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Algae farm


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I am on the verge of desperation. Yes, I have read all the articles and pluck and pluck algae almost every other day. My tank is about 5 months old, but the algae won't go away. The tank cycled normally with the usual symptoms of diatom bloom, followed by green algae and brown algae. My clean-up crew chewed happily on the early algae, but seems to completely lost interest of cleaning up anything.


However, the algae never went away and grows and blooms like crazy. I usually vacuum all algae out once a week and rip off the hair algae on the rocks, but after a week my nice algae forest is back. It is almost like a carpet spreading out on the sand bed. Water parameters are fine, but I have not checked for phosphates, but run SeaGel in my Prizm to eliminate silicates and phosphates. Additionally, the skimmer always seems to suck out a ton of white, bubbly foam every day.


My lighting is 2x40W (1x10k, 1xactinic) in a 10G. I have reduced my original photo-period from 10 hours to 8 hours, but that didn't help. Also, the algae bloom occurs mostly on the sandbed and lower quarter of the tank. The LR is now nicely encrusted with green and pink coralline. Water circulation should be good with 2 MicroJets (set now to about 50gph on a WaveMaster (plus the skimmer). Water temp is stable at 79F. Salinity constant at 1.025. Ca is 350-375ppm. ph at 8.1. Nitrates are undetectable.


I use steam distilled water from the local grocery shop. I don't have access to RO/DI water. All inhabitants (3 hermits and about 7 snails (astrea/cerith) are growing like crazy and also the 2 perculas seem to do just fine. I also have a few hitchhiking peanut worms that come out at night and I read that they are also an indicator of excellent water conditions. So, basically everything is excellent, except for the algae.


Any ideas?


I use Tropic Marin salt and my LFS said that I should consider changing the salt mix.

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You can always change the salt mix. Poor quality salt could add to the algae bloom but changing it will not make any dramatic difference. Also, I don’t know how good SeaGel is but I would try RowaPhos instead. How often do you feed your fish? And what do you feed them? I would avoid flake food as they often add to elevated phosphates levels and consequently algae. If you are not using refractometer to check SG I would ask your LFS double check it. Above normal salinity will cause algae blooms too.

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2 things come to mind. The water and the lights. How old are those lights. Its not because they are not burnt that you don't need to change them. Do you have some actinic in that 2x40w?

Can you give us more info on the lignting?

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i don't think it is the skimmer. white bubbles from the skimmer is okay, but what color is the skimmate. hopefully brownish. may need to adjust so skimmate is drier.


what kind of lr did you get? there may be a ton of nutrients on it that need to be exported off. in my tank, i have lr with algae living on it but not actually spreading. on other pieces, the algae is fading away. so in your tank, you may just have some pieces that will take a long time to cure. constant weeding should eventually help. also consider adding more to the clean up crew. as long as there is food, a few more snails should eventually help. also may want to get the snails that stir up the sand bed looking for food (nassarius?). they may help get rid of trapped nutrients that the algae is thriving on. i know that fish place has them in stock usually.

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- My skimmate is white, bubbly foam, not very dry. Additionaly, I have green/brownish fluids in the collection cup.


- The lights are new (the 1x40W actinic is about 4 months old and the 1x40W daylight about 2 months).


- I feed the fish alternating flake food and frozen and krill once a day, sometimes brine shrimp. Usually they eat it all - clowns are piggie eaters.


- LR is 16lbs. Marshall Island. The LR cycled in about a week when I first introduced it.


- I don't really want to add more cleanup crew members. The snails and especially the hermits are growing like crazy. All hermits have molted at least once and are now pretty large (about 1.5-2") and switched shells at least twice. I do have bottom-stirring cerith snails.




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competition from other will keep snails from getting fat. i think nassarius would do a better job than cerrith, because they target different kinds of food. hermits are supposed to molt, no problem there. skimmate sounds fine. you mean it only took one week for the ammonia and nitrite spike to disappear. it may take months for algae cycle to finish. how's the pod population. they'll also help eventually keeping the tank clean. patience will more than likely solve your problem.

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Good points! I have a freshwater tank as well and noticed an increase in algae when I switched from de-chlorified tap water to the distilled water when I got the saltwater tank. I probably have to get a different water source.


The other interesting thing is that I have had pods, lots of them, shortly after the tank cycled, but they seem all to have disappeared when I got the skimmer (about 3 months after the tank was started) and added the WaveMaster.


My tank cycle was extremely short, about a week of nitrite spike before the nitrates started to appear.


Right now my snail population is 7 and 3 hermits, which I think should be adequate for my 10g. Nothing has died so far, except one snail that got cannibalized by a greedy hermit.

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