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Old 02-25-2005, 06:19 PM   #1
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Algae question

Hi all!

I think this is my first time posting although I've been hanging around for a little while.

My tank is almost 6 months old. I currently have 3 fish and some snails (see my signature for the full tank stats). I've got quite a bit of green (non-hairy) algae on the glass, substrate and on all the dead coral and other decorative pieces in my tank. There are what I believe to be copepods all over the green algae, which I have read is a good thing. I'm scraping most of the tank glass to keep it clear of algae but leaving the bottom half of the back algae encrusted for whatever good that does. I had to purchase a hard plastic scraper to remove it, the fuzzy scraper wasn't working.

So the question is - am I right in believing that this green algae is ok? I first got the brown stuff (guessing that was diatoms or however it's spelled), then as that went away, the green took over. It is everywhere. The snails would eat the brown but will not touch the green. My tang picks at it on the coral and substrate but makes very little progress in cleaning it up. I just want to make sure it's not something I should be concerned about...and I'm also not too pleased with how gross it makes the tank look. I would like my white and blue coral and pink barnacle back...everything is green now. So any info or suggestions for the algae would be greatly appreciated. I do have photos of it if needed.

I should probably mention that we have not done a water change on the tank yet - ever. Please don't kick me off the forum for this! All my tested water parameters have been fine and the livestock is in really good shape, so it hasn't been an urgent need...I've been keeping a close eye on things, knowing that problems could arise. We are doing a water change this weekend, so maybe I can be granted a reprieve on this issue? I realize that could be part of my 'green stuff' issue, but I'm asking about it anyway in case the wc doesn't do the trick - and hoping to hear a good way to rid the decorative items of the green crud.

Thanks for any help!


Jodi's stats: Tank set up 9/6/2004 - 75 gallon glass - ProClear SlimLine 125 w/d - Rio 2100 - c/c substrate - 200w heater - little chunk of live rock
Caretaker of 2 mated f. percula clownfish & 8 red legged hermit crabs
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Old 02-25-2005, 08:26 PM   #2
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Your prolly seeing low nitrates cause of the excess algea..Nitrates and phos as well as a host of other things fuel algea. Your bio load is light by comparison and unless you are using a de nitrator, at some point they will build up or...cause an algea issue. If you don't mind the look, it won't hurt anything in the short term. However, when dealing with marine chemistry, rule # 2 is that bad things can happen real fast. That is, you may be testing frequently now, but relax a little in a few months and then bam, lathargic fish and dead snails..Speaking from experience..


P.S. - I do not know anyone who can keep turbo snails for any great length of time. Most of us have resorted to trochus, cerinth and margaritas...

Again best of luck and hello..
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Old 02-25-2005, 10:40 PM   #3
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I LUV Green Algae! I Wish my entire back glass were coated. The Green stuff will use the nitrates in your tank for food, which is why you have been able to get away with not changing water for so long. If you truly wish to get rid of it, reduce nitrate sources and change your lighting. To get it off your decorations, you can scrub them, boil them, or both. GARF.org offers suggestions (that they would be most happy to sell you, I'm sure) on Algae control invertibrates: Mexican dwarf hermit crabs, nerite snails, and cerith snails, althought their suggested density is a bit high for me. I personally would use about 1 per 5 gallons instead of 1.5 per gallon.

On a side note, how did you get Copepods with no live rock?

Don't worry about getting kicked off. I haven't been booted yet, and I brag about using an undergravel filter, thus the heratic branding.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies!

Well, from what you're saying it looks like the water change I did last night *enter pats on the back here* was a good idea after scraping off...oh, probably 2/3 of the green algae from the glass. There is still PLENTY all over everything else, so I don't think I obliterated it or anything, just handicapped it a bit. The tank looks so much better just getting the glass clean and getting a bit of new water in there. I need to change out more but I didn't want to do too much at one time, so I just did 10 gallons. I'll try to do another 10 next weekend. I tested this morning and my ammonia is up a bit for some reason (I would have expected the opposite). It's been at 0 ever since I cycled and it is .25 now. Maybe my fish were stressed and had more 'output' overnight.

I got my 4 Mexican Turbos in late October. I have seen 3 of them alive and well in the last 2 hours (1 is now no longer MIA, yay!). I got 3 trochus at the same time and one of them has died. So the Turbos seem to be keeping up, although one of my huge ones keeps falling off the coral and I have to rescue him. I think he may be getting 'weak' in his old age or something.

My nitrates are higher than I'd like (20) so that may be part of the algae issue. But that is pretty much the level I've always had. I don't have RO water available and I think the nitrates are in the tap water. I think it's still within 'acceptable' range, but I would like to know if there's something to be done about it. I hope I haven't really thrown everything off with my scraping and cleaning. I tried to control myself but it was hard to stop. I think I'm probably over-feeding a bit, too, so I'm going to back off on that a bit also.

The copepods...that is a good question! I have no idea!! I was wondering the same thing myself. The only thing I can figure is it came in with the snails. I do have some hitchikers on one of my snail shells (I saw an identification somewhere but can't remember what they're called now...bumps with little hairs sticking out that go in and out of their 'bump' on the shell), so I suppose that's the most likely answer. I read they are good, so I guess I'm glad I have them even though I feel like I have an insect infestation now. They live on the green algae but even though I have hundreds of them, they don't seem to really make a dent. Of course they are probably unhappy with me now, also, since I have attacked the algae. They don't seem to be on the ornaments even though there is plenty of algae there, I only see them on the glass and sometimes flitting around in the water.

I'll try to attach some photos (I've had some photo attaching issues) - the green algae with some copepods (or whatever they are), my tank before the green algae and my tank this morning. So you can see the difference and why I would prefer the 'before' to the 'after' (and the before isn't exactly pristine). If you think my copepods are something else, please let me know!

How do restaurants have 'clean', algae-free tanks that stay healthy? It seems the algae is a good thing, but surely there is a way to have it look attractive AND be healthy?

Sorry for the novel - I tend to get carried away.

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Old 02-26-2005, 01:31 PM   #5
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Oops - posted the 'before' picture twice.

Here is the pic from this morning - the 'after' picture.

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