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Old 08-31-2009, 11:03 AM   #1
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Help with algae overgrowth

Hello,
We have recently replaced our 75 gallon saltwater fishtank with a 210 gallon unit. We have:
150 lbs live rock
A variety of reef safe fish
Live sand bottom
Drilled unit with three jet pumps and main pump
Protein skimmer
An outer orbit hqi/t5ho lighting system.

We have a buddy that helps us with tank upkeep but we have run into a wall keeping algae under control. It is growing everywhere. We are considering a control unit for our light source and a reverse osmosis system. We have not checked the water for phosphate levels. I am a novice with reef tanks and any input would be appreciated in how to get this algae under control.
Thanks.
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Old 08-31-2009, 11:34 AM   #2
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With your comments, it sounds like you know what you need to do... limit nutrients. If you're using tap water, a RO/DI system would be my first move. You mention a control unit for your lighting... are they not on a timer now? How long are you running them?

Is your skimmer pulling any gunk out of the water? If you aren't already, running some GFO (granulated ferric oxide) will help reduce/eliminate your phosphates and silicates if you have any in the tank.

How often are you doing water changes? And how much are you changing?

And yes... phosphate levels, as well as all other water parameters (nitrates, pH, etc) will need to be known to tell you what you need to attack.

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Old 08-31-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
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Kurt,
Thanks for the reply. Our timer is on the fritz so we do it manually for now- 6-8 hrs of metal halides and 8-10 hrs of T5s I think (I will ask our helper). Protein skimmer is pulling gunk out of the water. I also believe we do a water change once a month, 10-15 percent at a time. I will touch base with him as far was what our water tests are revealing.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:31 PM   #4
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I could be wrong.. but that sounds like you have the lights running for quite a while. Even with just the T5's they are pretty strong, and could be encouraging algae growth. Also, if you're only doing PWC's once a month, then i would say do larger water changes than that. I know people here who do something like 25-30% water changes once every two weeks.. so i think a bigger water change would be necessary since you only do it once a month.

If you have alot of algae growth then my guess is that you have alot of nitrates also. Maybe not a ton, but a good amount. If you have a sump/refugium, you could try putting in things like different types of macro-algae that will use up all of the excess nutrients in the water coloumn, that the algae would be feeding off of. If you don't have a sump/refugium, you could always just tie the macro to a rock and just let it grow and trim it as you need. These are some things i will be doing as well since i have a bit of a nitrate problem, which im sure will lead to algae problems. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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Thanks. What is an appropriate range for nitrates, phosphates and pH?
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:57 PM   #6
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The appropriate range is 0 for nitrates and phosphates. PH should be around 8.2

Read this for nitrate problems

FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control"
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Old 08-31-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the helpful link
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:46 PM   #8
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I think it would be helpful to list your water parameters?
SG, temp, Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, PO3, PH...
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Old 08-31-2009, 03:49 PM   #9
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I will try to get that information
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Old 08-31-2009, 04:11 PM   #10
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A 10-15% water change once a month is one of your main issues. I'd consider 10-15% a WEEK a bare minimum if you're having algae issues - even then that's probably too little to help. It all depends on your water parameters.

What exactly do you have for fish? How often and how much do you feed? Are there corals in the tank?
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