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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 4

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 5, Cyano Control 6, Cyano Control 7, Cyano Control 8, Cyano Control 9, 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

Refugium & Cyano: Part IV  Hello again WWM Crew,  <cheers>  I continue to struggle with Cyano in my 20g refugium (180g display). I included two of my previous emails with responses (as well as pictures of my refugium & display tank) for history.  <it pains me to see the display tank shot with 5 tangs (including a Naso!) plus a Foxface in a 6 foot aquarium. Cyano problem aside, this tank was poorly stocked and these fishes will suffer in time IMO. Do consider their cumulative adult sizes (add them up by referencing them at fishbase.org) and know that they will stunt and likely suffer abbreviated lives (could be 5 years instead of 15) and regardless, is simply not conscientious aquarium keeping. I'm also surprised that you have enough water flow to keep the powder blue content (high flow/surge species). When there are so many other beautiful fishes in the trade, it confounds me that folks will unnaturally crowd systems with naturally aggressive congeners or other closely related species>  I have tried everything, even time but alas... Cyano is winning the battle. A fellow aquarist has given me some (possibly contrary?) advice recently as well. Since everyone has different experiences and opinions, I would really appreciate it if you would read through his comments / suggestions below and provide feedback.  <OK... will do>  He is suggesting removing my DSB and using a bare-bottom refugium and main tank as well as adding long spine urchins (reasoning below).  <the DSB is not your problem, my friend... nutrients are. And while Diadema urchins are outstanding grazers on microalgae, they will not touch Cyano and they are not detritivores. I see no merit to the recommendation as it stands>  This is not something I want to just try on a whim unless there is sound reasoning that it will work. Hopefully you have time to read his entire email, as I really need the additional advice.  Advice I was given:  0.1 in phosphate is still way to high. You need to get it under .05 minimum.  <agreed here,... do find the source of your phosphates. This is easy enough testing samples of food in water, source water, etc.>  Like I said before, Cyano will out compete green algae when phosphates are high.  <not necessarily true. Arbitrary and case specific in the complex environments of aquatic ecosystems>  They will grow on your greens and overtake them. I looked at your pictures and your phosphate problem is most definitely from your substrate.  <no one can make this claim based on a picture... and ironically, your DSB in both photos looks particularly healthy to me>  You need to run bare bottom until you have your algae growing in your refugium and then only add sand to make your display tank look good. I do not run any substrate in my refugia. The Caulerpa and other matter ends up forming a mulm on the bottom which the copepods, Mysis shrimp, and other creatures feed off of.  <ahhh...no. Copepods eat algae/phyto.>  I am not guessing at the answer to your problem. I have been through this with many hobbyists. You need to get rid of the thick substrate in your refugia. I know others recommend the type of set up you have, but it is not conducive maintaining low nutrients in my opinion.  <heehee... this sounds like my wacky anti-DSB friend from PSMAS in Seattle WA>  I you do decide to siphon all of it out. Shut off all pumps and siphon carefully. Remember this: when you disturb the surface area where bacteria reside, more will end up in the water column. Increased bacterial levels in the water column are indicative of RTN out breaks in reef tanks.  <agreed>  I have had conversations with Sprung about coincidences with detrital/substrate disturbances and RTN outbreaks and we both had similar experiences. That is why I siphon it out carefully, taking all water with the substrate and putting as little stirred up detritus into the water column. The Cyano appeared in your scrubber because you already had phosphate levels to support it. Lighting, sand turnover and other factors can affect it also. Detrital matter making it to your scrubber would be deposited on the surface of the substrate and decay producing the necessary environment for Cyano. Anything decaying produces PO4.  To convince yourself try these things. Take a sample of water from the substrate in the scrubber. A syringe would work great. I use a syringe w/filter to get just water, but, it is not necessary. If you get some crap in the test water, it is ok. Even an eye dropper stuck in the substrate and the bulb release slowly to suck in slowly will do. Run a phosphate test on the water. Or, siphon some substrate out carefully and test the water that comes out with it after letting it settle. You will be amazed at the phosphate level in this water.  <this is simply not a fair assessment... all substrates in practical applications (including all those healthy DSB systems that are 5, 10, 15+ years old) will have higher phosphate in the substrate/bound. It does not mean that they will spontaneously fuel Cyano growth>  When I have done studies on this I used a Nutrient analyzer in my lab and water samples from my tank (with no detectable phosphate on your type test) indicated that the substrate was still a point source for phosphate. In other words in was an order of magnitude higher in the substrate than in the water.  <this is natural... you can find this on reefs too>  I was measuring in umol/L. In your case I would estimate that if your water column is 0.1 ppm that water in the nooks and crannies of the substrate is aprox 1 ppm. (at least) Caulerpa thrives in a low phosphate low nitrogen environment and then takes the phosphate even lower.  <Caulerpa is easily neglected/abused... be sure you understand all of its merits and risks, or simply elect to use an equally effective and fare more stable macro like Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria>  Siphon your substrate into a bucket and rinse it out, put it away for later use. Once you are running a bare bottom, you will see the amount of detritus that accumulates on the bottom and you will be able to siphon it out easier.  <significant detritus should not be accumulating if you have adequate (right amount and right delivery) water flow in the system... a common flaw in many tanks>  In you display tank, I would add a couple long spine urchins. They will really clean the rock off good.  <true... very true>  Use Mexican Turbos for filamentous greens, and Astrea sp. also.  <True for the former, but diatoms for the latter>  My 30 gal refugium is just packed with Caulerpa. The refugia part comes into play, because all of the plant matter provides a home and food for them. They do not need any substrate. I siphon half of the brown mulm out every three to six months. In this stuff you can find tons of life.  If you are thinking that the thick substrate is going to help with denitrification or removal on nitrate do not worry. With a scrubber system you never get nitrate because the algae pull out the ammonia before it even gets to nitrite. You are trying to engage two separate disciplines for nutrient removal. You should pick just one, and in my experience a scrubber is much more effective and easier to maintain.  <my experience is that a DSB is far more effective and far less maintenance. My experience to back this up, beyond professional installations through the years, is the use of 48,000lbs of aragonite sand in DSBs in my coral farming greenhouse. Wrote a book about it ;)>  I always had the same exact problem you are having when I tried a thick substrate. The only time I get Cyano now is when I add too much iron, manganese, and zinc. Then I get small mats forming on the top of the water in my refugia. I harvest them out, back off on the supplements and re-establish equilibrium. I harvest out a lot of Caulerpa. About a freezer bag a month. I am using a shop light on top and one in the front now on the 30. This thirty takes care of a 40 and 125 reef with a 300 gallon sump.  Thank you!!! Greg  <the message is still the same Greg: nutrient control - by adjusting water flow (increasing if necessary), getting skimmers to work more effectively (a 180 gall without all those tangs would still need/want 2 skimmers cleaned alternately to reduce the interruption of skimmate production), and water changes are usually too weak in problem systems (20-30 gallons weekly would be nice here to assist proper fish growth, reduce allelopathic compounds from corals and algae, and replace trace elements instead of using random concoctions from bottled supplements.). I have yet to see a tank that improved nutrient export could not eradicate nuisance algae in. Best of luck, Anthony>

The scourge that is Cyano. <Hi Janet, PF with you tonight.> Do you have any idea as to how I can rid my planted 77 gallon angelfish tank of this pest? <Well Janet, I would start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm a lot of good advice there. It all boils down to one thing though, something about your tank favors it's growth. While the article is geared towards marine tanks, there are animals that will help clean a FW tank: Amano shrimp will help with algae, certain species of snail (Malaysian trumpets, also good for algae), and ghost shrimp to eat leftover food. Also, how often do you clean out your filters and do water changes? These also affect the amount of nutrients available for the Cyano to use.> Janet <Have a good night, PF>

Cyano Dementia Hey guys, <Only one guy PF, with you tonight> I've had a problem with blue/green algae for almost six months now and it is driving me crazy! <Cyano dementia, I wonder where that falls in the DMS? ;) > I have red slime and green slime and I've tried everything to get rid of it and it just flourishes within a week. I do weekly water changes and use R/O water and have added another power head thinking the more water movement the better but no changes. <Well, the source of phosphates feeding the Cyano could be your fish food. Most such foods provide a lot of phosphates, and it has to go somewhere... I've heard first hand that ROWAphos works well, another possibility would be a refugium.> I've got a 30gal tank with about 20lbs of live rock. I have a skimmer and it appears to be working ok. <Hmmm.. maybe an upgrade would help?> The problem I see is that no matter how much I vacuum it up during my water changes, it is in the pours of the rock and it just reappears again in a matter of a few days. <Have you tried attaching a small brush to the intake siphon, you can lightly scrub the rock that way.> Here is my question, I've noticed that on the underside of my rock it does not grow because there's not enough light there. So what I'm thinking is if I don't put my lights on in the tank for say a week or two in your opinion will this kill off the red slime? <I had the same idea, and was talked out of it. Basically, it would cause water quality issues (do daily water changes). Even then, I'm not sure that would work. My sump was getting only ambient room light, and it had Cyano growing in it.> I'm not going to do anything until I get your input on this approach. <Have you tried running carbon also? It's also my understanding that a lowered pH will aid it's growth.> Also if I do and it works will the dye off of the slime cause my ammo to spike? <Not sure about the ammonia, but the nitrates are a definite yes.> If you have any other points that may help please let me know. I've read a lot on what causes red slime and how to prevent it but not much on how to get rid of it once you have it. Thanks for your input. Rob J <Well Rob, I hope that there's some advice you can use in there. Good luck with it, and stay sane.>

Cyano in retail recirculated marine system Bob (or other WWM person),             I have a Salt Water fish only system in my pet store (about twenty five 35g tanks, and one 300g sump).  It was setup about 6 month ago.  The bottoms of the tanks have crushed coral in them (due to the tank bottoms being unsightly due to scratches).  I have a bad outbreak of green Cyano that I can't seem to get under control.  I use RO water for top off and keep the water coppered (.15-.20). <Mmm, would like to talk you out of this practice... too toxic to warrant benefits... and instead into either quarantine or just pH-adjusted freshwater dips/baths... w/or w/o other chemicals... Have you read through our root web: www.WetWebMedia.com?>   The oxygen level is close to saturation.  I increase the water flow (which helped a little), siphon the algae out constantly, have an ozonizer running 24/7, and gravel vac to remove any excess detritus with no success.  In fact it starts growing back in a day and covers the bottom in 3 days.  I do have slightly high nitrates at about 30ppm (which I am sure doesn't help). It does seem to lessen a little each week but not enough to where I can see and end in sight.  Any ideas on how I can nip this algae problem in the bud?   <Much to say here. Do you keep your specific gravity near seawater (1.025)? I would... Please read here re Cyano control: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Jake Pehrson - info@coralplanet.com www.CoralPlanet.com <We'll chat again soon. Bob Fenner>

Cyano blues. Evening. <Good evening, PF here tonight> I have a question for you fine folks, and I hope you are able to provide me with some insight as to what may be happening here.  I have been getting a lot of Cyano in my dwarf seahorse tanks, even with the nitrate/phos levels well below 10 ppm and a good amount of macro growth.  The puzzling part is that it seems to have begun growing when I started topping off the tank with distilled water, which makes no sense to me.  The only thing I can think of is that the absence of any minerals/etc. in the top off water is causing alkalinity problems, but that's all I can think of.  Do I need to mix the distilled water with a buffer of sorts before I use it to top off?  I really am stumped here, and would appreciate your help. Thanks again :) <Well, it could be that you have a depressed pH level. The unbuffered water would drive it down, and Cyano (and all algaes) like depressed pH levels. Any amount of nitrate/phos in a small tank is a bad thing ( I'm assuming you're using a small tank for your dwarf seahorses). Here's the article on BGA, I'd recommend you read that and the attendant FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Lots of good info there, also look at how and what you are feeding your tank (when you feed the seahorses, you feed the tank as well). Have a good evening, PF>

Blue/Green Algae in Refugium Hi Guys, <Hi Steve, Don with you today> I've spent a lot of time reading material on this site.  A lot of valuable information I must add.  My question today is as follows: <Yes indeed> I've built a refugium a while back ago and managed to bring my nitrates down to about 5ppm from 50+.  The refugium has been running for just about 2 years and is stocked with a hearty culture of grape Caulerpa only.  It is a 33 gallon lit 24X7 with dual daylight compact fluorescents and has a lot of strong current from the use of 2 larger powerheads.  For the first year I had BGA and Cyano Bacteria breakouts, but they'd eventually die off after a couple of months - at which point I'd get great healthy, dark green Caulerpa growth. My problem is that for almost the past year I can't seem to get rid of this stubborn breakout.  I try combating it by constantly mixing it up and having my skimmer try to remove it all, siphoning just about all 30 gallons out of the refugium once every 2-month large water changes. <I would recommend weekly smaller (10%) water changes. Have you tested your source water? Make sure it is phosphate and nitrate free> I'll siphon off as much of the organic die off from the bottom as possible here.  My tank is a 75gallon with about 85 lbs of live rock, so a 30 gallon water change makes up almost 30%. Anyway, I'm a little concerned with problem, because it is trying to grow on some of my corals and the display aquarium glass gets covered in only a few days.  Plus, of course, it is hindering the growth of my Caulerpa.  Some general background and water params are: <Yes, this stuff can be a chronic problem> 75 gallon display w / dual 175 Watt MH and 4 X 40-Watt Actinics DAS Impellor Skimmer removing about 1 cup per week of dark brown skimmate <This may be part of the problem. I would expect to get 1 cup per day with a good skimmer that is adjusted correctly> 1 X Magnum 350 Canister 1 X Fluval 440 Canister <These can be nitrate sinks if you don't clean them daily.> 1/4 pound of Marineland Carbon once a month Tank is 3.5 years old Ca (is this my problem?) was well under 300 for (I assume) months.  My SeaChem test kit had a problem (rock hard reagent B) so I used weekly doses of Ca Chloride which I NOW know has long term side affects.  I may have gone close to a year with low calcium. Bad move, I know. Ca and dKH for the past few days have been balanced (380Ca and 10dkh). If I maintain these parameters will the favorable conditions for other forms of competing algae help reduce the BGA?   <Yes, along with the above> Any long term implications of cultivating Caulerpa in a refugium?  I heard from some that the die-off can put too much nutrients in the system.  Is this something I should be concerned with?  Will activated carbon more frequently help? <Caulerpa has shown chemical warfare with some SPS corals. If you keep it pruned and in control, it is less likely to go sexual and cause a problem.> The overall health of my system seems good.  I have many soft and LPS corals that are doing well and the BGA seems to not attach to any live rock or areas with coralline growth.  Just heavy on the glass and my purple gorgonian until it decides to molt once a week to remove it.  I'm only concerned about this because the first year with my refugium, I never had this problem. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated! <I hope the above helps. Don> Regards, Steve

Getting The Red Out...(Eliminating Cyanobacteria) I have a 75 gallon reef only tank, and have a huge amount of red stuff trying to over take the top of my substrate. It will slowly grow on live rocks until I remove it. Please give me some ideas on how to rid of my problem. Pet store said try cycle. it got rid of a little bit of it but now it is coming back. <Sounds like the dreaded Cyanobacteria! This nuisance algae appears as a result of excessive nutrients in your aquarium. The key is to export the excess nutrients through frequent water changes with quality source water, aggressive protein skimming, use and replacement of chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filter, increased circulation, careful feeding, use of "purposeful" macroalgae (such as Chaetomorpha, Gracilaria, or Udotea) in your sump, and frequent cleaning of mechanical filter media (these are huge "nutrient traps" if not cleaned regularly). Check out this link:  www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm  for more ideas. With a little knowledge, and some patience, you will easily be able to eliminate this scourge from your aquarium. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>  

Red slime algae looking thing - 4/15/03 I have had my 55 gallon tank up and running for sometime now and just recently i noticed a bright red film covering a small section of the substrate. You can see it between the green star polyp rocks in the picture. <Good picture.> I have tried to siphon it out but it keeps coming back in the same area. Can you tell me what it is and how to get rid of it.........thanks <See here as it seems to be Cyano/Blue Green algae. See here for more information on it: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/maralgae.htm. There are faq links in the above section as well. Please read through them as I am sure there is a solution for you in there as well. Thanks for your question. Paulo>

HELP! BGA and anemone lighting: ODTAA ! >Hi Guys, >>Hello again Julian. >A follow-up to previous questions by me, and answers by the delectable Marina ... >>Why, thank you. >Many years ago, before I moved to the US, growing up in Cheltenham, England, I used to cycle past a garage ("gas station" to you "West Atlantic Coast" people) on the A38 between Gloucester and Tewkesbury that had a rather strange name: "The ODTAA Garage". It wasn't till years later that I found out what that meant:- "One Damned Thing After Another"!  Let me explain ... >>Please do, although I can't say I don't always enjoy an entertaining story. >This is part of my last discussion with Marina:- > > >Last question: Because it's a shallow tank, the actinic and regular lamps don't mix well, so I swap the lamps front to back every couple of days to hit the LR at the back and the anemone and Caulerpa in front. > > >>Not sure I understand what you're saying. > >I meant that whatever bulb is in back, lights up the back, what's in front, lights up the front. The tank is so shallow the light doesn't mix back to front like it would in a deeper tank. > >>Ok, thanks! > > >>Live rock doesn't need lighting, your anemone does.  Also, actinics aren't a necessary component of lighting, they are more for aesthetics. > Look here for information on lighting--> > http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm > >Excellent document, thanks. > >>That Anthony guy surely knows his stuff.  ;) > >I guess from your answer and from the link, I should just put the same lamps in front and back, but selected for the anemone, which really means forget the Actinic in favor of full spectrum, unless I upgrade to PC.  I'll try to get financial approval for that ... > >>LOL!!  Spoken like a true husband (or at least s.o.)!  Yes, that would be the course of action suggested.  Remember, good reflectors can do a LOT to help spread the light, too.:--- >OK, so I got wifely approval for some lighting, and last Thursday the helpful Kim Bryant at the much-recommended AH Supply sold me two 1x55W PC kits with SmartLights, which arrived yesterday (Monday) and were temporarily "installed" (read: the bulbs sat on top of the glass in all their naked glory with the reflectors sat over them, and wires strewn all over the place).  WOWZAH! Feel the force! Liking that, I am! Bright and sparkly, the tank is! >>That big a difference, eh?  Yes, and with nefarious results as we soon shall see...read on. >Now the problem: within two and a half hours, every inch of the tank that is in some way covered with the dark red BGA - walls, LR, even the macro algae and the Caulerpa, is now frosted with bubbles. The bubbles got so big and strong they uprooted the Caulerpa! It's pretty in the light, but it looks unnatural. >>EGADS!  Within hours?  Holy smokes, we've got to help this chap out right quick, we do. >I can clear them off the glass, but I can't exactly scrub the LR and the macro algae. >>No, you can't. >The bubble aren't caused by the skimmer. Ammonia, nitrite, phosphate are all at zero, and nitrate is only barely above zero. HELP! Will this, too, pass in the great cycle of things, or is my lighting too strong now? >>Alas, yes, I think that you've given the boost a bit too much and a bit too quickly.  Not to fear, though, it can indeed be sorted.   >One more thing, I'm getting more activity from my "Sqwalter" (Walsh-modified Skilter), now that the new lights are on. I'll take that as a good thing.  Julian >>Yes, and it's also an indicator of increased DOC's (dissolved organic compounds).  Those trace nitrates are clearly being well-utilized by the Cyano, along with this lighting boost.  So, first things first.  Siphon off as much as you can, physical removal of the nutrients fixed by the BGA (which is, if I recollect correctly, actually bacteria, not true algae) is most helpful in preventing re-contamination).  Also, the water changes effected by necessity brought about by the siphoning will be helpful as well, they needn't be large, but small frequent can bring about good results. >>You haven't mentioned photoperiod, so I'll assume at this point that you're giving the tank full photoperiod of 12-14 hours/day with these oh-so-powerful power compact units.  In my opinion this will need to be reduced.  Many folks acclimate by using the new lighting at first an hour or two/day, then increasing photoperiod in increments--the very judicious will break it up by the quarter hour.  I will suggest that you use them (the new lights) in conjunction with the previous lighting in a method that "ramps up" to a peak (much like the noonday sun in the tropics) intensity lasting no more than 4 hours, then "ramp down".   >>I understand your tank is shallow, so I'll also suggest reducing intensity with space--light intensity within the tank confines is reduced significantly with a distance of just a few inches, so in combination with reduced photoperiod, as well as increasing the distance between water column and lights, this should be of help in gaining victory against the BGA/Cyano.   >>Now for some (hopefully!) helpful links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bgafaqs.htm >>As well as the "mother link" via which you might hope to find other information pertinent that I may not have thought to cover here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm >>So, reduce photoperiod, increase distance between lighting source and water column proper, small, frequent water changes, keep the skimmer cranked up full blast, and let us know if this helps at all.  Entertaining stories, whether related or not, are ALWAYS welcome!  Marina

Red Algae Bob..... <Pat> Hello!!   It's been a while, but all is well with my aquarium, but I do have a new problem that I need advice on.   Recently, I have been experiencing the growth of red algae in my tank, it's growing on the live rocks, and on the substrate on the bottom. <This/these are likely species of BGA/Cyanobacteria, and best controlled by a multi-pronged approach. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>   I talked to the local people that run a really nice set up for marine fish, and they think that a very low dose of a drug called Maracyn (I think), would get rid of it. <Not a good idea... might seem to "kill", eliminate the BGA, but only temporarily... the old argument of treating symptoms instead of causes...> What started this (I think) was the removal of my UV sterilizer, and I have just recently purchased a new lighting system that has really increased my wattage a lot over what I had before.   The new lights seem to be accelerating the growth, also.   <Look to nutrient availability>   The reason that I bought the new lights is that I have been adding corals.   I also have mushrooms, several fish, 2 anemones. I do bi-weekly water changes, and clean out my Ehime Pro 2 canister filter regularly.    My salinity is right around 1.021 s.g.    <I would raise this to NSW, 1.025>   My water test kits show that everything is normal.    And, I run an Amiracle protein skimmer (23 in.).    This is a 37 gallon system.   Will the antibiotic hurt the coralline algae on my live rock??   <Possibly>   What do you think??   <That you need to study, formulate a long-term plan, stop using an antibiotic. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your advice!! Pat Marren

Re: Hydrogen peroxide and Cyanobacteria Thanks Don, I'm sure you're right.  Patience is hard when you want the tank to look "just right."  I'll keep working on that aspect of SW's.  Fenner's article on Cyano was a great help too.  Reinforced what I'm already doing. Thanks again, Mike <Glad to be of assistance. Keep me/us updated as to how your tank progresses and have fun. Don>

Cyano in my refugium Hey guys, excellent site.. hours go by reading through the pages, like seconds. I recently attached a 20 gal refugium to my 90 gal established aquarium. the tank it's self had been an established Fish only tank for 4 years. the fish were removed to another larger tank, substrate reduced to 1/2 inch and 150 # of live rock introduced in two installments over a 2 week period with 2 175w halides w 2NO actinic on 12 hour cycle and  constant skimming with a Turboflotor (I love this skimmer, am I alone?) after 2 months of "cycling the rock" all checked out well, (test levels near nil)     I plumbed in the 20 gal refugium to have it's own overflow supply from the tank, and direct pump return thereto (no sump involved) there is 6+ inches of sugar aragonite, and about 15# of live rock, with PC prism pendant 96w on same 12 hour cycle as tank. (for now)     The flow rate is about 60gal/hour. ( I'm guessing there is only about 10 gallons of actual water in the tank) I placed one Halimeda sp. which doubled in size in the first week, along with 3- 1" snails from the main tank. (the main tank has a clean up crew of misc snails, red and blue legged hermits and one abalone,  pro-rated for 100 gallons.) Problem after about 2 weeks, the refugium is coated in red slime (Cyano) and requires daily siphoning (sometimes twice). I stir the top layer of sand, siphon off the plant, but to no avail. it's always back. your thoughts, comments and advice are greatly appreciated. <Physical removal (siphoning as you are doing now) and nutrient control will help manage Cyanobacteria. Small (10%), frequent water changes for several days or more will help with nutrient control. Have you tested the source water? Additional flow may help as well. See here and the links at the top of the page for more: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm.> Thanks for all the help so far! just think if only a fraction of the people reading your site write in with questions or comments, the number of people getting all this advice must be staggering. excellent for the hobby. <Amazing isn't it Blair, thanks being a part of WWM and for the kind words. Don> Blair

Hydrogen Peroxide and Cyanobacteria I'm having a bad problem w/Cyanobacteria.  All water parameters are well with in proper range and I have attacked the problem three ways: 1) cut back on food to reduce leftover nutrients, 2) doing frequent and significant water changes, and 3) am manually scraping out bacteria every 3/4 days.  My question: A fellow salty told me I could apply hydrogen peroxide through a syringe to small patches of infected areas.  He said this would kill the Cyano and prevent it from re-growth on the treated areas.  What are your thoughts? Thanks, Mike <Hi Mike, I have heard of folks injecting Aiptasia with hydrogen peroxide but not using it on Cyano. Personally, I would not use hydrogen peroxide for either. Nutrient export and patience is the key for Cyano control. Don>

BGA and Skilter adjustment questions (revisited) >Hi, >>Hello again. >Thanks Marina, for your answers. Here are just a couple of clean-up questions, if I may ... >>Of course. >(Oh, cool April fool pic yesterday, btw ...) >>April Fool's?  Uh oh!  Ok, if you're talking about that seahorse with the sea monkey (my av) riding it, I have no idea where that came from! > >I have a skimmer question, but vital statistics first:-20g-"long" tank, (i.e. shallow) cycled but still maturing at about 2 months old, 1/2" "live" Arag reef sand (before I knew live sand wasn't), about 15lb LR, 1 x Natural daylight 17W NO tube and 1 17W Actinic, giving around 1.5 effective W/g.  Skilter (w/Walsh mod), additional CAP200 powerhead, and temporarily a Magnum HOT for added circulation. > >>Eck.. Skilter, eh? >Yeah, well, the noise is comforting, in a way ... ;-) >>LOL! > >One tomato clown with his buddy, a green tip (in Actinic light, anyway) long tentacle anemone transplanted from my 37g FOWLR, and 1 blue damsel.  Ph 8.3, temp 77, Ammonia & Nitrate close as dammit to zero, Nitrate coming down from around 50 to around 12.5 and still falling, Red Sea Phosphate test kit shows same color as new water - very pale yellowy green, but no color that is actually on the test card! > >>If you're getting readings at all of ammonia and nitrite, then your tank is not actually cycled, it's still in the process. >I'm not. I'm sorry, I misled you: I meant that Ammonia and Nitrite are indistinguishable from 0 using the "Tetratest" test kits. >>Ok.   I had seeded the tank with very mature live rock, so cycling didn't take long, but it has definitely cycled :-) >>Great, so at least that's not a worry. >Nitrate is now WELL less than 12.5, and continuing to decrease with daily water changes. >>Even better!   > >C. sertularoides (sp?) > >>? >I meant Caulerpa Sertularoides. >>AHA! > >I added a month ago is growing amazingly fast. > >>Ok >My macro algae is also taking off like crazy - is that due to the reduced Nitrates? >>A bolting macro is telling you (like anything else, really) that it's getting all the food and good environmental conditions it needs.  It may be what's consuming your nitrates, too.  If it's pretty, your LFS may want to take some harvest in trade for store credit. > >I got a purple BGA attack a short while ago ... <clip> > >>Alright.  Although, you should know that it's more likely that your high nitrate readings could just as likely be the cause.  See here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >Got it, thanks! >>You're welcome! > >The BGA is turning from purple to dark brown. Can I assume I'm winning and that it is about to collapse and will require rapid water change etc. to prevent toxic damage? > >>Not necessarily "rapid", per se, but frequent. >Yeah, frequent, that's what I meant :-) >>Ok, then we're both on the right track. >But is the change of color a meaningful indicator? >>Aaahh...interesting question.  You know, I don't have the answer for you.  As I understand it, when we see a change such as color or form, it could be indicative of the advent of a new species, or subspecies.  If anyone else on the crew has the answer to this question, please chime in! <Skimmer discussion skipped> >I stirred things up in the tank to break up the red/brown "mats" of BGA on the LR, sand, etc, after which I got "weak tea" in the skimmer for an hour or so. I'm also playing with airstone positioning on the Skilter to get the best out of it. >>Do the best you can. >Can I restate my green filamentous algae question ? Will the green hair algae go away naturally, or do I need to scrub? I do have macro algae growing quite well now, and I don't want to destroy that, but I want to get back to plenty of coralline like my other tanks. >>Well, if it's doing well as is, and you want the other macro(s) to win the upper hand, then yes, you'll have to harvest. > >Last question: Because it's a shallow tank, the actinic and regular lamps don't mix well, so I swap the lamps front to back every couple of days to hit the LR at the back and the anemone and Caulerpa in front. > >>Not sure I understand what you're saying. >I meant that whatever bulb is in back, lights up the back, what's in front, lights up the front. The tank is so shallow the light doesn't mix back to front like it would in a deeper tank. >>Ok, thanks! > >>Live rock doesn't need lighting, your anemone does.  Also, actinics aren't a necessary component of lighting, they are more for aesthetics. Look here for information on lighting--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm >Excellent document, thanks. >>That Anthony guy surely knows his stuff.  ;) >I guess from your answer and from the link, I should just put the same lamps in front and back, but selected for the anemone, which really means forget the Actinic in favor of full spectrum, unless I upgrade to PC. I'll try to get financial approval for that ... >>LOL!!  Spoken like a true husband (or at least s.o.)!  Yes, that would be the course of action suggested.  Remember, good reflectors can do a LOT to help spread the light, too. > >It is time to replace the wide-spectrum lamp. As I eventually want to end up with a Walsh-style nano-reef with a little soft coral, should I just go to all 50/50's, or just get a 10,000K for the anemone for now, keep swapping, and change to PCs when the tank is mature?  Many Thanks! > >>What you first need to do is decide what you *really* want to keep.  Putting in animals such as soft corals and leathers in a tank (*especially* such a small tank!) with an anemone is a bad idea. >Aha - good to know. Thanks for that ! >>No problem. > >>If you want the anemone, then keep it just to that.  It could (with good husbandry) soon outgrow that 20 gallon, too.  If it does, then you move it to its own tank (50gal or larger) then you can consider the corals in the 20. >I'll put it back in the 120g I'm planning, when my ship comes in ;-) >>Great plan.  Let's hope it's one of those Princess Cruise Line ships...or better yet, a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise! >I really need to properly identify this anemone now, so I can determine its lighting needs. It is around 4-5 inches diameter, including tentacles around an inch or so long, green tipped at the ends when viewed in Actinic light, but otherwise an off-white color with pink/purple coloration in the main body and tentacles. It is paired with a tomato clown.  Could you suggest a reference site with pics?  Thanks!  Julian. >>Hhhmm...I haven't got anything more than what's on this site at the moment.  Look here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm  There are links to many and all things anemone to be found on the wetweb.  Tanks for the update, Julian!  Marina.

BGA and Skilter adjustment questions >Hi, >>Hello! >First, thanks for opening my eyes to the depth of this hobby. Talk about enlightenment !!!   >>Indeed.  And don't hesitate to explore other sites, as well. I have a skimmer question, but vital statistics first:-20g-"long" tank, (i.e. shallow) cycled but still maturing at about 2 months old, 1/2" "live" Arag reef sand (before I knew live sand wasn't), about 15lb LR, 1 x Natural daylight 17W NO tube and 1 17W Actinic, giving around 1.5 effective W/g.  Skilter (w/Walsh mod), additional CAP200 powerhead, and temporarily a Magnum HOT for added circulation. >>Eck.. Skilter, eh? >One tomato clown with his buddy, a green tip (in Actinic light, anyway) long tentacle anemone transplanted from my 37g FOWLR, and 1 blue damsel. >Ph 8.3, temp 77, Ammonia & Nitrate close as dammit to zero, Nitrate coming down from around 50 to around 12.5 and still falling, Red Sea Phosphate test kit shows same color as new water - very pale yellowy green, but no color that is actually on the test card! >>If you're getting readings at all of ammonia and nitrite, then your tank is not actually cycled, it's still in the process.   >C. sertularoides (sp?) >>? >I added a month ago is growing amazingly fast. >>Ok >I got a purple BGA attack a short while ago (possibly because I was daft enough to use an invertebrate formula to feed tiny tubeworms that came on some LR) and am fighting that in the usual way (Caulerpa, frequent water changes to reduce Nitrates, long light cycle). >>Alright.  Although, you should know that it's more likely that your high nitrate readings could just as likely be the cause.  See here--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm >The BGA is turning from purple to dark brown. Can I assume I'm winning and that it is about to collapse and will require rapid water change etc. to prevent toxic damage? >>Not necessarily "rapid", per se, but frequent. >Secondly, I bought the Skilter 'cos I have no money :( and I did the Tom Walsh mod on it with a Lee's wooden airstone and my old Elite 802 pump. I assume I need to keep the Skilter's own air mixer working too, because it was worthless with only the airstone. >>Not surprising. >Even with both running all I get from the Skilter is daytime white froth with a ring of only enough green gunk to stick to the lid of the collector box. >>Then you effectively have no skimmer.  Since money is an issue I suggest searching our site for (IIRC) Ananda's soda bottle skimmer.  It's ugly, but it works (from what I've gathered). >Do I run the Skilter's aerator full throttle? >>I would.  The issue with skimmers is having sufficient contact time--air bubbles in contact with the material being skimmed. >Do I need to upgrade the air pump to something more powerful? >>Why waste your money?  Save up to get a quality unit instead, in the meantime deal with your problems via water changes (though truthfully, they cost you as well). >I assume there's enough junk in the tank to feed the Cyano, but I can't get much out with the Skilter. >>Shows you what quality is, doesn't it?  LOL!!  I'm just kidding, but only a bit. >Penultimate question: will my green filament algae (came with one piece of LR from another tank) die off eventually with good husbandry? >>It could, but at this point you need to get your tank fully cycled (which, btw, could cause problems with your anemone) before you can determine what your nutrient export demands will really be.  Over-filtration is generally far better than under, however. >Last question: Because it's a shallow tank, the actinic and regular lamps don't mix well, so I swap the lamps front to back every couple of days to hit the LR at the back and the anemone and Caulerpa in front. >>Not sure I understand what you're saying.  Live rock doesn't need lighting, your anemone does.  Also, actinics aren't a necessary component of lighting, they are more for aesthetics.  Look here for information on lighting--> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlgtganthony.htm >It is time to replace the wide-spectrum lamp. As I eventually want to end up with a Walsh-style nano-reef with a little soft coral, should I just go to all 50/50's, or just get a 10,000K for the anemone for now, keep swapping, and change to PCs when the tank is mature?    Many Thanks! >>What you first need to do is decide what you *really* want to keep.  Putting in animals such as soft corals and leathers in a tank (*especially* such a small tank!) with an anemone is a bad idea.  If you want the anemone, then keep it just to that.  It could (with good husbandry) soon outgrow that 20 gallon, too.  If it does, then you move it to its own tank (50gal or larger) then you can consider the corals in the 20.  Good luck!  Marina

BGA in algae cultures The aquaculture facility I work for is encountering problems with BGA in our batch culture system.  The water used is filtered down to .35micrometers and it is UV'ed.  BGA is predominantly in our T-Iso cultures and is becoming a problem for the larvae it is being fed too.   Could you advise on how to eliminate BGA all together?  Any advice would be appreciated. <The S.O.P. is to bleach/acid wash the contaminated cultures and start over with Cyanobacteria-free culture media and Isochrysis... You likely know this already... sorry to be the re-enforcer of not-so-good news. Bob Fenner> Cathy

A Red Algae Saga...   3/22/03 I have a 150 salt tank with a red algae problem.<Let's fix it!> I have run tests on ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and phosphate the first three tested 0 ppm the phosphate tested at .6 to .8<Well any level of phosphate is "algae food".> I only use RO water and the type of salt I use is crystal sea and I don't over feed the tank. I added some large pieces of coral (not live) to the tank is it possible they are leaching phosphates<Maybe, I doubt... has anything died lately?  Try reading here for more info...   www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm  This should give you some info...> out of them please help thanks.<Hope this helps... Phil!>

Battling Nuisance Algae! Hi to whoever is unlucky enough to get yet another algae email, <Scott F. here today- luck to be on the receiving end today!> I am nearing the end of a costly, frustrating 9 month battle with Cyano in my 4 yr old 75G reef, and with new custom 7 stage RO/Kati-Ani/Double DI I finally have decent water (NH3, NO2, NO3, P04, Si all zero with Salifert kits) . I've replaced substrate, PC bulbs three times in 8 months till settling on Hamilton, new AquaC EV-120, new Mag 12 return pump + 2 Maxi-Jet 900s, DSB in 30G fuge with macro, etc, etc. I lost all but a couple corals in the time it took me to realize my well water had dramatically changed for the worse. Each water change was further poisoning the system, even after new RO membranes. All my fish are healthy, despite near zero feedings. Would you suggest I toss all my 2-4 yr old live rock and start over? I've spent nearly $2000 on the battle so far, so I guess what's another $600? Scott <Yikes, Scott- sorry to hear about your troubles. It sounds like the source water was certainly a good part of the problem-glad that is resolving itself. Nuisance algae in closed systems is really attributable to one thing, IMO- lack of proper nutrient export mechanisms in the tank. First and foremost, make sure that your excellent protein skimmer is cranking out at least a couple of cups of yucky dark skimmate per week. Second- employ continuous use of chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filter. Replace the media regularly. Keep on that regular water changes schedule...I like small amounts (like 5%) on a twice weekly basis...Much easier to accomplish than a large monthly change or two, and they will really help reduce organics before they have a chance to accumulate...Just make all of these good habits part of your consistent maintenance plan, and you will eventually win! Another consideration is circulation- make sure that you have good circulation in the tank. It will make a big difference, believe me! Hang in there! Be relentless in your efforts, but most important of all, be consistent...Small moves done regularly will do it! Good luck in your battle! Regards, Scott F>

Hydrogen Peroxide question Bob: I recently came across a note saying that dosing a tank with 1ml of H202 per 50g was an effective treatment for Cyano - your thoughts?  (I am aware of the natural ways of this - nutrient export, not overfeeding, etc. - just wondering about the plausibility of this) <Mmm, hydrogen peroxide (and other peroxides) are used in different applications in pet-fishing as well as aquaculture, but have not heard of this one. Don't see quite how it would kill the Cyano/algae unless it was to "stay around" for more than the few minutes it is likely to. Bob Fenner> Xeones
Re: Hydrogen Peroxide question
Bob: Must be a new idea (always the best kind I'm sure (jk)) Well I tried a little as an experiment - I put a capful into a turkey baster and spot applied to Cyano on the sand - the next morning it changed from Red/Black to a really light pink color - so either it's dying or I just gave it a cool color!  I'll let you know - how dangerous would H202 be to my fish? <Mmm, not too dangerous. Is used among other things for rectifying dire low oxygen situations in aquaculture. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hydrogen Peroxide on Cyano
Bob: Just to follow up with my experiment with using H202 on Cyanobacteria: Application: Directly onto BGA using a turkey baster with a capful of common 3% HP. Results: Day 1: Cyano turned pink, then yellow.  Day 2:  Cyano faded away completely, leaving bright white sand. Day 3:  Patch remained free of Cyano.  Day 4:  Cyano slowly begins to recapture patch. <Typical... root cause/s still exist... Cyano returns> Conclusion:  A temporary fix - only spot-treated, don't know if I had treated all the Cyano if it would have eradicated it - probably not until Nitrates and nutrients get under control.  Anyway, doesn't seem to be worth the trouble. <Well-stated> Notes:  Also tried adding a capful directly to water column - no visible effect whatsoever - didn't feel comfortable adding more than this without more information from reliable sources. Treatments didn't seem to bother any fish or inverts. Just thought you might like to know! David <Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner>

BGA dissolve? To whoever is assisting today: I had a slight Cyano outbreak that left red patches in my DSB.  After correcting water parameters that caused it, will the BGA just dissolve or will it die there on the sand and need to be removed?  Should I cover it in new sand? <Without available nutrient the algae/bacteria will die out, "disappear". No need, reason to bury it... Know that these reparations are like "guiding a large ship with a small rudder"... they take time. Bob Fenner> DGG

New tank Cyano problem - 2/26/03 Hi guys, <Hi. Paul here>     I am looking for help in tracking down the source of my Cyanobacteria (brown slime that is on some of my live rock and now looking like hair blowing on my aragonite substrate). <Ok>     I have a brand new 55 gall. tank (exactly 1 month old) that is now cycled. <Could be your problem> It has gone thru its diatom and green dust algae blooms. These blooms are now gone but I have a couple of bright green Cyano slime patches on my live rock and brown slime algae that has formed on some of my live rock but mostly on my substrate.     Here are some pertinent facts:     Phosphate - 0 reading (Hagen test kit)     silicate - bet. 0 -1 (Seachem test kit)     Nitrate - 1.0 ppm (red sea test kit)     PH - 8.5     Alk - 1.7 -2.2 <not sure of the measure you are referring to here...ppm? Else, target through conversion a dKH of around 12, or approaching 4 meq/l. See here and look at the FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm>     Calcium - 250 mg/l <very low target 400 or so>     Water - Deionized thru TWP from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals <hmm... see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm>     Live rock - 36 lbs <could use a bit more live rock in my opinion>     Wet Dry filter with bio balls. <could lose the bio balls. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm     Protein skimmer - Bak Pak 2 on wet dry sump pulling out greenish brown gunk speckled water ( I am trying to figure out how to improve skimmer efficiency as it is not pulling out 1 cup per day) <See here for some ideas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bestskmopfaqs.htm we have a lot on the subject so look through the other links there as well>     Lighting - 1 VHO actinic white and 1 VHO actinic purple     Circulation - 4 output places in my tank     NO FISH YET or snails     I have only done 20 % water changes twice.<Try a bit more, more frequently>  I am puzzled as to the source of this outbreak as my water seems devoid of phosphate, silicate and low nitrate, the causes of Cyano. <Well to a degree. Your tank could be still cycling a bit as Cyano sometimes is related to new "tank syndrome". I have seen this in tanks less than 4 months old. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Maybe add a few various algae eating snails at this time could be a good idea. Take a look through the link above for some ideas. I would also test my water before I add salt just to get a base read. Then I might take a sample to my LFS to be sure my kit is accurate as well. (kind of a calibration so to speak)> I really don't want to waste money on chemicals and the like.<Very good. I wouldn't either as this only treats the symptom and not is not a cure> I would rather be patient and starve out the Cyanobacteria ( is this possible) naturally but I cannot pinpoint the source. <See some of the above links. AS time will tell. Get the water parameters in check and do a few water changes. Be sure your replacement water is quality (really should have no nitrate, phosphate or silicates) then be sure to use a good quality salt. (sometimes can be a source for phosphates and silicates) Let me know if there is any more I can do>     Are my test kits inaccurate or am I not doing enough maintenance ??? <See above. More water changes and time. Check the links above see if there is not something there and maybe try a few snails. Regards, Paul>

Seeing Red (Cyanobacteria) I am having a problem with red algae in my salt water tank. My husband and I are in the military, stationed in Okinawa, Japan and we get the water for our tank out of the Pacific/East China Sea. We don't have a protein skimmer because they are super expensive and instructions are in Japanese. I have paid a lot of money for products that are supposedly suppose to get rid of the algae, but no matter how hard we try it keeps coming back. Please help!!! <Well, it's all about nutrient control, IMO. Not using a protein skimmer will make the battle tougher-but not impossible. While it seems to make sense, using natural seawater is often problematic. The water that is most easily accessible may have high levels of organic nutrients, or other compounds, which can fuel the growth of undesirable algae in closed systems. Perhaps you could pre-filter the water with carbon for a few days before using it? Frankly, if possible, I'd choose a good quality salt mix and mix it with high-quality source water (like RO/DI, if possible... Do they sell purified water on the base? Do look for it. Also, you can help reduce or eliminate these nuisance algae by using chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filter. A deep sand bed in your system can also help export nutrients. Careful feeding helps, too. Good circulation, regular, light vacuuming of the surface sand, and careful feeding will all contribute to reduced levels of Cyanobacteria. Additives and chemicals are not the answer...Remember- think about nutrient export...That's the way! Check up on more about this topic on the WWM site...Do a search under "Algae Control" using the Google search feature on the wetwebmedia.com site for tons of other ideas on how to combat this stuff. You can do it! Be persistent and patient- you'll see it go away! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Persistent Cyano 2/19/03 Okay guys, what am I missing?  I've upgraded my lighting to metal halide, increased the circulation in the tank, purchased a better skimmer, switched to RO water, I'm not feeding any more than my seahorses can consume within 10 minutes (they're slow eaters), added blue leg hermits to the refugium... guh... I had a total Cyano outbreak in the refugium.  I hesitated to do any siphoning in there because I didn't wanna suck out my critters but today I said screw it, if I suck 'em all out I suck 'em all out... which of course wasn't the case but still.  I change my carbon every couple of weeks.  20% water change every week, I use PhosGuard from SeaChem which I change monthly.  The only additive I do is Kalkwasser and iodine for my shrimps).  I can't shake this stuff.  I'm getting desperate. Arthur <are the lights over the refugium aged (over 10 months) or very warm colored? Perhaps try reducing your iodine by 25% for one week... then 50% for the second week if necessary (feed your live shrimp krill or froz shrimp for source of iodine in the meantime). Essentially... lets take the remaining sources of potential nutrients and systematically back off each one for 2-4 weeks until you find the cause. Best of luck. Anthony>  
Persistent Cyano (Pt.2)
The lights over the refugium are new.. I just upgraded them as well. I will feed the shrimps krill as suggested and when I feed my seahorses I've gone to straining the frozen shrimp through a brine shrimp net rather than directly injecting the shrimp water and all. <Very good idea> The problem isn't completely independent of the main system either.. from time to time I find the Cyano on the backs of my seahorses which I VERY lightly brush off with the pipe cleaner that came with my AquaC Urchin.  I also got a small brittle star to keep in the refugium to help keep the sand aerated.. any other suggestions on that end? <I like Anthony's suggestion about reducing additives one at a time until a source can be isolated...Nutrient export is everything here. Review your protein skimming- is the skimmer working efficiently, yanking out a couple of cups of dark, yucky stuff weekly? If not- adjust it until it does. Also, consider smaller (like 5%) water changes twice weekly...These help reduce the level of nutrients before they have a chance to build up. Consider using chemical filtration media, such as Poly Filter, Chemi Pure, and/or activated carbon. Are you using high quality source water (RO/DI or similar)? If you are, check to see that the membranes are still good...Sometimes, old RO/DI membranes will let you know by producing lower-quality water. Good that you're modifying feeding habits as Anthony suggests..>   The maiden goby I got a while back took care of the Cyano in the main system... I think because he keeps the sand turned over so well it never has a chance to grow, but it hasn't attempted re-growing on the rocks or on my overflow.. I'm so tempted to put the diamond in the refugium for a while but I know that would wipe out my critter population which is already damaged enough from the siphoning... guh... I'm so frustrated... but yeah...I'll keep trying. <Don't give up- revisit the most basic, even obvious husbandry issues-sometimes you'll find that the obvious stuff is what's been causing the problem! Be relentless, and most of all, patient. You can beat this, but you need to find the source of the nutrients first.> Thanks as always. Arthur <Good luck, Arthur! Regards, Scott F>

More questions for the crew now, Sorry for not saying this in my previous email, the bioload is one Banggai cardinal, and within the next month I would like to add a pair of O-Clowns if you see that fit.  The cardinal has been in there for 6 months and is doing well.  But to my questions, when you say remove the top half inch of sand, isn't that going to be detrimental to my "live" sand?  Could I just add a layer of sand over top to "smother" the algae or Cyano? <Hi Mike, Craig here for you. I would doubt this is Cyano on your sand. It would be a thicker, smoother mat, redder in color than brown. This sounds like diatom algae to me. I would increase skimmer efficiency (clean, adjust), increase circulation to the areas it grows, perhaps use a powerhead to stir-up the substrate and clean rock, vacuum or filter it out (just off the surface),  check your RO/DI unit, as it may not be working properly, and increase water changes with tested replacement water.> Can a bad light bulb be responsible for a Cyano attack?   <Not without the nutrient to fuel it. It's not likely the bulb, it's more likely silicates, nitrates, phosphates, etc.> Additionally, if it is Cyano, is it harmful to the fish and inverts in the tank? <Not likely unless they eat it or are smothered by it. The added nutrient content required to grow it is worse.> And lastly, suppose I don't get the Cyano completely cured within the month, can I still add the clowns, and do you see any problems with adding two smaller O-Clowns (fighting between the cardinal and them, or problems with my bioload or anything unforeseen)?  I don't really want to lose the Banggai, its a great fish, good attitude, and I have grown quite attached to it. Thanks again for your what seems like endless help, Mike <I would take care of your water quality before adding more bioload, your tank is not right now, adding more load won't help. The clowns and cardinal may or may not get along, depends on the individuals. I suggest reading up on both clowns and cardinals at WetWebMedia.com, much more there regarding compatibility, care, etc.  Craig>

BGA Maroon Cyano - 2/17/03 I'm another Cyano sufferer. However, I only have 2 very small fish in a very large tank with a very nice AquaC skimmer. I can't produce a dark cup of Joe everyday because I don't have enough waste from the inhabitants (at least I don't think so). This stuff is maroon if it matters. Should I crank my skimmer up so it produces almost clear seawater with a little bit of protein? <If it truly is not a nutrient control issue, it may simply be a water flow problem. Re-direct or increase water flow and see if it helps (10-20X tank volume is appropriate). Please no not collect watery skimmate... this corrupts the overall quality/quantity of nutrients exported. Always collect dark skimmate... however often that is on a well-tuned skimmer. Still dubious regardless of the small fishes.. diatoms grow and are harvested by you (scraping) or the grazers weekly. If you can get a full cup 3 times weekly it sounds Ok perhaps... else the skimmer needs tuned/tweaked. Kindly, Anthony>

Cyanobacteria/BGA and circulation - 2/14/03 To whom it may concern  :o) I've read the posts about controlling BGA by eliminating dead spots and improving circulation in your tank, so I tried a little experiment:  I had one silk plant (deco) in my tank with some Cyano on some of it's upper leaves - about the only presence of BGA in my tank. Anyway, I aimed a powerhead right at it and blasted it until the flow forced it to bend double and almost touch the substrate - kinda like it was caught up in a tornado - anyway after a week of this, guess what?  The Cyano actually increased!! What gives?? <DOC levels, phosphate and nitrate levels, lack of water changes (large enough), allowing thawed pack juices from frozen foods into the aquarium, lack of adequate chemical filtration (weekly/monthly carbon), weak skimmate (light color or volume).... Nutrient control overall, aging fluorescent lights... all valid catalysts> Xeo <Anthony>

Red slime algae - 2/14/03 Bob, <Paul here while Bob does his best impression of a diver in Hawaii> I know there is a wealth of information on algae,<Oh yeah> but I need a quick response as I am about to go away for a while, I can't get rid of red carpet algae growing on my sand.<i.e.. slime algae or Cyano blue/green algae> I only have 3 small fish totaling 6", and I don't overfeed.<OK> I have an AquaC skimmer and a Lifereef system. Why can't I get rid of this red carpet algae? <Well, this is a loaded question. Look for the source and treat it. Not a good long term solution to just treat the symptoms, in my experience (I tend to fall into the latter category) so with that I can summarize by saying....... check out this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm No reason to write up something that has been written so many times before........but basically check your source water for high nitrates, phosphates, or silicates. More water changes. Try vacuuming it up as much as possible. Do you have a deep sand bed? What type of overall filtration? This sometimes make things worse if they are inadequate. Again, I realize you are leaving for a while, but this is your best bet. Diligence and persistence. Good luck, Mike. No sure fire answer here........See if any of the above get you goin' in the right direction>  

Blue Green Algae Hi Guys, I appreciate all your help.  Things have been going well in my tank, but I added a 4x65 watt pc lighting kit in my 55 gallon tank and all heck has broken loose.  I have about 80 lbs live rock and bout 1/2 inch live sand bed.  Just a few corals and 5 small fish.  Mt water is fine, Nitrates hovering between trace and zero.  But after I added the lighting all my live rock became covered with blue green algae. My glass is too. Though it has slowed a bit in the last few days.  I have six turbo snails and one lawnmower blenny.  My questions are these.  Is this just a 'phase' and if I keep nitrates low my tank will find balance and this will mostly go way? <Nutrient control and water movement will help. Skimming, macroalgae for competition, small frequent water changes.> I have a small clump of seaweed in the corner and it seems to have help a bit, is it really worth using<depending on type, yes>?  I only have 1/2 inch live sand, and I hate the dirty look of deep sand beds. <Ok> With good husbandry, water changes, skimming, and non aggressive feeding, do I NEED to have a deep sand bed<no>, as long as I have the rock or is it only a matter of time? And if you were gonna keep a cleaning crew could you suggest a ballpark figure. i.e pistol shrimp, snails <I use Astrea, Trochus snails and have a Lysmata amboinensis for my 75 See here for more on BGA http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> etc for a 55 gallon?  Thanks again. <Stay vigilant and go slow, Don>

He's Seeing Red (Cyanobacteria) I've about had it. The Cyano will NOT go away. I've tried everything imaginable (except Maracyn, which I will never try!!). Phosphates, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and silicates do not register when I test them (dry tab). <Good...but you may want to re-check with test kits known to have greater accuracy...just a thought> It's definitely not too much light because there is actually more Cyano in the morning before the lights come on than there is when the lights go off at night. <Remember, light alone is not a cause for algae...It's ALL about nutrient accumulation...Light is only a contributor to nuisance algae if excessive nutrients are present, IMO> Only thing I can think of is that the sg may be too low. My hydrometer broke a while back (thus my 'tasting' method for checking sg; guess I'm not too good at it) <Yikes- just don't be throwing a pinch of oregano or a dash of Tabasco in there to "get it right"...get a new hydrometer, ASAP> so I wasn't really keeping up with it. I finally tested it Sunday and it was 1.020-1.021. I'm working on getting it back up to the 1.026-1.027 where it should be. Could that be what's causing the problem? <I don't believe that it's a major contributor to your bloom> I've always had this idea that 'dirtier' things can survive better in a lower sg, and that the higher the sg, the more pristine the water will be. Is that true or just a dumb hunch? <I don't see a significant correlation there, quite honestly> Also, any other suggestions are welcomed at getting rid of this Cyano (I don't want to control it; I want to eradicate it). Thanks! Will <Ok, Will- here are my thoughts on this: Again- it's all about exporting nutrients...Some of these things you probably already know, or have tried, but let's review again: Aggressive protein skimming is important. Your skimmer should be pulling at least a couple of cups of dark skimmate from the tank per week. Keep the skimmer clean, as a skimmer that is clean works better. Also, employ frequent (like 2 times a week) small (5% of tank volume) water changes, using high quality source water (RO/DI). Maintain steady temperatures and good circulation within the tank. Consider employing a deep sand bed in your tank (using fine oolithic sand) to process nutrients effectively. Utilize "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, etc. (NOT Caulerpa, please) to compete with the nuisance algae in extracting nutrients from the water. Keep the macroalgae in a lighted section of the sump, where you can harvest it on a regular basis.  Utilize chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filters as well. Remove all of the Cyano that you can manually. Maintain "reef" levels of calcium, and keep a good alkalinity level in the system. Don't give up here! Stay with it, and be relentless and consistent in your efforts. It will take a few weeks, but if you implement some or all of these ideas, you will see results! Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

He's Been Slimed! (Cyanobacteria) Hello Crew, I've just started up a 47 gal set-up that has been running for about 4 weeks.  All water parameters have been well within normal ranges.  I have 37 lbs of live rock and seeded my substrate (aragonite) about 3 weeks ago with 5 lbs of live sand.  I have 3 peppermint shrimp I added about 2 weeks ago, various snails and a little crab, a load of anemones and algae/plants (some bristle worms as well). <All part of the fun, huh?> I've noticed purple slime in "colonies" on rocks, plants and most notably on the surface of the substrate.  It appears to be photosynthetic - barely noticeable in the morning (before the light comes on) and thick/filmy overlay on most of the substrate by night (just prior to lights out).  Also notice "air" bubbles across the surfaces. <Ahh- the dreaded Cyanobacteria...Very common in newer systems, where nutrients are abundant, and export systems are not yet up to full speed...> My first inclination is to Vac the stuff out of there.  Was wondering if anyone knows what this stuff is? Are there any little beasts I could introduce to get rid of this stuff?  Do I want to get rid of this stuff/? Help! Rick <Well, Rick- you do want to remove as much of this stuff as possible manually. However, it's equally as important to eliminate the root causes of the outbreak. First, re-examine your husbandry techniques. Perform small (like 5% of tank volume), frequent (twice a week makes you a star, in my book) water changes, using high quality (RO/DI) water. Also, utilize aggressive protein skimming, which should help remove at least a few cups of dark, yucky skimmate per week, and keep that skimmer clean! Utilize chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and Poly Filter, which are excellent at removing dissolved organics and nutrients, and replace the media regularly. In crease circulation in the tank- good circulation also helps eliminate these algae. You may want to consider building up a deep sand bed to help assist in nutrient cycling in the tank. Finally, maintain a stable, consistent environment (including "reef" levels of calcium, alkalinity, and phosphates) , and you'll start to see this stuff go away. You can read all about all of these techniques right here on the site! Hope these tips start you heading in the right direction! You'll win- just be relentless and patient! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Re: Cyano Hello Again, Well the tank is coming along nicely except for one thing, the cycling seams to have brought around some more brown Cyanobacteria, OH BOY.  This time I've done everything I've found out since last time I had to take down the tank from Cyanobacteria and it seems to have stopped growing at least at lighting speed, but still there and ugly as usually.  I am currently searching for a website that has dwarf or Baja hermits (do they really eat the Cyanobacteria?!?!)  I also was wondering if SeaChem's PhosGuard would be any good to add to a powerfilter on the back of the tank.  Also, being 15, I can't really afford a RO unit, there's a similar thing on the main pipeline to our house though, would using Brita filtered water help at all? Thanks a ton guys your really helpful. ERIC <Hi Eric, perhaps run a water sample into your LFS and find out what nutrients are feeding your Cyano. This is usually excess nutrient (*inefficient/dirty skimmer*, *nutrient in replacement water*, overfeeding, insufficient maintenance, dirty sponges, filters, **insufficient water movement**). Sounds like you have a water softener on the house, but the Brita will not remove silicates, phosphates, ammonia, etc. from your water, so no, it doesn't work. All problem algaes require good nutrient prevention and export combined with efficient skimming and vigorous water movement.  Best of luck!  Craig>

Eliminating Nuisance Algae I recently moved up in tank size to a 75 gal. tank. I had a little red slime algae in my old tank (only on one rock). Now I have it all over my tank. I have always used RO water.( the one thing I haven't done is sterilize my containers for the RO water,...would that bring in the wrong kind of bacteria to my tank ?) I have a protein skimmer also. <Well, it's certainly possible that some organics have built up in the storage container, and organics are a major contributor to nuisance algae. If present, the organics in the storage container may have played a minor role in this outbreak. Another possibility would be to check your RO membranes to see if they need replacing. These do, of course, have a limited lifespan. You might want to purchase/borrow a TDS ("total dissolved solids") meter to see if the membrane does, indeed, need replacing> Since I moved to the bigger tank I have used my same powerhead...maybe I need a bigger one? I added a small pump/power head to the bottom of the tank tonight, after reading a lot of  the FAQ on the algae. <Another great thought on your part! Poor circulation is also a contributor to nuisance algae. Do consider upgrading the  circulation> I only have two fish and two shrimp. I haven't been feeding my fish as much as I used to.  Where are all the nutrients coming from? <Well, nutrients can continue to come from source water (as indicated above), detritus accumulating within filter media, such as mechanical filter pads, or in live rock. Thick, coarse substrates (such as crushed coral) are notorious for trapping detritus. You also need to investigate husbandry procedures, such as water change intervals...Try smaller (like 5% changes) changes twice weekly, which don't give nutrients time to accumulate( of course, this assumes that your source water is up to par). I'm glad that you employ a protein skimmer! Clean you protein skimmer at least once a week, if not more often. A clean skimmer works better! Make sure that it's pulling out at least a few cups of dark, yucky skimmate per week. Use chemical media, such as activated carbon and PolyFilter, and change them frequently. Consider growing "purposeful" macroalgae, such as Gracilaria or Chaetomorpha in a lighted area of your sump, and harvest them regularly. They well compete with the nuisance algae for nutrients, and their harvesting removes nutrients from the system. Run tests for nitrate and phosphate...Usually, these compounds are at higher than desirable levels when Cyanobacteria outbreaks occur> Even though I have the algae and now green hair algae, I continue to have coralline algae grow on my rocks. I got a new compact light with my tank (it came with daylight bulbs) Should I leave that on for more than 6-8 hrs.? <I'd continue with whatever light interval you see necessary to sustain the animals that you're keeping. Light is not the cause of the problem; let's concentrate on attacking the nutrient problem.> I also removed my carbon filter the other day because I was told it didn't help anything....now your articles say it is a good thing. <If a good grade of carbon is used and changed regularly, it's a very effective ally in the "war on nutrients"!> The thing that bothers me to most is that everyone I talk to tells me something different! Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Cheryl. <Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusing information and different opinions out there! Take everyone's suggestions (even mine) with a "grain of salt", but do entertain the more logical ones. If you employ some of the ideas that we've outlined here, and "stay the course", I think that you'll beat this nuisance algae outbreak! Hang in there, Cheryl! You can do it! Regards, Scott F>

Cyano growth (resend) Anthony I do chop into small chunks.  Tiny in fact.  I should have said the *equivalent* of a whole silverside or krill.  :) <ahh... good to hear> As far as overfeeding goes...  I don't think I do.  However, when feeding the anemone, I noticed quite a bit of Selcon leaches into the water.   <likely not much... little Selcon is needed per soak of food> I think I'm going to rinse the bits of food after I soak it in Selcon to remove excess.  I know that can't be helping. <perhaps no big deal> Early in this tanks cycle a friend decided feeding half a jar worth of Sweetwater zooplankton would be fun.  Err, well the clown was FAT for about week, but I didn't notice anything abnormal in the tank.   <indeed, a significant influx of nutrients... much of it through the clownfish <G>> I did a 20% water change that day.  This was about 3 weeks ago.  Is it possible that it is just now starting to cause organics problems in my tank?   <Yes... waste passed by the animals that ate all that food and the fact that your 20% water change still left 80% of the dissolved organics in the tank> I'm having territory problems between the clown and six-line (no nipped fins yet, but they are slowly getting to dislike each other more and more.  six line hangs out near the anemone all day and the clown hates that lol  as long as the six line is elsewhere all is well) so was thinking about rearranging the rock to kinda shake them up a bit.  Would it be beneficial to pull all of it out, <hmm... just adding or changing rockscape ay help> shaking off the excess detritus and then vacuuming the substrate? <always vacuum detritus... there should be none. Its presence is an indication of inadequate water flow and will cause algae> I know I do have a lot of detritus, as it builds up in my Gracilaria sp. as if it were a mechanical filter (not too bad, but obvious). <a big problem indeed. And a clear indication of inadequate water flow. Gracilaria in particular needs very strong water flow to keep it tumbling in suspension> So does the Koralvit F pollute or no?   <a fine product... and any can pollute is abused> I know in my other tank the softies LOVE it.  I had a Tubastrea sp. that never opened since I got it, and has slowly been dying. <usually because of underfeeding (they need almost daily for long-term survival... every polyps being fed!). Else they hang on for months... some for a year or two> Within a week of starting to add Koralvit F every other day it has been recovering and regrowing, as well as extending nicely (the polyps left anyway).   <it is stimulated, but not fed by the supplement. Needs solid foods> Direct feeding and DTs never had this effect in my tank.   <that's because very few things actually eat phytoplankton. It is a marketing success story. Most of our corals are dedicated zooplanktivores> Same goes for the colts and 'shrooms. I noticed that the anemone doesn't seem to bother my six line.  It won't swim into the tentacles completely, but it doesn't mind stealing food from >it.  :)  Interesting thing is when the clown yanks it out of the six lines >mouth and puts it back into the anemones tentacles.  haha  the joys of... reefkeeping! *edited in* Err regarding the zooplankton and tanks cycle, didn't mean the nitrogen cycle.  Bad choice of words.  :)  Tank has been up about 14 weeks. <Okey Dokey> Oh, update on the clam for you Anthony. Mantle had started to pinch up, as well as localized bleaching around the inhalant siphon.  It is spreading and soon to become generalized.  :(  Oddly enough the zooxanthellae in the center where it was slightly faded is coming back nicely.  Also it isn't gaping as much.  The mantle pinching worries me more than the gaping did though, as does the bleaching.  Also the snails in the viscera of the clam were obviously disturbing. So, since my options seemed to be: A - sit and watch the clam slowly die or B - dip and contribute to the limited knowledge of clam sickness/cures and possibly help the clam... I chose B and used Kent Tech-D/saltwater instead of a hyposalinity dip. Mortality rates, except for one exception, were just too high for my likings.  Read about using Tech-D from a few others so did some research into it.  Found that some people were having success with it and clams and it seemed a better bet than hyposalinity. Let me paste in a post on RC about what I did for your reference and your thoughts.  I haven't posted this anywhere else yet. Here are the parameters I dipped under. Water chemistry Water was from my water change can, and had been aged at 1.025 SG for 3days.2 gallons, aerated in 5 gallon bucket for 1 hour prior to dip1/4 teaspoon of Superbuffer dKH 1 hour prior to dip to stabilize pH and dKH.3ml of Koralvit F. I noticed adding this during acclimation relieved A LOT of the stress on my clam from the shipping, so thought it wouldn't hurt here. 7 teaspoons of Tech-D mixed immediately before dip duration, 3 minutes, +/- 5 seconds 82F (a bit warmer than my display, which is at 79F-80F) pH 8.2 dKH 13 All measurements except temp correspond precisely to my display. Well, I've never seen my clam completely close its inhalant siphon in a natural way until I dipped it. In the dipped it "coughed" two times. I emptied all the air out of it while in the dip to ensure that all parts of the clam were cleansed out. Placed back in display. After 5 minutes it is starting to open up a little. Inhalant siphon only open about 2mm, exhalant siphon is inverted into the shell (goofy looking but seen it do this before occasionally). If anything new comes up I'll post it here. I hope I didn't just donate my clam to science and experimentation. At this point it is gaping a little bit, but is fully opened with minimal pinching. RVM <thanks for sharing! Best regards, Anthony>

Cyano growth Gage <Anthony with the follow up> Well just finished a 2 day water change cycle.  Changed about 20 gallons (20 gal long tank). Hmm, I watch the anemone closely (I've watched my tank for three days in a row 14 hours + per day before hehe) and unless pieces are too big or I stress it within 12 hours of feeding it doesn't regurgitate.  It's a good 6"-7" across, so I figured one whole silverside or one whole krill would be fine for it. <I strongly disagree, bud... I have seen too many anemones killed this way. You can do it for another 100 times perhaps and 99 times it will be safe. The one time I'm right though you'll have a dead or injured anemone. Small chunks please, bud> I was thinking the Koralvit F might be polluting some, since it is yeast based.  I know the DTs doesn't. <not correct or comparable... vitamins versus a food staple> My skimmer usually pulls out light coffee colored stuff.  Looks like black coffee with too much water.   <not terrible at all... but do try for darker foam (coffee)> Never seen it green before.   Usually 1/2 to a full cup per day, depending on how much I fuss with the tank.  :) <excellent and agreed> Clam seems to be sucking up Ca and PO4, NO3 like mad, but those really weren't a problem anyway.  I did have a PolyFilter in for a few days.  It was a dark, dark brown with 5 days of putting it in.   <WOW! Way high organics level. These filters are good for a couple months! With the skimmer performing so well... this would indicate lack of water changes, overfeeding or both> I figured high amount of dissolved organics.   <agreed> I haven't bothered testing DOC's, because it is pretty obvious that is the problem and testing would just waste the chemicals.  :) <heehee.. agreed again> Never had a Cyano problem ever before, so this is unnerving me. <sometimes tiring water pumps facilitate the growth with weakened water flow. Strong flow tempers> Other algae were fine, though I did have a diatom bloom yesterday, which seems to have subsided.  Cyano is not spreading quickly.  I think since I removed the 'fuge all is better.  The 'fuge smelled like one of those tidepools that never got washed back into the sea...  stagnant, rotting, dead smell to it. I'll run this tank without that for awhile. Thanks for the reply Gage! <Best regards, Anthony>

Cyano growth Heya Checked WWM for Cyano info but nothing seemed to really fit so here comes another question Could my refugium be the cause of a recent Cyano outbreak (dark/royal purple hair like algae)?  It's been set up about a month now, and in the past two weeks I've noticed this purple hairy stuff starting to cover all the macro in there.  I have seen a couple of pieces of the Cyano (what I think is Cyano) floating in the main tank but thought little of it, as it *seems* my nutrients are in control.  My skimmer produces a cup of skimmate daily, actually more sometimes.  I noticed when I left this morning the anemone looked great and normal (http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=userview&userID=2028 picture of it 2 days ago and it looked a bit bigger and generally healthier today than in the picture [it had just eaten maybe 30 min prior to that picture]) (and growing well) and I get home and it's shrunken to 10% of its average size, tentacles are little strings and sometimes it kinda just looks like it is trying to push its guts out of its mouth.  I've had it a good 8 weeks at least and it has done exceptionally well, especially considering how anemones usually do.  Could the Cyano be affecting the anemones health, and that quickly?  I drip Kalk with my top off, and noticed that it dripped a bit extra today, maybe 1/2 gallon.  could this be a problem?  maybe caused a pH dip? <this should not be a problem.> clam seems normal (eh it hasn't done well since day one but it doesn't look any worse today in fact looks less stressed than it has been) so I'm not expecting any pH difference when I retest tonight. I'm not sure what could have caused the Cyano outbreak in the first place.  Tank and water specs... 20gal long, CPRs bakpak2 (with an overflow cup I built to suck in almost nothing but surface water), 18" AquaFuge hang on refuge, 2 Rio 180s for circulation.  2x55w PC lights, one actinic one 10k, on 12 hours and 10 hours respectively.  tank has already gone through a brown and lime green algae bloom and recovered nicely and as expected from those 35lbs live rock, 35lbs fine aragonite This is the livestock, no other corals etc. in the tank 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 1 Premnas biaculeatus 1 Entacmaea quadricolor 1 Tridacna Squamosa various snails, mostly Nassarius, numbering up to 12 total 2 small hermits refugium has 2" sand bed, some green macro (not Caulerpa sp.) and some Gracilaria sp.  one snail in there Lights of America generic 80 watt equivalent fluorescent on 24/7 (could this be the problem?) the water in the refugium is plain nasty.  junk floating on the top, covering the macro in there and all sides.  looks like a putrid swamp (not that bad but it is starting to get that look).   feeding:  3 times a week to the anemone which feeds the two fish and everything else.  alternating krill and silversides soaked in Selcon (possible problem?). <The Selcon is good, but whole silversides and krill are insane?!?! After the lights go out it could be regurgitating the food in a mucous ball of waste that rots and feeds the nuisance algae> Once a day I add either Koralvit F or DTs to the tank.  Once or twice a week I might toss 4 or 5 flakes of OSI Spirulina into the tank for some food diversity with the fishes.  I plan on cutting back on the Koralvit and DTs (clam seems to be on its way out anyway), but I have only been doing this for 9 days and this problem had started before then, but it seemed to just really bloooooom today.  spread of this stuff seems exponential <I seriously doubt that phyto is feeding anything but algae. Should be used in small amounts for gorgonians, Nephtheids and maybe clams... not much else.> water chemistry stable for weeks at: NH4 - 0 NO2 - .07 NO3 - 1 Ca - 420 dKH - 13 pH - 8.15 day and night PO4 - .15 SG - 1.024 temp 79F-80F Si - .8 (could this be an issue?) going to retest tonight as those numbers are about 3 days old so what might have caused this and what is the best route of correcting?  i am not sure how I could improve my nutrient control any better on this tank. thank you for the time! RVM <Is the skimmer pulling skimmate that has a distinct green tinge from the wasted DTs? Or is it good dark skimmate? - Gage>

Cya-oh-no! Hello, Arthur again, we've corresponded a few times (sent you the slug pic).  All my critters in my 40 gallon reef are doing well and looking good, however, I'm having a problem battling red slime. <I hate that stuff...but it's not nearly as bad as hair algae> I think it was due mostly to a change in local water quality.  About the same time the red stuff showed, green hair algae started showing up in my freshwater tank.  What I've done so far is reduce feeding to twice a week, started using distilled water (at .30$ a gallon, it's not killing me), and I've set up a 6 gallon refugium to add macroalgae to (eclipse system 6 with the filter taken out, light retrofit is on the way).  I want to upgrade my skimmer.... again.  started out with a sea-clone <Yuck!> which never did anything, even after I tried some of the diy mods for it on the net.  Now I have a Prism, <Not much better> which skims SOMETHING at least, but it's noisy and I don't think I'm skimming as much as I could.  I don't have a sump, mind you, so the skimmer I'm leaning toward the most is the AquaC Remora Pro.  Will this be sufficient? <Excellent choice> My dad (also somewhat involved in the project) is Seriously interested in a UV sterilizer.  Would that help enough to make the cost worth it? <Not in my opinion. Skip this purchase> This has been going on for well over a month now and I'm SOOOOOOO tired of seeing that red stuff. <I've been there done that!> I've been scooping out what I can but I don't wanna scoop anymore! <Keep siphoning> I'm trying to order the flora refugium kit from Inland Aquatics but they're not responding to any of my e-mail :(  might just write down the names of the algaes they send and see if the guy at my LFS can order them for me (might be cheaper that way too).  Anyways, as always, any thoughts would be appreciated.  I've been over the Cyano FAQs a billion times and I'm almost at the end of my wits. <Improve your lighting or change the bulbs if it's been a while, get a new skimmer, increase the circulation in the tank, and keep up those water changes> Thanks guys, <You're welcome!> Arthur

Baking soda feeding slime algae? pH problem Hi there, Anthony   <Cheers, bub> I've read from an article on the net that Red slime algae requires carbon dioxide which they say can be obtained from decay of organic material and bicarbonates in water. <yep> "Dissolved organic load + high dKH will lead to an outbreak of Blue green algae". or red) <Hmmm... technically the argument can be made... but what of the other sources of CO2... like respiration from a big-old reef tank of coral! Ya... some CO2 there too. Do be cautious of everything you read on the net (including  our material!). All are perspectives with various experiences and merit to back them up. Simply make your decision based on the intelligent consensus. If 9 of 10 respected aquarists polled say that we should worry about baking soda.. then I will worry with you. Still.. they will have to explain how the inevitable and significant production of nitric and carbonic acids in the aquarium that dissolve oolitic material and liberate carbonates and raise alkalinity just the same is any different <G>. A weak argument (fearing baking soda) in address of the symptom and not the problem at any rate. Don't worry about it bud. Better water movement and aggressive skimming will make it all a moot point in 2 weeks> And that's one of the reasons that they don't recommend baking soda for buffering reef tanks. <I would have to disagree with the emphasis they have placed on the matter> Well I guess that wouldn't happen cause the skimmer removes all the dissolved organic matter. About my pH, I don't have a refugium but am planning on installing one. I don't know why my pH is lower on daytime rather that my night time pH and my inhabitants doesn't seem to be affected by this abnormal condition. Should I worry about this? <it is unusual... do take a glass of aquarium water to the well aerated garage or like-ventilated room. Aerate the sample vigorously for 12 hours and compare the pH before and after. A significant rise in pH indicates CO2 accumulation in the house that is causing the dynamic on you> And does the white edges on coralline algae an indication of growth? Because some of my corallines are showing this. I've included a pic of my banded shrimp. As you can see there, coralline algae is lacking. <I do not see any evidence of growth or bleaching... we shall see in time> And the dead brain coral is a live rock which I've taken from a beach (its dead already when I took it and is already cured) <no worries... you can see that it is well water-worn> Thanks again for your time. Ken <best regards, Anthony>

Rust contributes to Cyano? Hello again.  I'm still having a small Cyano problem, and I've covered all the bases -- replaced bulbs, great circulation, clean filters, not overfeeding, not overstocked, regular water changes, aggressive skimming, checked source water, added competing macroalgae, etc. The other day I was talking to a manager at my LFS about my persistent problem, and he asked if there was any rust in the tank.  I mentioned that I had a small amount on the threads of the screws on one of my mag pumps, and that I had already contacted Danner to get some replacements.  Well, my LFS guy said that there is a connection between rust and phosphates and that the rust could be the source of my Cyano problem.  Does this sound accurate? <Mmm, possibly a contributor... iron is an essential element for most types of life... But I doubt if the amount the screws are contributing is very much. Have you tested your water for ferrous ion?> The Cyano is growing on top of my highest rocks and ON the Caulerpa, which is directly under the lights. He also suggested getting nylon screws instead of simply replacing them with more stainless steel.  What are your thoughts on this? <Sounds like a good idea... especially for in-sump applications. Don't know about trusting the non-metal screws out of the water. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Karen

Cyano problem Mr. Fenner, I've asked you a few questions before and you've always given me a straight answer, even ones I didn't want to hear.  I find the info on your website very helpful.  I recently wrote you re: my tank not cycling.  I took your advice and It's almost done.  My problem for the past 3 weeks has been what I think is BGA.  My ammonia is 0, Nitrite is still high (maybe will come down sometime in the next few days), Nitrate reads about 30 ppm, but test set says that present Nitrite can falsify the test, Alk is 3.6 meq/l and PH is 8.2-8.4.  I use softened tap water with Red Sea salt, and yes, I will look into buying a better brand.  I have a 125 gallon rectangular tank (72x18x20).  I am using an Ocean Clear canister filter w/ bio-core run by a Blueline 1100 gph pump.  I also have an Emperor 400 hang on filter and a Prizm Pro skimmer.  The skimmer currently is being used to help circulate water. I didn't want to run it while the tank was cycling. <I would turn it on now> I have two intake and two return lines plumbed through the bottom of the tank on opposite sides of the tank from each other (if that makes sense). <Yes>   One return is aimed at the middle of the water surface, while the other is aimed at the front tank wall just below the half way line.  I do this for circulation.  The emperor and the skimmer also agitate the surface fairly well, so I'm thinking that this is OK.   For lighting, I have 2x96W Smartlites.  On your orders I've basically stopped feeding 'til the levels of ammonia and nitrite come down.  I only feed every 2-3 days now ('til cycling is done).  I have a 1.5" tomato clown, 3" porcupine puffer, 1" green spotted brackish puffer, coral banded shrimp, 4 scarlet reef hermit crabs and a combination of about 10 turbo/Astrea snails.  The puffer only gets 1 - 1.5 pieces of freeze dried krill or frozen shrimp of equivalent size.  The other two fish eat about 1/6 of a cube of frozen Brine shrimp (Hikari Brand).  The snails do a good job getting rid of the red stuff on the rock work, 2 or 3 will clean a rock in about 2 days.  I've read that this red stuff doesn't like high flow areas, but the stuff I have sticks great in high flow areas where fish have a hard time swimming. <Likely is BGA, Cyanobacteria nonetheless>   This stuff also grows formations of hair like strands in the higher flow areas.  Looks like a wheat field in high winds.  In one of the FAQs, you said that Cyano looks like a fruit roll up in the tank.  That's what this looks like.  In fact, It looks just like the picture towards the bottom of the article titled "Blue Green Algae/Cyanobacteria".  Also, my snails have this stuff growing on their shells.  In, I believe the same FAQ, you seemed to think that this was strange.  I've cut back my lighting to about six hours a day.  I was doing weekly water changes of about 20 percent to control ammonia and Nitrites, but now that cycling is almost over I feel like I should "let it ride".  I plan on buying an air pump and some airstones for the corners behind the return lines.  I can't put a sump in to grow Caulerpa.  Is there some more info you can give me. <Re? I would look into a better skimmer, keep studying, observing...> Thanks in advance.  Also, I'm trying to find a copy of your book.  LFS doesn't have it.  I'll try the internet. <Amazon, Barnes and Noble, the pet-fish etailers carry our books. Bob Fenner> Vince

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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