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Had a thought today and thought I should run it by everyone on here and see if I'm crazy of not.

ok so I have a 4 gallon nano/pico reef I set up about 3 months ago. I set it up with about 5lbs sugar sand, adding a handful of sand from my girlfriends 10 gallon, and 6 lbs of uncured live rock. it has currently 20W of 10,000k LED lighting (will be upgrading to 30W in the next few weeks). anyway as of about 1 month ago I started getting the typical algae outbreak, most likely due to not cooking the rock and the fact that I set it up with tap water (ya ya I know) so I have phosphates, about .5 ppm. anyway I was thinking today as I was fixing a friends computer, or should I say staring at my tank while pretending to fix their computer. I have always heard to get rid of algae you should reduce phosphates and reduce your photo period. well I understand removing phosphates as it is good food for the algae and lowers the rate at which corals can calcify, but the reduced photo period I don't get. reducing the amount of light that your tank gets will undoubtedly help kill off the algae by starving it of light, which reduces its ability to process the phoshphates and make food for itself. but at the same time you would be depriving you light loving corals for their light as well obviously not the best thing to do. anyway the thought I had was to not reduce my photoperiod but to increase it. My thoughts being that it will cause the algae to grow faster meaning it will absorb phosphates faster. then whenever I do a water change I can harvest as much of the algae as I can, thus removing the phosphates from my system. basically like you do with cheato. has anyone attempted this? anybody think it will work or am I just crazy? :agree:
 

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While this will certainly slow coral growth during this period, it's considered a necessary evil when shortening the photoperiod to reduce algae growth. However, unless you totally eliminate light for a few days, your corals should endure the reduced period just fine.

Then again, GFO and small, daily waterchanges with good water (maybe like a cup considering your total tank volume) would also be beneficial to reducing phosphates and getting rid of algae.

Just remember that algae is part of the whole equation, no matter how you cut it. It's a natural, common, necessary part of the reef and while we as hobbyists work to control it so it doesn't look bad, it will always be and should always be in our tanks
 
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