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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is this green, hairy algae and how do I get rid of it. It has taken over one piece of LR. I harvest it during my water changes, but it isn't doing much. My water parameters are normal, pH = 8.2-8.3, Alkalinity = 5.5 meq, NH3 = 0, Nitrites = 0, Nitrates = 5-10 ppm.

Any help is appreciated.
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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It's hair algae. What's your phosphate reading? Tap water or RO/DI? How long are you running lights, and how old are your bulbs? What are you feeding, how much and how often?

Let's play 20 questions :D

Jenn
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1) What's your phosphate reading? Don't know, but can work on finding out. What is the most common method out there.

2) Tap water or RO/DI? RO/DI

3) How long are you running lights, and how old are your bulbs? The bulbs run 10 hours per day, 110W CF white (10,000k) and 110W CF Actinic, both are JBJ brand. The lights are 8 months old, put on Nov 1, 2002.

4) What are you feeding, how much and how often? We feed a pinch of flake at 1:00 pm with an auto feeder. We feed 1 cube of frozen at night; typically Emerald Entree, Marine Cuisine, Blood Worms, or mysis shrimp. We defrost the cubes by running under water and straining, then we add it to a cup of tank water. We feed from the tank water cup. Occasionally we will add two drops of garlic for ick prevention.
 

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I am not sure if this is relevant or not, but for the first time in 2 years I am experiencing significant increase in nuisance algae. After discussions with others in the club I “think” it may be related to increased heat. I have been experiencing higher than normal water temps and that may be related to nuisance algae growth. I am taking steps to lower the temp and I’ll see if that does any good.
 

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Summer and Alyssa's Daddy
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I personally think that you should consider dropping your feeding back to once a day and have a "starve" day. I know there are members on the board that still think that still think that I still overfeed. And I like to clip some nori on my tank for my tang. By my reckoning you have about 7 fish or so. In conjunction with my feeding regime, I do target feed my clams, sunpolyps, anemones, and my plate. I feed my clams a bit of phytoplankton, my sunpolyps get enriched brine shrimp, my anemones get either frozen silversides and/or feeder guppies that I raise in really brackish water. (same with the little plate which came as a hitchiker on a piece of rock).
Also I would considering bumping up flow. When Justin starting having problems, he added one of our old powerheads and it did wonders.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are six fish total, less than two years old. The only large ones are the Clarkii and the Tang (boy does he grow fast!).

I target feed my anenomes every few weeks with a piece of shrimp. I currently peal the shrimp first, but was wondering if it would be better to feed it skin and all. And if we make it by the store, we will feed the fish live brine for a few days every other week.

Oh, and I also add the Mark Weiss Black Powder/Spectra Vital combo once a week (1/4 tsp) for the invertabrates.

I know that I am a little low on flow, and was planning on adding a new powerhead near that rock. What is a good amount of flow per gallon of tank? We have about 420 gph in our 55 gal tank (Mag 3 in sump and a Rio 200 in tank).
 

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Summer and Alyssa's Daddy
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Okey dokey, I was counting the commas. Yes definatly step up the flow. I have two power heads (260 GPH) pointing to the middle part of the glass in the front from the rear corners. Then in the center is my 395 GPH outlet (with headloss, probably closer to 200 GPH being conservative) and my power filter (I use one for my phosgard sponge and temp control, and sometimes water polishing) about 300 gph. This totals about 940 GPH (on the conservative side again). I have this on my 40 gal breeder. I personally think that it is my reason for not haiving hair algae problems. However I would invest in the the intake sponges. (I bought bunch from Jenn to work with the Maxi-Jet powerheads). I am not sure about the numbers but I was taught by one professional that he likes to make a current in his tank that can almost knock back his fish.
Now that I think about it, Lisa didn't correct her hair algae problem till I added an additional 220 GPH maxi jet to her tank.

Ray
 

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Little fish in a big pond
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Heat could be a factor - so could phosphate. While not inherently toxic to fish, it is a great "fertilizer" for algae. RO/DI is a great way to avoid phosphate, but I find that certain brands of frozen and flaked foods are higher in phosphate than others. I would also cut back feeding - to once a day, every other day, at least until the algae is under control.

You're getting close to bulb-changing time too, depending on who you talk to, they should be changed every 6-9 months. I had this dicussion with somebody who changes every 6 months and he said that he really noticed a difference in the colour of the lighting when he put in new bulbs, even though he changes them frequently. As the spectum shifts, it becomes more conducive to growing algae.

I'd check the phosphate, and if necessary, run a phosphate sponge temporarily to reduce the "fertilizer factor" and consider changing the bulbs.

In the meantime, manual removal is the best defense. Tuxedo urchins eat hair algae - they also eat coralline algae - but if you can take the good with the bad, they are very good at cleaning up.

HTH

Jenn
 

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Summer and Alyssa's Daddy
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Sorry couldn't help it. I have been working around techies way too long.
Phosgard and Kalkwasser are good methods if you do not have a refugium..

Phosgard by Hagen seemed to work in my tank, i get no readable phosphate by saifert and hagen test kits.
But I drip Kalkwasser as well, which I understand to precipate phosphates.
I think my refugium must suck up the nitrates and phosphates, but I have had a problem or two when pruning. (My grape went sexual and I discovered that I over pruned to cause the problem)

Ray
 

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Tom D. Wyatt gave a slide show and presentation on the MicroAlgae in marine aquariums during our May 2003 meeting of the Atlanta Reef Club. As a short term problem, algae blooms happen in succession for the first fifteen months of a tank's setup as a result of excess phosphate and nitrates from food, excess silicates from tap water and excess light. These blooms are normal and algae growth can be considered a sign of stability, providing food to many grazing organisms. But-- most of us recognize it as a problem and Tom pointed out that the red film cyanobacteria can quadruple in size in just 15 minutes. Algae can help smooth out Ph swings because it utilizes nutrients. Using a protein skimmer will allow less algae by removing these nutrients.
Chlorophyta is the green hair algae on everyone's least favorite list. The bright sunlight of metal halide lamps provides energy for growth. Species includes Calerpa [macro-algae], Hallemedia [hard calcium enriched], Derbesia [glass tank hair algae], Bryopsis, Batophora [whorl algae], and Valonia Ventricosa [bubble algae]. How to limit growth requires a lack of nutrients, a current too strong or predation. Fish food alone has sufficient nutrients, particularly dead food. You should test for nitrates after midnight when the cyanobacteria will die and dissolve, releasing nutrients that will be reabsorbed in the daylight and not register on the test.
A deep sand bed, a protein skimmer, live rock, Clams, Snails [one adult per 5 gallons] and water changes all help control the excess nutrients. Urchins eat hair algae and coralline algae [the good stuff] but tend to be disruptive to the corals. Phosphate shows up in activated carbon from coconut shells or treated with phosphate acid. Black Diamond, Marineland, or Reagent Carbon from WalMart are known to be safe. Using a Salifert or Hatch test kit, try to achieve less than .005 PPM. You can help by dripping Kalkwasser but be aware that the aluminum in phosphate removal pads may kill certain Sarcoph corals. Maintain strong circulation in all corners of the tank, keep the alkalinity high and maintain Ph of 8.4 to thwart algae growth. SeaChem salt has been reported as high in silicates and boron and Instant Ocean may have phosphates.
If a refugium is part of your reef tank kingdom, then keeping it lit on a reverse photo-period could help. Sally Lightfoot Crabs, small Mithrax Crabs, Tuxedo Urchins, Red-leg Hermits less than one inch, are all algae eaters. Replace light bulbs early as red-shifted older lamps become excellent grow-light plant bulbs.
 
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