Unusual Algae Issue

animalkingdom

New member
Hello,
I have been keeping reef tanks for 2 years. Recently I have had an outbreak of an unusual algae. It looks like some kind of derbasia, but doesnt get long strands and grows close to the rocks like a mat. I keep mostly SPS an have always worked for low nutrients. currently (as of today) the tank tested Phosphate 0.00 Hanna Checker and Nitrate 0 Salifert. I grow macro algae (calupera) and carbon dose (vodka) for nutrient maintenance. I cant seem to figure why I am growing this algae on my rocks. Its only on high light areas. My initial thoughts are the super rough Marcos Rocks catches detritus causing pockets of high nutrients where algae gets a foothold and then algae catches its own detritus due to its nature of being mesh like. This allows more growth. I run pretty high flow in my 60gal 36 inch tank with an mp40 at 100% and a 1400gph korallia on intermittently random 10min or less on 2min or less off so I doubt the rock isn't getting enough flow, but detritus must be accumulating. Any thought on how to combat this stuff. Ive taken some rocks out and put in sump and even with lights out it lives for weeks. Would love some input.
Here is a pic of the algae
IMAG0163_zpsfe2b1c16.jpg
 

ACBlinky

Premium Member
Are you running a phosphate reactor? Is the macroalgae lit 24/7, reverse cycle to the main tank, or some other schedule?

You could take a look at the thread on using hydrogen peroxide (I think it's in the nano forum), many people seem able to eradicate stubborn microalgaes this way.
 

Reefin' Dude

New member
if the LR is full of phosphates, than GFO, carbon dosing, hydrogen peroxide is going to solve the problem long term.

G~
 

brandon429

In Memoriam
I have pictured examples of three different seriatopora peroxide treatments in my thread with similar algae intertwined, each one was fixed and follow up pics are posted. I don't recall the pages there are too many now, but if other methods don't work direct action sure has, and this coral tolerates it well. You can read it by searching for pico reef pest algae problem challenge thread
 

brandon429

In Memoriam
Your po4 loading will influence re growth, the initial kill stops the coral irritation. Dont hesitate to fix your algae just because a repeat might be needed until your control all nutrient delivery

How many things in this hobby are one off? I repeat mine every three months, its no prob, couldn't care less about my phosphates, I'm free lol.
 

animalkingdom

New member
hmmmm curious as to how to solve the po4 issue. I already carbon dose. I stopped using GFO because phosphates were always below zero I I liked the old way of vodka better. The po4 isnt in the water column just on the rocks. I think some of the mentioned ideas may help get rid of it, but Im trying to solve the root of the problem. Thanks for all the advice!
 

animalkingdom

New member
if the LR is full of phosphates, than GFO, carbon dosing, hydrogen peroxide is going to solve the problem long term.

G~

how do I get the phosphates out of the LR and into the water column to begin with. I even had a buddy with the ULNS Hanna instead of my regular one and even he can get more than 0.01 to show up after conversion. Mine reads 0.00 consistently. I think it has to do with detritus getting trapped,but I haven't been able to combat this effectively with flow.
 

brandon429

In Memoriam
you will have to pull a sample and test it for po4 leaching and then acid etch all the substrate in your tank if thats how you want to go
 

animalkingdom

New member
I stopped using filter socks a year or so ago...
maybe that is why I am getting excess detritus buildup in the rocks
Maybe I'll start using filter socks again.
 

MARINECRITTERS

New member
The rock will slowly leach out phosphates as others have said, as they are released into the water column you must remove it through some sort of phosphate absorbing method such as gfo ( granular ferric oxide ). I am not sure how effective carbon dosing would be, the bacteria that are colonized will mainly remove nitrate.
Others have said that raising magnesium slowly up to 1500ppm can kill bryopsis and other algaes, since you have a beautiful spa tank I would not risk changing anything.
For me, an algae scrubber, gfo reactor and a carbon dosed nitrate reactor got rid of my nutrient issue, intern killing off all algaes in the display tank.
Hope this helped!
 

Reefin' Dude

New member
how do I get the phosphates out of the LR and into the water column to begin with. I even had a buddy with the ULNS Hanna instead of my regular one and even he can get more than 0.01 to show up after conversion. Mine reads 0.00 consistently. I think it has to do with detritus getting trapped,but I haven't been able to combat this effectively with flow.

the bacteria will do it for you as long as there is enough flow around the LR to pull away the detrital buildup from the process. i bet the detritus on the LR is coming from the rock and not from the lack of a filter sock any more. if the LR is touching the substrate, then you are going to have an uphill battle to say the least. as long as your SPS corals are not showing die off at their basses then the inorganic phosphates have not started wicking up into their calcium carbonate basses. when you start seeing die off on the basses, it is time to take action and the LR should be allowed to get more flow all around it in order to help the removal of detritus. the detritus that is forming on the the LR is bacterial mulm from the bacteria using the phosphates off of the calcium carbonate matrix for their own biological processes.

are you able to get more flow back behind the LR structure to create an outward flow from the LR structure?

a phosphate level of 0.00 is not the same as a phosphate level of 0.009. :( our test kits are not accurate enough to read the oligotrophic boundary level of phosphates or nitrates for that manner. hobby phosphate test kits are about worthless for knowing the true inorganic phosphate level in our system if we are interested in keeping an oligotrophic environment.

carbon dosing unfortunately will just make this problem worse. :( the access to free elemental carbon by the water column bacteria make for some great results, but it starves the bacteria in the LR from being able to do their job of liberating phosphates from the calcium carbonate matrix. this allows the calcium carbonate matrix a chance to just keep binding more and more phosphates. eventually elemental carbon will become available to the bacteria around the phosphates allowing free phosphates to be available for algae on the LR at those sites.

HTH,

G~
 

animalkingdom

New member
the bacteria will do it for you as long as there is enough flow around the LR to pull away the detrital buildup from the process. i bet the detritus on the LR is coming from the rock and not from the lack of a filter sock any more. if the LR is touching the substrate, then you are going to have an uphill battle to say the least. as long as your SPS corals are not showing die off at their basses then the inorganic phosphates have not started wicking up into their calcium carbonate basses. when you start seeing die off on the basses, it is time to take action and the LR should be allowed to get more flow all around it in order to help the removal of detritus. the detritus that is forming on the the LR is bacterial mulm from the bacteria using the phosphates off of the calcium carbonate matrix for their own biological processes.

are you able to get more flow back behind the LR structure to create an outward flow from the LR structure?

a phosphate level of 0.00 is not the same as a phosphate level of 0.009. :( our test kits are not accurate enough to read the oligotrophic boundary level of phosphates or nitrates for that manner. hobby phosphate test kits are about worthless for knowing the true inorganic phosphate level in our system if we are interested in keeping an oligotrophic environment.

carbon dosing unfortunately will just make this problem worse. :( the access to free elemental carbon by the water column bacteria make for some great results, but it starves the bacteria in the LR from being able to do their job of liberating phosphates from the calcium carbonate matrix. this allows the calcium carbonate matrix a chance to just keep binding more and more phosphates. eventually elemental carbon will become available to the bacteria around the phosphates allowing free phosphates to be available for algae on the LR at those sites.

HTH,

G~
Thanks for the information. I have had some die off at the base of some of my acros recently for unexplained reasons. It started about 6months after I switched tanks and went from my established fine silica based sand bed to coarse aragonite sandbed in the current tank. The rocks contact the sand the same as in the previous tank for the most part. What is the best way to get the flow to prevent the detritus buildup? I have an mp40 1/3 the way down at 100% on my 36'' tank as well as a korallia 1400gph aimed at an angle across the top of the rock. The rock is a peninsula style with only the end on the left side corner overflow coming in contact with the walls. I took gfo offline months ago after only running it for 4 months and noticing corals start to pale out. Ill make a quick diagram of flow patterns for reference. I was thinking that the detritus that normally gets removed in filter socks isn't anymore and is accumulating in the sand or rockwork. Does that sound like the case?
 

Reefin' Dude

New member
how hard would it be for you to put the LR on PVC stands ever so slightly higher than the substrate depth? it may be nearly impossible, i know, but it is the best way to guarantee that the LR is able to purge itself of bacterial mulm. when LR is on the substrate the bottom of the LR is not able to purge itself of the bacterial biomass and in fact allows a conduit for the wicking of phosphates up through the calcium carbonate.

getting flow back behind LR structures is difficult with a fine substrate. there have been a few ideas of late that are solutions to this problem, but are a bit different than the normal for setups here.

G~
 
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