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My cyano and algae odyssey


Beretta

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I've had a 10g aga going for about 9 months now, and want to share my experiences with removing algae. Everything was going well until about March, when a leather died in my tank while I was on my honeymoon, and all hell broke loose. You name it, I had it: cyano, bubble algae, two types of green hair algae, red hair algae, green dust on the glass, etc. After a month of twice a week water changes, I was still having problems with algae, especially the cyano. Here was the setup as of May 1:

 

2x45w 50/50 and 10K PC bulbs, 9 hour photoperiod.

HOB AC fuge w/light, chaeto, and LR.

Purchased RO water from a local water supplier.

Weekley 2g water changes.

 

I was still having hair algae problems in May, and cyano would come back as soon as I would do a water change. I was at my wit's end, not knowing what to do next to fix things. The first thing I did, and the biggest purchase, was I got a Coralife Super Skimmer. This seemed to help some, but I was still having cyano and hair algae problems.

 

The next step was to shorten the photoperiod from 9 hours to 6. This step alone helped rid me of the hair algae problems. After pulling as much off as I could after a water change, the hair algae slowly went away, except for one rock where my GSP was mounted. This was the only place where I had hair algae, and it was thick with hair algae and cyano, slowly killing the gsp. I decided to frag the gsp onto another rock from my fuge. No more hair algae, and the rest of the rocks are spotless.

 

I still had a pesky mat of cyano in one corner of the tank. I tried blasting the area with a powerhead, but the cyano would just come back in the eddys of the LR that the powerhead couldn't get to. I was almost to the point of using chemi-clean, and had even purchased some from my LFS. I waited, hoping the changes I made worked. When I did my water changes, I sucked as much cyano off the sand as I could, but it would still come back week after week.

 

Finally, I noticed that my LFS started selling RO/DI water for $0.20/gallon. At last, someone in Austin, TX was selling RO/DI water. Austin water is very high in phosphate, so my guess is the RO water simply has too much phosphate to be suitable for a reef tank. I stocked up, and did my water change with the RO/DI water. The cyano started going away. An epiphany, finally. It's taken about 3 months, but my algae problems are a thing of the past now, and the tank is so clean I don't even have to use my magnetic scraper on the glass. Best of all, I didn't have to use any chemicals. I'll try and post a tank shot later when the lights come on.

 

So, in summary, here's the list of things I've done, in the order of magnitude of working to rid algae.

 

1. Shorten photoperiod.

2. Use RO/DI water.

3. Water changes, lots of them.

4. Remove rock where algae is a problem.

5. Get a skimmer.

 

Thanks to all who have posted about algae problems on here, and to those that offered up the solutions. Your help has been greatly appreciated.

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I am convinced that almost all algea problems can be fixed with elimination of all phosphates (mangroves). even with high nitrates my tank is algea free. Light, food and other factors help to slow down the algea but with phosphates you cant win the battle.

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strangelove
I am convinced that almost all algea problems can be fixed with elimination of all phosphates (mangroves). even with high nitrates my tank is algea free. Light, food and other factors help to slow down the algea but with phosphates you cant win the battle.

 

What would happen if you used mangroves to prep water change water. For instance getting a pvp pipe filled with mangroves, that could fit into the 5 gallon water container. Use regular tap water, treat it for chlorine, put the mangroves inside, and let it sit for a few days. I'm just wondering because I've been going back and forth to the LFS getting Catalina Purified (filtered sea water) for water changes and RO/DI for top off and it's getting pretty old lugging around 10 gallons of water and paying for it, $15 bucks every water change. I was just wondering if there was a simple and cheap way to purify the water that comes from the tap. I've heard that storing water open to the air in the sunlight works too. Or am I looking at an algae bloom like the original poster had. By the way happy you got your algae problem worked out.

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Oh, and for those of you in the Austin, TX area, River City Aquatics is the store that has RO/DI water for $0.20/gallon.

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What would happen if you used mangroves to prep water change water. For instance getting a pvp pipe filled with mangroves, that could fit into the 5 gallon water container. Use regular tap water, treat it for chlorine, put the mangroves inside, and let it sit for a few days. I'm just wondering because I've been going back and forth to the LFS getting Catalina Purified (filtered sea water) for water changes and RO/DI for top off and it's getting pretty old lugging around 10 gallons of water and paying for it, $15 bucks every water change. I was just wondering if there was a simple and cheap way to purify the water that comes from the tap. I've heard that storing water open to the air in the sunlight works too. Or am I looking at an algae bloom like the original poster had. By the way happy you got your algae problem worked out.

 

The idea about treating new fresh water with mangroves for a few days may or may not help. You would need mature trees to start with. A few days might help but may not. If you keep a tank that holds more fresh water than you need for top offs and had mangroves living in it then tapped it little by little for top off water than it will probally establish and work. For large water changes make sure the "holding/mangrove" tank is large enough so its not depleted all the time. Really seems a PIA vs just going to the supermarket for RO/DI water jugs. Their cheap. Mangroves in a sump or fuge on your main tank would be just as effective probally. Tap water is scary to me but depends on the readings you get on yours.

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strangelove
The idea about treating new fresh water with mangroves for a few days may or may not help. You would need mature trees to start with. A few days might help but may not. If you keep a tank that holds more fresh water than you need for top offs and had mangroves living in it then tapped it little by little for top off water than it will probally establish and work. For large water changes make sure the "holding/mangrove" tank is large enough so its not depleted all the time. Really seems a PIA vs just going to the supermarket for RO/DI water jugs. Their cheap. Mangroves in a sump or fuge on your main tank would be just as effective probally. Tap water is scary to me but depends on the readings you get on yours.

 

Mangroves in a top off container sounds like a good idea. I have a few hundred mangrove propogules sitting in a fish bowl and I have not seen much algae growth. The water stays pretty clean and I've been using tap water mixed with instant ocean for that. The water stays pretty clean, just some surface scum since there is no circulation, but down at the bottom of the bowl the water is pretty clear. I've been tempted to siphon some of the water out and slowly add it to my main tank. I'm thinking I'll do a water test for nitrates and phosphates and see what condition the water is, day by day. Sorry for hijacking this thread, I'll start a new thread if anyone is interested.

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