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Thread: Let's Talk About ~Algae Control~

  1. #16
    Anthias
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    Hey Nikki, I have a new type in my tank that must of hitched a ride from something I bought. I cannot find any info or pic on the web thus far, but I haven't tried all that hard either. It is grows fern like, very thin and bushy. I will try to post a pic tomorrow night. Sure would like some info on it since it has a couple of strongholds in the tank now.
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  2. #17
    Brittle Starfish
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonW
    Just remember they have a in hole and a out hole thus supplimenting new algae growth. You still need to get it out to the sewer.

    Don
    For the most part you are correct, but they are better then pullin it by hand
    You Know Me, Im JIDDY from Rapid City. Thats in S.Dakota, no its a state, by MN. The one with Mt.Rushmore! Hidden Content

  3. #18
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    Ken - does it look like this? Or does it grow more like a Caulerpa with fern like "leaves"? The "hitchhiking" algae is one reason I try desperately hard not to introduce any plugs or rocks from someone else's tank. Of course for some corals, that's near impossible, however, for SPS its easier. I've heard far too many stories about nasty algae coming by way of frag swap.




    Hey - great conversation everyone. A few folks touched on what is important for algae to grow. By understanding this, then I feel approaching an algae problem becomes easier....however, can still be very very frustrating. N, P, and light all make up a good meal for algaes. By determining where the sources of N and P are, then you can reduce them, and hopefully starve out the algae. How can you figure that out? Testing . Test the water column for Phosphates....come up zero or get a slight reading, time for more testing! Stick the syringe in the live rock near the algae growth (I use a turkey baster and transfer the water to a cup), and test the water from there. If you get a higher reading than the water column, then you have found your source. You can do the same with a sandbed. What I did was make a divot in the sand with the turkey baster, and then sucked the water up into the turkey baster. This water was placed in a cup, then used the syringe to get the appropriate amount of water......then complete the test. Also, test your pre-mixed salt water, your sump, refugiums, any top-off containers. Someone mentioned this already, but soaking your foods in RO/DI will help wash away the sodium phosphates. Be sure to discard that water before the food is added to the tank. You can also use the testing methods above for nitrates, which can also help pinpoint the source. One frustrating point.....if the algae is utilizing all available N and P, then you won't get a positive reading . Why do you think algae is prevelant in new tanks???
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  4. #19
    Anthias
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    Thats pretty close, mine kinda has a red tinge to it. I'll try to post picture tonight.
    Ken Hidden Content

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  5. #20
    Brittle Starfish
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaH2O
    Why do you think algae is prevelant in new tanks???
    I'd guess it has to do with the greater swing back and forth between nutrients and bacteria in newer tanks (or in older tanks where a major change has been made), as the bacteria seek to reach a new equilbrium...

    MikeS
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  6. #21
    Pearly

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    .3 phosphate, 20 nitrate, - - lots of crabs and snails > no algae ( still working on the nitrate )

  7. #22
    Owner / Administrator
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonW
    What I find odd is that we take purified water, put it in a big trash can then we add salt, P and what ever else is it that bucket we got at the LFS. Having a spare canister filter with carbon and rowa/phosban to be used as the mixing pump does a good job of removing the unwanted junk from the salt mix.
    Don

    Ahh this is something I think would work wonders maybe, filter the water after being mixed up, maybe even skim it, UV, carbon, also use ro/di to clean your bucket/tub etc. another words purify your salt mix once mixed together.

  8. #23
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    Hummm... I think algae is more prevelant in newer tanks for several reasons. Since most sand & rock is loaded with nutrients and even the newly made salt water has some levels of ammonia/phosphates; these nutrients, along with the fact that most newer tanks don't have any organisms (corals, macro algae, bacteria, etc) yet to absorb them, creates a great nursery for the quick growing micro algeas to thrive. With a little time, more competiion, heavy skimming/diterus removal, and the continued use of ro/di will slowly lower the nutrient levels and starve out the micro nusiance algaes.
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  9. #24
    Emerald Crab

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    In my experience on established tanks the major cause for algae blooms is overfeeding/overstocking and innadecuate water flow. Basically poor husbandry. On new setups other than overfeeding by new hobbyists, I think that the misconception of the term "cured rock" given by LFS/vendors to their product, in my opinion all newlly purchased rock should be quarantined and "recycled" b4 being placed in the tank. Not to mention the array of unnecessary chemical products newbies are sold by LFS that wreak havoc on the stability of a new system.

  10. #25
    Pearly

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    . I have a 27 gal. hex tank with 6" of substrate on a plenum and a very high bioload. I am jumping on with Jiddy here regarding snails and crabs. Phosphate is at .3 and nitrate at 20 ppm. I am running 96 watt pc's which is a lot shy for the "sps", but "boy" can they grow a lot of algae!

    . The tank should be growing a lot of algae here - - and it is, but you can't find any in the tank! The crabs and snails keep it scoured clean.

    . Now I realize that snails and crabs have two holes, and this quite obviously why I am having to fight a bit with P and nitrate.

    . But how much algae can these critters actually deal with? w-e-l-l-l, I had about 10 lbs. of live rock until about 3 mos. ago( the tank is 7 mos. old and no help from existing tanks ). Then I added about 23 lbs. of nice fresh ("real fresh") live rock. No rock is so fresh that you don't quarantine it and "cure" it, so into a walmart tub it went with new saltwater, heater, powerhead and pc lighting(24/7).

    . Now with no snails or crabs in the tub, I let the rock "develop" for 1 week. there was no noticable microalgae on the rock when i recieved it, but after a week I was having a hard time still seeing the sponges and macro algae on the rock because of dense 1" thick hair algae. So, not wanting to lose those, I "took the plunge" and just took a 5# hunk and put it in the tank( pretty gutsy here I must say!).

    . Lo and behold, two days later that rock was 95% clean, so into the tank with another one. Boy was my little blue hippo tang happy! One week later the 23 #'s were "all in" and 95% clean. Another week later and no micro algae at all. Absolutely none!

    . It has been about three moths now and conditions are the same - - No Algae. Of course, I still have the P and nitrate as previously stated and the comments by others in this forum and thread about controlling these parameters are as valid as ever.

    . Still, I have lps, sps, xenia, zoas, a very happy star polyp colony and five 1 1/4" fish in this tank along with two large brittle stars and two peppermint shrimp, and they are very happy ( the sps want more light ). S-o-o-o, the composition of the water with it's elememts and compounds is still very important here and I am learning a lot about how to control them from the gracious input of the members, and thank you all so much!

    . Let's consider the whole bio-culture here and see what combinations are particularly effective.

    . Sorry, even as long as this post is( I do apologize ), I must add that I AM Skimming with a crummy SeaClone that isn't doing a whole lot. I will fix that soon somehow. Of more importance though, I do have all of my rock supported above the substrate by at least 2" on only three "small but tall" coral rocks, and I am running about 20 times tank volume through the overflow and widely dispersed return. I don't ever have any detritus in the tank that you can find( visually ).

    . This is a great thread, so jump in and tell us how it's done!

    Wave98
    Last edited by wave98; 08-24-2005 at 12:47 PM.

  11. #26
    R.I.P.

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    Wave98,

    It sound like youve found a way to make some good lawn fertilizer. Think about it this way. If it wasnt salt water you could water your lawn with your tank water and the grass would grow like mad. You would then need to buy a goat to keep up with mowing the lawn. Looks great for awhile until all the goat crap and urine start inhibiting even the growth of the lawn. The fertilized water continues to pile on unused fertilizer, the dirts ph falls below 7 and becomes acidic its alkalinity also falls to almost nothing. Then and even the weeds no longer grow and you have nice patch of dirt. Needless to say the goat dies and all the lime in the city isnt going to help your lawn. The dirt will have to be hauled away and replace so that you can start the cycle all over.
    Seems like a odd analogy but in fact this is exactly what is going on in your tank. Most people just call it a tank crash.

    Don

  12. #27
    Cleaner Shrimp
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonW
    Just remember they have a in hole and a out hole thus supplimenting new algae growth. You still need to get it out to the sewer.

    Don

    Crabs and snails eat algae, they poop, corals eat poop, uneaten poop grows more algae = a tank with the appearance of little algae and happy corals (for me). Regular water changes, good lighting and flow is a must, refugium with razor calurpa (no skimmer). I mostly have soft corals and lps. I have a few sps frags that look like they are doing well, based on their color (I have only had them for 4 months, so the jury is still out). I have not ran another system, so I can not compare. It sounds like sps thrive in a system with less pollutants (I am sure other corals do too). I have ran 4 tanks this way. 3 out of 4 of the tanks had very little algae or maintenance problems. I never could get my 180 gallon going (I think I needed better flow. Sold it instead of investing more $.) When ever I test my water I have 0 nitrates (maybe my test kit is broken ). I don't have a phosphate test yet. I don't have a skimmer, don't have any fancy equipment (other than halide lighting/pc's and pumps), and I do no dosing, but yet I have a tank full of beautiful corals. I have also fragged/grown and sold more ($ worth of) corals than I have purchased. I have had very little coral loss. I suffered my first major loss recently. My anthelia crashed. I was shocked because I have had this coral for a two years and have grown and sold (for store credit at LFS's) nearly a 100 full sized corals. Sorry for my simple and ignorant statements. I am sure a few years down the road I will have all the fancy equipment. So when I pop open my cabinet, it will look something like popping open the hood of a new corvette (instead of hamster running on a wheel )

    Oh yeah another thing on hair algae, it does not seem to grow on rocks that are covered in coralline algae.

  13. #28
    Pearly

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    Sorry Don:

    It seems that I didn't give you enough information. You are right about fertilizer though and the salt won't help on a golf green either.
    I did not buy the goat though, he was already there. There wasn't any grass either. I bought some rocks to decorate the yard and grass started growing on them.
    I felt obligated to let the goat eat it and he did!

    PH has been at 8.2 for 6 mos. and I don't dose for it.
    Alkalinity is high at 4 Meq/l, and I don't dose that either.
    There is no "cyano" or detritus in the tank. In other words, the goat poop is being removed by skimming and mechanical means. I have a good ways to go here and I am working on it.
    I do not advocate excessive levels of P or nitrate or anything else in my tank or anyone elses tank. That is why I stated the unreasonably high levels at the beginning of the post.
    This thread was started to discuss ways to control algae. Removal is one method along with many others, and crabs and snails do a remarkable job of that.
    I offered at the end of the post for more experienced reefers to keep us informed about the other possibilities. S-o-o-o?
    There are many exceedingly knowledgeable and reliable "authorities" and professionals in the reefkeeping "industry" ( or hobby ) that recognize substrate, microfauna, infauna, livestock, skimming, all sorts of other gadgets, and yes, even "critters", as being among the available avenues to pursue in the "art of reefkeeping".

    . If you want to keep your "yard" really "neat", you can slide a quarter acre of glass under it, and put a mouse on it just so you have something to do.
    . Wave98

  14. #29
    Brittle Starfish
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodstock
    Hummm... I think algae is more prevelant in newer tanks for several reasons. Since most sand & rock is loaded with nutrients and even the newly made salt water has some levels of ammonia/phosphates; these nutrients, along with the fact that most newer tanks don't have any organisms (corals, macro algae, bacteria, etc) yet to absorb them, creates a great nursery for the quick growing micro algeas to thrive. With a little time, more competiion, heavy skimming/diterus removal, and the continued use of ro/di will slowly lower the nutrient levels and starve out the micro nusiance algaes.
    This is definately a contributor...high nutrients from various sources vs. bacteria population in a new tank...

    Quote Originally Posted by gman0526
    On new setups other than overfeeding by new hobbyists, I think that the misconception of the term "cured rock" given by LFS/vendors to their product, in my opinion all newlly purchased rock should be quarantined and "recycled" b4 being placed in the tank. Not to mention the array of unnecessary chemical products newbies are sold by LFS that wreak havoc on the stability of a new system.
    Good points George...especially on the chemical additives, can definatley be a contributor...I still see algae blooms in my new tanks, and I don't do the additive thing, so I still think the main driver behind it is the high level of bacterial flux a new tank goes through as it "establishes" itself...one can definately worsen the situation however by doing some of the things you mentioned....

    Quote Originally Posted by wave98
    . I have a 27 gal. hex tank with 6" of substrate on a plenum and a very high bioload. I am jumping on with Jiddy here regarding snails and crabs. Phosphate is at .3 and nitrate at 20 ppm. I am running 96 watt pc's which is a lot shy for the "sps", but "boy" can they grow a lot of algae!
    On the PC's....I don't buy into the theroy that they contribute greatly to algae blooms, unless of course they are aged bulbs....light, while a contributing and necessary factor, is IMO a secondary contributor to algae problems in the tank, I think nutrients definately play the primary role here. Bad lighting can be the proverbial "straw that breaks the camels back". The nutrients have to be in the system to start with. I've had algae blooms with brand new VHO's...it's a nutrient thing primarily...

    Quote Originally Posted by wave98
    . Now I realize that snails and crabs have two holes, and this quite obviously why I am having to fight a bit with P and nitrate
    Right...I have heard estimates (and they make sense to me) that your crabs and snails are only going to give you a 10-15% overall reduction in nutrient load (ie nutrients they actually use) when compared to the amount going in. This is based on the concept that you are not feeding these animals directly, they are feeding on the leftovers from the fish/corals and algae in the tank. So, I don't think, unless of course, you are feeding them in excess of what you normaly would without them, they are a major contributor, they do lower the overall levels. The problem lies if you overfeed the tank because they are there, assuming they will pick up the slack, so to speak (which I believe many have a tendancy to do).

    MikeS
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  15. #30
    Pearly

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    MikeS:

    Thanks for your reply.

    . I agree with you entirely about the lights and the nutrients. I was only saying that they are less than adequate for the sps in the tank, and that the tremendous and immediate reduction of hair algae in the tank was from the crabs and snails, and not from any lack of light.
    . I have been exceedingly stingy with the feeding in this tank, specificly in order to help reduce the "nutrients".
    . My skimming is very poor but not nonexistant with my crummy "seaclone" which be replaced fairly soon, and my 450 gph in the main tank is just swirling around in the walmart tub below with an old rock and an inch of arragonite that I just happened to have left over.
    . Not really a refugium here, just another 16 gal. of water and some good flow in the main tank. I am in the process of designing a refugium to DIY and replace it. It will need a lot less flow thru the refugium portion, say 90 gph or so.
    . My real interest here is in building the refugium and what substrate( or sand etc.) I should use there as well as the macroalgaes that are safest to grow and will promote "pod production" to use for food. Maybe I could throw some in the garbage every once in a while or give it away and get a bit of nutrient reduction "to boot".
    . By the way Mike, I noticed that you are looking into substrates for your new aquarium and plenum. You are right about the anoxic zone, which is of the most benefit in a plenum system, whereas the anearobic zone is where the real nasties come from like cyanobacteria and sulfides.
    . You don't need that coarse of a gravel to do this however. Waterflow in the column isn't going to do it for you in the substrtate till you hit about 8mm,
    and then it's not a plenum anymore anyway. 1.7 to 3mm will do well in the 6 inches you're talking about, and with good flow in the column you won't collect hardly any detritus there either. Just add some small snails and crabs and you won't collect any detritus at the "sand-gravel" surface.

    . Good luck and happy reefing Wave98

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