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GHA control


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#1
matt20

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For the last two weeks I've been fighting off a small diatom bloom on my sand bed. I added Purigen and 2 red mangroves to clean up the water, and about 20 dwarf ceriths from reefcleaners to eat up what was there. It's worked really well. In the last few days, the diatoms have almost disappeared.

But, sigh, it seems like they're being replaced by GHA. There's obviously excess nutrients in the tank but I'm not sure what the cause is. I use distilled water for water changes. I only feed my fish once a day with some pellets (I feed 1-2 to reduce wasted food); a capful of marine snow once a week for the corals. Occasionally I'll feed some mysis shrimp as a treat. I change 2g of water a week (in a 20g tank). And like I said, I've added some red mangroves/Purigen to soak up some excess nutrients. I also have chemipure (containing GFO) in the media basket. Also, my bioload is pretty small. I have a couple of corals, a pretty standard clean up crew (about 12 medium size snails + 20 dwarf ceriths + medium size hermit + 1 peppermint shrimp), and a pair of small (~1.25" each) ocellaris clownfish. I am not running a skimmer.

My tank is over 2.5 months old, which is obviously still pretty young. Is this a phase that young tanks go through (like with diatoms)? Or do I have a real problem with nutrient export? I had a few options in mind:

1. Do nothing. Just let the algae run its course and wait it out. Keep up with water changes and be careful not to overfeed.
2. Add some more CUC that specialize in GHA like 1-2 hermits, or an emerald crab. The downside to this is that I would be adding more to the bioload.
3. Increase frequency and/or size of water changes
4. Add some macroalgae to go along with the mangroves. I'm thinking about throwing a ball of chaeto into the display to compete with undesirable algae.

If anyone can suggest which of these options, or which combination of options above would be the best course of action, I would appreciate it. Thanks!

#2
altolamprologus

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Mangroves do nothing for nutrient control until they get a few feet tall or you have tons of them in a small tank. Chaeto +water changes+ manual removal will get tank algae-free in a few weeks. Also, get some good quality test kits and measure nitrate and phosphate.

Edited by altolamprologus, 02 April 2012 - 05:06 PM.

You're the type of man who passes by sports illustrated and grabs encyclopedia brittanica when you take a dump, huh?

Did someone mention Alto ???
Im GAGA for Alto !!

I'd give you a hug but you might stab me

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#3
matt20

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Mangroves do nothing for nutrient control until they get a few feet tall or you have tons of them in a small tank. Chaeto +water changes+ manual removal will get tank algae-free in a few weeks. Also, get some good quality test kits and measure nitrate and phosphate.


Thanks for that info on the mangroves. I wasn't aware. I've only had them for about a week so they're still pretty small. I use salifert test kits. Before I had the diatom/gha issue, my nitrates were consistently at 2ppm, and my phosphates were nearly undetectable. Now both read 0, but that's obviously because the algae is soaking it all up.

I'll go ahead and order a ball of chaeto from reefcleaners and keep up with the water changes. Thanks for your quick response.

#4
brandon429

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why not just kill off the hair algae so the tank will look nice? if you are determined to wait for natural cycles that can range from a week to months, or never

I always enjoyed my tank more when there was no algae phase. It was simply removed anytime it was detected, in my opinion a hands off mode means you get to enjoy your tank later and make excuses for it to people who see it now

you have to admit thats not a good feeling, if anyone else other than you sees your tank and it looks bad, we find ourselves over explaining. How about just a pristine tank from day one to day 3000 that people remark about> somewhere in the old rules of reefkeeping we were told not to act.

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#5
jec11718

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hydrogen peroxide...think CVS drug store... 3% strength,,,, dip ur rocks that have GHA on them in a H2O2 bath,,,,,it will kill it and not harm corals or fish look up the hydrogen peroxide thread

Edited by jec11718, 03 April 2012 - 01:13 PM.


#6
brandon429

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Of course that's what i'm getting at lol

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#7
matt20

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I'm not going to take apart my rock structure just for that. I don't mind taking an extra couple weeks to get it to die down with bigger water changes and chaeto. Besides, it's not that big of a deal yet. Only a few patches here and there. You can barely notice it standing 10ft away. Thanks for all your suggestions though. :)

#8
brandon429

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About 80% of treaters in the thread did not take down the tank, its not required. Post pics let's track the demise of the algae to learn untreated timelines

one very old pico

 


#9
fishman65

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I would do a water change larger than 2 gallons a week. Do some larger water changes and run some GFO or Phosguard to remove phosphates. That combined with a decent clean up crew should help get the hair algae under control.

#10
matt20

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I would do a water change larger than 2 gallons a week. Do some larger water changes and run some GFO or Phosguard to remove phosphates. That combined with a decent clean up crew should help get the hair algae under control.


Thanks for the advice! I've bumped up the water changes to 3 gallons for the time being, but may go higher. As for GFO, I have Chemipure running in my HOB at the moment.

After doing a little bit of research, I don't really have anything in my clean up crew that readily deals with hair algae. I was thinking about adding a few hermit crabs or an emerald crab, but I didn't want to add more nutrients into the system by adding more livestock. Would it be worth it?

Edited by matt20, 04 April 2012 - 09:58 AM.


#11
igotreefermadness

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Chemipure or Chemipure Elite? Only Elite has GFO, and the regular won't do nearly as much for phosphates. A small bag of purigen will help, that costs like 10 bucks.

Invertebrates in general have a very low bioload, their impact on nutrients in negligible.

It sounds like you may have gotten rock from a phosphate rich environment, in which case it's beginning to "leach" out into the water column. Not a big deal though, as it will pass quickly with frequent W/C's.

If it's not from that, then I would just attribute it to a new tank.

So in both cases I wouldn't worry too much, just keep up with frequent water changes (not necessarily large ones) and get yourself a CUC.
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#12
matt20

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Chemipure or Chemipure Elite? Only Elite has GFO, and the regular won't do nearly as much for phosphates. A small bag of purigen will help, that costs like 10 bucks.

Invertebrates in general have a very low bioload, their impact on nutrients in negligible.

It sounds like you may have gotten rock from a phosphate rich environment, in which case it's beginning to "leach" out into the water column. Not a big deal though, as it will pass quickly with frequent W/C's.

If it's not from that, then I would just attribute it to a new tank.

So in both cases I wouldn't worry too much, just keep up with frequent water changes (not necessarily large ones) and get yourself a CUC.


Yup! It's Chemipure Elite. I also have a bag of Purigen in there too. I figured invertebrates have a low bioload, I just wanted to be sure I wasn't throwing gas on a fire. I'll probably add a couple small hermit crabs in the next few days to help with the removal.

That's really interesting about the rock. I never thought about that. It makes sense though, because not much has changed in my system for the last several weeks before these little patches of algae started popping up. I've only added a small peppermint shrimp and a mushroom polyp. That makes me feel better--I thought I was having a serious nutrient import/export problem, but since the algae really seemed to come out of nowhere, I have a feeling that nutrients are just leaching out from the rocks like you said.

I'm going to throw a ball of chaeto into the display to help, as well as adding a few hermit crabs here in the next day or so. I'll keep up with the larger water changes too. Hopefully this will be enough to kill the bad stuff off before it becomes a huge problem.

#13
jec11718

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you could treat the GHA underwater by spot dosing peroxide onto it, use a small syringe

#14
igotreefermadness

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The way to determine that it is truly your rock is to take note of where it's growing. If it is only growing on your rocks, then it's more than likely phosphates leaching out. If you see it spreading onto other things, it means you have a nutrient problem existing somewhere else (possibly from not enough WC's while the rock is leaching also).

I've had a rock COVERED in GHA, sitting on a bunch of other rocks, and it would never spread, I was pretty confused until I realized it was the single rock I'd bought earlier that month. I ignored it and it went away in about a month, maybe six weeks.

The key here is to just do big WC's because regardless of the situation, that's your remedy. Mine probably would have went away sooner but I just chose to ignore it and keep my regular WC schedule.
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