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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I have hair algae in my tank, for the past month or so it has been holding very steady and not showing a lot of growth but in the past week it is starting to pick up the pace and I dont want it taking over everything. It seems like it could be on the verge and I dont wanna let it get to that point. maybe im just paranoid.

Tank is on its 10th week since start and I know this the so called uglies period but will this really just pass by without my doing something about it?

What I have planned is to over the course of saturday and sunday is to siphon my entire sandbed, take out all rocks for scrubbing in siphoned tank water to remove the hair algae and to remove my skimmer and clean it. Also with the siphoning and cleaning, Im guessing on about a 40 percent water change.

Is this a good idea? how should I go about it to make sure Im not doing this again in 2 months? Btw I have Red Sea PO4 test kit and its reading zero and nitrates zero or very close, maybe inbetween 0 and 5 somewhere if any. So im thinking the phosphates are bound up.

So should I do this? should I follow this massive cleaning with a dark period and a small dosing of a product to neutralize P04? Thanks for the help TRT. Also if I shouldnt do this explain why, also if you need pics I can prolly get some up today (friday) in the afternoon or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a small clean up crew in my opinion and could probably use some more, but 29g tank and livestock is as follows

Ocellaris Clown
Lawnmower Blenny (ive never seen him touch the hair algae)
Cleaner Shrimp
Emerald Crab (actually half a crab, missing 3 hind legs and havnt seen him touch HA)
4 Nassarius Snails
3 Astrea Snails
3 Blue Leg Hermits

I dont know what is causing it really, I know algae is from excess nutrients but Im not sure where they would be coming from then. I have my lights on 12 hours a day (actinics 12 hours, 12k 8 hours). I use marine snow twice a week to feed corals and ive heard its high in phosphates and such but not sure that alone would be causing the algae. I use distilled water instead of RO/DI, is this bad? Im under the impression its a good thing.

Besides those few things, im not sure what the problem could be. This is my first tank and think im doing everything right because everything is alive but maybe im going wrong somewhere.

I dont think I overfeed either. I feed my fish once or twice a day with flake food and brine once or twice a week. Also not much gets left after the snails and stuff get the leftovers.
 

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have you tested the distilled water for tds?
where do you buy it from?
do you siphon clean the sandbed with every water change?
do you blow off the rocks to help remove trapped detrius?
what kind of food do you feed?
i think you have a good plan and any phosphate test, is for the most part useless. phosphates are quickly used by algae and will not be detected.
 

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r e e f e r 4 l i f e
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Distilled water us "usually" fine. Having a handheld TDS meter on-hand to check is always a good thing though. If you don't have one currently it's a very worth it investment and they are cheap. You can usually pick them up for $15 - $20. Any filter media in your system that doesn't get cleaned regularly? Rocks that don't get a lot of flow? Check anywhere that could be trapping detritus. Blast some of your rocks directly with a powerhead. If a bunch of junk comes off and out of them when you do that and clouds up your water, you need to make sure you do that regularly before your water changes to make sure you clean that out of your system. Hidden detritus that doesn't get cleaned up feeds algae like mad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You could help slow the algae by cutting down your photo period. You could easily go to 6 hrs and keep your corals happy.
Yes I thought about that, however its prolly not gonna solve the problem at its root, and will cause slow coral growth over a long period. So I think a combination is best. Though about doin lights out for a day or two after the cleanup to make sure anything left cant really take hold.

have you tested the distilled wAater for tds?
where do you buy it from?
do you siphon clean the sandbed with every water change?
do you blow off the rocks to help remove trapped detrius?
what kind of food do you feed?
i think you have a good plan and any phosphate test, is for the most part useless. phosphates are quickly used by algae and will not be detected.
I have not tested the water to tds. I really didnt think it would needed since its distilled, should be clean right? now im wondering tho. And usually it comes from meijer or walmart.

Actually I siphon spots of the sandbed but I never have done the whole thing because I usually suck up way to much sand from may sand bed and then eventually i gotta replace it. right? well I know I dont have to but you know what i mean.

And I blow of my rocks with turkey baster bout once or twice a week to get everything back up in suspension, and I am only currently running a Reef Octopus BH-1000 protein skimmer. Thought about running carbon in a old powerfilter I have. Probably will be doing this.

Also I feed mostly flake food to fish. Brine/Mysis once a week, and marine snow twice a week. Also I have 3 powerheads pushing 450-500gph each and everything seems like its getting the flow it needs.

I think for 15-20 bucks I will be looking for a TDS meter just to have one, even if its not the problem, I didnt know they were that cheap. Have a link by chance?
 

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start feeding mysis once a day or even better wud be blender mush. flakes are horrible. the pellets are supposed to be good as well but ive never used em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They are Formula One flakes, and why are they horrible? because of phosphates? just curious, and thanks for the input. Also I have lots of differant foods on hand. 3 different flake foods, pellets, brine, mysis, silversides, marine snow, only thing i dont have is algae, and for good reason, lol
 

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yes, because of phosphates. you will quickly learn that one of the biggest reasons why people leave the hobby is because of the affects of phosphates. algae/cyano. the less you put in the less you need to remove.

have you read through this thread yet?

how much flow do you have in the tank? the more flow the better. the object is to get as much detritus as possible to not be in the display. get it into a sump where it is easier to remove.

if the phosphates are kept in check, than a very small CUC is necessary.

G~
 

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I was once sold on marine snow when I had my 90 gallon, this is when my issues started.... Just like you algea was present but not strong... Then boom....
Stopped using then marine snow and cut lights back and cleaned more...
Guess what got it under control...

Now in my 125 I do not feed coral at all except maybe once a month coral frenzy half the recommended amount ..... Then the next day I do my water changes....

A year in and so far so good, just recently I notice a pick up of algea but that's because I am slacking on my husbandry thanks to my job :(

I only feed live or frozen food, the frozen is thawed in distilled water then rinsed before feeding

Turning lights off for a day or two will just postpone the growth... It will still be there and grow
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I have no plans of quitting the hobby ever unless my funds just cant support it. However I do believe phosphates are bound up. I have 1400gph flow total in my tank plus the return on my skimmer so that puts me over 50x turnover rate but unfortunately no sump till we buy our first house. Living in apartment right now.

Well I think marine snow could be part of the problem, however I doubt its the entire problem. And yes thats exactly what I thought about cutting the lights, in itself I know it wont fix anything, but I thought if do it after the BIG CLEAN as im calling it, along with some phosphate binder that I an get the phosphates left in the tank bound up to the product I put in and then remove it through water changes instead of it getting bound back up in the hair algae.

I think it may come down to the fact I have neglected siphoning my sandbed as well fearing removing too much sand, I dont care if I suck it all out tomorrow, im cleaning it good!

So am I overfeeding my corals? I have a mixed reef, softies,lps, and one acro that is doing quite well as a test subject. Also I just noticed a small patch about half the size of a dime of bubble algae!!!! Im getting this taken care of before its a major problem. Also I think I need to expand the clean up crew roster a bit, maybe a few more hermits, nassarius snails and a emerald since the one in my tank doesnt really seem to be eating anymore since the damsel I "had" tore 3 of his legs off. Needless to say I got rid of the damsel.

I think maybe a bit of overfeeding with marine snow, and a bit of slack in my husbandry is causing the problems. However, ive been doing the same thing since day one and its getting worse all of a sudden, so I could be wrong.
 

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An inexpensive way to reduce or eliminate hair algae is to get a macro algae to out-compete it for nutrients. This works in conjunction to any other method listed above. I bought my chaeto 6 years ago, and give some away to others, or my LFS every 4-6 weeks. It's relatively inexpensive, or should be: my LFS makes pure profit on it, since I, and the workers at the LFS provide it for free. There is no ongoing cost to maintain it, unless you have a lighted refugium, and that cost is minimal.
Good article on Chaeto in this month's Koral magazine.

Clean up crews only move around the nutrients. When I harvest Chaeto, I move the nutrients out of my display tank / refugium.
PS: I use the chaeto in both my display tank and refugium.
 

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it is easier to just remove the nutrients than to try and figure ways to outcompete for it. the bacteria are always going to win that battle.

marine snow/phytoplankton are just phosphates in an easy to squeeze bottle.

have you looked up what marine snow is? how on earth would marine snow be good for our systems?

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ive heard bad things about it since ive started using it, but of course the guy at the LFS pushed it my way. Im pretty sure I gonna stop using it twice a week and use it like once a month in half dose. And I might grab some chaeto but dunno like Geoff said its like putting a bandaid on a broken leg
 

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I had the same problem when I started my 75 gallon. The members of this forum directed me to make sure my source water was as pure as possible. I changed where I got my source water to a fellow reefer instead of my LFS. I also added chaeto to my live sump(refugium) and added a couple turbo snails to my display. All these things and letting the tank mature a little helped get rid of the hair algae problem. I still have the uglies but not hair algae. I would also check the Calcium levels in your tank. I try to keep my calcium at 450ppm. This doesn't get rid of the hair algae, but it promotes the growth of coralline algae which hair algae will not grow over IME.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have managed to keep my calcium stable between 420-440ppm and coralline has just recently started to pop up in my tank. I have yet to test my distilled water. What should I be testing for? Phosphates?

Also I did it today, I took out every rock and scrubbed the crap outta them, took me about 2 hours and I didnt have enough time to siphon the sand bed so that will happen next weekend but for the most part the rocks are clean. And I have added some Phosphate binder to the tank and will prolly do another 15% water change and siphon the sandbed on thanksgiving actually, to get the bound phosphates out. But as on now things look alot better and I will test my freshwater to make sure im not putting phosphates right back in. Ill keep you posted, also anything else I should do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok well I dont have a TDS Meter yet, but i tested it for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Phosphate and all came up ZERO.

Also tested my tank water
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Phosphate 0-.25 Before I added the Binder, will do water change tom and then retest
dKH 11
pH 8.3
Ca 420ppm
SG 1.026 (35ppt)

Also I shut the lights off after I added the binder so algae growth doesnt bind it up again till I can remove the phosphate via another water change in a day or two. Will probably do about 30 hours of darkness and then water change/lights on, retest etc.

Everything has opened back up and I like my rocks a little better with how they are situated a bit different now. Tank looks real good right now.

As for the cause of the phosphates im really not sure yet. Water tested fine, i had 2 turbo snails fall on there back and die a few weeks ago and it was a few days before I got them out. Could this be the cause? Along with 5ml Marine Snow twice a week?
 
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