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Robert Popa

The Rise of the Algae!

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Robert Popa

I have just reached my 6th month in the saltwater hobby and I am still dealing with algae issues. I was told that this algae issue was supposed to be a phase that would pass by eventually on its own or through maintenance, yet here I am 6 months later and still dealing with the problem. My water is constantly tested and nitrates and phosphates always read zero. I feed my livestock a fairly minimum amount of food. Also, 15% water changes are done weekly. I was hoping to get any advice from some more experienced aquarists, on what the problem may be and how to deal with it?

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Ratvan

What do you have in terms of clean up crew? I can see shells but cant see what if anything is in them. 

 

For the green film on the glass something like an Asterea Snail would be good. I like the backwall (sorry you dont) but looks like you have a nice mix of coraline and maybe GHA. Do you scrub/clean the backwall?

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Robert Popa
1 minute ago, Ratvan said:

What do you have in terms of clean up crew? I can see shells but cant see what if anything is in them. 

 

For the green film on the glass something like an Asterea Snail would be good. I like the backwall (sorry you dont) but looks like you have a nice mix of coraline and maybe GHA. Do you scrub/clean the backwall?

 

Thank you for the advice, as far as clean up crew goes, I only have 6 red legged hermit crabs. I used to own several species of snails but my crabs had killed them all and stole their shells. I clean the back wall once a week, but it usually grows back in the first 48 hours. An observation I had made is that the algae grows much more lush after a water change is done, and towards the end of the week, it starts to die off. This observation leads me to believe that there may be an issue with the quality of the saltwater I purchase from one of my LFS. Could this have anything to do with the algae issue, or is it just a coincidence?

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Ratvan
3 minutes ago, Robert Popa said:

 

Thank you for the advice, as far as clean up crew goes, I only have 6 red legged hermit crabs. I used to own several species of snails but my crabs had killed them all and stole their shells. I clean the back wall once a week, but it usually grows back in the first 48 hours. An observation I had made is that the algae grows much more lush after a water change is done, and towards the end of the week, it starts to die off. This observation leads me to believe that there may be an issue with the quality of the saltwater I purchase from one of my LFS. Could this have anything to do with the algae issue, or is it just a coincidence?

Well WC replenishes the nutrients that your system has used (rock, sand, coral) as well as export so that makes sense. That'll be why tests will show up as lower as the algae uses it. 

 

You tested the LFS water before you add to the tank? Just out of interest. 

 

If you bulk up you CuC grab some spare shells for the hermits. Will give any snails a change of survival. Get a mix of sizes so they can scale up as growth allows. I would scrub any algae you see then add a couple snails. Watch the growth on your next clean and add more snails if you need too.

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ninjamyst

Tank looks great.  You don't have an algae problem as far as I can tell.  You actually don't want nitrate and phosphate to read 0.  Nitrate should be 2-5ppm and phosphate in the low 0.05 - 0.20 range.  Algae on glass is expected.  Algae on backwall can be manually scraped off.  You can also add a couple of trochus snails.

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Robert Popa
17 minutes ago, Ratvan said:

Well WC replenishes the nutrients that your system has used (rock, sand, coral) as well as export so that makes sense. That'll be why tests will show up as lower as the algae uses it. 

 

You tested the LFS water before you add to the tank? Just out of interest. 

 

If you bulk up you CuC grab some spare shells for the hermits. Will give any snails a change of survival. Get a mix of sizes so they can scale up as growth allows. I would scrub any algae you see then add a couple snails. Watch the growth on your next clean and add more snails if you need too.

I will definitely follow your advice. I have not exactly tested the water before adding it in the tank, but I definitely will be looking out for that. Something that I had noticed is that all the tanks at the LFS has the same problem, with all the walls just layered with all kinds of algae. I think I will purchase some snails as you had recommended and get my saltwater from another supplier.

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Robert Popa
12 minutes ago, ninjamyst said:

Tank looks great.  You don't have an algae problem as far as I can tell.  You actually don't want nitrate and phosphate to read 0.  Nitrate should be 2-5ppm and phosphate in the low 0.05 - 0.20 range.  Algae on glass is expected.  Algae on backwall can be manually scraped off.  You can also add a couple of trochus snails.

Thank you, I will definitely look into purchasing some snails. I may see an issue forming though with the purchase of snails, since I had purchased a six line wrasse recently, who enjoys snacking on whatever he can. Although it may be an issue, he doesn’t mind the hermit crabs in the aquarium so they may be just fine. One question, which species of snail would you most recommend to help me get rid of the algae?

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Ratvan
9 minutes ago, Robert Popa said:

I will definitely follow your advice. I have not exactly tested the water before adding it in the tank, but I definitely will be looking out for that. Something that I had noticed is that all the tanks at the LFS has the same problem, with all the walls just layered with all kinds of algae. I think I will purchase some snails as you had recommended and get my saltwater from another supplier.

Whoa not so fast. Everything should still be settling down. This "phase" is a marathon not a sprint.

 

Trocus would be useful as well as Asterea, Nassarius if you want some detrivors for left over food. Stomatella are amazing if you can find them too

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ninjamyst
7 minutes ago, Robert Popa said:

Thank you, I will definitely look into purchasing some snails. I may see an issue forming though with the purchase of snails, since I had purchased a six line wrasse recently, who enjoys snacking on whatever he can. Although it may be an issue, he doesn’t mind the hermit crabs in the aquarium so they may be just fine. One question, which species of snail would you most recommend to help me get rid of the algae?

Sixline is usually fine with snails.  You are overstocked though in terms of fish.  Your tank is 12 gallons.  You have 3 very big eaters in there with the royal gamma, clown, and sixline.  All 3 are pigs so be very careful with your feeding.  I am also concerned about aggression since all 3 are aggressive fish.  Trochus snail is the best.  With the sixline, I wouldn't go for Astrea.  If the Astrea falls, it can't right itself and will become sixline dinner.

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Robert Popa
1 minute ago, Ratvan said:

Whoa not so fast. Everything should still be settling down. This "phase" is a marathon not a sprint.

 

Trocus would be useful as well as Asterea, Nassarius if you want some detrivors for left over food. Stomatella are amazing if you can find them too

Yes, you are right, I do still struggle with the patience aspect of this hobby. I will start slow and purchase some snails. As a more experienced reef keeper than I, what is your opinion on my first reef tank so far? I’m still a beginner and have a lot to learn, but I had purchased a 160 gallon acrylic aquarium and was hoping to turn it into the dream reef I had always wanted. 

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Ratvan
4 minutes ago, Robert Popa said:

Yes, you are right, I do still struggle with the patience aspect of this hobby. I will start slow and purchase some snails. As a more experienced reef keeper than I, what is your opinion on my first reef tank so far? I’m still a beginner and have a lot to learn, but I had purchased a 160 gallon acrylic aquarium and was hoping to turn it into the dream reef I had always wanted. 

😅

 

Not experienced at all. Started 1st April this year with a 2.5g Pico. Thanks though my Mrs will have to cope with my massive Ego now tonight. I basically now live on this forum.

 

I like the tank. I wish I had your algae problem and not my current mix of cyano/diatoms. But GHA is appearing now so I'm not to far behind.

 

People give a lot of good advise on here. Especially @ninjamyst. I have no idea about fish. Algae I can deal with

 

 

 

 

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Robert Popa
1 minute ago, ninjamyst said:

Sixline is usually fine with snails.  You are overstocked though in terms of fish.  Your tank is 12 gallons.  You have 3 very big eaters in there with the royal gamma, clown, and sixline.  All 3 are pigs so be very careful with your feeding.  I am also concerned about aggression since all 3 are aggressive fish.  Trochus snail is the best.  With the sixline, I wouldn't go for Astrea.  If the Astrea falls, it can't right itself and will become sixline dinner.

I appreciate your concern, and I agree with your opinion on the livestock in my tank. I actually am setting up a much larger 160 gallon reef as we speak, in which most of these fish will transfer into. Although I was dealing with aggression for the first couple weeks or so, all my fish  are now model citizens, and get along perfectly. These fish are getting along so well that I’m actually seeing my six-line wrasse trying to breed with my percula clown. I haven’t heard about saltwater fish breeding with different species, so I am quite confused with this behavior.

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mcarroll

I would actually not do anything about the algae on the back.

 

The reason is that it appears to be the only algae growing in the whole tank, and it's an easy to remove type (so there's no rush).

 

Removing it would do little more than slow the tank's progress since things appear to be at a standstill, but not doing poorly (no sign of dino's or other non-green algae that I can see).

 

I would slowly begin adding cleanup crew....1 snail at a time....with no less than a few weeks' time before you consider adding more.

 

I would also slowly rectify the nutrient situation.  Stop any excess filtration like bio-blocks, carbon dosing, GFO, algae reactors, et al.  Should really just be your live rock and maybe a protein skimmer at this point.

 

Don't do water changes unless nitrates are > 10-20 ppm and/or phosphates are > 0.10 ppm.  Unless you need to for alkalinity....you should be testing for that as well.

 

If you plan to add coral to the tank, begin that as well once you have nutrients present.  1-2 corals at first and then wait at least several weeks or a few months for you and the tank to adjust to their presence before adding more.  They should actually help to stabilize the tank.

 

Feed your fish well, but do not over feed them.  Under-feeding fish is a recipe for sick/fragile fish....if you find that you have to under-feed, then you should actually reduce the fish-stock level of the tank so you can feed the fewer remaining fish more.

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Robert Popa
43 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

I would actually not do anything about the algae on the back.

 

The reason is that it appears to be the only algae growing in the whole tank, and it's an easy to remove type (so there's no rush).

 

Removing it would do little more than slow the tank's progress since things appear to be at a standstill, but not doing poorly (no sign of dino's or other non-green algae that I can see).

 

I would slowly begin adding cleanup crew....1 snail at a time....with no less than a few weeks' time before you consider adding more.

 

I would also slowly rectify the nutrient situation.  Stop any excess filtration like bio-blocks, carbon dosing, GFO, algae reactors, et al.  Should really just be your live rock and maybe a protein skimmer at this point.

 

Don't do water changes unless nitrates are > 10-20 ppm and/or phosphates are > 0.10 ppm.  Unless you need to for alkalinity....you should be testing for that as well.

 

If you plan to add coral to the tank, begin that as well once you have nutrients present.  1-2 corals at first and then wait at least several weeks or a few months for you and the tank to adjust to their presence before adding more.  They should actually help to stabilize the tank.

 

Feed your fish well, but do not over feed them.  Under-feeding fish is a recipe for sick/fragile fish....if you find that you have to under-feed, then you should actually reduce the fish-stock level of the tank so you can feed the fewer remaining fish more.

Thank you for the advice! Since you had brought up the filtration, I had actually just recently purchased chemi pure blue and am running filter floss as well. Would you recommend that I get rid of these newly added filtrations? There’s no skimmer running on this tank currently, but I may purchase one in the near future if necessary. I may be wrong but I had figured that my system was already stabilized after these first 6 months with no major changes? 

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Ratvan
13 hours ago, Robert Popa said:

Thank you for the advice! Since you had brought up the filtration, I had actually just recently purchased chemi pure blue and am running filter floss as well. Would you recommend that I get rid of these newly added filtrations? There’s no skimmer running on this tank currently, but I may purchase one in the near future if necessary. I may be wrong but I had figured that my system was already stabilized after these first 6 months with no major changes? 

I would run the floss only, this will catch particulates. The live rock does the bulk of the bio filtration. 

 

Stable maybe, but it is still maturing. A very general rule of thumb is it takes about a year for a tank to mature 

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