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Controlling/eliminating algae growth.
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BSarte
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Joined: 04 Mar 2007

PostPosted: 2007.03.04(Sun)9:04    Post subject: Controlling/eliminating algae growth. Reply with quote

We have a 75 gallon salt water tank that we seem to be having some problem with algae growth. It looks like the same type of green algae you see in a swimming pool. It grows in the bottom coral (bottom of tank has crushed coral), on the different corals (we have several larger pieces from the carribean that are bleached), and on the glass sides of the tank.

I have seem some algae control additives for fresh water but not for any salt water tanks as of yet.

We have two blue/yellow tail damsels and two clown fish (Disney Nemo character type), so they are pretty harty fish.

The readings I take for pH, Phos, Nitrates, salinity (sp?), and temperature are all within acceptable ranges, but one issue we we always have to deal with is the water we use. It is from a well (we don't have city water where we live) but we do run it through a 2 micron filter before water changes.

I have used some algaecides for a swimming pool in the past that worked well in stopping algae growth. Do they make anything for algae control for a salt water tank?

Bruce
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Pete Harcoff
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Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Canada

PostPosted: 2007.03.04(Sun)13:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

How old is the tank? If it's under 1 year, expect a bunch of algae growth until the tank stabalizes. I had a massive amount of hair algae in my reef for about 4 months until things stabalized and the algae went away.

As far as controlling/eliminating algae, algaecides should be a last resort. There are better ways.

The reason you have algae is you have excess nutrients that the algae is feeding on. Even if you use an algaecide, if you don't fix the cause of the algae, it could come right back.

First thing I would do is invest in a multi-stage RO/DI unit. Use that to purify water before doing water changes, as well as for top-up water. This way you won't be introducing nitrates or phosphates into the tank. You mentioned they were in "acceptable" ranges. But for algae control, those numbers should be zero.

Second, do you have a sump? If so, I recommend setting up a refugium in it. Basically, you create a section where you can put macroalgae ( chaetomorpha is recommended), where it can grow, but not in the main tank. You need to light it with a basic light fixture. This way, the algae will grow and absorb nitrates and phosphates.

An alternative if you don't have a sump is to make a hang-on-back refigium out of something like an Aquaclear filter. I made one out of an Aquaclear 500 and it works well.

Third, what kind of sand bed do you have and how much LR do you have? If your tank has been running for awhile (couple years), you might have debris build-up. Moving some rocks to loosen debris, and cleaning the sandbed could help.

Fourth, make sure you are not overfeeding. Try cutting back on feedings even.

Fifth, keep up the water change routine (with RO water as mentioned above).

Sixth, do you have a skimmer? If not, invest in one.

Hope that helps. Algae can be a royal pain in the butt, but proper precautions can get it under control.
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SLACkra
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Joined: 06 Feb 2003
Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia

PostPosted: 2007.03.04(Sun)17:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The readings I take for pH, Phos, Nitrates, salinity (sp?), and temperature are all within acceptable ranges,


truely one of my pet hates. the actual values would be of a lot more value to us!

just wondering but what herbavores do you have? an effective clean up crew will help control the algae and it will be coupled better with a protien skimmer. eg the algae takes up nuitrients, your herbavores take the nutrients and introduce them back into the water coloum where the protien skimmer removes them. Get several species of snails, possibly a herbavorious fish or two, lawnmower blennies are good, urchins are a lot of fun but are a bit more sensitive than some animals especialy to salinity changes. having a very diverse population of herbavoirs should hopefully make it so that most algae that grow in your tank will have something to eat it.

Quote:
Fourth, make sure you are not overfeeding. Try cutting back on feedings even.


another pet hate. fish in the wild are amazingly fat compared to most fish in tanks. I'd say don't cut back on feedings but make sure your fish eat everything! add it slowly make sure none is wasted. don't starve your fish for the sake of removing some algae!

Quote:
Third, what kind of sand bed do you have and how much LR do you have? If your tank has been running for awhile (couple years), you might have debris build-up. Moving some rocks to loosen debris, and cleaning the sandbed could help.


important that you don't stir up the sand bed. if you have enough detrivores they should be cleaning up the substrate. if you do have a sand bed and it hasn't been seeded in the last year or so then you may want to re-seed it to bump of the diversity of detrivores.

andrew
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