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FAQs on Controlling Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 1

Related FAQs: Control of Cyano/Blue-Green Algae 2, Cyano Control 3, Cyano Control 4, 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 17BGA 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

A mix of BGA and green algae on a barren spot of coral rock in the Red Sea

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Replacing Sand, Building Depth Back Up - 01/05/06 Thank you Josh. <Glad to help Anne.> I have another question for you........ I have a Cyanobacteria problem, as mentioned below. I have read the Cyanobacteria questions and answers on this site. I know over feeding, performing infrequent water changes, inadequate skimming, and old lights can all cause this problem, along with other areas but I feel like none of these pertain to my situation. <Stand back, take a good look from the outside. Try and separate yourself from your tank and you may realize some things you can improve (you don't even have to admit to it to anyone;).>   I just can't think of where it's getting it's nutrients from. <Unless the tank is "sterile" nutrients are every where.> Right now the tank is fishless. There are a handful of snails and hermit crabs. I have one CBS. I have 45lbs of live rock, a 2-3 inch sand bed (maybe I should make that deeper?) <Oh yeah. You're in that intermediate zone now, plenty of nutrients in this to go around I bet.> I use a Aqua C skimmer, Fluval 304 with carbon only (phosphate free), <I assume you already know to be cleaning this at least weekly, but I've got to say it. Has this carbon been in for a while? Best to operate with 2-3 different bags, alternate at least once a week. It can "get full" and begin releasing "the goods" back into your tank.> 2-800 power heads (is this enough flow?) <If these are 800 gph. it should be. If they are model #800, they could be at 250 gph (no way for me to know), and you would benefit from a little more.> I change the water weekly(7-10 gallons) ammonia 0-.25 <Yep there's nutrients in them thar hills.> nitrite 0 nitrate 0 pH 8.0-8.4 temp 80-82, 55 gallon tank. <Have you put any medication in this tank? pH is nowhere near stable, and it seems like you're establishing a new cycle. Cyano can adapt better than many things, the temp. and pH fluctuations, along with the nutrients are making it nearly ideal for nothing but Cyano. Stability will help.> I use R/O water. No additives. <This would explain the poor alkalinity in your tank to some extent. At least aerate for 24 hrs. before making salt. A buffer will help also. Gotta get those acids out and oxygen in.> My lights are on for 8 hrs a day. <12 hrs. would be better.> The tank is 8 months old. Had a outbreak of Marine Velvet. <Oohh. Sorry to hear that.> Had only 2 fish in there at the time. Moved them to the QT tank to treat them but it was too late. Main tank has been fallow for 6 weeks and I plan on keeping it that way for another 4 weeks just to be safe. <Good, best not to rush things. Would even need to extend this if the above issues still exist.> I've got some red and green Cyanobacteria growing on the back glass. <Well, at least it's giving you some variety;)> Not too bad yet. Some dark red growing on the sand in the front. I would like to start again and get a new fish but I would like to kick this algae problem first. Any ideas where I should start? <A few thoughts. First stabilize that environment, this will work wonders (that temp. is not as bad as the others). You could also try adding macroalgae to compete for the nutrients. Last thought though, increase the bed depth, stabilize the environment, and keep up regular maintenance (wait...Did that just mean all of the above?). It seems like you're cycling again so an algal succession like this can be expected. May just have to deal with it until it runs its course. Time you've got anyways right?> Thanks again. Anne <Anytime. - Josh> Cyano Hi Crew,  <Hello> You have been a great help in the past, lets try again! I have a major problem with my 55g tank. There seems to be a major bloom of red algae going on. It is covering all my live rock, sand, and even the snails!, It blankets anything and then it grows long red hair-like things. HELP! P.S. PO4- negative Ph 8.2 temp 77.2 Spec. gr. 1.024  <Sounds like you have the dreaded Cyanobacteria and I'm not Joshing you. Read here for control. It's treated the same as an algae problem. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm James (Salty Dog)>

Cyano-Struggle Hi, <Hello, Ryan Bowen with you today> I have a problem that has appeared and I am not really sure what is causing it......<I'll give it a go> My tank has gotten a bad case of some form of red algae (very dark maroon). The algae is very aggressive and is growing on my live rock, substrate, and glass. It also has air bubbles that seem to grow on it as well. The algae will come off the live rock in large chunks by creating a high water flow rate. <Does it look like this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm?  If so, you're dealing with cyanobacteria...actually more closely related to bacteria than algae.> This algae is covering up the coralline algae in the tank along with pretty much everything else. I can clean the tank but this stuff will be back in 24-48 hours all over everything! <Sounds like you've got a serious nutrient problem.> As far as the tank goes the water seems fine: PH 8.3 Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrate 0.5 Calcium 500 Phosphate 0.4 <The phosphate should be at zero levels in a reef tank.  Try Rowaphos, or a similar phosphate eliminator.  Also, reverse osmosis water would help keep this in check.> Currently I am running 260 watts of CPF lighting on a 37 gallon tank consisting of 1 actinic, 2 dual daylight, and 1 10K. The tanks has good water flow in it through the use of the return lines from the sump along with 2 powerheads just for flow. <If the bulbs are old, change them.  Are you using a skimmer for filtration on this tank?> The tanks has both soft and hard corals along with a few  fish. Any help will be appreciated. <I'd add a small, hang on skimmer if you haven't already.  Feed sparingly for a while, and perhaps look into adding some circulation.  You didn't indicate the size of your powerheads, but I'd recommend at least 250 gallons per hour on each.  Once you decrease phosphate and nutrients, you'll be back in business.> Thanks, Doug PS: I would send a PIC but my digital camera is in the shop
Cyano-Struggle Cont'd
Ryan, <Afternoon> So what can I do to get rid of the cyano.......? I have been doing water changes and running phosphate removal media. This stuff gets real active with light, at night it almost goes away on the rocks and stuff but then about midday you can see it takeoff growing. <Yes, I understand from your last email the extent of the problem.  As I'm sure you know (because you're here) there is not an easy fix for this cyanobacteria problem.  I can recommend (as does the article): Out compete available nutrients with an alternative macro-algae refugium.  Limit ingoing nutrients into the tank, and discontinue supplements that aren't mandatory.  But, cyanobacteria growth is mainly fueled with dissolved nutrients- I'd recommend a thorough cleaning of your skimmer and perhaps an upgrade if it's not cutting it.  Good luck, Ryan> Thanks, Doug
Cyano-Struggle Follow-Up
Ryan, <Doug> Thanks for your reply. <Surely> I will pick up some Rowaphos and get the phosphate down to zero. I am running a EuroReef skimmer that is actually very large. <I see.> It is one that is good for up to 180 gallons. The bulbs are all less than 2 months old...... Both powerheads are 211 GPH. Your PICS looks similar to what I have, could I have caused this by adding too much Calcium supplement? In addition I just recently started using Reef plus by Seachem (vitamin and amino acid supplement). As for the water I currently use RO/DI water so I would think that it should be good (filter is only about 2 months old). <I would try dripping kalkwasser-It may help you with alkalinity problems you're not aware of, and even help clear some cyano.  Kalk will help to improve protein skimming, and precipitate phosphates.  Dose at night for best results, and check your pH while dosing.  Good luck Doug!> If you have any other suggestions please let me know. Doug

Algae ID/cyano trouble/mandarin feeding tip Just wanna report a few things and reiterate how important quarantine is. Because I FAILED to quarantine a small colony of red kelp (macro algae - right?), specifically Gelidium pulchellum. <Hey- you heard it here, folks!> Do you guys have any info on this species? <Do a key word search on this species on the 'net...There are some very good sites focusing on macro algae, such as those supported University of Hawaii's Dept of Tropical Agriculture, among others...Really good reading, albeit a bit academic...> It took me many hours to identify, it has spread and seeded red cyano bacteria. <Bummer...lots of other possible factors, too> A battle I will begin with vigor!  (aggressive skimming right?) <Yep- and water changes with high quality water, and good water movement, etc...> Also, an apparent breakthrough! My mandarin seems to love "Zooplex"  from "Kent Marine". I was told this bottled liquid zooplankton came out a few months ago. Since I've been using it, my mandarin seems to "pick food" way more often and seems more energetic. Wanted to get the crews' thought on this product. <Don't personally use this product...Very interesting to hear that this product is having a positive effect on your Mandarin...Perhaps some of our other readers may have some experience and feedback about this product... Hey- if it works- Keep using the stuff! Do observe carefully, and observe the long-term effects of it's use (i.e.; impact on algae growth, water quality, etc) Thanks for sharing! Regards, Scott F>

Cyano mystery Dear Robert, Thank you for your fast reply last time I had a problem. I'm the one who was having the Cyanobacteria problem in a 26gal tank. Like I had mentioned last time, I moved everything to a quarantine 10 gal setup identical to the larger one while the larger tank got back to normal. So I removed the lights and just left the filter, the skimmer, and the powerhead working in the 26gal and after about a month it was clear enough for my buddies again. In the meantime and shortly after I removed everything from the 26gal, I noticed that the water became almost completely brown (opaque) during the day and cleared up at night (this happened before and after I stopped using the lights). <hmmm...> So the water cleared up after a month and everything was ready to go back in there, and so they did, but this time I was being very careful with the feeding. I was actually feeding very little (3 or 4 krill a day for one blue streaked goby who ate them in seconds, poor guy). <yes... nutrient control and careful feeding are critical> 26 gal: Ammonia is 0 Nitrite is 0 Nitrate is also very low I only use distilled water  <do you aerate and buffer the water before you use it? If not that is a problem (weak pH/ALK levels). Target 8.3 to 8.5 pH and a dKH of 8-12> and I don't feed my invertebrates <most inverts need fed, my friend... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fdreefinverts.htm> The only thing that gets me thinking is the fact that I am using normal ballasts (not electronic) for the 2 x 30w Marine Glos and 1 x 30w Triton, could this be my problem? <good heavens... almost certainly not. Lighting has very little to do with cyano... its all about nutrient control> In the 10gal quarantine tank I have 1 x 15w vita lite and 1 x 15w zoomed actinic. (Can't get the Vita Lites in Europe) and I haven't had a problem in there ever.  <exactly... no worries about the lights unless they are so old (over 10 months) that they don't allow the symbiotic invertebrates to thrive and compete with the nuisance "algae"> That is essentially the only difference between the 2 setups plus the 2 PVC pipes I'm using to put the live rock on in the 26 gal. Also in the 8gal tank I rarely did water changes because the daily evaporation was high so I added about 2% distilled water twice daily and my nitrates were virtually inexistent, my corals were thriving and so was everything else, but ever since I got this bigger tank I'm wondering if bigger is really better.  <it may simply be that you don't have enough water flow in the new tank or that your skimmer just isn't giving you a daily cup of skimmate. Skimmers alone can kick out cyano easily when they are tweaked for optimal production> Now I don't dare buy any new livestock until I figure out why this is happening in the big tank. Right now the big tank is going through the exact same thing it went through last time and I don't want to move everything again and have it all suffer afterwards because of this mysterious problem. Questions: If I'm not overfeeding then where are the nutrients coming from? <accumulating detritus, waste products from corals and other inverts, etc> How much should I feed when all I have is one blue streaked goby and some invertebrates? <again... feed your fish and coral well (daily) but in controlled portions and with good nutrient export (carbon changed in small amounts weekly or monthly at least, a good skimmer, etc)> Thanks for all the help! Claudia <best regards, Anthony>
Re: Cyano mystery
Hey! Thanks for the swift reply...  <my pleasure> I forgot to mention that I have a MaxiJet 1000 in the 26gal and 2 small powerheads in the 8 gal but come to think of it, you're right...  <excellent> I think I might be overfeeding since I only have one small fish.  <a common problem my friend.. and with the good skimmate and good water flow you have mentioned, it is indeed likely> Also I think I'll add the second MaxiJet 1000 to the 26gal just to see if it actually helps.  <indeed... most nuisance algae are inhibited by strong water flow> I'll see if I can wear out those dang nutrients out of my tank... yecchhh, in the meantime no buddies of mine are going in there... <exactly my friend... nutrient control... all a matter of time>

Cyano mystery Hi there! I have this huge problem with my 26G reef setup and I have no idea where to turn anymore.  <it really is a simple matter of nutrient control, my friend... most aquariums don't have enough water flow to prevent dead spots and most aquariums don't have a skimmer that produces dark skimmate daily> I started off with a tiny 8 Gal setup that stabilized well after about 3 months and everything (cornularia, strigata goby, Lobophyton, Actinodiscus numiformis, and zoanthids) was thriving until I had the great idea of buying a bigger tank... This is exactly how both tanks were setup from the beginning: 8 gal: 1 mini aquaclear powerfilter a small "Sander" protein skimmer coral gravel some trustworthy lava rock, about 8Lbs 1 15W vita lite 1 15w actinic 26 gal: 1 aquaclear 300 powerfilter slightly larger skimmer coral gravel about 20Lbs of lava rock and live rock 2 30W actinics 1 30W triton 1 30W life glo (there's only one LFS for marines in the entire country, so bear with my equipment) <no worries> So I waited about 2 months for the tank to cycle and started moving everything over which was great and stayed great until about 3 weeks after I had transferred everything. The water is BROWN... Fortunately I kept the 8 gal going as a quarantine tank and soon enough I had to move everything back into the 8 gal and I even think that I've lost my cornularia and some other polyps due to the overgrowth of hair algae, and Cyanobacteria on them. In the meantime I thought that the problem could be bad lighting because all else was stable (Ammonia, nitrites, salinity, temperature, phosphates, etc...), even more than the 8 gal and in that small 8 gal I had only had 1 initial breakout of cyano-devils, which never reappeared. I removed the life glo and one of the actinics, after all, 120W for a 26 gal did seem kind of strong although everybody in there seemed to be enjoying it... until that yucky slime took over. I only use distilled water in my tanks. At this point everything has moved over to the small tank and although they still don't look alright, at least the water is clear. Back in the big tank, I took off the lights to see if it made a difference but it seems that the cyano comes in cycles, being the water almost opaque during the day at around noon but clearing up at night and the tank is not exposed to sunlight or strong light. The skimmer is on constantly and pulls up an entire cup of black guck everyday. Will this ever end? Please help... <kudos on the skimmer performance, but the volume collected daily in this small tank without tempering the Cyano indicates a nutrient problem (the dissolved organics in the cup daily have to have come from somewhere right?). Are you sure that you are not overfeeding? Even if not overfeeding... I didn't see mention of any water moving devices besides the modest aquaclear PF (assuming the skimmer here too is air driven). Strong water flow in an otherwise well run tank is sometimes all that is necessary to kick cyano. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Blue Green Algae Blues Hi Anthony: <cheers> Thought I'd write to give you an update on my cyano problem that we talked about over two months ago. I have made some improvement after trying all of your suggestions, but it still comes back after about 1-1.5 weeks.  <yowsa...serious nutrient issues, but from where?> I have read your replies over and over again very closely, as well as searched the WWM site, and I'm convinced my problem boils down to my Euro Reef skimmer not cutting the mustard. It still only produces a 1/4 cup a day at best of the dark stuff. To get a cup a day, the skimmate is only green tea colored. <fair enough... yes, a good skimmer should produce dark daily skimmate or an algae bloom is inevitable> I have done the following over the past 2 months: 1.. Replaced the entire foam insert assembly on the internal overflow with a Durso-style standpipe. 2.. All raw overflow water drains into a Rubbermaid container with a constant 7" of height. Euro Reef sits in the container. ER's installation manual states to have a static head on the skimmer between 6-8 inches. <excellent... all skimmers should be plumbed as such> 3.. Water overflows Rubbermaid into sump proper where it is returned to the main tank. Very simple, basic setup.  <agreed, agreed> My filtration consists of live rock, skimmer, and a PolyFilter (added poly about a month ago) -- that's it. 4.. I had all powerheads on, i.e. no wave timer, until about a month ago. No effect (still cyano), so I went back to the wave timer. About a week ago, I went back to all powerheads continuously on. <yes... I prefer all on... all times> 5.. Poly-Bio-Marine Polyfilter turns brown after about 3 weeks. <Yikes! These pads are good in some systems for 2-3 months! Brown indicates general organics and 3 weeks indicates excess organics. Skimmer needs to work better. Are you sure that you are not overfeeding? Fishes consume all food before any hits the aquarium bottom?> 6.. Added Boyd Chemi-pure around August 3. Rick Durso claimed this cured his cyano, so I thought what the hell. Obviously, I was reaching. <in general... any nutrient export is a good idea> 7.. Finally found a competent LFS owner yesterday who thinks like we do and is also a big Anthony Calfo fan.  <heehee... there is a joke in here somewhere <smile>> He told me to remove the Chemi-Pure and had me start gingerly adding Kent Poly Ox, basically "ozone in a bottle". I had been considering an ozone generator for the past month or so to try to boost performance on the Euro Reef. Sorry, I don't own an ORP meter, but I suspect I'm probably down around 200-250. <indeed... low Redox is a boon to nuisance algae. Iodine and good skimming raise Redox. Additives are precarious... do be careful> 8.. I have cleaned the skimmer every other day. 9.. Water quality is good. SG 1.025, Ca 400-450 depending upon which Salifert kit you believe, KH at 12.  <all fine> I cannot give you phosphate numbers at the moment -- I ordered three Salifert phosphate kits from two sources over the past several weeks, and all three kits are DOA out of the box. My Salifert Nitrate kit went bad too after about a week. I c/should buy LaMotte for the money I'm wasting on defective Saliferts! I'm taking a water sample to the LFS today to get phosphate and nitrate readings, maybe Redox. My questions to you: How on earth do I find the sweet spot on this bloody skimmer????? There's only two variables left -- sump height and riser pipe height. Does sump height have that much of an effect on finding the sweet spot?  <it has a staggering and VERY sensitive influence!> Should I perform experiments where I start at, say, 6 inches of sump depth and try different riser pipe heights, and then increase the sump depth in 0.25" increments and repeat the experiment until I (hopefully) find the sweet spot?  <yes... sort of. Do only one variable at a time. My advice is to crank the flow up to get the full cup of tea colored skimmate daily. Then take small sections of eggcrate or like material to fit under the skimmer in incremental wedges (raising the skimmer) until the skimmate become drier but still copious. If the foam gets drier but less voluminous... increase the air or water flow to correct> I can't think of anything else to do; Euro Reef hasn't been helpful at all. Or should I punt and replace the skimmer with another manufacturer's? <a good skimmer... should not be necessary to replace> The only other thought I had was to buy an ozone generator. But I know deep down the skimmer should produce beau coup amounts of junk on its own. <exactly... the ozone is just icing on the cake> Thanks for your help. I'm bound and determined to turn this thing around. Jim <I have faith that you will! Anthony>

Red Slime Algae Hello Bob, I am having an outbreak of red slime algae (Cyanobacteria). I don't understand why this is happening. My phosphates and nitrates are both low. <Phosphate test kits are notoriously inaccurate/incomplete.> I have a 29 gallon tank which I set up a month ago, <Short time period, could be natural algal succession.> with 25 lbs live rock and a 3 inch deep sand bed. The tank cycled in 19 days. Right now, ammonia and nitrite are both zero, nitrate 5 to 10 ppm, alkalinity is 4.0 meq/L, KH is 9 dKH, calcium is 380 ppm, phosphates are 0, pH is 8.2. So, all my tests seem to be perfect. <Reasonable> I am not putting any food into the tank right now, the only thing in there right now is a clean up crew. I don't understand why I am getting the red slime algae all over the substrate and over some of the live rock. Even some of the snails have it on them. <Strange comment about the snails. Are you sure it is Cyanobacteria? I would describe cyano as having a kid toss his fruit rollup into your tank. It looks like a mat of slime that covers over the rock. Do see here, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm, for some pictures.> What should I do to stop this algae (bacteria) from growing? <See the link above and the blue links on that page, but I am guessing it is something else, like diatoms due to the age of the aquarium and your description. Diatoms almost always appear in tanks that are one to two months old and seem to disappear on their own in time.> I have been doing weekly water changes (10 percent of the total water). <Good schedule.> Thanks for your help, Kevin <Hang in there. -Steven Pro>

Red Cyanobacteria Outbreak Your book has been invaluable resource to me in the setup and care of my 55gal reef. <Glad it's been useful, perhaps even enjoyable to use> The tank is 6mo old and is having a Red Cyanobacteria outbreak. After reading your site I think better skimming may be needed (you may have other thoughts). I am currently using an AE Tech Super Reef Devil downdraft (their smallest model). The skimmer has never produced the 2-4 ounces daily that you recommend but it does accumulate a lot of sludge in the riser tube which I wipe out. Can this skimmer be modified to produce more liquid? <Mmm, maybe... I would keep it clean (weekly), raise the bubble/collectant level as high as practical in the contactor column... Do you measure nitrates, phosphates?> Simply "dialing up" the water level causes an increase in bubble size and more turbulence in the riser tube which seems to hurt efficiency.  <The "looser" whiter foam/collectant may be worth it in higher, more dilute removal...> I have run the skimmer with both a Rio 2100 & a Supreme Mag 5. I am considering the purchase of a Euroreef 6-1, would I see enough difference in performance to warrant such spending? <A value judgment (money is very many different things, levels to people)... but this is a much better skimmer. You will definitely see, appreciate, have a difference> Any other ideas on the Cyano are appreciated.  <They're posted: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> The system stats are: 55 gal reef with surface skimmer and sump = 50gal of H20 45lbs live rock and 45lbs live sand No physical filtration, some carbon Brazilian Gramma, 6-lined, Banggai, 2 Ocellaris Cleaner shrimp, sand star, Tigertail Cuke, 2 serpents, snails & hermits Medium coral load Little Giant 2MDQX-SC plus 2 Maxi jet 900s on wavemaker 4x55w power compacts pH 7.9-8.2, dKH 10, Ca 390, Nitrate 10, 79-82 degrees Kent buffer & Iodine and Tropic Marin Calcium <Sounds very nice... except for the BGA> Please feel free to note any other setup enhancements that your feel might help my salt lovin' friends. <If I could wave a/the magic wand, I'd get another sump/refugium going with alternate day/light timing... and some macro-algae in mud, live rock culture going there... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mark Elliott P.S. We would love to have you speak at the So Cal Marine Aquarium Society. <Do so once, twice a year... Must have missed each other thus far. Have Marc Trimble give me a ring>

Cyanobacteria Bob, <Steven Pro in this morning.> I looked over your website about reducing the nutrients in my water. I have a continuous growth of Cyano Bac and Green algae. All of my water parameters are in good shape, <This is a pet peeve of mine. It is difficult enough to discern what is going on in a tank via a description in an email. Exact numbers is always preferred.> I have an Eco system with Caulerpa Algae and a good protein skimmer. The only thing I have not done is use RO water. Could it be that my water would have an abundance of nutrients, <Yes, if all else is ok, the regular importation of nutrients with tapwater water changes and evaporative top-off could be enough.> I don't over feed my fish since there is only 1 and a couple of invertebrates. I did notice that my water temperature has not been stable I think my heater is losing its kick. <This is an entirely different type of problem which needs to be remedied ASAP. Temperature fluctuations are a main contributor to Cryptocaryon/Marine Ich outbreaks.> I retrofitted a new light system about 2 months ago, but I had this problem before the new light came along. Would it be best to buy a RO System and add some more soft Coral to take up the nutrients? <Yes, go with the RO. Add which ever corals you like and have the environment for.> I would like to get rid of all of my Cyano Bac. I am tempted to scrape it all off my Live Rock, but I know this will cause it to grow more. <Vacuum as much of it as possible with your RO water, water changes.> I don't like to use any chemicals unless it is vitamins or water quality related. I DO NOT like using Caulerpa it grows to fast and hard to control, in my case it seems to more of a nuisance then an asset. So can you give me some pointers? <The RO water sounds like the way to go. -Steven Pro>

Red Hair Algae Please help me with what appears to be red hair algae. Tank has been set approx. two months. It is a 72 gal. with power compacts, a red sea prism skimmer and a CPR Bak Pak. it has approx. 100 pounds of live rock. Light are run 12 hours on a timer. Any tip on how to get rid of it. Thanks, Aaron Watkins <This is very likely a type of blue-green algae (don't let the color throw you), aka Cyanobacteria... a bunch of things to state... Please read through: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the many links beyond where you take yourself. Bob Fenner>

Blue-Green Algae and Snail Deaths I have read through your site and found a lot of helpful information. I have also looked through ffexpress for info but my problem is still persistent. I have tried large 20% water changes, I even tried 50% once and killed a starfish. I use R/O water a 24GPD Kent Marine TFC to fill the tank, for top off, and water changes. Let me describe my tank: 90 Gallon 10 Gallon Sump rated for a 125, Balls removed CAP 2200 Return Pump 50 Pounds Rubble Manano Rock 50 Pounds Fiji Walt Smith 50 Pounds Mixed Course/Fine Atlantic Crushed Shell Aqua-C In Sump Skimmer Rio 1700 for Skimmer Rio 1100 In Tank for Movement 2 Air Stones for movement 6 4' Fluorescent Tubes 2 Actinic, 1 50/50, 3 20,000 lux - 13 Hour Timer 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 0 Nitrate, 0.5 or less Phosphate, <I'd shoot for zero percent...> 350+ Calcium, 8.4 Ph 78 degrees F The tank has been up for 5 months Kalkwasser,  <Drop the kalkwasser habit, and get on to using two part supplements here> Strontium, Iodine added every 3 days 1 Yellow Tang, 1 Huma Huma, 1 Green Chromis, 1 Striped Damsel, 2 False Percula 2 Green Brittle Star, 1 Chocolate Chip Star, 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 4 Green or Mithrax Crabs, 3 Snails down from 12 I know I need additional movement and I am going to add 1-3 move Rio powerheads 1100-2500? My big question is when I do a weekly water change I remove 80%+ of the algae with gravel backing but a day or so later it is back and still as unattractive as before. I have been hoping the tank would grow out of this ugly stage soon as my other previous tank had but it only had a diatom problem due to my overfeeding.( Porcupine Puffers are so cute and always hungry, I could not resist) The Holidays are fast approaching and I have the honor ( or at least the largest house ) of hosting Thanksgiving. I would like to solve this problem by then. <You need to undertake a few approaches here, maybe chemical filtrants, in addition to enhanced circulation, competition by macro-algae...> As a backup plan I was going to do a water change that morning. This tank is my pride and joy and I want it to look as good as I know it can. After a water change when the tank settles it is truly a live piece of art. I care nearly as deeply for my pets as do I care for my family. Please offer any advice you can.  <My advice on algae control is posted on our site, www.WetWebMedia.com, have you read the sections on it there?> I also have been losing Turbo Snails, I suspect the Chocolate Star. I have watched him crawl over an overturned snail before it can right itself and sit there for hours, not moving. The trigger has also picked at the lest than healthy ones. If you can offer any advice I would greatly appreciate it. <Read my friend. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Joseph M Howell

BGA Hi Bob, Hope all is well with you and yours, and thanks for the petition link re Aquababies btw, I'll be sending my name off to join the list of the outraged. I'll also be checking the Target in town to see if they're stocking these things. <Amazing (to me) how such a poor idea, exceeding outrageous, can/could be repeated. This same sick (yes, a value judgment from me), "merchandising" scheme was tried a few decades back... live animals sealed in containers... Very, very sad> And now for something completely different: ( a non-theoretical question). I haven't heard back from anyone over on the forum, so I thought I'd ask you. My little tank has been cruising along nicely and now the BGA has broken out (I assume it's BGA, it's an orangish/rust red color). In the last 2 days it's colonized almost the entirety (sp?) of the LR, and has covered the 1/2 of the sand bed that was well lit. The zoanthids have closed up shop since Wed. afternoon. with the latest round of delays in getting what's owed to me, I can't afford to buy any test kits. but I will be running a water sample over to the LFS over lunch. I plan on doing a water change tomorrow after I make up a fresh batch of water when I get home. (5.5g tank, I was thinking of a 1 gallon change, or would 2 be better if the nitrates come out high?). <One a day is all I would risk, unless "something" is terribly wrong> I read over the WWM page on BGA and one of the recommendations was increasing the O2 in the tank. would adding an airline to the Powersweep be advisable, or would that cause problems from air bubbles?  <Adding the air here will probably not help... your battle with BGA is due to a few constraining influences... principally the instability of having such a small volume... the Blue Greens are "winning" as this environmental instability favors them> The sweep runs about 2 1/2 inches below the waterline with the fan attachment angled upwards. there's a fair amount of turbulence at the water line. primary filtration is a TetraTec 150PF unit. the water is heated to 78F. After lunch I can get back to you with better water parameters (if you'd like). The systems been running a week now. I wasn't sure if the BGA was part of the curing process or not (the tank so far has not had any smell of decomposition to it, I didn't have time to check this morning on my way out though).  <Some "part", but more of an issue the smaller the volume of systems> It boils down to: should I make the water change, and/or increase the flow of air into the Powersweep (or would the filter area on the PF150 be a better place to add an airstone?) <The latter> , or is this all part of the cycling process and I should just make sure to keep up with the top off's and let nature take it's course. <More of a cycling process... that will be more severe, lengthened... but will eventually steady out> as always, your help is appreciated. PF <Chat with you soon. Bob Fenner>
Talked to the LFS and was told: very high nitrates and ammonia (so a water change is definite) ph is 8.3 and she identified the algae as diatomaceous, not BGA. <Diatoms... with a microscope?> her advice was getting a skimmer, I was just checking w/you on a second opinion. it's a 5.5g nano, with 3 lbs of LR (a rather large piece of Fijian origin) <I would put a smallish one on... like the Prizm... Bob Fenner>
re Skimmer. Yeah, that's what I was thinking too, or a cheaper SeaClone modified as per Reefcentral or Richard Clayton. The only Prizm I've found locally was at PetSmart, $179 (about $100 more than most online dealers). She carries the Seaclone for $65, roughly the same as an etailer & shipping. I do have room behind the tank to hang this particular unit, and I'm principally concerned about getting the tank help now. From what I've read, even someone as un-handy as myself should be able to make the modifications to the SeaClone with a minimal loss of blood and tissue (they mention hacksaws and x-acto knives). <Yikes, be careful> I'm still not sure about the diatomaceous part, she claims that BGA is strictly FW. <What? No... found in all types of environments... most anywhere there's moisture> She has a degree in marine biology, not sure what area, so her definition may well be much more narrow than a hobbyist like myself. <Count her amongst me and my friends, associates... another "educated" person who doesn't know everything... this is why there are books, magazines, computerized data retrieval systems...> At any rate, thanks for your patience and assistance, hope you have a good weekend, PF <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

BGA (Cyanobacteria) Hi again Bob, just thought I would update you on the BGA problem. Things are looking good, most of the BGA has now gone, I am running the Eheim 2313 as before but have also got an internal (Fluval 4) running alongside to create extra turbulence to keep the solids in suspension. It has just struck me that the BGA did not appear until the Black Beard algae started to die off. Do you think there is any connection? <Mmm, likely so... these so-called "ancient", "backward" organisms are stealthy... been competing with each other for very, very long. Congratulations on your success. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lighting Question Hi Bob: I received my new lights last night and they look beautiful! What a difference they make. Now for a few more questions ;-) 1) For the last month or so while one of the four 'NO' lights was out (the ballast), I tended to get some pest algae growing (Maroon colored) on the dimmer side, I read up on WWM, so I think I know what needs to be done. Do you think these brighter lights will kill it off as I also have a decent growth of crystalline algae (Lavender colored). <Yes to more intensity, better spectral mix inspiring other than BGA, Cyanobacteria profusion... Coralline Reds need sufficient alkalinity and biomineral content...> 2) I feed my fish a small strip (1" X 4") of dried seaweed everyday, is this too often or too much? They do eat it all (the two angels). <Sounds about right to me> Thanks again! Chris <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

algae? I've read through a good bit of your postings, and I think what I have on my glass is "good" coralline algae-it's purple/maroonish. We scrape it off when it gets too rampant, and it looks great on the rocks. But, on top of my sand (actually 1/2 sand 1/2 crush coral about 2.5" deep) I'm getting a rusty-colored, clumpy crust. It's browner than that on the glass/rocks and not hairy or powdery. It actually seems like tumbleweeds of refuse. Stir it up & it re-crusts in 2 days. At water changes we really churn the sand, but it still comes back. Is this "bad" algae? It's certainly not attractive! <Likely not too harmful, but annoyingly unattractive... bad> How do I control this? My current clean-up critters don't seem to be doing the job. <Please read over our site re control of Blue Greens/BGA/Cyanobacteria: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and related materials>  Tank info: 75 gal wet/dry (still have the plastic balls, I'm afraid to take them out!),  <Be unafraid. Remove them> protein skimmer, 4 power compact lights, 60# rock, yellow tang, Sailfin tang, blue regal, Banggai cardinal, maroon clown, small blue neon damsel, flame angel, bicolor angel, longnose hawkfish, sand star, impatiens Cuke, 3 Mithrax crabs, 2 cleaner shrimp, 3 cleanup hermits, tuxedo urchin, BUNCHES of small feather dusters. I check ammonia, nitrate, nitrite - all OK PH 8.2. Temp 80ish. 15% Water change every 3 wks. I don't test much else, and rarely add supplements. I figure my calcium must be ok due to the coralline and bunches of tube worms in the wet/dry. My eyes kind of roll back in my head when I'm reading all the chemical stuff! So, call me ignorant! My tank is 2 yrs old & stable. <Ignorance can indeed be synonymous with bliss. I would check your alkalinity... or add a teaspoon or two of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) every week or water change time> Sorry the e-mail's so long, I'm sure the one fact I leave out will be the one you need! Thanks for your input, Linda <Thank you for yours. Bob Fenner>
Re: algae?
Thank you very much for your quick response! Two follow up ?'s for you: Should I take the bio balls out all at once, or over time? <In your particular situation (age, size of system, amount of live rock, all at once is fine. Sorry for not being more clear here. Very low risk.> Also, do you think my tank is overstocked? The largest is the yellow tang at 4", the rest are 3 or less. At most I'd like to add a mandarinfish and maybe a dwarf lion (after my damsel gets bigger.) <The Mandarin might be hard to assure it's getting enough food... But if memory serves, you will be tight, but likely all-right. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much, Linda

Toxins from Cyanobacteria? Robert, I have a 150 FO tank that has Cyanobacteria and has since February. I put Maracyn 1 in because I heard this can get rid of my problem.  <Generally only temporarily... and there are definite downsides... and potential trouble.> I know that toxins can come out of Cyanobacteria but I don't know what their effect is on the fish-at least not till now. The Cyanobacteria did go away and after about 3 days after it was gone the fish in my tank started to get white on parts of their eyes, white bacteria looking patches on their bodies, etc.. My emperor angel died yesterday after being a healthy fish of mine for over a year. I have r/o water getting ready now to do a water change but I just wanted to figure out why this happened. My levels are all good and my tank temp. is around 79-80`. Any comments would be greatly appreciated, Thanks, Kevin <Oh, my friend... likely what you hint about is exactly what did happen, is happening... the collapse of the BGA in your system has toxified the water... and the stress has shown itself in the symptoms you list, the loss of your Angel... I would do the water change/s ASAP, add activated carbon to your filter flow path... and read through our site: www.WetWebMedia.com  re Tank Troubleshooting, BGA/Control... and join the Chatforum there. Bob Fenner>

Sick fish from toxins from Cyanobacteria I wrote you the other day about using Maracyn 1 to get rid of Cyanobacteria and it did but the water became toxic and my fish and white patches all over them. Now I'm doing a water change today but the fish are looking bad so, do I put Maracyn in again to help their bacterial infections? <I would not> The water change will help but I fear not quick enough some of the fish are really looking bad-they're still eating though. I lost and emperor angel and I do not want to lose another fish. So, my question is do a water change and what else? <Really, just "cross your fingers"... That they're eating is a very good sign.> Thanks for your quick replies and invaluable ideas!-Kevin <Buenos suerte my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick fish from toxins from Cyanobacteria I did the water change and no fish have died, but, the Naso tang who is always my healthiest fish has white patches all over his body. He still eats fine but looks terrible. His eyes are patchy white too. Shouldn't I put something in for the bacteria? I'm really worried about this fish. Thanks, Kevin Ballard <I would run a couple of pounds (a pound today, another added to it in a couple of days) of activated carbon in your filter flow path. Bob Fenner>

red algae I have a 125G tank with appx 30g sump. I running a Berlin skimmer which works great. I use an ocean clear filter for mech.. with Phosguard to keep down my mysterious phos.. level.( no luck figuring out where it's coming from.) <Foods likely, possibly the substrate> Nitrate level is about 6ppm. pH is 8.6 with buffer and calcium added as needed. temp is 80f (chiller). I using 3 175w MH 10000k with 2 40w Actinics. I have a center overflow with a return on each side, with a oscillator so I have great water flow. Between the ocean clear and the trickle filter I have appx. 1200 GPH. I have this red algae growing that I can't get rid of. It looks like someone spray painted my live rock maroon! My snails don't touch it nor the emerald crabs or tangs. Its slowly overtaking all my live rock. I worried if I do anything drastic my corals will suffer and if I don't they will. <Possibly... this is assuredly a Blue Green "Algae", aka Cyanobacteria... Please read over the sections on our site covering its biology and control: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> Sorry for the long e-mail, but information is power. I got e-mail off the WetWebMedia site. thanks <I understand. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Slime Algae I have a lot of green slime algae in my tank. What's the best way to get rid of it? <Please read through the following and the related areas on our site: http://wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm Bob Fenner>

180 Gallon with some problems Hello Mr. Fenner; I received a copy of your book and I just love it. You have written it in such a witty way that you captivate the reader and all they want to do is continue reading until done the book. I am on my second reading as of this date. Thank you for a fantastic reference material. <Thank you for your kind words... I do hope to have other such print opportunities to develop concepts, "massage" people to understanding, help open them to their awareness of "mere aquariums" and themselves> If you will remember, about a month ago I wrote about a Koran Angel with HLLE. Since then, I have been adding Selcon to his food every other day. I have grounded the tank with a probe. I have just now connected a Reef Concepts 830 skimmer and I am getting a tremendous amount of foam.  <All of this will help reverse the HLLE as you will see> I have 8 36" NO florescent bulbs, two of which are actinics. I have a 40 watt UV and two 350 canister filters, an Aqua Clear 500 box filter and a FB900 Fluidized Bed filter. I am currently running about 5 oz carbon. SG is 1.023, temp is 80 degrees. Ammonia, Nitrite are at zero. Nitrates are at 20 ppm. I only have 10 lbs live rock in a 180 gallon tank but I am going to purchase a box or two when I can afford it., (Usual reefer problem, too many ideas, too little money). <Yes, and good idea> The tank has about 2 1/2 inches of crush coral gravel and I run a 55 gallon Brute for a sump. I have the above mentioned Koran who is about 4 inches now, a 5 inch Naso Tang, two Banggai Cardinals, a Coral Beauty, a Poor (smart) Man's Moorish Idol and a Bi-Colour Dottyback. All fish are doing great and the Koran seems to be getting better. The holes in his face are filling in but the colour is not returning. Will the color return later?  <Yes, this takes time> Also, I am having a tremendous problem with red hair algae. This stuff grows all over everything. It can grow two or three inches a day. I siphon it off the rocks and vacuum the gravel but within two days, its back again just as bad, if not worse. I am completing 20 gallon water changes on a weekly basis but would like to lower this to every second week. I will not do this however while I have the algae problem.  <More live rock and the addition of macro algae (greens and/or reds) will eliminate this algae problem... over a few weeks time> I use RO water for water changes and makeup water. I use Marine Buffer and Reef Builder when my Pin Point PH monitor and KH test kit indicate their requirement. PH is currently at 8.24, KH is at 12 dkh. I add Molybdenum?, <Molybdenum> Strontium and Iodine weekly as per dosage recommendations. The tank has been set up for three months. Is this just a phase the tank is going through? <To some degree... though "it" will/would "balance" more in your favor more quickly with the additional live rock, macrophytes...> Could you recommend where I need to look to reduce nutrients. <You are doing fine... obvious from your writing you are aware and becoming more so... as to inputs, results from your actions, non-actions. I wouldn't be overly concerned about what you have currently.> Oh, I feed the fish three times a day, at 12 noon, 5 pm and 9 pm as much as they can eat in two minutes each. Sorry for the long (book) explanation but I think more information rather then not enough is better. Please, any information would be appreciated. I have searched WetWeb but I didn't find anything specific to red hair algae. <Most all of this/these are actually Blue Green Algae, aka Cyanobacteria. Please go back and read over the article and faqs on this group, and their control in captive systems> Thank you again for your great patience and your dedication to this wonderful hobby. Please keep up the good work. <I will try my friend. Bob Fenner> Your reefing friend Rick

What else-Cyanobacteria! Mr. Fenner, I have a FO tank and my LFS said its not easy to keep live rock in my tank so I've never got any.  <Hmm, I wonder why it's "not easy"...> You don't see any problems with having live rock? <Given minimal lighting, filtration, circulation... that are requisite, desirable for fish only systems as well, no> What kind do I get and are there any special measures to take with live rock? Thank You sir! <Please see the www.WetWebMedia.com site on "Live Rock" and the many FAQs files, "Curing", "Selection"... for much more here. Bob Fenner>
What else-Cyanobacteria!
I looked through your articles and really learned a lot about Cyanobacteria. <More than we have wanted...> The problem is finding out the causes of it.  <Life. Opportune situations, as listed...> I have a 150g FO tank and its one and a half years old. I never have a problem with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or ph. I do water changes once a month and I use r/o water. I have a aqua U.V. sterilizer and an oceanic protein skimmer in my sump. My lights are 2 Coralife 50/50 and 2 Coralife 10,000k. I have good water movement in my tank and I have 2 four inch long air stones. I can't test for phosphate because I use r/o water.  <Hmm? Surely you can... in your system water.> I have had Cyanobacteria now for about 2 months. I clean it out all the time but it just keeps coming back! Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated-you're the best-Thanks, Kevin Ballard <Please read over the "Cyanobacteria/BGA" materials stored on the WWM site again (use the Google Search feature). You likely could use some new/replacement live rock, macro-algae, improved circulation/aeration, perhaps a change in foods/feeding... Many possibilities are listed. Bob Fenner>

The ever bothersome BGA Hi Mr. Fenner, <Lorenzo Gonzalez here, Mr. Fenner is 'indisposed', probably swimming about in clear Asian waters whilst I'm stuck in the Detroit Rust Belt>
I've written you a couple of times about my problems with Cyanobacteria. I've done what you told me to regarding the circulation, Caulerpa, etc. However, now I have an orange-yellow looking substance growing all over my tank. This on top of the red Cyanobacteria is only getting worse. Any suggestions?
<If you already have plenty of circulation, no overfeeding 'habits', good quality lighting, (no 'uncontrolled' or intermittent sunlight from a window), and a healthy population of Caulerpa competing with the lesser algae for available nutrients... then it's time to have your water tested for phosphates, nitrates, other organics. If you find these pollutants in your usual water supply, you'll want to start a rapid, frequent water change program, with known-good water, to reduce them in your system. -Lorenzo>

Algae... Bob, First off, thank you for all of your valuable insight and prompt replies. I am sure you spend many waking hours helping hobbyists like myself, with nothing in return. You are indeed "conscientious" about all aspects of this hobby we cherish so much. <Thank you my friend> My latest problem is one of the dreaded hair & Cyanobacteria. This tank is approx 8 months old, has mostly "aragocrete" man made rock (200+lbs), with a top layer (~80lbs) of LR. There is a good amount of hair algae gaining a good foothold on the aragocrete, and some patches on the LR. The first algae to show up were brown & slimy (diatoms?).  <Likely, yes> Next came a bright green algae. As this began to fade, Corallines began to spot the aragocrete. I was elated! But now this. The tank was filled with RO water, but subsequent changes have been with aged tap water. Circulation is possibly suspect, only about 3-4 times/hour.  <This should be increased> Nitrates/Phosphates/Silicates are quite possibly present, but I don't have a test kit for them. <I would, for the first two> I did purchase some phosphate absorber (absorber?) but it didn't really seem to help much.  <Most do not work...> My lighting (2-3W/g) cycle is 14 hrs and mostly in the actinic range, in hopes to speed the coralline growth while keeping other algae to a minimum. I have a fair amount of Caulerpas in a refugium connected, and many, many snails (previous email about snails reproducing in my tank), I do water changes (5% bi-monthly to weekly- 300g tank!) and use a skimmer (cleaned frequently) and add some activated carbon for a couple of days here and there. I frequently scrape the front glass in an attempt to convince the snails to peruse the rock more, but I am concerned because today I noticed a large amount of minute cope/decapods on the glass. I am killing many of them by scraping the glass? Will dislodging them by scraping harm them much? This is the first time I have noticed a 'pod population at all, so I am hesitant to scrape the glass... <I would still scrape the glass panels you look through...> What to do? <Increase circulation, use chemical filtrants more regularly, test for the principal nutrients which are nitrates and phosphates, and perhaps boost alkalinity, increase photosynthesis over your Caulerpa... Bob Fenner> There is obviously an excess of nutrients, and I assume this type of cycling is a somewhat normal part of the progression towards a "balanced" tank, although mine isn't as natural as other systems may be. Am I to be reassured that the ever equalizing factor - time will make things right here? I hope so, but any other avenues you recommend will gladly be pursued. Thanks once again. <Time will help... as will more real live rock...> Mike Berrett

Confused about Cyano Hi Bob, Hope all is well. <Yes my friend, thank you> I have been battling Cyanobacteria in my 60G tank for a couple months now. It started off as brown diatoms on both the walls and sand, then after I started using phosphate remover, the diatoms turned green. It's kind of sticky and when I use a credit card to scrap it off, it forms into a silk like film. <Yes... very persistent life forms> I have been religiously scraping the stuff off everyday and netting it out. However every time, it grows back, almost instantly within the hour, the green stuff starts aggregating along the substrate line, and then crawls up the walls etc. My questions is, if Cyano is a result of too much organic compound, then should I plan on upgrading my skimmer? My BakPak is pulling dark green smelly stuff out (1/4 cup a day) but there are times I notice it's not pulling anything out. <Upgrading the skimmer may be a good idea... and a few other approaches, improvements in addition... Oh, I see below that you've been where I was going to send you on WWM...> Also I learn from your web site the benefits of keeping macro-algae in refugiums, would that be a better alternative? Or should I change carbon more often (currently changing weekly)? Am also using the Kent PolyOx but doesn't seem to do anything for a week now. <Do look about the WWM site a bit more... the "Algae" and "Algae Control", particularly the "BGA/Cyano" areas you need to go over> My parameters are: - 60G reef with 45lbs LR - BakPak 2 skimmer, HOT Magnum for carbon (12 hours a day) <Leave this on continuously> - 3x65W PC light (originally 4x65 but decided to take one out due to HUGE electric bill) - 600 GPH powerheads combined, 5% water change weekly with Reef Crystal - PH=8.0, NO3=5-7ppm, dKH=7.5-8, PO4<0.03, Salinity 1.023, Ca 400ppm. - 1 yellow tang, 1 flame angel, 3 damsels, and 1 golden head goby - corals: flowerpot, hammer, leather, clams, bubble Sorry about the long email, but am running out of ideas :( <No worries... I'm not. Do add the live macro-algae... and read over the areas suggested. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> THANKS! Brian

Confused about Cyano >Hi Bob, >Hope all is well. ><Yes my friend, thank you> >I have been battling Cyanobacteria in my 60G tank for a couple months  >now. It started off as brown diatoms on both the walls and sand,  >then after I started using phosphate remover, the diatoms turned  >green. It's kind of sticky and when I use a credit card to scrap it  >off, it forms into a silk like film. ><Yes... very persistent life forms> >I have been religiously scraping the stuff off everyday and netting  >it out. However every time, it grows back, almost instantly within  >the hour, the green stuff starts aggregating along the substrate  >line, and then crawls up the walls etc. >My questions is, if Cyano is a result of too much organic compound,  >then should I plan on upgrading my skimmer? My BakPak is pulling  >dark green smelly stuff out (1/4 cup a day) but there are times I  >notice it's not pulling anything out. ><Upgrading the skimmer may be a good idea... and a few other  >approaches, improvements in addition... Oh, I see below that you've  >been where I was going to send you on WWM...> >Also I learn from your web site the benefits of keeping macro-algae  >in refugiums, would that be a better alternative? Or should I change  >carbon more often (currently changing weekly)? Am also using the  >Kent PolyOx but doesn't seem to do anything for a week now. ><Do look about the WWM site a bit more... the "Algae" and "Algae  >Control", particularly the "BGA/Cyano" areas you need to go over> >My parameters are: >- 60G reef with 45lbs LR >- BakPak 2 skimmer, HOT Magnum for carbon (12 hours a day) ><Leave this on continuously> >- 3x65W PC light (originally 4x65 but decided to take one out due to  >HUGE electric bill) >- 600 GPH powerheads combined, 5% water change weekly with Reef  >Crystal >- PH=8.0, NO3=5-7ppm, dKH=7.5-8, PO4<0.03, Salinity 1.023, Ca  >400ppm. >- 1 yellow tang, 1 flame angel, 3 damsels, and 1 golden head goby >- corals: flowerpot, hammer, leather, clams, bubble >Sorry about the long email, but am running out of ideas :( ><No worries... I'm not. Do add the live macro-algae... and read over  >the areas suggested. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> >THANKS! Brian Thanks Bob. Given that I have a yellow tang, will I be able to grow either Halimeda or Caulerpa? Or should I setup a refugium? <You can grow both in both places... the Yellow tang may eat some of it, particularly Caulerpa species... this will be good for it. Bob Fenner> Brian

Advice (Cyano) Hi Mr. Fenner, Last time I wrote, I was having problems with my nitrate. Gladly, they have now reduced to zero. However, I still have a huge problem with Cyanobacteria. I have added 2 powerheads to circulate the water, and also added a phosphate sponge. I know I need to add some Caulerpa, and eventually that will happen. Here are my questions: When I get the Caulerpa, how do I introduce it.. Do I stick it in my substrate, or can it cling to some live rock? <Good to try both. Some propensity by species and collected conditions for both habitats... by species.> Next, can the Cyanobacteria that is taking over my tank hurt my fish? <Yes... too much, too vigorous, or killed off too quickly can be big trouble for all your livestock> I don't have any inverts, but I really would like to go ahead and get some.. Do you recommend this? OR should I wait until the Cyanobacteria is under control? <If it's "not that bad" I would go ahead with the invertebrate stocking... this action may help rid the BGA> Last question, I have a Niger trigger that has been in my 30 gal. for a year. He is very peaceful and doesn't hurt my damsels. Will he have to go when the Caulerpa/coral/polyps come? <Yikes... too likely on the non-Caulerpa... in a thirty gallon? Too small. Bob Fenner> As always, thank you so much for your expert advice! Kent Krupicka

Owner from hell is back :) (induced algae troubles) Hi Bob.. In this document I will try to be as complete as possible about the my reef system, its operation and components, and of course, the problems I am experiencing.. Hope it makes sense to you, and helps you make sense to me.. The Tank & Equipment: The tank is an older (20 years+?) 30 gallon Triton Plexiglas unit of dimensions: 36"w, 16"h, 10"d (Note this picture was taken shortly after I had torn-down the tank the last time. I removed the rock and scrubbed it with brushes to remove algae, and then reset everything. This was on January 21st of this year. I have built my own light hood to accommodate an IceCap 660 and four 24" VHO lamps, two each actinic, and 50/50. The ballast is operated with a Solar 1000 dimmer, with a "moon light" using a 40W blue tinted incandescent bulb. There is a fan above the IceCap blowing air into the light hood, and down across the tank to aid in aeration.. n This is the top of the lite hood showing the fan and dimmer unit. (Notice the full length mirror behind the tank - you'll see it again. n This is a shot with the hood open, showing the IceCap mounted on one side of the board, with the four Lites on the underneath side.. there is about 4" clearance from the top of the tank to the bottom of the Lites (I hope you see this.. if not, let me know and I'll do a better job of taking the pics J. I use a BakPak II skimmer hanging off the back, behind the light hood. n This is a shot looking down at the skimmer over the top of the tank. (reflected in the mirror). n Here's another shot under the hood, to show the layout, and air space, etc.. You see the skimmer at the back, and the inlet and outlet lines for the Kalk reactor on the left side.. I have recently (December 21, 2001) added a Korallin calcium reactor. n The reactor sets on the floor (on a tray) with the CO2 tank (along with various other tank paraphernalia. Natural filtration is provided with a live sandbed over a plenum (ala Bob Goemans). The sandbed consists of 80# of CaribSea #0020 and 20# of "live sand" from IPSF in Hawaii. n Here's a full shot of the system, mirror and all…on water change day… Tank History The tank was restarted as a reef tank on June 4, 1999. Torn down, scrubbed and reset three times so far, the last being January this year.  Inhabitants I have a fairly screwed up mix at the moment … with a couple of starter corals from GARF, still on the plugs waiting for the algae to subside for permanent placement… The oldest occupants are a group of corallimorph and a group of Euphyllia glabrescens, both added September 1999. The corallimorphs are similar to Ricordea or Actinodiscus. Most are still around, and they have never multiplied.  <This is telling> During one of the tear downs and rearrangements, I inverted their rock and apparently pissed them off royally, and most let go - some still floating around the tank occasionally. I have two of them in a plastic cup setting on the sand, and seemingly doing well.. The Euphyllia lost some of its group shortly after it's introduction to the tank - mostly while I was away for the month of October following their introduction leaving my 19 yr old daughter to keep the tank filled, and the skimmer cleaned, of, well.. in all two of the original seven heads are still kicking.  On February 12, 2000 I added a green (morph of brown) star polyp. It has spread to the substrate and surrounding rock from time to time, and there are a couple of fragments attached in other places, hanging on to life, possibly a new polyp or two on the fringes… March 8, 2000 - added a Clown: Amphiprion Ocellaris, young adult. I had hoped it would acclimate to the Euphyllia, but instead it preferred the corallimorphs!!.. a strange site to see, and the corallimorphs hated it!.. In October 2000, the tank looked the best ever, the previous "ciliated protozoa" plague I had was gone, so I added some more soft corals.. A Sinularia,, Yellow Sarcophyton and a mushroom anemone rock..  On November 21, 2000, I decided the A. Ocellaris needed a mate, so I found another young adult A. Ocellaris to bring home. They are both doing fine, and have definitely paired up.  At this point in time I began to come down with the current algae plague, and added some additional critters from GARF along with an Acropora and a pocilloporid.. All are still there in one form or another.. The Acropora has broken off a couple of pieces that I have glued to rock, and are still alive… I have tried on two different occasions to add a yellow tang to eat the hair algae, but both died at about 20-24hrs in the tank. I later added a purple tang, and he lasted three days before succumbing. I have also tried a rainfordi goby, but lost sight of him after two days.. presumed dead.  <Whatever is "causing" the chemical quality of your water (the substrate, additives, and/or biota... and favoring the types of algae (actually Blue Greens/Cyanobacteria)... this is unpalatable to most algae eating organisms, and produces toxins that Zebrasoma are quite sensitive to> The (routine) Maintenance Note: When I began the tank originally I used distilled water for all water needs, water changes as well as make-ups. Now (as of 2/13/01) I have switched over to RO/DI water from the local vending machine. <Much better... this may be an important clue... some" things" may have been missing from your water to promote the growth, health of true algae, other photosynthates> I have run a basic set of water tests on it, and no (detectable) phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, etc.. and at .25 gal, it's a lot cheaper than distilled …and there was no change in the tank, good or bad, from before, so I think we're Ok with it. A 5g water change is made about once a month, sometimes more when the tank is particularly ugly and I go in and suck out algae just to try and pretend I can get ahead of it… Daily top-off water is made up from one gallon of RO/DI water containing 1ml each SeaChem KI, SrCl and 2 ml ESV Bionic Mg solution. The tank will use 1 - 2 quarts a day. I have never been able to measure any quantifiable amount of Iodine in my system (last checked .. 2/11/01 (Hmm.. way over due to check again.. I like to check it about once a month, as a routine with other things.. but looks like my system has failed..) At that time Iodine was still not-detected, and Strontium was at 3mg/l - both using Salifert tests. <Another useful clue perhaps... where is this halide going that you can't detect it?> I use GAC sparingly, 3 Tbls at a time, replaced every 60-90 days. I also use SeaChem PhosGuard in about the same amount .. <You should discontinue this use... your system can likely use any soluble phosphate... it is not fueling the BGA growth> Current state I should point out that last weekend I torn down the Korallin completely because the effluent was only about 15-20 dKH, and found that the medium was filled with a super fine grit.. assumed it was clogging the flow of things and cleaned the media very well, and set it back up again.. The tank KH has gone from ~7 to ~10, and the Ca has risen from 340 to 420 mg/l <Yikes, talk about wanting to do what you can for a system and having incompatibility troubles...> The current chemistry today is: DKH - 10 Ca++ 420 mg/l PO4/NO2/NO3/NH4 == 0 (with my test kits) The animals are funked up, not really happy.. hair algae is running rampant, but some places manage to remain clear.. somehow?..  <Yes... another clue... very entrenched BGA colonies poisoning other species...> In the last couple of weeks I have: n Moved the skimmer intake line to above the tank to avoid redrawing in CO2 blown off from the tank n Moved the lite board out from the lite hood about an inch to provide more direct air flow across the top of the tank - it has increased evaporation dramatically from 1+ qt a day to 2+qts a day.. Here's a fw shots of the ugliness: n Here the Yellow leather coral and the Xenia "survive" amongst the algae hoard. Notice the sponge on the right side.. an interesting creature I must say.. been around for about a year now…maybe more.. n Here's the Sinularia and a small group of zoanthids I forgot about.. n Here's the A. Ocellaris pair and their host Euphyllia, with the mushroom rock below.  n Here's the loose corallimorphs in the front cup, and a loose zoanthid in the other.. Notice the pump in the back corner covered with the algae.. This algae has a preponderance of loose crap floating around all the time.. when ever it is disturbed a plume of this loose hair moves into the water column. As such, the pumps gets covered in a matter of a day or two.. <Well, much to say/state here... none of it easily confirmed or described... In this very small system (thirty gallons minus displacement), "certain" life forms have conspired with your efforts at manipulating water chemistry and physics to "make your system their own"... through allelopathogenic activity (much the same as certain terrestrial plants producing toxic materials to prevent other plant species from germinating under, around them...)... There are a few approaches to "straightening out" your situation... none of them pleasant or easy... I'll mention a few and we can expand from here: first off, please do read through all the sections, including FAQs on Marine Algae, Control... on the www.WetWebMedia.com site. You can either try to: 1) Selectively poison the BGA (there are erythromycin, other material products on the pet-fish market to do this... follow their directions explicitly should you go this generally last-suggested route). A good idea to remove your fishes, increase aeration should you try this. 2) Overwhelm the current pest cyano with other more-desirable life forms... utilizing new live rock (lots of it)... maybe changing out the substrate that makes up the plenum as well. 3) Change substantially the make up of your system (lighting, heating, circulation, the supplement mix...) 4) Seek out the "something" that is allowing the poisoning (missing magnesium? Whatever is uptaking your iodide?) and cure this problem, influence... Myself, I would do all of these in your case. Bob Fenner>

Re: Entrenched BGA Tank/Trouble Hi Bob.. Apparently I got the thing over.. :) Thanks for going through it with me... >At that time Iodine was still not-detected, and Strontium was at  >3mg/l ? both using Salifert tests. ><Another useful clue perhaps... where is this halide going that you  >can't detect it?> Well... good question.. the algae? <<Who knows?>> >I use GAC sparingly, 3 Tbls at a time, replaced every 60-90 days. >I also use SeaChem PhosGuard in about the same amount .. ><You should discontinue this use... your system can likely use any  >soluble phosphate... it is not fueling the BGA growth> Ok... Phosguard out.. and leaving the GAC in, yes?.. Is 3 Tbls of GAC a good amount here (1 Tbls per 10 gal).. ?? <<Change the GAC out every month>> >Current state >I should point out that last weekend I torn down the Korallin  >completely because the effluent was only about 15-20 dKH, and found  >that the medium was filled with a super fine grit.. assumed it was  >clogging the flow of things and cleaned the media very well, and set  >it back up again.. The tank KH has gone from ~7 to ~10, and the Ca  >has risen from 340 to 420 mg/l ><Yikes, talk about wanting to do what you can for a system and  >having incompatibility troubles...> Story of my life :) <<Hopefully not your swan song>> >The animals are funked up, not really happy.. hair algae is running  >rampant, but some places manage to remain clear.. somehow?.. ><Yes... another clue... very entrenched BGA colonies poisoning other  >species...> Could this also be a reason that the Ph is staying low... (7.8 dawn - 8.1 dusk) <<Absolutely>> >This algae has a preponderance of loose crap floating around all the  >time.. >when ever it is disturbed a plume of this loose hair moves into the  >water column. As such, the pumps gets covered in a matter of a day  >or two.. ><Well, much to say/state here... none of it easily confirmed or  >described... In this very small system (thirty gallons minus  >displacement), "certain" life forms have conspired with your efforts  >at manipulating water chemistry and physics to "make your system  >their own"... through allelopathogenic activity (much the same as  >certain terrestrial plants producing toxic materials to prevent  >other plant species from germinating under, around them...)... There  >are a few approaches to "straightening out" your situation... none  >of them pleasant or easy... I'll mention a few and we can expand  >from here: first off, please do read through all the sections,  >including FAQs on Marine Algae, Control... on the  >www.WetWebMedia.com site. You can either try to: >1) Selectively poison the BGA (there are erythromycin, other  >material products on the pet-fish market to do this... follow their  >directions explicitly should you go this generally last-suggested  >route). A good idea to remove your fishes, increase aeration should  >you try this. I think I'd just a soon start from scratch again as do this..:) But maybe worth a last ditch effort before tossing the tank ... <<Yikes>> >2) Overwhelm the current pest cyano with other more-desirable life  >forms... utilizing new live rock (lots of it)... maybe changing out  >the substrate that makes up the plenum as well. It's not clear to me that I could get much more in the tank and still keep water flowing around and through it :)... And don't I need to worry about keeping as much of the sand exposed as possible for the plenum to succeed? <<The sand in a plenum need not be exposed>> >3) Change substantially the make up of your system (lighting,  >heating, circulation, the supplement mix...) Lighting changes would be somewhat difficult, but I didn't think I could do much better (other than maybe adding a MH or such, yes?)  <<No, just check the inception dates on your lamps>> I've moved the heater recently from the skimmer return, to within the tank (just keeping better flow in the skimmer).. I've recently changed configuration of the two Rio 600's to both set on the bottom and circulate water up to the top and across the front area of the tank, to give better CO2 out-gas, and O2 intake :).. I have discontinued all supplements since before I left.. and now I will recheck levels, it's been three weeks.. What else might you suggest? <<A bigger system>> >4) Seek out the "something" that is allowing the poisoning (missing  >magnesium? Whatever is uptaking your iodide?) and cure this problem,  >influence... With as little real life in the tank, outside the BGA bloom of course, I don't really now where or how to go about this.. For whatever reason, I assume it is possible that the substrate has become a chemical sink of sorts and is doing bad things, etc... <<You are likely very correct here>> Is it possible it gets it from our environment? The tank is close to the kitchen area and does get some of the odors/fumes from the cooks stove at times.. <<Very remote>> >Myself, I would do all of these in your case. Bob Fenner> Looks like I will start heading things that way..... I'll read the FAQ on the website and see what pops out, etc.... <<You won't be disappointed... put lots of paper in your printer... a large pot of chai or java... your pick... or none at all>> If I do go ahead and change out the substrate as well as the rock, do you think I can keep the corals that survive by scrubbing off their rocks, etc. and putting back into the new setup? <<Yes>> What should I not try to keep from the old system if I restart things? <<The BGA, much of the water... Bob Fenner>>
Re: Entrenched BGA Tank/Trouble
>>1) Selectively poison the BGA (there are erythromycin, other  >>material >>products on the pet-fish market to do this... follow their  >>directions >>explicitly should you go this generally last-suggested route). A  >>good >>idea to remove your fishes, increase aeration should you try this. >I think I'd just a soon start from scratch again as do this..:) But  >maybe >worth a last ditch effort before tossing the tank ... ><<Yikes>> I meant for a different (i.e., larger) tank... I've tossed this around at times, but rearranging the furniture for a new tank, and all the other general goodies, like making another light hood (if the replacement tank doesn't have an adequate hood for the IceCap setup, etc..) , has kept me from making the jump. The little 30g long has fit into our living space just fine (except for it's eye soreness at the moment) <<<Just very hard to manage smaller systems>>> >>2) Overwhelm the current pest cyano with other more-desirable life >>forms... utilizing new live rock (lots of it)... maybe changing out  >>the >>substrate that makes up the plenum as well. >It's not clear to me that I could get much more in the tank and  >still keep >water flowing around and through it :)... >And don't I need to worry about keeping as much of the sand exposed  >as >possible for the plenum to succeed? ><<The sand in a plenum need not be exposed>> Well, that will make a difference :).. Bob Goemans has brain washed me otherwise.. and I've always tried very hard to keep my rock up and above the substrate as much as possible.. <<<Believe what you will till experience changes your mind>>> >>3) Change substantially the make up of your system (lighting,  >>heating, >>circulation, the supplement mix...) >Lighting changes would be somewhat difficult, but I didn't think I  >could >do much better (other than maybe adding a MH or such, yes?) ><<No, just check the inception dates on your lamps>> Oh, the lamps are now 6 months old, and I will begin methodically replacing them soon, the Niche Engineering guy suggested changing one bulb at a time (say one a month) and smooth out the shock of new lites vs old, etc.. and then you don't have to fiddle with your on time, or power levels, etc.. <<<Sounds good>>> >What else might you suggest? ><<A bigger system>> I'm on the horns of this dilemma now.. thinking about it before making any major change outs in the tank <<<Good>>> >>4) Seek out the "something" that is allowing the poisoning (missing >>magnesium? Whatever is uptaking your iodide?) and cure this  >>problem, >>influence... >With as little real life in the tank, outside the BGA bloom of  >course, I >don't really now where or how to go about this.. For whatever  >reason, I >assume it is possible that the substrate has become a chemical sink  >of >sorts and is doing bad things, etc... ><<You are likely very correct here>> As such, I guess I need to toss all of the substrate... not reuse any of it, yes? <Or at least "bleach, acid wash it"... protocol on the WWM site>>> What do you suggest for plenum systems? I've liked the plenum for what it did.. no Nitrogen detectable, just a skimmer for filtration, and some power heads moving the water around.. seems simple enough... now, of course, there's the Kalk reactor too.. oh, well... :) <<<All these issues detailed to an extent on our site>>> I'll read the FAQ on the website and see what pops out, etc.... <<<Good idea>>> ><<You won't be disappointed... put lots of paper in your printer...  >a >large pot of chai or java... your pick... or none at all>> I already had your pages bookmarked, so am back into it in depth again :) <<<I'm with you>>> >If I do go ahead and change out the substrate as well as the rock,  >do you >think I can keep the corals that survive by scrubbing off their  >rocks, etc. >and putting back into the new setup? ><<Yes>> Cool... I just have to keep everything alive until I get the rest figured out and ordered... <<<Shouldn't be too difficult>>> >What should I not try to keep from the old system if I restart  >things? ><<The BGA, much of the water... Bob Fenner>> Should I try to strip the tank down to the walls and clean it out with a lite bleach solution to guarantee the BGA is gone.. should I do the same with the power heads, skimmer, etc...??? <<<Yes>>> Bob, thanks again for keeping at this with me.. it ain't easy for either of us :) --chane <No worries my friend in fish. Bob Fenner>
Re: Entrenched BGA Tank/Trouble
Hi Bob.. Many thoughts that are racing around in my head as I try to assimilate all the data on your web site, and as well I am reading your book (conscientious aquarist) along with it.. maximum penetration :) <Wowzah... CA isn't it print yet... you mean CMarineA no doubt...> So, I'll try to collect my thoughts after I chew through this stuff for the next week or so, and come back at you with more, I'm sure :) BTW: I also have John Tullock's "Natural Reef Aquarium", and like some of his system setups.. Do you agree with most of his ideas.. or would I be best to avoid divergent information at this stage ? :) <Agree with most all of them. You have a good mind... commit yourself to understanding underlying principles... deciding for yourself. Bob Fenner> Again, many thanks, --chane <Life to you. Bob Fenner>

Algae Problem? (marine BGA) I have a question about a strange growth in my tank. I have some algae I believe, growing in patches on my live sand. Kind of a reddish brown color to it. I cleaned some out of my tank the other day. I was picking it up and taking out of tank. Like peeling dead skin. It is regrowing though as I clean it out. What is it? Should I be concerned? How do I get rid of? Thanks! <Very likely a variety or more of Blue Green Algae (BGA), aka Cyanobacteria (though comes in many colors, shapes, sizes...) and yes to be concerned as to causes more than material... but still can be more than just unsightly... as in toxic. Please read through the "Algae", "BGA" and "BGA Control" sections on the Marine section of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more here. Bob Fenner>

brown rust (never sleeps) mystery hi my name is Pam my ? is I have this rusty looking stuff growing all in my tank on everything also the glass it just looks like rust on everything we have had this salt tank for 3 years 37 gallons with one long spike porcupine puffer in it and we have a top water filter it is a bio wheel and a bottom filter also a power head that is hooked to the power head, we have had this problem ever since we set up this tank no matter what we do it always comes back after we complete take it down and clean it also when we do complete water changes it comes back within 3 to 4 weeks we have tried things that the local pet stores recommended with no success also the entire time we have had the tank we have never ever had any algae grow in this tank can you explain that , even when we have gotten plugs from another tank that was covered with green algae and put it in our tank it never grows. this rusty stuff is a really big problem for us and has almost won we are thinking of quitting because we are tried of fighting this thing and constantly having to complete remove everything from the tank and clean it out at least every to 4 months or this just complete covers everything in the tank including the glass. PLEASE HELP, Pam- thanks <Interesting... this may be a case of your having "something" (likely part of the decor or substrate, maybe your source water...) that is effecting the ability of the algae (which should grow... even produce some that is green in color) to grow... And it would be great to take a look at this "rusty" material under a microscope. I would do a few things here: check out your lighting, likely increase it, add a protein skimmer, add some live rock... and have someone from a local fish store or "advanced" hobbyist friend come by and check out your set-up entirely... It's under-filtered, likely under-aerated/circulated... but there is a not-so-obvious anomaly otherwise which is resulting in your "rust"... Please do read through the "Set-Up", "Gear" sections posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com here... Bob Fenner>
Re: brown rust
hi bob I would be glad to send you something out of my tank with this rusty stuff on it if you want me to and about the substrate it is crushed coral and then we have some rock that was live 2 years ago but we killed it out because we thought it was diseased so it is dead rock and then just some fake plants their is nothing live in our tank except the one puffer, so what size of filter do we get for 37 gallons? <Perhaps one of the CPR hang ons with a skimmer as part of it... see their link cprusa.com here... and do consider adding some new live rock (for sure) to the newly refurbished system... This step will overwhelm the "rust" and help you to keep this system clean and water quality optimized and stable...> and what is a reasonable priced shimmer ? <A hundred dollars or so... as part of a filtration unit> and it seems like the more we run the lighting the worse the rust gets but this might not be so it just seems like it used to be that way so we only turn it on for a few hours in the evening. <Yes... as I say, maybe just opportunistic diatoms, maybe a type of blue-green algae... Have you read over the "Algae" sections, and images, posted on our www.WetWebMedia.com site? Bob Fenner> thanks Pam

Porites! (Extreme Cyano) Hi Bob, I hope you can help me with this weird situation with Porites. <Porites> AT first it seems to be having Cyanobacteria growing, but I noticed after a week, there are more and halfway covered the entire colony. I have my protein skimmers, and ozone reactor full blast, all test are very good,  <Hmm, need specifics here...> but it's been a month and still fighting cyano, read everything on WWM how to deal with this but no luck, followed your advice reducing the co2 flow adding more powerheads, reduce feeding to once a day, reduce iodine additions to the tank, small frequent water change, clean detritus from the tank, blow the LR once in while for settling detritus (BTW for a 180gal, my water movement is 4000 gal plus per hour, but no luck.  <Wowzah... your system does sound like it is seriously gone sideways...> I almost thought of reducing my photoperiod from 12 hours to 10, but not sure if there are advantage.  <None in your situation> I did a little experiment I know that the ph of the RO and the outflow of the co2 and reactor is low pH (FYI reactor is 6.9effluent ph.) so I placed a 5gallon filled with Carib sea aragonite crushed corals, place a 1" x12" long pvc in the middle and let the outflow of RO/Careactor in the PVC so assuming a better ca/alk, but reducing O2 that goes to the sys and a better Redox reading. Results so far so good 300 Redox reading from 240 last week, but cyano seems to be hanging around. Thanks in advance! and hope everything is well and happy on your side. <Yes, thank you... This may be a "textbook" case that calls for the use... yes (gasp!) of antibiotic to render the system "more positive" initially.... Do read over the listservs, bb's... and consider administering Erythromycin (there are other products... many are this... just buy/use the material as stated...). With your skimming going full blast, not feeding for a day ahead... being ready to execute large water changes... with pre-made/stored water... and a system to move (quickly) your livestock to should there be a "collapse" of life sustainability. Bob Fenner, who will explain further if need be... and take the heat for diverting from his "typical" "don't use antibiotics to fight BGA"...>

Re: fish with no fins, algae and selection Dear Bob, Thank-you for the holistic advice , I used to read the Times from London on-line every day - now I find myself referring to your web page or your book more often ... <Not surprising... less sensationalistic, a whole lot more down to earth... and with saucy remarks, at least titles from time to time.> I do have more questions ... re the Blue Green Algae ( that is actually maroon - something I'm still trying to accept ! ) <Resistance is futile...> .. the local aquarium guy advised live sand and a sand sifting goby to help .. I realize that if this helps it will be shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted and will not attack the sauce of the problem ..  <Yes. Good for you> I was wondering if you thought that it would be worth dismantling the live rock and gravel I have to do this - or would purely "vacuuming' the stuff up with a siphon whist doing a water change will do just as well ? <Vacuuming will help... as would/will all the other suggestions posted on the BGA pieces on the WWM site> Also - any advice on a type of protein skimmer ? ( will the eclipse top be a problem with certain makes ? ) <Yes... all but the puny in-tank models... Read through the "Skimmer Selection FAQs" on the WWM site re other folks modifications of their Eclipse units> A new problem is that I now only have one Firefish and a prawn goby .. snails and a couple of tube anenomes .. and that my second ( and now last ) Firefish has his / her top fin missing ( the one that disappeared had this problem too - what is happening to their fins ? <Hmm, a predator in their midst? A bump in the night? A secondary microbial infection? Something missing nutritionally?...> I'd also like to get a few more fish .. its a 30 gallon tank with the two ( and by now maybe only one ) fish .. I was thinking along the lines of Percula clown fish , neon gobies and maybe one other singular fish ( and dwarf angel maybe ..) .. the perennial question is - will they all get along ? and how many should I have ? <Only a very small "dwarf", "dwarf" Centropyge... covered... you know where... the others are better choices> Thanks in anticipation of an enlightening reply, Regards, Jane. <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

The Algae is definitely winning the battle.....hopefully the war isn't over yet though.... Hello there, <Howdy> Thank you for your web site and all the useful information you provide. <You're welcome> I recently had a small outbreak of Red Slime Algae and treated it with a product called "RED SLIME REMOVER". It is manufactured/distributed by Ultra Life Reef Products. Have you heard of this product? <Yes.> Well, it cleared it up in two doses and I found it interesting that it looked and smelling like orange flavored Tang. <Um hmm> I continue to have serious problems with green/brown slimy, stringy algae (diatoms? or Cyanobacteria) on the glass and now it is all over the live rock. Any advice you can give me on this would be ENORMOUSLY appreciated as no one else seems to have any advice beyond what I have already been doing. Here is some background. Hardware: 35 gallon aquarium 50 gallon capacity Fluval canister filter containing: 1 Greenex packet (phosphate remover) (middle of canister) 2 packets of activated carbon (bottom of canister) 1 package of the Biomass rings (top of canister) 1 50 gallon capacity protein skimmer - the very basic $35 style that sits inside the tank and has a collection cup at the top. (I have been sure to change the wooden stones every 3 - 4 weeks) 1 10,000 bulb and 1 blue actinic bulb left on for 12 hours per day 1 oscillating power head Inhabitants: 40 pound of live rock (approx) several types of polyps 1 mandarin fish 1 Tang 1 Tomato Clown 1 Sea Anemone 1 arrow crab 2 cleaner shrimp (Lysmata grabhami) 3 snails 1 brain coral Maintenance Routines: I clean the glass on the tank once a week using a siphon to try to catch most of the algae that is removed. At this time I also end up adding approx 15 - 20 Liters of R.O. water that I purchase from my supermarket. The salinity of the tank is on the higher end 1.028 - 1.029 and the temperature I keep at about 74 degrees. All the inhabitants in the tank seem pretty happy and healthy. I have had to treat the tank a while ago with antibiotics which caused things to go crazy, <The same as the Ruby product...> but since then the water levels have stabilized. One thing I wonder is if a) my protein skimmer is good enough <Yes, in an established system... though a better one would be... better> and b) if the Fluval canister filters actually work. <Hmm, yes... it works.> One thing I have noticed when moving some rocks around while cleaning is that there is a substantial amount of debris that is on the rocks and in the gravel. Should the filter not be picking up this material?  <Not by itself... you would do well to add a couple of good size/volume/flow powerheads... in each corner.> I do not siphon the rocks in the bottom of the tank (aragonite) as I know that there are some 'creatures' in there that I want to keep around. <Ah, good> One other thing that may help. I had notice about 1 month ago that I had many little green and pink bristle type worms that were living in the aragonite as well as rotifers. (or copepods?) Lately I have not seen any of these creatures around and am concerned that this is an indicator that something is wrong. <Not really...> Finally, I feed the fish usually 1/2 or 1 cube of frozen food (alternating algae, brine etc.) a day or else a small pinch of dried. I feed the anemone usually 2 - 3 times a week - usually fresh Jumbo Prawn from the sea food store that I keep in my freezer. I cut off a section about 1/8 inch thick. Well, I could go on forever as I am sure most hobbyist could talk for hours about their tanks. I would really appreciate hearing from you and getting your comments. I must admit however I am bracing myself for the fact that I may have to spend some more $$$ on stepping up either my filtration or protein skimmer. Many thanks, Jennifer Ardiel <Sounds like a very nice system, and fear not, there are some simple, inexpensive "fixes" toward controlling these "Blue Green Algae/Cyanobacteria" (which is what this is...) please take the time to read over the parts of our website (www.WetWebMedia.com) on this topic and "Algae Control", "Use of Live Macro-Algae", "Algal Filtration", the associated FAQs files and any other links you find useful. We'll be talking. Bob Fenner>

Reddish brown algae Hello and thanks for your help, your efforts are very appreciated by my wife and I. <Glad to be here> We have a 45 gallon tank with 190 watts of power compacts. We are cycling the water to the turn of 600 gallons per hour. Protein skimming constantly with a CPR BakPak. Our tank has been set up six months and we have a moderate bioload including one Sailfin tang, 2 green Chromis, a hawkfish, a blue damsel, a bicolor blenny, 2 serpent stars, 2 cleaner shrimp, a yellow cucumber, numerous (20) snails, and about the same number of snails. Our corals are mainly the soft variety and some polyps all do well except our colt coral which rarely is extended but for three months has not shown signs of decline. That however is another subject. <Okay> The current problem is the massive development of this reddish brown algae covering everything... My Phosphates are not measurable with my test kit (shows 0), Nitrates are always about 5, PH about 8.2 calcium is low 400's. The only thing I have done differently about that time is I started using Liquid Calcium by KENT marine... Most of my PH and alkaline management is done with C-BALANCE or with Kent marine's Pro-Buffer dKH...In the last few months mainly the Pro-Buffer... Do you have any input on what is causing this stuff to grow and how I can eliminate its food source...I had tried Phosphate sponges in bags... doesn't seem to help maybe I am doing it wrong.. Thanks, Tim and Kirsten <A few to many things to state here... this Blue Green Algae/Cyanobacteria (don't let the color or appearance throw you) is likely due to a gradual change in conditions that "allow" these forms to become entrenched in captive systems... and can be "urged" slowly the other direction (to favor other life forms you desire) as easily... One principal action you can/should consider is the culture of Green macroalgae (especially the genera Caulerpa and Halimeda)... perhaps on some new/existing live rock in your tank (or better on a separate lit sump, or even one of CPR's new refugiums... hanging on your 45... But please do read through the sections on "Algal Filtration" and "BGA/Cyanobacteria" and associated FAQs pages archived on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com. Your BGA blues will soon be over. Bob Fenner>

ok, everyday I get up I have this red slimy algae . and this brown algae . I clean it everyday , and the next night its back , I have a phosphate sponge in the tank and I recently put it in there q day or so ago, I have some snails . not many so how can you get rid of it for good , I have 2 175 watt 10,000k bulbs and 2 actinics , 40 watt , and the tank is full of live rock , with coralline algae growing with the brown how do I get rid of it for good . < The forms of life you describe are likely "blue green algae" which are actually bacteria (Cyanobacteria)... They are best dealt with by creating conditions more favorable for other "more competitive" life forms... Consider increasing your aeration, and circulation... by directing powerheads at the worst spots.... By increasing your illumination (are your lamps old?) by using some purposeful macro-algae in your system... There are no real go-getter predators for the cyano, and no chemical means of control that are safe and effective... Bob Fenner>
Like the first question on January 24, I too have a dark red-brown / maroon  algae which rapidly grows in my 1.5 year old 45 gallon fish only tank. It  gets very bubbly and smothers the green algae which also tries to grow by  covering it like a mat. I've assumed that this is blue-green algae  (Cyanobacteria) and thus no scavengers would eat it. Is it instead  filamentous algae (real algae) such that a tang might eat it? I'm currently  combating it with a Precision Marine HOT-1 protein skimmer (since October),  three new small power heads for increased circulation, improved fluorescent  bulbs (a Life-Glo Full Sun and a Hamilton Actinic-Sun since November), and  routine use of a couple of PolyFilter pads in my canister filter (which  brought the nitrate down from 25 to 6 ppm over four months and its still  coming down). I also have a Fluval 403 filled with BioChem beads and stars,  and a Fluval 103 filled with carbon and the PolyFilter, in addition to a 15 w  UV sterilizer. I change 20% of the water every month. Phosphate is about  1.25 ppm which I assume is my main problem. I've tried Kent Marine Phosphate  Sponge without too much luck so far, but I'm trying more. I have three fish,  a Heniochus acuminatus (which has grown from 2 to 6 inches in a year), a  three spot angle (Apolemichthys trimaculatus, 3 inches, eating great) and one  of my original blue damsels (2 inches). Does this sound like I am at fish  capacity? Would you recommend an ozonizer for the Venturi of the HOT-1 and  if so can you suggest a model? Sorry for the long question but I've been meaning to write for some time.  Your book is both highly informative and very inspirational; thanks so much  for writing it. Best regards, Joel Hawkins < Thank you for writing. And so well. This sounds like a very nice, and not too crowded set up (wish I had the opportunity to photograph your angel).  I'd almost bet what you have is indeed a Cyanobacteria... It's actually not too hard to discern this with an inexpensive microscope... I really like those new "play" ones made by (I think) Mattel and Intel... the two "tels"? Have seen them in the big-box toy resellers and Costco... Cyanobacteria/blue-green algae lack nuclei and other visible organelles (like the plasmids called chloroplasts) which "real algae" (Thallophytes) do have... Now, getting rid of, or controlling it... there are no "brand X" organisms to recommend that will for sure consume any given species, mix of blue greens... Added aeration, circulation definitely does help (directing a powerhead has been known to work wonders), as does limiting critical nutrients (as in your seeking to absorb phosphates with chemical filtrant)... and use of skimmers... Additionally, I encourage you to "fight fire with fire"... in this case, do consider utilizing a macro-algae (right in your tank, or a sump/refugium)... Just some Halimeda or Caulerpa species can accomplish an attack on a few important fronts... using up nutrients better than the blue green, blocking light, and yes, producing allelopathogens (a long word, for sure), chemicals that limit the growth, reproduction of the cyano...  Bob Fenner, who thanks you for your kind words of encouragement as well>

red velvet algae I have a 75 gallon D.A.S. tank that has been running for about 3 years. in about the past 5 months I have had a major problem with red velvet algae. I have tried everything from water changes to cleanup crews to get it out, nothing so far. I was told to put in some tangs to eat, but that it would take m months if not years to eat it all up. any suggestions would be great on eliminating this. I have also changed thought maybe the bulbs needed changing but they are only about 3 months old. < Agree with you about the lighting... the bulbs aren't the cause of the algae... and you might well be surprised by the amount of the algae a single tang (Ctenochaetus or Zebrasoma genus) might consume... This is the route I would go, or try a Mithrax/Emerald Green Crab (a prodigious eater of many types of filamentous algae)...  Otherwise, or should I key alternatively, do look into the root causes of the algae growth: nutrient availability and a lack of competing photosynthetic life... Do you test for nitrates, phosphates? Do you periodically use chemical filtrants? Any room for installing some macro algae (I'd put in some Halimeda if only for functions sake)... Use anything in the way of anaerobic (denitrating) microbe media?  I'd focus on the biological control route (competitors, predators) primarily and spiffing up limiting the source of the nutrients secondly. Bob Fenner>

BGA Blues I have this dark green, almost black algae type stuff growing in my sand. Its growing in small clumps, but it is everywhere. I try to sift it out of the sand, but it just grows back. I filter my water so there should be nothing in the water causing it to spread so much. What is it and how do I get rid of it? < It is very likely a blue-green algae... and is opportunistic, living, growing in circumstances that just don't favor other forms of photosynthetic life. That is, if you have some light, plenty of nutrients, and no competitors... you'll have the situation you have. Now, how to avoid this algae... or at this point, get rid of it? Add some purposeful photosynthetic life... like a few sprigs of plant material (for a freshwater system) or macro-algae for marines... Increase lighting (I know, this seems antithetical...) and circulation, aeration... Maybe with a powerhead or a bubbler... these forms of life don't do well (and get eaten by other microbes) in well lit, well circulated and well aerated circumstances. There really are no scavengers that will eat this stuff, and chemical controls are a very poor idea... often killing livestock directly or indirectly by the release of toxins from the killed blue-green (actually bacteria) algae. Is this clear? If not, please write back with more information about your circumstances... the type of tank, gear, your maintenance procedures... Bob Fenner> I decided to clean all the sand in the tank ( its a 55 gal reef tank ). After 6 rinses the washing water was still black - very dirty. I rinsed with fresh water till the water was pretty clear. Hope the rinsing got all the junk out and the fresh water killed the algae. I set up a micro-filter to get out all the stuff I stirred up, bit it looks like some of it settled back down. I will vacuum that out in a day or so. The tank is well lit, and has a rather stiff current. It is aerated by the overflow going into a water fall before it goes into the 20 gal sump, and then again by the protein skimmer. There are a few spots in the tank where the current cant get to because of the rocks, but the Goby moves all the sand out and fish traffic keeps particles moving in those areas. Also, I switch the rock configurations every 3 months, and vacuumed those areas when I move the rocks. The tank is about 1 1/2 years old, could this be the infamous tank death that people see after about a year? In the last 3 months I have lost a shrimp, urchin, and 2 corals. < Hmm, please don't scream, but unless you "cure" the cause of the BGA (Blue Green Algae)... it (shades of Ahhnold) "will be baaack" in a very short while... No matter how much you cleaned,,, and freshwater rinsed... This stuff is tough!  Hmm, to your last paragraph as well... Could be the system has "cycled" to some place you don't want it to be... I would "shake it up" chemically and biologically... with the addition of more live rock... place the new over parts of the old... This is about the best way to re-set the balance of life in your system. Bob Fenner>

Reef Question Thanks, for all the free advice, I read your column every day. This will be a little hard to describe so bear with me. I have some dark purple/maroon "something" growing on my rocks (not coralline). It has the same sort of look as fake grass, each "blade" being about a quarter of an inch long and maybe 1/32" wide. It developed on one of the live rocks at the top of my tank under strong lighting (two VHO, and 1 175W MH) It hasn't spread to any other rocks (yet) or shown up on any other rocks away from the immediate vicinity. It grew around, and, eventually covered some bubble algae; but, it appears that the bubble algae is still there, just hidden in this stuff (my point being that it apparently doesn't hinder algae growth like coralline). My crabs/snails don't seem to be interested in it, and, the mushrooms that are touching it don't seem to be bothered. I've referenced all of my reef books to no avail. Any idea what this is?  Thanks,  Dave < Surprisingly enough, it could well be a type of blue-green "algae" (Cyanobacteria)... or a filamentous Red (Rhodophyta)... by your description. To distinguish them would be easy with a low power microscope. The former lack organized nuclei... If it were me, I'd just spiff up my water quality (clean the skimmer, water changes, more frequent use of activated carbon...) and maybe physically scrub the most affected rocks... and leave it at that. These are not aggressive forms of life, and will die back given favorable conditions to other forms. Bob Fenner>

Black slime I have noticed a "black slime" that just recently (about 2 weeks) started growing on the bottom on my tank. I have had the tank (75 gallon) set up for about 5 years and have had no serious problems. I have been trying to get it all out using the "gravel wash" method of suctioning it off the bottom of the tank; but it seems to reappear within 24 hours and within 48 hours it is back in full force. What is this stuff? I have a reef set up; lots of live rock, about 5 fish, a couple of crustaceans, and a few different types of coral that is doing pretty good. Water is perfect. No supplements used. Everything is great except for the dreaded "black slime". Please help! Thanks, RW < The black slime is very likely one or more species of blue-green algae, sometimes referred to as Cyanobacteria (because they are, that is these algae are more closely related to bacteria than other "true" algae (Thallophytes)), and I'll try to help you get rid of them. First off, when's the last time you switched out some/any of your lights? The loss of blue end spectra light and intensity (which comes with lamps aging) and full spectrum bright lighting disfavors Cyanobacteria. Circulation: brisk water movement also goes against these slimers so direct a powerhead over their area. Nutrient build up: time to give that skimmer a thorough scrubbing, replace your carbon, do a big gravel vacuuming. Loss of alkalinity: maybe consider adding/switching out a good part of the substrate. This is a good way to "add" alkaline reserve, calcium, strontium, and magnesium. All/any of these will help. Bob Fenner>

BGA fo'sho Hey Bob, I have had a 75 gal. tank set up for over two years now, but recently we have notice that purple slim algae has begun to take over the tank. The tank have 1 day lights, 2 aquatanic lights, and 1 50/50, they are about 1 year old. I have not notice any difference in the intensity of the lights, but the algae keeps growing faster and faster each time. We had a melt down on the surge protector and fry most of our filter systems. The local pet store that bought our fish back, so we can start from scratch suggested that we used a backpack (CPR) and a bio-wheel for our new reef setup, what do you think? An how do I get the purple algae out of my live rock in order to used that rock again? thank you, Ken Cabezas < Hmmm, well there are a few ways to go here... but if it were my system, I'd  first replace the lamps (they may look okay and bright, but they are the root  cause of your problem... they've phase shifted and lost intensity, big time... favoring nuisance algae over what you want. I'd look into boosting your lighting even, by switching the one 50/50 to another actinic, and getting/installing a compact fluorescent (do this!). And, if it were me, I'd leave the live rock as is, maybe place some more on top of it... with the new lights, lighting, it will correct itself. Trust me. Bob Fenner>

HELP!!!! Purple Algae has taken over my tank Thank you, One more thing, you suggested installing a compact fluorescent (what this?). Ken Cabezas < Oh, the latest and greatest commercially available type of aquarium lighting... Lots of intensity, good spectral mix, not much cost of installation and operation. Don't take up a lot of room. Looks great, is great. You can find them all over the hobby magazines. Bob Fenner>

Cyano De Bergeracccckkkkk We recently set up a 45 gal hex aquarium and keep having problems with black algae. Do you have any idea what would cause this and how to prevent it? Thanks, Ronda Murphy < All sorts of ideas, and a handful of suggestions. Black algaes are mostly "Blue Green Algae", which are more kin to bacteria (they're in the same Phylum Monera, separate from the "true" algae/thallophytes, in the Phylum Protista... though there are some "true" green algae (Division Chlorophyta that appear black as well))). and can be the Dickens to get rid of (they've been around since before the Cambrian, have real staying power). Now, as the story goes, "healthy" aquarium conditions disfavor black/blue-green algae and reciprocally favor "good" algae... so, what are these conditions? 1) More light! Brighter, full spectrum lighting will rid you of the noisome types. Hex tanks are notoriously under lit. Look into some stocky compact fluorescents to boost your lighting. 2) More competition! Do you have live rock in the tank? Build it up so it's near the surface. The algae and other organisms in/on the rock will "use up" the nutrient and light available to the black algae, and provide some predator pressures. 3) Less food! What sort of filtration do you have in this system? Do you use carbon, even on occasion? You should. 4) Better skimming! Does your skimmer remove a dark foam, or a wet clear fluid? Better the former. 5) Increased circulation! Can you add a powerhead, airstone to kick up the water movement? This will help. 6) Time going by! Along with the above suggestions, black/blue-green algae are generally transient in well set-up and maintained systems. They too will pass. Bob Fenner>

Question: I hope you can help me!! I have a 30 gallon reef tank which has been set up for 3 years, I have 3 VHO's, protein skimmer and two power heads. The problem is I have dark red, almost black, algae covering the whole bottom of my tank and it is now starting to cover my live rock. I do monthly water changes of about 20%. Please help me, I remove it and it is back the next day.

Bob's Answer: Hey Micki, your tank's condition is not impossible, and not uncommon. You've got a persistent blue-green "algae" (actually bacteria) proliferation problem, that can be turned around in a few ways. The best is to alter the circumstances in the system to disfavor the bacteria, and favor some other groups of microorganisms.

How much light do you have on for how long a day? You may well need to increase the strength and/or duration. What do you do for supplementation of your non-fish livestock's nutrient base? Does your live rock thrive? Do you inject CO2? What do you keep your Specific Gravity at? Ever alter your alkalinity, KH, temperature? You need to shake this system up chemically and physically to get rid of the Cyanobacteria.

Question: What would you suggest as the best way to eliminate and to keep red slime algae (actually a bacteria Cyanobacteria) out of a reef aquarium.

Bob's Answer: Harold, you touch on the gist of my approach in your query: prevention. I suggest a multi-prong approach to optimizing water quality and competition for light and nutrients rather than the all-too-common resorting to antibiotics to "treat" these moneran opportunists.

For specifics: I'd utilize as much live rock as practical, both in my sumps/refugia as the main/display system(s)... if possible with alternating light/dark cycles on all. A functional protein skimmer is requisite on almost all types of marine set-ups (not just in my opinion)... if at all possible linked with an ozone generator (and possibly a desiccator for it in turn).

As a "yardstick" I'd monitor Redox potential (350 units plus), and/or alkaline reserve, or at least pH (8.0 plus)... and probably at least cycle in and out every week or so, the use of a good grade of carbon as a chemical filtrant. Air infusion and circulation also delimit undesirable algae growth, so vigorous water movement is de riguer.

What else? Oh yes, take care to not being an accomplice to the problem by not overfeeding foods that contribute to algae growth... That's about it.

Question: I have been keeping a very successful SPS and soft coral tank for the last year and a half. It is a 75-gallon glass with a 20-gallon sump, 440w of VHO, a plenum substrate, and very active Berlin skimmer. I recently had my prized tank raised Bubble Tip (anemone) commit suicide by walking into a powerhead. Despite losing a few corals the tank appeared to battle through with help of many water changes.

A period of time passed in which everything seemed fine, but then over a few days I experienced the biggest red Cyanobacteria bloom I have ever seen. It was everywhere. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable in reef keeping, so I kept up the water changes to try to beat it. That did not work, though, and it appeared to be getting worse. After many basic methods: phosphate sponges, more circulation, larger water changes, I was getting desperate for a "cure."

By the assurance of my reef-mentor that my corals would not stress I tried Ultra Life Reef's Red Slime Remover. It made a good dent in the cyano, and did not affect my corals at all. It recommends not dosing more than twice in one week, and in the lapse the cyano was able to rebloom. What do I do now? Is there a stronger product out there? Can I overdose without damage? This is destroying the image the tank holds in the house and I am willing to upgrade to a larger tank if a total restart is necessary. I can always buy more Savaii.

Bob's Answer: Jeff, thanks for all the info... Yep, your system went out of whack, and the opportune organisms are having a hay-day... There are a few possibilities: continued massive water changes to dilute the real source of the problem (nutrients and lack of photosynthetic competition), more doses of the red slime remover (which should have the ill effects of repetitive dosing diluted along with the water changes), or my favorite bit of advice, another massive(50 plus %) change of water and the use of Poly Bio-Marine's Poly Filter (no, I don't own the co., or get a kick back) to remove the excess water soluble "materials" that are causing the problem. Try this out and stay in touch.

Question: What would you suggest as the best way to eliminate and to keep red algae (actually a bacteria Cyanobacteria) out of a reef aquarium. Thanks.

Bob's Answer: Harold, you touch on the gist of my approach in your query: prevention. I suggest a multi-prong approach to optimizing water quality and competition for light and nutrients rather than the all-too-common resorting to antibiotics to "treat" these moneran opportunists.

For specifics: I'd utilize as much live rock as practical, both in my sumps/refugia as the main/display system(s)... if possible with alternating light/dark cycles on all. A functional protein skimmer is requisite on almost all types of marine set-ups (not just in my opinion)... if at all possible linked with an ozone generator (and poss. a desiccator for it in turn).

As a "yardstick" I'd monitor Redox potential (350 units plus), and/or alkaline reserve, or at least pH (8.0 plus)... and probably at least cycle in and out every week or so, the use of a good grade of carbon as a chemical filtrant. Air infusion and circulation also delimit undesirable algae growth, so vigorous water movement is de riguer. What else? Oh yes, take care to not being an accomplice to the problem by not overfeeding foods that contribute to algae growth... That's about it.

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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