View Full Version : How to Control Algae in a FOWLR

07/19/2017, 08:57 PM
For all you FOWLR folks, how do you control algae in your DT without a CUC?

Mr. Eel
07/19/2017, 09:35 PM
Urchins work for me usually get a little nipped, but besides that are unbothered and get the job done.

07/20/2017, 05:02 AM

07/21/2017, 06:06 PM
Urchins work for me usually get a little nipped, but besides that are unbothered and get the job done.
Urchins sound like a good idea.

07/21/2017, 08:05 PM
My blueline and clown triggers would crunch up anything I tried to put in their tank. At to my surprise a tuxedo urchin has now been living unscathed, and doing a great job.

07/21/2017, 08:42 PM
A low dose of Choroquine Phosphate will kill off your algae amazingly well. I've used it in a fowlr and it took a month for the CP to "stop" killing the algae but the glass was nice and clean during that time.

The trick is to go slow and phase it in over a one month period. Know that it will also kill off worms, inverts, or snails so you have to read up on your own to understand it well. Copepods will survive. CP will also treat ick, velvet and brook at a regular dose.

I bought my first CP for $15 from a coral seller on ebay but you can also buy New Life Spectrum Powder Ick-Shield, which also contains the same effective ingredient. That is what I am using now.

Consider dosing way under the norm at 1/8 tsp per 80 gal and wait a week to see the impact. That works out to just 5ml/gal. A week later, add another dose and track what you are putting in. You will begin to see algae die off at some point.

A regular dose is 40ml/gal which works out to 1 tsp per 80 gal. Your sand will absorb and later leach CP back over time (a few weeks) so you have to do a maintenance dose to stay on top of your algae but it is relatively low maintenance. CP is forgiving on your fish and can be dosed at up to 80ml/gal. You know what you have in your tank and can judge if this is an option for you or not. Happy reading.

07/21/2017, 10:07 PM
Now that I think about it, I do want coralline to grow...which changes the equation.

07/22/2017, 05:10 PM
if truly just a fowlr and no corals try keeping the lights off unless you are in front of the tank, then when checking out tank try using just moon or blue lights.

Michael Hoaster
07/22/2017, 10:59 PM
Mollies do fine in salt water, eat algae and are prolific livebearers. They effectively turn algae into feeders for your carnivores to naturally hunt and eat.

Sounds Fishy
07/23/2017, 07:53 AM
If you can,lower your bio load,and increase filtration,that will help..Having good circulation and running UV will help lessen algae.Introducing bio pellets and/or GFO helps too.I do all of that plus regular water changes,and have a CUC including an urchin...but I still get a bit of algae growth on my LR(minimal).If I lowered the light intensity,as well,it would be algae free...

07/24/2017, 05:36 AM
I have a 150 gal fish only tank. No refugium or algae turf scrubber.

The only way I keep algae in check is by regular cleaning of the glass about every two weeks and stirring up the gravel.

I also have artificial corals which I remove from the tank and soak in chlorinated hot water every 6 to 8 weeks followed by a thorough rinsing with a de-chlorinator and then air dried.

I'm afraid to dose any anti-algae additives. It seems these additives are mostly targeted for freshwater aquaria. And, I'm not a fan of using clean up crews as they are unaesthetic to me.

So it's a manually chore for me. Old school style.

I have also found that keeping nitrates, silicates and phosphates at low levels has a limited effect on algae growth. It seems that it doesn't take much for algae to grow. Things like GFO or a UV light have had little to no impact for me towards meaningful elimination of algae.

I'm considering carbon dosing to further reduce nitrates and phosphates, but I'm slowly talking myself out of this because I suspect it will have minimal impact too. And, it's another piece of equipment to maintain and fail.

Sorry, no silver bullet offered by me here.


07/24/2017, 09:24 PM
Keeping my feeding in check is probably the single best thing I did. Too easy to overfeed a tank and uneaten food is one the biggest source of nutrients for algae. Reduce lighting hours, using a phosphate remover and regular cleaning/water changes are also done.

07/24/2017, 10:36 PM
urchins are the best.. way better than snails.

giant cowrie works too. the 3-4" ones.. couple of those mowed down my 560

algae scrubber is also a good choice. those DIY chaeto reactors are pretty cheap now

07/25/2017, 09:48 AM
Chaeto in a fuge works. Mexican Turbo snails work too - they learn how to hunker down when something comes near them. Either can die if the N and P get too high.

Carbon dosing can be quite effective since you don't have to worry about getting the N and P too low. You do have to worry about, however, going too fast and using up all of the oxygen. I used sugar on my FO to keep N near 1 and P near .1 so that coralline would grow and the snails would stay alive. I just added some amount (I forget) with a spoon into the sump every night and the skimmer took care of the rest.

You will need to keep up on your water changes in any case.