trully about to give it all up.


New member
I do not want to give up, but I cant beat hair algae. Let me give you some background first.

Here is my tank:

75 gallon reef with 2 inch sand bed
protein skimmer in sump
fluvial 304 canister with no media in it to lower nitrates
1 power head and 2 out flows from fluvial and sump
20 gallon refugium, loaded full of Chato, with 3 inch sand bed
530 watts of light. 2 10k halides 2 power compacts
100lbs of live rock

I do weekly water changes 5% per week with RO water form the lfs.
5 fish, 1 is a yellow tang
2 emerald crabs, 2 conchs put 175 nasuirus snails, 100 turbos "astrrea" spelling


every type of snail except mexican turbos
2 sea hairs - they disapear
lawn mower blenneys - they disapear
removed rock and scrubed it
phosate remover
hundreds of snails
Fox face

I did a complete cleaning and removed all the rock cleaned it, loaded the tank with turbos, and use the liquid phosophate remover. The tank looked great for about a week. Now all the algae is back. It looks like a carpet of algae all over the rock and some on the glass.

Most of the snails are gone, and pretty much all the turbos are missing. I put a cleaner shrimp in there and he is gone.

My water keeps testing good, my temp is 79 degrees, and I only use RO water from Plano Pets.

I seriously am about to give up. I do not know what the hell is going on with my tank. I can't beat this dam problem. I have been messing with it for 6 months.

Any thoughts?


Dan " soon to be ex reefer"


New member
not only should you test your tank for phosphates, test the RO water you get from your LFS. can you post all of your water parameters?


Premium Member
What kind of skimmer and flow do you have? Do some bigger weekly water changes to help clean up the water. We have a 75 and do 10 gallons weekly.


Premium Member
yes, test the LFS RO water. maybe they haven't changed their filters since 1985.

also sounds like you have a predator in your tank like a mantis shrimp or aggressive crab. sounds strange that so many snails, etc. have gone missing. if they keep getting killed, their corpses are also fueling your algae problems.

if you can manage, maybe bump your water changes up to 10%. and are you cutting out chaeto regularly, or is it just growing in your sump? there is no nutrient export just from the chaeto growing. (sorry if i'm not giving you credit here on this last point!) don't quit. people here will help you solve your problem.


New member
when i couldn't beat hair algae, i quarantined all my fish, then did a series of 20% water changes with NSW after a 50% water change initially to lower my nitrates which were over 200.......

i disconnected all filters and just ran my closed loop for a couple weeks (i had an ich outbreak anyways).........and as of last night my nitrates were 0........


New member
WOW!! 200 nitrates. Is it possible for fish to live in that? I had to do a big water change in a tank that wa all but empty due to nitrates of 40. I never did water changes for months because there was nothing in it. well today there will be and they are down to 5!


New member
Oh re-read that. It wan't empty becasue of the nitrates. It originally had seahorses but they moved to a new tank, then a dwarf lion fish which got eaten by a much hated puffer of mine. The puffer then got intestinal worms and died. I wish I had known it was worms to save the poor dude, but at least now i can stock the tank w/o him killing everything. So as time went on the nitrates grew. amazinly my 1.5 yr old starfish survived that. I never tested that water.


New member
I will post my water parameters tomorrow. And I can do a 10% water change.

I also swear that sometimes at night I hear a clicking sound. I may be nuts but could that be from a mantis killing my snails. I mean when I first put them in there they where everywhere. Now I see only about 10. I also forgot to mention I have 4 lettuce neudabranchs. "spelling"


Premium Member
A 75 gallon does not need hundreds of snails. Ours has maybe 4 or 5 Mexican turbos and maybe a dozen nassarius.
It would not be unusual for you to have a hitcher mantis, especially if you bought TBS rock.
Try to identify if there is a mantis and get rid of him. Then get some real turbo(mexican) and weed the garden by hand a little bit and let the snails go wild. I really would do bigger changes for a while. As I said we do 10 gallons weekly in the 75. We have had a few minor HA outbreaks but were able to battle it back in relatively short order.


New member
I would definitely recommend checking the water from the LFS; you never know.

I recently bought for my lil bro a 29g reef that had been neglected; the hair algae had taken over. When we got it home, we manually pulled off as much as we could from the inside of the tank, and pulled as much as possible from the rock before putting the rock back in the tank.

Throughout the next couple of days, he would pull out what he found floating in the tank. He then purchased about 6 Mexican Turbo snails; they wiped the rest of the hair algae out. He would sometimes place them on rocks that still had some algae, let them get it out, then move them to another rock, until all of it was gone. He's since been able to take 3 of the turbos out, and his tank is still doing great.

Don't give up!!! Hope this helps.


New member
I have to agree with pretty much everyone here.....I bet you are paying what 60-65 cents per gallon of RO water from the lfs, try this.....go to wal-mart and get the distilled water. I have been running that with no problem what so ever in my 6-G.

If he post the params everything is going to look good because the hair algea is eating the trates and po4. I would pull the fish out and do a series of 20% water changes every other day for 10 days. This basically doing a 100% water change. And then try using the distilled water from wal-mart and see if that helps.

And I would buy a ro/di myself. Save money in the long run.


New member
I agree that the problem is probably the R/O water. Don't bother testing for phosphate in your display because it won't change how to address the problem. If the phosphate tests low or 0 you will be told that it is being removed by the hair algae so quickly that it is unmeasurable and you still have a phosphate problem. If it tests high have a phosphate problem. You need to get a R/O DI unit.

I have been battling hair algae for years and only recently have I gotten it under reasonable control. In the past year I have made improvements on my dsb. I have put in a refugium with chaeto. I have increased water flow with two SEIO 2500 power heads. I have put in a larger return pump increasing my return from 300 gph to 560 gph. I recently put in a phosban reactor and upgraded to MH from PC's.

The small amount of hair algae I have is in dark, low flow areas and is looking very anemic with no new growth noted for weeks. Remember this: Algae is a part of the marine biope and you will find it on every natural reef.


Premium Member
I know it is too soon to know if you have succeeded, but did you choose a course of action? How is it going?


New member
Well I am even more confused now. I went and did my water test, and here is the results:

Nitrates - 10 ppm
Nitrites - 0
PH - 8.1 - 8.2
Salinity - 1.025
Amonia - 0
Calcium - 320
Alkalinity - 140 ppm
TDS - ? No one had a test for this.

So in other words, my water is near perfect, yet I have hair algae every where and I have snails dieing off. I do beleive I may have a mantis or pistol shrimp in there somewhere, due to the fact that I hear clicking every once in a while.

What do I do? Do I go buy a hundred hermit crabs, some large mexican turbos, scrub all the rock and hope it is gone?

I was also told there are two types of phosphates? 1 in the water and another that forms on the rock and sand that the algae will eat, and water changes will not remove? Is this true?

Thanks for any input.



New member
What kind of skimmer are you using? I would remove the fluval and get some more water flow in the tank, get a good RO/DI, and do a few big water changes.


New member
I haven't heard of 2 differen PO4, but big water changes and trying a different water should fix the problem.