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Old 11-21-2005, 12:09 PM   #1
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I'm starting to think its a lost cause

I've been trying to stop the algae growth in my reef tank for 2 months now.
Large green tufts of hairy algae growing all over my live rock, trying to cover some of my soft corals.

I thought my bulbs were spent on spectrum,s o I changed both on 2 separate weekends. No help.
I reduced the lighting time to 10 hours total, with only 8 hours of 100% wattage (actinic used for dusk/dawn effect for an hour each)
I thought my trace of nitrate was it, so I pulled the sponge from my HOB (for breaking water surface/oxygenation mainly)...no help, though nitrates are undetectable again.
Phosphates are more than 0.00ppm but not by much...maybe 0.2ppm at most.

Alkalinilty is always a little low, calcium around 400ppm, magnesium a bit high at 1400ppm.

Between mysterious invert deaths, my corals just acting stunted, and general disinterest, I'm on the verge of finding a new owner for this setup...or returning the fish for credit, selling my live rock, skimmer and fuge, and storing the rest away somewhere for a future planted tank setup.

I can post pics if necessary, but its green tufts of hairy algae. my hermits don't touch it, and none of my fish are algae grazers (2 false percs, royal gramma, 6 line wrasse). Reducing the lighting timer did slow down the growth of algae on teh front glass (which looks more like diatoms...dusty brownish/red algae, wipes/scrapes off easily)

Help before I tear this thing down in frustration!
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Old 11-21-2005, 12:22 PM   #2
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Have you tried picking up a few emerald crabs? 40 astrea/margurita snails would help a ton. My snails graze on algae ALL day long. You could also consider a small yellow tang till things get cleared up. I wouldn't keep the tang long term but you seem desperate so I think it would be exceptable for a few weeks.

You may also consider a tuxedo urchin. These things are algae destroyers.

Also if you can list your corals and post pics of your corals we can try to findout what is going on.

Can you also list your skimmer, sump/fuge? DSB or bare bottom? How much live rock?
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37 gal all glass
50lb LR
3' fine sand bed 1x Orange Stripe Prawn shrimp goby, 1x sixline wrassemated pair of true percula clowns, 1x CBS shrimp, 2x peppermint shrimp, 1x pistol shrimp, 1x tiger tale cuke, ~20+ snails, ~10+ hermits, 1xserpent star.
green Bubble coral, hammer coral (8 heads!) ,various Zoos,green finger leather, green star polpys ,shrooms
175w 10k MH
28w actinic 03
2x maxi jett 1200
Prizm skimmer (modded)
Hagen powerfilter(for running carbon 24/7)
nano arctica chiller
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Old 11-21-2005, 12:24 PM   #3
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Relax! It's going to be OK! What size tank is this again? Oh I see...it's the 40. You know, of course, that excess nutrients and/or phosphates are the likely culprits. Have you thought about a phosban reactor...say the one from Two Little Fishes?

What kind of skimmate are you getting? How is your feeding schedule? What are you feeding? I switched from flake to pellet and it helped tremendouosly.
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Old 11-21-2005, 12:26 PM   #4
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After reviewing your pictures, the anemone is stinging the crap out of those polyps. I am thinking your other corals are hurting eachother as well.

I would STRONGLY suggest going to your LFS today and purchasing a bunch of snails. 40 for a 40 gallon tank should be fine. If you can find a tuxedo urchin that will help you a lot. Start doing 20% PWC weekly and see if that helps as well.
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37 gal all glass
50lb LR
3' fine sand bed 1x Orange Stripe Prawn shrimp goby, 1x sixline wrassemated pair of true percula clowns, 1x CBS shrimp, 2x peppermint shrimp, 1x pistol shrimp, 1x tiger tale cuke, ~20+ snails, ~10+ hermits, 1xserpent star.
green Bubble coral, hammer coral (8 heads!) ,various Zoos,green finger leather, green star polpys ,shrooms
175w 10k MH
28w actinic 03
2x maxi jett 1200
Prizm skimmer (modded)
Hagen powerfilter(for running carbon 24/7)
nano arctica chiller
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Old 11-21-2005, 02:35 PM   #5
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As someone who battle hair algae (still am, kind of) for about 3 months, let me chime in here.

Now, I guess all individuals are different, but if the hair algae is out of control, don't expect the tang to touch it. Mine didn't, and have read that many will ignore hair algae if it is too long - if trimmed back, they'll pick at it. None of the snails that I bought touched it either, probably because it was just too long - with the slight exception of some larger Turbos.

In my opinion, your problem is your PO4. Your reading is 0.2, which is high enough to cause problems, but if you test the water closer to the algae and your rocks, my guess is you'll see higher readings. The algae feeds of PO4, so your readings are probably higher than that.

I was there - I really wanted to give it up. You spend all this money and your tank looks awful. But, I'm winning the battle finally and it really doesn't take a whole lot of effort.

I cut back on feeding once every other day (very small amounts). I cut my light to 8hrs/day. I added chaeto to my fuge. But, here's what I think did it for me -
I did 20% water changes every week, as DragonForce just mentioned, with well aged (48 hours) 0.00 PO4 ro/di water. I tested every batch to make sure there was no PO4 present. Also, during the water change - I siphoned water out of the tank into a bucket, removed some of the rocks into the bucket of old tank water, and using a big floor scrubber that I got at Home Depot, I scrubbed the hair algae off. Rinsed the rock in a small tub of newly mixed salt water (that I dumped afterwards) and put the rocks back in the tank. You'll lose some coraline too and maybe some good bacteria and/or pods - but, if you do a couple/few every week, you should be okay. Use a soft toothbrush instead if you're not as angry at the algae as I was

It took about 2 months to get where I am now, but the process took maybe 2 hours every saturday morning. That's not that bad. With manual removal of the hair algae and doing water changes with water that you are SURE has 0 PO4, it will be okay. I've still got some algae in a couple spots, but my purple is coming back and I'm enjoying looking at my tank now. I'm still doing 20% changes every week until I see no green!

Good luck - just be patient. Use ro/di and TEST it. Get that PO4 to undetectable readings, and I think you'll be fine. Definitely invest in phosban or similar to help with the export.

I'm no expert - but, whatever I did worked for me, so feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

- Skins
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Old 11-21-2005, 02:39 PM   #6
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As if my last post wasn't long enough - I do agree with DragonForce. You should get some snails to keep the hair algae under control, but don't expect them to munch on it NOW. I think you have to get it managable before livestock will help you keep it in check.
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Old 11-21-2005, 02:39 PM   #7
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CPR bak-pak skimmer with the maxi-jet 1200 pump. I get a cup a week of pretty dark, smelly skimmate.
40gallon breeder. 2x96 watt PC's, one actinic, one 10k
approx 65lbs of live rock. the above mentioned 4 fish, a cleaner shrimp, and misc hermit crabs, turbo snails, brittle stars and a sand sifter.
60lbs of carib sea Aragamax sand

I don't have an anemone anymore...it lived about 3 weeks and then died, so it's not the source of the button polyps staying closed. I only have some basic button polyps, yellow colony polyps, and some green fluorescent mushrooms.

Sadly, I cannot get snails around here. I can get turbo snails, and sometimes sand sifting (fighting?) conches...that's it. no astrea's or cerith's (and they aren't on my LFS's order sheets). My only option would be to pay the extra $20 for shipping and hit a place like liveaquaria.com

There's no more room on the back of my tank for ANY equipment...so if I got a phosban reactor, I'd have to lose the skimmer or the 5gallon fuge, which fills with chaeto and helps lower nitrates and phosphates.
The HOB is just an AC mini, so unless a phosban is only 4 inches wide or less ,it won't fit in place of the HOB. I sometimes run charcoal in it. come to think of it, I do have some phosphate absorbing media from SeaChem I could run and see if it helps.

But if the answer is another $100 piece of equipment...that's not the answer I seek. I may have to conceed that 'SW isn't for everyone', but I'll give myself til the first of hte year to decide.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:15 PM   #8
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you cannot beat ebay for snails. I got a fantastic bunch of nass obsoleta for 20.00 which included shipping. I had over 300 in the order. You MUST pluck the hair algae out by hand as often as you can. I would also recommend several days of ZERO light, along with the usual water changes.
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:55 PM   #9
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Well I'm off the rest of this week, so I'll start larger water changes, and I'll do a black out too.
I do tend to only feed 4-5 times a week, and just a dash.

I'll try phosphate tests from multiple areas too, as well as checking eBay prices.
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:43 PM   #10
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I got most of my cleanup crew from this lady (Cathy) on Ebay. Her items come packaged well and in great condition. Also sends lots of extras. Check her out.
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQ...ssZjeanQ5fpool
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