View Full Version : A thought on hair algae
10/29/2008, 10:04 PM
As I was cleaning my Banggai cardinalfish tank this morning, I noticed that my rocks have no hair algae although the tank is infested with hair algae. Actually all hair algae are loose in this tank, mainly floating over the bottom of the tank. With the amount of feeding going on in this tank, hair algae grow extremely well, but they are all loose in the water column.
The only explanation I have for this is my long spine sea urchin. It keeps the rocks and glass surfaces free of any hair algae. The sea urchin also seems to feast on coralline algae and Caulerpa prolifera.
The tank used to be a bare bottom tank, but it's now filled with fine sand like Sea urchin poops. I suspect it scrapes off the rock surface to eat the coralline algae and poops out the fine rock dust.
If you are plagued by hair algae, you might consider a long spine sea urchin as a part of your biological control especially if your tank is a fish only tank. My sea urchin has not done any damage to my corals in the tank, but I suspect that it will bulldoze any plugs of frags that are not firmly secured on rocks.
10/29/2008, 10:14 PM
I have a little greenish brown urchin (not sure what kind exactly, but looks like a pincushion), and it has done a great job in my 75 gallon. It doesn't get all the hair algae, because its a lot of room to cover for one little guy, but does a pretty good job of getting it back to manageable. It eats coralline too, but that grows back fast. Like tomoko said, it will knock things over that arent secured.
10/29/2008, 11:07 PM
About the urchins eating the coralline algae, I've actually they can make it grow faster. Supposedly, because they eat with "beaks" when they crunch the coralline, a lot of it floats away. If you have good calcium and strontium levels, the coralline "dust" will settle somewhere and start growing.
The LFS I worked at had good luck the few times we resorted to tuxedo urchins for hair algae control. It's cool to see all the stuff they stick to themselves when they are healthy. I remember we had one that stuck a GSP frag to its back. Looked like a moving GSP colony haha
10/30/2008, 10:22 PM
I'm glad this was brought up. I have had a outbreak of it this month. My water parameters are fine. What has been the best remedy for your tank. I had a urchin a few months ago but gave it away it was knocking over everthing in my tank.
10/30/2008, 10:56 PM
I have twice battled hair algae. I tried everything....Bought two urchins and they are wrecking balls...but cool to watch. I also increased skimming, increased water changes, increased flow, increased kalk drips, boosted magnesium and the HA continued to flourish. Finally, I changed my bulbs and the algae began clumping off the surfaces and completely disappeared within 3 weeks. Not sure how lighting plays into Hair Algae, but it was the one variable which made a difference. Just thought I'd share this experience with ya.
10/30/2008, 11:15 PM
i couldn't keep the long spiny in my big tank...it didnt get along with the btas very well :)
but the 29 its in now is spotless!
10/31/2008, 11:36 AM
Scootman what type of bulbs did you have and what did you change to?
10/31/2008, 12:34 PM
My long spine did a great job on everything. I'm using several smaller spined urchin in my softie tank and things are definitely turning around (Tuxedo's and Globes).
11/03/2008, 01:56 AM
I have read that elevated magnesium levels helps though of course like everything in this hobby its a crazy balance. I personally like hermit crabs for hair algae and often find that they are more resilient than snails "dying snails only contribute to out of wack water pareameters". Though I am not anti snail by any means. Urchins are like wrecking balls IMAO but they sure to get the job done.
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