View Full Version : Weird hair algae help
02/18/2008, 04:34 PM
So here is a couple pics of this weird hair algae that only grows on my sand. it is brown...NOT RED. I don't think it's cyno, my params are all good and I only dose carbon alk and calcium and purple up. I feed pellets every few days and my light cycle is less than 8 hours. This stuff has been harrassing me for 2 months now. I went to the Ark and Crystal Clear, they suggested a goby to sift the sand or perhaps a sand sifter star. My CUC won't touch it, the pics are hard to see, but it's got long creepy hair flowing off it. I may buy another 15lbs of carribbean sand and stir it up during water changes. I've increased flow on it, use only ro/di. I'm at a loss. Any ideas, suggestions? It's just ugly...blah! Tank is about 6 months old or so.
02/18/2008, 04:56 PM
I also had that when my tank was about 6 months old. I thought it was cyno. I bought slime away and it was gone in a couple days. I heard that you can also cut back on the light cycle and keep removing it with a hose. I've also heard that people will get this if your tank is near a window and light is hitting it.
02/18/2008, 05:31 PM
It is most likely fed by excess phosphates in your system. Do you have a refuge where you grow macro algea? Nutreint export is what will help you best, as well as increased flow. Sand shifting gobies are nice and all, but they also dump sand all over everything.
02/18/2008, 05:57 PM
Yea, I don't have it near a window, but it is in a well lit room, no real direct light...lots of ambient. Maybe at sunset there is a little sunlight, but the window is across the room.
I have the maxi jet 1200 in there at 295gph and the canister filter wand is aimed downward towards it, it's rated somewhere around the same 250gph. If I aim flow any more it sends sand everywhere. I don't have a fuge yet, I was gonna make one from an old hang on back filter and stuff LR pieces or cheato in it.
I dunno, thanks guys
02/18/2008, 05:59 PM
How often do you do your water changes and how much do you change? Also, where do you get your RO water from? Do you make it yourself or buy it from a store. What kind of salt are you using?
02/18/2008, 06:05 PM
I change my water every friday at 5pm.....I'm very precise. It's a 20 gallon and I change out 2.5 gallons. The RO/Di is homemade and the salt is instant ocean and not the crystals. I was using distilled from meijer back in early January and I think once some tap got into the tank when it was being topped off back in December, but the last 8 or 9 water changes were all RO water.
if it gets agitated it goes away but always returns in a day or 2.
02/18/2008, 06:32 PM
Pat, I would try some slime away. If I can find the bottle your more than welcome to come by my job in merrillville to pick it up and use some. I think alot of people get this at about 6 months for a couple of weeks then it goes away. Maybe it is part of the natural cycle. I'm sure someone else can chime in to tell us for sure. After I used slime away it has never come back, and that was about a year ago. I'm not a expert by no means, but I have read that alot of people have this problem once and then never again.
i agree with evil, its your nutrient export or lack thereof. I am fighting the same thing right now, I've heard the slime away works great but it is basically an antibiotic, it kills bacteria, it is indiscriminate as to which bacteria. I have also heard the opposite. Either way too many horror stories for me to try it. I also heard of people doing 3 straight days of no lights, but i have a clam so I am currently just cutting back my light cycle. I also stopped feeding anything except rinsed mysis until I get my new skimmer in place. I am starting to win the battle, and once i get the skimmer on I think its over. good luck with it, its been tough for me.
02/18/2008, 07:03 PM
My 55 I had was doing great until I started using distilled from meijer. I started to get the same stuff after using that for a month. I think there is something in that water and I do not recommend it.
02/18/2008, 07:05 PM
Thanks traderdan, I will think about it, I really don't wanna use chemicals just yet, but if I can't fight it off I will definately take you up on that offer.
I think I will try the 3 day blackout, I'm just worried about my Hammer. But starting tomorrow things go dark to see what happens!
02/18/2008, 07:07 PM
Wow Grizz, really? I had a feeling it was no good, but the ro unit wasn't up and running. If that's the case there is a new twist here. I would think after so many RO WC's that it would have been turned over by now!
02/18/2008, 07:10 PM
10 2.5 gallon water changes probably only turns over about 50% of your total water volume becuase of the constant diluteing.
02/18/2008, 09:10 PM
my approach would be to think about what factors got out of whack that led to the problem. then i'd treat the factors that cause the problem rather than the symptoms of the problem. i think that using an algicide would be treating the symptom while allowing the contributing factors to go unchecked.
i wouldn't recommend something like erythromycin to treat cyano as anything other than a method of last resort, as it will stop your biofilter. then you have to figure out how to get it out of your system and re cycle your tank.
i think that BigE and Jim are on the right track -- treat the root cause of the problem rather than the symptom, and the problem should take care of itself.
i think that if i had the problem, i'd try some of the following:
checking your water for silicates & phosphates
better protein skimming
herbivore/detritivore kit, like snails
all of these ideas have in common that they are methods of controlling excess nutrients. water might be adding silicates and phosphates, and algae needs them to grow. cut off the food supply and the algae won't flourish. protein skimming, snails and macroalgae export the nutrients. vodka encourages exportation via fostering the growth of desirable bacteria, that are then exported by skimming.
have you checked your iodine level after dosing with purple up? in general stuff that is red and brown requires iodine for growth. i'd also stop dosing iodine until i checked the levels.
honestly, i must have missed that you have a 20 gallon tank, start with quality water, true RO/DI and up the water changes to 5 gallons a week. maybe 5 gallons every 4-5 days for 2 weeks. and throw away everything you dose with, you simply won't need it if you start with a salt that has good parameters. You should be able to run that tank with a powerhead for flow and maybe a HOB for gas exchange. You could you the canister to polish with carbon when you feel like you need to but then again you could just use the HOB.. simplify.
02/19/2008, 07:25 AM
How old are the bulbs in your fixture? I remember reading somewhere that old bulbs can cause algae.
02/19/2008, 07:27 AM
yeah, if you switch to reef crystals you could probably get by without dosing anything with your weekly water changes. I mean you only have one coral in there at this point. If it was full of SPS I could see maybe having to dose something, but not now. Do you test your water to know how much you should dose?
02/19/2008, 01:31 PM
i agree with your initial assessment that you're growing cyano. the description of cyano in the books, and the photos look exactly like what you're dealing with. getting the right diagnosis is the first important step. you've got that out of the way.
as far as clearing up cyano goes, the first step is to make sure that you've got adequate protein skimming. although i've never had to fight with cyano, the books i've read (delbeek & sprung) say that the #1 thing you should address in a situation like that is to improve the quality of your protein skimming, and the #2 step is to add herbiverous fish and snails. more often than not, improved protein skimming alone will solve the excess nutrient problem. its all about nutrient export. of course, there's always the chance that you might be overfeeding, and that's helping to exacerbate the problem. you might try edging back on the food input while you get the rest of the problem under control.
fwiw i guess i'll ask -- are you using a skimmer, and if so, what are you using?
02/19/2008, 04:38 PM
"No" on the skimmer pescadero. I was looking at the fission one, but hear very bad things. Still looking and waiting for some funds, but want one bad......remember I have a nano, 20 gallon tall, so I need small skimmer with big power.
I only feed like 8-10 pellets every 3 days for 3 fish and the shrimp, so I don't think overfeeding is a problem and lights are only 6 months old or so, however old my tank is, not even a year and since it's birth the light cycle is less than 9 hours total with actinic,led's and whites on daily running.
I got myself 10 gallons of fresh mixed salt heating up as we speak and plan on doing 10 more tomorrow, so with diluting it should be a huge turnover of the water if it is that damn Meijer distilled that got me. There are so many types of different algae out there, I've had several people look at it and determine it is NOT cyno, there is no slime and contrary to the picture it is nowhere near the reddish color of cyno. I've looked at dinoflag, cyno and good ol diatoms. I'm gonna change out the water first, second is some sort of sand sifters, fish or inverts. Close to last is chemical treatment and last I will tear it down and start over. I had the Ark test my carbon hardness and calcium not too long ago and checked to be fine. I test the normal params every few days and besides my pH occasional dipping into the 7.8-8.0 and trates going to 10 here and there things are pretty stable at 0 for trite and ammonia. SG is always 1.024-25 with a refractometer and temp steady at 79.
I would love to get a skimmer and ditch my canister filter. 2 maxijets 1200 with the amt of LR and a skimmer will suffice. Seaoflife wants to ditch my current substrate which is a fine fine sand and he got ot from a place in hessville and says he's never seen that kind anywhere before or after. Maybe a 15lb sack of argonite...black sand?
Basics first, water, creatures, chemicals...then the tear down.
02/19/2008, 04:53 PM
algae blooms that grow on diatoms are typically golden/brown, aren't' they? they don't look at all to me like what's in your photo, but if your photo doesn't reproduce a true image of what your tank looks like, there's not much point in looking at it.
what kind of canister filter are you running? if you're running something like a Magnum you could always drop in the micron filter cartridge. that is a fine enough filter that it would pull all of the diatoms out of your makeup water and that would conclusively prove or refute the diatom hypothesis.
if the problem remains after doing that, that pretty much concludes that your problem is based on DOC and DIOP. a decent protein skimmer would really help in a situation like this one. it would probably eliminate the need for chemicals and tearing down your tank.
i don't want to sound like a broken record, so i promise i won't say the words cyanobacter or protein skimming another time. it would be interesting to test your tank for phosphate and silicate. those are the only tests that would be meaningful as a next step.
02/19/2008, 07:35 PM
Yes I agree with the phosphate and silicate tests need to be done. Currently your right it doesn't look like diatom, but when it began it did. It creeped up like this slowly, not overnight and started looking like diatom first, but I'm fairly certain it's not cyno, but who am I, I slept through Marine Biology.
P.S. I'm taking donations for a protein skimmer :)
Oh yea Pesc, I have a Rena Filstar XP1. Once I rinsed the carbon in regular sink water, maybe thats my problem. Either way it's just starting to annoy me.
02/19/2008, 07:36 PM
I always rinse my carbon in regular sink water ;)
do not tear down! that will not help longterm.
02/19/2008, 08:27 PM
Imagine poo-tang saying that in a loud voice coming from everywhere all at once, and do as he says. :)
02/19/2008, 09:03 PM
Geez! Well I changed out 5 gallons, it was a little too cool, like 73-75 and I usually keep at 79-80, but SG was good so I went for it. I'l let the next 5 gallons wait till tomorrow and be nice and hot. then 10 more to go. I used my baster and blasted that junk while syphoning. Let's see if it comes back, I will keep doing that throughout the changes. I stopped dosing and while I was acting like Mr. Monk I affixed the power strips to the stand and zip tied cords, now I just need some of that corrugated covering to cover the cords.
Anyway, I'm still chipping away, I ****ed off my hammer, saw him gooing and the shrimp attacked my hand, but I feel better about it.
02/20/2008, 11:19 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=11890987#post11890987 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by patboone7
Yes I agree with the phosphate and silicate tests need to be done. Currently your right it doesn't look like diatom, but when it began it did.
diatom blooms typically follow a water change when your source water is rich in silicates, and they typically last only a week. that would explain why it looked like a diatom bloom that faded away.
if after you do these changes you get a bloom that comes and goes, especially if its golden brown, that's diatoms in your makeup water.
BTW, what was your nitrate before the water change?
02/20/2008, 03:07 PM
Nitrate was at 10 yesterday at 5:37PM Central Standard Time.
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