Losing the hair algae battle

Itaysworld

Premium Member
Hi guys -

I've been putting off starting this thread here for some weeks, but I am starting to lose my patience, and so I turn to you for some help. Here's my build thread: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1403283

Tank has been running since June 2008.

Since January 2009 (after a dKH drop while out for 2 weeks) my tank, other than fatally hurting my SPS frags, began growing a lot of hair algae and diatoms.

I have been maintaining the alkalinity steady and am testing daily, sometimes multiple times a day and its never going under 10 dKH. I am dosing Brightwell Aquatics Alkalin 8.3 powder and my Kalkwasser is their the Calc +2 coming via a fluidized reactor as part of my ATO.

I was running carbon, but I removed the media and replaced it with GFO about 2 weeks ago.

My water parameters are perfect, I conduct regular and large water changes, and I have even bought a canister filter which I'm using to suck up algae.

My RO water reads zero on TDS, I cleaned the sump, I change socks every few (3-4) and the skimmer seems to be working as well as it always has.

I see some die off, because the socks and skimmer are bit more dirty than usual, but the algae is not going away.

Of course I have also scaled back my feeding drastically hoping it entices my foxface and tangs to graze more on the algae in the tank.

The last item worth mentioning is that my turbo snails aren't doing great. They seem to fall on their back a lot and not eat very much.

I have no idea why they are acting the way they are, but it makes me wonder if there's something in the water that is not detectable by my routine tests that is negatively impacting my system.

At one point I had dynoflagelate algae, and according to my LFS some of the snails may have gotten poisoned and were just 'stunned', but I recently bought 20 more snails and after a few days they started acting funny as well.

On the flip side, all my fish and LPS are doing great....


First and foremost, thanks for reading my post... and second - any ideas? Please?

Thanks in advance, Itay.
 

ReefEnabler

Premium Member
Hi Itay.
sorry for your troubles. I wish I had some words of wisdom.

I wonder if the snails are being bitten by bristle worms? I've seen my bristles nibble and irritate a turbo I put in the refugium and it eventually started falling on its back alot and I guess was eventually eaten by everybody in the fuge.

Have you noticed bristles following them around, or large numbers? Have you checked the tank at night?
 

chimmike

oxygen abuser
keep running the GFO. Pull out as much hair algae as you can, and keep running the GFO. That will help doubly remove whatever source it is the HA is getting.
 

THE ROOK

New member
How old are your bulbs? I think that's what kicked off my HA issue that I'm still fighting.

I picked up a sea hare & it's really helped keep it mowed down. It was starting to get out of control.

BTW, what canister filter are you using & how well does it vacuum the sump? I'm thinking about getting one.
 

Itaysworld

Premium Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14831809#post14831809 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by ReefEnabler
Hi Itay.
sorry for your troubles. I wish I had some words of wisdom.

I wonder if the snails are being bitten by bristle worms? I've seen my bristles nibble and irritate a turbo I put in the refugium and it eventually started falling on its back alot and I guess was eventually eaten by everybody in the fuge.

Have you noticed bristles following them around, or large numbers? Have you checked the tank at night?


Hey Ryan - long time - thanks - I'll take a look - I've only seen a few (like 2 or 3) brisle works since I set up my tank. I will look closer at night.



<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14831812#post14831812 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by chimmike
keep running the GFO. Pull out as much hair algae as you can, and keep running the GFO. That will help doubly remove whatever source it is the HA is getting.

Will do Chimmike - thank you.


<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14831846#post14831846 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by THE ROOK
How old are your bulbs? I think that's what kicked off my HA issue that I'm still fighting.

I picked up a sea hare & it's really helped keep it mowed down. It was starting to get out of control.

BTW, what canister filter are you using & how well does it vacuum the sump? I'm thinking about getting one.

Hey The Rook -

The Metal Halides and Actinics have been running since August. I haven't changed them yet, but do have a set of 14K Ice Caps which are about to go in. My new Actinics are on order and as soon as they arrive I'll be swapping all at once.

Which are likely to change their spectrum and contribute to algae? The actinics, right?

Thanks to you and to all... any ideas are welcome.
 

Itaysworld

Premium Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14831846#post14831846 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by THE ROOK
How old are your bulbs? I think that's what kicked off my HA issue that I'm still fighting.

I picked up a sea hare & it's really helped keep it mowed down. It was starting to get out of control.

BTW, what canister filter are you using & how well does it vacuum the sump? I'm thinking about getting one.


Ah - missed the bottom of your comment -

I will definitely look to boost my algae eater crew. I heard good things about sea hare, my fear with those is that once the algae is gone, don't they tend to starve?


As far as the canister filter I got a Marineland Magnum 350. If you want the place I bought it send me a PM and I'll send a link - not sure if I can post the URL here without getting in trouble :)

I don't use it to vacuum the sump, though I probably could. That thing has great suction.

I have worked in vacuuming the sump to the time of doing a water changes. I close my ball valves and isolate the sump (keep the closed loop running) and siphon the water out of the sump and suck everything I can out.

I think if you use the filter it will do the job but will get it dirty and full rather quickly.

Thanks again, Itay.
 

Itaysworld

Premium Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14831938#post14831938 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by thechad21
Itay, do you have a DI filter on your RO unit?

I ran an exhausted DI filter for a while and had an algae problem for about a month as a result.


Hey Chad - That's a good question.

I got my coralife RO unit in July of last year and have not yet replaced any of the canisters/media in them...

Is it time? Could that be letting something through that the TDS wouldn't measure but would contribute to algae growth?
 

Mr. Brooks

MASVC Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14831974#post14831974 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Itaysworld
Hey Chad - That's a good question.

I got my coralife RO unit in July of last year and have not yet replaced any of the canisters/media in them...

Is it time? Could that be letting something through that the TDS wouldn't measure but would contribute to algae growth?


Yes. Your TDS meter could be missing something.

You may also be over feeding..
 

robot2222

New member
i always had an alge problem until this tank. the one thing i think that helped me most was i purchasd 25lbs of live rock from a three year old tank with purple coraline alge all over it. maybe you can find some locally . you know if you leave your carbon in to long it leaches nitrates back into tank you have to change every three to four weeks . check out this vendor clean up crew.org i purchased a cuc from them . they seem to know there stuff they have all types of snails and reef safe hermits , macro alge try looking at there site.
 

Hop

Carpe Noctem!!!
Premium Member
Time to cook the rock... It will cost you WAY less in the long run and give you a clean slate. You can do half at a time so you don't need a total tank tear-down;)
 

Alaskan Reefer

New member
+1 on Hop's reply. It sounds like you've done everything possible. You can either continue to prune / GFO / wet skim / all of the above while the rocks cook in your tank, or do it outside the tank. Based on how thoroughly you've worked on diagnosis and treatment, it seems the only possible phosphate source would be your rock, and the algae won't quit growing until it's cleaned out.
 

mille239

Premium Member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14832061#post14832061 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by robot2222
i always had an alge problem until this tank. the one thing i think that helped me most was i purchasd 25lbs of live rock from a three year old tank with purple coraline alge all over it. maybe you can find some locally . you know if you leave your carbon in to long it leaches nitrates back into tank you have to change every three to four weeks . check out this vendor clean up crew.org i purchased a cuc from them . they seem to know there stuff they have all types of snails and reef safe hermits , macro alge try looking at there site.

I can't find that vendor... please post the link.
 

NexDog

Snail Killer
Premium Member
With the methods available today no-one should have to worry about algae problems.

Step 1: Use a Lanthanum chloride product like Phosphate Control.

Step 2: Vodka dosing.

Both need a careful approach but both would fix your problems.
 

THE ROOK

New member
There's a recent thread in the chemistry forum about using Algaefix Marine by API. They had pretty good results. I just ordered some for my tank. I'd try that before cooking the rock.
 

Itaysworld

Premium Member
Thank you all for your responses.

I'm still in data gathering mode.

I really appreciate everyone's feedback. Its helping me validate that I am at the very least doing the things I should be doing.


One thought that I am now trying to validate is if the actinic lights have shifted their spectrum and are now at a wavelength that is promoting/supporting algae growth.

I've had 4 replacement bulbs on back order for about 2 months now, and it may just be that they are too old.

I've been running them for 13 hours a day for the last 9 months.

They are the 96W square pin kind and my LFS has been having a hard time getting replacements in.

Starting this afternoon I turned them off and will only run my tank with ambient light and the metal halides which are on from 12 - 7 PM in 5 hour increments.

1st 12:00pm - 5, 2nd 1:00pm - 6:00pm, 3rd 2:00pm - 7:00pm


NexDog - your link is broken - can you repost?

Vodka is definitely also an option... I will have to make a list and prioritize what to try first, but I want to explore any products that are going to help me - and get a sense of what has worked best for you all in the past


My LFS recommended I begin dosing some potassium permanganate product called OxyClear (or something like that) to remove organic nutrients from the water.


I want to exhaust all options before having to remove my rocks and cook them.

I'll be adjusting the skimmer to skim wetter as well, thanks Alaskan Reefer


THE ROOK I'll look for that thread. thx.


Thanks again guys and if there are more ideas out there, please keep them coming.

Best,
 

aaron1987

New member
Look into a hairy sea hare on top of the aforementioned solutions. They are voracious little buggers and chow on hair algae like it's their God given purpose in life.
 
Top