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  1. #1
    Great White Shark
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    Let's Talk About ~Algae Control~

    Time for a new topic.....Algae Control. Everyone's been through it at one time or another, so let's hear methods to diagnose where the problem is coming from, and different means to help eradicate a current problem. What have you battled and how have you dealt with it?
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    Butterflyfish
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    Great topic Nikki!

    Cyano - increase flow
    Hair - urchin, nudibranch, hand removal...still working on this one
    Halimeda - It won't go away, but hand removal will get most of it out
    coraline - scrape it off
    calurpa - hand removal and a good tang

    If anyone has any further tips on the hair algae I'd love to hear them

    Most of the control/prevention comes in the form of preventing nutrients from getting into the system. I make my own food, and use 100% RO/DI water for top off. To remove what is in the system (because there will always be some in the system) I use a good skimmer running a little wet and some phosban in the reactor. I tried the chaeto route, but it just didn't do much for me in my setup. It does work well for others to out compete algaes in the main tank. Primary thing is to keep detritus in suspension and remove it via skimming.
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    Copepod

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    Quote Originally Posted by reedman View Post
    Great topic Nikki!

    Cyano - increase flow
    Hair - urchin, nudibranch, hand removal...still working on this one
    Halimeda - It won't go away, but hand removal will get most of it out
    coraline - scrape it off
    calurpa - hand removal and a good tang

    If anyone has any further tips on the hair algae I'd love to hear them

    Most of the control/prevention comes in the form of preventing nutrients from getting into the system. I make my own food, and use 100% RO/DI water for top off. To remove what is in the system (because there will always be some in the system) I use a good skimmer running a little wet and some phosban in the reactor. I tried the chaeto route, but it just didn't do much for me in my setup. It does work well for others to out compete algaes in the main tank. Primary thing is to keep detritus in suspension and remove it via skimming.
    Thanks for some good advice for a newbie!

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    Despite feeding my tank nearly nothing, I had a massive valonia problem for a while. I managed to get most of it off by cleaning the rock outside the tank, but it kept coming back.

    Adding a single mithrax crab seems to have eliminated it completely. I've never had issues with any other kinda of algae.

    -Dylan

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    I think the most commonly neglected part of algae control is water changes. If you starve it it will die, just that simple. If I could change 100% of my display water over the course of a week I would. For example I change 40% on saturday, I see die off all week until wed's and it starts to recover. This simply means that the 9000 gph turnover, power sucking beckett, ozone, uv filter, carbon and rowa cant keep up.
    Having a shorter photo period also helps, especially just after a good water change. Having very clear water by some means of mechanical or chemical filtration (ozone, carbon and/or uv) allow your corals to do just fine under a shorter photoperiod.
    Last but not least, I'm with Reed that using a well maintained RODI is essential. 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

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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.

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    Butterflyfish
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    Dylan remined me of the valonia. I got a foxface lo and he has pretty well beaten that flavor of algae.

    I may have to try to shorter photo period as suggested by Don. Good idea there. And on the water changes, I definitely agree. The freshwater world changes 70-80% at a time (leaving enough water for the fish to be upright). Obviously this is not practical for a reef, but it does provide another advantage to a larger sump as you can change 100% of the sump water without lowering the main tank water level.
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    Ebi
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    i had some wicked cyano in my 10 for awhile...

    removed as much as i could with my hands and a net ... and then let the lights stay off for one day... the next day .. nothing .. and has worked like a charm from then on..

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    SeaSlug

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sushi Reef View Post
    i had some wicked cyano in my 10 for awhile...

    removed as much as i could with my hands and a net ... and then let the lights stay off for one day... the next day .. nothing .. and has worked like a charm from then on..
    If I remember correctly, Cyano is unaffected by light. It doesnt need light to grow.

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    Brittle Starfish
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    i tell you how i battle my algae, snails. I use RO/DI water, and did i mention Snails, and lots of them!
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiddy
    i tell you how i battle my algae, snails. I use RO/DI water, and did i mention Snails, and lots of them!
    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

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    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

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    Great White Shark
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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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    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
    There are Three Kinds of Lies...Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.
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    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.

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