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Old 01-26-2006, 04:56 PM   #1
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Blacking out aquarium for algae control

I'm having a horrible bout with hair algae (red and green). I've changed the light bulbs, put phos-zorb and de-nitrate in the canister filter, and started trying to scrub the algae off the rocks with a toothbrush at every water change. While there's still coverage over just about everything it's getting a little better.

I've read that blacking out the tank for a week or so is a good thing to do, but I want to get the most out of it.

So, has anyone ever done that for algae control?

Does that kill off algae that's already growing and healthy, or does it just prevent new algae from taking root? In other words, should I wait until I can get most of it scrubbed off the rocks and cleaned up manually, or will it kill if off for me so I can clean it up more easily?
I'm just not sure how exactly it's supposed to help, and I don't want to screw it up.
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Old 01-26-2006, 07:02 PM   #2
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I asked a similiar question about algea. One guy wrote and said he blacked out his tank for a week and it killed all the algea...he had corals too and it didnt bother them. Im fighting algea now. If you want go back just a week or so ago and look for a thread on Algea and cyno by myself....fishman. I listed all the items I did. Im winning the battle as we speak. Main thing is a phosban reactor...About $30 and works great.
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Old 01-27-2006, 10:40 AM   #3
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I would be very surprised if light dependant corals weren't affected by a week with no light.

IMO, I wouldn't suggest a complete blackout but a reduced light schedule is a common step to help win the fight. Even though you have unsightly hair algae, there is also a plethera of benificial algae in your aquarium that is also helping supply oxygen and maintaing the pH in your water. To see this for yourself, test your pH first thing in the morning before your lights come on, then in the evening just before they go off. You'll notice a bit of a change.

How old is your tank? New tanks typically go through at least one initial rough algae bloom. This can be reduced by shortening your light cycle and maintenance as you've described, but you kinda just have to work through it, it should eventually balance out.

if your tank is older and well established then algae blooms then are typically from excess nutrients. One way to help combat them is to examine you feeding habits, you may be over feeding. do you have a sump? You could look into adding macro algaes to absorb the nutrients and "starve out" the bad algae.
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Old 01-27-2006, 11:14 AM   #4
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Well Billy, I have had loss of light for a week twice now. With no adverse affects to my corals.

http://www.fantasyreef.com/viewtopic.php?p=1439#1439

edited to add link
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Old 01-27-2006, 12:08 PM   #5
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Lucky for me, I have a fowlr, so corals aren't a factor in my case.

My tank is about 10 months old- 72 gal with a yellow tang, 2 clowns, and a 6-line -all are small. And I don't have a sump.
Lots of LR, skimmer, and I even just added a canister filter so I could run the phosphate and nitrate media.
I have cut back on feedings to every other day, and I've also cut back on the nori for the tang. I noticed that large pieces keep breaking off and floating away uneaten -when I'm home, I can pick them out, when I'm not at home, who knows if they're eaten or end up decaying under some rock.
And I've also recently beefed up my cleaning crew -I think they're being picked off by hidden hitchhiker predators. Which I'm now also aggressively hunting.

Anyone have a snails/hermits per gallon guideline?
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Old 01-28-2006, 08:22 PM   #6
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Unless you track down the food source then it will just come back when the lights are turned back on.
What are the PO4 and Nitrate levels in the tank.. What type of water do you use and have you tested your water source for PO4 and nitrates?
Once you get all levels to 0 or undetectable and you still have a algae issue doing the black out thing may be something to look at.
post a pic of the algae in question..
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Old 01-29-2006, 07:37 PM   #7
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I'm not sure how to post a pic- I don't have a web site to create a link to.

As for levels, PO4 is .1-.2 down from .25-.5
Nitrates are at 5, down from 10
I've also noticed that my ammonia is up to .1 from a usual 0.

Since I added the phos zorb to my filter and cut back on feedings, I was hoping that the PO4 would be at 0, but I also don't know why ammonia is up as well.
One concern that I have is that I'm cleaning off more of the algae than I can syphon out at one time. Since I only have the capacity to make about 5 gal of saltwater at a time, that doesn't give me much syphon time.
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Old 01-29-2006, 07:58 PM   #8
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you can post pics right on this site, they just need to be the right size.. I don't recall the size?? you can email it to me and Ill try and post it for you.

seaham358@aol.com

sounds like you are winning the battle on PO4 and nitrate.. Keep it up and you will be winning the war on algae. What type of water are you using??? and have you tested it ??
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:53 AM   #9
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Thanks, here's my try at posting a photo. If it doesn't work (I'm not very optimistic), I'll e-mail them to you.

The water I use tests 0 on PO4 and nitrates. It's tap water filtered using Aq. Pharmaceuticals' tap water filter. I live in an apartment with copper pipes all nicely welded together so I'm afraid to invest in an actual RO/DI unit and not be able to install it -plus no room for a waste water tank and all that.
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File Type: jpg algae2_719.jpg (108.9 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg algae1_495.jpg (131.8 KB, 44 views)
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:55 AM   #10
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Cool! It worked! Although it took me a while to figure out how to change the file size in iPhoto.
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