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Old 05-15-2010, 11:27 PM   #1
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Snails are dying, algae is bad, not sure what to do anymore

So amongst the problems I have (and have had) with my reef, now my snails are slowly dying. I have several theories as to why, but I need some help to figure out a good plan/balance in keeping them alive.

I have lost 4/5 Trochus the last month, a few Nassarius snails, and 2 Nerites.

Still battling algae. Right now its green hair algae and some bryopsis....with some bubble algae here and there. Its definitely a melting pot of algae. I have some Caulerpa peltata(suction cup caulerpa....finally ID'd this junk) in various spots now too (who knows where this stuff comes from). I have some good algae too...Halimeda...or atleast I consider it good.

My latest test results are:

Calcium - 460
KH/Alk - 8.6/3.09
Mg 1350
pH 8.2
Nitrates 0
Phosphates 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Temp 76.5

I use Kent Marine salt now and change 10 gallons of water weekly.

It is important to note that I took out about 1/4 of the rocks in order to "cook" them and kill algae...they are still cooking. I have carbon and a phosphate reducing material in the filter part of my skimmer (BH100F). I have a small amount of Chaeto in my AC70 refugium. I feed every 3-4 days...Formula One pellets or enriched brine or mysis. I feel like the snails aren't getting enough food but I don't want to overfeed and feed the algae.

The fish I have left are 2 Percula Clowns and a McCosker's Flasher Wrasse. These fish are fine and show no signs of stress. I have lost most recently my Yellow Watchman Goby. I assume from lack of food (it would stay in its cave and not come out all the time for food). The corals also show no signs of stress.


I really want to get rid of the algae because its really making me want to tear the tank down and start over (in a few months from now). I'm so tired of dealing with a new and hard to kill algae and the ones that have been in there forever. I feel like I am doing every thing I can do. Do ya'll have any suggestions as to what else I can do?

Any ideas why I'm losing snails besides the possible lack of food? And how can I balance food for the snails and less food for the algae?


Sorry for being long winded but I wanted to include all possible info!
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:42 AM   #2
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how long are your lights on for? Do you have any crabs in your tank? And What power heads are you using?
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Old 05-16-2010, 05:24 AM   #3
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Well you can start by assuming that you DO have nitrates and phosphates since you have an algae problem. I would then start looking for the source of them.

Check your RO/DI water. Should have near 0 TDS, but at least shouldnt have ANY phosphates, nitrates, or silicates (nor ammonia or nitrite ).

Check your food. Are you rinsing any frozen foods? How much are you feeding the fish? You should probably feed more often than every 3-4 days. I am assuming you probably feed them quite a bit on feeding day? If so, maybe this binge eating causes spikes in the pooping/nutrient release that the algae prefers. Id try feeding less, more often, rather than more less often. Sort of like doing a 60% PWC once a month when doing a 15% PWC 4 times a month is best.

Check your lights. I think lower kelvin color temperatures better suit the needs of algae, as does excessive lighting periods. If your lights are old, they may have become more yellow than you think. If you arent adding any nutrients via top off and PWC, then the algae must be "eating" the light. Stay light from your house probably also adds to their support.

Also keep in mind that baking the rocks and then putting them back into the water likely is adding ammonia due to decaying organic matter. If you are going to pull them, scrub them instead so you dont kill off living stuff. Your snails shouldnt be starving if there is so much algae. Try to ID the algae and match up some critters that specialize in it.

Hang in there! Keep us updated as well!

Matt
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Old 05-16-2010, 07:21 AM   #4
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+1 for matt,I would suggest you check/change your test kit as there must be nutrients in your tank for the algae,snails are a hard one as you never know how old they are in the first place but for so many to go at once is far more than a coincidence,be careful with calerpa this can cause problems in a tank.
Halimeda is definately a good macro.I would try switching your DT lights off totally and run your fuge lights 24/7 to encorage the growth from your tank into your fuge as thats what its ther for.what lights do have in your fuge and what state is that in.IF IN DOUBT WATERCHANGE
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:09 PM   #5
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Dont know if you`ve seen this Kristen but it`s a pretty good check list for hair algea. How old are your lights?

FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control"
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies!! Sorry its taken me this long to respond. I worked 12 long hours today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redneckgearhead View Post
how long are your lights on for? Do you have any crabs in your tank? And What power heads are you using?
I have 6x39w T5HO and its on for a total of 6 hours....all 6 bulbs are only on for 3 hours in the middle. All but 2 of the bulbs are 9 months old...and 2 are a month old. I don't have any crabs. I was afraid hermits would kill my snails....so I didn't get any. I have 2 Koralia 1s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrg02d
Well you can start by assuming that you DO have nitrates and phosphates since you have an algae problem. I would then start looking for the source of them.

Check your RO/DI water. Should have near 0 TDS, but at least shouldnt have ANY phosphates, nitrates, or silicates (nor ammonia or nitrite ).

Check your food. Are you rinsing any frozen foods? How much are you feeding the fish? You should probably feed more often than every 3-4 days. I am assuming you probably feed them quite a bit on feeding day? If so, maybe this binge eating causes spikes in the pooping/nutrient release that the algae prefers. Id try feeding less, more often, rather than more less often. Sort of like doing a 60% PWC once a month when doing a 15% PWC 4 times a month is best.

Check your lights. I think lower kelvin color temperatures better suit the needs of algae, as does excessive lighting periods. If your lights are old, they may have become more yellow than you think. If you arent adding any nutrients via top off and PWC, then the algae must be "eating" the light. Stay light from your house probably also adds to their support.

Also keep in mind that baking the rocks and then putting them back into the water likely is adding ammonia due to decaying organic matter. If you are going to pull them, scrub them instead so you dont kill off living stuff. Your snails shouldnt be starving if there is so much algae. Try to ID the algae and match up some critters that specialize in it.
I haven't tested my RO/DI lately but a few months ago it was 0 phosphates, 0 ammonia, and 0 nitrates. I'll check it again. TDS is always 0. When I feed frozen food I do rinse it in RO/DI then add the nutrient liquid stuff. I probably am feeding too much. I usually feed like a teaspoon (hard to measure exactly) of mysis or brine (mixed with ro/di) each time or like 6-8 small pellets.

The bulbs I have are 3 10,000K, 1 actinic, and 2 Blue Plus. There is no sunlight getting to the tank and the room lights aren't on a whole lot. But they are fluorescents so I'm sure it contributes. I haven't put any rocks back into the tank yet that I have baked. I will definitely scrub them next time and I have been changing out the water in the bucket with the "cooking" rocks....I'll rinse them well before I put them back in.

I've ID'd my algaes, but the critters that eat them are things like sea hares and cucumbers that I'm afraid will eventually die if they eat the algae....and others are snails (like the Trochus) that I've already tried.
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:23 PM   #7
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Had to answer in 2 posts so I wouldn't miss anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David S View Post
+1 for matt,I would suggest you check/change your test kit as there must be nutrients in your tank for the algae,snails are a hard one as you never know how old they are in the first place but for so many to go at once is far more than a coincidence,be careful with calerpa this can cause problems in a tank.
Halimeda is definately a good macro.I would try switching your DT lights off totally and run your fuge lights 24/7 to encorage the growth from your tank into your fuge as thats what its ther for.what lights do have in your fuge and what state is that in.IF IN DOUBT WATERCHANGE
There is no doubt that there is some phosphates and/or nitrates in the tank. I trust the test kits though and I believe the algae is consuming the phosphates/nitrates and that is why I get 0 on the tests.

My fuge is just the ac70 filter made fuge and its in a good state (I guess)....its just not that old. I added it maybe 3 months ago? when the algae first started. I have about a tennis ball amount of chaeto in there. I just have a little clip on pc light over it....its like 13 watts? The chaeto looks healthy, its just not really growing much. I don't feel like I should turn the DT lights off completely just yet....I know the fuge light wouldn't support my corals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by melosu58
Dont know if you`ve seen this Kristen but it`s a pretty good check list for hair algea. How old are your lights?
I have seen that....thanks for reminding me though. I was going by that for alot of the stuff I've done the past few months. I need to go over it again though. I talked about the bulbs ^ up there somewhere, but 4/6 bulbs are 9 months old (came with my Nova Extreme Pro fixture) and 2/6 are about a month old (the blue plus bulbs). I've been wanting to switch my bulbs to better ones for a while, but wanted to get some use out the others before I spent more money.
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:48 AM   #8
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Its very possible that your bulbs are beginning to shift their color temperature since they are likely the cheapo current USA bulbs. T5s are supposed to last between 9-12months I believe and wouldnt doubt the current USA ones to be much less. If 4 bulbs truly are that old and have shifted, that could be a reason you are having trouble. Id wait for the pros here to give their thoughts before going out and getting "real" bulbs though.

Everything else sounds reasonable, so id guess its the bulbs, but seeing as they cost $$$ you will want to make sure its them.

My hermits never kill my snails, but they do harass them daily. (Climb on them and ride up the sides of the tank. Clean them of algae that grows on them, ect)

Hermits and snails only do so much in my opinion...They tend to keep my corals clean. (Picking at the algae on the base).

Matt
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Old 05-17-2010, 07:52 AM   #9
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you can use kent tech-M to raise the mag up and wipe out the briopsis. i've done it with success, and raised the mag up to about 1600.
contrary to what people say, the only thing i've seen eat hair algae is a long spined urchin. snails don't eat it.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:19 PM   #10
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If your fuge and chaeto is 3 months old I would expesct you to be trimming the chateo quite a few times by now,mine doubled within 1 month.Old long do you keep the fuge light on for
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