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Discussion Starter #1
I didn't get much traction with this on another forum so I figured I would try here.

More details in the next post, but what is this and how do I kill it off?





 

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I set up a 14 gallon biocube in my office around a year and a half ago, reef but no fish. On an early frag I got some sort of algae and being a freshwater guy didn't think much of it until it slowly took my tank over. It's gotten better and worse over the year and a half, but never went away. Heavy vinegar/vodka dosing starved it back for a while, but was also starving the soft corals.

In the last month I swapped the contents to a 29 gallon biocube, and added a pair of clowns a week ago. While all of the livestock is doing great, so is the algae.

I don't know my saltwater algae and have been having a hard time with the ID. On the off chance it is Briopsis I recently raised the magnesium (epsom salt) to between 1700 and 1800. I can raise it more if needed, but it doesn't seem to be doing much of anything. Above are photos I took today. It looks much more feathery in person than the microscope photos imply. It stays fairly close to the surface and is hard to remove by hand until it grows in a thick enough mat that it starts rotting at the bottom and I can pull a patch off of the rock.
 

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Can't say I have a good answer for you but I have killed or eliminated a few different algaes.Direct injection of H2O2 just like in freshwater has worked well in my 75 back when I let a super invasive racemorsa loose.And GFO in a simple phosban150 reactor has kept "nuiscance" algae at bay in my 120.I actually have a serious hair algae issue in my 29 that I just started the H2O2 on tonight ,so I'll let you know if this works.
Mostly just bumping you,besides sharing my simple ideas in case RM see's this and can help?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, I actually just got a PM from him on the same topic. I tried the H2O2 on some small local areas and to my surprise saw no change, but I was being very timid with my dose. I may try shutting off the flow and spot treating some areas.
 

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It's a macro algae and as you can testify it is very aggressive in it's growth. In a refugium macro algae is most welcomed but in the main display it can cover all rocks quite quickly. Unfortunately, because you have such a small tank your options for eradication are few. In a much larger tank, any of the tangs will mow that stuff down quickly, but your tank is too small for any of them. The best bet is to remove the rock one at a time and manually remove as much of it as you can, then scrub the rock lightly with a wirebrush, give it a rinse in saltwater and return it to the tank. This could take a good while before you can get a handle on it, say a few months? HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I suppose I should have updated this. On another's suggestion I ran a 3.5 day blackout. The algae (and coral) were pale at the end of it, and both looked mostly recovered by the end of the day. Since then I've tried spot treating with H2O2 (which failed previously) and it is responding well. I'm hoping that I'll be able to kill this stuff off with the H2O2 and have the chaeto in the back fill its place. Most of my corals are growing on the base rock at this point so removal and scrubbing is not an option for me.
 

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I really did kill LARGE amounts of the racemorsa macro with only H2O2.It did take around two months or a little more to completely kill it,but I focused on individual areas and only dosed every 2 or 3 days.All in all I would say it worked out better in my SW with the calurpae then on other pesty algaes in my FW.It has worked to some degree in my 29 recently but I'm pretty lame on it and actually thinking of combining my 75&29 into my 120 which is just running so much better, so I haven't done as much as I should.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Long term update! After a move to Texas and the continued inability to kill this stuff I returned to H2O2. I "spot treated" at a rate of a bit over 1 mL/gallon. Pumps off, H2O2 injected into the patches. At that rate I had to hit a spot for several days in a row, and continued to do so until it rotted off completely. Every time even a tiny spot emerged I would treat it like the main patch until it gave up. Eventually the chaeto in the back and the LPS adjusted to taking in the nutrients, and then I was able to stop. It's been more than 6 months and it is staying gone.
 

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Good to hear. It's just about nutrient export; this might help:

Nutrient Export

What do all algae (and cyano too) need to survive? Nutrients. What are nutrients? Ammonia/ammonium, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate and urea are the major ones. Which ones cause most of the algae in your tank? These same ones. Why can't you just remove these nutrients and eliminate all the algae in your tank? Because these nutrients are the result of the animals you keep.

So how do your animals "make" these nutrients? Well a large part the nutrients comes from pee (urea). Pee is very high in urea and ammonia, and these are a favorite food of algae and some bacteria. This is why your glass will always need cleaning; because the pee hits the glass before anything else, and algae on the glass consume the ammonia and urea immediately (using photosynthesis) and grow more. In the ocean and lakes, phytoplankton consume the ammonia and urea in open water, and seaweed consume it in shallow areas, but in a tank you don't have enough space or water volume for this, and, your other filters or animals often remove or kill the phytoplankton or seaweed anyway. So, the nutrients stay in your tank.

Then, the ammonia/ammonium hits your rocks, and the periphyton on the rocks consumes more ammonia and urea. Periphyton is both algae and animals, and is the reason your rocks change color after a few weeks from when they were new. Then the ammonia goes inside the rock, or hits your sand, and bacteria there convert it into nitrite and nitrate. However, the nutrients are still in your tank.

Also let's not forget phosphate, which comes from solid organic food particles. When these particles are eaten by microbes and clean up crews, the organic phosphorus in them is converted into phosphate. However, the nutrients are still in your tank.

So whenever you have algae or cyano "problems", you simply have not exported enough nutrients out of your tank compared to how much you have been feeding (note: live rock can absorb phosphate for up to a year, making it seem like there was never a problem. Then after a year, there is a problem).

So just increase your nutrient exports. You could also reduce feeding, and this has the same effect, but it's certainly not fun when you want to feed your animals :)
 

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Bryopsis has "roots" which can survive from nutrients stored in the rock for longer than most algae, but after a while, if the nutrients in the water are low enough, then enough nutrients will come out of the rock and eventually starve the Bryopsis too.

It will be one of the last to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
1) The issue is completely resolved, and has been for 6-9 months. I just wanted to put my solution out there rather than leaving the thread unresolved.
2) I've seen briopsis many times, I actually have a touch on a frag rack at the moment. This stuff was something different.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Glad the H2O2 worked.
Nothing good that works in salt works fast.
It is only with consistency and persistence that the peroxide worked for me!
No kidding. I was amazed that it took several days in a row of application to get results. At first I thought it was delay, but areas that were only hit 1-2 times and then left alone never ever paled out much less died.
 
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