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Old 08-04-2009, 03:18 PM   #1
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Pleased to meet cha, I have hair algae!

30 years teaching middle school probably gave me the patience to maintain a saltwater aquarium, but I've done TONS of reading, research, etc. (which is how I found this site), and still feel like I've only scratched the surface!!!!! I need help.

My son brought his 29 gallon saltwater aquarium home from college, and hooked me! So I bought a 72 gal bowfront with a 20 gal refugium, and after weeks of research, decided to set up a reef tank with no artificial filtration. I keep thinking I'm going to break down and at least get a protein skimmer, but so far, no. It's been up and running for 16 months.

I've had a few losses - actually lost a diamond goby and royal gamma when I did a 50% water change and took all the live rock out to remove 3 domino damsels who were terrorizing everyone. The damsels survived (took them to the LFS); the 2 fish did not. Amazingly though, my anemone and other creatures stayed healthy through it all!

I really hope I can find answers here to my many questions. I like the tone of this forum. I've read others, and get lost, sometimes, in the put-downs, sarcasm, and inside jokes. When I finish reading, I'm not sure which parts were honest answers and which were tongue-in-cheek!

My tank now houses a bubble tip anemone, maroon clown, one-spot foxface, coral beauty angel, scooter blenny, pajama cardinal, blue damsel, yellow-tail damsel, banded coral shrimp, skunk cleaner shrimp, several emerald crabs, blue-leg and red-leg hermit crabs, numerous snails, 3 feather dusters. I'm adding a bi-color blenny, 2 anemone crabs, 2 sea sponges, 10 trochus snails, 2 zebra snails, a lettuce nudibranch, and a fighting conch.

I am presently fighting an outbreak of hair algae. My salinity is 0.026, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates are 0, ph is 8.3, temperature 80F. Although nitrates are at 0, I read where algae can mask the reading. This week, I'm getting in trochus snails, zebra snails, and a bi-color blenny to help.

Any advice would be appreciated. I'm happy to meet you all!

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:32 PM   #2
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FantasyReef Databases-Viewing item "10 Step Plan for Nuisance Algae Control"

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Old 08-04-2009, 03:35 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA. Getting livestock for nuisance algea is just a band aid solution. Read the link I posted above for a good 10 step battle plan for algea.
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Old 08-04-2009, 03:41 PM   #4
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Welcome to AA. There is a lot of knowledge here.
90 gallon FW community tank, 5 gallon - electric blue lobster (House of Blue), Marineland Hex 5 - quarantine/hospital tank.
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:39 PM   #5
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A very good link, thank you. I've already implemented most of them. I'm worried about reducing the light since I have a lot of coral - mostly polyps, a mushroom, and a leather - and the anemone. Will major light reduction hurt these?

Also, I had never heard about coral additives and filter food causing problems, but I had just started adding both a couple of months ago, and wonder if that could be the main cause.

I use RO/DI water already, and will try the more frequent water changes.

I feed a small amount every other day, but rely on copepods and algae in between.

I don't have a protein skimmer, but use macroalgae and mangroves to filter.

Anything else that might help?

Thank you!
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:24 PM   #6
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Welcome to AA Lynn!

I agree with Mike about adding livestock to solve a problem. Typically that creates additional troubles down the road. A protein skimmer would go a long way to removing excess nutrients for you. Good luck!
Question everything you see on the internet. ~ George Orwell
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:45 PM   #7
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Is is always nitrates and phosphates that cause nuisance algae growth? In a nutshell this link Using Mangroves For Nitrate Reduction In A Saltwater Aquarium explains what I'm trying to do, but I may not have mangroves that are developed enough to do the job. I didn't want to buy an expensive protein skimmer only to remove it when the mangroves and other macroalgae do the trick. I'm also not mechanically inclined and was afraid I would not be able to adjust the protein skimmer properly. Any suggestions for a good one that is easy to use, fits in the refugium, and produces little heat? I've also not had to buy a chiller, but barely maintain a constant 80 degree temperature without one.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:27 AM   #8
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Hi there. I have he same problem!!! So if you find a solution, PLEASE let me know!!

I’m a relative newbie to reef tanks, although I have had a fish only tank before.
In the last few weeks, a brown, hairy algae that looks like long strings has formed in the tank. It's smothering everything and the corals aren't looking good because of it. It covers the rock and corals, plus the glass. I brush it off but can't get rid of it all and it comes back thick and fast
The tank is about 7 months old, 735 litres, has a sump and a protein skimmer.
The Heylides are on 8 hrs a day and blue lights about an hour earlier and 1.5 hrs after.

Nitrates and Nitrites negligible, usually zero or hardly detectable. Calcium maintained at about 440, kH (alkalinity) at about = 8, ammonia between zero and 0.6 tops, Salinity 0.24, Magnesium around 1200 to 1280, pH 8.3, Phosphates = 0, Temp 25
In the tank I have built up over the last few months:
3 clowns
1 bi coloured Blennie
1 Purple tang
1 Blue tang
1 Yellow tang
1 Lieutenant tang
2 Golden headed Gobbies
1 Pixie Hawkfish
1 Royal Dotty
1 Foxface
1 Flame Angel
1 Harlequin tusk

These fish are all small except the lieutenant tang.
I have a dozen or so frags (mostly polyps) and 2 anenomes.

I feed them about a teaspoon of flakes in the morning and about 1-2 tsp in the evening of chopped fresh mussel or frozen marine foods.

Lets hope we get a solution!!!!
Vicki (New Zealand)
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:05 AM   #9
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Unhappy Urchin Protein Skimmer added

Hello, Vicki! I finally broke down and got a protein skimmer after 15 months. I was trying to just do live rock, sand, mangroves, lots of clean-up creatures, but my mangroves never developed well. I had no problems for the first year, then started noticing a brown film over the sand and glass at a same time my nitrates were up to 20 and I was getting a phospate reading. I used water changes, less lighting, infrequent feedings, Seachem PhosGuard, and water changes to finally get them down to 0.

The brown film - I was told by me LFS that this was red slime algae - disappeared, then the green algae started to appear on my rocks!

Since my nitrate and phosphate readings were 0, I wasn't too concerned with it, then left on vacation for 12 days and returned to an algae takeover - over most of my rocks and everything else. It doesn't seem to grow on the glass or sand, however.

So now I do as much of the 10 step (posted above) as possible. So far, no headway. I've only had the Urchin in-sump skimmer for 2 days, and am not getting much gunk at all, so maybe it hasn't kicked in yet.

I hope I don't have to take my rockwork apart to scrub algae, but the picking and siphoning aren't doing much!

Let me know if you find a solution!

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:05 AM   #10
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errr, was just looking up stuff on algae last night, and of course forgot to bookmark it. Think they said something about copper content in the water helping the growth of hair algae.

Took me forever to find with my own town. But I finally found the water quality report. Helped me figure the ammonia and nitrate level at the source of my water.

I need some more coffee in me before I head out so if I find the link I will post it.

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algae, hair, hair algae

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