View Full Version : What tooll do you use for this?

04/22/2010, 12:06 PM
I want to use a metal wire brush to remove help turn the tide in my war against red hair algae, but worried about leaving metal in the tank.

Toothbrush isn't cutting it anymore.

What's the best tool here for this?


04/22/2010, 12:19 PM
Are you doing this in the tank?

A few steel wires are unlikely to do much damage if they fall into the tank if you decide to use a steel brush, but I'd probably still not recommend doing it without removing the rocks. Also, while manual removal will help in the immediate future, it's only a bandaid to the real problem of what's fueling the algae growth. Are you taking other steps to reduce nutrient load in the tank?

04/22/2010, 12:20 PM
Scopas tang?

04/22/2010, 12:20 PM
i wouldnt use any metal brush... you might look into one of the nylon rotary brushed that you can attach to a drill...used out of the water ofcourse...

04/22/2010, 12:37 PM
Strike - have you had/seen a scopas tang eat Red Hair Algae? All the reports I read are that only Turbo snails eat it...

Yea, i was recommended the steel wire brush approach, but it sounds like my hesitance is warranted. I really need something that can scrub in the tank since all my rocks are immovable.

Believe me - I'm doing the other things to combat this, but the problem is Red Hair Algae seems to do just fine in a low nutrient environment.

i've done:
-30 gallon fuge full of chaeto
-seperate dedicated GFO reactor
-seperate dedicated carbon reactor
-lowered feedings
-20% water changes every two weeks, bringing it to 20% every week
-bulb replacement
-manual removal (virtually impossible to get it all - this stuff is virulent.)
-tried vodka dosing for 6 weeks, RHA loved it.
-RO is 0 TDS, replace my DI resin anytime the TDS goes to '2'.

It's a complete mystery to me why i'm plagued with this. It grows on powerheads. It grows on snails. It grows 2 inches long on a half inch crab. It grows on corals. It chokes out beautiful zoas. It's a complete disaster algae.

04/22/2010, 12:37 PM
I want to use a metal wire brush to remove help turn the tide in my war against red hair algae, but worried about leaving metal in the tank.

Toothbrush isn't cutting it anymore.

What's the best tool here for this?


I feel your pain that red turf algea is hard to remove. Is there anyway you can get the rock out of the tank? Does it have any corals on it? The best way to remove the red turf is to starve it (darkness 7 days or more) and then remove with a brush.

Edit.. I see they are in the tank so you can't remove. My friend had this problem and it was solved by soaking all the rocks in muratic acid(HCl) for 30 mins. He had to recure his rocks but they are sparkling clean now.

04/22/2010, 12:40 PM
I did that with the rocks that I could reasonably remove coral from. The remaining rocks, which are the majority of my rocks, have expensive sps and zoas GLUED all over them. Part of my master plan. Didn't plan on RHA being my main display item.

This weekend i'm doing 3 days lights out starting tomorrow, then a 30 gallon WC with hard manual removal.

Guarantee you it'll be fully grown back by next weekend.

04/22/2010, 12:48 PM
Wow really muriatic acid? lol....i just used some of that to remove concrete from my patio. That stuff is serious business.

But i'm trying to find less drastic solutions without ripping rock out....like finding some fish called the Red Hair Algae Grouper that eats nothing but red hair algae and then bubble algae. Wish that was a fish.

04/22/2010, 12:49 PM
there are other brushes that have harder bristles than a tooth brush, a toilet brush come to mind.

04/22/2010, 12:54 PM
Have you tried a bathroom brush or a shoe brush? I imagine even a small (all plastic) handheld brrom may work as well. Your other option is "cooking" the rock.

04/22/2010, 02:31 PM
Honestly, I don't see an issue with using a steel brush in a tank. You certainly don't want to use something like brass, but regular steel should be just fine. I know it would be only one of many metal objects that have been in my tank at some point or another. That aside, I'm thinking scrubbing algae in a tank is going to do little more than spread it, unless you have a good way of getting it out of the tank before it drifts away. There's a thread someone posted awhile ago where he took the blade from a razor and somehow fit or attached it to either flexible or rigid tubing (yeah, I know that's pretty vague) in order to get rid of algae. I may have it bookmarked, so I'll see if I can find it.

04/22/2010, 03:51 PM
dish and bathroom brushes work well. Trim the bristles shorter with scissors to make them stiffer.

04/22/2010, 05:48 PM
Green Scotch Brite, works wonders and will not shed toxic particles into tank

04/22/2010, 05:51 PM
just to add since it hasnt been mentioned... you can also get stainless steel brushes where the worry is nearly nonexistent.

04/22/2010, 07:21 PM
Was the rock you got used by a person? If so, it may have been loaded with phosphates and it leaching out is feeding the RHA. Until it all leaches out, your stuck. This tool.http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3728+20409&pcatid=20409

04/23/2010, 06:42 AM
wow thats a good link - i might get that!

04/26/2010, 07:38 AM
I have cleaned rocks using a bath of muriatic acid diluted with water(1/5). It only takes about 20 minutes and it eats away the outer layer of rock which is theoretically where the phosphates are bound. Then rinse the rock and repeat three or four more times.

The other method is to scrub the rock and then put it in a large tub of saltwater/heater/powerhead and do weekly water changes of 100% You keep scrubbing the rocks each week and then change the water. Check the phosphates before you do the water change to see if they are phosphate free. If not then continue. This can take months depending on how dirty your rocks are. The muractic acid will remove the phosphates alot faster. If you go the muratic acid route then you will still need to cycle the rocks in the tub with bacteria for 3-4 weeks. You will be monitoring NH3 and NO2 to see if they are zero before putting the rock back into the tank. Otherwise you can live with the Red Turf Algea or manually remove it forever. Until you clean the rock the problem with not go away.

04/26/2010, 10:11 AM
WOW.. I dont see one post addressing use of mexican turbo snails..
My current tank is 7 months old.. During and after the cycle I had the stuff growing everywhere.. While I dont consider it a nuisance or unsightly it does grow EVERYWHERE and makes it hard to set frags and whatnot.. I firmly believe it has alot to do with the foam I used to "fix" the rocks and the gorilla glue as well..
So I needed this stuff trimmed down and tried various snails and hermits. Nothing.. Then I tried 2 mexican turbos.. GONE in 2 weeks.

I wouldnt advocate using anything made of metal in a tank that has the possibility of dropping parts or pieces that will rust. Even stainless is not 100% if its not a high quality.

As far as scrubbing this stuff off the rocks? Scrub all day and its still gonna come back within a day or so.. Your frustrating yourself with this. If you not already using some form of PO4 remover then I would start doing so. Also where are your nitrates at? Whats your feeding schedule look like and how much are you feeding? Are you dosing amino acids or anything else that might encourage the growth? Whats you lighting schedule and what are you using for bulbs and how old are they?
These are all questions that should be asked and answered honestly to help figure out where the issue is.

Hope this helps alittle.