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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 120gal mainly reef tank that was overrun by Hair algae. (Had the aquarium for about 7 years.)Eventually, we "killed" the tank by leaving the lights off for 6 months and starting over with removing all rock, cleaning rock with fresh water, new sand, all new water, and then letting tank cycle through the amonia, nitrates, nitrates, etc. Of course, this took several weeks. Tank looked good and stable. Added 1 xenia and 1 toadstool. Looked good. Added 1 pair picasso clowns. Still looked good. Hair algae started coming back. Water tests look good. The wife is feeding the clowns 2 times a day. (Just a "pinch") Is this too often, and if so--could it be contributing to the algae. We have about 35 hermits and 2 emerald crabs for cleaners. ALL help would be appreciated. I hate the hair algae.
 

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Can you give us your actuall test readings, type and age of lighting along with length of lighting period, filtration, skimmer and what you have for flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1200gpd recirc pump, sealife skimmer, phos reactor, biowheel.
ph 8.3, amonia, nitrate, and nitrate--0, calcium 520, alk is 130, SG 1.023, 80degrees, no iron.
lights are 72" vho. actinic is new--ordered new "blue" light. lights cycle on for 12 hours.
Regularly add trace, mag,.
 

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I would try to jump your flow to about 30-50 times your total water volume in PH's like the Koralias also try to run your skimmer a little wetter if you can adjust it and get rid of the bio wheel as these can cause nitrate issues I know you said they are zero but with hair algea it can be taking it up as fast as it is produced oh and if you are not useing RO/DI water then try to switch to that. I am not familiar with that skimmer is it in sump or hang on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would try to jump your flow to about 30-50 times your total water volume in PH's like the Koralias also try to run your skimmer a little wetter if you can adjust it and get rid of the bio wheel as these can cause nitrate issues I know you said they are zero but with hair algea it can be taking it up as fast as it is produced oh and if you are not useing RO/DI water then try to switch to that. I am not familiar with that skimmer is it in sump or hang on.
I have used nothing but RO/DI water. Skimmer is a sump type (150) for a 150 gal tank. I have about 100lbs of live rock. So with this in mind, a 1200 pump is not enough? Originally, I had a 500 gpd pump. I increased it to a 1200. What to use instead of the bio wheel? It is a very small amount of hair algae, but I don't want to go through what I did before.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have always heard it called a bio-wheel. It is a cylindrical "wheel" that the overflow water "drains over" after it goes through the filter trays and carbon tray. It rotates and then the water goes into the other part of the sump which has the skimmer, phos reactor, heater, and the recirc pump.
 

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Well IMO you dont want to get all your flow from your return pump, you want most of your flow coming from power heads so you would be best with either 2 Koralia 3's and 2 Koralia 4's or 4 Koralia 4's. the added flow will keep detritus in suspension so it can go thru your sump and skimmer because the HA grows when there are dead spots where food and detritus settles. I would also consider changeing from the wet dry to a sump/fuge setup as these tend to be much better filtration setups and wet dry setups tend to allow nitrates to build up and cause algea problems but first I would get some PH's in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have a couple of ph's. Should I "point" them in the direction of where some of the HA is growing? Like I said, it is not much, but I don't want it!!!!
Where can I see some pictures of the type of sump you are talking about? I haven't kept up with changes in what is available.
 

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Here is a pic of my sump excuse the mess please. Water flows into the left section and goes under the first piece of glass that is about 2 inches off the bottom then over the second piece of glass that is on the bottom then over the third piece of glass into the return pump section, the first section is where the skimmer goes and the water flows into the second section is for macro algea for nutrient export.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
I started using my turkey baster to remove any derbris from the rocks. I have been "harvesting" the hair algae every other day. My recirc pump has a large foam filter on the suction of the pump. Could this be making the problem worse? I have read that some do not use this foam filter. It is just another place to breed algae. Is this true? Should I get rid of it? I am cleaning the filters (there is a course filter to catch the big stuff and then a filter that looks like air conditioning filter material) every few days. The GHA is getting worse. All of my tests are still in line as posted earlier. I want to win this battle!
I have also cut my lighting time down to about 10 hours. Should I go less?
 

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I would remove any and all foam filters because all they do is trap detritus and fish food and allow it to break down and produce nitrates, macro algea will consume trates and phosphates and that is what usually causes hair algea and cyno issues. I feel that high flow thru a sump doesnt allow the sump/fuge to work to its potential I like slow flow to let the macro and skimmer take out more nutrients and trates and phosphates then get most of your flow with PH's to keep everything suspended so it will get to your sump/fuge. I would drop your lighting cycle down to 6-8 hours per day, what are your PH, ALK, MAG and Calcium readings I ask because I have seen HA decline when these are kept closer to the high side not saying it always works but it might help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Tests are still the same as above--I do not have a fuge yet--just a tidepool 2 sump. It does have that "bio-wheel in it. That looks like another place to trap bad stuff. Any thoughts until I can get a fuge? I have replaced the "blue" bulb. It finally came in. I will remove the foam filter on the recirc pump.
 

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I would remove any and all foam, see if you can find some cheato NOT CALURPA and drop it in your tank for now and just keep pulling out as much HA as you can, up your WC's amount and how often. I am not sure what skimmer you have but if you can adjust it to run a little wetter that might help also. Most of the older skimmers are over rated by almost double not saying yours is because I am not sure what you have but if you can give me a link to what it is I might be able to give you some mods to do to it to make it work better
 

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Cheato is a macro algea that will take up nutrients, nitrates and phosphates Calurpa will do the same thing but it will attach to the rock work and take over the tank but Cheato wont. I was able to find a couple things on your skimmer and it looks like its rated for 150 gallon fish only tank and 75 gallon reef tank so that might be a small issue. You might wont to try some Phosban but only use about half the recomended amount in the begining because it could take out so much that it could cause problems for your corals, dont get the alluminum type make sure you get the GFO (granulated ferris oxcide) type.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
GHA is getting worse--quickly--My LFS lent me a UV Sterilizer to put in to try to kill whatever is causing it. How do you tell it is working?
My tests are good. 8.3PH, cal 460, alk 120, 1.023 sg, 0 on NH3, no3, and no2. I even had mhy LFS double check the readings.
Lighting cycle cut back to 9 hours. 70 hermit crabs, 25 turbos, 2 emerald.
I only have 2 fish--a pair of picasso clowns. about 200lbs live rock.
Ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, UV Sterilizer leaked and didn't come on. Disconnected and took back to LFS. He got in some Sea Hares. Got one (on loan) and put in tank. Also added 4 more emerald crabs and 35 more hermit crabs.
The Sea Hare is an EATING MACHINE. If he clears out the GHA in my tank, he should double in size!! LOL
So far, he had not moved from the rock I put him on, but he is still eating. He ate on long piece of GHA like you would a long strand of spagetti--just kept sucking it up until it was gone.
 
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