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Old 03-08-2006, 12:07 AM   #1
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Help me ger rid of my algae PLEASE!

I have a HUGE problem with this ugly brown algae. Thanks to the forums, I have been able to identify it as Dictyota. Now I need help in getting rid of it. I have a 125L reef tank that has been up and running for almost a year. I have had the algae from the beginning, probably from my LR. I added a new light system in December upgrading from 520W PCs to 3 x 175W MH and 260W PCs and the problem got worse. I know that light will make any algae grow, but this is crazy. It is starting to cover my beautiful corals both hard and soft. I prune it back but that just seems to make it spread further. The base of the algae is attached to the rocks and requires scrubbing to take it off, yet it still grows back. My tank is stocked with 1 hippo tang, 2 clowns, 1 flamehawk, 1 dottyback and 1 cleaner shrimp. The tank is currently ripped apart with half of my rocks and sand in a seperate tank due to a flatworm infestation that I am successfully treating. This half is algae free but also has no lights. Any help would be appreciated. My local LFS sucks! I brought some of it in for them to identify and they just said, "It looks like a brown algae to me." I am willing to try just about anything. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:31 PM   #2
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What are your water parameters? It is likely you have either high nitrate or high phosphate. Generally pulling your nitrates down will help. You can do this by planting macroalgaes, or xenia, either in the main tank or a connected refugium with it's own lights. Water changes with a good quality salt and RO water will also help.

Do you have much of a cleanup crew? Hermit crabs and snails can be good harvesters of algae.
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Old 03-08-2006, 02:27 PM   #3
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Ditto what dskidmore said. Water parameters are a good place to start.
What kind of skimmer do you run on your tank, if any? Other filtration? Do you have a sump or refugium connected to your tank?

Also, does 125L mean 125 Liters(33 gallons), or a 125 gallon long tank?

Dictyota can be noxious to your coral species. One way to remove it is to take all of your LR that has it, out of your tank, and into a dark tank for a few weeks. This will kill it effectively.

If your tank is large enough(125 gallons, not 125 Liters) you can get yourself a Diadema sp. urchin (Long Spine Urchin) which will eat it...and is the only thing I know of that can eat it that you can add to your tank.
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Old 03-09-2006, 01:36 AM   #4
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I'm sorry that I was not clear enough. I have a 125 gallon long tank. I had my water tested today and my ammonia, nitrite and nitrate were all zero ppm. My ph was low, I believe it was 7.4. Over the last 3 months, everything tested the same except my ph was fine. I have never had a phosphate test done, that I know of. I will check with my friends to see if they have that test. As far as other algae, my tank is stocked with plenty of Caulerpa and Halimeda. I don't know if this is considered a macro algae, but the Dictyota grows right over everything - especially the caulerpa. I have tons of crabs and 4 large snail to clean up anything that my piggy fish may not find and they don't even crawl on the stuff. I do not run a sump or refugium because I rent and am concerned for overflows and flooding. I have 2 Emperor 400 bio-wheels running with carbon and cell-pore biomedia inserts. I change 25 gallons every 2 weeks like clockwork with RO/DI water that I purchase from the store. I am tired of lugging all that water up a flight of stairs so I have purchased a 6 stage RO/DI filter that will be installed this weekend. I hope that this provides some more info to folks.

I will probably end up taking out all the rocks that are currently in main tank and putting the flatworm and algae free ones that are in the sick tank with no light back in, but there are some coral rocks that have it that will not be able to go without light. I have only been doing this for a few years and am interested in the idea of the urchin. I think that they are neat looking but know nothing about taking care of them.

Again thanks for the help!!! I have been asking tons of people about this and no one has been able to help.
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Old 03-09-2006, 02:18 PM   #5
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Could try switiching to weekly 10% water changes instead of 20% every two weeks.

Water parameters can have a false low if the algae is sucking it up as fast as it's produced. You might still be creating alot of nitrates.

Wash the carbon and biomedia in the old tank water each time you do a water change. Any built up crud on them could be producing nitrates. An HOB skimmer would be a nice addition to the Emperors if you can afford one.

Caulerpa is a macro algae, I'm not familiar with Halimeda, but pretty much any saltwater "plant" is a "macro algae."

The corals should be more tolerant to periods without light than the algae. If you baby them before and after, they can probably take a week without light. How long did it take the algae to die in the sick tank? You can also give the corals a head start by doing one of your major algae prunings right before the dark period.
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:51 PM   #6
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Oops! I also forgot to tell you that I have a Red Sea Prizm skimmer that I run once every 1-2 months.

I have a water change coming up this weekend and I will be pruning the current clumps of the crap. The flatworms host to this stuff more than anything else in the tank. It's like they have this symbiotic relationship so when I do a water change, I suck out as many as I can see along with the new clumps of algae. That is why I only do one every 2 weeks.

If you think that my corals will be OK, I will start to taper down the amount of light time on my tank to get everyone and everything prepared for a lights out period. I also have separate switches for my MH and PC lights that I can play with. I think that is a good idea and if I take out the algae covered rocks and put in the clean ones form the sick tank at that time too. It took about 1-2 weeks of no light for the other rocks to be algae free.

I also might try putting in a bacteria additive called TheraP. I use it in another 30 gallon tank that I have when I get red slime algae. You put it in and turn out the lights for 48-72 hours to allow the bacteria to grow. After 2 weeks of dosing according to the recommended amounts for a therapeutic dose, the algae is all but gone. I only have mushroom corals, a maroon clown and peppermint shrimp in there, but they all tolerate it well.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:25 PM   #7
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Why not run your skimmer more often? I'd leave it running all the time, IMHO. Certainly wouldn't harm anything. And I agree with dskid, you have a 0ppm nitrate reading because the plants are sucking them all in and using them as energy to grow. A skimmer would help, definitley.

The black out should be just fine. IMO, it would depend on your species of coral, but mushrooms especially should be able to take it. They prefer lower light anyways, and pull most of their food from the water column. Keep good water quality (ie: do a water change before hand and after, and they should be ok).

I'd pass on the TheraP stuff. Likely not needed.

I use to have Halimeda and two species of Caulerpa (grape and cup)that were taking over my tank as well. Adding a skimmer and keeping better maintence kept them at bay, and they eventually went away. I don't think you will have that much luck, but the black out should help.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:05 PM   #8
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The corals that I have in the 125 gallon are as follows:

LPS - 2 brains, a 4" and a 7"
SPS - A 4" porites rock with x-mas tree worms
Leather - An XL toadstool with a diameter of about 9"
Polyps - 5" green star rock which is being overtaken by the bad algae
I have another hard coral that I can't identify, but if it dies I won't be crushed
I have also moved my birdsnest to another tank until I can kill all the flatworms

The only other thing that I have in my tank is "Bertha" my anemone that is about 16" in diameter when fully spread out. She is my mother's favorite thing in the tank and I will be disowned if anything were to ever happen to it. I must add that my mother also thinks that anything that does not swim in the tank is worthless. But Bertha has slowly won her over.

I will also change and rum my skimmer more often.
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bickid
I will also change and rum my skimmer more often.
IMHO the only way you'll beat this is by efficient nutrient removal and running a good skimmer continuously is your best defense. Also ..... maybe I missed it during my reading but what are your feeding habits?
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Old 03-09-2006, 11:57 PM   #10
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Oops again!

My feeding habits are once a day. I do a lot of house/animal and farm/horse sitting for extra money, usually 2-3 weeks at a time every 3-4 months. When I do this, I taper the feeding down to once every 3-4 days. I feed San Francisco Bay brand spirulina enhanced brine shrimp. I will be switching to Hikari next month. I also use Kent Marine ChromaPlex and ZooPlex to target feed my corals every 2-3 days.
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