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Algae prob., brown and red.
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southernfish
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Location: Amarillo Tx.

PostPosted: 2008.03.28(Fri)21:05    Post subject: Algae prob., brown and red. Reply with quote

I have a 55 gal reef tank that I am having problems with brown algae. The tank is still fairly young. I set it up dec 07. I was using my area tap water for the top off every other day. in my area the phosphates are so high that it is hard for some products or normal doses for the size to work efficiently, so I doubled up and now have 0 photsphate levels. almost two weeks ago I quit using tap water to top off, I began using the watermill water (little water stations set up around town in parking lots and such), it is r/o water that is ran through 8 stages of filtration. that seemed to help. I also started feeding my 3 clowns (2 ocellaris & 1 saddle back)everyother day along with cutting my lights from 10 to 5-6 hrs a day. I also have a green mandarin, a serpant star fish, some snails and crabs, a few small frags of zooanthids and a rodactus mushroom thats not so good right now. id also stir up my sand bed almost daily to help battle the algae. well now its starting to win again and is now starting to be more red slime (cyano) mostly. I only had 40 lbs of live sand in the tank. tonight I bout another 40lbs since I have been needing more sand anyway. I also got some chemiclean but have not added it yet since I havnt givin up the battle yet and dot want to just drop the bomb on it just now, lol. I pulled as much of the algae as I could tonight, moved my rocks into one side and added the other 40lbs of sand on top of the old hoping to suffocate whats left.

what are my chances now, good move? any suggestions?

Thanks for any ideas and help.
Tim
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dale
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Abbotsford Canada

PostPosted: 2008.03.29(Sat)17:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tim,
What are the odds that you can post a pic of this "brown" algae? I am curious as to whether it is an alga or, more likely, diatoms. Does it appear to be filamentous, with more than a mm or two of height (algae) or is it like a rust that seems to coat the sand and rocks. The latter (diatoms) would be easy to clean off but quick to reappear as bad or worse than before.
I'll wait for your reply before proceeding.
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southernfish
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Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Location: Amarillo Tx.

PostPosted: 2008.03.30(Sun)12:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

wel its more like a rust kinda. but yes once I try to cover it up or something it comes back faster and more furious. but it started to go red slime and when id whisk my magloat across the glass it would blanket back. I pulled as much as thins as I could, cleaned my filters and my overflow and the put 40 more lbs of sand on top of the old sand. it has been two nights and I noticed just about a couple of dimesized spots, nothing I couldnt cover up. last night I put the chemiclean in it. so far it all looks good. what can I do to prevent all this?

thanks
Tim
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dale
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Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Location: Abbotsford Canada

PostPosted: 2008.03.31(Mon)23:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tim,

This sounds very much like a diatom bloom which is normal in a new tank and nothing to worry about. I have seen (and dealt with) this many times and the best thing you can do is to stop fussing and let nature take its course.

When a new tank is set up there is usually an imbalance of micro nutrients/minerals in the system. In the weeks/months that follow a succession of various algae and diatoms strains establish, grow out of control (as they consume the excess nutrients) and then die out. When one strain dies out another strain establishes itself and goes through the same process as it feeds on the decaying previous strain and other various nutrients. When this series of cycles slows down and you are left with the usual slow growing alga that most tanks exhibit it can be said that your tank has "matured" (Don't confuse this process with the much discussed nitrogen cycle which is a whole other subject).

With out knowing that this is a normal process that will resolve itself naturally many people freak out and begin treating their tanks; doing large water changes, using chemicals and/or greatly disturbing the sandbed trying to "clean" things up.

Oddly enough, this only exacerbates and prolongs the condition.

As hard as it sounds you should just leave things alone. You can help by performing smaller, more frequent partial water changes with which you try to siphon away "some" of the cyano bacteria (red slime), practice fine tuning your skimmer and by adding a cleaning crew of algae eating snails and hermits.

Unfortunately, by adding Chemiclean you have reset the clock to zero, so to speak. This product does kill the cyano bacteria but it also kills most of the beneficial bacteria you are trying to establish. The cyano is only feeding on the decaying alga and diatoms and will resolve itself naturally as these wastes are processed. Now you have a lot more decaying bacteria to process (Damn! Why didn't somebody tell me that). Rather than resorting to chemical treatments in the future focus on waste removal via frequent partial water changes, effective skimming and controlled feeding.

Hope some of this helps,
Good luck.
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