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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 6

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1, Cyano Control 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, Cyano Control 5, 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

Some new advice... on killing, avoiding BGA  11/7/05 I have read and read your info. On Cyano looking for some new reasons, some new AHA! But alas, the same stuff over and over. Lack of flow, bad husbandry, lack of nutrient export,... Will you please guide me?  <Will try> I am having an issue with Cyano. I have a 90 gallon with fish and some corals. I have a Tidepool <The Marineland product? A source of nitrate over-production> where I change out the filter pads and rinse Chemi-pure bags and use a PolyFilter. There is a Mag drive 18 that pumps water back to tank, a Turboflotor skimmer, and a UV sterilizer. My readings are ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, pH 8.3, Ca 320 ppm, <A bit low... I'd shoot for 400-450... will help depress the Cyano> KH 10, Phosphorus test was 0, <Likely all being scavenged by the BGA> salt 1.025. Inside the tank I have 2 powerheads, each doing 300 gph. It's pretty blusterous inside. I run R/O filtration on our well water and that's what I use for top off and changes. <Good> My husbandry has always been a 12-15 gallon water change (mixed and aerated in advance) every week siphoning out detritus. <Also good> Not many supplements except Ca, KH, and a pH buffer. Once in a while I will do a drop or two of iodine. Everything does fine, except this dumb algae. I am not into feeding every other day, so my feeding is average. The tank is a year old. I have about 120 lbs. of live rock. The lighting was recently updated to MH.   <This will help> I have read that lighting has nothing to do with Cyano.....are you sure? <Am sure this is not the case... bright (intense) light of high CRI favors thallophytes... real algae over Cyano> I have two 175 watt bulbs on each side with an accompanying 96 watt bulb in front and one in back of 50/50 10 k, 460 actinic. Those MH are about 5 inches off the water. Could this be an issue....... The only other thing I can think of is I had put in deep substrate thinking it could help and then read if it is crushed coral I should only have it 1/2- 1 inch. I've been taking some out and sometimes after deeply siphoning the substrate, the nasty water in the bucket will have a foul odor.  My next plan is to, one side at a time, move all the rocks, siphon, and level all the substrate down to 1/2 inch. But more on the lighting.....this Cyano is mostly present in the areas of lots of light.  It's stuck to rocks where the blast of flow is very strong. Lots of microbubbles in the water and then of course they stick to everything, especially the Cyano. <... are you sure this is a Cyanobacteria? Do you have access to a microscope?> The bubbles are not from skimmer, UV, or powerheads.....I don't know where they are from. The mood I am in when I do large water changes and scrub and the next day it is back, I'm ready to buy the dumb medicine and if it kills fish, it will be my way out of the hobby. It's a shame, I have had such a good time up to this point.  Discouraged.... <Well... not much (new) to state... but that you seem to have an entrenched system of Cyano... and that it is modifying the environment to suit itself... If possible, adding a refugium is strongly suggested... with alternating light cycle, a DSB... If you go the antibiotic route (to poison the existing), do take care to have a few times the water volume on hand for change-outs. Bob Fenner> 

HOT Refugium Substrate Question Dear WWM Crew, <Dave> First off, I want to thank the crew for having such a great site! I have a 55 gallon sumpless reef tank set up for over a year, with a very shallow sand bed (>.25 inch), a little over 100lbs of live rock, for livestock I have mixed corals mostly LPS, softies and a few (lower light) SPS and clams (squamosa, deresa), 1 juvenile hippo   tang, 2 clowns, 1 RBTA, 2 purple fire fish, and a harlequin shrimp,   and an assortment of snails  and hermits (around 40 cleaners). As for   equipment, I have 260w pc, a remora pro skimmer, magnum 350 filter   (running carbon changed monthly) with split outputs with the slower   one going through a UV sterilizer, and the other straight to the   tank. 2 SEIO 820s, and 2 MJ1200s, and a 12" CPR HOT refugium. I do   20% water changes every week or two, and use RO/DI for top-offs. My   problem is with the refugium, battle with red slime algae has always   been a problem with the refugium. Although the main display never   seems to get any of it, I just can't seem to control the Cyano, in   the refugium. Right now, I have rock rubble and small chunks of live   rock in it with Chaeto which I prune periodically as it grows fast, I   have 18w pc (10k/ACT) lighting running in a reverse lighting   schedule, I increased the water flow by replacing the pump with a   MJ1200, plus I  put in a AquaClear 404 powerhead in the fuge itself   to further increase the flow within and disrupt the Cyano. This   worked for a while, but they tend to grow back and what surprise me   is they grow more where there is flow, I checked water parameters   every time before i do the water changes, and everything seems to be   fine for NH3/NH2, NO3, NO2, PO4, dKH, pH. I can't seem to figure out   where all this extra organics is coming from (mild daily dusting of   the tank occurs). <Is being taken up by the Cyano...> I  even cut down feeding to every other day, and I  have the skimmer in the lowest setting and it fills up every 2-3   days. Any help will be appreciated, and again thank for have such a   great site.     Dave <Mmm, a few things to consider... the best, adding an external sump/refugium with a DSB there... Bob Fenner>

Re: Red (Blue-Green) Algae/Cyanobacteria  9/1/05 Hi there Bob and crew,                      Just to give you some feedback, I managed to get hold of some Chaetomorpha crassa and some Ulva for my refugium which in the UK is a nightmare to find a stockist for, and implemented an exchange of filter wool which I used to catch debris for Polyfilter, after 3 days the BGA is starting to go from Maroon to Green which  I'm guessing is good, so syphoned it out. I got some growth of Maroon back but nowhere near the rate it was before, so cheers for the advice on that, Mark. <Yay!> P.S. turns out my tank was actually 40"x17"x17" over-estimated there I think! <Congratulations on turning the tide. Bob Fenner>

Cyanobacteria 8/22/05 Guys, I am a little confused about Cyanobacteria.  I have been reading through your FAQs for help with a slimy red algae.  It seems like you identify it as Cyanobacteria, but I also see it identified as a blue algae?  <Cyanobacteria has also been know as "Blue-Green Algae", but it is neither algae or bacteria.  Taxonomists finally gave up on trying to cram it into one group or the other and gave it it's own!> Most of your solutions seem to be water changes scrubbing and low nutrients, but would a UV sterilizer help clear it up? <A UV sterilizer may help some, but mostly because it creates small amounts of ozone.  The direct effect of the UV would probably be negligible.> I have also read that snails can help by eating the stuff and mixing up the gravel etc. <Very few snails or other animals will eat this, but sand burrowing snails and sea cucumbers will keep the sand stirred an help prevent it from accumulating.  Avoid burrowing sea stars.. they are predators on the critters that live in sand beds.> Somebody at my LFS told me to be careful of the snails overtaking the tank.  Do they reproduce like crazy or what?  Thanks for any help, Nathan <There is very little risk of marine snails reproducing to pest proportions.  The few that do reproduce successfully in aquaria are easily removed to share/trade with others.  Best Regards. AdamC.>

Cyanobacteria question Hi Crew (whoever is there today) <MacL here with you today.> I am fighting a battle with an algae which I think may be Cyanobacteria, but the colour is wrong. The algae is very dark red and is mainly on the live sand and glass of the tank. <That could be cyano or could be diatoms.>  My confusion is that when I try to remove it from the sand, in some places it is a solid, hard mass, not in the least bit slimy. <Hmmm cyano is usually pretty slimy but I've seen it build up a thickness and seem to loose the sliminess.> Is this another kind of algae and not Cyanobacteria at all? <are you able to suck it out with a turkey baster. I found one just incredibly helpful when I had to fight the fight.> I also have a hairlike algae (green) growing on the back wall of the tank, which I haven't removed because my mandarin spends a lot of his time picking at that glass. It also looks kind of cool. <It its hair algae its a bad bad thing.  Take a look at www.algaebase.org and see if that's what it is.  Also there are some great pictures on  the site of both cyano and hair algae.> Should I clean this algae off or leave it there? Next question: Presuming I need to aerate the water further to reduce algae growth, can I use the airstone that I have bought to aerate my water-change Bucket. <Its about lighting and ph and waste products in the water. Its a lot to read but take a look at these FAQs http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cyanocontrolfaqs.htm I think you'll find them very helpful.> I already have 2x1200 MaxiJet powerheads and a Prizm Pro skimmer in my 75g tank, so I don't think I need more water movement. LAST question, I promise: My clarkia clown is getting dark patches on his stripes, and his fins have turned almost black. He is as active and horribly aggressive as ever, eating well, not scratching or anything. He really doesn't appear to be sick. <Could be an adult coloration change. Many fish change as they mature.> Is this a normal occurrence. I have already had him for about 3 months so he isn't a new addition to the tank. Thanks as always for all your help. <Sharon take a look at the faq's and if you don't understand something or are confuses don't hesitate to email us back, MacL> Sharon

Substrate slime problem... Hey Guys, <Hey Wallace, MacL here with you this fine night> My tank is about 6 months old, holding approx 600 Liters.  I have a Naso Tang, Yellow Tang, Wrasse and Anthias (still to be identified), 2 Clowns, 2 purple firefish Gobies and a knobby starfish. I have various coral in my tank also. However, lately I've been getting this heavy build-up of green slime-like coating over my substrate (coral sand). It gets quite heavy every week. Even after I clean out my substrate at the beginning of the week, it starts to build up throughout the week and is really bad by the end of the week . What do you think the problem is and how can I fix it? <Without a picture its just a guess but I think you have blue-green algae, Cyanobacteria http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm will tell you a lot more about it and how to take care of it.> I don't believe I am overfeeding because I only feed maybe once every two days or so (blood worms/pellets or dried seaweed). The lighting isn't the best so I don't think its excess lighting (about 11 hours a day, I have 2x 12000k Actinic lights and 2x Fluors)<Could possibly be not enough lighting> I was recommended to buy a golden head goby (?) and they constantly move the sand around. But from my readings, it seems as though they only do that to make a home for themselves? <They do stir some sand> Also, I wanted to get a Mandarin fish, would this be sufficient to move the sand around? <Mandarins don't generally move that much sand around> Or DO I need to get something else such as a sea cucumber/urchin etc. Or is there a way around it without getting any specific fish? <I've seen people use banded serpent stars to stir the sand.> Water quality is good - undetectable nitrites and ammonia. Low ( < 8ppm ) Nitrates. Low Phosphates. - Use R.O water for top-up. <Actually the nitrates would be better at zero, maybe some water changes to get it down? Read through that article and I think you'll discover that's what you have. If you need further help don't hesitate to let me know. MacL> Thanks!

Red Algae, Diy skimmer, and Beautiful black Arowana Hi,<Hi back, MikeD here> I am some what new to this site but I really enjoy it so far.  Couple questions if you can help.  I have a 75 gallon reef tank and just lately its starting to get over taken by the bad bubbly red algae I think it is.  Any suggestions on how to get rid of it quickly?<IMO "quickly" is always a red flag trouble word. There are many things that will make it go away including 1)increased circulation, 2) RO/DI water,3) increased partial water changes, 4) eliminating "oily" foods and 5) siphoning it off while doing partial water changes. There ARE products available to kill it as well, but use with caution as each has a definite disadvantage to be considered.>  I have had it set up about a year.  Also I have 2 aggressive salt water fish I am moving to a smaller tank anything you can suggest or a site I can look at for a diy skimmer that's cheap since I only have 2 fish in the tank?<sure...check the DIT forum here or at Reefcentral.com>  One last question, in the 125 gallon I am getting a large black Arowana and a white Oscar not sure what else if anything, (dorado (doratto? catfish, sting ray) anything you can suggest?<Arowanas grow to almost 3 ft and are huge PLYS they are acrobatic jumpers. One will fill a 125 by itself and they commonly kill themselves leaping into the hood/lid....they can jump almost 3' straight up after insects, small frogs and even small birds. their mouth has been compared to a landing barge and their genus name, Osteoglossum, means teeth on the tongue and they consume HUGE amounts of food as they grow.>.  These fish are paternal mouth brooders would the bright red gravel take away from his beautiful look or what can you suggest for his aquarium to be set up as.<Almost anything you'd like. The black Arowanas end up silver and almost identical to the silvers. Tankmates can be tricky do to their large size and gaping maws, so I'd suggest caution here....I kept my last one with a Tiger shovelnosed catfish as a tank buddy, that way anything that dodged one was eaten by the other, with NEITHER up nor down safe.>  I would rather not have it plain.  Thank you in advance for your help.  Tim and Kim.<Hope this helps. Use caution if you get a little one and raise it. I lost a small baby by feeding it a live spider. The head shaking was evident that it had been bit inside the mouth and it gradually wasted away from the venom over a period of 10 days or so. This IS rare, but it CAN happen, with most spiders cheerfully just considered more food.>

Basic set up and keeping feather dusters. Dear WWM,<< Blundell here. >>   Finally after 4 weeks my tank is back in one piece again!!! Awesome! The setup is a 72G bowfront with a Remora skimmer, Eheim wet/dry with one tray full of biological media replaced by an ounce of carbon and three ounces of RowaPhos and 20 x 75% = 15X circulation. I used to have a 3 inch sand bed of sugar sized aragonite, to which I added another inch of 0.2 -0.5mm sized aragonite for a total of 130 lbs, on top of which rests 75 lbs of Fiji live rock with tiny little starfish and a dozen red feather duster worms about a quarter inch across and one brown one that is an inch across. << Sounds good. >>   The tank is stocked with a pair of Lysmata amboinensis, an Amphiprion ocellaris and a Pseudochromis fridmani. I have 190 watts of actinic and 190 watts of daylight for lighting since I'd like to try a few beginner soft corals in a few months. << Sounds okay. >>   First, within 24 hours with just the actinic on, I have a few spots of Cyanobacteria! Is it normal to go through the whole cyano/hair algae cycles again, with just the addition of live rock and more sand!!???<< Yep, no problem, sounds like part of the maturing process. >> I don't want this batch of live rock to be ruined by hair algae, so in addition to RowaPhos, reduced feeding and bioload, and adding Kalkwasser to keep ph above 8.1 for the coralline, what else can I do? << Just give it time. >>   Second, I wasn't planning to get feather dusters, but now that I have some, I'd like to keep them alive. My plan is to remove all mechanical filtration and just let the worms feed on the Selcon and food juice that comes with the mysis and frozen plankton. Am I deluding myself here? << I would add rotifers and phytoplankton to the water weekly to keep them thriving. >> Would adding some coral food to the water help.<< Absolutely. >> The WWM database suggests adding clam juice or frapped frozen food to the tank with mechanical filtration switched off, but I see a problem with this feeding an algal bloom. << Yes, live food is best.  Otherwise you do risk the added nutrient problems, therefore after feeding (like an hour later) you need your filtration turned back on. >>   Finally, I re-setup the remora with excellent results! I have a MaxiJet 1200 without the intake box. I had originally set the skimmer up with the pump intake directly under the skimmer outflow, and used to get a cup of green tea a week. Now I have the pump flipped so the body of the pump shields the intake from the outflow and I get a cup of green tea in the first 24 hrs! Hope this observation helps someone else! << Thanks for the tip. >> Thank You... Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

Algae Control Issues Hello Everybody <Hi There! Ryan with you today> I am having a problem in my fish tank and now my reef. My fish tank has the entire bottom and all decorations covered with this red algae. There is some green algae here and there but mostly Red. I now notice that my reef tank is developing the same red Algae. I do not share any utensils between the two tanks so I do not think that I am transferring any spores. <Perhaps nutrients?> My fish tank looks horrible in all red but the fish are doing great no losses in a year. Is this stuff slime algae? or just red Algae or is this the same thing? How can I get rid of it???? I am really worried about the reef tank because I hear it can spread and kill my corals. <Yes, it can.  Please research algae irritation, and how to avoid it, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm.  If you still have questions, we're here.  Thanks, Ryan> Help Kirt Joseph

Return of Cyano 8/8/04 Greetings crew!  <Leslie here for the crew this morning> You helped me eradicate Cyano from my 55-gal minireef months ago, but for some odd reason it has returned. AAARRRRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  <Bummer sorry to hear that. It does happen though.> My water parameters are pristine (0 ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, pH 8.3, dKH 12, Ca around 400).   <That's great!!!> I have a CPR hang-on refugium that is loaded with macroalgae (thinned out regularly) and tons of 'pods.  I also have a Remora skimmer that constantly produces 3-4 cups of dark skimmate weekly (I have it set to produce wet foam). <This may be part of your problem....from all I have read the general consensus is that wet skimmate is not nearly as effective at removing DOC compounds ad drier skimmate. > Whisper 3 filter that I change the carbon bi-weekly.   <May want to give Chemipure a try> I do 10% water changes religiously every 7-10 days (depends on my schedule).  Temps are stable. <Sounds excellent!!> The only creature that I have added in the last 2-1/2 months is a small anemone crab 2 weeks ago (after QT). All creatures are also present and accounted for.   <Also good!!> I have not changed the amounts that I have been feeding at all for the last several months.  Also, all the pumps and powerheads are still in the same locations that they have been in for months and nothing has been relocated in the tank (rocks) to upset water flow patterns.  I do clean the impellers monthly.  My PC bulbs got replaced last month (one bulb a week). So, I am stumped.  Really nothing has changed and this past week I have noticed Cyano growing on the sand bed in several locations that have been clean for MONTHS!!! Can you think of anything that I am overlooking?   < The only other thing that comes to mind besides the wet skimmate is  the type of water you are using and if there is any possible way something may have changed with your water source?   I remember the query but not whether you are using RO or DI to mix your salt water. Just an example....... I was getting my water at a LFS. It was supposed to be RO . Well,  I found out from an ex employee working at another store that the owner only turned on the valve to the RO  sometimes, so I was getting RO sometimes and tap other times.  I had a nasty nuisance algae outbreak out of what seemed to be no where. Is it possible that your water source  has changed something......like the content of phosphorus?  Nitrates should be below 10 and phosphorous  0.5 or less.  If you are using your own RO unit have you changed the filters according to the recommended schedule?   Any ideas on how to proceed with getting it out of my tank short of calling an exorcist?? <Hmmmmmm....Not a bad idea :).   If you have not read this article please do have a look....... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm. This is another good one on water Chemistry in the Aquarium including info on constituents of tap water..... http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/jan2004/chem.htm Gentle syphoning and water changes seem to be what has the most impact. I remember reading that one of the crew members here swears by 5% 2 times a week. Other than that I am pretty much drawing a blank. > Thanks for all your help.  You guys & gals really are a credit to the hobby. <Thanks so much for the appreciation.....I could not do it without ALL the hobbyists. I learn as much if not more from sharing and answering queries sent in as I do from reading books and keeping my own aquariums. Take care be patient I am sure it will clear up. Leslie>

- Brown Slime - Hi, I have a marine aquarium that is fully cycled and has 3 fish in it. A clown, a small damsel and a pajama cardinal. I have a 30 gallon bio-wheel, coral sand and a little under 20 ppm of nitrate. The tank is also a ten gallon. I know I am pushing the fish limit, but they are all pretty small and will only grow to around 3 inches??!!! <Still pushing your limit.> My question is that lately, for the last couple of weeks, I have had brown slime growing on everything. I know from research that this is some type of dinoflagellates and is caused by excess silicates, phosphates, nutrients, lighting...etc!!! I was wondering how to get rid of this stuff... besides the usual answer of reducing nutrients and silicates... easier said than done!!!!! <Actually, easier done than said.> I have been cleaning everything manually and it is a pain. <Also consider adding a powerhead to keep the circulation up and to prevent the Cyanobacteria from settling down.> Will this go away by itself? <Probably not.> Also I have no live rock. <Suggest you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > Thanks, DJM <Cheers, J -- >

Staying The Course In The Battle Against Cyanobacteria! 7/28/04  Help, <Scott F. here to help!> It seems as though I have a very severe case of cyano......... I have been doing H20 changes, no supplements and doing the Kalkwasser drip at night per Ryan's recommendation. But alas nothing seems to help. I have been treating for about 31/2 -4 weeks now. <I know, it is frustrating. But it does take time for this to subside. Your water changes are once of the better things that you can do, but make sure that the source water that you're using is of high quality (RO/DI). Phosphates are Cyano fuel, and by doing water changes with phosphate-laden water, you're simply replenishing the nutrients that the algae needs.> Is there anything else I can do? Maybe some form of antibiotic treatment? Any help is appreciated. Thanks, Doug <Well, Doug, my best suggestion is to continue to follow Ryan's advice. Another thing that you can do is to employ aggressive protein skimming, making sure that you're getting at least a couple of cups per week of dark, yucky skimmate. Antibiotics can wipe out Cyano...temporarily, but to really defeat this stuff, you need to address the root cause...Excessive nutrients somewhere in the system...The use of chemicals should be considered only as an absolute last resort, IMO...Really an admission of defeat! If you can get to the root cause of the Cyano, you'll be much more successful in the future in beating this stuff! Be relentless...Don't give up! Regards, Scott F. >

Cyano Treatment Hi, <Hi Wes> A LFS suggested that I use E.M. Tablets (erythromycin) to help get my Cyano outbreak under control... well  I was reading through your FAQ about Cyanobacteria and I found an email in which you say that this type of treatment can take out the entire livestock... well this obviously scares me. <I can see why.> Being skittish to start with I only placed 1 200MG tablet in my 55g tank, I figured if I saw a difference then I would take action accordingly from there. However if this is very risky then I certainly will discontinue this course. <I have to say that way back when I did a treatment with Erythromycin, and really had no bad effects from it. The problem is that it kills bacteria and doesn't discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria.> I doubt the 1 tablet I added would have any detrimental effects on my system I hope, since a normal dosage is suggested to be 1 200mg tablet per 10 gallons. <Its definitely a low treatment but I also don't think it would be enough to make a difference.> At any rate I would appreciate your opinion/knowledge. <In my opinion if you have exhausted all other remedies and you are at your wits end it would be okay to do a treatment with Erythromycin. I personally wouldn't do more than a half treatment in the hopes that it would take out most of the bad and leave a lot of the good. But there are multiple other things that you can do to treat Cyano. I personally have good luck dosing Kalkwasser, and cutting way back on the feedings.> Also I do have to point out that I thought at first I just had brown diatoms, as what I have is more of a dark brown rather than a reddish color... http://home.stny.rr.com/oneofakind/greenmushroom.jpg there is a picture of some of it on my LR, can you confirm that it is indeed Cyano? <Hard to tell from a picture but does it have bubbles underneath it? Does it feel like its coating the existing rocks and sand? Is it nasty and slimy? In all honesty just from the picture looks to me like diatoms.> And again on a side note, the black arrows pointing to what I now know is a type of Caulerpa are there because I was showing the pic trying to figure out what it was awhile ago. <I have to say it looks like a type of Halimeda to me. You do know the red plant next to it is definitely Caulerpa? Let me recommend that for an exact identification you go to www.algaebase.org.> Now that I have gotten past my ignorance I realize that although I like those little mushroom looking things, they can be quite risky to keep! The colony has almost tripled in size since that photograph, I want to rip it out but I have a couple of concerns. First of all I'm afraid that it is taking up a lot of nitrates itself and if I remove it altogether the Cyano will become even worse. <That is possible but depending on the amount there I don't think its going to take all that much out from your tank.> Secondly is it true that removing it may cause its cell wall to burst and therefore release toxins? <It could possibly release nitrates or organics back into the tank if you do it in the tank. My suggestion might be to do any kind of pruning etc in a bucket and not in the tank. Then throwing that water you used away.> Or can it be safely removed if done gently without removing the rock that it is on from the tank to do so? <Honesty Wes when I prune Caulerpa from my refugium I just pull it out. Have to say its probably not a pretty site.> Your help is appreciated! thanks, Wes

Cleaning out Cyano plan Bob,        Your site and the questions other budding reef aquarists have asked have gotten me through a lot of the problems in the early stages, but now I've got a problem that no one seems to have asked.  I'm running a 50 gallon reef setup (decent amount of hermits of differing types as well as snails to keep things clean, a Mithrax, a sally Lightfoot, an arrow crab, 3 peppermint shrimp, a fire shrimp, a skunk cleaner, and a serpent star.  As far as fish, a 6-line wrasse, and 2 ocellaris clowns).  On the recommendation of my LFS, I actually stopped using the canister filter I had from my FW days and went with the Berlin method (lots of live rock and a protein skimmer).  Things seem to be going great except for two problems.  First of all, I now have this brownish film on top of the water.  Looks like dirt/dust that's just floating.  It wouldn't be a problem per se except that it seems to be cutting down on light which is making for a nice Cyanobacteria bloom.  I've got an attachment for my Red Sea hang-on-the-back protein skimmer which makes it work something like an overflow, but that doesn't seem to be getting rid of the problem.  Any suggestions?    The second problem is that I can't seem to keep the pH up.  I know it has to do with high carbonate alkalinity (a problem that increasing aeration by pointing a powerhead at the surface helped, but did not cure), but I can't seem to keep it up. <Are you using a alkalinity buffer? If not, you should really consider using one. This will allow the pH to be kept up where it should be. The alkalinity of water is a measure of how much acid it can neutralize. If any changes are made in the water that might raise or lower the pH, alkalinity acts as a buffer, protecting the water and every living thing in it from sudden shifts in pH.> By way of background info, the tank is only about 2 months along and I do, since I don't have an RODI unit, get my saltwater from the LFS (which sells RODI salt water at a very good price).  I really don't have any other problems with the tank other than those two and I want to get both of them resolved before I start adding the last few more difficult critters to the tank. Any advice you have would be immensely helpful. <I really feel like this is a protein skimmer problem. The film on the top is a protein film.  That pre-skimmer box on that HOB skimmer should be pulling that off the surface.  If it's not, it needs to be adjusted, because it's not working correctly.  That's the purpose of those overflow pre-skimmer boxes (to skim the surface).>   ~Frank PS  I added a bag of activated carbon to a basket in the protein skimmer yesterday to give that a try and, while the overall quality of the water is clearer, it doesn't seem to be getting rid of the film on top.  I also know that I can't keep that up for long because it will pull all of the trace elements out of my water.

CYANOBACTERIA, AIR BUBBLES Hi; Thank you again for such a great resource, sadly this time I wasn't able to come up with an answer through your forums, so.... I'm trying to identify a growth in my tank.  It looks like air bubbles, except they are so well attached that when my crabs crawl over them, they neither pop, nor move.  As you can see in the picture at: http://i-ddb.com/pets/fish/ when the bubbles get concentrated enough, they actually lift the top layer of sand off the rest. << That is incredible.  What a picture. >>  The bubbles die down noticeably overnight, and usually by morning the sand is back to being level with the rest off the bottom...but by evening it's back to being up in the air. << This could really do damage to a deep sand bed, or any type of filtration system. >> The third picture shows the kind of growth that's on the sand...I don't think it's quite that thick under the bubbles...but I can't see through all the bubbles to tell. << That third picture is a classic example of Cyanobacteria.  I would definitely remove it manually with a turkey baster, cut back on feeding, water change, and increase the water motion around that area.  This is a common complaint/problem and I hope this helps you rid it. >> Any ideas? Thanks; Deirdre  << Adam B. >>

ALGAE PROBLEM Hello and thank you for your assistance, <Hello and Welcome> I am sorry to bother you <Never a bother> but I am in desperate need of advice.  I have a 240 gal tank with a 60 gal sump. It is set up as a Reef tank with two overflows. I purchased the tank, sump and pumps used. The tank has been operational for seven months now. This is my first aquarium. The sump is a 60 gal wet dry set-up with two media towers. I also, have an AquaC 240EV skimmer.  I have removed the biomedia from one tower and want to remove the other side but I am a bit leery of doing so as I have brown slimy looking algae, which I assume is the blue green algae, going nuts in the tank. <Could be various different types of algae.> I have been pouring over the WetWebMedia web site and have learned much in the past month. <Good to know.> I have been doing plenty wrong in the past several months and have learned that my LFS can't be trusted as the advice I receive is rebutted in much of the documentation I have read. <Unfortunately some LFS need to sell things but do let me caution you, sometimes the information that seems contradictory might just be because they have had different experiences.> Background (Mistakes made) <Very helpful> When I initially set-up the tank I only had between 2" and 3" of sand covering the bottom, and I was vacuuming the algae off the sand bed.  I have recently added 210 pound of sand. The tank water circulation is below what is recommended. Presently, I have approximately 2700GPH with all pumping equipment. I have ordered two Tunze pumps (backordered) to correct the tank circulation issue. <Understood.> I have been using RO water for water replacements and make up water. Approximately 2 weeks ago I began aerating the water for 12 plus hours, buffering the Make-up water to achieve dKH of 10 or so and continuing to aerate while using for make up. For my salt-water mix I aerate for 12 - 24 hours then mix up Instant Ocean Reef Formula and add to tank. Water is tested prior to addition with nothing significant to report. I am not sure if it is coincidence or what but I had an outbreak of Cyano bacteria about the same time all this started occurring and the LFS advised me to treat with Boyd Labs, Chemipure…which killed the Cyano bacteria finally after the second dose.  Now I have a different form of algae going strong. <Boyd's Chemipure is very good stuff.> The problem: For about two months now I have been battling this slime algae. It started fairly slow, some covering the sand and some on the rock. It now completely covers the sand and much of the rock. I had been vacuuming the algae off the sand and using a soft bristle brush and power head to blow it off the rock. I change the pre-filters to the media weekly, immediately following a 10% water change. The algae now completely cover the sand and most of the rock the day following this clean up. <Do you have some sand sifters? Do you have some Brittlestars or something similar.> Water Chemistry: PH 7.8 (night) 8.2 (day), using pen meter. <7.8 is very low and that's a huge fluctuation.> Approximately 2 weeks ago I plumbed my AquaC skimmers air intake outside, as my home appears to be CO2 contaminated. I live in Phoenix, AZ. I assume the wild fluctuations in pH are due to rapid growth of algae during the day, and possibly, the one-bio media tower that remains. <The media tower could be responsible for the nitrate levels. Which I think are significantly high.> Nitrite = 0 Ammonia = 0 Nitrate = < 5 (cant really claim zero) Specific Gravity 1.023 (measured by refractometer) DKH = 9.8 O2 = > 9 mg/l Phosphates = Not detectable Calcium 550 (not sure why it's so high, I don't buffer Calcium) Temperature maintained between 75 and 77 deg F by chiller. The water is crystal clear. Also added the poly filter for filtration in the container where the biomedia was removed. About the tank: 450 lbs of sand. The sand doesn't completely cover the bottom as the LFS advised me to put the rock in first and then add the sand.  The sand is now between 5" and 6" in depth over approximately 75% of the tank. 250 lbs of live rock 150 lbs of seed / structure rock. <Sounds nice.> Lighting: Staged on and off using timers.             200 watts of PC 03 Actinic for 11 hours (1st on last off)             200 watts of PC 10K, for 9 hours (2nd on 4th off)             200 watts of PC 03 Actinic for 8 hours (3rd on 3rd off)             500 watts of 10K Metal Halide for 6 hours (4th on 2nd off)             250 watts of 10K Metal Halide for 4 hours. (Last on 1st off)             Hope this makes sense. <It does thank you, how old are your bulbs? That could be a problem in itself.> There is a large window near the tank that I covered up with aluminum foil about 2 weeks ago to restrict the outside light source, thinking this was exasperating the problem with the algae. <I really think the nitrates are feeding the algae.> Stocking: One Colt coral One Very small Pumping Xenia (someone is eating it) Three different mushrooms Three small Polyps One Carpet Anemone One Blue Tang Two Yellow Tangs One Clown Fish One small 6-line wrasse One small Purple Dotty back One Banner Fish Two Cleaner Shrimp 5 Peppermint shrimp One pesky brown crab that must have come with the live rock. 20 or so Turbo Snails 10 Red Hermit Crabs Several Different hermits and snails from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms. I do not plan to add any additional fish to the tank, except sand sifting creatures. <Definitely needed. Perhaps some of the more gentle brittle stars.> Feeding: I feed the fish twice daily, a couple of different flavors of frozen Brine shrimp, alternated with frozen Plankton. <I have to think that perhaps you are feeding them a bit too much. Perhaps a day off?> I was giving them one cube at each feeding but have cut this back to ? cube at each feeding. <Sounds like you already clued into this!> Two tablespoons of DT's every 3rd day. All inhabitants look good and have nice color. During the last two weeks I have accelerated my water change frequency from 10% to 20% weekly.  This seems to make the problem worse. I intend to get a refuge in operation but need to save up some money.  Frankly, I don't know where to go from here.  Can the high Calcium be causing this problem?  Did the Chemipure kill the bacteria in my sand?  Should I get more Indo-Pacific wonder mud and live sand activator?  Is my clean-up crew to small? Am I missing something? <In all honesty I think you need to get rid of your nitrates and to get your ph up and more stable. Have you considered adding Kalkwasser? I know that for me it eliminates most of my algae problems. Just a thought, have you tested your RO to make sure that most of the nutrients are still being removed?> I could have done a better job of researching things before taking the LFS advice.  I really enjoy the hobby and love spending time with the critters in the tank.  Just want them to flourish and not perish. <You are doing a good job now, forget the past and just go forward to the future, lessons learned. Good luck, MacL> Thanks again for your help, Dan B

Cyanobacteria (6/27/04) OK, here are some specs/parameters: Skimmer- CPR Dual  Back Pack unit, about 14-15 hour refuge lighting cycle, 65 + pounds well cured liverock, Fluval 404, Hamilton dual 175Watt MH lighting on 9 hrs/day, water parameters are spot on, undetectable nitrates last time I tested. <Nice> On a somewhat side note, the CPR Dual pack has the dual skimmers with a biological chamber in the center. I am wondering if the biological chamber is necessary in my setup? Also, the Fluval 404 has they're biological media in it that I am wondering too if that's necessary? I am thinking of using the Fluval with just carbon installed, what do you think? Thanks <You shouldn't need extra biological filtration in a reef tank that has a good amount of live rock, and is not overstocked (~1-2 lbs per gallon of LR).  I would slowly migrate out all of the biological media in your Fluval and your BakPak, but start with the Fluval.  Just using the Fluval for chemical media would be a good idea.  Likely the excess nutrients the Cyanobacteria need are being generated by your Fluval.  Cyanobacteria is a direct result of excess dissolved organics - so consider more frequent water changes, and use mechanical media only when needed, not all of the time.  Hope this helps - M. Maddox>

Re: Pesky Hair Algae Thanks again, Adam...Oh, I have been wearing out my wife's turkey baster!...hopefully that will work to some extent, but I agree with you that the key will be to reduce the excess nutrients.  Have you had any experience with UltraLife Red Slime Remover or Kent Poly-Ox? << No, I don't use many products like that. I've never tried it, so I don't know how it works.  I would stick with water changes. >> I am reluctant to use these chemical removers, but my son used UltraLife on his reef tank, to good effect.  He says not to forget to turn off the protein skimmer while it's working, as it generate huge amounts of "suds."  It is then followed by a good sized water change. Thanks much. << Hmmm, suds huh?  I still don't know what to think of that, other than I would use it as a last resort. Once you use it, you can't go back... but you can always try it later.>> Best, Ralph <<  Adam B.  >>
Re: Pesky Hair Algae
<< Hmmm, suds huh?  I still don't know what to think of that, other than I would use it as a last resort. Once you use it, you can't go back... but you can always try it later.>> Thanks again, Adam...I'll do my very best to avoid using that stuff, and will pass along to you my experience with it in the event I find it necessary. << Sounds great, thanks. Adam B. >> My best, Ralph

He's Been Slimed. But He's Striking Back! (Nuisance Algae Battle) I don't overfeed my fish, they usually eat up the food within a minute, as a matter of fact, I think I am underfeeding them.  My ammonia is 0, my nitrites are zero, my nitrates are low to zero, when they get to high, I change the water.  I change the water every week with RO/DI water. <Good practice!> My phosphates are also low to zero.  BUT my sand keeps turning red. I am guessing red slime algae.  I vacuum up the red stuff on the sand, do water changes, and two days later, it's back.  With good RO/DI water and phosphates low, what else do I look for? <Well, it may be that the nutrients causing this bloom are sequestered in the sand bed, hence the bloom on the sand surface. These types of blooms are almost always caused by excessive nutrients somewhere in the system.> I also have a canister filter with tubes/pads/phosphate remover/activated carbon.  Should I remove anything or change things there? <Just be sure to replace these media on a regular basis, or they can become traps for the very nutrients that we are trying to export!> I was even thinking about removing the filter altogether. <Personally, I would do that. You could use the activated carbon, Polyfilter, etc "passively" in your sump, allowing water to flow through them> I have live rock, live sand, AquaC Remora, <A great skimmer. Make sure that it's cranking out a couple of cups of dark, yucky skimmate per week. If it isn't-adjust it until it does. A skimmer is your first line of defense against nutrient excesses in your system> Tang, Clown, Anemone, Flame Angel.  Anyway, any advice would be helpful. Thanks Mark <Well, Mark- it sounds like you are on the right track so far. In addition to keeping at what you're already doing, I'd be utilize some form of Kalkwasser supplementation, too. Kalkwasser has proven to be very effective at precipitating phosphates from the water, and enhancing the performance of protein skimmers.  Other ideas: How about growing some macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria, in a lighted portion of your sump, to compete directly with the nuisance algae for nutrients? Increase circulation within the tank...Move lots of water. Be sure to maintain high alkalinity and acceptable pH in the system, too. Make sure that temperatures stay in an acceptable range. Don't feed excessively. Discontinue use of all "additives", with the exception of Kalkwasser. Continued, diligent husbandry on your part (the aforementioned water changes and use of chemical filtration media) is the way to go. Don't give up. Given time and consistency, you WILL beat this problem. Stay at it. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>
He's Been Slimed. But He's STILL Striking Back (Algae Control-Part II)
I do add Kalk but have to be careful cause my alkalinity is very high, around 20dkh. My other issue is that I don't have a sump.  Can I add Chaetomorpha or Gracilaria to the main tank in the corner or something? <Well, both of these are free-floating macroalgae, but they can be contained in a "breeding trap" or other container located within the system.> It's a 46 gallon tank. I use the canister filter as my only source of filtration (except for the live rock) do you think I should still remove the filter? <Well, if this is your only filtration, then I certainly would leave it in place, but I would consider the use of a sump somewhere down the line. In the mean time, be sure to regularly clean the mechanical filtration media contained in the filter.> Anyway, should I stir around the sand, or remove some to maybe stir up and remove via filter the nutrients in the sand that is causing the red algae? <I would not disturb the sandbed, myself, short of just siphoning the top 1/2" or so.> I got a piece of hairy mushroom coral attached to a rock from the internet. I pulled it out and it smelled bad.  Something died on it, could that be causing nutrients in the tank feeding the algae? <Dying animals can certainly contribute to excess nutrients in your system if left unattended for a protracted period> I tested and the nitrites and ammonia are zero so no spike there.  Phosphates are barely present (.03) <While the phosphates are not detectable in abundance in the water column, they could be bound up in sediment in the substrate. Disturbing deeper layers of the substrate could release a lot of these bound-up nutrients into the water column, so just confine your siphoning of the sandbed to that top 1/2", as already discussed> I have 2 power heads that create a circular motion in the tank (one in each corner blowing in a circular motion)  I try to create slow spots in the front of the tank so I can vacuum up debris (otherwise they accumulate in the back where I cant reach) This is where the red stuff is accumulating. Mark <Well, it sounds like your on to it, Mark. Just keep doing what you're doing! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

- Red [Slime] Algae - I don't overfeed my fish, they usually eat up the food within a minute, as a matter of fact, I think I am underfeeding them.  My ammonia is 0 , my nitrites are zero, my nitrates are low to zero, when they get to high, I change the water.  I change the water every week with RO/DI water. My phosphates are also low to zero.  BUT my sand keeps turning red.  I am guessing red slim algae.  I vacuum up the red stuff on the sand, do water changes and two days later its back.  With good RO/DI water and phosphates low, what else do I look for.  I also have a canister filter with tubes/pads/phosphate remover/activated carbon.  Should I remove anything or change things there.  I was even thinking about removing the filter altogether.  I have live rock, live sand, AquaC remora, tang, clown, anemone, flame angel.  Anyway, any advice would be helpful. <I'd consider increasing the circulation within the tank... will help stop the stuff from settling in. Would be a good place to start. Some additional reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm > Thanks mark <Cheers, J -- >

Slime algae, again Hi, I read the articles about the slime algae problem but I could not find anything that I am experiencing. I have had my aquarium for over a year now. It is 90G with skimmer, ozonizer and wet and dry filter. I have 6 fish, some inverts and coral in it. several months ago, I had a major problem with slime algae (Cyano-bacteria). I used Erythromycin to get rid of it and it worked really well. However, about two weeks ago I noticed the algae again. I checked the water quality and it seemed to be perfect. The level of PO4 seemed to be higher than normal (over 1ppm). I am always doing a regular maintenance so I thought that changing water would do it. It did not. I used the antibiotic again but surprisingly, it did not do anything to the algae. I tried it for several days and the algae seems to be growing rather quickly. I went to a local store and they suggested Chemi-Clean Oxidizer. I used that and it did not help at all. At that point I starter doing almost daily water changes (about 20%) and that is where I am today. What would you suggest? Greg Zejer of Chicago << Greg, Well I have two suggestions.  First since you say you live in Chicago, I would suggest attending IMAC this week.  You will meet a lot of people smarter than I (Fenner, Michaels, Calfo...), and better equipped to answer your questions.   Second, I would suggest looking at your water movement.  Very often hobbyists are able to remove, or prevent Cyanobacteria by increasing the water movement.  My suggestion would be to temporarily add a small powerhead in that area, and see if it makes a difference.   Best of luck, Adam>>

Algae ID 6/5/04 Hello Crew, Thank you for your past help. I have another question for you, but first here is my tank: 210 gallon fish and inverts. 180 lbs of Caribbean and Fiji live rock with live sand bed 1.5", 55 gallon wet dry under with filter pad (changed every week) and bioballs (removing slowly to make room for eventual refugium) , HSA 250 Skimmer, Maxijet 1200 power heads X2, PH is 8.2, ammonia 0, nitrite, 0, nitrate >10, phosphate .25 (down from .75). <Your nitrates should come down with the removal of the bioballs. A 1.5" sand bed is not very functional. It is barely deep enough to support worms, etc., and too shallow for nitrate reduction. If you have trouble controlling nitrate after the bioballs are gone, do consider adding depth to the sand bed or using a deeper bed in your refugium. You did not list Calcium or Alkalinity. Having both of these in the normal-high range aids considerably in getting coralline algae to dominate over pest algae.> Animals include Maculosus Angel tank bred, Yellow Tang, 4 Perc. Clownfish tank bred, Royal Gramma, Neon Goby, Scooter blennies X2, 2 Serpent Stars, 1 Sm. Orange Starfish, 2 Emerald crabs, 2 Blood Red Shrimp, 4 Urchins, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 6 blue legged Hermit Crabs, 20 or so assorted snails, sand sifting starfish x2. Heni Butterflyfish (Heniochus acuminatus) X2. <I would evict the sand sifting star fish. They are voracious predators on worms, etc. that make a live sand bed live. Consider sand sifting cucumbers instead for keeping the sand just as clean or cleaner without eating all of your beneficial sand bed fauna.> I seem to be winning my battle with Cyano. I have upgraded my skimmer from a reef devil to a HSA 250 and the skimmate has picked up considerably. I also have added several powerheads and have increased my water changes to 10 gallons 2-3 times a week, siphoning much of the Cyano out. In addition I changed my R/O filters and ran a sponge to reduce phosphate. This has eliminated 80% of the Cyano, but at the same time I have noticed a equally fast growth of this green hair like algae (see attached). <Not 100% sure what you have growing there, but generically "hair algae" covers it. When you get your phosphate down below 0.1, the hair algae should recede. Do also harvest it as you do Cyano. Also, seek out Iron Oxide Hydroxide based phosphate reducers (Twolittlefishies, ROWAphos, Salifert). These red powdered products are vastly superior to pads and alumina based white granular products.> Beneficial or not? <Neither. Unsightly, maybe. Until it goes away, it may be useful as a nutrient export mechanism if you harvest it.> If not, Is there anything else I could be doing? My Yellow Tang or Maculosus Angel do not seem to touch it. Would a Salarias fasciatus or 2 help? Or might they fight with my Scooter Blennies? Or maybe just time. Any help would be appreciated. Best regards, Kurt <S. fasciatus (one should be plenty) will be fine with your scooters (not really blennies... they are dragonettes). I don't know if they would be any better grazers of this particular algae. Reduced phosphate and well maintained calcium and alkalinity are your best bets. Best Regards. Adam>

Cyano Struggle I am extremely frustrated right now and hope you can help. <I'll try! Scott F. here today!> I have had a red/green slime problem in my marine tank for close to a year now and have tried just about everything to prevent it from returning without only temporary relief. My recent purchase was a 50mg per hour Red Sea Ozonizer. Current ORP = 319. My last purchase was a 5W UV clarifier and before that I purchased a RO DI 5 stage osmosis system. Before that I switched my salt to the Bio Sea salt which was rated #2 in the S-15 report. Your thoughts on the S15 report?? Do you feel the statistics are reliable? <I have my personal feelings about this report...I think that there might have been some bias in the analysis, but for the most part, reliable. If you have a brand that works for you, stick with it. My favorite is Tropic Marin. It's been reliable for me, so it's all I use. Other people are really partial to Instant Ocean...Use what works for you!> Anyway, about my tank. It is just a 40 gallon breeder with a 4" sand bed. 196W of compact fluorescents, 1/10 chiller (the room it is in gets quite warm in summer) The one window in the room is tinted with 35% tint (35% represents 35% light penetration) blinds remain closed during the day. Top of tank is covered with standard glass lid. Back portion of lid is open for pre-filter, return, etc. I am running a 60 gallon Pro Clear Aquatics wet-dry filter with Bio Balls and some live rock rubble. I am also running a Pro Clear Aquatics 75 gallon skimmer in the sump (has RIO600 on it) and am pumping ozone into it. Inhabitants are as follows: 1 small blue tang 1 false clown 1 small Pseudochromis 1 cleaner shrimp 2 flame scallops 1 rose anemone 2 sand sifting stars 6 crabs (various types) 1 huge snail?? 1 reef safe star ?? (clings to glass & rock) 1 feather duster 1 bubble coral 1 metallic green moon brain coral 1 star polyp colony Tank stats are as follows: Ammonia = 0 Nitrite = 0 PH = 8.3 Nitrate = 5.0 (in between 0 - 5 so close it is hard to rate) My water couldn't be more perfect. <Just a thought: Have you checked your phosphate level?> The corals are thriving. Growing faster than ever. Coralline algae is all over the live rock. The fish are stress free. No signs of ich. My tank has never been better with the exception of this green/red slime. This time it is green. When it grows on the glass it is no big deal. I just use the magnet to clean it off. But when it grows on the sand and reappears overnight after sifting it all out it ticks me off. I have even tried all the expensive chemicals such as Chemi clean or red slime remover. No luck. I have had some success with Kent's Poly Ox (potassium permanganate) but found it is sensitive to some inverts. Have killed Sally Lightfoots every time I dosed with it. <Yuck.. Don't use chemicals to do the job> What do you recommend that I do now? Don't know how much more manual effort or financial effort I can put into this reef tank to make it look as beautiful as it should. HELP!!!!! Thanks, Rob Beirne Charlotte, North Carolina <Gosh, Rob- I can understand your frustration here. One thing to consider here is the use of chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon or PolyFilter. Both have a strong affinity for organic compounds. This type of nuisance algae is caused by nutrient excesses somewhere in the system. The sand may accumulating organics that are contributing to this bloom. Unfortunately, many of the Cyanobacteria can "manufacture" their own food once they get going, and seem to be self sustaining. The key is continuous aggressive nutrient export processes. Really work that skimmer, and make sure that you're getting at least a couple of cups of dark skimmate per week. Try frequent (2 times per week) small (5% tank capacity) water changes. Make sure that your membranes on your RO unit are not exhausted. Keep sufficient circulation in the system as well. In the end, what will do the job is the seemingly mundane, routine maintenance procedures, done relentlessly. Attention to the basics is essential. Don't get discouraged, even though you've had a long battle here. Keep at it. There is really no one thing that will do it...just lots of things done repetitively...Good luck! You WILL be successful! Regards, Scott F> 

Questions - Yellow-eye Tangs (5/15/2004) We've recently started a 50 gallon saltwater aquarium and have a variety of marine life living quite happily-We just lost 2 yellow-eyed tangs, <Sorry to hear it. I assume you mean the tang Ctenochaetus strigosus. More than 1 in a 50 gallon aquarium would overcrowding them> the third is doing fine, we have a butterfly fish, <What species? Most butterfly fish have very specific diets and can be hard to feed in captivity> a crab, a starfish, a cleaner shrimp and a bunch of snails and little hermits.  We have a never-ending battle with red, stringy algae growing all over everything. <Most likely Cyanobacteria, technically not an algae> The ammonia, nitrite, and ph are all good (according to our supplier and to our own tests) but we don't know what happened with the tangs or why we have the algae. <What are your nitrates\phosphates? What do you mean by an "Ok" reading? Numbers would be helpful :) Cyanobacteria is often caused by excessive dissolved organics, nitrates, and phosphates. Try doing weekly or bi-weekly partial water changes with a water source that is known to be free of phosphates and nitrates. Use a chemical media such as Seachem's SeaGel or Poly-Bio-Marine's PolyFilter to remove any excess DOCs, as well as phosphates and nitrates. Do you have a protein skimmer? If not, I highly recommend you obtain one. Definitely do a search of our FAQs regarding Cyanobacteria removal) If you have any recommendations, we'd love to hear them. <I wouldn't add any more fish to your aquarium, as your tang will reach 6-8 inches by itself. M. Maddox> 

Fighting The Algae Plague! After reading many, many threads and your very informed responses, I'm still left with a few questions that I hope you can clarify for me. <I'll try. Scott F. here today!> Tank is 65 gal, 192 watts lighting, only 4 med sized fish, some corals, some crabs. Berlin skimmer. 20 gal refugium (15 net use) with good flow into and out of, pump Mag 7 at maximum. After 8 months, I'm now getting what I think is BGA with some hair (?) on my 1 1/2" sand bed. Bed in refugium is 4" w/Caulerpa and one small LR. I use RO water, 5% changed weekly. Chemistry seems good, with possibly high nitrates (I know this is a problem). Getting better test kit to confirm this. Notwithstanding, the BGA almost covers bed in tank, but not in refugium. Two powerheads keeps circulation decent in tank. Question: Do I need a DSB in tank, or is it o.k. as is (I read either 1 1/2" or 4", not in between) and would that help control BGA? <Well, the prevailing wisdom as that a deeper sand bed (like 4" or more) is able to more efficiently process nutrients and foster complete denitrification processes. These types of algae are almost always linked to nutrient excesses. I'd run some water tests to confirm that you don't have high levels of phosphate in addition to the nitrate. Is that skimmer pulling at least a couple of cups of dark, yucky skimmate out each week? If not, do adjust as necessary to achieve this. You could also make regular use of chemical filtration media, such as activated carbon and/or Poly Filter, both of which excel at removing nutrients.> Would charcoal filtration be helpful? <Activated carbon, as above> I have about 60 lbs live rock, plenty of coralline algae, and I use Iodine, Molybdenum and Strontium, CoralVite, and dose w/2 part bionic buffer/alk solution every other day. Suggestions?? <Hmm...this could be a big clue to your algae problem right there. I'd stop adding the supplements, with the exception of B-Ionic. Ask yourself why you're adding these? Only add stuff if you can test for it. If you are doing regular, frequent water changes, there is no reason to be adding these supplements. If you are detecting deficiencies in these elements with tests, then such supplementation may be justified. Otherwise- no additives needed! Your good quality salt mix will help replenish these substances. I'll bet that if you follow some of these tips, you'll see a difference in your algae problem> Thanks for all your very helpful thoughts that I'm trying to absorb and implement on these sites! Barry. <My pleasure, Barry! Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

Cyanobacteria hi I am having so much problem trying to control this stuff which suddenly bloomed that I am thinking about packing in the hobby after 15 years. <Don't do it! To think, you'd chuck it all in for a group of organisms that have been around for billions of years! You can beat 'em!> I have a 6x2x2 foot reef tank filtered by live rock, three protein skimmers, a U.V sterilizer and an ozonizer. the tank has only ten small/ medium fish. <How old is your live rock? You may well benefit from adding, switching some out... even just ten percent or so... will regenerate new competition, predators on the BGA> The only way I have succeeded in reducing this bloom is by turning off my 2x250w metal halide lights for up to a week at a time just using an actinic for lighting. What else am I doing wrong would hermit crabs help , red or blue legged. What are the best snails to use for this and in what quantity. kind regards Ian Marvell <Hermits and snails are almost worthless re most Cyano problems... look to nutrient input sources... and limit them... clean up those skimmers... and consider the benefits of adding a refugium, macro-algae... much, MUCH more on BGA control archived on www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

How to win the war with Cyano - 4/30/04  Greetings crew! <Good mornin' good morrrrrniiinnn' It's great to stay up late! Good mornin', good mornin' to you>  Just letting you know that I have officially declared an end to the long war against the dreaded Cyano algae.....AND I WON!!!!!! <AWESOME!>  There is not a trace of it to be found in my 55gal minireef. <CONNNN-GRATS man!>  When it began, every surface in the tank was covered in red slime (rocks, sand, glass, powerheads, even snails) and that is when I found the WWM crew to help me out. Following the crews advice, I corrected many of my "rookie" mistakes. For all those who are interested, here is how I won the war. <Something we have stated many times over on our website, but here you go folks, someone other than wetwebmedia crew with the same recipe for Cyano destruction:>  1. Cut back on feeding.  2. Even though micro hermits will eat Cyano, they don't like it and are not good at controlling it. I had 35 hermits at one point and still had tons of Cyano.  3. SeaClone is not a skimmer, AquaC Remora is.  4. See #3  5. Weekly 10% water changes.  6. Use RO/DI water for #5  7. Poly filters for Phosphate elimination  8. REFUGIUM!!!! I only have a 12" CPR hang-on with 5" Mineral Mud, a live rock and macro algae and the difference was noticeable in less than a week.  9. Adequate circulation. I now have almost 20x total tank circulation. <Can go higher if your animals will put up with it>  Show patience, <the most important aspect to reef keeping in general!>  follow the above steps and you will be rewarded with a beautiful tank rich in various colors of coralline algae and a pristine white sand bed! <There you have it. Thanks for the email. Couldn't have said it better myself>  Thanks again for all your help in this long battle! -Ray <My pleasure, Thanks for the update, advice for print, and coming to wetwebmedia. ~Paul> 

Bullet Goby in Refugium? Good day crew!  I just read on Aquacon.com that bullet gobies are the #1 form of algae control for hair algae and blue-green "algae".  Is this correct -- will bullet gobies eat Cyano? <Indeed they will, but like most of Aquacon's wildly upbeat claims about NEARLY EVERY animal on their site, I find the assertion that they are the "#1 form of algae control...." to be a bit exaggerated.> I continue to struggle with a huge Cyano problem in my refugium and I am considering trying a bullet goby if it will eat Cyano. <These fish are reported to eat Cyano, but I would not count on them for this duty.  Do consider improved water movement, skimming and maintaining high pH and redox as a control.> My concern is that I am using my refugium to build-up my 'pod population in order to keep two mandarin dragonets.  Are bullet gobies purely herbivores or do they eat 'pods like other gobies? <I suspect that they will be mildly predatory given easy opportunity.  They will also eat some critters as they will happen to incidentally be hiding out in the algae being eaten.> I have searches fishbase.org but I have been unable to find anything called a "bullet goby". <See here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblygobius.htm  You will see that there are two distinct "complexes" in this genus.  The rounder, vertically barred species are often generically referred to as "bullet gobies".  All are fair bets for your use.  The other complex is typified by A. rainfordi. They are thinner, have pointier heads and are striped horizontally from head to tail.  These fishes are decidedly more predatory and their need for tiny living crustacean prey is exceeded only by mandarins and other dragonettes.  These are best avoided by most aquarists except for large peaceful aquaria, preferably with refugia.> Thanks for the help!--Greg <Glad to! Best Regards, Adam>

Algae (brown growth) Hello, <Hi there> Firstly thank you for replying to a previous question I asked . . . this site is very helpful indeed. The situation at the moment is I have a saltwater tank about 5 - 6 weeks old. At week 4 I introduced a couple of Chromis. All seems fine, fish are happy, water test readings I am pleased with and at their optimum levels. <Better to render actual test results rather than a/your subjective evaluation> A few days ago however, a brown covering has started on my coral sand, seems to be in patches. It has also started on the rocks. At first I thought it was food then realized I am definitely not overfeeding with brine shrimp. After speaking to a local aquatic center they said it was normal around the 1 month mark for all salt water tanks to go through this, called Sinno Bacteria or something. <Yes, very common in newly cycled live-rock-containing systems, particularly ones that are under-skimmed> They told me that I should switch on my skimmer and the growth should go away. Apparently its when the bacteria gets established properly that the tank is overrun by it for a while. <Oh, yes, good advice> I have not had my Skimmer on as there was nothing to skim - it is an Aqua-Medic Biostar Flotor. So, I have now switched this on and hopefully will clear things up but just wanted an experts opinion on this matter. <This does appear to be a "Cyano-outbreak"... blue-green algae growing unchecked in a setting of little competition, algal-predation... And should "cycle through" with time (a few weeks) and your skimmer use> Any light on this matter would be a great help. Many Thanks. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Criping Cyano Blooms!  >Hello Crew,  >>Hello.  >I currently have a 55 gallon FOWLR tank with no fish yet, just snails, a peppermint shrimp and an emerald crab. The tank is 5 months old and the invertebrates are very healthy. My water quality is excellent as I use a Spectra Pure 5 stage RO/DI filter for the water.  >>Eh.. that doesn't really tell *us* much, as everything is relative, including test kits and definitions of "excellent".  >I have an Aqua C Urchin skimmer that is pulling out black/dark greenish gunk out daily.  >>This tells me that you have a lot of dissolved organic compounds in your system, and that your skimmer is operating well.  >I have no green algae problems whatsoever but I can't seem to rid my substrate (live sand bed, 3 inches Sandown play sand) of brown Cyano sheets. I have had this starting the 2nd month or so and it won't go away.  >>Have you tested for phosphate/phosphorous? If not, I suggest testing both the tank water (may expect it to read low to zero, as the Cyano can very well be fixing it) for phosphorous and nitrates with a good kit. Test kit quality is HIGHLY variable, almost sickeningly so. To be certain of your make-up water starting point, it's always a good idea to contact your water municipality and ask for their readout.  >I have 50 lbs of live rock and (I think) good circulation. For the last month and a half I have started to change 5 gallons of water per week to see if the Cyano goes away.  >>That amount of water is simply not sufficient to exact any changes. First determine your true parameters, then act. For instance, if you have phosphorous in the source water, a means to effect change might be to use PolyFilter (or Phosguard) before it's mixed with salt, post RO/DI, as well as using this chemical filtration within the system. (This is just a for instance, of course, I have no numbers to go by here) So, let's say you find that in the display you actually don't have such good readings, LARGE water changes may very well be in order, with vigorous vacuuming off of the Cyanobacteria.  >It is not getting worse but it just won't go away and it makes the tank look ugly as it covers just about all of my sand.  >>Why is it the stuff that's so ugly that is always so easy to grow??? C'est la vies, my friend, it is what it is. Another means of control may very well be to start growing macroalgae, but one thing at a time.  >I have all positive readings as my tank has no fish yet.  >>Sorry, that doesn't make much sense. What do you mean by "positive readings"?  >I feed the peppermint shrimp one small shrimp pellet per day. Any thoughts, should I upgrade my skimmer??  >>No, clearly the skimmer's doing its job. Double check your test kit's accuracy, brand really makes a difference, as does age. Double check source water, be sure to know what phosphate and nitrate (or other nutritious compounds - nitrogenous, et al) readings are. Try a couple of very large water changes (75%-100%), filtering with the Polyfilter to see what happens. It's more often a process of elimination. Oh, and know this: what you're seeing is NOT at all uncommon in new systems! One thing at a time, and it should get resolved. Marina

Ending A Cyano Nightmare! OK .... I am about to give up and haul this stuff to the dump! <Uh- Oh- sounds like an algae problem...> I have been fighting the Cyano and hair algae for over a month now and I truly can not think of what else I can do. <Yep- an algae problem...Let's see if we can solve it> Set-up:  75G with Magnum 350, CAP 2200 powerhead for extra water movement, Prizm Deluxe Skimmer (I know you guys don't like these. I got bad advice starting out...but it seems to be skimming ok for what I have in the tank....collection cup about half full of dark yuck after 3 days. <Hey- that's good enough for me...> The collection cup on the Prizm seems to be bigger than other skimmers) I wish I had a sump but I don't.  Substrate was also bad advice....about 3 inches of dolomite. <Not my first choice, but workable, I guess> Custom Sea Life  Power Compacts 4x65W - 2 actinic for 12 hours plus 2 10,000K for 10 hours on timers with Moonlite (bulbs 3 months old).  Tank has been running since November. Livestock: 1 very small Chromis (only one left of original cycling crew), 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 Condylactis, 1 Feather Duster, 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 1 Chocolate Chip Starfish (sequestered), 1 rock with about 5 mushrooms, 5 red legged hermit crabs, 1jumbo turbo snail, 1 Red Foot snail, 2 Astreas, 5 King Nassarius  snails, 2 sand sifting snails (yellow shells with orange spots) 1 small horseshoe crab, I recently purchased a Sea Hare which has done a nice job on the hair algae on the rocks but doesn't go near the glass or the substrate, and I am sad to say, a sea slug Hypselodoris bullocki who is very cute and colorful and they told me he would scavenge and now I know this not to be the case......obligate sponge eater and is doomed to starve to death in captivity.... <Yep> The guy at the fish store argued with me and said he has had several in his tank for over two years.  Fortunately, according to the scientific types at seaslugforum.com he is not poisonous and will not foul the tank like some other species.  I only have about 15 lb. of  live rock so far.  I try to add some each time I go to the LFS to get water. <Nice to add live rock gradually, as long as sufficient time is given for the tank to adjust to your increasing bioload> Parameters: SG =1.024, Temp 78F, PH 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, the only phosphate test I have been able to find is PO4 only and it is 0, Calcium is around 300 which is low so I will try to bring it up with Kent Liquid Calcium (although I don't know if I should do that till I get the Cyano under control), dKH 11. <On the whole, your parameters do sound quite good. Keep in mind that you may get very good water chemistry readings and still have Cyano problems, as you are experiencing. Phosphates and other contributing nutrients can accumulate in substrate and rocks, and not be detectable in the water column. These life forms tend to produce use the available food supply over time, and eventually will crash for lack of available nutrients, as long as you continue your aggressive nutrient export techniques> I do have some new coralline algae on the live rock. What I have done so far:  I use only RO water and Instant Ocean. I feed only Formula One frozen food or pieces of  sea scallop and am down to only feeding a very small amount 2 or 3 times a week.  Weekly 20% water changes. Cleaning the floss in the canister or changing it every other day, I have added Poly Filter, Purigen and Phosguard.  Out of desperation, I tried Chemi-Clean treatment x3. If I had a lot of organics in my water, I would expect the Poly Filter and the Purigen to expire rather quickly, but they are not. I even took the glass lids off the tank (against the advice of the light manufacturer) thinking that the correct amount of light was not reaching the tank and maybe it needed more air circulation.  Now I am losing about 3 gallons a day due to evaporation and I am afraid it will hurt my PC.  I even added some Caulerpa in the tank which the blenny seems to like but it is dying off...the leaves turn transparent. <Not uncommon with these macroalgae, which enter a reproductive phase as part of their life cycle> The results:  The tank looks great for a couple of days after vacuuming/water change. Then, by the second day the black furry stuff begins to appear on the substrate and the film starts on the glass. By the 4th day it is very noticeable and by the weekend water change is pretty gross.  I try to stir the gravel up a couple of times during the week and catch the stuff in a net and then clean the filter. <All good moves> I don't know what else to do short of stopping feeding all together.  I will buy a new skimmer if you think it will make that much of a difference (Aqua C Remora pro or Turboflotor?) <If your skimmer is removing several cups of dark skimmate a week, then I'd stick with it for a while> Should I get rid of the Dolomite and replace it with live sand and if so how would I go about doing that? <Not a "mandatory" thing. However, live sand of sufficient depth is a nice way to help process nutrients and add to the biodiversity of your tank> I guess some of the snails could be dying unbeknownst to me since they are always under the gravel. The good news:) All of the creatures are thriving!  The shrimp molts regularly, the mushrooms are growing and multiplying like crazy, the Condylactis is happy and growing, and I have living things in/on the live rock and I do have some coralline algae.  I am afraid with all this water changing/chemical adsorbents/lack of feeding and not using any supplements I am going to stress them out.... but I am out of ideas. <Well, the fact that everything is thriving is a testimony to your aggressive pursuit of high water quality.> Thanks for letting me rant.  I thought this would be a good stress reliever but I am starting to think psychotherapy would be much more effective and cheaper!  I really do love my tank.....please HELP! JJ <Well, JJ- I think that you are on the right track. My advice is to continue with your efforts. Some other adjustments that you might want to make are increased circulation and maintenance of high alkalinity. Patience is the real key. Over time, these Cyano outbreaks tend to be self-limiting. I know that you might be expecting me to come up with the one "magic procedure" for kicking this stuff, but there really is not...Just a combination of things, including a heavy dose of good husbandry, which you seem to be supplying. DON'T QUIT! Stay at it- you WILL win! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Cyanobacteria struggles Hello again Bob (or whomever is answering questions today), <Anthony Calfo in your service> I continue to struggle with cyanoBACTERIA in my 20g refugium.  Yesterday I removed all the red Gracilaria and cleaned the cyanoBACTERIA from it as well as from the live rock, the sand and the glass.  I removed the activated carbon I had been using and I added 4 units of Chemi-pure (180g main tank). My skimmer is also producing a good amount if skimmate now (after the new venturi mod).  Although PO4 is still high at 0.5 PPM, this is a 50% reduction so I am hoping this level will continue to drop to under 0.2 PPM within the next few days.  This morning the red slime was back with a vengeance! As previously mentioned, I have about 150-200 gph flow in the refugium and 80W of 6,500K + actinic PC lighting.  I do not know what else to do.  I lost nearly 50% of my Gracilaria yesterday due to it being too covered in cyanoBACTERIA.   <Gracilaria like most good macroalgae really does need very bright daylight (6500 - 8kK)... 5 watts per gall nice minimum> There were still a few small spots of red slime on a few clumps of Gracilaria but, as it will be impossible to ever remove 100% of the cyanoBACTERIA, I had hoped this remaining amount would soon die off. Was this thinking wrong - am I going to have to trash all of my Gracilaria and buy new or would this not even help?   <I am sure you did not need to get rid of it all... it did not address the real problem (excess nutrients/inadequate 10-20X water flow)> My 180g tank has been running for nearly a year now and I have never seen a single spec of cyanoBACTERIA until adding the refugium.  I still have no Cyano in the main tank but it is running rampant in the refugium. <simply low flow... a common mistake> Could it be that, even though I have a significant amount of water flow in the refugium, there is nearly no flow near the sand's surface (due to the Gracilaria creating localized stagnant areas) and this is what is creating a perfect environment for the Cyano? >a misapplication of water flow... yes, perhaps. Gracilaria (like Chaetomorpha) needs to be kept tumbling for best long-term success> I am also using a plenum in the refugium.  Would the stagnant, unlighted plenum area be contributing to the cyanoBACTERIA growth?   <oh, yeah!> This sounds like the correct conditions for growing cyanoBACTERIA but I have read about several people using plenums successfully (i.e. GARF's "proven" bullet-proof reef) so I had never imagined a plenum would cause a cyanoBACTERIA problem. <my opinion about GARF's recommendation I'll reserve here... but let me assure you that plenums at large are unnecessary... harmless albeit. Static DSBs are fine, rest assured> Would I be better-off removing the Gracilaria entirely?   <yikes...no, please. It will be very helpful for nutrient export/cycling once you get the Cyano under control> I had wanted to grow red Gracilaria to feed my many tangs and for nitrate/phosphate export but this red slime problem is just too much of a hassle to justify the Gracilaria if removing the Gracilaria would cure the problem.   <a simple matter of not getting the right advice to start with... your Gracilaria needs enough flow to be kept tumbling under bright white daylight> Or is there a better way to grow Gracilaria - some way that would allow water flow at the surface of the substrate?  I have had a real problem keeping the Gracilaria rooted in the sand anyway.   <heehee... yes, its true/unnatural to some extent. In Hawaii Gracilaria/Ogo fisheries culture this unrooted plant in baskets tumbling> It collects enough tiny bubbles that it eventually floats to the surface, where it gets bleached by the lights. <be sure not to mistake Gracilaria that is getting enough light (under bright lights the fringes turn yellow... a good sign)> Possible one of the "other" macro algae Bob mentioned in his response would be a better choice?  If so, which ones (keeping in mind, I would like to feed my tangs also and I do not want something that will "go sexual")?  I was growing Chaetomorpha also but it disappeared.  Maybe the Gracilaria was blocking its light so it died out. I know this is a long email but this cyanoBACTERIA problem is now taking all of my time and driving me absolutely insane!   <do consider reading the passage in our "Reef Invertebrates" book on refugiums, plants and algae. About 100 of 400 pages is dedicated to the subject> I had added the refugium to establish an adequate 'pod population to add a pair of mandarin dragonets <yikes! if this was the primary reason, then you need to refocus. Chaetomorpha is best for amphipod culture (but your dragonets do not eat these). Gracilaria is best for acting as a vegetable filter and for cycling nutrients (food to tangs, etc)... but grows no copepods. Dragonets eat copepods... and needs fine substrates for this. Please do research more and rethink> and to improve/maintain the water quality as I am planning to begin adding corals.  So far, this has caused more problems than it has solved.  PLEASE HELP! Thank you for any help you can offer, --Greg <shameless plug aside, please really do consider reading our Reef Invert book (Calfo and Fenner). No worries... this is easily resolved. Anthony>

Dealing With Excess (Carbonate Hardness, And Nutrients) Hi, <Hi there! Scott F. here today> I was wondering: If a saltwater aquarium has a carbonate hardness level that is too high, what causes this, what can I do, what are the problems with having it to high do to the things inside the tank????? <Well, usually excessive carbonate hardness can be traced to source water issues. Careful dilution with unbuffered reverse osmosis water would probably be the course of action that I'd take> Another question: What is the cause of  Blue Green Cyanobacteria, I have got it really bad in my tank? What can I do to get rid of it? Thank you. Please help Thank you. <Almost without exception, blue green and other Cyanobacteria are caused by excesses of nutrients in the aquarium. There are many tried-and-true nutrient export techniques that we outline on the WWM site, such as protein skimming, use of high quality source water, chemical filtration, etc. All of these cab help! Good luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

UV sterilizer Will a U/V sterilizer help destroy red slime algae since it is a bacteria?<It may help a little but the best thing you could do is get a good quality protein skimmer and keep up on the water changes using RO water.  If you don't already have a UV I would not purchase one for your uses.  Cody> Thanks!

Slimer Algae!! Hi<Howdy!> I have a really bad problem with Blue Green Cyanobacteria and I was wondering if there is anything I can do to stop it or get rid of it please help?<If you don't already have one I would get a good protein skimmer and keep up on your water changes.  Also make sure you are not using old bulbs.  Many newer tanks will go through a stages and this is a common one.  Be patient and keep up on the things mentioned above and you should beat it with time.> Also what happens if the carbonated hardness is to high in a saltwater tank.<Hear is some good reading on this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/calcalkmar.htm. Cody> Thanks

Tank update and bubbles in the sand - 3/15/04 Hi everyone, especially my friend, Paul! <Hey you> Can you tell me if this is true or False? <False> One of the people at the fish shop told me my Cyanobacteria, a.k.a., "blue green crap", could be lessened by removing the bubbles in the sand. <Not likely. More likely dissolved gases or some sort of chemical binding. Hard to say for certain but do search our website for others definition. Not at all a bad thing usually.> She said the appearance of bubbles in your sand is bacteria that is feeding the Cyano. <Nope> She said to carefully stir it up, and then do a water change. Well, since I've been doing weekly water changes for the past 8 weeks, with no sign of improvement, I gave it a try today. <Let me know> I'm doing all to alleviate this problem, including: feeding way less, most of the time skipping one or two days. Weekly water changes, more water movement, (4 powerheads, large Aqua Clear PF, and Remora Skimmer) and.........NO MORE DOSING! <The way it should have been> Trying to keep stable! But my system keeps fluctuating.   a.. 75g, 70lbs of LR,  70lbs 0f LS, assorted small, polyp and mushroom corals.   b.. Nitrate and Nitrites "0" <good>   c.. Salinity     1.022 <1.025 / 35ppt>   d.. dKH          10.5  this figure is high now, (I just did a water change),  but wait till tomorrow, it always drops! <Only a little right?>   e.. ph             8.4    again, high now, I'll take it again in the am. <No worries. 8.4 is fine. 7.9-8.4 is little to worry about as long as it only fluctuates 3 points or so like a fluctuation from 8.1-8.4 ~Paul> There you go! You wise guy! >>    Hi everyone, especially my friend, Paul! <Hey you> Can you tell me if this is true or False?>>> <False>"............... <Is false, though> Pamelita You wise guy! >>    Hi everyone, especially my friend, Paul! <Hey you> Can you tell me if this is true or False?>>> <False>"...............<<<<Heeeeheeeeeheheeeeeeheh.>>>> Pamelita

Slime/algae identification Hello All      In my 29 gallon reef tank I have had a bloom of a green substance that I cant identify. This substance is overtaking all the surfaces in the tank. At first I thought it was just a green algae, but my turbo snails, lawn mower blenny scarlet, blue and emerald crabs don't seem to touch it. I have attached a couple of photos to see if you could identify it and give me some pointers on ridding myself of it. This tank is appx two years old now and the problem has been present for around four months. the latest water tests revealed the following: Temp - 78f Sg - 1.023 Ph - 8.3 DKH - "high" w/ red sea marine test kit Ca - 350 NH3/NH4 - 0 NO2 - 0 NO3 - 0 PO4 - 0 I hope you can help dean <Can. You have almost a "text book" example of LR succession in this system. Please read here re Live Rock replenishment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrfaq6.htm The third FAQ down... and consider adding, switching some of your LR out. Oh, this is BGA, aka Cyanobacteria. Bob Fenner>

Brown Algae? Hello I am sending a pic of a type of algae in my tank. So far no one has been able to help me and I can't figure out what this stuff is or how to get rid of it. Profile of my tank <W/o a microscopic examination this is a speculation, but very good odds this is a type/species of Cyanobacteria, aka blue-green algae... comes in all colors "of the rainbow" and more. Feel it... it should be very slimy to the touch.> 120 gal reef tank (has been set up for almost 1 year now but came from an existing 75 gal tank that had been set up for 3 years) <Likely time to add to the live rock> 2 400W XM bulbs on from 1130 AM- 930 PM 3 110W VHO actinics on from 1030AM- 1030 PM 15 species of SPS corals 3 species of soft corals 1 long tentacle anemone Pair of Percs Black tang Flame angel Watchman goby 6-line wrasse Several red legged and zebra hermit crabs 2 cleaner shrimp 2 fire shrimp 1 coral banded Temp. 78 Numerous snails Nitrate undetectable Nitrite undetectable Phosphate undetectable Silicate undetectable Ammonia undetectable Calcium 400 PH 8.2 dKH 12.8 All water tests performed with Salifert test kits <Okay... this moneran biomass is "taking up" most of detectable nutrient quickly... outcompeting or making nutrient-limiting biologically useful materials> 4 Maxi-Jet 1200 powerheads as well as 2000 gph water returns provide circulation. Tank turnover is about 11 times per hour after plumbing is taken into consideration. Heavy protein skimming All top off water is filtered using Kent Maxxima RO/DI I use Kent Marine Carbon and Nitrate Reducer The algae is over every rock and even grows where a powerhead is blasting the rock. I tried scrubbing with a potato brush and the algae still doesn't come off only way to remove is by grabbing with your fingers and picking off clump by clump. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. <Mmm, a bunch to say... you would greatly benefit from the addition/replacement of some of your live rock... about a quarter of it by weight or volume. What will happen with such an advent is a "re-stabilization" of nutrient use, bio-dynamic of the BGA hopefully losing out to your other photosynthates. Much to gain, understand from "reading between the lines" of what is archived on WetWebMedia.com. Bob Fenner>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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