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Old 03-31-2007, 12:36 AM   #1
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Brown Algae problem.....tank sort of new....im lost

Okay, the tank has been up for i want to say for around 6 months maybe longer. iv run into this massive brown algae outbreak. im doing frequent water changes along with vacuuming the bottom, i add purple up at night, got snails, and HAD a lawn mower blenny. the tank is 40 long, and i have a power compact for lighting. i have a protien skimmer along with a filter with 2 biowheels on it. i cannot get this algae to go away! its very very frustrating....and oddly my snails seem to kick off and my lawnmower blenny dissapeared. im guessing somewhere in the live rock. i have roughly 30lbs of live rock? give or take a few pounds. i am slightly new to saltwater aquariums. i have 1 damsel in it right now. i would like to make it into a reef aquarium but i am starting to think i may need a bigger tank? i was told that a bigger tank is easier to maintain.

please help me out...iv been fighting this for over 2 months.
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:59 AM   #2
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OK... I'll be the first to ask...

Water parameters? pH, alkalinity, salinity, nitrates, phosphates? Oh heck... while you're at it ammonia and nitrites?

How big of water changes are you doing, and how often do you replace or rinse out the filter pads on that filter unit?

Personally... until you get your algae issue under control, I'd stop dosing with the PurpleUp. It just adds one more variable into your water chemistry that you don't need to deal with. If I remember correctly, seems like there have been some posts on here from people that used PurpleUp that were fighting algae. Did the algae start shortly after you started dosing with the PurpleUp?
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:27 AM   #3
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Where do get your salt water? You may need RO ? Reverse osmosis.
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:53 AM   #4
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:25 PM   #5
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okay the reverse osmosis i have been told to me before, was hoping i wouldnt have to take that step due to not having a ton of money at the moment. but if i gotta i will. all of my levels are normal so says the test kit, dunno if its off or not cuz its the glass tube one that you add the drops to test for each thing. i change the water atleast once a week, if not twice a week. the outbreak didnt happen when i started doing the purple up, someone at the pet store said the purple algae would help overtake the brown algae and would be easier to fix. i do rinse out the filter units weekly. feeding is down to 3 times a week, lights are on for around 4 - 5 hours a day. 2 weeks ago i did about a 50-60% water change cuz of all of the algae i had stirred up, and i wanted to suck it out. but normally ill do like a 20-30% water change.
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:31 PM   #6
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How old are your lights?
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversurfer320
all of my levels are normal so says the test kit, dunno if its off or not cuz its the glass tube one that you add the drops to test for each thing.
I don't mean to come off sounding really anal or anything (although I am!), but "normal" can mean a lot of different things to different people.

Specifically... what are the ppm levels for nitrates and phosphates? And where do you keep you pH level at?

Before you go out and get an RO/DI unit, you need to check the nitrate and phosphate levels in your tap water, or whatever water you're using to mix up your salt water. If you have high nitrates or phosphates in your "fresh" water, you could just be adding more fuel for the algae each time you do a water change.
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Old 03-31-2007, 03:47 PM   #8
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There is a checklist on the links I gave you to narrow it down. I agree with Kurt. Give us some water test numbers.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:55 AM   #9
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im going to take it in to the pet store for them to test it....cuz for some odd reason im not beleiving the test results....because i KNOW the ph isnt where its saying it is. its a color chart, and it says "high, normal, low" im guessing this is a bad kit? lol

i heard something about strips you can dip? are those accurate? if they are...where can i buy them?
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Old 04-01-2007, 02:40 AM   #10
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If you truly want to rid yourself of the algae issue, you're going to have to buy some good test kits. API (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) test kits are in my opinion about the best value out there. They're fairly cheap, and give good results. Sometimes they can be tricky to decipher as far as the color goes, but for the money I really don't think you can beat them. Salifert tests are about the best out there, but they're pricey. The test strips are somewhat good at checking to see if there are any ammonia or nitrite levels other than zero, but are NOT good at giving you actual numbers in ppm. I use the test strips when I'm cycling a tank to get a rough idea of where I'm at, or as a quick check of pH on my main tank.

When you go to the fish store to test the water, buy some test kits. At this point, it's the best investment you can make. But I have a sneaking suspicision that the LFS will try to sell you something else to "cure" your algae, since they sold you PurpleUp to cure it last time. Just remember... just because they sell it doesn't mean you need it. (I should make that my signature line!)
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:37 AM   #11
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okay the reverse osmosis i have been told to me before, was hoping i wouldnt have to take that step due to not having a ton of money at the moment
IMHO, this is a huge part of the solution. Using high quality RO/DI water will go along way in correcting this problem. There are many affordable units on ebay, or check out our sponsors area as well. It is an investment that your tank will love. I also like www.thefilterguys.biz

As mentioned, NO3 and PO4 levels should be tested in both the tank and the source water in order to rule-out those issuses.
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:56 PM   #12
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I guess I will be the voice of opposition on the purple up..STOP using it...if you are doing regular PWCs..(with or without ro/di) you are putting enough trace elements back into the tank. The purple up is just overloading your system with more then it needs. It is not as great as your LFS may have made you think.

The others have given the same advice as I would. You really need, as Kurt said, some good test kits. I use API and have a couple Saliferts too.

Roka, asked a good question, how old are the bulbs in your lights? PC bulbs should be replaced every 6-8 months IMO.
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:13 PM   #13
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the bulbs are around that old ...roughly 8 months id say. i was thinking about metal halid lighting...would this be a better option? also......today, my tank turned a dingy yellow.....its the water, i gotta get to the pet store asap....im really in a pinch right now
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Old 04-03-2007, 11:30 PM   #14
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Hmmm...I would say test water parameters ASAP. Do a 25% water change and run some fresh GAC or Chemi-pure to help clear the water. Change out any filter pads as well.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:03 AM   #15
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Ditto what Lando said!! New GAC (should be replaced weekly anyway) and clean out all those pads! If you have sponges get rid of them. You could do MH lighting but for now I would get the tank under control and then upgrade!
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Old 04-04-2007, 05:11 PM   #16
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I recently had the same problem only I was fighting brown hair algea that had taken over my tank. My LFS sold me some stuff called SAT which is made by TLC aquarium & pond. It is a bacteria that feeds off the same things that the algea eat. It took about 2 weeks and I have NO visible hair algea at all. This stuff works! Reef safe as well. Contact your LSF and ask them to order you some.
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:05 AM   #17
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alright thanks guys!...im going to go out this weekend and see what i can get for what little money i have right now. test kit, salt, and more snails? i only have around 5 now...if that, they seem to dissapear on me (not even being able to find the shell!)
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