Holy Green Algae

StlScott

New member
My system: Biocube 29, 30lbs of live rock, 25lbs of live sand, removed bioballs and put in 6lbs of live rock rubble in the middle chamber, RO/DI salt water (always)...my current water test showed 0 amm/0 nitrite/0 nitrate/8.2 PH/11 KH/Phosphate .25/Salinity 1.025...the tank was set up on 8/25/12.

I'm new...what do I know?!?! This is why I have a "bit" of an algae issue. I've been learning as I go with this Biocube. It's a blast, but at the same time, I don't want to make every rookie mistake. Everything was going great, my tank cycled, added a couple Clowns, Diatom Bloom came and went, and POW...I've got 3-4" strands of Green Hair Algae. No one told me not to run my lights for 12hrs a day, they told me to run the actinic lights 2 hours before and 2 hours after the white lights and run them for 8 hours. I did just that.

Why can't I just pull the algae out? I was told to get a Sea Hare and have him eat it...why? My water levels were always good; Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, & PH...no one told me there were more test. I found out my KH was low (7) and they gave me Seachem Reef Builder to raise it up. Do I want to add buffer, or do water changes to get what I'm looking for? So many questions, so many different answers...I'll take whatever feedback you have.

Now in my tank I have 2 Clowns, Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp & Yellow Watchman Goby, 2 Red Leg Hermits, 2 Astrea Snails, 2 Nass Snails, and a Big Sea Hare. They all seem to be doing good, just if I can get the algae gone...will it come back? How can some run their lights for 12 hours and get no algae? I wish I knew.

I'm thinking about a UV Sterilizer...are they helpful? So many people say its a waste. Sounds like a good device to me. I just got a Aquatic Life 115 skimmer that I'm going to set up soon, haven't even done a water change (I did acclimate 2 different times which was 15% of my water, so I guess thats a water change).
 

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frogmaster421

New member
your tank is new so theres a few algae cycles it will go for idk about the 12 hour a day thing if i run my halides for more than 4 hours i get red slime
 

STiREX

New member
Hair algae blooms are common with new tanks. Although some might consider that a hefty bioload in a three week old tank.
 

Pittsburgh

New member
well, your nitrates are good because you have lots of algae consuming them. essentially, you have a refugium going on in your display tank. if you were to remove all algae at once, your nitrates and phosphates would jump considerably.

don't worry about uv sterilizers and other stuff. concentrate on getting nitrates and phosphates under control. get a couple of turbo snails to start taking care of algae, get a phosphate test kit and start getting your parameters under control. once there, what's rest of the algae will starve on it's own.
 

STiREX

New member
I don't see the need for a sea hare. Might want to consider returning him soon. Once the algae is gone, he will most likely die.
 

StlScott

New member
I don't see the need for a sea hare. Might want to consider returning him soon. Once the algae is gone, he will most likely die.

As soon as the algae is gone, they said they will take him back and give me store credit...like I'm renting him. LOL.
 

Pittsburgh

New member
Your tank is still pretty new and it's not too huge. Set up the skimmer asap, it will take few weeks for it to break in before it will be of any help with nutrients. In the mean time, start doing massive water changes, like 30%+, for a few weeks. Also while all of this is going on, get something to start eating algae for you. I've never had a sea hare, but mexican turbo snails worked great for me.

In 3-4 weeks your algae will be gone, this is where your nitrates and phosphates will start rising. Frequent water changes will help, a functional skimmer will help as well. If you are diligent with your water changes, this is probably all you will need for the tank of your size to keep algae under control.

What do you plan to do with it btw? FOWLR, softies, lps, sps? For FO I don't think you will need to do anything else. The fancier you get with the corals the more you will need to keep the water clean, like a refugium, phosphate absorbers, calcium dosing, etc.
 

StlScott

New member
Your tank is still pretty new and it's not too huge. Set up the skimmer asap, it will take few weeks for it to break in before it will be of any help with nutrients. In the mean time, start doing massive water changes, like 30%+, for a few weeks. Also while all of this is going on, get something to start eating algae for you. I've never had a sea hare, but mexican turbo snails worked great for me.

In 3-4 weeks your algae will be gone, this is where your nitrates and phosphates will start rising. Frequent water changes will help, a functional skimmer will help as well. If you are diligent with your water changes, this is probably all you will need for the tank of your size to keep algae under control.

What do you plan to do with it btw? FOWLR, softies, lps, sps? For FO I don't think you will need to do anything else. The fancier you get with the corals the more you will need to keep the water clean, like a refugium, phosphate absorbers, calcium dosing, etc.

Hey, thanks a lot! I'll do some water changes an keep an eye on the parameters. I plan on doing corals...I think I like them more than the fish. Not to sure on what kind I'll be doing, I'd like to get a few SPS if my light are sufficient. Just really learning more than anything. What about that Seachem Reef builder to raise KH...do you recommend using this stuff? I've gotten mixed reviews, some say stay away from additives/chemicals and others say, if it needs it, use it.

Thanks in advance!
 

abid

New member
My Starry Blenny doesn't eat algae anymore :(

Also to make parameters correct consider Red Sea NO3:pO4 X reducer.
 

Pittsburgh

New member
SPS won't be easy. Just brace yourself for a couple of challenges and do not rush and you'll be fine.

So for corals you will need to be aware of alkalinity, calcium and magnesium in addition to everything else. Do not worry about them just yet, not until all other parameters stabilize. I've never personally used reef builder, although i do use turf builder on my lawn :D.

When the time comes, read up on two part dosing, kalk dosing, etc. The general consensus about commercial additives is that they may do more harm than good because those who use them generally do not understand the underlying reasoning for using them to begin with. And once you finally read up on the reef chemistry and understand what these additives do, you realize that you can achieve same results using much cheaper alternatives, like 2 part dosing, kalk/baking soda dosing, etc.

So here's a timeline on how you'd get from where you are now to SPS:
- Set up skimmer
- Get rid of algae
- get good nitrate/phosphate test kits
- fix nitrates and phosphates (this is going to be tough with SPS requirements in mind)
- May consider a refugium as a cheaper alternative
or​
- GFO reactor to keep phosphates at a minimum
- biopellets reactor or vodka/vinegar dosing to keep nitrates at zero​
- get good alk/cal/mg test kits
- fix alk/cal/mg with dosing if needed
- seed your LR with some coralline rock
- wait for coraline to start propagating, this indicates that you are on the right track and your parameters are good. Coraline won't grow in water with high NO3/PO4 or low Cal/Alk/Mg
- introduce first softy, easy to keep coral like a toadstool for example. If he is doing well for few weeks, you are ready to advance

This is just about the water chemistry. There's always, water temperature, lighting, flow rate, feeding, diseases, etc etc

For your nitrates/phosphates do make sure you get a good test kit. API is not one of them. You will need a low range kit like Red Sea or Salifert for nitrates. Hanna makes an excellent checker for phosphates (713). You want your nitrates firmly at zero and phosphates at 0.02-0.05 for SPS.
 
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StlScott

New member
Thanks for the advice. Pittsburg, thanks for everything, you sound like you got this reef keeping down! Wow...thanks for your advise!
 
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