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Old 05-04-2009, 06:46 AM   #1
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Huge algae problem

Hi guys,

As some of you may know, I've been fighting a massive algae problem for the past year or so, to no avail.

I have a 10g nano, which is constantly covered in green hair algae all over the rock and sand (glass not so much of a problem). A lot is removed during my PWC's (20% every 2 weeks), but then grows back within a matter of days.

My tank readings are, and always have been, very good: 0-5ppm nitrates, 0 phosphates (although this could be a false negative reading from the algae consuming all phosphates). I have a large amount of LR for filtration, as well as a small internal filter which has activated carbon, RowaPhos and PURA filtration pads in it.

I get my RO water from my LFS, which tests 0 phosphates and nitrates, so it's not that. I also feed very sparingly once a day (usually flake food, and sometimes frozen good quality food which is drained, and always fully consumed quickly). My photo-period is also short, at around 5 hours per day.

I've also tried changing my lights to see if that helped, but it didn't.

Basically, I've tried everything, and am now completely stuck.

I want to upgrade my tank to a bigger one in order to be able to put more livestock in, and more flexibility with lighting to add some corals etc., but I'd only do the upgrade if I could ensure I can basically start fresh again and make sure this time that I stop the algae before it starts.

The new tank will be 25-30g, and I'll probably be moving my current live rock across, and will be adding a bigger filter. I'd like to know the following:-

1. I've never had a protein skimmer; if I add one to the new tank, will this help to keep algae under control?
2. I currently don't have any powerheads in my 10g tank as there isn't really room, so the only flow in the tank is the filter spraybar across the surface. If I add some powerheads to the new tank to create good flow, will this also help to keep algae to a minimum?
3. I'd much rather get my RO from my LFS as it's more convenient for me, and it does read 0 phosphates/nitrates (and suitable TDS). But, would producing my own RO make better quality water, and therefore be less contributive to the algae problem?

Any help appreciated. I had a cleanup crew in there, but it was way too much for them to deal with, so I need to find out what I can do with the new tank before I start, to ensure I don't get this same problem again.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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Some more points: I use Seachem reef salt, and always have done, is there a better salt for me to use (i.e. with less nitrates)?
Would running RowaPhos powder be better than the RowaPhos sponges I use?
I also run activated carbon; is this really needed, or is it potentially introducing nitrates? Can I get rid of it?
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:05 PM   #3
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how are your nutrients in your tank? do you use an aditives, like coralite or anything? I used it for a while to help my corals get what they need and it worked.. it also gave me an algae bloom both green and red.i was told this so im passing it on, increase water movement, reduce light, I have to have some but i cut it almost in half, i ran my acinic blue twice more than the daylights and did frequent water changes and i stopped using the coralite and it went away, I still have afew sopts her and there but they are geting smaller and smaller.(this is after about a 3-4 week period) Im not a pro! on nano tanks especially but i would stick with a nitrate sponge and some phosphate removing products, skimming will help and ive seen nano tanks with small powerheads in them, a buddy has a little wal mart pwr head and a whisper filter in his nano and his tank looks fine. it keeps the detrius from building up along with some good cleaners. I have an emerald crab who attacks every little bit of hair algae i get and my urchins make short work of all algae. I actually have to feed them so they dont eat my coralline. now my tank is 47 gallons so i can have all that.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:25 PM   #4
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FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control"

An excellent 10 step plan. Remember it did not start overnite and it wont go away overnite.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:32 AM   #5
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Thanks for the help guys. I don't add anything to my tank, and change my rowa/carbon frequently.

On the new tank, I'll add a protein skimmer, uv sterilizer and good water movement; filtration will mainly be from live rock, and probably an internal filter for backup (filled with rowa/carbon etc.).

I have a lot of liverock in my current tank that I could move across, but it's full of algae. Would I be just better starting from scratch with the new tank, instead of putting algae-infested rock in it?
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:59 AM   #6
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Take the LR and scrub it really good in SW. You should get most of it off with out hurting the little critters that are in the LR.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:49 PM   #7
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Take the LR and scrub it really good in SW. You should get most of it off with out hurting the little critters that are in the LR.
Okay, thanks; I guess I'll use my current LR as a basis for the new tank then; with some extra. What's the best way to do the changeover, in terms of cycling the new tank (obviously I need the current LR to stay in my current tank until the fish go in the new one, so it can't really go in the new tank straightaway...). Would it be possible to just put the filter media (sponges etc.) from the new filter in my current tank for a couple of weeks, then combine everything together on the new tank, without needing to cycle?
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:35 PM   #8
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If you put the old already "live" LR in the tank you might not see a cycle because the LR already has the beneficial bacteria on it.
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:45 PM   #9
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If you put the old already "live" LR in the tank you might not see a cycle because the LR already has the beneficial bacteria on it.
Hmm, I can either just start the new tank fresh, and cycle it, then add in the old LR when the cycle is complete and the fish go across etc.; or I can put the filter media from the new filter in my current tank for a couple of weeks, then just move everything across (current LR mixed with new LR, fish etc.) in one go, without cycling the new tank.

If a cycle probably won't happen in the bigger tank if I do option b, I'd prefer to go for that...but I can't test it by putting the old LR in the new tank and watching for a cycle, as the old tank needs the LR in it for filtration...
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:38 PM   #10
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Does anyone have any advice on how best to do the changeover? The new tank will have a good amount of cured liverock (will keep an eye on it for a week to make sure it's ok/no die-off etc.); and an internal filter for carbon/rowaphos/extra filter media.

Should I really be cycling the new tank, or do I just put some filter media from the new filter in my current tank for a couple of weeks, then just move everything across (inc. current LR/some current sand?) and keep an eye on it and feed sparingly for a couple of weeks?
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