Help!!!! Brown algae is driving me nuts!

babynapoleon

New member
Hi fellow fisher keeper,

Please can I get some advice as this is really doing my head in; my tank is well established (20 months) but I keep getting brown algae blooms on my live sand. Everything in the tank and sump is doing well - below are the latest test results from earlier today:

Phosphates =0
Nitrite =0
Nitrate =0
Ammonia=0
PH=8.11

The tank temp is always around 25.5 degrees - give or take 0.5 of a degree.

I have set the lights so they come on at 09:00 and the white spectrum peaks at 50% at 13:00 and then heads down to zero at 16:00 - the blues stay on for a while longer but are both at 5% by 19:00 and then moonlight at 22:00 until dawn. I get next to zero green algae on the glass or anywhere else - zero hair algae too. I am considering removing the sand into the sump as it is an eyesore :mad2: Only problem is I don't think my starfish or some of the critters would like that very much :twitch:

I even changed the food - I was feeding them frozen food; I took to draining out the frozen cube food (as I thought it might be the water in the cubes causing it) - that did nothing so I have changed to flake food for 2 weeks now - there is never any food left over - and still the algae persists aagghhhhhh!

There are 3 wave makers in the tank and those puppies really shift so there is plenty of water movement; I can't aim the wave makers directly at the sand though :uhoh2:

I've tested the RO water from the shop to make sure it isn't poor RO water but it is fine :wildone: I do a 20% water change every 2 weeks.

Could the live sand be "bad" somehow?

Please can you help me? I've run out of ideas......

I've attached some pix - do you know exactly what this brown algae is?

Thank you so much for reading,

BN.
 

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KeithB

Mmmm.. Vodka.
Looks like dinoflagellates to me. I dealt with these guys quite a bit in my previous reef life. The way I eventually fixed it was was totally darken the tank for 3 days (blanket around it and all), vacuum up as much of it as possible and run phosphate remover for the next two months. You're phosphates are testing low because that bloom is currently consuming them.
 

Sk8r

Staff member
RC Mod
first pic looks like dinos, second like cyano, and you may have both. The lights-out treatment should work if you have a decent skimmer.
 

Dr. Reef

Dr. Reef at ur service
RC Sponsor
Looks like combination of both dino and cyano. Kill lights for 4 days siphon most of it out during water changes. Keep tank dark for 4 days.
 

babynapoleon

New member
Looks like dinoflagellates to me. I dealt with these guys quite a bit in my previous reef life. The way I eventually fixed it was was totally darken the tank for 3 days (blanket around it and all), vacuum up as much of it as possible and run phosphate remover for the next two months. You're phosphates are testing low because that bloom is currently consuming them.


Hi Keith,

Thank you so much for getting back to me. What causes the dinoflagellates to occur? Am I doing something wrong? Do you think I should lose the sand and if I do will this problem go away? Also, if I lights out for three days won't the corals be damaged?

Thanks again,

BN.
 

Rognin

New member
If you feed any type of flaked foods or nori, they contain phosphates... that's probably where it's coming from.

I'm pretty new myself, but rowaphos is working great in my tank.
 

babynapoleon

New member
Looks like combination of both dino and cyano. Kill lights for 4 days siphon most of it out during water changes. Keep tank dark for 4 days.

If you feed any type of flaked foods or nori, they contain phosphates... that's probably where it's coming from.

I'm pretty new myself, but rowaphos is working great in my tank.

Hi Rognin,

Thanks for getting back to me; are you using Rowaphos in a reactor or a filter?

I wonder if there are any foods I could use on my tank that don't contain phosphates....... :eek:/

Thanks again,

BN.
 

Rognin

New member
Hi Rognin,

Thanks for getting back to me; are you using Rowaphos in a reactor or a filter?

I wonder if there are any foods I could use on my tank that don't contain phosphates....... :eek:/

Thanks again,

BN.

I use it in a media bag inside my Tunze 3162. But it'll work a lot better in a reactor (which I'm considering greatly).

As for avoiding it, I don't think you can if you have herbivores... Someone more knowledgeable may answer that one.
 

babynapoleon

New member
I use it in a media bag inside my Tunze 3162. But it'll work a lot better in a reactor (which I'm considering greatly).

As for avoiding it, I don't think you can if you have herbivores... Someone more knowledgeable may answer that one.

Thanks so much; that's really helpful.
 

nynick

New member
If the algae is local on sand only I would guess Diatoms and Cyano. Dinos are comparatively unusual so Diatoms is a more likely culprit. Any phosphate remover will get rid of them eventually. Get the white aluminum based one if you do not have a media reactor as the brown iron based does not work in a media bag.

Cyphon as much as you can out to speed things up.
 

babynapoleon

New member
If the algae is local on sand only I would guess Diatoms and Cyano. Dinos are comparatively unusual so Diatoms is a more likely culprit. Any phosphate remover will get rid of them eventually. Get the white aluminum based one if you do not have a media reactor as the brown iron based does not work in a media bag.

Cyphon as much as you can out to speed things up.

Thanks so much for this; I have a media reactor at the moment but this algae is pretty tough and it persists. What media for the reactor do you think is best? Also, I now think I have been making a big mistake by "scrubbing" the surface of the live sand so the algae goes into the water (I figured this would make it easier for the reactor to filter the water); the sand looks better after I've done this but I guess this has been making things worse :sad2: is this correct? I should be Cyphoning this Diatom out; can I do the cyphon at any time or during a water change?

Thanks again,

BN.
 

nynick

New member
you can siphon at any time, very easy if you have a sump. Just put a filter sock on the low end and drop it in there. If not you can just let the algae settle at the bottom of a bucket and get it out. You can also blow it around and let mechanical filtration get it out if you have some of that.

What media reactor does not matter at all, they are all pretty much the same besides the price..... :) The white removers work faster, the brown last longer but either will work just fine. Change out the media after a week or two the first time you use it (especially the white one) as it can to get worked out pretty fast. u
 

babynapoleon

New member
you can siphon at any time, very easy if you have a sump. Just put a filter sock on the low end and drop it in there. If not you can just let the algae settle at the bottom of a bucket and get it out. You can also blow it around and let mechanical filtration get it out if you have some of that.

What media reactor does not matter at all, they are all pretty much the same besides the price..... :) The white removers work faster, the brown last longer but either will work just fine. Change out the media after a week or two the first time you use it (especially the white one) as it can to get worked out pretty fast. u

Hi Nynick,

Thanks for this; please can you explain the difference between a white and brown remover; I'm not sure what this is; please could you could give me a brand name etc so I can look into it further.

Thanks again,

BN.
 

DNA

New member
Hope for the best, but don't be too optimistic.
Dinoflagellates are not easy to get rid off.

The dark period will help, but more often than not the algae returns.
 

babynapoleon

New member
Hi DNA,

If I put the live sand in the sump will this algae grow on anything else like the rocks or corals etc?

Lots of people have no sand or crushed corals don't they?

Thanks so much,

BN.
 
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