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how to get rid of hair algee


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Not many things will eat green hair algae reliably. I've had some success with turbo snails, and a little less with astreas.


Lettuce sea slugs will plow through it like you wouldn't believe, but once they've eaten it all, they'll slowly waste away. If you're lucky, they will find an alternate food source (and interestingly, if it's a red algae, they'll become quite reddish themselves), but there's no guarantees.


Personally, I feel a bit wrong in using lettuce sea slugs, given their diet constraints. So when I do get hair algae, I just fight it with reduced nutrients, and the scrubbing of rocks with a hard-bristle toothbrush.


Skimming and reducing nutrient import will go a long way towards winning that battle, though.

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what is rowaphos? Also i picked up a colonie of zoo's and i saw something curzing around and it looked like a slug. It was beige and was flat up front but then on its end was split in two like a fish tail, but the "fin" was hugging the ground like the rest of the body, any ideas what this could be? Sorry no pics. But there isn't any type of hermit that will eat threw it, and w/ lettuce slugs don't they get too big for nanos?

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Rowaphos is a phosphate-absorbing material that you can use to lower phosphates in your tank. I've never tried it, personally.


Your mystery critter sounds like a flatworm. How big was it?


As for lettuce slugs, they stare quite small, mine only ever grew to 3-4" max, after a hair algae feeding frenzy. Maybe you're thinking of Sea Hares? Which do work wonders on hair algae, but they can grow up to a foot, so not recommended for a nano. :)


I've never seen a hermit eat hair algae. In fact, I think hermits are just about useless.

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how much do lettuce slugs go for? Where could i get one? Are they hard to care for or just like snails? They don't eat coraline algee do they? Sorry for all the qustions:blush:! Ummm he was about a half an inch, but he wasn't skinny eaither, still sound like a flat worm? Are they good or bad?lol! Wow i have like question after question!

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Well, it would be best to remove the rock and scrub them in a bucket of saltwater. But if that's too much trouble, scrubbing in the aquarium is better than nothing, IF your nitrate and phosphate levels are undetectable.


Green hair algae is easy to prevent and fight by controlling imports and exports when it's just starting out. It's when it's established that the fight becomes very difficult. Scrubbing it forces what little matter survives to try and start all over again.

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Jeff's Exotic Fish (exoticfish.com) has them semi-regularly. But with them, always call your orders in to verify everything you want is in stock, otherwise you'll never know when they'll show up.


I see them on lots of other sites, as well. If you have a favorite vendor, definitely check with them.


But no matter how you rid yourself of the algae, it will come back if your nitrates and phosphates aren't under control.

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www.Saltwaterfish.com has free shipping and great prices on all their livestock. Unfortunately (1) you have to have a $79 minimum order and (2) they are currently closed due to the Hurricane. I've never ordered from them, so I cannot attest to their quality or service.


You may want to try a few red legged hermits. IME they help out with the hair algae.


As always, nitrate and phospate control are the best ways to limit the growth of algae.

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here's my experience with hair algae (i battled it for a whopping 6 months)


blue legged hermit crabs will tear into it, provided that it is short enough for them to munch on.


halloween hermits will munch on it when it is longer.


scarlet hermits don't do squat, except sit there and look pretty, and occasionally eat some diatoms.


turbo's are slow, and i've never seen them eat any of my hair algae.


the way i got rid of it, was i took out ALL my live rock, which was a HUGE hassle in my tank. then, i scrubbed down the rocks that had hair algae on them (oddly enough, only 3 of the large rocks had hair algae, the rest never had any) then, i looked for the source. turns out it was my very large fighting conch, and 3 golf ball sized mexican turbo snails that had snuck back behind all my rock, and had been picked at to death by my rusty angel.


then, i did a large water change (25%), and re-aquascaped my tank. i also added ~40 new hermit crabs (55 gallon tank), and i haven't seen a spot of algae since :D a little extreme? maybe, but damnit i was tired of fighting that war.

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I found that getting rid of hair algae is a little like losing weight- you have to do it little by little and not get impatient. There is no miracle. If you do the common-sense kind of things, you will see it gradually disappear. I never had an algae problem for 2 years until I was 7 months pregnant, too tired and busy to mess with my tank as regularly as I did before. The green hair bloomed. I found that by pulling out as much as I could (then siphoning it out) and doing double the water changes I did before, gradually it started going away. It took about 3 months for it to get under control.


I also realized that being 2 years old, the biodiversity in my LR had been depleted (unfortunately I don't have a refugium). So, I ordered some critters from IPSF- the 9 for $99 special (still can't believe people like me pay this kind of $ for fish-tank grundge!). All the zebra hermits and snails they sent (can't recall- maybe they're called strombus grazers?) took care of the few tufts of algae left. So that's my story. I believe that breakouts of different kinds are normal, you do common-sense things like water changes and ride it out.

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i got rid of my hair algae in my 10 gallon tank that was plagued with it by adding 2 turbos, who ate it as vigorously as they could, and switching my water from distilled to RODI which killed all of it in about 2 weeks. it was amaxing. green--->pretty algae free tank. i also scrubbed the rocks still in the tank everday so that the algae could not get to be large and tufty. worked like a charm. hth.

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all water levels are noraml, i think its the light that is doing it, and its not like it just came out of no where, i have recived LR off the interent, and it came on it and it has spread, i think i'll try a lettuce sea slug, and maybe a holloween hermit, are those argressive?

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lettuce sea slugs are not a good choice IMO. they actually feed upon bryosis, and i've heard reports where they haven't even touched hair algae. they are, however, one of the coolest animals you could keep. here's what you need to keep him alive. a small patch of bryosis algae (they don't need much) and strong lighting. they will actually steal chloroplasts from the algae (thats why they turn green when healthy) and use them in photosynthesis (thats why they need a lot of light) amazing little creatures, i want to get one even though my hair algae is gone :D


i haven't noticed any of my halloween hermits acting more aggresive than any of my others. if you have enough empty shells in the tank, they won't be aggressive at all.

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i have empty shells, so i might give one of those a try, ummm where do you buy bryosis? I've never even heard of it! Is 96 watts on a 10 gallon good enough for one (slug)? Are they hardy once accumlated?

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Okay. Here is something you MUST understand.

Even if you buy those sea slugs, hair algae will keep growing as long as you have the tank.

What kind of water do you use? chances are, it has phosphates/nitrates.

If not, do regular water changes! the key to winning over algae is to cure the root of the problem.

that's like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole wound.


that being said, i am currently combatting hair algae like none other. need to buy some good quality water and a phosphate pad like polyfilter.


good luck!

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go turbos. i had a gigantic hair algae prob in my 20 gallon tank. added 5 turbos within a week gone and it hasnt returned since. turbos eat that stuff up like mad!!! got to be carful with corals they because they are aka mini bulldozers

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