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Old 07/17/2018, 03:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 6
Help please with dealing with massive algae problem.

I have a 130 red sea max which I cycled with 35 lbs of live rock from another established tank. Unfortunately, after my cycle finished, with the death of an immediate family member and the planning of their memorial service, my little tank became horrifically neglected.

I am now dealing with massive amounts of algae all over the tank. Most of it looks like it might be hair algae, it's all over my live rock and glass, it looks like I have diatoms on my sand, and there are (I'm pretty sure) pineapple sponges on every surface of the tank.

I just purchased a protein skimmer today which will hopefully help, but I'm wondering what the best courses of action is going to be? I've reduced the amount of light in the tank drastically. But what else? 50% water changes for the next couple days? Get in there and scrape all the algae off? The rock with the worst hair algae (I think) also has a ton of polyps on it that have survived (I have no idea how, tough little buggers they must be). I'm pretty sure there's more than a cleaning crew can reasonably handle at the moment.

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Old 07/17/2018, 03:16 PM   #2
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I look at my tank right now and it's so bad that I am feeling overwhelmed. Like I'm at the point now where the only thing I can do at this point is just start over?

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Old 07/17/2018, 04:21 PM   #3
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Location: Salisbury, MD
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Big water change and protein skimmer will help some. Definitely scrape and manually remove as much as you can physically picking it off the rocks for the hair algae. Diatoms will most the time run its course as long as your using rodi water and not adding silicates back to the water which is its food source. As far as CUC goes nassarius snails to agitate the sandbed and eat leftover food etc. turbo snails like the mexican turbo will eat the hair algae really well. Ceriths, trochus, astreas will eat alot of various micro algaes and diatoms. Fighting conchs will also eat diatoms and stir the sandbed. I’m a fan of snail only CUC so you dont have to worry about crabs eating them. Just some thoughts if you didn’t want to completely reboot. Depending on livestock (coral in particular) if they dont need light you could kill it for a few days as well. Goodluck

Livestock: Yellow Tang, Coral Beauty, Clown pair, Exquisite, Linespot, Christmas, Hoevens Wrasses, Trio Carberryi Anthias, CUC, Mixed Reef


Current Tank Info: 90 gal DT 29gal sump. Equipment: 2 OR T247B, RO Varios6 return, RO 150SSS, 2 XF250 Gyres, Jager 300W
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Old 07/17/2018, 04:42 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: MA
Posts: 3,294
Don't feel overwhelmed.
I had HA on every surface including the glass.
Water changes, new motor for the protein skimmer., GFO reactor for a while and a refugium with chaeto. It takes time but it goes away slowly.


Current Tank Info: 90 gallon,mixed Reef,2-250 watt Optix 3 pendants(Phoenix 14K)2-54 watt T5 Super actnics ,ASM G-2 Gate/recirc mods,70 gal. basement sump,20L ref
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Old 07/17/2018, 05:23 PM   #5
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Location: North Carolina
Posts: 18,357
Nitrate test results?
phosphate test results?
Using RO/DI water?
Picture of tank so we can see the extent and what you are really dealing with?
Polyps as in actual coral zoas,etc.. that you want to keep or not?
Any other corals?
Age of tank?

Its likely that through water changes to reduce nutrient levels if elevated and mechanical removal that you can get it cleaned up..
If there are not really any corals you intend to keep then just turn the lights off..
Algae needs light and nutrients to survive..
Fish don't need light.. Clean up crew doesnt need light..

But answer all of those questions above, provide the pictures and we can get more specific..

Just a FYI.. Its totally normal to have algae/diatoms after the cycling process.. We refer to it as the "ugly stages".. With proper tank maintenance it passes without much trouble.

Being blunt and having fun
Straight up INTJ
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Old 07/18/2018, 05:39 AM   #6
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 591
What living things are in the tank right now?

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Old 07/18/2018, 09:43 AM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Spokane WA
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Blog Entries: 55
There ARE fixes for this, but first, let's have some detailed info. Your skimmer is an asset. I assume it's hair algae, maybe film. What's the color and description? Age of tank. Water changes, yes, 30 % this week, 30% next. And give us your alkalinity and salinity and temperature.My condolences, sincerely. I just went through this with a mature tank.


Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, starry blenny, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 07/20/2018, 12:16 PM   #8
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Location: Nebraska/Missouri
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I dosed fluconazole and manually removed as much as I could. It will take a few week but it's vital you remove as much algae manually as you can. When algae dies it releases sugars into the water. That's like a big shot of fertilizer to algae. Fluconazole will kill it but your stucking in that sugar cycle unless you manually remove as much as you can all the time. I dosed fluconazole a couple times during the process. I wouldn't tear it down because it will probably come right back.

72x24x16 115 gallon under construction

Current Tank Info: 40 gallon reef
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