help with hair algae


New member
any good tips on ridding my tank of this??
It is growing on my LR and the back of my tank......I can scrape it off and siphon it out, but its back within a few hours......
To take care of my GH outbreak all I had to do was cut down on my photo period from 12 to 8 hours, cut feeding in half(I was way overfeeding), and started using RODI water. Withing a week I could tell a difference and within 3 weeks it was gone. I did remove some GH off of my sandbed though (about 2 handfulls).

Keep doing that, and use a toothbrush too. I'll give you the abridged version of how I defeated a massive HA outbreak about 3 years ago...

Daily routine:

1. toothbrush, net
2. powerhead blast all LR
3. after 30 minutes to settle, do 20% water change, siphoning detritus from sand
4. stop feeding mysis


1. phosphate chemical media, replenished every 3 days
2. refugium with chaetomorpha
3. a handful of turbo snails

Took me three weeks of blasting some serious goo out of my phosphate saturated LR, but after about a month I never saw hair algae again.

I have never used RO/DI, but I live in a place with EXCEPTIONAL tap water. Just about anywhere else you need to use RO/DI.
I lost my first tank to hair algae. In my current 54 corner, as soon as I saw the first hair growing, I added a Lawnmower Blenny and two Zebra Turbo snails. Every shred of hair was gone in a week, and I've had no recurrence.

The LMB can be hit or miss, as I've heard some say theirs won't eat hair at all. I got lucky with mine.
i would also reccomend all of the above info as well as purchasing some S.A.T., your LFS should carry it. what it is, is a solution that contains algae eating micro-organisms. you can dose it to get rid of any algae outbreaks as well as PRN dosing. it is reef safe and will not kill your macro algaes. great stuff you will see results within a few days, if not faster. a buddy of mine had a HA outbreak that literally took over his entire tank, and even his sand. tried virtually everything, after about 4 months he heard about the S.A.T. and the HA was gone completely w/ in a week!!!
Critters that eat the HA will get rid of the symptoms -- getting the phosphate out of your water, LR, and sand will get rid of the problem...
Not trying to hijack this thread, but I am having a similar problem and was wondering where the phosphates are coming from. I don't overfeed, I skim heavily, tank is not stocked heavily at all, and I can't find the source of the phosphates. Any ideas. RO/DI water was checked for phosphates also and tests showed no trace of them.
I had a huge algae problem in the past, tried many different things and nothing happened. I finally changed my bulbs and it was gone.
S.A.T. is the name of the product. it only eats the algaes, you would still need to find the source of the phosphates...
I did a google search for S.A.T. and nothing came up. Where do you find this stuff? Do you know what company makes it?
hopper -- do you feed mysis at all? Over the long run unrinsed mysis can cause an accumulation. IME, it's almost always LR saturated with phosphate that is the culprit.
Everyone may have their own ideas to get rid of this scourge of a tank--including me. Rather than scrubbing rock, adding crabs, etc. I think the answer is to find the source of the problem, which is usually over feeding, over lighting, not enough skimming, water changes, and of course, a proper sump/refugium with macroalgae. From my own experience, when I adjusted all the above, all my algae problems disappeared! And I have been algae-free for almost a year.
You need a fuge. I added one about 4 months ago after battlling hair algae for a year. I was very depressed looking at my tank. I don't like to underfeed as I think it leads to health problems in the long run for the fish. Working on the tank everyday scrubbing rocks and doing water changes is a PTA and expensive. Critters won't touch it.

IMO you need to grow the hair algae somewhere else. Nothing scrubs the water like hair algae. Chaeto and caulerpa I find to like light more than nutrients and I believe the opposite is true for hair algae. Add a refugium and light the heck out of it and let the hair algae proliferate. This will allow you to feed more(I feed the fish twice daily and the corals everyother day) and your tank will be nitrate and phosphate free as well as highly oxidized from the hair algae releasing oxygen. Here is a pic of my setup.

Hey Sean, I actually believe everything you said. I have been trying to tell people this for years. Most people believe that crabs, snails, rabbitfish, sea hares, cowerys, and grenades will rid a tank of hair algae. Nope. These animals just convert HA to HA fertilizer. You can not rid a tank of nutrients and have corals grow. The symbiotic algae in corals also need nutrients. People think they have found the remedy because all of a sudden the HA disappears. It disappears on it's own no matter what you do.
When it uses all of the available nutrients, it dies. But it will probably come back in a month, a year, or two years. Algae comes (and goes) in a tank in cycles. Of course algae needs nitrates, phosphates, iron, light and a few other things. If one thing is missing it dies. If there is no more iron in your tank it can not grow any more. Of course we should always try to limit nutrients for other reasons besides algae. You can not cure algae because it is not a disease and it grows on any healthy reef. In the sea the animals eat it as soon as it grows but they poop in a much larger body of water then we have. And most of that water is too deep to grow algae. Let the stuff grow, but grow it outside your reef. Either get a refugium like Sean or do as I do and build an algae trough above the water and a little under your tank lights. I have a removable screen in there that can be rolled up and cleaned of algae. The algae can grow in there because the conditions are better and there is none in my reef. I know about algae cycles because I have been getting them since 1972. It is normal,
Also, the corals are (IMO) healthier with algae growing. If you ever went diving in a tropical location and saw hundreds of tangs, urchins, coweries, algae bleenies etc, what do you think they are eating? If there was no algae on a reef these animals would starve. In my particular reef I have to overfeed because a few of the animals I keep need more food than most and I keep a lot of gorgonians which I feed.
Have a great day.
The trough was just cleaned.