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hair algae: is it a pH problem? how to solve it?


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Hi everyone

so now I'm getting hair algea. The lfs guy saysn it's because my pH is too low... ??? So he said to ass marine buffer and the add a skimmer.


I will for sure get a couple more snails in tomorrow before I build my sump.


What do you think? I don't have a salwater pH testing kit.. where to get a good one-not too pricey?


Also, do you think I need a skimmer?

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The lfs guy saysn it's because my pH is too low...
??? does he mean there's too much CO2 creeping in somehow.


i'd ask him to explain. even if it's all mumbo jumbo to you when someone's bs'ing me (even on a topic i don't know) i can still usually smell the odour of what they're piling on. :P


So he said to ass marine buffer and the add a skimmer.
oddly, that's pretty appropriate here. :D


the skimmer's a good move and if you're pH is off it can't hurt to use a buffer, AP's Proper pH 8.2 is good and most importantly cheap. go online to get the big ticket items like a skimmer imo.


also get the test kits online. one of the all-inclusive ones would be good for starting out. hth

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More info!


Like ... what is your pH? Size of tank? Clean up crew? Filtration?


Otherwise ... if it's bryopsis ... good luck! The only snail that might eat it when large is a lettuce nudibranch / sea slug. As long as it doesn't get mangled by a powerhead.


But here are some random nuggets I've come across while battling my own, evil bryopsis outbreak ...


- DSBs are iffy in nanos. The sand bed just isn't large enough to support a reproducing population of beneficial, small critters to keep it clean ... so we seem to need macro critters for cleaning; fighting conchs, cerith and nassarius snails. Dirty sand bed = detritus trap = fuel for algae.


- yard the crap out by hand every chance you get.


- grow macro algae, preferably in a refugium -- outcompete the nuisance algae for nutrients.


- same can be said for a decent skimmer.


- turkey baster the hair algae from time to time -- it collects detritus. Anywhere else in your tank is better.


I'm slowly winning the hair algae battle, but it ain't pretty.


Good luck!

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LadyClown, it sounds like your cycle hasn’t completed yet. If this is the case, your pH will be low and hair algae tend to show up. However, don’t add your livestock until your cycle is over.


In the meantime make up a bucket of saltwater and use a new toothbrush to brush off all of the hair algae into the bucket. A 10% water change won’t hurt either. I also like to use a phosphate remover in my HOB.


After your cycle is complete, do a large water change then start adding your cleanup crew.

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Agreed, if the tank is < 6 months old, you're gonna get some hair sooner or later. Stick with it (*heh*, listen to me now, the guy that quit once because of an algae problem).


SeaBass - man, that's a good-looking tank you've got there....



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ive got mushrooms, sponges, and feather dusters on my rocks ... if i get a hair algea problem i dont really like the idea of using a toothbrush as i really like the animals. are hermits/snails, water changes, and lower photocycle enough to take care of it? i dont mind overdoing it on the hermits/snails and returning them when there is no algea left.

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Thanks Ross!


It’s been mentioned on a number of other threads, so I sometimes forget to restate how important it is to use good water. I would use (in this order): RO/DI, Distilled (tested for copper), RO (checked for nitrates and phosphates), or DI water. I would stay away from tap water if possible.

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Get your alkalinity up to 14.6 dkh for about a month and the hair algae will die. Dont change it overnight. Slowly increase and keep it at 14.6 for a month then slowly return to normal. Arrow crabs, sally lightfoots, and turbos will help eat it up too. I beat mine like that.

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Allright everyone, thanks for the replies!


My tank has been running with this liverock since dec 2002. I've switched to a smaller tank and put in live sand instead of coral at the end of august, but used the same rock.


I will be adding a 10g sump/fure this weekend, and I'll throw in the skimmer which I was going to sell (glad I didn't at this point)


Here's the set up:


~10lbs live rock

~3 in sand (seeded twice)


2 oscellaris clownfish

1 damselfish (yes, I know it's a lot of fish, but I downsized from a 29g tall, I will do something about it)


one rock with hairy mushroom that is getting better (it's guts are partly out, parlty in now)



Question is, how do I increase the alkalinity? Is "AP's Proper pH 8.2" the whole name of the product?

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