A long HA battle nearing a close


New member
Highland Reefer, Bertoni, and others. It's been a very long time since I've been back. I just want to thank everyone for their scientific help.

I figured out numerous reasons for causing my algae.. Some simple solutions, some rather difficult things to get a handle on. But, I battled HA since I setup the 125g almost 1 year ago. November 15th is one year.

The causes I identified:

1. Reusing rock from a huge ammonia crash... -- The rock had accumulated a lot of debris, sediment, and layers of crap. a friend of mine was watching the tank for me and he checked my rocks and many of them had layers of crap on them.

Resolution: I pulled 40% of my rocks and srubbed them down with scrub brushes in a bucket of waste water and rinsed them in another bucket of waste water from the tank. The first bucket turned pure dark dark green, almost black, with just the first few rocks scrubbed and it reeked to all hell.

Issue: well, I can't do this with all the rocks because there's corals attached or worms, etc... I'm trying not to damage any life...

2. Skimmer failure.. Well My same friend pulled my skimmer because the pump died while I was gone. Well, other than the pump being shot, he discovered that the air line to the skimmer was completely clogged with calcium deposits.. Hmm. Oops.. Maybe kalkwater not such a good idea...

3. Maintaining scrubber: Although this wasn't a cause, my ATS continues to fill up with algae... Not a lot, but some.

4. I have 2 fish for the last 6 months in a 125g. I stopped feeding for about 2-3 months. (Just feeding weekly at best). Some weeks going with no feeding. The scrubber and skimmer both still filled with algae and gunk..

5. Manual removal. This is a pain, but, I continuously harvested dead algae from the tank, continusouly tried to scrape dead algae off rocks. My tank is filled with dead algae particles (THIS IS GOOD BECAUSE IT MEANS I"VE DEFEATED IT!!!)

6. Replaced my halide bulbs and VHO bulbs. Seemed to negatively impact algae.

7. Now, My tank is finally looking good. Not perfect, but the strands of dead algae are all that's left, and no new green algae is growing. My powerheads fill with algae debris DAILY! I try to clean them off weekly. It's a pain, but they're a natural way of algae particulate removal.

8. Screens over my overflows work as filter socks. I have screens over my corner overflows to prevent fish from getting in. They continuously fill with dead algae debris. I clean this religiously 2-3 times a week as they get so much debris on them that they preven the overflows from working... My tank actually raised almost to the top of one of the over flows just this week because the screen was so clogged with dead algae crap in just under 3 days.

9. Maintained magnesium at 1800ppm for 2-3 months to prevent briopsys from getting a hold. A lot of algae died during this time frame it took time though!!

10. WATER CHANGES: I did 5 - 10 gallon water changes every 2 -3 days for 3 weeks straight. To try to quickly reduce any phosphates or nitrates that may have built up when I scrubbed the rock down.

This has been a very long battle. There's a lot of strands of dead algae, and the more I try to remove the more I find. It's amazing how much algae I've removed from the rocks. I also reduce my rocks in the display. I put some of the rocks in the sump and pulled a few out completely to go with a more minimalist aquascape. The least inhabited rocks anyways.

This battle has been a nightmare from hell and I nearly said screw it I give up. Since changing the skimmer pump (a SWC 160 skimmer) and cleaning the air hose of the skimmer. I'm getting cup fulls of green crap every 3 days and it's think, stinky crap. My scrubber still gets algae build up on it even with no feedings and only 2 small fish in the tank...

With that said. It's been running fairly clean now for a month. No new growth, I've been feeding heavier with unrinsed frozen food to test what the system can handle. And there's been no new algae growths even with feedings every 2-3 days for the last 3 weeks. I was surprised at no new growth.

I think I finally have export methods under control and sufficient filtration to handle a much larger bioload.

That said, I am in the restocking phase I plan to add approximately 6-8 fish over the next 2 -3 months. It's fairly agressive, I think it'll be fine.

I've also added an apex, programmed alarms for ph, salinity, and temp. I plan on adding detection for my ATO bucket being empty. So, all in all, I've finally got the tank in a more stable condition..

For those battling algae out there. It's no easy task! It's been nearly a year long battle!!


New member
Really try to remove dead algae. The last thing you want is that stuff rotting and adding back into the water stuff algae feeds on. Also ramp up slowly your bioload... Not doing so might make the algae come back. Extra fish means more waste for algae to feed on. If your biofiltration can't handle it, then you'll have at worst dead fish, at best, algae returning.
And don't forget to QT... You don't want to swap one problem for another.


New member
Very true Cliff! Thanks! It's rewarding to finally see things come around. I need to scrub the rest of the rock, I have little doubt that just as much debris would come out. But, with worms, aiptasia, sponge, and corals taking up residence on the rock I don't really want to kill anything. I'd end up killing everything but the aiptasia on the rocks... That will be my next battle, but, it's a minor battle compared to what I just faced. I'll go with Aiptasia are pretty for now.. Until I recover enough energy to fight them next. :)


New member
Thanks Bertoni. It was way more work than I anticipated. I still have a lot of dead algae to try to get out yet. Strands clinging to SPS corals that won't release. Things of that nature. But for the most part it's looking a lot better. My clam was covered in HA and dead HA, it's finally thinning out where I can actually see the clam shell. :)

I'm feeding heavier now that I have a few fish, I want to see what happens with my scrubber because it always just has thin layers of algae. I'm curious to see if it starts building up HA. My skimmer is filling a lot faster now. Almost full of thick crap within 2 days. So, I think having the skimmer cleaned up has a huge impact..

I added 3 fish this weekend: Chocolate Tang, and 2 Resplendant Anthias. Should be plenty of algae for the tang to pick at..