View Full Version : Should I be concerned about my Fuge Algae?

01/04/2017, 11:18 AM
I have a 55 gallon sump with ~10 gallon Refugium area that is lit by two LED 5k bulbs. I started it with Chaeto algae and finally got it growing pretty well, but over the last few months I noticed pink cotton ball algae (not sure the proper name) growing all over the top and invading the Chaeto. It's gotten worse and worse and recently over the last month I have notice green cotton ball algae too.

Should I be concerned or algae is basically algae as far as helping to reduce Nitrates and Phosphates. Currently Nitrates are about 15-20ppm and Phosphates are 0. Just wondering if these are bad and I should basically start over. There might be some "clean" Chaeto on the bottom, but not much if any.


Michael Hoaster
01/04/2017, 11:12 PM
Good question!

In my opinion, algae is algae, as far as filtration goes. In a sump, it doesn't need to be pretty. That's why it's in the sump, right? Mother Nature is providing you with more "filtration media" because you have enough nutrients to support it's growth. I would recommend you prune and export regularly.

I'm guessing you don't want it in your display. Snails will chow down on cotton candy algae. You could throw a few in your sump, to nip it in the bud, so to speak.

Ron Reefman
01/05/2017, 03:57 AM
I agree with Michael in one respect, in the sump most any algae is OK. But I think most reefers with a coral reef tank will try to keep the algae down to a basic chaeto so it doesn't spread into the main tank.

I'd say you're more than ready to do some serious exporting from that sump. I'd try and go after the stuff that is the most infested with the pink algae. Maybe even pull all of it, pick out the stuff that isn't chaeto as best you can and even put it in a bucket and try to clean it up by 'washing' it with a garden hose (assuming decent weather outside... I'm in Florida and I tend to forget the fact that some places it's freezing cold outside). You may lose a lot of pod population, but I wouldn't want my sump to look like that. I'd be too concerned about it getting in the DT.

01/05/2017, 04:41 AM
So far I've been lucky for it not to spread to the main tank. The only bad algae I get there is some cyano occasionally. I've tried to pull the cotton ball algae out from time to time but it doesn't seem to help at all. I've thrown some turbos in there but they can't seem to make a dent if they are eating it at all. Maybe I'll do what you suggest and pull it all out into a bucket and save the least populated stuff. I just didn't want my fuge to take such a hit since it must be working pretty well for me.

Unfortunately I'm in the cold northeast so I will have to do this all inside hah.

Michael Hoaster
01/05/2017, 06:53 PM
You may try Cerith snails in there. They reproduce and equalize with their food supply. You are right, it's working very well and you don't want to mess that up. Maybe do a small pruning/export weekly and selectively remove unwanted algae.

01/05/2017, 07:11 PM
OK I'll try some Cerith thanks. I've had Trochus and Turbos in there but haven't tried those. As far as pruning I might try and cut the top layer which is a thick mat of the cotten algae. Up until this point I've only tried taking clumps out by hand but maybe I'll be more effective with some scissors.