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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this is my first time posting on here I'm usually on R.R. after a year and a half i have hair algae and brown all over my sand and my power heads are full of it i keep taking a little brush and scrubbing it off but it comes back within a few days. I cut down the time on my lights I've always had them on 10 -12 hours now I'm doing 8 - 9 hours my lights are old though probably at least a year or 1 1/2 years. all my paremeters are 0 amon, trites, trates and phos. these readings were a couple of weeks ago i'm getting ready to do them again now. my tank is a 90 gal with 2 250 w halides and 2 vho actinics( they probably all need changed don't know if thats whats causing it or not. i haven't used a skimmer for a year just started that again i have a fuge with chaeto in it, about 150 lbs of live rock there about 3 or 4 rocks thta have the hair algae on it my coco worm has it growing on. i have 1 koralia power head i think its a # 3 and i have 2 other power heads. i have a uv light was thinking about putting that on but have to get a new bulb first if you think that would help
Kathy
 

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I am constantly battling hair algae since I have a predator reef - no clean up crew!

What are you using for your water source? Do you use RODI, another purification method? Not all types of phosphates show up on tests. Some are present in tap water, some are part of the food you feed the fish.

Changing the bulbs in your lights is a good first thing to do, algae likes the spectrum that bulbs fade to more than the new bulb levels.
 

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For the hair algae what i did was that i got hermit crabs.I do have some coral and i took the risk of buying a coral beauty and thhey did the job :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i do use ro/di water. and i guess i should get some more clean up crew i think right now i only have a couple of crabs and snails. and i guess i should get new bulbs but i was trying to hold off another couple of months cause i want to get a new tank a 150 gal to 215 gal not sure yet don't know if i want to go that big ( 215gal ) might go with 150. i also did my tests again amon,trites,trates, & phos all 0, ph 8.1, alk 3 calc. 440
 

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Kathy this isn't a bit uncommon. Change your bulbs (you know the spectrum has shifted) that could have started the problem. You've got both Nitrate and phosphate but your test kits aren't registering it because it's locked in the algae. Try to manually remove as much as possible first. You are going to want to start testing Ca, Mg and Alk again. You're going to want to gradually start moving Mg way up. I'm talking between 1500 and 1600 and yes I know that's off the scale. You'll know when you've hit the magic number because the algae will brown up and fall apart. At that point you need to start doing water changes again. This becomes most important when the algae starts disintegrating. Good luck. It will work!
 

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I agree with Doc. Your phosphates are not going to register on your kit because they get taken up by the algae first.

Keep the skimmer cranking and don't take it off. Light bulb change may help as well since they sound old. You should also try a phosphate remover like Phosban reactor w/Phosban media. Keep doing weekly water changes.

This battle may take a while but you can eventually overcome it. If you just get a cleaner crew it doesn't fix the real problem which is lack of skimming and lack of phosphate removal.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks alot will do. i need to get a magnesium kit also i don't even know what the magnesium is. do you think its safe to ad something for the magn. without having a test kit? i doubt that i can get it tested at the lfs
 

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definitely pick up a mg test kit. I use red sea and it does the job. seem slike everyone else has given you the right info for getting rid of it. I used to have quite a problem with the hair algae as well, that is, until I added a hippo tang. He eats just about everything in the tank, even bubble algae. good luck with the clean up.
 

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I wise person once told me not to add anything that you couldn't test for. Don't start adding Magnesium until you have a test kit. Another good test kit brand is Salifert.

You will need to have your own test kit because you will have to do repeated testing as you increase your magnesium. Here's a calculator to help you know how much to add.

Reef Chemistry Calculator

Let me know if you have any questions.

Kevo, you have a truly remarkable fish (and the first one that I've heard of that will eat bubble algae). Tangs and rabbit fish are a good way to keep algae at low levels as long as your tank is large enough to support one. They are constantly grazing and help keep algae in check.
 

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I wise person once told me not to add anything that you couldn't test for. Don't start adding Magnesium until you have a test kit. Another good test kit brand is Salifert.

You will need to have your own test kit because you will have to do repeated testing as you increase your magnesium. Here's a calculator to help you know how much to add.

Reef Chemistry Calculator

Let me know if you have any questions.

Kevo, you have a truly remarkable fish (and the first one that I've heard of that will eat bubble algae). Tangs and rabbit fish are a good way to keep algae at low levels as long as your tank is large enough to support one. They are constantly grazing and help keep algae in check.
I've actually got 3 different tangs in 3 different systems that do this. The hippo is in my personal tank, a 6" yellow tang in my 300 gallon system, and a 6" unicorn tang in my 200 gallon system, and they all eat it. I don't know if they have started eating it because there is nothing else to really eat (except what I feed them), or if I'm just extremely lucky. They didn't always do this, there used to be a lot of hair algae to eat and they've taken care of that problem so I guess when they get hungry now they just go after what's available.
 

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Kathy,

We sell Mg test kits. Salifert is very easy to use. Elos is a good kit but may be a little more complicated at first.

You can purchase them on our website here if you are interested:
Cultivated Coral


thanks alot will do. i need to get a magnesium kit also i don't even know what the magnesium is. do you think its safe to ad something for the magn. without having a test kit? i doubt that i can get it tested at the lfs
 

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I agree with Dr Hank but I would like to add a few things. Hair algae is not a disease and can not be cured. It is a natural part of all reefs. If it were not on reefs, what would all those tangs, urchins and slugs eat?
We, of course do not want it growing on our corals because it shields them from light thus killing them but it does not hurt water quality and as you can tell from your tests, it actually makes water healthier.
That being said, I know you want to eliminate it. Tangs, hermit crabs, slugs and urchins will not do it. That only works in the sea where there is unlimited water to dilute the wastes.
Any algae that goes into a tang or hermit crab comes out the other end soon after to make more algae. After the algae is gone you can use these animals to keep short algae in check but they will do nothing to eliminate a huge algae cycle.
I would not change any water now. All of the nutrients are locked up in the algae and if you change water you will replace some of the nutrients that algae need like iron. You need to manually remove the algae as best you can.
Algae is self limiting and can only grow until the nutrients are exhausted. Then the algae starts dying (or gets eaten) and gets re cycled back into algae. If you manually remove it, you break the cycle and it dies.
The best way to keep algae off your corals is to give it a better place to grow like a lighted refugium, I myself use an algae trough which is positioned to the rear of my tank just under the main lighting.
My tank is 40 years old, and it is overfed due to many of the fish spawning. The algae, if any, grows in the trough.
After the algae dies (which it will) you can start changing water.

Good luck.
Paul
 

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Hi Stanbabe,
My reply is to long for you but definatly will help you alot, if you need further question and more information just send me PM.

The Algae can be controll, no matter what kind of Algae. Algae is a large group of primitive, mostly aquatic, chlorophyll-bearing plants lacking specialize tissues and organs such as roots, stems, leaves, and flowers and including forms ranging from giant seaweeds to single-celled diatoms and pond scums. In the home aquarium we see many types of algaes. Different types of algae grow different environments and will have different nutritional requirements. Ridding your aquarium of algae can be a very simple process: remove the algae’s food source and it will perish. Like all living creatures all algae require a food source to survive.

Primary food sources:

Algae are simple plants. And like plants in the garden, algae consume the same compounds found in common fertilizers. Phosphate and Nitrate are the primary, but not exclusive, nutrients algae feed upon in the home aquarium. Phosphate and Nitrate are both added and produced in your display. Fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying plants and animals are ultimately broken down into these basic fertilizer compounds. For example, all living organism contain DNA, of which, phosphate is one of the primary compounds found in DNA. Many fish foods are blends of fish parts, shrimp, plants, etc. If uneaten, these foods are broken down into their basic chemical components, Phosphate and Nitrate being among them. Another source of Phosphates and Nitrate can be your local tap water, thus Premier Aquatic Services uses purified R/O water when applicable.

Additionally, high levels of Nitrates are toxic to all fish. So controlling and maintaining the concentrations of both Phosphates and Nitrates will result in less algae growth and water that is more fish friendly.

Some of the more common and annoying algae encountered in aquariums:

Diatom Algae typically is brown in appearance and usually is seen within the first 4-16 weeks following the install of an aquarium. Diatom algae have three basic needs to thrive: silicate as a food source, a low pH in a saltwater environment, and light in the yellow, orange, and red spectrum. During the first few weeks after an aquarium is set-up diatom algae growth can be very aggressive. It may cover the glass in as little as 48 hours. Diatom algae growth is normal and the direct result from the tremendous amount silica found in the synthetic salt used to make saltwater. Most synthetic sea salt manufacturers use silica, a moisture removing product, in the manufacture of synthetic salts. As the concentration of silica falls, the algae runs out of food, and slowly goes away.

“Typical” Green Algae usually appears as spots on the decorations in the aquarium and on the glass. Its growth can be random and like all algae, it growth is driven by nutrients present in the water.

Cyanobacteria exists in variety of forms and colors, including red, black, and green. Cyanobacteria is a morph between and algae and a bacteria. Treating the aquarium with an antibiotic can temporarily control these problematic bacteria, by killing approximately 99.8% of the cyanobacteria. However, an antibiotic-resistant strain may begin to grow. Anti-biotic treatment of cyanobacteria is a common practice in our industry because it can produce a quick impact on the appearance of the aquarium. But using anti-biotics to control cyanobacteria is nothing more than a “quick-fix” band-aid. While anti-biotics do kill unwanted cyanobacteria, anti-biotics also kill beneficial bacteria instrumental in the nitrogen cycle. Use anti-biotics carefully. When cyanobacteria is present, the underlying problem is an overabundance of organic nutrients.

Rule of Thumb for Controlling Algae:

Increase the export of the nutrients that algae feed on and limit the import of these same nutrients…or stated differently, remove the food source and remove the problem.

Increasing the export of nutrients…

Chemical Filtration Media are specially formulated chemicals which remove both phosphate and organic waste that algae feed on. While effective, chemical filtration media alone can not remove all dissolved phosphate and organic waste.

Protein Skimmers are very effective in removing undesirable organic compounds that algae feed on. It is amazing how much brown to black liquid can come from a crystal clear aquarium.

Routine water change is one the most affective way to remove both phosphate and nitrate from the aquarium. The new water does not contain nitrates or phosphates, thus Premier Aquatic Services performs a 30% water change monthly on all client aquariums.

Limiting the import of nutrients…

Overfeeding your fish is the number one reason for imbalanced water parameters and an overabundance of nutrients that algae feed on. Did you know that a fish’s stomach is about the same size as its eye? So, if there is still uneaten food floating or sitting on the bottom of your tank 60 seconds after you feed, your display has been overfed. What happens to the excess food? It is broken down into fertilizer and harmful waste by-products.

Overstocked aquariums occur when there are more fish present than the aquarium’s bio-load can handle. A good industry “rule of thumb”: 1 inch of fish per gallon of water in a freshwater environment and 1 inch of fish per 5 gallons of water in the saltwater environment.

As you mentioned in your thread that you are not using protien skimmer. Start use as soon as possible, the reason is Protien skimmer will take all Organic waste from water column, this organic waste will decompose in niterate and will cause blowing hair Algae and cayno byctria.

hope above will help you alot.

Thanks
Syed form Jeddah Saudi Arabia
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
protien skimmer is on now. got a blue hippo tang last week he's scratching against some rocks but he's eating and swimming around pretty good. should i have a uv sterilizer on to i have one but needs a new bulb.
 

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IMO a UV sterilizer is a waste of money in a salt water tank. They are great in goldfish ponds though.
I don't see any benefit for having one in a salt tank. I doubt they will kill any paracites and even if they do, that would only a few paracites that go through the thing. I personally prefer to run ozone through my skimmer and have been for over three decades.
 
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