Posted: 2008.11.07(Fri)19:06 Post subject: Hair alge infestation
I have a 120 gallon mixed reef tank that has been up for about one year. a few months ago I started to get a few spots of hair algae here and there. YEP!!! now my whole tank is covered in it first I cut down my feeding strictly to onece a day for 3 minutes and use flake food instead of frozen. I also stopped putting in seaweed to a small piece a day. My results weren't that great or noticeable. so I beefed up my cleaner crew and bought a blenny, snail crabs (eaten by my trigger) and a sea hair( doesn't do much barely see him move). So I decided that phosphates is most likely since they were at .7 so I bought a phosban reactor and ran some media threw it. no my phosphates are undetectable for a week. but the hair algae is still there its not growing nearly as fast and not spreading but its still there. please anything to get ride of this nasty algae would be greatly appreciated
Sally Lightfoot Crabs... they specialize in nuisance hair algae...
but you'll have to move that trigger first. Keep in mind, when the crabs get bigger they can predate small fish, but they will attack that algae like a lawn mower. Also do you have any Tangs, they are excellent grazers; especially the amazing, algae-chomping Kole Tang, see here:
http://www.aquahobby.com/marine/e_koletang.php _________________ Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
I find that difficult to imagine, but try the Sally Lightfoot Crabs maybe they will help. My Tangs have always gone through algae like crazy. Maybe it's an unusual type of algae, that is strange. I can tell you one thing: with just the fish you have mentioned there is a potential total of 25--30 inches of biomass, even more as they grow. So that's a lot of nutrient source right there. Plants love fertilizer! At any rate, I wish you the best of success. Here is more from my archives...
HAIR ALGAE TAKING OVER
Prime areas to check are your nitrates and phosphates. Keep in mind nitrates and phosphates may not show up as high on a test kit because they are being utilized by the algae so fast it doesn't register. This can lead to a lot of confusion for the aquarist. Tap water and even some marine salt mixes can add a fair amount of phosphates, so water changes don't always help, this adds more confusion.
Use of RO/DI water that is free of excessive nitrate, phosphate, and other algae "food" may be required. If you are already using it, remember to periodically check on the need to replace those RO/DI membranes.
Also check your turnover rate (things tend to slow down in older aquariums) and make sure your skimmer is pulling out daily brown sludge. If not, find a unit that works. You would be surprised how many aquarists think they are skimming just because they have a skimmer on the tank. Many skimmers on the market do not work properly, and people forget these gizmos must be cleaned, adjusted and maintained. Nutrient export is often the heart of the solution, and a large, properly functioning skimmer is the best solution for this goal.
Refugiums also will help in many cases. With macro algae feeding off nutrients in the refugium, the nuisance algae's food supply is reduced.
Adding filter media, sponges, etc. to remove the phosphate is a good partial solution, but that material is usually going to have a short lifespan span and does nothing to reduce the source, so you end up right back where you started.
How are your encrusting corallines doing on your live rock? Some authors suggest corallines produce chemicals that reduce the growth of nuisance algae. Making sure you have good coralline growth with correct calcium levels (350 to 480 ppm), and Carbonate Alkalinity Between 2.5 and 4.0 meq/L (7-12 dKH) this may help.
Certain species of animals will consume algae and help with the battle; Turbo and Astrea snails can help a lot, also there are some fish including some of the blennies and some tangs, that are good grazers---the Kole Tang for example, does a great job on algae for many aquarists. Some have good success with Sally Lightfoot Crabs---they specialize in nuisance hair algae. Keep in mind, when the crabs get bigger they can predate small fish, but they have been known to attack algae like a lawn mower. If nothing will munch on your algae meadow, you will have to keep trying to find the nutrient source and use manual removal.
Many, many times the biggest problem is excessive detritus in the substrate. Many times I have seen hobbyists scratching their heads wondering where is all these nutrients are coming from. I ask them to add up the length of their fish. Sometimes even in small tanks they see a total of 10 inches, 15, 20 inches or more and I can tell you this: often we see smaller aquariums that are just too full of biomass, even more as the fish grow. So that's a lot of nutrient source right there. Plants love fertilizer, so if all else fails you may need to lighten the load.
Although it can be frustrating, algae, in various forms and controlled levels, need not be a disaster in the average marine aquarium, even beneficial in many cases. Please refer to Myth Number 11 at this link for more:
http://www.aquahobby.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=24970 _________________ Keepin' marines happy for 25 years
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