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Old 12/13/2017, 05:45 PM   #1
earwicker7
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Hair Algae Migrated from Refugium to Display--Best Solution?

I have a 220g display with an 80g deep sand bed refugium and 60g sump. It's just over the one year mark.

I had been following a "let it grow wild" methodology in the refugium... as long as the display looked good, I didn't care what the refugium looked like, mainly because it produced an army of pods. That worked until a couple of weeks ago... there was almost zero algae in the display, and that was only on the wavemaker pumps and the usual film you wipe off the glass. The rocks were pristine. But the refugium got to the point that it was just nasty looking, where the hair algae started to overrun the chaeto, so I decided to clean it up. The problem is that, once I started cleaning it up, the hair algae migrated to the display.

At this point, it is very minor, and probably not noticeable to anyone but me, but I want to nip it in the bud before it becomes a problem.

I am a heavy feeder, but I also do very frequent water changes... usually 30 to 50 gallons a week.

My last tank used Zeovit, and I loved it, but I am trying to do something different with this setup... experimentation is half the fun.

I have a white tailed bristletooth tang that gets out of quarantine next week, and a magnificent foxface waiting at the LFS which will go into quarantine after the tang is out. I stock my tank fairly slowly, so they will be the first herbivorous fish in it... I have a goldflake angelfish which picks at the rocks a bit, but not like a pure herbivore. I am hoping they might be enough, but if not, I need to be prepared to take action.

The tank runs at 1.026 salinity, 76 to 77 degrees (it's on a chiller), pH is normally around 8.20, and never goes below 8.00. Zero nitrates or phosphates, although I just ordered an ultra low range phosphate tester, so it is possible that this reading may change slightly.

I have considered vodka dosing, but from the small amount of research I have done, it seems like you base the dose on how much nitrates and phosphates you have, and if mine measure at undetectable, I am not sure how I should proceed. Could you dose based solely on observation of unwanted algae growth, or is that too risky?

I am open to other suggestions... the good thing is that I don't put corals in a tank until I think it is ready, so as of now, it is just fish, the cleanup crew, and the very well-behaved mantis shrimp which hitchhiked on the live rock, so there is a little more leeway to experiment vs. when the sps are in there.

Thanks!


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Old 12/14/2017, 09:36 AM   #2
timnem70
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How old is the tank? Very difficult to get algae, if not impossible with zero nitates or phosphate in a closed system. I think I will get the question out of the way for everyone else who might chime in.
How old is the tank? Source of "Live" Rock amd sand? Soumds like you are up to spec on husbandry but what's the source of your water? RODI?
From all I have learned over the years the algae is being fed from somewhere.
What are your filtration methods? Fuge, sump, skimmer? Feeding habits?
Just need more info for myself amd others who have more experience to go on.

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Old 12/14/2017, 10:37 AM   #3
earwicker7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timnem70 View Post
How old is the tank? Very difficult to get algae, if not impossible with zero nitates or phosphate in a closed system. I think I will get the question out of the way for everyone else who might chime in.
How old is the tank? Source of "Live" Rock amd sand? Soumds like you are up to spec on husbandry but what's the source of your water? RODI?
From all I have learned over the years the algae is being fed from somewhere.
What are your filtration methods? Fuge, sump, skimmer? Feeding habits?
Just need more info for myself amd others who have more experience to go on.

Sent from my LG-LS997 using Tapatalk
The tank is just over a year old.

I agree about the zero nitrate and phosphate thing, so I should change that to not measurable with the current kits I am using... I am using Sera test kits, but I just ordered a Hanna ultra-low-range phosphorous checker, so hopefully that will give me a more accurate result. Not sure if there is a low-range nitrate kit out there. So it is certainly possible that I have something like 1ppm nitrate and 0.25ppm phosphate due to the tests not being super accurate, but the levels aren't completely out of whack.

Live rock, sand, and mantis shrimp are from Tampa Bay Saltwater.

Water is from a six-stage RO/DI unit with a TDS meter. It never gets higher than 1ppm, as I change the DI resin as soon as the meter doesn't read zero.

Filtration is an oversized skimmer, as well as a DSB (approximately 4") refugium with chaeto. The DSB is probably dirtier than it should be due to using a let it grow wild methodology until the hair algae in the refugium got out of control. I have been vacuuming the first inch of it with the water changes for the last two or three weeks, and it is pulling out some nasty stuff. I suspect this built-up detritus may be a source of nutrients. I am pulling out less gunk with each water change, so hopefully it will be much more clean soon.

I also have a CO2 scrubber, calcium reactor, carbon reactor, and an oversized UV sterilizer with the flow rate set high enough to target free-floating microalgae instead of pods.

I feed heavily, but not ridiculously so... I make sure there is a little leftover food for the cleanup crew and the mantis shrimp.


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Old 12/14/2017, 11:55 AM   #4
outy
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If you upped water changes, you may get a handle on it.

I never use test kits they always show zero, and bad algae is my actual testing device


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Old 12/16/2017, 07:18 PM   #5
journeyman
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Since you have no corals in the display, how about lights out in the display until the gha dies off?

That will isolate it back to the fuge.

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Old 12/17/2017, 05:02 PM   #6
earwicker7
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Quote:
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If you upped water changes, you may get a handle on it.

I never use test kits they always show zero, and bad algae is my actual testing device
I just received the ultra low range phosphorous tester... it showed 0.05, so it's about 0.02 away from where it should be. I am going to do some vodka dosing along with large water changes.


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Old 12/17/2017, 05:04 PM   #7
earwicker7
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Since you have no corals in the display, how about lights out in the display until the gha dies off?

That will isolate it back to the fuge.

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When you do this, do you turn the lights on for brief periods so that the fish can eat? It's an in-wall installation, so there probably isn't enough ambient light for them to see very well.


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Old 12/17/2017, 05:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earwicker7 View Post
When you do this, do you turn the lights on for brief periods so that the fish can eat? It's an in-wall installation, so there probably isn't enough ambient light for them to see very well.
I have done it with complete lights out as I have enough ancient light for the fish to wake up. But I figure the fish can smell the food out without light anyway

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Old 12/17/2017, 05:59 PM   #9
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honestly... even just reducing the "heavy feedings", removing the die-off in your sump and a little bit of patience i bet that bad boy is right back to good


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Old 12/19/2017, 05:35 AM   #10
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I think that when you cleaned up the hair algae from your fuge, you may have allowed the DT algae to gain a foothold. I’m guessing that prior to the cleaning, all the hair algae in the fuge was outcompeting any algae in the DT for excess nutrients. How big of a cleanup of your fuge did you do?


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Old 12/20/2017, 12:02 PM   #11
earwicker7
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I think that when you cleaned up the hair algae from your fuge, you may have allowed the DT algae to gain a foothold. Iím guessing that prior to the cleaning, all the hair algae in the fuge was outcompeting any algae in the DT for excess nutrients. How big of a cleanup of your fuge did you do?
A really big clean-up. I agree this is likely what happened.


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Old 12/20/2017, 12:55 PM   #12
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Hair algae does not need to "migrate". Algae will grow where the conditions are right regardless of any exposure to other algae. IE you can grow excessive amounts of hair algae in a brand new system (and often do).

So if you have nutrients (which you must have), and enough light (which you must have) ,it will grow . So the goal is to have enough nutrients to grow some (too little and corals will suffer), but have things that will keep it in check like snails/crabs etc to the point where it wont take over.

I agree with the person above...use your algae as a measuring technique...NOT test kits. Test kits are a waste of time/money IMO when it comes to this. You know you are not 0/0 when algae is growing. The best method I have for relative nutrient levels is your glass. If you need to clean your glass more than every 2-3 days, you probably need to reduce the nutrient export of your system. Bottom line, algae cannot/will not grow if you dont have No3, Po4 AND light. Its like the fire pyramid . Remove any of those, and it wont grow. You have all three my friend....

As do I

For reference, I used to use Zeo too, with much success (and much $$ spent). This go around I am going more natural, and added an Algae Turf Scrubber, and hoping that will turn my tank around (Currently my display is riddled with HA). If I cant do it naturally, I will defer to what I know and that is Po4 Remover and Aggressive Carbon Dosing. Both worked for me in the past


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Old 01/14/2018, 11:30 PM   #13
lightdir71
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I have used this with great success on hair algae as well as bubble algae for many years.

https://www.amazon.com/TLC-Marine-SA...rds=marine+sat.


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Old 01/17/2018, 10:34 AM   #14
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What's your Mg level? I was noticing some extra turf algae growing in my established tank. Once I realized the Mg was low and started to dose, the turf algae began to die very quickly. After two weeks it's pretty much all gone. Couple this with manual removal and reduction of nutrients (more efficient skimming?), and you'll be fine.


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Old 01/23/2018, 07:29 PM   #15
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You might also increase the lighting in your sump. Longer duration or more light. Red and blue LEDs sold for growing plants work really well and are inexpensive. The more algae you grow and harvest in your sump the less you will have in your display.


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Old 02/03/2018, 11:42 AM   #16
PeteStarks
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I would warn against buying buying fish to try and combat any sort of algae outbreak. It sounds like a great idea on paper, but they rarely get the job done. You could even end up with a crazy Foxface that spends his time splashing and changing colors rather than touching any algae. I wouldn't know anything about that though...


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