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Old 09/27/2010, 12:37 AM   #1
blemere
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Hair Algae...Give Me Your Thoughts

Hello All,

I know this is a common subject on these forums but I have read everything/tried everything and I am looking for a fresh perspective. Here's my deal:

I have a 120 mixed reef tank, I have a sump, no fuge. In my sump I have an Aqua C PS, a Phosban, a sock and a carbon filter.

In my tank I have a 1" large substrate sand bed, 4 power heads, my temp is 76, my sal is .26, phosphates and nitrates read 0 when tested, all other tests fall into the normal range. Also I run 2 50/50's and 2 14K halides.

I have a 6 month old ro/di unit that I use for my water changes. Rignt now I am doing weekly 20 gal changes.

I have hair algae that continues to grow on my LR. I have taken all LR out twice, scrubbed it and put it back in, I have tested my ro/di water (fine), I have changes my phosban media, I have placed a tang, snails, crabs etc for control and lately I have been scrubbing the rock while I siphon for the water change. I have also reduced my light to 4 hrs for the halides and 6 for the 50/50's. I am considering completely replacing my LR.

My fish and corals seem to be doing well, although I bought 10 turbos recently and they all seemed to die off over a 4 week period. However I had a heater crack in my sump and that released some contamenation. BTW, the algae issue was going on long before the heater cracked so I am pretty sure that was not effecting the algae issue.

I do not have any other issues with the tank other than the hair algae. Anyone had a simalar experience with a solution? I am looking for some difinatives before I go buy all new LR.

Thanks for the help.


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Old 09/27/2010, 01:19 AM   #2
Dalbery
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You are getting excess nutrients from somewhere. Changing out your live rock probably isn't going to do a thing. How much phosban and carbon are you running and how often do you change it? do you have a clean up crew? You could be feeding too much. A sea hare will be the best algae cleaner you can buy.


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Old 09/27/2010, 01:27 AM   #3
geaux xman
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while on a small scale, 17g, i think i will just end up doing that.... replace out the LR. Theres no way anything can eat all the green algae i have growing on the LR.

after which i will cut back on my lighting and feeding.


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Old 09/27/2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blemere View Post
Hello All,

I know this is a common subject on these forums but I have read everything/tried everything and I am looking for a fresh perspective. Here's my deal:

I have a 120 mixed reef tank, I have a sump, no fuge. In my sump I have an Aqua C PS, a Phosban, a sock and a carbon filter.
By phosban are you saying you have a reactor? What do you mean by "a sock"?

I have hair algae that continues to grow on my LR. I have taken all LR out twice, scrubbed it and put it back in, I have tested my ro/di water (fine), I have changes my phosban media, I have placed a tang, snails, crabs etc for control and lately I have been scrubbing the rock while I siphon for the water change. I am considering completely replacing my LR.
Depending on what you scrubbed the rock in i.e. fresh water or aquarium water, you could be starting a continual cycle of "mini cycles" and exasperating the problem.I do not have any other issues with the tank other than the hair algae. Anyone had a similar experience with a solution? I am looking for some definitives before I go buy all new LR.

Thanks for the help.
A few smaller to mid-size Tuxedo Urchins will go a long way in getting rid of the algae. What are you feeding the tank (coral and fish food), how often and how much?


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Old 09/27/2010, 10:25 AM   #5
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My hair algae battle was because of old bulbs, some silica sand, using tap water to cycle. I did a lights out for a week or so. I wanted to also change my rock and sand and catch a wrasse. After the lights out I turned off the power and got to work. Drained the water, pulled out the fish/inverts, all the rock and sand. Put rocks in, after a good scrubbing. Added all new water, aclimated fish/inverts, put fish in tank. Sifted out sand to remove silica sand, rinsed well in freshwater. Put sand in tank. Changed out bulbs. New tank is better than ever.


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Old 09/27/2010, 11:47 AM   #6
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A few things to consider...

1) Taking all of your LR out to scrub it can stir up and release excess nutrients in the water, resulting possibly in algae growth.

2) If you have a filter sock, make sure that has been rinsed or remove it entirely (I don't use one because I couldn't clean it enough to keep down nutrients that built up in it).

3) I would consider testing the water you are placing into your tank for water changes (you mentioned that your RO/DI unit is 6 months old... it might be time to change the filters in it).

4) +1 on getting one or two tuxedo urchins... will clean up the existing algae pretty quickly

After you've done all of that, in addition to your reduced lighting schedule and maybe reducing your feedings to once per day (if you haven't already done that), you'll probably start to notice a difference after a week or so. Give it some time... nothing good happens quickly in this hobby.

Good luck!


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Old 09/27/2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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How long has it been set up?

Make sure Ca and Mg are in line, when I had hair algae dosing Ca made it disappear in days.

Let the LR settle...you're possibly creating mini-cycles by disturbing everything...

Start growing chaeto in your sump.


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Old 09/27/2010, 03:01 PM   #8
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I added a fuge and that did it for me. I have a tuxedo urchin and all he does is steal zoas from around the tank and make himself pretty. I've heard a 3 day blackout is very effective but you need something to take up the extra nutrients or it will not help


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Old 09/27/2010, 03:28 PM   #9
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tuxedo urchins dont eat hair algae. try running a phosphate reactor and ur hair algae will be reduced significantly after a few weeks. mexican turbo snails and dolabella sea hares eat hair algae, but only if u cut the hair algae short first. is this a new tank? is it overstocked?


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Old 09/27/2010, 03:31 PM   #10
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+1 on the fuge


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Old 09/27/2010, 04:08 PM   #11
blemere
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Hair Algae Follow Up

Hi All,

Thanks for the great info. Just a follow up to some of the questions:

I am feeding once a day (small pinch) algae flakes for the fish - currently 1 clown, 1 LM Blenny, 1 Rabbit Fish and a Flame. I also fed 2tsp Phyto Plankton & Oyster egg a couple of times per week for the corals but I have cut that out as of late.

I change my Phosban media every couple of months and I just started the carbon (pads in my sump) about a month ago.

I always had about 10 turbos in the tank as well as some scarletts and emerald crabs, I added 10 more turbos and over the past month I have lost all snails. I know that is compounding my problem and I am not sure why I lost all the snails but I have been combatting the hair algae issue for about 8 months now.

My Ca is running around 480 and my mg is running at 1250. I was worried about silicate from my RO/DI unit so I put silicate remover media in my sump but then I have reads alot that silcates don't cause hair algae.

I am also considering moving my livestock to a quarintine tank to run a total blackout on my display tank, not sure if that will kill my problem or not. I agree the hair algae is feeding on some nutrients just not sure where they are.

Thanks for the help.


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Old 09/27/2010, 04:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blemere View Post
Hi All,
I am feeding once a day (small pinch) algae flakes for the fish - currently 1 clown, 1 LM Blenny, 1 Rabbit Fish and a Flame. I also fed 2tsp Phyto Plankton & Oyster egg a couple of times per week for the corals but I have cut that out as of late.
I'd stop feeding flake. Instead feed Rod's food and Mysis. Flake food is supposed to be loaded with phosphate.


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Old 09/27/2010, 05:53 PM   #13
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I have had algae, cyano problems and from all the experience combating them, the key in my opinion is a combination of methods, and patience.
-make sure your RO/DI water TDS reading is 0
-when doing water change, plug out and suck out as many hair algae patches as you can. You do not need to scrub the rock bare, just take out what you can physically.
-Run new phosphate media, replace every month (not every few months)
-reduce feeding, but don't starve your fish.

Running phosphate media will remove phosphate nutrient from the water, so soon, the algae will die. Physically removing the algae at every water change prevent the dying algae from releasing nutrients back into the water (therefore increasing the life and effectiveness of the phosphate media).
It will take a month before you can notice the improving result, just be patient and keep up the regular maintenance.
Once the algae problem is cured, you can change the phosphate media once every 2 months, depends on your feeding.


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Old 09/27/2010, 06:02 PM   #14
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And phyto can be too...what is the bio-load in the tank?


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Old 09/27/2010, 06:07 PM   #15
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How old are your bulbs? Flake can be high in phosphates, and so is frozen, The frozn is better because you can rinse it first to get rid of a lot of the phosphates. Your test are probably reading normal, because the algae is taking it all in first. I would throw a ball of cheato in the sump with a light for a while. That should help take in the excess nutrients. Like it was said above, make sure your RODI is a 0 tds. Don't add any more live stock until it is under control, the die off is making your battle worse. You can do a black out with the fish in there, the corals should be ok with 2 to 3 day black out as well.


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Old 09/27/2010, 07:21 PM   #16
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It's about nutrients. Namely nitrate and/or phosphate. You can't see them on your test kit because they are bound by the algae. Until you get control over them the algae will continue to grow.

Make sure your skimmer is working well, using GAC and and GFO and changing it often, do a lot of large water changes (20 gallons won't do, more like 40-60), vacuum the gravel and rock a lot, change filter socks every day or so, remove as much algae as possible, put macroalgae in you sump (lighted fuge), dose kalk, etc.

You'll have to do this to an extreme until the algae is gone and then keep up maintenance to keep it away.


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Old 09/28/2010, 02:26 PM   #17
unclejed2
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Originally Posted by NYCBOB View Post
tuxedo urchins dont eat hair algae. try running a phosphate reactor and ur hair algae will be reduced significantly after a few weeks. mexican turbo snails and dolabella sea hares eat hair algae, but only if u cut the hair algae short first. is this a new tank? is it overstocked?
From this forum;
http://archive.reefcentral.com/forum...d.php?t=846109

I'm watching mine eat some as I write.


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Old 09/28/2010, 05:42 PM   #18
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Skimmer!

and a guaulity one at that.


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Old 10/02/2010, 06:37 PM   #19
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I'd stop feeding flake. Instead feed Rod's food and Mysis. Flake food is supposed to be loaded with phosphate.
Phosphate is an essential ingredient in any good food. Flake is no better or worse.

In all cases, the concern is with how much does or does not go to waste in the tank.

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Old 10/02/2010, 06:58 PM   #20
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[....]I have taken all LR out twice, scrubbed it and put it back in[....]
[....]a sock[....]
Stop abusing your live rock - it's not the rock's fault. Seriously.

I advocate for the removal of all mechanical filter media from your system. Unless you're confident you can be there (and not be lazy) to replace/clean the media every day it's just going to feed your algae.

Also, as already suggested, increase your water change schedule. I usually say to try to do smaller, more frequent water changes rather than (e.g.) doubling the amount per change. Five to ten gallons changed per day, for example. Whatever works though.

How's your Aqua C performing and what model is it? What pump? From their line, an EV-180 wouldn't necessarily be too much for your system and an Urchin Pro with an upgraded pump I'd say should be your bare minimum.

Until (Nutrients In) <= (Nutrients Out) you will fight this issue. To complicate this, you've had [how long the tank's been up] to fall behind in this fight.

Your tools to boost Nutrients Out could include:
  • water changes
  • correct feedings where minimal/no food enters the filtration system (sandbed, rock, sump)
  • macroalgae refugium
  • bacterial treatment (a la BioDigest or MicroBacter7)
  • carbon dosing (vodka, sugar, vinegar, etc)
  • turf algae filter
  • more frequent and smaller doses of phosphate remover+carbon
  • quality, properly tuned protein skimmer

Good luck!

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Old 10/02/2010, 07:18 PM   #21
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Perhaps the problem is your live rock.

Awhile back I bought someone elses system and merged it with mine. Since then I've had hair algae only on the live rock from his system. His rock is leaching phosphates, probably because he used nothing but tap water for his system.

You can control or slow it down with phosban, feeding, water quality etc...but ultimately it will only go away if you remove the rock altogether or once the phosphates have exhausted themselves from the rock.

I could be wrong but...


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Old 10/02/2010, 07:32 PM   #22
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Adding a miracle mud bed refugium fixed my hair algae problems. Also, try carbon dozing as well.


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Old 10/02/2010, 07:59 PM   #23
ingtar_shinowa
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REFUGIUM (its in caps because thats what took care of my algae)


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Old 10/02/2010, 08:06 PM   #24
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you have a weak skimmer
you need to up the % of water you change
change food.
change GFO bi-monthly as yours is just leeching phos back in the tank. once phos is in control go to monthly changing.
raise mag to 1450-1500

do not run those carbon pads long, after 2 weeks its a nitrate factory. dont run bio balls or beads

dont run chemicals

the trick to hair algea is keeping the water cleaner. At first signs of it you need to take major steps, if you wait till the rocks are green its to late and a pain.


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Old 10/02/2010, 09:42 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Perhaps the problem is your live rock.

Awhile back I bought someone elses system and merged it with mine. Since then I've had hair algae only on the live rock from his system. His rock is leaching phosphates, probably because he used nothing but tap water for his system.

You can control or slow it down with phosban, feeding, water quality etc...but ultimately it will only go away if you remove the rock altogether or once the phosphates have exhausted themselves from the rock.

I could be wrong but...
I am battling some hair algae as well in a tank soon to be mine. I spoke with a very reputable LFS owner in my area and he told me that some live rock simply release phosphates (I can't remember exactly if it is phosphates) and always will. Certain rock gathered from Florida in particular. He said it would have to be replaced if that were the case. I don't know what I'm talking about - just relaying some info that was given to me. Good luck with the battle!


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