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Getting rid of nutrients/algae in tank


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#1
Fishgirl2393

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OK, so I have a 20-gallon tall aquarium and I have some algae/nutrient issues in it. I haven't tested the nitrates really recently (ran out of test kit stuff but will test soon) but I'm guessing that they're higher than they should be (not really high but somewhat higher than they should be). Phosphate is VERY low so it shouldn't be an issue. All other parameters are in check (pH, nitrite, ammonia, salinity, calcium, hardness, alk, etc). I have a hair algae/Calothrix (It's NOT dinoflagellates which can look similar) issue in my tank. Here's what I've done... I skim the tank (I have a skimmer that I run all the time but if/when the water level drops from evaporation, the skimmer doesn't work as well), do weekly water changes of about 15% (sometimes 20%) and have 225gph of flow in the tank. Any tips on getting rid of this mess would be great. Do I need to run Purigen? Do I need to add carbon? I know adding a few snails/crabs would probably help (I have 5 blue legged hermits right now but nothing else). What else would y'all suggest?

#2
CoralWhisperer

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If you start carbon dosing with like vinegar or vodka, you gotta have "better than average" skimming, imho.
What that does is fuel the bacteria that process nutrient into skimmable organics(nitrate-eating bacteria), which needs to be skimmed out or will cause other problems...

If your talking about adding activated carbon in a reactor, that will do nothing really for nitrates( or even phosphates unless you run gfo or similar).

Edited by CoralWhisperer, 06 May 2012 - 10:07 PM.

god you cali guys suck so bad with your overabundance of awesome corals. damn you!! lol


#3
Fishgirl2393

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Again, the last time they were tested (phosphate) they were very close to zero/zero. They didn't really show up on a test. My reef tank is soft/lps reef (no sps) so I didn't think that a ton of flow would help but correct me if I'm wrong. I was talking about activated carbon in a filter (but since it won't help, I won't do it!). What about Purigen? I really don't want to start sugar/vodka dosing because I've read about it and it scares me.

#4
Veng

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I'd agree that you need more flow. I'd also add more snails to your CUC. You could even add more hermits. A blue knuckle would probably be a great addition a long with some snails IMHO.
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#5
Fishgirl2393

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OK, so I went ahead and got a bag of Seachem SeaGel because my lfs had it and said it worked well (he has an amazing tank that has been setup for quite a while now). Will see if it helps. When I told him what kinds of algae I had, he agreed that it was probably phosphate.

#6
milk

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+1 to more flow, and look into an external algae scrubber or turf scrubber. . Also, what is your source of obtaining freshwater to mix your salt/ top off?
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#7
matt frizz

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best way to keep your skimmer working..........auto-top off. IME it's useless to run a nice skimmer without a constant/consistant water level. It's like $70 tops, just buy it.

Also, if your phosphates read 0 but you have algae it's because the algae is eating all the phosphates so it reads zero but in actuality you do have phosphates. They are just consumed at the amount in which they are produced.

Your flow is pretty low. 225gph is not a lot for a 20 gallon. Buy a powerhead/auto-top off and call it a day. Unless your skimmer is crap. What kind is it? Do you have a sump or at least a fuge?

You definitely need snails over crabs. Crabs are not doing much for you as the only members of your CUC. So you need a good amount of snails. Run chemi-pure elite. You need some form of mechanical filtration. I run chemi-pure elite, a protein skimmer, a good CUC, and a fuge. That's ideal.

Edited by matt frizz, 08 May 2012 - 12:34 AM.

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#8
Fishgirl2393

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As I said, I'm running Seachem SeaGel (which from what I've read is equivalent to ChemiPure Elite) now. I use tap water (I know, probably a source of phosphates but I've had everything tested and it seems to be OK and phosphates aren't really high for tap water) for water changes/top off. I am watching evap. really closely and topping off a couple times a day. It seems pretty stable now on that way. The skimmer is NOT the best but it is working for me (and working great). It is a Lee's Counter Current skimmer but it pulls all sorts of crud out so I guess I have it tuned right. :) I'll try and increase the flow. I don't have a sump and don't have a fuge right now although I'm thinking of turning a HOB filter into a fuge. I'm going to get some more snails. I was thinking Ceriths, Nassarius, and Nerites mainly but I'm open to suggestions. I'm running poly fill as filter floss (I'm changing it daily).

#9
printerdown01

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Hey bro,

Given the fact that you are having hair algae issues you have some phosphates in the water. Test kits will either test for organic or inorganic phoshpates -no test will do both. Is the hair your main issue or is it localized? If it is localized to a power head or something don't sweat it. If hair is main problem there is a white granulated substance that looks like GAC that removes phoshpates. There are a few different things on the market, the best stuff I have found can be baked in the oven and reused (I never reuse it). When it first comes into contact with water it heats and smokes, so be sure to rinse it before putting it into your tank! The stuff is awesome. Have used it a few time and recended it to others that have had a lot of success. Make sure to pull as much algae as you can by hand otherwise you will be looking at sme serious die-off issues. Also if you nitrates ARE high when you run the test, I might hold off on getting rid of the hair until you get that in check. Otherwise the algae that grows in its place to consume the nitrates might be worse than the hair.

Hope this helps. While your tank is slightly "off" I would not start experimenting with other filter systems nor vodka.

PS the tap water is most likely your problem. The stuff above will not be a long term solution... If you use it and stop using tap H2O you probably wont have this issue again.

Edited by printerdown01, 08 May 2012 - 08:18 AM.

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#10
Seiryoku

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Didn't read anything but the OP...

One thing to keep in mind...something everyone seems to forget. If you have algae in your tank, when you test for nitrates and phosphates they will, essentially, read lower than they really are. Algae consumes them...

You could very well be adding nitrate/phosphate to your tank via the water (not all filters remove it completely) and salt mix. May test low or even zero, but it really isn't :) Just something to keep in mind!

#11
Fishgirl2393

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OK. I'm going to remove some algae by hand tonight (forgot to mention that I also have some grape caulerpa in the tank but it is more controlled than it used to be). I added Seachem Seagel (which removes phosphate and "organic compounds" from the water) and things SEEM a little better already. I'm going to SEE what I can do about flow (adding more). I'm going to add more clean-up-crew very soon (as in, next time I get to my LFS) though I probably won't add a ton. I'm probably going to add a few Ceriths, Nassarius, and Nerites (a few of each) to the tank and just leave it at that. I'm keeping my water level consistent so the skimmer can run at full efficiency all the time. Any other suggestions (I'll try to combat the tap water issue but it'll probably have to be by using distilled water or something)?

#12
littlelactose

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algae scrubber

#13
brandon429

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All algae problem threads need a before picture, to study the effects and timeframe of recommended actions

Post up a full tank shot pls even if just from a cellphone

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#14
Fishgirl2393

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Well, I'll try to get a picture up tomorrow (the lights are off now) but the tank is looking much better already. Still have a few types of algae that I'd like to get rid of but as I said, things are much better so far...