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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 9

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, Cyano Control 5, Cyano Control 6, Cyano Control 7, Cyano Control 8, Cyano Control 10, Cyano Control 11, BGA Control 12, BGA Control 13, BGA Control 14, BGA Control 15, BGA Control 16, BGA Control 17, BGA Control 18, BGA Control 19, BGA Control 20, & BGA Identification, Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; Controlling: Red/Encrusting Algae, Green Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Related Articles: Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria), Algae Control, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, 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,   Diatoms, Brown Algae

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: I think one of the tankmates is chewing the tail on my Foxface;   8/4/06 Thank you as always Bob. <Welcome... and oh, am going to be in NJ on the 24 on... to visit mum in law for her bday, and give a pitch at the NJ Reef Club... might meet you> I am still looking but I can never seem to find which fish is at fault in there. I even peek in there discreetly at night, morning and evening so they 'shouldn't' know I am looking but nothing so far. I still suspect the little tiger as she picks at everything. Oh, the Powder Blue tang ended badly in spite of my best efforts. <Par for this species... trials in captive circumstances> I left him with the LFS and they had power outage from a storm and lost all their PBTs except one... unfortunately the one wasn't mine. I really did want to find him a nice big home. This was an all around tragedy as they had some gorgeous tanks that were wiped out. What would they have done without insurance coverage?!? OUCH! Yes, everyone would benefit from a UPS, <These really do work...> or backup generator if possible, to avert some of the smaller scale power disasters. A UPS to run either an air pump and stone or a power-head with air running from a line is a small investment to protect our watery friends...IMHO. <I concur> On another note, I have a product called Chemi Clean that took care of the majority of the BGA/Cyano Bacteria problem. I may need to run another treatment as I quite an infestation in spite of my constant water changes and vacuuming/removing the red slime. I finally caved and used this stuff again and thus far the Condylactis and Peppermint Shrimp are doing well. <You've been fortunate...> Following the instructions with a 20% water change after 24 hours and having removed the carbon it seems to have really put a significant dent on the colonies of red yuck. I used cheesecloth to manually remove as much of the stringy material as possible. It also seems that the power-head, pump and protein skimmer all run better. <Also to be expected...> I imagine this product helped clear the film of red slime from the impellers. Disassembly found them cleaner than on my normal routine maintenance. <Mmm, and just overall whacked the BGA so it couldn't continue to modify the environment to its ends> Further detail: the slime problems in the tank seem generally due to temperature fluctuations. Being 24 gallons it has been hard to keep the temperature stable with the sunlight exposure in that spot and from the ambient heat of summer. Another possibility is that the filters from the RO system needed to be changed sooner than they were. I really have come to dislike small tanks even if only for quarantine or backup and far more so the 'nanocube' all in one versions. A better solution is a tank with similar dimensions that has similar components so exchanging parts during inevitable breakdowns or emergencies is easier; lighting and etc. After all we need similar lighting needs for our corals in both QT and in the main display. Nanocubes seem like a great upfront solution at a reasonable expense until you have to replace parts or have to try and get components to fit therein.   <Agreed> Finally, the Remora Protein Skimmer is fantastic! This was by far the best money spent on the tank thus far. Thank you so very much for the suggestion. It is so easy to use, adjust and works so very well. Sincerely, James Zimmer Garfield, NJ      <Hope to see you soon. BobF>

BGA Control,  Slime remover and Anemone   8/4/06 Dear Bob, <James with you today.> I had a red slime algae problem for a while and used the product Slime Remover (comes on a rectangular blue box). Worked perfectly and although I know   its not a solution it helped me save a lot of tank life due to it's abundance. I  have started a rigid bi/weekly cleaning and water change to try to reduce   nitrates and  switched to r/o water for minimal phosphates as well as feeding less in concern that I am over feeding. My main concern is my anemone. I have a Bubble Tip Anemone and I am hoping that the slime remover is not killing the symbiotic algae it needs to survive.   DO you know if this is a general problem. <Anemones are difficult enough to keep without tainting the water quality with such products as Slime Remover.  Depending on the wattage of your light fixture, you may not have enough light for the anemone to carry out photosynthesis.> Also I have notice he has shrunk a little since I have gotten him and doesn't open up as much, however he does have  a great appetite and I feed him weekly with silversides. <Although these products are supposedly safe with invertebrates, most contain erythromycin which kills bacteria (good or bad) and fungal diseases.  The product works well in this regard since the slime algae is actually a bacteria (Cyanobacteria). I would look at this link, and related links above, for controlling the problem. I, personally, would not use such products for BGA control. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> I have a 48" power compact light with actinic bulbs that run approx 14 hrs  a day, salinity is 1.24, nitrates are minimal, have a 12 gallon mud sump with   mangroves, 55 gallon tank. Best regards, <And to you.  James (Salty Dog)> Jason

Red Algae on the Run   7/28/06 I'm sure you guys have been asked this question a thousand times, but here goes number one thousand and one. < Since so many different answers may truly work, it can never be a moot question. > Here are my tank specs: Temp= 76 - 77 PH= 8.2 Alk= 3.0 SG= 1.022, Nitrite= 0 Nitrate= 5.0 Ammonia= 0 Calcium= 400 Tank= 150 Gallon made of glass Filter= Wet Dry catered for a 220 Gal Skimmer= Sump style catered for a 220 Cooling= Drop in chiller in the sump Lighting= 4 Power Compacts Lights= 34" SunPaq Dual Daylight; 6700ºK/10000ºK 96W (2 Whites) Lights= 34" SunPaq Dual Actinic; 420/460nm 96W (2 Blue) Lighting Hours= 4 PM - 12 AM Misc.= 2 Bags of carbon in the sump Misc.= 1 Bag of Phosban in the sump Live Sand= 3-4" Sand Bed Live Rock= Approx. 120 lbs < It is very nice to have these stats already, thank you. > I've been curing some brand new live rock in my new 150 G tank for about a month now. I also took some live rock that I had in my 55 G, and put it in the 150 G as well. I have reddish brown algae on my live sand, and all over my rocks. At first I didn't realize it as much because I only had the new rocks in there, and they were turning a reddish color. I figured it was the rocks. I noticed it more predominantly once I put the rocks I used to have in my 55G, because they too began turning a reddish color. What is bothersome is that the old rocks in my 55 G, used to have some beautiful color schemes going on, and now they don't. The red slime is now spreading to my glass. < It sounds like Cyanobacteria sp. > Questions: 1. I used to have the 6700/10000 whites and one broke. Now I have 2 Coral Life 10k's because the LFS didn't have the dual. Does this make a difference? < Personally, I believe it does. I find the Current tubes to be much higher quality. > 2. I was thinking of adding the following in order to control the algae problem. Will this be enough? Turbo Snails (Mexican) Super Tongan Nassarius Snail Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab Sand Sifting Sea Star How many of these should I buy, if any? Other alternatives? < Very few of the animals listed will actually help with the Cyanobacteria. The sand sifting star may even be counter-productive in regards to the development of a stable pod population; they are aggressive 'pod predators, and can wipe out an already unstable colony, as you would find in a new tank. > 3. Is it possible that the Phosban can cause algae? < I strongly doubt that. I have never heard of it leaching or dumping phosphates back into the water. > 4. Is it possible that too much carbon can cause algae? < Not necessarily too much carbon, but some carbons will leach some phosphates. Also, if you leave your carbon in too long, it's natural tendency is to dump what it has absorbed. This time bomb is normally seen when the carbon is left in longer than a month. > 5. I want to buy 2 brain corals in the future. Do I need this much lighting or can I reduce it to 6 hours? < A reduced photoperiod is not a bad idea at all. Someone much smarter than me once did a study on light absorption in reef inhabitants in the wild. His study found that the corals did not utilize the full amount of daylight for light capture. Some species were observed to be rejecting the peak intensity hours intentionally! When he was explaining this to us, he said there is only so much light energy a coral can process in a day, the rest is blocked. I would run my actinics for an eight hour photoperiod, with the whites in the middle, burning for four hours. After all, it is the red spectrum that is encouraging the Cyano. Because PC lights shift colors  (to too much red) quickly, I suggest changing the tubes out every four to six months. The amount of light should be alright for the brains, but you may find they might actually crave a little more, depending on the genus. > < Something that was not asked, but I do feel it has a need to be addressed is the source of the nutrients encouraging the algae. Are you feeding frozen foods? If they are not rinsed well before feeding, the juices have copious amounts of phosphate potential. Have you checked the first five ingredients of your prepared foods? If they contain fish meal in them, that too can encourage phosphate related problems. Last, but not least, have you considered the possibility of your bio-balls generating waste by-products your skimmer cannot comprehend? Every system I have seen with bio-balls has had an ongoing battle with unwanted growths. If you must have the bio-balls in your life, make sure the water travels through the protein skimmer before it goes over the bio-balls. That will, in the least, allow your skimmer more of a chance to work. Good Luck, and keep us posted! RichardB > Thanks everyone!

Cyano & Corals/Anemone?   7/25/06 Thank you for all the valuable advice over the past few years. < Bob and the crew are great! > Just a quick question. With reference to previous notes... and to sum it all up since I'm not attaching those notes... basically, I have a little bit of a Cyanobacteria problem. < Being one of the first forms of life on the planet, it can be a bit resilient and pesky. > I'm using 40watt fluorescent, 16x water flow, and I think I might actually be underfeeding? < What is the spectrum of the fluorescent? If it has too much red and/or yellow spectrum, this could be contributing to the Cyano. Are you feeding frozen foods? If you are not rinsing the frozen foods well, the juices contribute heavy amounts of phosphates. Also, check to see if your prepared foods have fish meal in the first five ingredients. This too can encourage phosphate levels to rise. The phosphates encourage the growth of Cyanobacteria. > Anyhow, I have a new sump with a refugium and I plan on using some Miracle Mud and some Caulerpa.  Actually, you guys keep recommending something else which I will use instead of Caulerpa... but the scientific name of it has slipped my tongue for now, I'm sure I have the email somewhere. < My favorite is Chaetomorpha. It never goes sexual, and is less likely to leach or crash. >   Anyhow, if I upgrade to power compact/metal halide lighting and introduce an anemone or a soft coral... one at a time over months...   Will this assist in competing for nutrients to eventually starve out the Cyano???  This would be in addition to the Caulerpa algae. < It should at least retard the cyano's growth. But you would be wise to correct the nutrient problem before switching to higher powered lighting. > If/when I am introducing a soft coral and or anemone, should I ensure that the Cyano problem is completely solved??? < As much as can be, yes. > Will Cyano in my tank harm new additions with respect to corals?  Or will they help in the fight against Cyano? < Slow growing corals, or ones in inadequate water flow may suffer from the encroachment of the Cyano. The rapidly growing corals may help somewhat, but generally speaking, they do not utilize the same nutrients the Cyanobacteria crave. > I'm looking for an easy to keep soft coral as my first one. < Investigate the Sinularia species, they are very hardy and make great "starter" corals. >   I'd also be interested in knowing what type of anemone my false percula clowns would most likely enjoy. < They would most likely prefer a carpet or ritteri anemone, but these are not always the easiest to keep in captivity. Even though it is not a natural choice for the clowns, I would investigate a long tentacle or possibly even a bubble tip anemone instead. The latter two are much hardier than the former two. > If it makes a difference, I'm assuming that my clowns are wild and not captive bred... as they are quite territorial < A clown by any other name would smell the same! Good luck! RichardB > Regards, Dave Brynlund

Marine BGA Issue - 07/21/06 Hello WWM crew-  first, thanks for your past advice, using it I have set up a system that has been great (up until now). <<Uh-0h>> I have a couple of problems I can't seem to figure out. <<Let's see what we can do, shall we?>> First, I have a massive unstoppable plague of brown slime (BGA I presume). <<Mmm yes, happens...no need to panic>> It is really becoming a threat to the system and the few invert I so far have. <<Are you sure it's "threatening" your system/inverts?  While unsightly, it usually causes little harm to "healthy" organisms...in my experience>> I have read your article on BGA and have checked all water parameters (see below).  I have cut down on food also, and am rinsing what frozen food I am adding now. <<I doubt "feeding" is your issue>> The fight with the stuff is getting ridiculous. <<Mmm, but you're likely only fighting the symptom...we need to determine the cause>> My intent was to have the fuge heavily planted with macro, to take up any nutrients. <<A vegetable refugium is very beneficial...but not a foolproof system for eliminating nutrients>> I purchased plants from IPSF several times, and put them in there under long-duration standard aquarium lighting, and they do not at all thrive.  In fact all have nearly disappeared, including species that I would have thought I would have had trouble controlling- long and short feather Caulerpa.  Any ideas why my plants are not making it? <<Yes...algae compete (fight) for space just like corals, fish, et al...is best in my opinion to pick a "single" species for inclusion in your refugium...my vote would be Chaetomorpha>> Note that there are rampant in-fauna- amphipods, snails, and MiniStars in the fuge with the plants and DSB.  Perhaps related, the leather coral I have seems to be doing well (BGA building on skeleton is worrying though), but a green bubble I have is badly struggling. <<The BGA you describe will inhabit any exposed skeleton on your corals, but is unlikely to attack "healthy" tissue.  Likely your bubble coral is suffering from whatever is feeding the algae...or from an unrelated environmental issue>> See water parameters below, I can't figure out why.  I also lost what was a beautiful Elegance coral for two days, I thought it was me again, might have been, but I also see that Elegance have a high mortality. <<Indeed...mostly found among turbid waters in back reefs/mud flats/turtle grass...placing under high-intensity lighting at the top of a reef is generally a death sentence.  Not saying that's what you did...can only generalize at this point>> I won't try one again, it was a shame. <<Agreed my friend, but is a good candidate for a "species specific" aquarium...beautiful and amazing organisms>> Specs: 90G show tank with custom overflow top, spilling into 55G downstream full-flow refugium.  Circulation main to fuge via Supreme Mag-drive 12 rated at 1200GPH max, and in-tank Seio Superflow 820.  Prism-Pro Deluxe hang-on skimmer <<Mmm...a better skimmer might serve you well re the BGA>> Note- I do not have any mechanical filtration at all. <<Nor do I...>> 4-5" Aragamax DSB in show tank 5-7" Aragamax and Aragamud (iron bearing?) DSB in refugium. <<Excellent>> pH 8.3 (Salifert) Ammonia 0 (Salifert) Nitrite 0 (Salifert) Nitrate ~2PPM (Salifert) <<This is fine/good...many corals benefit from a bit of nitrate (<5ppm) in a system>> Phosphate <0.1 (Nutrafin) Silicate undetectable (Seachem) Hardness typically 400-500 (LaMotte) Temperature 77-79 Top-off (ATO controller) with RO water in basin filled by GE Merlin RO system, no phosphate in incoming water.  Dosed daily with Kent TechCB 2-part calcium.  Every 4 days with Kent Strontium/Moly.  Every week with Kent Tech-I (Iodine) <<All sound s fine thus far>> Water changes 10 gallons every 2-3 weeks using Reef Crystals and RO water.  Approx 45 lbs of live rock, LFS Fiji Premium that did very well and Drs. Foster and Smith Lalo which so far did not. <<...?>> Livestock: 5 small green Chromis, 2 small clowns (false Percula), Mandarin (doing very well), Algae Blenny, 8-10 small various hermits, leather coral, ailing bubble coral (!), large green brittle star, many many amphipods, many many micro serpent stars, many many Nassarius snails (reproducing on the glass), fewer Turbos.  Feathers on LR, bristleworms though not in great numbers. <<The bristleworms are a beneficial detritivore...not to be feared>> Lighting is Current USA Nova Extreme T-5 fixture, 432 watts total, 1/2 460nm actinic and 1/2 10K.  Total photoperiod about 10 hours. <<"Daylight" at the Equator is just a bit more than 13 hrs (so I've read)...I would shoot for something closer to a 12-hour photo-period>> Thanks again, the hobby owes you a lot.... <<Thank you for this...but I don't know that I've provided much help at this stage.  Speaking from experience...look to your water containers/water filter equipment for possible avenues of contamination re your BGA problem>> Bob in Endicott, NY <<Regards, EricR in Columbia, SC>>
Marine BGA Issue II - 07/22/06
Thanks Eric, but I remain confused. What should I be looking for?  Incoming RO water is phosphate-free, and I tested that in my RO sump, which does not have any BGA growing in it. <<Phosphate may not be the problem, and even if your make-up water is the catalyst for the BGA I wouldn't expect to find BGA in your RO sump (It doesn't contain "all the elements" that have come together in your display to give rise to your BGA problem).  In my own recent experience, I had a "used" (but cleaned) food-grade poly drum that I had obtained for storing RO top-off water.  Something absorbed/embedded in the plastic of the drum fueled a massive BGA outbreak in my display tank.  Whatever element that was fueling the BGA (as well as a very short turf-type algae), did not register on any of the typical "hobby" test kits.  I actually determined the drum was the catalyst through the process of elimination.  This experience is why I stated you should check your water filter components (old/damaged RO membrane, depleted DI resins) and your water storage containers (possibility of contamination, obtained from "unknown" origin)>> How do I fight this?  Is too much light the problem, not the right mix of wavelengths? <<Hmm, how do I state this?...these elements (feedings, light) may indeed be "part of the equation" that gives "life" to the BGA, but they are elements that are essential to the life of your tank.  Restricting these in an attempt to control the BGA does more harm than good in the long-term...in my opinion.  What you have to do here is find the element that is "out of balance" and correct that balance>> BGA is trying to coat over coralline on the LR, and grows in sheets overnight even immediately following a water change that I use to siphon much of it away. <<Yes, expected...but do keep up with the manual removal...I have heard Bob state that this type of "interruption" to the BGA's cycle seems to sometimes trigger a "chemical change" that leads to the demise of the BGA>> Should I be trying to treat it- carbon, phosphate-reducers, RedOx + type stuff? <<The addition of carbon/Poly-Filter may well help (won't hurt)...as may increasing flow throughout the tank, adding bioturbators (Nassarius/Cerith snails), and a sand-sifting goby.  Another option is to dose an organic carbon source to boost bacteria growth to try to "out compete" the BGA...though all these suggestion are merely treating the symptom again...but the right "combination" of these used on a continuing basis may provide the relief you seek for now>> BTW, bristleworms were indeed added on purpose (ordered from IPSF), based on your advice. <<Super!>> I appreciate your help... <<Am happy to try...EricR>>
Marine BGA Issue III - 0722/06
I'm using a pail (former birdseed pail) as RO sump.  Maybe I will try something else, a 10G glass tank or something. <<Worth trying, yes>> I have an RO only system, no DI.  DI necessary? <<Not always, depends largely on the quality of your source water...though most all "reef keepers" feel it to be an essential component of their water filtration systems>> Could that be part of the equation? <<Again, worth trying>> Thanks a lot for your time.  I'll replace the RO membranes and it's carbon pre-filter I guess, and swap the pail out too, and I guess I'll see what happens! <<If you haven't already, spend some time reading here ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm) and among the many associated links for other's opinions/tips re this very common problem...  And feel free to write back to bounce around thoughts/ideas if you wish.  Good luck, EricR>>

Cyano Problems 7/22/06 Hi Chris, <Hello> I thought I had this licked. I no longer have a carpet of Cyano, but, the problem continues. <Definitely takes time.> My PO4 is < 0.5 with r/o and phos-sorb. <Getting better.>  I have also added Rowa-phos to further remove the phosphates. I also replaced my sea-clone skimmer for an AquaC HOT Remora pro and I am skimming about a cup a day. <Good choice, I love my Aqua C.>  I am still getting a Cyano film on the aragonite substrate and LR. I don't think replacing my lights is the culprit even though they are about due for replacement being about 12 months old. <The frequency shift in older lights does tend to encourage the Cyano growth.> Could it be the DT's I am feeding polyps and Ricordea? <Could be.> Should I just continue to feed sparingly and wait and watch? <I would.  If possible try to limit the use of the DTs.  Maybe switch to Cyclop-eeze, I have never heard of this containing PO4.  Some of the PO4 is also probably coming from the dying Cyano, so a slight increase in levels isn't really surprising.  With continued water changes, the Rowa-phos, and improved skimming you will probably see increase results.  Just don't expect to ever get rid of it all, the idea is just to limit it to manageable levels.> <Chris>

Nuisance Slime Algae Problem (Have Patience) - 07/17/06 Hi Crew, <<Good Morning>> I have a 55 gallon tank with 2 clownfish and some invertebrate soft corals.  The corals are thriving and the clownfish are very healthy. <<Cool>> I have a brown slime algae problem that I think was caused by exhausted cartridges on my Spectra Pure RO/DI unit. <<Hmm, maybe...is a very opportunistic organism>> My water parameters: pH 8.0 (I can never seem to increase the pH) <<As long as it's stable, this is fine>> Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Phosphates - LaMotte test kit indicates 0 Nitrates - <0.05 mg/l Despite water readings that I felt were ok, I have changed all of the cartridges on my Spectra Pure and I have changed 10 gallons of water for 5 consecutive days now hoping to rid my tank of this unsightly algae. <<You can/should go back to your regular water change routine.  The daily water changes aren't going to have that big an impact in this situation in my opinion, and may even do more harm than good due to the continuous chemical/mineral instability associated re...especially since I suspect these daily changes are with "raw" seawater.  If indeed the BGA is due to previous issues with your makeup water, it will (albeit slowly) cycle out.  By the way, have you taken a TDS reading of your water before and immediately after the RO membrane to make sure "it" doesn't need replacement as well?>> It doesn't seem to be getting any worse but after doing so many water changes I expected to see some improvement but so far there isn't any signs of the brown slime. <<Improvement will be slow>> It is pretty much on the surface of the Aragonite and some of it has gone onto my live rock. <<Yes, quite familiar with this.  Went through my own episode (contaminated water storage container) very recently>> I'm frustrated because I feel like I am making the best water I can, I am running an EV120 skimmer, I have 55 lbs of live rock and I only feed my fish once per day with a small amount of food. <<Please don't neglect the fishes' nutritive needs here, resume feeding them well.  As long as you aren't grossly overfeeding this will/is not causing your BGA problem.  As for your frustration...patience my friend...>> I see pristine tanks with white, unspoiled sand in fish stores and I can never get my substrate to look that good!! <<Mmm, even without the Cyano your substrate would not likely be "pristine", nor does it need to be>> How long must I keep up the water changes before I start to see any results? <<Hard to say, my BGA took 10 months to resolve.  Whatever element is feeding the BGA is likely embedded in your substrate material and your live rock, thus my reasoning the daily water changes will have small effect at this stage.  Ensuring your makeup-water filtration unit is operating up to snuff now and following/continuing your good husbandry/maintenance habits will allow the BGA to "use up" whatever is feeding it and cycle out of your system.  You might be able to hasten this cycle by introducing small amounts of an organic carbon source (Ethanol aka Ethyl Alcohol aka Vodka) but this can be risky in itself if misapplied so proceed with caution.  The carbon source (Vodka) will boost bacterial growth in your system, possibly out-competing the BGA for nutrients.  Another more "natural" assist would be to add a sand-sifting goby (Amblygobius phalaena is my fave).  It won't "eat" the BGA per se but it will disturb/sift the substrate liberating/consuming detritus and possibly speeding the algae cycle...and will certainly make the substrate look better <grin>.  Soooo, possibly give these ideas a try, but above all have patience.  Regards, Eric Russell>>
Re: Nuisance Slime Algae Problem - 07/18/06
Eric, <<Lynne>> Thank you for your reply.  I have purchased some more hermit crabs and plan to add more as I only had about 5 in the tank.  I am hoping they will help move the substrate around as well. <<Mmm, marginally...not really "sand-stirrers", but if you don't mind their opportunistic nature they can be efficient detritivores.  EricR>>
Re: Nuisance Algae (Contaminated Container?) - 07/18/06
Eric Russell, <<Mark>> What do you mean by (contaminated water storage container) as I am having a similar problem with diatoms? <<Happy to explain... I had purchased a "used" polyethylene drum to use as a water reservoir.  The drum had come from a food service and I had given it a thorough cleaning/bleaching, yet the plastic still retained "some" element (had a very faint licorice smell) that leached in to the water and was then transferred to my tank.  It took several months for the element to build up/the BGA to express, and another month or so for me to trace the cause back to the contaminated drum.  I removed the used container and purchased "new" 55g polyethylene water containers...the BGA eventually began to recede and finally disappear>> Thanks Mark <<Regards, EricR>>
Re: Nuisance Slime Algae Problem III - 07/18/06
Hi Eric, <<Lynne>> Other than fish, are there any other "sand stirrers" that you recommend over hermit crabs that may help my problem and not hurt my soft coral mushrooms and polyps??? <<You might try some Cerith and/or Nassarius snails.  There's a few other/larger organisms about...but not for a system as small as yours (46g) I'm afraid.  Cheers my friend, EricR>>

Origins of Cyano 7/15/06 Greetings WWMember, <Hi> I have one quick query - where does Cyano/BG algae "come from"?  I know from excess nutrients, poor water flow, etc.  But what seeds it? <LR, water from the fish, and cells can actually come from the air, regardless of where you live.>  I ask because it seems it has sort of randomly become epidemic in many of the tanks in my area even in some more sterile, well kept tanks. <The bacteria can be carried on air currents, which is a possibility here, although I would guess a change in the local water is more likely.> It's odd that it will never show for years even in some of the nastiest tanks where if it was able to "get in" it would probably take over. <Very quick reproducer, once the environment favors its growth it will very quickly take advantage.> Thanks, Scott <Anytime> <Chris>

Re: Red Algae... likely BGA   7/12/06 Thanks for the quick reply! I did find the FAQ's and the write up to be very helpful. But some things I don't understand are we have very good filtration and skimming and the phosphates are zero. <Mmm, and nitrate concentration? Likely the phosphates are simply being absorbed readily by the BGA...> We have a Fluval 104 canister filter, a remora skimmer, and U.V. sterilizer. The water flow is pretty decent, 2 maxi-jet 400's and 1 unknown make or model pump that appears to be considerably large. We lost the Foxface about 2-days after my original e-mail (got stuck under a rock) <Not the immediate cause here> so we've cut down feeding to about 1/4 of a cube of mixed frozen foods a day, but the problem persists. Please help! I do not mean to antagonize you I'd just like to fix this problem. Brian <... Re-read the FAQs files on Cyano control... cut down on the sunlight if you can... Consider other, better filtration method/s, competition from purposeful macroalgae... Bob Fenner>

Nutrient Control...New Lighting And More Algae/Cyano  7/5/06 Hello, <Hello Craig> First off...Great site, I have always gotten great information from it. <Glad you enjoy/learn from it.> Basically, I recently purchased new lighting for my 90 gallon FOWLR tank. The new light fixture is composed of two 65 watt actinic 03's and two 65 watt 10,000k bulbs.  When I first setup the tank about six months ago, I went through a phase of brown algae which I read wasn't all that uncommon in new tanks.   <Yes.> My tank was looking great but now that I have added the new lighting it has come back worse than ever.  A brownish slime has started to cover my sand. <Sounds like Cyano.> When I clean the tank it seems to come back in some spots in a matter of hours!   The temp in the tank is 81F, <Try to keep this around 77-78.> ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, nitrate = 30ppm.  I know my nitrates are high. I have stepped up my water changes and kept an eye on my feeding to take steps in lowering it.   I suspect this is the problem but does the new lighting in combination with the nitrates make that severe of a difference?   <It can.> I am just shocked with its growth when I added the new lighting. <Craig, read here and related links above.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm> Thanks in advance for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Craig

Re: Update on Cyano nuisance Hey Crew, I picked up some PhosGuard to reduce Po4 levels and purchased 2 additional Maxi-jet 900's to improve circulation. There is a significant reduction in the Cyano production. My livestock became progressively more aggressive with the reduction in nutrients and frequency of feeding. In fact, I lost a coral banded shrimp, not a trace. My wrasse then started and succeeded in picking to death one of the b/g Chromis. I increased shrimp amounts for the wrasse and noticed the key-hole dwarf angel started picking at my polyps, so I added some Spirulina. I am still playing with the phos-guard to bring the PO4 to or about 0. I have also noticed what looks like the skeletons of a Favia pallidum on the coralline algae (present on rock when purchased) of one rock near the top of the tank and another on the underside of some Fiji LR... it is more a tunnel created within the network of LR. Can these corals or coral-like critters be alive as LR hitch-hikers after 10-12 months? <Yes> The lighting requirements chosen by these two creatures seems very different. I don't know how else to describe these growths than as a coral skeleton with pink tinged centers on their 'septa'????? The one in the tunnel actually seems to have a green cast to it with very small tentacles or newly budding growthlets...my terms of course. I was thinking perhaps if I paid more attention at night I may see them open up more. What do you think? <I like Ziti more than Penne pastas. Oh, not much w/o a pic here> Is there something I can do to encourage more growth? <...? Yes> Can these hitch-hikers just now be coming back to life so to speak? <Possibly, yes> I saw a starfish about the diameter of a cigarette a month or so ago and again yesterday crossing the front pane of the tank...now larger, also a hitch-hiker. As I indicated in an earlier query the Ca++ is ~ 400. I have never tested alk. <Measures of Calcium w/o alkalinity are of little use> pH 8.2 & 1.021. Therefore I do nothing with Kalkwasser, nor add additional Ca++ yet. I do add iodine once a week for the mushrooms and polyps. <Good> My plan has been to move towards a primarily reef tank but I still have much to learn. Any recommendations? <Keep reading... join a local marine club... pen an article or two on subjects of interest. Bob Fenner>

Cyano and HOB Fuges  6/27/06 Bob and Friends, <Yo!> First, let me tell you that your books have been a god send and everyone's quick responses to my questions over the past year or so have always solved my problems and probably averted at least 2 disasters. Today my problem is Cyanobacteria. I have two tanks a 30 cube and 29 with 29 gallon sump refugium. My problem today is with the cube, I have a persistent Cyano problem I can't get under control. My water parameters are coming up fine. I run a Remora skimmer and a Aquaclear 300 with mechanical filtration and carbon. I've cut down food to one feeding per day at half rations for over a month, removed the mechanical filtration and twice removed the top layer of live sand with all the Cyano. The problem persist though not as virulent. I do notice a good amount of detritus accumulation sometimes on the sand and I try to get the flow moving there - I have SEIO 620 and maxi get 600 with one of those Hydor-flo wavemakers, these with the Aquaclear and Remora outputs give me 40x turnover (I was planning on going SPS not seahorse). I think the flow problem may be due to my rockwork obstructing the flow to the bottom and if I point the Seio at the bottom the sand goes everywhere. I'm thinking of adding another Maxijet 1200 with another Hydor-flo and removing the Seio in order to get more turbulence and better flow to the bottom. If this works will it help get my detritus and Cyano under control and if it won't what kind of janitors could help; I already have the assorted crabs and snails, and a serpent star but would a fighting conch or other good sand shifter also help? Look at me I'm rambling. I was also considering adding a hob refugium to this tank for many reasons. <A very good idea> I would do a custom sump but the small oceanic stand is just that small and houses all the various reefer stuff (food, buckets, etc) that my girlfriend is tired of seeing elsewhere. I would go with the CPR Aquafuge with the protein skimmer built in which seems great except I love my Remora and don't feel that my Bak Pak on the 29g is nearly as good and therefore would prefer to keep the Remora. <Mmm, different, though overlapping purposes> I could convert my Aquaclear filter but it is too small really and the only other option is the small 12" HOB models that have just under 3 gallons of capacity. That's less than 10% tank volume, would it even be worth it is my question? Any suggestions would be great. Derek <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. I would consider all the stated avenues as possible adjuncts to getting you where you want to go... including the 'fuge. Bob Fenner>

Cyano Problems 6/19/06 Hi Folks, <Hi> I peel a carpet of Cyano back and toss every week. <Yuck> I have been researching this issue through the articles and have modified my system care as follows: (1) feeding every other day with flake; (2) feeding every other day with shrimp; (3) feeding 1/2 cap of DT's per week. I have measures 75ml of dark green skimmate over 7 days. There is NO notable difference over the past 10 days. I have reduced nutrient import and believe my skimmer is effective. I have a 55 gal show, 50#LR, sea clone skimmer <not the greatest>, aragonite sand, a maxi-jet powerhead <Need more circulation, 10X tank volume per hour>, and an AquaClear 110. My Phosphorous is 5.0 (it is not in my salt mixture, is in the water. <There is your problem.> I change 5 gal every week, and s.g. 1.021, pH 8.4; everything else is 0. The tank is approaching it's first year anniversary. Livestock include numerous snails, Nassarius <Nassarius>, atresia <Astrea>, and cerrith <Ceriths>, (considering queen or fighting Tonga conch), 4 red legged hermit, 1 Mycelex, yellow tang <Too big for this tank>, 1-8 band wrasse, 2 b/g Chromis damsels, 2 tank-bred perculas, 3 PJ cardinals, black key hole Centropyge, colony of zoo and 3 Ricordea. Is my bioload too high? <Getting there, definitely with the tang.> These are all small fish. However, the LR is covered with ...Aptresia (small Anenome-like creatures)? <Aiptasia> In fact, two look like med-large Condylactis...or just really hardy Aptresias. <Aiptasia> I removed a charcoal bed insert around Christmas. The lights may need to be changed as well. I thought I would pick up two more water movers e.g., powerheads, and the conch mentioned above. <Yes to powerheads, no to more livestock.> If things don't clear within another 1-2 weeks change lights and lastly, shut lights out. <Treats symptom, not actual problem.  Although lights need to be changes about once every 12 months or so due to frequency shift.> Lights blue 1 hour, then blue & white 12, then blue 1 hour. Should I drop that to 8 hours of full spectrum/day rather than 12? <Irrelevant with 5.0 PO4.> <The PO4 is the problem, circulation will help but without reducing that the problem will never go away.  Sounds like you need an RO/DI unit to remove the PO4 from the tap water.> <Chris>

Cyano problems and problematic stars 6/14/06 Dear Crew <Hi> I'm having a pretty big problem with Cyanobacteria.  My phosphates are high, so I'm currently using PhosGuard to try to bring it down.  <Check for the source as well, better to never have it in the tank than try to remove it later.>  Other than phosphates, ammonia and nitrites were 0, nitrates were 15, and ph was 8.0. <PH is a little low, but not to bad.>  A marine biologist at a local fish store said to put a dose of erythromycin in the tank to kill the Cyano and then to vacuum it out along with a water change.  She also told me to put snails and a sandsifter starfish in the tank to eat the organics and detritus in the substrate, and to help aerate it.  Unfortunately, I woke up the next day to find all of the snails and the starfish dead.  This brings me to my first question: Are there any flaws in my plan of attack against this Cyano?  <Oh yeah.  Erythromycin, along with killing the Cyano, will also kill most of your biological filtration, leading to a whole bunch of problems.>  I don't want to do anything harmful to my fish or not do enough so that it comes back.  <Will come back as long as it has a food source and PO4 as fertilizer.> I also want to know, what does a starfish look like when it is dead?  I heard they get soft and jelly-like.  <Sometimes> My starfish definitely is not soft.  It is quite hard actually.  I believe it is dead because it did not move once since I purchased it last night.  This morning, when I lifted it up to see if there was any movement from its structures underneath, I noticed a lime green/yellow on the sand where it was laying. <Not good.> The starfish did not bury itself at all or move to a new location.  Even though it is not soft, is my starfish dead? <Could be, if it has not moved at all and you see no tube feet moving, likely dead.> Thank you, Mike <Find the source of the phosphates and manually remove as much Cyano as you can.  With time/effort can be overcome.  Stay away from quick fixes like antibiotic, nothing good every happens fast in aquariums.  Also few creatures consume Cyano so don't overdo it snails and other cleaner.> <Chris>
Cyano and stars Part II   6/16/06
Chris, <Hi> How can I find the source of the phosphates? <PO4 test kits.> What are common sources? <Tap water, food.> I don't overfeed the fish.  <Frozen food often can pollute the tank quickly.  Also some pellets/flakes contain phosphate.>  Also, when I do find the source, how will I remove it. <Ro/Di unit for tap water.  Switching food and feeding in a different manner.> Thought I'd let you know.  The starfish is without a doubt dead.  Got home today and now its a pale white/yellow.  So much for him.  <Sorry to hear.> Thanks, Mike <Anytime> <Chris>
Cyano Problems 6/20/06
Thanx Chris, <Sure> I was led to believe otherwise. I shall change my water source.   <Should help with a little time.> <Chris>

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

Re: Sick Jawfish? And BGA effects   6/9/06 Well, he's better today. You've piqued my curiosity-how would BGA affect a fish? <These bacteria are known to produce a wide array of toxic materials... that poison systems to their sold advantage. Bob Fenner>

Dirty Sand 6/5/06 I have a brown red film that will go away at night and comes in about 2 hrs after the lights come on. What would be causing this? Is it the lighting I am using. I have a power compact 260 watt with 2 actinic blue and 2 12k lights? <Most likely Cyanobacteria, a photosynthetic bacteria.  Can indicate a nitrate or phosphate problem.  Also common in new tanks and will often cycle out after a while with no action needed.> <Chris>
Dirty sand Part II 6/6/06
Thank you for the quick reply. <Sure> Also the bacteria looks like it is covering the live rock I used a soft bristle brush to remove what I could. I have had nitrates staying at around 10-20ppm I just started protein skimming Sunday. <Will help lots, hopefully a quality skimmer.> I am feeding 2x a week right now.  Is there any other suggestions? <Water changes, nutrient export.> My LFS said to leave the lights off for 2 days. <Treats symptoms, not cause.> But I have a Sebae anemone will this harshly effect it. <Yep> Also is SeaChem's Purigen a good nitrate reducer.  <Water changes and a deep sand bed are better.> <Chris>
Dirty Sand Part III 6/7/06
Well I hope it's a quality skimmer it's made by Red Sea the Berlin-airlift 60 it seems to be working great. <Check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i1/protein_skimmer_impressions.htm for more on skimmers.> Slow moving thick foam... Also how deep is deep? <3+ inches.> Which L.S. is a good choice? <Sugar fine calcium based sand.> Thanks you so much! <Welcome> <Chris>

Cyano Attack    6/6/06 Hi Crew <Hello David> I have been adding Calcium Chloride to my reef system for the past 3 months - have suddenly developed  red slime algae problem. All parameters are within normal limits.  What could be causing this?  There are no phosphates/nitrates in the product? <Excessive nutrients, poor water quality, and overfeeding are the main causes.  Do read here and related links above.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Thank you <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> David

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

More Blue Green Algae Woes - 05/22/06 Hello there, <<Howdy>> I have a quick question. <<Okay>> First I have a 29 gallon salt FOWLR.  It's been up and running for about 1.5 years.  Just a few months ago I got a Dual Satellite Compact Fluorescent Fixture.  It stays on for about 7 hrs a day. <<I'd give your fish a couple more hours of "daylight">> I have noticed that I get this kind of gray and black hairy stuff growing on my sand bed. <<Sounds like a type of Cyanobacteria>> I can vacuum this up and when I do it's like the sand is clumped together. <<Yep>> What is it and how can I fix the issue? <<As stated, Cyanobacteria (blue green algae).  An increase in water flow/lighting may help...and keep siphoning.  Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >> And the odd thing is that it only grows worse on the right side of the tank. <<Perhaps flow is restricted/more detritus settles here>> Thanks for your help, Cody <<Regards, EricR>>

Red slime/AKA Cyanobacteria - 05/07/2006 Ladies and Gentlemen, <Justin with you this evening> Great website and you have been great for information.  I do have another question that I was hoping that you could enlighten me a little bit...  I am having a red slime algae issue.  I have cut back on food, I am going to cut back on the light.  My nitrates are at 20ppm, salinity is out .023/.024, pH around 8.2, alkalinity is at a constant 7.  Any ideas?  I haven't gotten great info from my LFS. <Well there are pages upon pages archived on WWM on Red slime /Cyanobacteria , and how to treat.  You haven't given me much information on age of the tank and inhabitants filtration etc, so I cannot really help you specifically.  Do check your skimmer and clean it, do a water change, reposition any powerheads or other current making devices to ensure proper flow, and vacuum up the red slime.  These steps should help as Cyanobacteria feeds on nutrients in the water, light, and poor water flow.> Help please! Greg <Justin (Jager)>

Red slime problems  4/29/06 Dear Crew, < Justin with you today.> Thanks for taking the time to answer what I'm sure is an easy and obvious question. I did read a few pages of the FAQ and saw that I was doing what was recommended; unfortunately, I am still having the problem. I have a 75 gallon salt with a quarter inch live sand, 65 lbs. of live rock, and 12 lbs. of coral rubble. I have a Sea Clone 100 skimmer and an Emperor 400 along with a dual-head pump with two wooden air stones helping to move water along the surface. <Not nearly enough skimmer for this tank, please get a bigger and better one ASAP.  the SeaClone is good for low stocked small tanks under 30 gallons.> Lighting comes from two 40 watt bulbs, one is 18k and one is actinic. The only inhabitant is a six inch dog-faced puffer. The problem is red slime taking over the tank. I had to leave for a month due to work and the tank in what I thought were capable hands. Feed the puffer 2-3 times a week and use R/O saltwater for evaporation. <This is not enough tank for the fish you have.  That fish alone requires a 125 gallon and hits 12-16+ inches. The red slime is occurring  due to the immense waste the puffer puts out versus the extremely weak protein skimmer.  They are one of the largest waste producers in fish tanks and as such require over filtration for the tank size.> She bought a timer for the lights, but she must not have set it correctly because I found out the lights never turned off for a month. I came home and my skimmer didn't work because of the algae, my powerhead didn't work and my filter was barely turning because of the algae. It's a red Cyano type that was growing in huge sheets and my poor puffer had red eye from you know where. <The light being on so long fueled the red Cyanobacteria, but the waste is your principle issue.> So I turned the lights off and it's been 14 days now with no overhead light and I feed my puffer human grade shrimp 3 times week. I change out 10 gallons a week with R/O saltwater, but I still can't get the slime to go away. <Do 50 -60% water changes weekly and buy a real skimmer.> Do you think using a phosphate ban in my media basket would help? <No its just a band aid over the problem, not a long term solution.> I use a floor light a few feet away to keep my puffer on a regular cycle of light and dark. Also, my strips test 0 for nitrate, .5 for nitrite and 8.4 for pH. Suggestions? <If you have nitrites, you have a SERIOUS issue in that the tank isn't cycled or the waste is so much that the tank cannot settle. Do water changes NOW.> Thanks, Danny <Justin (Jager)>

Red Slime Problems 4/30/06 Dear Crew, Thank you for your quick reply to my question. I am in the process of scheduling a 50% water change every week until the slime problem is gone. However, the advice about the larger tank... although correct in a perfect world, is not very practical for the everyday hobbyist. My puffer, which is kept in a 75, has been healthy and hows no signs of stress due to the lack of swimming space. The tank and solid wood stand came at a $500 price tag. The 65 lbs. of live rock and 12 lbs. of rubble cost over $400. Add in the Emperor 400, live sand, my inadequate skimmer and it comes very close to $1000 and all this for a $35 fish. <<There is no doubt that this is an expensive hobby!  We also understand that upgrade recommendations are not always practical, but we always make recommendations that we feel are in the best interest of the animals.  If you owned a Siberian Husky in an efficiency apartment, we would suggest you move!>> If I wanted to upgrade to the 125, I am looking at another $300-$400 if set up correctly. This is not practical or even possible. When you give advice like that, you are suggesting the hobby of fishkeeping is an elitist sport where only those with big bucks and disposables incomes are allowed to play. I know for a fact that the majority of aquarium owners are in the same boat as me and cannot afford thousands of dollars to house a single fish. I have seen the same responses hundreds of time from the WetWebMedia Crew, usually tinged with sarcasm, about how if ppl. can't afford to house a fish in the way a professional aquarium does, then they should not be doing it. This is wrong. In my case, the fact that I have spent close to a $1000 to house a $35 fish is above the norm. Just something to consider. Sincerely, Danny <<No one on the WWM crew should be elitist or sarcastic when they make these recommendations, but we will not sugar coat our responses and let less than ideal living conditions slide.  Thanks for your understanding.  AdamC.>>

Cyano algae... use of chem. algicide    4/20/06 Hello.   I have had a problem with Cyano so I tried the product Chemi-Clean. I added it to my tank on Sunday and today (Wednesday) I woke up to a very smelly and cloudy tank. The Cyano is gone and whatever is left of it has turned green. I did a water change and the water parameters are good, the only thing that is high is the nitrates at .10ppm. The pH is at 8.2 and everything else is zero (ammonia and nitrite). Do you have a clue what's going on? Is it bad?   Thanks,   Ben <Trouble... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgcidefaqs.htm Get ready to change water serially, use chemical filtrants, move your livestock... Bob Fenner>

Red algae, snail and crab death  - 04/16/06 Hello there, and thanks for the excellent and informative site.   <Hi there and thank you for the kind words.> I am a little perplexed, so I ask you...  I have a 37 FOWLR tank, with about 30 lbs of rock.  The tank has been up and running for about a year, where I have gotten very nice growths of coralline algae on my rocks and glass (thanks to a 2x65w compact florescent hood, I assume) and have had no fish loss whatsoever. <That's great!> However, within the last three weeks, I have developed a serious case of red carpet algae, and have recently noticed all of my snails and hermit crabs are no more...  I had about 5 Turbos and about 6 hermits. <Ak what a bummer! Sorry to hear that.> My 5 peppermint shrimp, my niger trigger, purple tang, maroon clown and hippo tang are all fine, along with a Mithrax crab, a cucumber and two sand sifting stars. Yikes'¦.. that is quite a line up you have in that 37 gallon. I hate to be the one to break the news to you but your tank is much to small for it's inhabitants. I am surprised you have not had any problems up until now. I hope you have plans for a much larger tank in the very near future. Your Niger can get to be 18' in the wild, sorry I am not sure of it's size in captivity but for sure much to big for a 37g.  Tangs need a minimum of  50 gallons or double depending on who you read.> My water reads: pH 8.3, no detectable ammonia, no detectable nitrite, however I have 20 ppm nitrate. <Amazing considering the stocking density.> I'm heading to the store to buy 15 gals of seawater-in-a-jug (which I use exclusively) and try and siphon out as much of the red stuff as I can. < A good place to start.> Soooo, would 20 ppm nitrates kill my snails and hermits, while leaving everything else alive?   <Nope. There is info on nitrates here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm .> And what on earth could cause the red algae outbreak? < An accumulation of excess nutrients for starters. Your 37 gallon tank is much to small for the fish it is currently housing. Please do have a look at the following article'¦. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm, for just about all you need to know and more on the infamous Cyano.> Nothing has changed, I feed the same amount I have for the past year, but never had this stuff.  I am afraid it's killing the great crop of coralline algae under it!  Thanks, and Happy Easter (if appropriate). <You' re most welcome and Happy Easter to you as well, Leslie.>

Cyano Bacteria Stumper    4/9/06 Hi guys.   <And ladies...> I have read and read and read about the dreaded Cyano bacteria and how to deal with it but I am completely stymied as to where it came from. <From the air, your hair, underwear... every where. Was here before (actually our predecessors) humans, will be here after we're gone> I never had a problem before, but I do now. The changes I have made recently should deter this issue, not fuel it.  I really need your help here. System parameters are: 72 gallon show tank 50 gallon sump in basement Nitrite         0 Nitrate        15-20 no matter what I do however the test kit seems to measure nothing between  0 and 15. My tap water measured 15 with my test kit and 2.5 with                             a home water test kit so maybe my kit is not accurate and the Nitrate is actually lower.  I need to get a new test kit.   Ammonia    0 Phosphate  0 DKH           9 Calcium     380 PH            8.2 Temp        78f Light          330 watts of PC with (4) 10k lamps and (2) Actinics Refugium that contains Chaetomorpha and a 4" deep sand bed.  {Sidebar} could I have Chaetomorpha and Red Kelp together or will they fight each other? <Most likely will "get along"> I am under the impression they are two of the less noxious macro algae's one can mix. I installed the deep sand bed 6 months ago hoping to lower the nitrates but it does nothing.  It is 2 1/2 feet by 1 1/2 feet large and has very good water flow over it.  Is it not big enough/deep enough? <The bigger the better, but this should be adequate> Two months ago I switched over to using R.O./D.I. water because I have always had elevated Nitrate levels (15-20ppm) and that was the last place I could figure that was causing the elevated level since the DSB has not lowered them.  The R.O/D.I water tests pure, and has a neutral ph.  I aerate, heat and buffer at least 24 hours before using it as top off, or heat and aerate but go "sans" buffer when mixing up a batch of saltwater for water changes. <I would buffer before using>   I dose Kalkwasser for almost all my evaporated water (no buffer of course) and I test my water parameters at least 3-4 times a week with PH tests everyday in the morning and evening.  I change 30% of the water every 3 weeks. The water is turned over in the tank 15 times per hour and the Cyano is growing right in the water return flow.  There are no stagnant areas in the tank.  I am aggressively skimming (1/8-1/4 cup of skimmate/day) with a Berlin Turbo (I know not the greatest skimmer) and I clean my mechanical filters every day.  One filter is for large matter and the other is 100 micron for small stuff.  Some water flows around it and thus enables some of the little crustaceans to get to the refuge without getting filtered out.   I feed the fish (all four of them) every other day sparingly.  For tank inhabitants I have a Purple Tang, a Millet Seed Butterfly <A gorgeous Chaetodont that deserves more placement in our interest... I think this every time I see them in the water in HI> (he causes no trouble in the reef whatsoever and him and the Tang are buddies) (2) damsels and a peppermint shrimp.  I don't think that is a lot of bio load in 100 gallons of water is it? <No> As for corals I have Pipe Organ (which is doing quite well) Montipora nodosa, Pom Pom Xenia which will over run the tank if I don't prune it back, Torch Coral, Button Polyps, and Star Polyps.  All the corals are healthy and growing. The only things that have changed in the past several months is switching to R.O./D.I. water, switching from Coralife salt to Instant Ocean, <A good move> and I replaced my 110 watt NO fluorescent with a 220 watt power compact with (2) 10k lamps and (2)actinics).  I also have a 110 watt PC light as well that runs (2) 10K lamps for a lighting total of 330 watts. <Sounds good> So I am asking... begging if you will.  Do you have any idea where this heinous Cyano came from? <All reads like you have a very nice set-up and good maintenance procedures... This is just one case of having a very stubborn/successful BGA population that has become entrenched, made a system to its "liking". I would try the "Kalk trick" of raising the pH of your system water to about 8.6 one night (by carefully dripping in a goodly sum...) to precipitate phosphate (out of the BGA) and use activated carbon in your filter flow path to hopefully starve it, change the overall dynamic chemically here> The only thing I can think of is it's the new light, or there is some nutrient in the water I am not testing for that is causing the bloom.  Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated and thanks to all of you for the great service you provide. Regards John <The good changes you have made (the RO, IO salt mix...) will take a while to take full effect... along with the proposed elements above, this should "do it". Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Feather duster Q & Cyano Q    3/17/06 This is my first time writing and let me begin by saying I love your site; thank you for being here!  Our tank is only 4 months old (we're already amazed and addicted) and we use your site before every step we take.  I apologize ahead of time if you have answered my questions already and I was unable to find it. We have had 3 small feather dusters in our 55 gallon tank for a couple of months.  They have been quite happy and have been a joy to watch.  The happiest guy now has a large pinkish tube overlaying the middle of his leathery gray tube, with what looks like several little tiny dusters growing out of it.  What is happening here? <Growth... and reproduction!> Also, we have a Cyanobacteria problem and have been manually removing every couple days and feeding smaller amounts while reading up on getting rid of it. <A typical "phase" in such new systems>   Levels are: Salinity 1.023, Calcium 460, Ph 8.2, Ammonia .1, Nitrites .1, Phosphate .25, and Nitrates show 0, although I think the Cyano is the reason for the low nitrate reading. <You are likely correct here> Weekly water changes are performed (8 gal).  My question is, is Redox + Liquid a possible solution? <A short term one possibly> If not, is there a product that you trust to assist in removing the Cyano without stressing our critters? <Mmm, no... not a product per se... though there are products... i.e., DSBs, Refugiums... macroalgae... that are of great benefit here> I again apologize if you have previously answered my questions.  Thanks so much for your time and dedication!      <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>    

Red Turf Algae in my Chaetomorpha refugium?   3/14/06 Dear Crew, <Yo!> I've looked all over your sight and cannot come up with an answer to my potential algae problem. For two weeks I have been cycling a 75 gal with 80# LR (which I'm curing). Ammonia and Nitrites zero, Nitrate 5 and Phos <<0.5. I have a 20 gal sump with a Remora skimmer going full blast and have charcoal in the filter sock (which is scrubbed clean every 2-3days). I think my Chaetomorpha in my 10gal refugium (with a small florescent light on 24/7) is beginning to grow little tuffs of hairy red algae in it (Red Turf Algae)? <Mmm... much more likely BGA...> I went to my LFS (who gave me the Chaetomorpha for free) and looked at the tank where it came from... and sure enough it had big golf ball-sized red wads growing in it. (I got what I paid for?) <Seems like it... you may be able to just cut away these areas...> Question: Should I just throw out all the Chaetomorpha and get a different supplier? Or is it now too late and this algae has contaminated my whole system? Or is this just a normal algae evolutionary phase of my new tank? Thanks. Russell <I would try finessing your culture and cutting away the worst parts... Think of it as a sport. Bob Fenner>

Chemically Treated My Cyanobacteria...Now In Big Trouble - 02/26/06 Bob, <<EricR here this morning.>> I have had my 75 gal tank set up for 3 years now.  I have  a wet/dry with a protein Skimmer, and I use Chemi-Pure regularly.  About 6  weeks ago I started to have a red slime out break along with green hair algae, and this black slime it was like a blanket on the LR (which smelled).  I  went to my local store and they sold me red slime remover, which after treatment I changed the water 2 times (20% changes) I also removed the black slime with my  hands (coming off in very large sheets).  Ok so then my fish start dying.  Within 2 days all fish are dead sinking to bottom of tank with labored  breathing ( 4 damsels, 1 goby, 1 per. clown and a blenny.)  I do water  changes to no avail.  I notice that my Mushrooms, and other corals are not doing well they have tighten up or not opened or are limp.  So I continue to do water changes ranging from 20-50% (I figured there's nothing to lose  now).  I also put in Chemi-Pure and a Poly-Filter.  I wait a few days and try some test damsels and within 6 hours there dead.  When this all started my water was tested and everything was great all within very good levels.  Or  so the store told me.  That day I had bought two sand sifter gobies and the next morning they were belly up in the tank.  I did the last water change at 75% 3 days ago and now I am at wits end.  Any Ideas? <<Mmm, yes...I think you wiped out your bio-filter when you chemically treated your tank to kill the Cyanobacteria.  In addition to eliminating your tank's ability to process nitrogenous wastes, you also released toxic substances from the slime algae...I'm not surprised to hear things are getting worse.  And keep in mind concerning use of these chemicals for algae control...even had it not led to these problems, the algae would have been back in days to weeks as you are not addressing the cause/source of the algae.>> There are currently no fish in tank and my corals and inverts are not happy at best.   By the way we have had no sprays or air fresheners or air borne things in the  home.  I use the same buckets that I have always used for water changes. <<I would stop adding fish and stop doing water changes (for now) and let the tank cycle (this may take a while).  You also need to relocate your corals and inverts while this happens.  EricR>> Thank you
Chemically Treated My Cyanobacteria...Now In Big Trouble II - 03/07/06
Hello again, <<Hello Shelly>> I'm sorry but I see your response about what might have happen  but I see no fix to the problem and you also mention that I still would have had the slime algae back within a few weeks how or what do I do to control that. <<Mmm, thought I made mention about removing the remaining livestock and letting the tank "cycle" again.>> I have since bought your book <<Bob's book>> however, I am waiting on the mail lady to bring it.  Please if you have the time can you send me some helpful thing I may do for my tank? <<Happy to...go here ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm) and start reading up on the causes/preventions for Cyanobacteria.  Do be sure to follow the indices in blue at the top of the page...much more info available to you than I can pass here. Thanks Shelly <<Regards, EricR>>

Cyanobacteria and light change   3/4/06 Hi, <Hello Jason> I recently (1 month ago) changed my lighting setup and have noticed an increase in Cyanobacteria and hair algae ever since. I have a 58 gal tank with LR, a bunch of Xenia, two mushrooms, and some zoanthids. Originally I had one 400W 20k MH running 8 hours per day. Thinking this excessive, I added two 24W 50/50 PC lights and cut back the 400W. Now I run the PCs for 4 hours, then the MH for 4 hours, then the PCs again for 2 hours. Did the changing of the light contribute to the increase in Cyano? <More so the Kelvin temperature change.> Does the decrease in powerful blue light favor Cyano over other, more attractive forms of algae? Or is this just a coincidence? <Probably a little of both.  Don't know what your phosphate/nitrate levels are but the change to the lower Kelvin temperature in the new tubes along with the reduction of high intensity lighting  may have triggered this.  Your 400W/20K is fine and no need to cut back photoperiod.  Do search our Wet Web, keyword "Cyanobacteria" as to control, etc. before it gets out of hand.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Jason

Chemically Treated My Cyanobacteria...Now In Big Trouble - 02/26/06 Bob, <<EricR here this morning.>> I have had my 75 gal tank set up for 3 years now.  I have  a wet/dry with a protein Skimmer, and I use Chemi-Pure regularly.  About 6  weeks ago I started to have a red slime out break along with green hair algae, and this black slime it was like a blanket on the LR (which smelled).  I  went to my local store and they sold me red slime remover, which after treatment I changed the water 2 times (20% changes) I also removed the black slime with my  hands (coming off in very large sheets).  Ok so then my fish start dying.  Within 2 days all fish are dead sinking to bottom of tank with labored  breathing ( 4 damsels, 1 goby, 1 per. clown and a blenny.)  I do water  changes to no avail.  I notice that my Mushrooms, and other corals are not doing well they have tighten up or not opened or are limp.  So I continue to do water changes ranging from 20-50% (I figured there's nothing to lose  now).  I also put in Chemi-Pure and a Poly-Filter.  I wait a few days and try some test damsels and within 6 hours there dead.  When this all started my water was tested and everything was great all within very good levels.  Or  so the store told me.  That day I had bought two sand sifter gobies and the next morning they were belly up in the tank.  I did the last water change at 75% 3 days ago and now I am at wits end.  Any Ideas? <<Mmm, yes...I think you wiped out your bio-filter when you chemically treated your tank to kill the Cyanobacteria.  In addition to eliminating your tank's ability to process nitrogenous wastes, you also released toxic substances from the slime algae...I'm not surprised to hear things are getting worse.  And keep in mind concerning use of these chemicals for algae control...even had it not led to these problems, the algae would have been back in days to weeks as you are not addressing the cause/source of the algae.>> There are currently no fish in tank and my corals and inverts are not happy at best.   By the way we have had no sprays or air fresheners or air borne things in the  home.  I use the same buckets that I have always used for water changes. <<I would stop adding fish and stop doing water changes (for now) and let the tank cycle (this may take a while).  You also need to relocate your corals and inverts while this happens.  EricR>> Thank you

Help!  Red Algae and High Calcium   2/22/06 Hi, <Hello> I love your articles and services provided to the fish lover community.   <And yourself?> I'm dealing with a couple serious problems in my reef tank now.  I've a lot of red algae everywhere.   <... perhaps BGA> I used several doses of Chemi-clean from Boyd Enterprises to get rid of some the last 3 weeks, <Only good for recycling the nutrients... unless the root cause/s are addressed...> but the algae just keeps coming back.  So I checked the water condition.  The PH, nitrite, ammonia were fine and within the normal range except the nitrate and calcium.  The nitrate level was ~100ppm (in pink) <Ooops> and I had already reduced the amount of food in each feeding (2 feedings per day).  The calcium level, ~650, is what makes me worried and I think that's probably what contributes to the red algae. <... do you have appreciable alkalinity?> I read the articles on your site, had added simple baking soda to bring the calcium level down but seemed no help. <I'd be checking your calcium test device...> I'd stopped adding all additives (strontium, iodine, essential element, calcium) now.  And I changed ~15-20% of water every 2 weeks (every week for the last 2 weeks).  Pls help. <... with what?> I used tap water, added AmQuel to remove the ammonia and chlorine, and Kent Marine sea salt.  I tested the calcium level of the tap water and it was ~450-500.   <I'd switch your salt mix brand, look into a reverse osmosis device for your aquarium and potable water uses> Another question, what other additives do I need for the tank besides the ones I listed above?   Thanks, Adrian <Keep reading Adrian... your answers are on WWM... Learn to/use the Google search tool... Bob Fenner>

Cyanobacteria question - 02/20/06 Hello WWM: <<Hello Frank.>> I find myself in need of your help again.  I have been battling an outbreak of Cyano, and while I seem to be getting the upper hand with a lot of vacuuming and water changes, I have noticed a drop in my -pod population.  It used to be if you turned the tank on in the night the glass would be covered, now I barely see any. <<These populations tend to wax and wane, I wouldn't worry.  It may be that you are removing some of them/their food with vacuuming.>> Also, my Hippo Tang seems to be eating it, is this normal, from what I read nothing really eats Cyano, and is it safe for him? <<Not detrimental to his health.  Do ensure a proper diet is available, though.  I would thank him! ;)>> Thanks in advance, Frank <<Glad to help.  Lisa.>>

Refugium Silver Bullet for algae? 2/18/06 Hi everyone, tell me, I thought refugiums were like a silver bullet for the reef aquaria. I have a terrible Cyano problem and have been through all the trouble shooting to no avail.  (I'm the one ready to quit this hobby) Anyways, now the refug has the Cyano. Whaaaa? This really stinks. what are your thoughts? Thank you  Pam <I wish it was that easy!!!  There are no silver bullets and in reef aquaria, good things take time.  A refugium is a good tool for controlling nutrients, but it can take months for it to get ahead of a high nutrient load.  In the mean time, aggressive water changes, phosphate removers and siphoning of the Cyano will be helpful.  Also, be sure that the basics for preventing Cyano are covered... good water movement (10 or more time the tank volume), normal to high pH and alkalinity and careful feeding.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Cyano or Diatoms?  - 2/11/2006 Good Morning Guys, Red Slime, or what I believe to be, is such a problem in my tank that it is on the verge of making me give up the hobby. <Can be beat.> Description:  reddish brown powdery stuff that is growing on my live rock, corals, sand, tank. <Bob, if this is a powdery stuff it sounds more like diatoms than Cyano/red slime.> How bad is it?  I can tooth brush it off a live rock and that rock can be covered again within 6 hours.  I have to siphon sand almost daily. <Does it come off in sheets or powder form?> Parameters:  80 gal marine Plexiglas tank (16 inches deep) with 150 lbs live rock/sand  with 15 gal sump with bubble filter, <What's a bubble filter?  Not a internal air operated box filter I hope.>  water changes eod, <What's eod?> ph 8.3, phosphates 0.3, <This isn't helping.> temp 25 c, calcium 420, salinity 1.023, ammonia 0, lights 110 w compacts 10,000 k.  protein skimmer = 1/4 cup per week.  Single laminar flow water return. Live stock: Powder blue tang 3.5 inches, French angel pre-adolescent, snowflake 9", flame hawk.  single stony coral (not sure).  Point of interest is the fact that I can't grow any soft corals in this tank.  Mushrooms shrivel to beads etc.  No algae. What do I need to be looking at to bring the red stuff under control? <The snowflake eel is a pretty good waste producer which can lead to the problems you are having if tank maintenance isn't done weekly.  You didn't mention any type of chemical media you may be using, if any.  For starters I suggest you place a Poly-Filter somewhere where water can flow through it.  This will remove much dissolved waste along with the phosphate. Thinking you sump has a tray for this.  You do need to ensure you have around 800gph total flow in your tank, does help.  Weekly water changes of 10% should be carried out along with vacuuming substrate during this process. You also didn't mention what your nitrate level is.  Read here for more help.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm  <As far as the mushrooms shriveling up you need to address your water quality first then consider increasing your lighting.  One 110 watt tube in a 16" deep tank isn't going to do it.> Thanks for any help, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Bob
Re: Cyano or Diatoms?  - 2/11/2006
Thanks for the rapid response James. <You're welcome.> To clarify, its powdery. eod = every other day. <Wow!> So I do the substrate, rock and glass cleaning every other day with 5% (5 gallons) water change at that time which is equaling about 20% per week.  (I really need to get this down to once a week, I simply don't have the time to keep up this schedule). <Understand here.>  But Due to this amount of water turn around, I don't add supplements. <Agreed.>  I do have a poly filter in place, actually two and another sheet filter over the bio-balls. <If you have live rock lets slowly get rid of the bio balls, a source of nitrate.> Yeah thought the bubble thing might arise a question, I just can't think of the name of it at the moment, it is the filter where the water comes in the top and runs down the bio-balls and then is returned to the tank. <Wet/Dry filter.> About the nitrate levels, not sure but headed to my local and will have them check this.  From your answer, I am now thinking the problem is diatoms.  So what do these little devils eat I mean they are thriving. <If this is a relatively new tank, the diatom appearance isn't uncommon but not at the level you are experiencing.>  Isn't this the famous "Red Tides" thing reported periodically in Puget Sound? <Don't know.> If this brings up any other ideas let me know, if the nitrates are zero, I don't know where else to go. <Are you using tap water?  If so, I'd take a sample to a local pure water store and have some tests run on it, see what's in it.  Might want to seriously consider an RO system.  When did the plague begin?  Was it after you added something?  You need to put a polyester filter pad before the PolyFilter and remove this "sheet filter" (I'm assuming this is a polyester filter pad.) that is above the bio balls. The pad above the PolyFilter will extend the useful life of the Polyfilter. These pads should be changed weekly.  The detritus being trapped will turn into dissolved organics if left in the system too long.> Thanks <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Bob
Re: Cyano or Diatoms?  - 2/11/2006
Thanks again James.  Update.  Just back from my local and worse fears realized.  Four weeks ago or so, I tore the tank down and buffed out the scratches on my Plexiglas tank.  All live stock and some rocks and sand were put in my hospital tank.  After getting the 80 gal tank up and after 10 days of running the system, I took a water sample in worried about ammonia and nitrate/nitrates levels (new cycle worries).  The  local store gave the system an A-ok.  So back in went the fish and the coral and the rocks and the sand.  And, because I wanted the thing looking good for the Superbowl party, I added some coral and some fish (blackcap Basslet and a  bicolor blenny)  All of these have been lost.  Sure enough, today, ammonia levels are up (2.0) and nitrites are at 20.  I am surprised at this because it has now been 3 weeks and I would have expected the Ammonia levels to have returned to near zero. <Be closer to 28 days on cycling.> But perhaps the water changes defeated this cycle. Now - back to the diatoms.  Store's recommendation: 1. PURA filtration pad (removes silicates which the diatoms use for cell wall construction).<This is why I suggested taking a freshwater sample to a pure water store and having it checked.  I'm guessing it is high in silicates.> Turbo charge (bacteria to get the cycle completed ASAP. 3. Replace light bulbs. <Are they a year old or replace with a different color temperature?> 4.  Once cycled get 40 hermit crabs and some turbo snails. By the way, this tank has been up for at least 3 years prior to this episode. <But as of now it's only been set up three weeks.> The diatoms showed up after using "Slime Away" about 2 years ago.  This was red slime, came of the glass in long sheets.  It went away and then all of a sudden after about a week, this stuff showed up and I have been fighting it ever since.  So what do you think of their recommendations? <Not familiar with a PURA pad.  Can't hurt to try but no matter what you use for a band aid you have to correct the source of the problem or the problem will never end. I'd bet it's in your tap water.  James (Salty Dog)> Bob Re: Red slime  02/12/06 Good Morning James, you guys and this web site are terrific, I can't thank you enough. <You're welcome.> Since yesterday, I have made several coffees <Royales?> and been reading all about cycling and water.  Now I need a little clarification and further direction.  From Bob's cycling graph ( http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm) and explanations (answers) it is still a little unclear to me.  His cycling graph has no numbers on the y axis but as the nitrates climb towards the end of cycling phase, it (in a perfect world) starts to roll over and stabilize.  However, this number is unknown. <Just a reference as to time cycle.  Each individual tank will vary somewhat.> Later he says that nitrates ideally are <10.  In an imperfect world (my tank) the nitrate levels continue to rise.  Now to some data. Yesterdays water analysis: Ammonia 2.0, nitrite 0.05 (yes, not 0.5), nitrates 20.  These numbers make no sense to me because the values of the ammonia and nitrites would suggest the cycle at a very early stage.  To move to the end of the cycle,  from the graph, it is impossible to reconcile these two values.  But things get really screwy in light of the high nitrate level (ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero with a nitrate value anywhere near this).  Unless of course, there is another source of nitrates. Here we come back to your suggestion that I need to reduce the bio-balls in my wet/dry?  Questions:  Are you having as much trouble with this water analysis as I am? <No> Would the high nitrates (>20) be aiding the diatom production? <Sure, its food.> And, although Bob is at once adamant that nitrite levels be "zilch" at another point he says the  red flag is approaching 1.0 (water change time) how concerned need I be at my 0.05 level.  <Probably reading the residual of the test kit.  Not going to get super accurate readings from a 8 dollar test kit.> Oh by the way, I added the turbo charge last night and the ammonia level this morning is 0.0 :-).  And I am listening about my water source as a source of silicates (and nitrates? <Check a freshwater sample for nitrate right from the tap.  Silicate test will need to be done at a local pure water store.> I'll be checking this in a bit)  And a final question.  If the silicates are indeed coming from my water source, what are my options? <I think you need to reread this whole query.  I mentioned my suggestion(s) somewhere below.  James (Salty Dog)> Again, I can't thank you enough. Bob

Re: red slime  02/12/06 Hi James, Sorry to be a pest but we are so close here.  Please don't get frustrated now. <You are much more frustrated than I am my friend.> Through dialogue we have identified my slime problem as diatoms, that there are possibly at least two reasons for this, silicates and high nitrates.  That the high nitrates are probably a combination of live rock and bio-balls (easy solution).  The silicates is another issue.  You asked me to review the dialog and it gave me the following: 1. You asked me to get the water from my source tested at a water lab (still trying to find such a critter).. 2. I told you that the local fish store (LFS) suggested that silicates might be involved in the diatom production. 3. You told me yes, that is why you wanted the water tested. 4. I told you that the LFS sold me a filter (Pura filter) that would remove the silicates. 5. You replied that that would be a band aid and that I really needed to find the source of the problem and that you bet that would be my water source. 6. I asked, okay, if  that is the source, what are my options?  That is, is there some kind of "treatment" I can perform to rid the silicates or do I have to find a different water source? You never addressed this issue.   By the way, isn't the live sand loaded with silicates? <Bob, I did suggest you consider a RO unit to purify your make up/water change water.  If the sand isn't fine aragonite or coral sand it very well could have high silicates such as some "play" sands.  You can take a small sample of your sand and put into a small glass and fill with pure vinegar.  If the sand starts to dissolve, it is not silica sand, therefore safe.  Silica base sand will not dissolve in  vinegar.> Thanks for your patients. <"patience", I'm not a doctor, Bob:) James (Salty Dog)> Bob
Re: red slime  2/23/06
Good Morning, James?  (if not Salty Dog go to last paragraph to get brief history) Bob here from red slime/diatom/ick problem.  My display tank currently is full of little white particulate matter that the filters can't seem to pull out.  I have removed all other filtering devices (phosphate sponge, silicate sponge) on the thought they may be shedding this stuff, yet it still remains (again, this may be that I simply have nothing capable of filtering it out).  It is in several sizes, some too small to see but motion of the water shows a cloudy swirl.  There doesn't seem to be any uniform shape to these particles large enough to single out.  Is it possible that these particles are the ick parasites?  <No> If not in your opinion, how do I  filter the stuff out? <Might try a Magnum HOB filter using the micron filter that comes with it. Have no idea what these particles might be.>  If you believe it to be ick what would you do?  (Stats: Live  rock, a single hard coral and three rocks of mushrooms, 80 gal Plexiglas tank with 15 gal bubble filter.  All chemistry WNL , pH 8.3, phosphate < 0.2, salinity 1.024 temp 25 C) I am at a loss here any thoughts would be appreciated. <James (Salty Dog)> Bob     If not James, some history.  High phosphate, started this journey.  Scratchy Plexiglas, tore down 3 y/o est tank...moved some live rock, corals, fish to hospital tank and buffed out scratches.  Tank did not hold over and the A-ok from the local store missed the new cycle which after 10 days should have been caught.  Diatom problem reestablished after 3 days as did phosphate (maybe, LFS measured off the chart, home I got 0.4).  Added snails, hermit crabs, phosphate sponge, and silicate sponge after Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels indicated cycle completed and with James help.  Blue tang came down with ick and died after freshwater dip and trip to hospital tank (1 day).  I think that about sums it up.

She's Been Slimed! (Red Slime/Cyanobacteria)   2/8/06 Hello. My name is Anita. <Hi Anita! Scott F. here today!> I have around 20 Margarita snails, 2 Banded Trochus, 7 Astrea, 5 Nerites, around 15 Nassarius snails.  Two Gorgonians & Red & Blue Mushrooms are also in my tank.  Recently I noticed a patch of what looks like red slime algae growing on the sand in my tank.  My tank is going to be a seahorse tank, so I've been asking Pete Giwojna & Leslie Leddo for help, but they suggested I ask WetWebMedia.  I added 7 Astrea snails (because they are supposed to eat the red slime algae) & put them right on top of the patch.  They rushed away & never came back to it. <To be honest, I've never seen this snail (or any other, really) eat this type of algae. It may even be toxic to them. You're probably looking at what is known as Cyanobacteria, which is a nasty and annoying nuisance algae.> Several days later, I gently picked them off the acrylic walls inside the tank & put them back on the patch, same thing happened.  I'm really bummed, because both Pete & Leslie advised me not to get Seahorses until it goes away, I have no idea what I can get to eat it.  I want to avoid crabs completely because I'm nervous about them (even the small hermits) attacking snails, seahorses, and Pete even told me Seahorses sometimes attack crabs.  So, I looked around online & on LiveAquaria.com, they have a snail called a Red Foot Moon Snail, it's the only snail listed that specifically eats red algae...I couldn't find a snail that eats "red slime algae."  However because it would just be a few snails, & shipping costs would be over $30, I don't want to buy snails online.  I asked my LFS if they could get some for me & I was told they are rare, but they'll get back to me this week sometime after they go to their supplier.  If they can't find a Red Foot Moon snail, where else could I get it? <Umm, I'm really not sure, to be honest. You may want to check a place like Inland Aquatics on line. They offer a variety of snails and detritivores.> What other snails would eat red/slime algae? <To be honest, I would not look for a snail to control the problem. Most will not touch the stuff, as you've experienced. It's far more productive for you to look at the root causes of this outbreak. Usually, Cyanobacteria are caused by excessive nutrients in your water, either from overfeeding, poor source water quality, or lapses in husbandry. High quality source water, aggressive protein skimming, water movement, high alkalinity and pH are just a few ideas to check out to solve this problem. We have tons of information on algae (nuisance an otherwise) here on the WWM site. Do make use of these extensive free resources! Here's a link to start your research with:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cyanocontrolfaqs.htm> So far, I've been using a turkey baster which I use to suck up chunks of this red slime algae from the top of the sand.  This isn't a long term solution, so any suggestions would be appreciated! Anita <Well, Anita- as I mentioned above, I'll bet if you concentrate on nutrient control and export issues, you'd be very successful in eradicating this stuff. It may take a few weeks, but given time and a few simple corrections on your part, you should be able to defeat this nuisance! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: red slime   2/13/06 Thanks James, I think we are done. <Whew!> so many things to look at, now just addressing them.  By the  way, last water check and chemistry all good, ammonia 0, trite 0, trate 1.  Diatoms still having a heyday, but nothing has really been changed yet except the water chemistry.  Now the slow process of ruling out problems: flow, <At least 10X tank volume.> lighting, <Use 6500K or higher.> silicates, snails, water source, filtration.  Good news about the sand.  Thanks again, you guys are great! <Good luck with the diatom problem.  James (Salty Dog)> Bob

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