Causes and Solutions of RSA
* Nutrients: Phosphates (PO 4 ), DOCs (Dissolved Organic Compounds), and nitrates (NO 3 ) are primary nutrient food sources for red and other slime algae.
o Phosphates (PO 4 ) are commonly introduced into aquariums by means of using unfiltered fresh tap water, and through many aquarium products that may contain higher than normal concentrations of this element, such as sea salt mixes, activated carbon, KH buffers, foods, and many other sources. Also, for established reef tanks the long-term use of kalkwasser precipitates phosphates out of the water, and these phosphate based compounds can settle on and in the live rock and substrate.
+ Solutions: Use RO/DI filtered make-up water, a high quality sea salt mix, and be aware of the elements contained in other common aquarium products you may be using. For solutions to problems that can arise from using kalkwasser, refer to The Fishline's Microalgae article.
# Solutions: Practice good aquarium maintenance care routines! This includes keeping the substrate clean, cutting back on feedings, regularly rinsing, rejuvenating or changing any type of filtering or adsorbing materials (such as filter flosses, cartridges, bio wheels, sponges and carbon), performing regular partial water changes, and for DOCs in particular, adding a protein skimmer (read reviews & compare prices). For those with systems that have been running for some time and use wet/dry trickle type filters, the bio media in them, especially bio balls, are real nitrate factories, and therefore should be carefully rinsed and cleaned periodically.
# Even though hermit crab and snails won't eat this type of algae, to help keep the aquarium bottom clean and tidy add some tank friendly algae/detritus eating hermit crabs, one or two true crabs, shrimps, or other good substrate sifting tank janitors, or a fish. Scott Michael recommends the Orange-Spotted Sleeper Goby (Valenciennia puellaris) as being the best.
# When adding live rock, take the time to cure it