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Old 01/13/2019, 08:20 PM   #1
trigger05
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Location: Los Angeles, California
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Help with Hair Algae! (or other issue?)

Hello all,
The title is just a start to where i need help. I need to find out what part of my system i need to correct. I had a bad red algae issue a few weeks ago, which recently morphed into a hair algae issue i cant shake. The hair algae is smothering my corals even after doing a turkey baster blast and brushing them off. I'd also like help figuring out if my lighting is appropriate.

To start here is my system:

Equipment
-28 gallon nano cube
-Eshops PSK 100h protein skimmer
-Activated carbon in the media tray
-2x maxijet 1200 for pushing water through back chambers
-2x korallia powerheads (425g) for flow
-Red sea salt mix
-RO/DI water for water change and top off (each batch tested at 0-2 tds per tds meter) 5 gallon water change weekly or biweekly
- Kalkwasser in the top off water
-Stock LED lights from JBJ (MT-601 professional) ran from 1:30 to 9:30 for a 9hr photo period

Livestock
2 occelaris clowns
royal gramma
yellow watchman goby
coral banded shrimp
All fed 1x daily frozen brine shrimp

Water Parameters
Calcium- 500ppm
Alkalinity9.8 dkH
Magnesium- 1300ppm
pH 8.1-8.4 depending on time of day
Nitrate- undetectable with salifert test kit
Salinity- 36ppt


Ive done a few water changes as well as brushed the rocks, turkey baster blasted the rocks to clear up some of the algae and siphoned the sand bed. I cant detect any nitrates with my test kit. All my water going in is RO/DI so there are no nutrients there
This algae is stubborn and wont go away. It is growing over my GPS and Zooanthids.

Should i continue with the water changes and manual scrubbing till the problem is fixed?

Also, i cant seem to keep certain corals. I had a healthy chalice frag begin to bleach soon after i placed it in the aquarium, as well as a montipora frag. I thought perhaps my lights are not delivering enough par or the right spectrum. JBJ states that these lights deliver about 350par at the level that these corals were placed. Was that too much? The light is missing any hints of blue. Is the spectrum off?

I know theres alot here, but i'd appreciate help here. I want to get this resolved before i continue adding any corals.


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Old 01/13/2019, 08:51 PM   #2
murphreef
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First off, how old is your tank?

Did you use live sand and live rock or both dry/ dead?

Algae always comes from extra nutrients. Sure lighting can help grow it but lighting doesn't cause algae to grow. You checked your ammonia and nitrates you said?

In regards to corals if your tanks water is out of whack like it is then of course the harder to maintain corals will suffer and die.

What salt do you use? Are your RODI filters relatively new?

Also your alk is pretty high it would be better around 8dkh and calcium closer to 400-420. Of those 2 alk definitely causes more issues. Get things in check and once you do the key to success is stability, stability, stability.


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Current Tank Info: 25G cube (finally back in the hobby in a small way)
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Old 01/13/2019, 10:40 PM   #3
trigger05
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This setup is approximately 4-5 months old.
I used cured live rock from my LFS, it was the "sri lanka" live rock that looks like its a synthetic rock that was cured in the ocean, along with a few pieces of real live rock. The sand was dry sand from a previous tank, it was rinsed extremely well before being used in this setup.
I did not check ammonia, i only checked nitrates. I figured once the cycle is complete, only nitrates should be present. Is it still advisable to monitor ammonia?
I use red sea salt, with RO/DI water, and the RO membrane is brand new along with the DI resin. I test every batch of water with a TDS meter, and it all has negligible dissolved solids (0-2 ppm).

It was not said, but i perform my top off manually in a drip method, So i dont think that my parameters are fluctuating greatly using this method.

How do i bring down alkalinity slowly? Im assuming to continue my water changes to do so.


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Old 01/13/2019, 11:11 PM   #4
murphreef
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Hey bud, I think the main issue is your tank is so young. Using dry sand also limits your initial bacteria factory as well.

To be honest you're still going through the establishment phase with your tank due to that factor. Youi'll really just need to keep an eye on things and let the tank grow up more. It can take a while so be patient. Most tanks aren't matured until around a year. I hurried mine along by using caribsea live sand and live ocean rock from my LFS that cures it really well. That with regular weekly 5g water changes and proper equipment I never experienced a cycle and had corals in the tank within the first week. Doesn't always work so smoothly but it did this go around.

How often do you do WCs? As for all and calcium are you currently dosing anything? I am assuming not? I would lower your salinity to 1.025 and invest in an auto top off system they work wonders. I would make some new salt water with your current salt and check the alk and ca levels to see if they are high as well. If they are doing water changes won't help. I use tropic marin pro reef salt because the alk is low around 8dkh and calcium around 450. I find most corals are really picky about all and typically the sweet spot is around 8-8.5.

Cheers


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Old 01/14/2019, 01:26 AM   #5
laverda
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I agree with everything Justin says. I suspect the live rock was not really cured. Most LFS I have seen throw it in their bin and it inatantly becomes cured live rock. Not! Live rock takes time to fully cure. Whike curing it can definitely be a siurve of amonia, nitrite and nitrate. It may release nitrates for a while. So water changes are good at this point. Iw would test for ammonia, nitrites and phosphates. What test kits are you using? Quality test can make a big difference. I personally use Salifert. It is not uncommon for test kits to show low or no nitrates and phosphates when your having an algae out break. The algae is using them as a food source. If you turn you lights off for a few day your readings will probably spike. I would also reduce your light cycle. 8 hours should be plenty for the corals.
Any rocks you can easily remove, rinse of with a little hydrogen peroxide it will kill the GHA. It will also kill ampapods, copapods and small star fish, so don't do to much rock at once. It is ok if a little hydrogen peroxide gets in the tank but keep it to a minimum.
Good luck


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Old 01/14/2019, 01:50 AM   #6
hotashes
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@brandon429


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Old 01/14/2019, 12:58 PM   #7
trigger05
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I have salifert for nitrates, and red sea for all the others mentioned. Im probably gonna get a phosphate test kit and add some GFO in along with the carbon. I do a 2.5 or 5 gallon water change weekly using the red sea blue bucket salt mix. I will test the water params for a fresh batch of water and see if the alk is lower so that with water changes alone will bring the alk down.

Ok, so i will bring my photo period down to 8hrs total. Will changing the color spectrum help at all? The light is more on the yellow side than the blue side. Im thinking of adding some supplemental actinic lighting to bring the color spectrum closer to the 20k range than it is now.


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Old 01/14/2019, 05:18 PM   #8
lapin
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I have a clean up crew that is the best. What i cant pull out they keep manicured.
As far as coral issues. With high alk, no nitrates and a bright white light you are burning your corals. Turn the white down to 10 to 20%, if you can, and run blue at around 60%
Red sea blue sho9uld mix at around 8.0 if you are getting over 9 you could have a bad batch or something else is adding it.
What Your Grandmother Never Told You About Lime by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com


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Old 01/14/2019, 07:40 PM   #9
Grootzilla
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Along with what everyone else is saying here I think a big issue might be your phosphate levels.

While nitrates contribute to algae growth phosphates seem to be what cause big blooms (at least in my limited experience and what my research has told me). You don't seem to be testing for it, so it's hard to tell if the levels are out of wack. Before you start gfo test the water. Even if your levels are crazy high make sure you do your research on gfo. It definitely works but make sure you keep an eye on nitrates if you do so. Gfo tends to mask a lot of nutrient issues in the long run because it works so well at removing phosphate but does nothing for nitrate. If you mess up with gfo after a long time of relying on it and not handling nitrate levels you will end up with a massive algae bloom. Also having some nitrate and phosphate in the water is a good thing that corals need for their health and growth.

For now water changes are a good idea to handle it. Make sure you are physically removing the algae from the tank and not just blowing it off the rocks and letting it float around the water column. It will just end up dying and releasing all the nitrate and phosphate back into the water for more algae to feed off of.


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Old 01/15/2019, 10:42 AM   #10
laverda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trigger05 View Post
Ok, so i will bring my photo period down to 8hrs total. Will changing the color spectrum help at all? The light is more on the yellow side than the blue side. Im thinking of adding some supplemental actinic lighting to bring the color spectrum closer to the 20k range than it is now.
Algae will grow the best under red & blue light. 6500K yellow is the next best. It will griw under any light in my experience.
I find an easy way to control nutrients and algae in the display is by using an ATS. By making conditions ideal for algae growth in an ATS it will out compete the algae in your display letting you clean up crew and herbavous keep the tank clean. Harvesting the algae from the ATS removed the nutrients from your system. An ATS can be built for very little and is much less expensive than GFO.
To incorporate an ATS in your nano cube you need a small peice of plastic needle point mesh available for less than $1 at craft stores. A small red and blue LED grow light avalable on amazon starting at $1. Remove a section of the black sticky plastic from the section of the back you want to put you ATS in. Rough up the mesh so the algae can atach better, Insert the mesh and light it from the back. I would make the ATS 3 sided. Place one peice of mesh vertical opposite the light a second piece I would form into a U or V shape on the sides of the champer. How long you light it will control your nutrient levels. I would light it 24/7 for the first 2 weeks. Once you get noticable growth reduce you light schedule to opposite the display lights. I have some other easy examples of ATS in my DIY thread.


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Current Tank Info: 300g mixed reef, 50g cube

Last edited by laverda; 01/15/2019 at 11:02 AM.
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