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Algae control, suggestions please.
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Funky Fish
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Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Location: Dublin, Ireland

PostPosted: 2010.08.15(Sun)1:07    Post subject: Algae control, suggestions please. Reply with quote

Hi guys, it's been awhile since I've been on. I see it as a good sign, everything has been going well.

But of course, there is always a something in this hobby that causes difficulty.
So over the last 3 months, I have battled with the ever growing Hair Algae.
Initially it was only growing in one area, so I was able to manually remove it. However it began to take hold. So in response I employed a variety of different snails to help slow the spreading. Of course, it beat them. Within a month it was everywhere.

So water quality was the main concern, frequent testing during the second month kept constant water results as follows :
pH 8.3
No3 <5ppm
Po4 0ppm
Alk 8.6
Ammonia undetectable
Salinity 1.027

So, KH, was low in the second month so I increased it to ( currently) 11.2, which I thought may help reduce growth rate, simply because certain algae find a higher KH, a harder environment to flourish. 2 weeks on, not much improvement. A little 'die off' if thats the correct term. Clumps became thinner and weak at the roots becoming free floating if pushed by the urchin or crabs/snails.

I then employed the 'Sea Hare'. A wonderful discovery that munched through quite a bit for the week he survived. I stood stunned to see him motionless, curled up on my sand bed after a week. I had reduced my salinity to 1.024 when I discovered it was quite high however I reduced it within the short space of I'd imagine less than 30mins, after I tried to drip in my RO Water, it end up pouring through a piece of airline tubing too quickly.

Maybe the change was too much for him, however that was 3 days before his death. What do you think may have caused the death? Also I examined the body, just to find he was quite buoyant, maybe trapped air? However I would imagine an algae eater would have sufficent abilities to deal with the gases produced by the algae?

So, what is the verdict? Any suggestions or methods people have found worked well to wipe out the hair algae?

Thanks for reading.
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2010.08.15(Sun)2:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sea Hares are not known for their long life spans in captivity. I don't even think Bill Rudman (seaslugforum.net) has all the answers on their proper care; this is because there is a variety of different species, and they may each require something other than one type of hair algae to thrive. Fast salinity changes are not good. Many times they are damaged during acclimation; they are extremely senstitive animals.

Some have good success with certain animals as algae eaters. But I also think a percentage of hobbyists with really major algae problems often "employ" animals like tangs, rabbitfish, snails, slugs, crabs, etc. only to find that these animals are messy eaters that actually chop up and distribute tiny particles of the hair algae around the tank and add lots of nutrients to the system which in turn fuels
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Funky Fish
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Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Location: Dublin, Ireland

PostPosted: 2010.08.19(Thu)0:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well it is, in a sense, nice to know that Sea Hare's are not long lived in captivity and it wasn't just my air tubing. It is a shame though that they don't live long in captivity as they do, do a tremendous job of clearing back algae.
It's also a pity nothing else quite digests the amount that they do so effectively.

I have been reading about Emerald Crabs. They seem to have a generally good reputation. I am just nervous about adding one, as a crab, is a crab. Might he go for my snails? How do you feel about them?

My substrate is about 2cm deep. No more than that anyway. A water change to me really means cleaning the sand bed. I would on average take 90% of the water I take out during a water change from the sand bed and the last 10%, well currently vacuuming up the algae.
The Skimmer I'm using is an internal Tunze, not exactly sure on the model number. If you have read about it, you will know the quality of the skimate really depends on the water level. If the water level is above the water line it will produce a tea coloured substance. So it naturally fluctuates as the water level drops due to evaporation. Recently I've been at home enough to keep the water level on line with the water-line therefore it has been producing a very dark brown/green substance.
I have read many a times, here and elsewhere, you're essentially aiming for a "sludge" like thickness. I don't believe I've ever achieved that but the skimmate is certainly denser than the water so, I'm not sure.
On average its pulling out about 150-200ml of this a week.


I like the "corralines" idea you mentioned. Ironically, I purchased a pincushion urchin about 4/5 months ago. He has depleted the amount that was currently encrusting the rocks, which I wasn't too keen on, however I kept him because he actually was eating the algae. Albeit, a patch here and there, but he was eating it.
So I think maybe he'll be returning to the LFS soon, in order for the corralines to begin encrusting over the rocks again.

Unfortunately I don't have the time to do a water change everyday however I will do a water change twice a week of 15% for the next while to help.


I should just add that the tank's volume is 180L. I'm not up to date on my gallons but I'd imagine around 35?
Stocking, is neon blue goby, yellow watchman goby and a blue striped pipefish. I have a variety of soft corals and a large frogspawn LPS, which has grown dramatically in the recent past. The tank is lit by 4 Aquaray LED strips. Which currently for 9 hours a day.

Thanks for reply.
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invertmaniac
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Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Location: Wheaton IL

PostPosted: 2010.08.19(Thu)1:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm having the same problems but my tank (24g) is too small to have any larger creatures come in to eliminate the problem. I think my problem stems from topping off the tank with tap water WAY too much. When I get the change I have to do some major water changes because that algae is everywhere.

Although having a little half-dollar sized Yellow Tang would be pretty sweet Very Happy
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2010.08.19(Thu)12:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funky Fish wrote:

I have been reading about Emerald Crabs. They seem to have a generally good reputation. I am just nervous about adding one, as a crab, is a crab. Might he go for my snails? How do you feel about them?

Emeralds will eat the hair algae, but like the urchin, corallines are going to be on the menu also! Mithrax have been known to pick at the coralline until the rock is white. Even worse, if Emerald crabs get hungry they will eat your corals and other inverts. Caveat emptor.

Funky Fish wrote:
Unfortunately I don't have the time to do a water change everyday however I will do a water change twice a week of 15% for the next while to help.


Eh? Not every day, I said every other day; but twice a week should help. Very Happy

Funky Fish wrote:
Thanks for reply.

My pleasure, and best wishes for your success.
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SLACkra
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia

PostPosted: 2010.11.04(Thu)16:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of curiosity Funky Fish, how are you testing your phosphates? My understanding is that phosphate test kits are often inaccurate in regards to really low levels of phosphate. Also though your phosphate levels may be zero now, your rock may still be leaching phosphate.

Andrew
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