 gallon AG -30 gallon Sump -65 lbs. LR (various) -60-70 lbs. base rock (various) -2.5"-3" Aragonite and sand substrate -3 x 250W MH 5.5K -2 x 96W PC True Actinic >------------------------------------------ -Large Tube Anemone -3" Clam (?derasa?) -3" Pencil Urchin -unidentified corals and sponges growing on LR -2 Green Chr. (1.5") -2 Firefish Gob. (2") -1 Clarkii Clown (1.5") -1 Yellow Tang (3") -1 Coral Beauty (2") >------------------------------------------- Temp = 78 pH = 8.3 Ca+ = 400 PO4 = 0 Fe = 0 NH3 = 0.3 NO2 = 0 NO3 = >10 sp. gr. = 1.022 Does this cleanup crew sound pretty good for a start or do you recommend others or more? <Not more for goodness sake! After these guys have cleaned up your tank what will they eat? In reality many of them will be out competed for food and die> My tank is well-matured, I just haven't had a real cleanup crew in a while. The Hair Algae and Red Slime are suddenly taking over and I need something that is going to be able to keep this at bay. A couple of factors could account for this I think. <The 10 NO3 for a start> I turned off my Filstar XP3 last week because it had clogged and I thought I would see how things would go without it ( loss of some of the bio. filtration ). <You don't need it any way. Stuff with some good quality carbon and change the carbon once a week or so...That'll keep from becoming a biological filter> The food I had been feeding the fish for a couple of days was really smelling after I accidentally left it out, I quit feeding it to them because I thought it was no good ( Uneaten decaying food matter that was already no good ). <Good idea. Food isn't all that expensive> Or maybe it's the fact that all of my powerheads are not on. I ordered a Red Sea Wavemaster Pro for the tank and when I tried to hook it up and plug it in nothing happened. I sent it back and only plugged in half of the p. heads ( loss of heavy circulation ). Your opinions and comments on this problem are very much appreciated. I apologize for the format of this letter but I thought it would be easier for you to read. Thanks for your help. <The more circulation that you have the better. Siphon the hair and skim before it gets entrenched. Unless you are really want all of those little critters, I would divide the top and bottom list and get those critters. If you find that you need more, then get the rest. David Dowless>

- Avoiding Algae - Greetings crew: <And greetings to you, JasonC here.> Hopefully not too stupid a question - but I am in the process of setting up a 120 g FOWLR system (Below tank CPR  sump, Euroreef Skimmer, Gen X).  My question is if one is pre-disposed to the more aggressive fishes (eels, triggers, tangs, angels etc.) how does one control the algae growth on the live rock as I assume the normal clean-up crews (snails, crabs) are not long for this world after one or more of the main denizens of the deep are added. <One the easiest and best ways it to avoid the temptation to overfeed.> Can a tang handle the job? <That combined with the previous option would go a long way.> More than one? <I wouldn't do too many, one should suffice.> Does one need to re-think the FOWLR system when having their eye on a "predator" tank? <I don't think so.> Nothing but water is in the tank right now Appreciate your thoughts and your time very much David Schule <Cheers, J -- >

- Which Herbivore? - Thanks Jason, <You are welcome.> I have wanted to add an herbivore as you mentioned, but is there one that I could add considering my present livestock?.  I don't know of any that would be able to "survive". <Well... just how big is this grouper?> Maybe a tang? <Yes, although you will probably need to obtain one of size that would discourage the grouper from making a one-bite meal out of it. Groupers can be bad that way.> What about the little critters, is there something that I might have success with? <You might try an urchin... I've used Tuxedo urchins around more questionable fish, but there is still no predicting what that trigger will do. Might be worth a try, but a tang would probably be better.> Thanks again, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

- Ding-dang Algae - Hi, <Greetings, JasonC here...> I've seen my hair algae thriving more than usual lately and found my phosphate level around 2.0.  My tank is a 90g FOWLR and I have a Aqua-C Remora skimmer.  Two fish in there presently, each under 5".  I use RO water from my LFS and have seen some "dirty" jugs with some algae growing on the sides.  Now, I'll admit I started feeding a bit more than I usually do and things got a little messy when I started feeding krill to my Picasso trigger and Blueline grouper.  So, I'm not sure where the increase in phosphates came from, but it may be the slight overfeeding. <Sounds like you do know where the phosphates came from, you just don't want to admit it to yourself. ;-) > The jugs have me wondering, though. <A red herring I think... the overfeeding is much more likely.> My question is on the possibility of keeping a system virtually free of this hair algae.  I do regular water changes and have recently added Phos-guard to my canister filter, hoping this will bring it under control.  I have also cut back on the amount of food I'm feeding, too. <Ah good... this will help a lot.> With these techniques, is it possible to have a system almost completely free of this algae? <Well... you might want to find yourself a herbivore that you like. Even with everything else being equal, algae is very 'successful' as life on this planet goes, so one of the best ways to keep it in check is find something that eats it. Likewise, keeping the nutrients on which algae thrives to a bare minimum will also help.> Is there something more I can do? <See how the changes you've made so far do for you.> Also, I have seen what looks like two different kinds of green alga: the soft, furry looking stuff and this more bristly kind that sort of branches out.  Are both of these considered hair algae? <For the purposes of this discussion, let's just call them pests...> Thanks for your help, Tim <Cheers, J -- >

Routing Nuisance Algae! Scott, I just thought I'd send along the word that your suggestions did work! Today, I noticed that the skimmer was full of junk and the Cyano was, for the most part, gone. It's crazy how it just disappears like that. <Gotta love that, huh?> Hopefully that means there's nothing left for it to feed on. Thanks again for your extremely dependable help, Scott. See ya around!> <I'm so glad that things worked out! As hobbyists, we often overlook the simple things which can turn the tide on nuisance algae! I hope your success will re-assure other hobbyists who think that the battle against nuisance algae is hopeless. Just don't give up! Keep up the good work!>

Re: Hair Algae Well, I know my old skimmer contributed to this problem, but my water parameters are ok now with the new skimmer: pH = 8.2 - 8.4 Temp = 79.0 degrees F Ca   =   350 P04 < 0.1 (Salifert) NO3 not detectable N02 not detectable NH4 not detectable Silicate not detectable I also took my calcium reactor offline temporarily, replaced all my bulbs siphoned my sump bottom, and am running Polyfilter in my canister filter. I also have a Kalkwasser reactor for top-off fresh water to keep pH high. I have temporarily cut back on feeding from 3 times per day to once every other day. I have also purchased numerous snails, crabs, etc. over the few months. I try to siphon out as much hair algae as possible every other day. I replaced my ETSS 1400 with an Aerofoamer 848 skimmer. What else can I do? <Just give it time. I am sure you are on the right track and will eventually starve the hair algae out of existence.> Any suggestions as to what is causing the algae would be appreciated. Chuck Spyropulos <If the hair algae is still getting worse, then I would examine other sources of nutrients; source water, salt mix, is your new skimmer producing everyday, etc. You may want to consider a refugium for additional export. And remember, we at WWM never censor your mail. :) -Steven Pro>

Algae Strikes! Dear Crew !!!!!!!!!! <Scott F. this evening!> Once again you help is needed. I just finished setting my first reef tank. Added water, sand LR (not all yet but will add up slowly), and everything operates (filtration, Skimmer Temp 24h). Tank is 2 weeks now, PH steady at 8.23, temp 26 Celsius, ORP 300. Sand is live aragonite about 10 cm deep. I made the mistake of leaving the lights on too early too long (first couple of days for 8 hours) and my LR had grown some brown algae which moved over the sand as well. <Quite normal in new tanks, where nutrients are abundant> It grew in only two days so as soon I noticed I turned off the lights. Now it seems to reduce every day. What type of algae is it? It's brown color with some hair on the bigger rocks. <Well- it sounds more like a (surprise!) brown algae, or Cyanobacteria. And the "hair"-type algae is really another algae that thrives in nutrient-rich conditions. Could also be diatoms, which are usually caused by nutrient rich (i.e.; phosphate and silicate rich) source water. When will it go away? <No set time table. It will generally go away within a month or so, assuming that your husbandry practices and nutrient export techniques are adequate.> No inhabitants in the tank now, so no food or nutrients of any type. <Well, lots of nutrients within the live rock and sand, even if you're not feeding. The bacteria and organisms in the rock and sand are not yet "working" in sufficient numbers to assimilate all of the nutrients in the system. You need to think about nutrient export once the tank is cycled (particularly, regular small water changes). Aggressive protein skimming, removing at least a couple of cups a week of dark skimmate, will go a long way towards reducing and eliminating nuisance algae. > Also I want to add some damsels to speed cycle (tank is 150g) so two damsels wouldn't create a problem I think ? <Depending on species, it should not be a problem. I'm not a big fan of using damsels to cycle a tank. As you are aware by now, your tank certainly has enough nutrient to get things going. Just be patient and monitor ammonia and nitrite regularly. Also, it would not be humane to add any fishes if you're noticing measurable ammonia and/or nitrite levels, IMO> Waiting for you reply. Take care and I wish you all warm greetings and happy holidays. Kostas <And the very best to you and your family! Be patient with your system, and you'll do fine. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Lace rock We have a 55 gallon and 20 gallon tank with Flame Tailed Peacocks.  Both tanks have the lace rock for caves but some of the rock is developing white algae looking stuff.  The 55 gallon is sick with what we believe to be Velvet disease and are treating with Hex-A-Mit but we are unsure if it is because of this white growth on the rocks.  Have you ever heard of a growth like this? Thank-You in advance. <Hi Denise, Have you tested your water to determine what nutrient is causing this growth?  Also possible lack of circulation. Velvet should be treated in a QT with copper.  Type "velvet" in the google search on WetWebMedia.com for info and treatment. Treating your main tank will affect your biological filter/capacity and should be avoided. The white growth is not from Velvet nor does it cause it. Velvet is a protozoan parasite. I would look to wastes and nutrient load as the cause of the growth on the rocks.  Hope this helps, Craig>

Green tea? Hi crew, just one question for you guys. I have a 55 g tank with 50lbs of LR that has been running for 4-5 months with few livestock. While setting up a quarantine tank I noticed the water has a green tint to it. What might be the problem and how can I fix it? Run some carbon maybe? thanks so much... <Sounds like an algae bloom to me, or maybe something that you added to the water caused the green tint.  If this is a qt tank with no one being QTed right now, I would go with a 100% water change and start over.  Or if you would like to find out what is causing it, start with testing the water parameters.  There is a lot of information on algae control at the link below.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >

The Urchin's New 'Do (Pt.2) What would I do without you guys? <Hey- What would we do without YOU?> A quick search for Bryopsis on google netted enough photos for confirmation. I would just pull the stuff off, but I've heard that removing a Tuxedos camouflage can damage their tentacles (the proper name for their "tube feet" has slipped my mind). I tried to remove the few strands he had when I purchased him a month ago, but after dislodging the urchin before any algae come off I figured best to leave it alone. Any ideas? <I agree- just leave it alone. I'd only pull this stuff out from areas in the tank where it's becoming a problem. It will probably do more harm than good yanking it off of the urchin... > Now, you have me concerned that my skimmer is not producing cups full of junk weekly. Please review my specs and let me know if there is something I am missing. Skimmer produces about 1/4-1/2 cup of the worst smelling stuff weekly, and I do weekly 10g changes with RO and Instant Ocean. Over the past 4 months since setup nitrates have gotten as high as 20ppm due to semi-cured LR and over feeding (my mastery of clown loaches didn't guarantee a perfect transition to a marine tank:)), but in the past month they have dropped from 10-15ppm to under 5ppm. Ph 8.2, sp 1.0225, temp 78-80,  DKH is 10, phosphates are unknown but I do know that my RO supplier has undetectable phosphates. <Well, I'm very glad to see the downward trend in nitrates. Sounds like you're getting a good handle on the husbandry associated with this tank! If you want to try to get more product out of the skimmer, you may need to adjust air or water flow. At the very least, if you're pulling some stinky junk out weekly, that certainly is better than nothing, particularly with improving nitrate levels. Just for the heck of it, you may still want to check those phosphates, just to see if they are indeed undetectable. Sometimes, commercial RO providers can be a bit lax in changing membranes, and detectable levels of phosphates, etc. are present in the product water.> Current setup is: 55g glass tank, Red Sea Berlin HOT skimmer with RIO 2500, Emperor 400 (until the refugium planned for early next year), and 2 Rio 600 powerheads for circulation. Lighting is a CSL hood with 2 65w actinics and 2 65w 8800K bulbs running a timed 12 hour cycle. Trying to build up my coralline algae, otherwise could possibly cut back on lighting time. I plan to move my skimmer to the sump when it is installed. Any pointers on enhancing with my current setup? current skimmer setup, old picture: Thanks again, Emo <Well, Emo, sounds like a nice setup there! One of the things that you may want to do is change and/or clean the filter pads as often as possible. Mechanical/chemical media like these can become nutrient traps if not maintained diligently. Also, have you investigated a deep sand bed? There is some compelling evidence that a 4"-5" sand bed can measurably reduce nitrate in closed systems. You'll really like the results the refugium will deliver, too! Keep up the good work! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

"Bad" Algae Control Bob, et. al., I've had my 10-gallon nano up and running for three months now. All inhabitants are thriving. Unfortunately, so is the "unwanted" algae. I've read your algae control article located at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm. It pointed out several things I may (okay, I am) doing wrong. Since we're discussing algae, I'm sure you need parameters. Light:  2x36 PCs 6400K/Actinic, 12 hours per day (bulbs 3 mos. old) Calcium: 450 Alkalinity:  3.5 meq/L Ammonia:  0 Nitrate:  0 Nitrite:  0 Phosphate:  .1 mg/l Temp: steady at 79 F 15 lbs. live rock, 10 lbs. live sand, 5 lbs. Carib Sea aragonite Inhabitants... Frogspawn frag Green Star Polyp rock Leather Mushroom Candy Cane coral Assortment of Zoanthids (30 total heads) Assortment of 17 mushrooms (some Ricordea) 6-line Wrasse for flatworm control (he loves 'em!) Feeding... A few tetra-min flakes twice a day for the Wrasse Blended zooplankton one/week for the corals (1 ml.) Sandbed (please note)... 10 lbs. of live sand was added first. Six weeks ago, I added five lbs. of the aragonite on top of the live sand - so for six weeks I've had two distinct layers of sand. I fear the layers should be reversed? If so, how do I go about correcting this? How important? <If all the sand is a fine grain size, I have no problems with this. The dead sand on top, will in time, become populated with critters.> Since adding the Wrasse, obviously he's be gorging himself with 'pods as well, to the point I rarely see any. <And we are talking about a 10 gallon tank here. Not much extra room for them to hide.> I'm currently working on setting up a refugium to increase the 'pod population. Also plan on growing macro algae for nutrient export. <The refugium can be a real benefit.> Here are the things I noticed from your article I am (& some I may) be doing wrong: 1.) Don't put your hands into the tank. I do put my hands into the tank, almost daily. <This is easy to correct.> 2.) Watch the addition of "trace elements". I'm using 5 ml. B-Ionic per day to keep Alk & Ca high enough (this is necessary [in my tank] to keep Ca at 450 and Alk at 3.5). Does this additive fuel algal growth? <No, we are talking about miracle type products that do not say what is in them and so called foods for corals. B-Ionic is a fine product for maintain calcium and alkalinity.> 3.) The use of a skimmer. I removed my skimmer about a month ago in an attempt to run "skimmerless". <I have yet to hear a rational argument as to the harm a skimmer might do. I would put it back on.> 4.) Particulate filters. I have none. <I have a settling chamber in my sump to siphon detritus from, but no particulate filter. Only use these if you are willing and able to clean them daily.> I plan on: - Getting a dedicated pair of rubber gloves for tank use <Just keep your hands out of the tank, gloved or not.> - Possibly running my skimmer again (pending your suggestion, thinking I already know the answer...) <Yes, definitely.> - Reducing chemical additives (pending your suggestion) <No need to change anything here.> Anything else you'd suggest? <Possibly using purified water (RO or DI) or better brand of salt (you did not mention).> Thanks in advance, Ross Thompson in DFW, Texas <Are you a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Marine Aquarium Society, http://www.dfwmas.com/index2.html? You should be. -Steven Pro>

The Crash (algae going sexual) My names Andrew and I'm a college student in LA. I'm doing a research project for my English class on the subject of Refugiums. <Man- all that we studied in college English was dangling participles, iambic pentameter- not even wet/dry filters...Man- things have changed!> I have done plenty of interest as I'm building one for my 75 gallon reef aquarium. What I'm asking is if you can recommend any sources or information on the Term; CRASHING. Crashing as in when the algae in the refugium turn sexual during the hours that light is not running over the refugium. If you could help, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time and thanks for having such a site. Its been very helpful in the past with my reef aquarium. Andrew <Well, Andrew, I'd start by doing a search of the FAQs on macroalgae on the WWM site, possibly using the word "crash" to see what comes up. Otherwise, you should investigate Caulerpa, which is often associated with "crashing"! Also, do check out Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for more info on macroalgae and their use/abuse/benefits/pitfalls. Good luck!  Scott F.>

Tough Algae! Aloha WetWebMedia Crew, <Howzit! Scott F. with you tonight!> I truly appreciate the work you do.  I can't praise you enough for the great service you provide. <Thanks to enthusiastic hobbyists like you, we can all share and learn from our experiences!> I have an acrylic 55 gallon FO tank with a few pieces of live rock and live sand that I picked up on the shoreline of a North shore beach. The tank has been up for about three months and all levels are great. I have a dog face puffer in the tank along with a goby (both quarantined before introduction). <I'm stoked that you quarantined these fish- great procedure!> I recently noticed that there are numerous light green spots on the acrylic.  I tried to scrub these small round spots off using an algae scrubber, but they won't come off.  What are these spots? <Well- sounds like-surprise- green algae, or possibly, diatoms! These algae are a fairly normal part of tank start ups. There are a number of things you can do to eliminate it. First of all, you can get special acrylic-safe scrapers to accomplish this, or you can use the edge of a credit card (an old trick that seems to work well-and not a bad use for a credit card, either!). Try not to scratch the tank (unfortunately, it's easy to do with acrylic!). Also, review husbandry techniques (water changes, protein skimming, and feeding) to assure that you're limiting some of the nutrients that algae need to flourish. Also, do test your source water for high levels of phosphate or silicate. Don't get too stressed out tying to get every last spot of algae, but see if some of these steps can help. Review the algae FAQ's on the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on algae control!> What should I do to remove these spots?  I've religiously read over your site, but cant find anything that resembles these spots. Please help me. Thank you, Jeff <As above...I think a combination of "elbow grease" and nutrient control will do the trick! Good luck! Malama Pono and A hu'i hou...Scott F>

Algae Control! Hey guys, ol riot once again, have been seeing in your responses that bio media (poly filter, balls etc..) are not needed in a tank with lots of live rock. <Bioballs, no- but PolyFilter is a valuable chemical filtration media that really should be used in all aquariums!> I have 200-220 pounds of Fiji, Florida and indo rock in my 130g,run a sump with poly filter in the main tray (toss every few days) and bio balls. In the main section, I have an Aquaclear500 running with only carbon in it (replace weekly), an in-sump return pump- 1000g an hour (Laguna, used for ponds), a good skimmer (don't know the name, looks like an old Kent kind, puts out a half large cup of dark green gunk in a day or so,3 Aquaclear802 powerheads in the tank, Naso Tang, Blue Tang, Queen Angel, Picasso Trigger, Red Coris Wrasse, Tomato Clown and a Volitans (none bigger then 4 inches now, will have to weed out down the road I know) <You definitely will! Way too many potentially large fish in this tank.> weekly 20g water changes, and the nitrates seem to hang always in the 30-40ppm range, lots of hair algae as of late, starting to cover all the great coralline I have growing, fish are all healthy and active though, any thoughts on removing the bio media, as well as taming this hair algae?...thanks as always..... <Yep- it's all about nutrient control...You need to cut down bioload (i.e.; number of fishes...most of these guys require lots of food), remove the bioballs, possibly increase sand bed depth to assist in denitrification, and check the quality of your source water (should be very, very low in nitrates and phosphates, which are essentially algae food). Clean the skimmer regularly (like a couple of times per week- a clean skimmer is more efficient. Also, consider smaller (5%) water changes twice a week, so as not to give organics a chance to accumulate. Research further into the wetwebmedia.com site for more information on nuisance algae control. Investigate the ideas I gave you here, and your algae problems will soon be a thing of the past! Good luck!  Scott F.>

Phosphates/Algae Scott Good day, Frank here again from Malaysia. <Hello, Frank!> The fourth days in the process of cycle my tank lots of brown diatom on live rock and glass tank. 3 days later all the brown diatom gone, is that mean that my tank already cycle as I'm using live rock. <Actually- no- algae can come and go even in cycled tanks. Nitrite and ammonia readings must return to ")" for the tank to be considered "cycled"> This is where many spots of grass like grow on the glass tank and long green alga on the rock, is this call hair alga. My tank is 140gallon. The tank water is yellowish, I think I should use activated carbon, am I right?. <I am a firm believer in the use of activated carbon to remove organics/color/etc. and PolyFilter pads for further organics removal- they really work!> I tested my phosphate with sera tester the color is "light deep blue". I use (multipurpose water purified filtration - 3 feet tall ) which consist of the 3 media (activated carbon, fine silica sand, coarse silica sand) before the water enter the tank. <Always a good move to use filtered water before mixing with salt> As far as I know (Silicate, phosphate) - two chemicals that cause hair alga / unwanted alga type. In my country two well-known product I can get (Hagen phosphate remover, Hagen activated carbon), (Coralife - phosphate remover and silicate remover), which product is better in removing all these chemicals? <To be honest, I have no experience with either of these products, but I usually find that water changes with good quality source water, coupled with good protein skimming and the use of a phosphate-free activated carbon product, will really help control these.> Will hair alga affect my coral (hard coral, soft coral). I have added close brain coral and open brain, elephant ear, mushroom. I have no idea what to feed my brain coral and elephant ear. <Hair algae can potentially choke off these corals if the buildup is too great. More important is finding and combating the source of these algae-usually nutrients, which you can readily control with the means discussed above!> Do these coral eat dried mysis? <Generally smaller zooplankton. Many "mushroom corals" get their nutrition directly from the water, and don't need supplemental feeding. Do check the wetwebmedia.com resources for info., or get a copy of Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for much more extensive information on feeding of corals than I can offer here.> Thank you for your upcoming advice. Frank <Glad to help! Good luck!>

Eliminating Algae Hello Fellas, <Scott F. here tonight> I have 5 tanks. <Gotta love THAT!> The tank in question is has become a problem. -78 Gal. custom -20 Gal sump -CPR skimmer -integrated refugium ( Caulerpa, Halimeda, thriving btw)  -2- 350 GPH powerheads -25 watt in-line UV sterilizer -Fluval 404 (for a lil charcoal and pre-filter) -4- 55w PC, 2 10k, 2 actinic -2 40W actinic standard output flour. Spec grav- 1.024 Ph- 8.2-8.4 calcium- 450 alkalinity- 9-11 nitrites-0 ppm nitrates- 20-30 *     PO4- 2.0 +/- Temp. 77.5 - 79.2 RO/DI Top off water alternating with Kalkwasser every other day. -Livestock: 1- 7" bearded clown grouper 1- 7" Blue spot Hind grouper 2- Tube Anemones 3 large serpent stars 1-Huge Coral banded shrimp ( 6 years old now ) This tank has been running for about 3.5 years .Not until the last 2 months have I seen an increase in Hair Algae. It has become the scourge of this tank. I have not changed feeding habits. Groupers get fed every other day, Anemones every 4-5 days. Since the algae outbreak I have pulled the CPR skimmer and replaced with a Euro-Reef. ( Move in the right direction) <An excellent choice in skimmers!> I have had plans to remove the Groupers from this tank and go SPS/clams. (BTW approx 90 lbs live rock currently .) But cannot make changes in stock until Algae subsides. I have a Hood which has been waiting to be installed on this tank. ( 2-250W MH 20k Radium & 2 55W PC). I would assume it would be a bad idea to install all that lighting with all that algae. <I'd want to identify the cause of the outbreak and take action before supplying the algae with another one of it's primary requirements, more light!> MY main question is should I just continue with water changes, (10 - 15 Gal a week). Removing the algae by hand is futile ,as you know. I'm at my wits end, Help pls ? =) <Well, problem algae is all about control of nutrient levels. By reducing the levels of nutrients available to the algae, you will have taken a huge step towards eliminating the problem. That being said, here are some things that you can do: First, continue your regular water changes (I like to do two smaller changes per week, rather than one larger one.), using a quality source water (RO/DI). If you are starting with tap water that is high in phosphate and nitrate, you're already "behind the eight ball", as they say. Also, be sure that your very capable skimmer is pulling at least a couple of cups a week of dark skimmate from your tank. Adjust it accordingly to achieve this level of production, and clean the skimmer weekly, or more often. A clean skimmer is an efficient skimmer! Other things that you can do: Feed carefully, making sure that all food is consumed by your fishes without allowing it to accumulate. Examine the carbon that you're using in your filter. Is it phosphate free? If not, switch to a brand that is. Also, clean the prefilter material often (Weekly or more frequently), as the accumulation of detritus and organics in the prefilter is...algae fuel! Physically remove (I know, it's tedious) any algae that you can. Be consistent in your maintenance, diligent in your husbandry, and relentless in trying to track down and eliminate the sources of your nutrient accumulation. Don't give up- you can do it!>

Algae Issues and WWM Crew help Tank stats:  100 gallon acrylic, Ca 320, alk 2.8 meq/l, temp 79F, lights 420 watts VHO, spg 1.023, ph 8.2 - 8.4  ammonia, and nitrite always 0, and a trace of nitrate (less than 10).  No sups except B-ionic    <Ca and Alk are balanced but a whicker on the low side... perhaps go a little heavier handed now with the b-Ionic> I have had a serious hair algae and diatom problem for quite some time.  I believe the main cause is high nutrients. <agreed... almost always is> I wanted to run a few ideas by you before I start spending money!  I have taken some drastic measures in the last few days.  Since I have corals in the tank, I could not simply turn the lights off. <it actually wouldn't solve the algae problem either. In fact, INCREASING the light in some circumstances helps because the corals can better compete with algae for said nutrients with stimulated photosynthesis... assuming the light does not send then to the point of photo inhibition> Instead I have removed all of the live rock and put it in a Rubbermaid container in a dark closet with an air pump and two power heads.   <dude... way too much work and the long way around the barn. A better skimmer and fasting the fish and coral for two weeks would have knocked it out entirely... clean too!> I plan to treat the live rock as if it were curing in an effort to kill the hair algae.  Do you think this was a bad idea?   <hell ya! Not only was it too laborious, but you are going to kill off a lot of good symbiotic growth on it... and furthermore, some of what is good but not killed by the darkness will die from luminary shock on re-emergence. In the long run, its not that big of a deal... but definitely not the easiest path to take> I'm wondering how long the rock should stay in the closet in order to completely kill the algae?   <that depends on how well you export the necrotic algae. Are you skimming this vat aggressively? Large water changes? etc... perhaps a few weeks> Oh...I will be doing water changes along the way.   <excellent> Meanwhile, I will also be doing massive water changes in the main tank over the course of three or four days (100%) and I'm replacing the Turboflotor trash with a Euro Reef CS6-1.   <very wise and good investment> I'm tired of constantly adjusting the Turboflotor and never getting the settings optimal.   <that's exactly the difference between a good skimmer and a great skimmer. Most skimmers can be made to work... they are all simple devices. But some require daily (or more than once daily!) adjustments just to have a prayer of working well... other top shelf skimmers only get adjusted a few times monthly if that! That's what you get when you spend an extra $100 or $200. Not cheap, but still small $ when you consider the overall investment in the tank and the value of your time> I understand that Euro Reef skimmers are very efficient, user friendly, and (I hope) quiet.   <agreed on all counts.. although quiet is a subjective value by individual> Is the Euro Reef really worth $298?   <easily IMO> All of my fish are carnivorous, messy eaters. <all the more reason> Even though I've had the fish for more than a year, the LFS has taken them back and given store credits. <very considerate... kudos to the LFS for wanting your long term business... wise> I plan to replace them with smaller reef type fish.  I'm wondering. . .given the aggressive nature of a purple tang, do you think it will okay in a peaceful tank with Chromis, fire fish, shrimp etc?   <nope... thanks for asking <G>> Last question, I am wondering about a clean up  crew.  I don't want to spend the money if it's not worth the effort.  What is your opinion about the usefulness of all those snails and crabs? <I enjoy them, but none are as effective as very strong water movement and aggressive protein skimming. Water flow keeps detritus and food suspended for the skimmer to export> If you think I need a crew, what is the best type to have and roughly how many?   <Astraea snails are a big plus (although they die easily if stranded on fine sand). No crabs (hermits or otherwise) if at all possible. Few if any sea cucumbers. Plenty of Brittle and serpent stars (they are great!!)> Is there anything else you think I should do in order to combat the algae problem?   <thaw your frozen food and strain all meats. Never put the thawed pack juice in the tank unrestricted... a sure way to grow hair algae and a common mistake by aquarists> I also want to mention that over the last several years, I have enjoyed and learned a tremendous amount from WWM and I would like to volunteer my services if needed.   <outstanding my friend. We do need sincere help as we grow!> I've been hiding on the sidelines since before Lorenzo came on board.   <because of him too <VBG>. He doesn't bite :)> While I don't feel confident enough to answer questions, I do feel that I would be successful working behind the scenes.   <no worries.. mail is possible in time if you like... just look at the quality of my answers <G>> I was especially thinking of helping Barb arrange the facts or a duty of similar nature.   <God bless you! It is one of the most important areas of the site and ever so much in need of help. I will cc her here... Bob too. He's out of the country right now, but he'll follow up with you when he returns. Perhaps Barb sooner. Do follow up yourself with us if you don't get word in 5-7 days. There is so much you can help with here while learning so much more and re-enforcing what you already do know! Thanks for offering> I am willing to perform whatever service may now or in the future be needed.  No pressure, I just wanted to offer to give something back to WWM.  Thanks for reading this lengthy email.  David Dowless    <thanks kindly, my friend... be chatting soon! Anthony>

Green Water/Algae Is it possible to filter out algae? <Yes, diatom and UV filters are effective on free floating forms of algae, but only good nutrient control will help with algae that grows on surfaces. In that case, various filters can help with nutrient export and effectively starve algae to death.> I have a 70 gallon bow front that was stable. I went on vacation and the house sitter left the light on for 2 weeks. The tank was solid green. I have done a 20 % water change twice in the last week. I am using an Aquaclear 300 with the foam and charcoal inserts. It is just not clearing up. Should I just net all the fish and start over again? Or is there some other filter media I can buy to filter the green out? <You have several options. The easiest is to leave the tank in the dark until the green water dies and clears. At that point, several large water changes will be in order to remove the nutrients from the algae's death and decay. Another option is to use a diatom filter or UV sterilizer to remove or kill the algae. Again, with both water changes will be in order. Another option is to remove the fish to a bucket, drain the tank, refill with dechlorinated water, and then reacclimate the fish back to the tank. It is a lot of work and slightly risky, but very effective. Your last option is to use an algaecide, available at most fish stores. It is a chemical that kills the algae. You still must do the water changes, though. Note, I wrote these in a ranked order, first to last by my preference.> Any suggestions would be helpful, Mike Williams <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Choking on Hair Algae Dear Bob, <Steven Pro in this evening.> www.WetWebMedia.com has been a great resource for me for the last few years and I appreciate the help you have given me in the past. I'm now having a big problem with hair algae which is starting to choke off some of my corals. Things are getting desperate and I have already lost some corals. It only started to sprout up over the last 4 months, at which point my reef was 2 years old and had never had a trace of it previously. <I am guessing you have reached some sort of critical threshold where some aspect of your tank was off and has now accumulated to the point of nuisance algae.> I have increased my water changes and am physically removing the stuff as much as possible. <Good> In addition, I have added extra scarlet hermits, a few small queen conch, a Naso tang, and a lawnmower blenny. None of this seems to make a dent. <They generally don't. It is difficult to impossible, IME, to "eat" your way out of this predicament.> I am next going to try a phosphate sponge (Rowaphos) in case there are phosphates present that my test kit cannot detect. <Ok...> My system is a 75 gallon reef with LPS and soft corals with 2 percula clowns, 2 neon gobies, a Flame Hawkfish, a pygmy angel, a Mandarin fish, a Naso tang, and a lawnmower blenny. <This is too small for the Naso. Everyone else looks fine, though.> I also have a few shrimp, urchins and a variety of small hermits and snails. It has 115 lbs live rock and a 2 inch sugar sized sand bed. <A little too thin on the sand bed. I prefer to go with a very shallow bed (under 1 inch) or 4 inches or more. This may not be your only problem, but it could be a contributing factor.> I have a sump using live rock for filtration, a Turboflotor 1000 protein skimmer, <Make sure this skimmer is removing dark skimmate daily.> a Korallin Calcium reactor, and 4 X 96 Watt PC lights (changing bulbs yearly). I use RO/DI water with Kent salt and added trace elements. <I would discontinue the trace elements and make sure the maintenance is up to par on your RO/DI.> My water parameters are: phosphate 0, nitrate nitrogen 2.8, pH 8.15, Ca 390-400, dKH 11, magnesium 1300, ammonia 0, nitrite 0. <All sounds good> I assume there is a build up of excess nutrients fueling this endless algae growth. <Correct> I am thinking about setting up a refugium with a deep sand bed or a plenum with macro algae, in an attempt export nutrients. <A good idea, but also try to eliminate the input of nutrients, too.> What would you recommend as my best course of action? <See notes above> If a refugium is the way to go which would be best, a deep sand bed (recommended by Ron Shimek) or a plenum (recommended by Bob Goemans)? <When discussing sand beds, I would have to defer to The Sand Man, Dr. Shimek.> Your help is deeply appreciated, Sean <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Water's Green Hi there, I have a 55 gallon salt water tank. I have had the tank up and going for almost a year now. Out of the whole year, my tank has been clear for only three months. The other 9 months the water has been green. Everything in the tank seemed to be healthy, nothing has died. <Water parameters here would be useful. Should be zero ammonia and nitrite, low nitrate, low phosphates and silicates, pH 8.3, 1.023-1.025 SG.3.5 -5 meq/l alk and 425-450 calcium.> I have a clown fish, dwarf Angle, damsel, some cleaner shrimp, and about 40 hermit crabs, 10 snails. For a filtration I am using 50 lb. of live rock, 5 inch sand base and SeaLife protein skimmer.  <Do make sure your skimmer is sized to your tank load and working properly. I would think a high efficiency skimmer would be a huge help to removing particulates, whatever they are, out of the water. I'll bet yours isn't working for you.> I have a powerhead that flows the water back into the tank. This green water is not on the glass or on any of the rock. It is not slim. What ever it is, it is in the water. I filter my water with a purifier. < A purifier? A UV sterilizer?, filter media? I would run a high powered skimmer and a cartridge filter with a pleated paper micron filter to polish the water when it's needed. Maybe a PolyFilter.> I have try doing a large water change, over half the water. Nothing has change, it keeps coming back. I have bought different water cleaners, the water keeps going back to Green. I have spoken to a lot of different people, Inland reef, a very knowledgeable company in salt water tanks, they say "it is a Plankton reproducing in the water. Eventually the Green water will go away". Well, 9 months later I am not happy. Is there anything you think it maybe and is there any way I could get my tank to be clear again? Tim <You didn't list what you are feeding, supplementing, etc. but stick with regular small feedings of fish food and supplement for the main elements only. I wouldn't use anything additional that would feed this bloom. It's feeding on something that you didn't write about. And run a polishing micron filter to help right away, keep it cleaned out. You may need the water turnover anyway. This should help. Craig>
Re: Green water problem
What is a polishing Micron filter? I have been feeding my fish flake food and pellets. I have been alternating every day. Tim <Hi Tim, Look up diatom filters like the System 1 pressure filter, Whisper Diatomagic, or the Marineland cartridges at most any of the WetWebMedia company sponsors. I use an old Magnum 330 from the 70's, it uses a diatom paper filter w/o the diatomaceous earth or carbon. There are other better models. You might try switching to different types of food than two prepared commercial foods. Check out feeding and nutrition on WetWebMedia.com, fish do not live on flake and pellets alone and they may be contributing to your bloom. Don't overfeed! Craig>

Shrimp, Algae, and More Shrimp! Mr. Fenner, < Hello! Scott F. tonight> I have a few questions about my FOWLR tank. I recently bought my clean up crew, and it included two peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) as well as a scarlet cleaner shrimp (Lysmata debelius) as of now I do not have any fish in the tank, I'm having an algae bloom that includes the Cyano stuff and it has covered the glass and I didn't want to add the fish as of yet. My questions are many so I appreciate your time. First, what do the shrimp eat?  <Your Lysmata wurdemanni will feed on small crustaceans, worms, etc. This species has been known to eat Aiptasia anemones as well. The L. debelius has similar dietary preferences, sans the Aiptasia> I'm adding some freeze dried brine shrimp for the time being is that appropriate or do they need more, or will they get their food from scavenging the live rock?  <A little of both> Two, today I noticed one of the peppermint shrimp looked a little pale in color, could this be due to my tanks water parameters, or molting? Is molting known to occur more frequently after the "critter" is moved into new quarters, or is it due to stress?  <Certainly a possibility-good observation> If the peppermint has molted, that will have been the second animal that molted after being moved into the tank. Three, about my skimmer, which is an AquaC Remora with MJ 1200, do you know how long it will take to fully break in, its been on the tank for only a week now? I think it could be helping with the algae bloom, due to it not removing some of the phosphate products in the water, does this seem possible? <The skimmer may take a couple of weeks to really "break in", but you need to make sure that it's adjusted for optimum performance. Suggest you talk to Jason Kim at Aqua C. He's a great guy and will be happy to answer questions about his fine skimmers. A skimmer is one of your best assets in the war against nuisance algae, so it is important that it runs at optimum efficiency> Four, what can I do to lower phosphate levels in my tank to slow down the algae bloom?  <Keep doing what you're doing-skim aggressively, execute regular water changes, and keep nutrient inputs (i.e.; feeding, additives, etc.) to a minimum. This is a normal part of tank start up- lots of nutrients in the water for algae to use> Lastly, should/can I scrape my glass free of the algae, I know it will probably come back but is that a good thing to do? <I'd scrape it off if it bothers you. A certain growth of algae is to be expected, though.> Here are my water parameters: amm 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 7-10ppm alk 5.5meq/L dKH 15.4 Phosphate 0.1-0.25 Calcium 330ppm Ph 8.0 Lighting - 12hours per day Temp 78F thanks for any help you can give Mike <Keep working on eliminating excess nutrients- read the resources about algae on the wetwebmedia.com site. You're doing fine. Good luck!>

Algae Attack! Gentleman, <Scott F. this morning> Trying to get rid of green/red carpet algae. Not having much luck. I have a 75 gal fish only system, up and running for almost a year. I have had salt tanks before without this problem. Water quality is excellent, nitrates, ammonia, ph, phosphates (zero). I have a Rainbow lifeguard 700 gal/hr for the main pump with a PowerSweep 228 in one corner and a Maxijet in the other for circulation and an ETSS Evolution 500 for skimming. For lighting I have a high output compact Fluorescent Strip light at 9325k made by All-glass (this light is new, in the past just used simple fluorescents) on a timer for about 8 hrs of exposure a day. I am doing a 5% water change per week using a gravel vacuum, and at the same time trying to pull up as much algae as possible. This stuff is all over my faux corals, glass and gravel. I can scrape the glass algae off with a mag scraper but the rest is almost impossible to remove. I plan on purchasing a twin diverter for my return nozzle where the water from my sump enters back into the tank to push the flow in two directions instead of one. The algae is making my tank very unsightly. Any suggestions?? Products to buy?? Thanks, John <Well, John your water quality sounds good, your equipment seems to be okay...But the algae is certainly finding the conditions that it needs to grow. A growth of "red" algae, which is usually Cyanobacteria, is a sign that there is an excessive amount of nutrients in the water. A couple of suggestions: 1) Make sure that your protein skimmer is properly adjusted, pulling at least a cup a week of dark, yucky skimmate from the water. This is your first line of defense. Next, investigate your water flow-is all of that flow from the pump getting into the tank? Good water circulation can make a difference. You may also want to change smaller amounts of water twice weekly to prevent nutrient buildup as much as possible. Add herbivores. Check your feeding practices; are you adding additives of any kind? If so, discontinue their use and see what happens. Investigate the possibility of growing/harvesting some macroalgae in your sump as competition for nutrients with the nuisance algae. Finally- relax a bit! A certain amount of green algae is unavoidable, and may be beneficial. Read more on wetwebmedia.com/algcontfaqsmar.htm for more ways to combat this problem. Good luck!>

Lighting and Algae <Hi!> Just thought of something....I have been having algae problems on my substrate only. Could this be because I'm using fluorescent lighting and the bottom of the tank is getting the "bad" part of the lighting spectrum? The rest of my tank is pretty clean of algae, it is 20" tall. Thx. <It's possible but more likely just a stage in your tanks aging and excess nutrients in your water. Stay on top of water changes and make sure your filtration/skimmer is clean and working properly. This *can* happen with aging bulbs changing spectrum, usually when over 6-9 mo.s old. Most algaes, including those within corals, are photosynthetic and need light to grow. Craig >

Algae (pest...) Hi, I'm currently having problems with hair/slime (not sure) algae. Its a dark green mat on the sand that grows long strands and gets out of control very rapidly. I'm trying to take care of it using methods described in one of your articles, (good skimming, lower nitrates, good circulation etc...). Until I can get it under control, I am currently just moving the sand around and smothering it, I can't really siphon it because I'll siphon the sand along with it! Is this a bad idea? Am I making the problem worse by burying the algae mat? Thanks, Ang <It would be better just to pull it out, rather that burry it. You may just be helping it spread right now. Try pinchi9ng the siphon tube so that it is not sucking hard enough to remove the sand, but still has enough force to suck up the algae, not sure if this will work, but that is what I do when I suck up a whole bunch of sand. Best Regards, Gage>

Hair algae <<Hi Jun!>> Hi. I just sent you my first e-mail last night (thank you for your prompt response). I'm beginning to have hair algae in my 90 gal tank. Is their any crustaceans or snails that would get this algae under control? I am not putting any fish in my tank for 1 month (all my fish died of ich). Tank is about 3 months old. 90 gal acrylic tank (36x24x24) 4 URI VHO (95 or 96W each, 2 actinic white, 1 super actinic and 1 Aquasun) 15-20 gal wet/dry filter with mag drive 7 and bio balls Inhabitants: toadstool leather, yellow leather (?) (it's not opening), button polyps, yellow polyps, green striped mushroom, metallic mushroom (according to my LFS), purple mushroom (?), anthelia,2 sand sifter star, 7 Astrea snails and several hermit crabs. Water parameters are as follows; ammonia 0,nitrite 0, nitrate 10, ph 8.4, SG 1.024, Ca 439  <<This is perfect, don't worry, 500 would depress alk some.>> (trying for 450 or close to 500 according to my LFS) using liquid Ca right now for supplement,dKH 115 (?) <<Kent liquid??? If so, exchange for Seachem. Turbo calcium will cause alk problems over time.>> Sorry for sending you 2-3 questions in less than 24 hours. Hope I'm not bothering too much. Thank again. <<Ha! Not possible to "bother" us too much! Tropical abalones are recommended by Anthony although I've never had one. I use Zebrasoma Tangs, but you don't have that option right now. I would also think of removing your bioballs *over time* and adding LR/LS in it's place to keep your nitrates down. They are likely pushing your hair algae along. If you wait for a Tang just cut the algae back as they like it short. I would start with nutrient prevention and export and then to physical control. Fairly normal for this age tank. DO have FUN!!! Craig>> 

Re: hair algae Craig, Hi! again. <<Hey Jun!>> I got LR and LS in my system (about 54 lbs of LR). I have a 90 gal tank. Should I start (gradually of course) removing my bioballs or should I wait till I have 90 lbs (LR)?  << Yes, would make sure rock/sand capacity is available before losing that from the bioballs.>> And it looks like my diatoms are under control (at least right now) but my Cyanobacteria is getting worse. What should I do? I just siphon them (Cyanobacteria) this morning (looks like I didn't do a good job). Can I use Kent Poly Ox, Chemi clean or Redox?  <<I don't recommend the additives. More problems. Scrub off, vacuum, remove waste, watch overfeeding, increase circulation in areas where it grows, make sure skimmer/filtration are working at max. Do water changes to lower nitrate. You will pass the stage too!>> Sorry for bothering you again but I'm sure I'll be asking more questions as I go along with hobby. And I forgot to mention, Macroalgae are sprouting from my LR(s). Would these algae help with Cyanobacteria control? Thanks again......Jun <<Yes, can use and then remove nutrient when it's harvested out. Best of luck! Craig>>

Cichlids To all great and knowledgeable aquarist of Oz, I have a few questions. I need a brain a heart... <<Craig here, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain....I am the Great and Powerful....Oh dear...>> Anyways I have a forty gallon planted aquarium with two keyhole cichlids, a green Severum, a Curviceps, and a Festivum. There really is no fighting in the tank between species and they are all still quiet immature, but growing very fast. I love the Severum and the keyholes, is there anything in particular that would be compatible with them and not destroy my plants? Would another Severum cause pandemonium in the tank? Is my tank large enough to house these fish full grown? <<This is my concern. Cichlids tend to be messy compared to some other families requiring more volume, space, better filtration, etc. Proceed with caution. Check out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlids.htm>> I am unable to find much information on these guys and we all know that pet stores would have you stock a tank overflowing with fish. I would be willing to sacrifice the Curviceps and the Festivum for something different, or if I am at my limit I could let them go. Now to my twenty gallon reef tank, I am having a lot of green algae growing on the glass. About two weeks ago I bought another power compact light, so I know have two with a combined wattage of 88 watts. I know that my protein skimmer is not sufficient, it is a lee's counter current. I had my nitrates and phosphates tested at the LFS, and the nitrates are not to be a worry I forgot to ask him precisely what the levels were) and my phosphates read zero. I do not have a low range nitrate test kit, but a common nitrate kit. I change ten to twenty percent of the water weekly, but the algae is growing so fast that I have to wipe the glass daily. The algae is not growing on any of the live stock, and they seem just fine. Is my protein skimmer just not doing the job or is it just going to eventually catch up and eliminate the majority of the algae. After a week with the new light I replaced the old air stone in the skimmer and that has greatly improved the amount of skimmate. If I bought a CPR back pack would that keep up with this small tank, or are there better ones? Thanks a million Dave <<Well there is nutrient driving your algae growth. The Lee skimmers are not all that efficient and being a small in-tank model they draw water from below the nutrient rich surface. The CPR with the skimmer box or an Aqua-C remora would surely help. I would also advise getting some good quality test kits to monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, calcium, alkalinity, etc. What type of top off water are you using? This could be introducing nutrient on a constant basis. I recommend RO/DI to eliminate this problem.>> <<Hope this helps, Craig>>

Algae Reduction Hi, I was having some hair algae issues so I bought a few turbo snails. They have completely removed all algae from the rocks in a matter of a couple days!! These rocks are so clean I was shocked. BUT, they don't seem to do much about algae on the substrate. I use Aragonite 1-2mm. The algae that is completed taking over the substrate is dark green, kind of stringy and slimy if you let it go it grows long strands. It is a pain when I try to remove it because I kick the sand up and cloud the water. I realize there is a couple of things I need to do. My nitrates are up a bit, my skimmer should be producing more waste, etc... < You got it boss. > but in the meantime would it be the best critter to help control this if any? <I have found that I myself am one of the best critters for removing unwanted algae, Just try not to stir it up too much, you may just end up spreading it.> If I could get as much production as I do from the turbo snails that would be pretty nice. Thanks, Angelo <Once you get your Nitrates under control and your skimmer rocking the algae should start to die off. The problem in your tank right now is that it is a great environment for growing algae. The algae is just a symptom of a different problem, and it sounds like you are on the right track to getting this resolved. We have got some great information on Algae and various ways to deal with it at the links below. http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Best of luck in your battle my friend. Gage>

Algae Control.... Bob, I was just reading one of your articles. I am a beginner in aquascaping (6months).  In your article you wrote: Algae Control: " Where do fish waste nutrients like those nitrates you're making end up? Maybe in chemical filtrants like carbon, perhaps diluted by your conscientious frequent partial water changes; but more likely than not as excess algae growth. Who can blame the algae? All that food, light, space and no pesky plants to compete with. Now get this; You don't need algicides or clarifiers for your aquarium or fish bowl. With just a small amount of live plant material floating and breaking the waters surface, you can be rid of most algae and a whole lot of other aquarium maintenance. This is simple and inexpensive." Do floating plants actually cut down on algae growth? <Indeed they do... by blocking light, utilizing nutrients, stabilizing water chemistry mainly... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Scott

Brown Algae I have an outbreak of brown stringy algae growing out of my sand in various places in my 80 gallon reef tank. I have vacuumed it up, but it appears again the next day. I have carbon and a phosphate absorbing material in the sump and everything else looks normal. Any ideas about the cause and how to get rid of it? Thanks <It could be a Cyanobacteria or dinoflagellates. The cause is nutrients. There is much written on the subject on www.WetWebMedia.com -Steven Pro>

Stomatella varia Question guys.  As most if not all of us, I do daily if not hourly checks to see what I can find new in my tank. Well tonight I came upon this critter that is kinda purple/brown and looks like a slug with maybe a very thin shell. Things I've read says it may be a Stomatella Varia but I have not found pics of any that were this color.  <they have highly variable color if not speciation. Still the morphology and behavior of the "paper shell snail" are unmistakable... thin half shell on the back that looks like a mini-abalone and they can move fast!> He is just cruising the rock with his little snail like sucker and his "tail" sliming around behind him. <yep...> any info would be appreciated I searched this web site for like 2 hours and couldn't come up with a pic of him. Hmmmm, really need to invest in a digital camera so I can take a pic of these critters. C <do send when you can... best regards, Anthony>

Re: Stomatella varia Anthony my question is can he stay or does he go?????? <I cannot say from your lack of a description <VBG> let alone picture. If it is indeed a Stomatella (and again, there's not much else that looks like them) then it is a wonderful and harmless algae grazer that reproduce easily> I have just a few polyps and some tiny mushrooms that showed up not dead as seahorse staff thought they were don't want to have them end up as food. he seemed to cruise right by them only upset when the fan worm swatted at him. What you described with the half shell is exactly what this guy is. Should I remove him? <sounds pretty ducky :) > Thanks C Pittsburgh, pa <with kind regards, Anthony>

Water flow and Algae Anthony you and I have talk about water flow in reef tanks, and you have said many times about having outlets on all side of the tank.  <yes... not written in stone but nice for many aquarists trying to achieve random turbulent flow without investing much time or thought into the process> In my own 180 gal reef tank I pump 2000 gal per hour out of 4 outlets in the back of the tank. But if all reef tanks large and small had also 2-4 outlets in the front of tank it would keep algae down much lower then they have now.  <agreed> Keeping algae moving would give the p skimmer a better chance to remove them from the tank.  <exactly... detritus stays in suspension for removal by skimmers, etc and the algae themselves are often inhibited by reef type flow... they generally favor calmer waters (warmer temps and higher nutrients too of course)> "Dilution is the solution to pollution" <Amen!> Have a good day RGibson <kindly, Anthony>

Brown/yellow algae Hi, <<Hello...>> I have a 120 Gal. tank and I don't think I have enough filtration for it. <<Ok... !?>> I think I have diatoms in my tank now and could they be clogging up my filter? <<Unless this filter is truly anemic, I doubt it. You didn't reveal many details about your filtration...>> I don't know how to get rid of this algae and I have had it over a month and it keeps getting worse. <<You always have other options.>> I do a water change about once a week. <<You might want to consider that your source water is encouraging the diatom algae - it may be time for Reverse Osmosis filtration.>> If you could tell me what I should do about my filter and how to get rid of this stuff. <<You may simply need to add more circulation to your tank. Here's a couple of reading links that will help: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm >> Thank You Nicole <<Cheers, J -- >>

Please help (Oh green water, keep on moving...) <<Greetings, JasonC here...>> I have a fish only marine tank, 29 gallon and I cant get rid of my suspended algae problem. It has been 2 weeks now of pure green water. I don't have any growth on the tank , just in the water. My water levels are all fine including phosphates and nitrites and my fish seem to be doing ok but I just cant see them. I have been doing water changes daily now but it just comes right back the next day. What else can I do?? <<Well, I would suspect your source water. Are you using an RO filter or are you using tap water? I would start here. Likewise, I see no mention of a protein skimmer which would certainly help.>> Aprille Hazzard Malvern, Pa
<<Cheers, J -- >>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

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