gallagherjim, I am going through the exact same thing right now in my 1yr old 45g reef. Someone at the lfs
suggested the elevated summer temp I had (80-82) may have something to do with it, I am not sure I buy this. I have no measurable nitrates or phosphates and I have been using RO
(it tests out <5ppm tds
), and I have been running carbon and phosphate sponges and a good skimmer also. I even added a small bunch of Macroalgae to compete with the hair for nutrients. I do need more hermits and turbos (only have a few of each). 2 weeks ago we removed all the rock and scrubbed it and the glass and now it's coming back again. Point is removing it all may not get rid of it for good. If you scrub it off (use a clean plastic scrub brush), then your cleanup crew may be able to control it <I've heard cleanup crews will ignore it if too long>. BTW
what is your substrate? Mine is a course coral sand (like a fine crushed coral) which I think may be contributing. I may also have some waste matter built up under the rocks, etc. My powerheads and filter outlets are covered in some hair already...I don' think a better crew is going to help when it's this out of control.
If I can't resolve this soon, I'm considering putting the livestock in QT
and removing the rock to a trashcan with no light for a few weeks and changing the subsrate to a finer sand (no crushed coral) and starting clean. I did use tap water for the 1st 3 months so that may be a factor too. My solution would give me new sand and water, clean rock but it will probably recycle to an extent <only drawback>.
This seems like useful information: