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easyreefer

green hair algae killing my hobby :(

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easyreefer

Hello dear community,

 

I know I'm the first one and not the last one with this problem...

But I'm so tired to fight with green hair algae.

First 3-4 month everything was fine, passed the phase with cianos and dinos. But then came them, GHA. First they spread on the rocks, next one were SPS skeletons, LPS and other like GSP was also affected. I've immediately decreased amount of food from daily to 3 times for fishes, and 2 times for corals. Tried to remove GHA manually as much as possible, but this made only temporary effect, and in areas like Zoa colonies or tiny branches of SPS it's impossible to remove GHA without harm to corals. I also have 2 emerald crabs and about 4 hermit crabs. The most strange thing for now that GHA grown even in the upper layer of sand bed. They stick to the sand, so when I remove them, I have to grab them with the sand.

 

My parameters:

Red Sea max nano 75 Liters / 20 gallons tank

8 month old

Salt 35ppt

Alk - 9.5

PH - 7.8-8.1

Ca - 450

Mg - 1400

No3 - 0.5-1.5 ppm

Phosphates not detectable

Weekly 10%-15% water changes, syphoning the sand 

2 clown fishes + 3 Nassarius snails + 3 turbo snails and one Mexican turbo

My light schedule is 11 hours(85% Blue, 10% White).

 

I've tried 2 weeks treatment with Razor Marine cleaner, it helped a little bit, but then GHA continues to grow on full speed.

Also tried some extreme method like dipping Galaxea coral in Hydrogen peroxide small concentration for 2 minutes, helped for 1 week only, plus coral was very stressed for sure.

 

Right now I'm doing complex treatment Razor Marine + Microbacter Clean.

 

It feels like I'm missing something.

Any suggestions ?

 

 

 

2021-02-07 11.06.10.jpg

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2021-02-07 11.06.21.jpg

2021-02-07 11.06.26.jpg

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growsomething

That is an impressive amount of gha!

Not an expert and I've had none in my nuvo 10, past 40g and 3g pico tanks,  but those were all started w live ocean rock.  Curious if this was.  The rock looks good.

Can you start a chaeto refugium in a back chamber if this is an aoi? Something that competes with the gha?

Some fish love gha, especially blennies.

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RoyalGramma001

A blenny would work very well in your tank

also a refugium might be very useful 

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rough eye

is it true that white light grows algae more, while blue or actinic light grows corals more? i too have some green hair algae growing and recently added a mexican turbo to see if that helps. recent water change seemed to clear a lot of cyano up, and possibly some of the GHA. but i was thinking of adding an actinic strip and running that for 9 hours, just adding the full light for the middle 3 or 4.

4 hours ago, easyreefer said:

It feels like I'm missing something.

Any suggestions ?

 

you have my sympathy sir. pulling the algae out by hand seems like a futile exercise. i can't tell half the time if i even grabbed very much using tweezers.

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Jungle_v_i_p

If your GHA has covered your whole tank like that then your NO3 and PO4 are probably not correct readings because it’s getting sucked up by all the algae. 
 

is that light cycle full power for 11 hours, staggered, or ramp up and down?
 

I’d suggest cutting the run time back to 8 hours a day regardless. Algae loves light as well as nutrients. 
 

id also recommend adding more cuc. 3 astrea sand one Mexican turbo are not going to be enough in a 20 gallon in most situations. 
 

how much live rock do you have?

 

can you post a FTS as well?

 

You can rid this algae. Easy to give up but you can beat it. 

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Murphych
30 minutes ago, Jungle_v_i_p said:

If your GHA has covered your whole tank like that then your NO3 and PO4 are probably not correct readings because it’s getting sucked up by all the algae. 

Agreed, this WILL be the case. I to have been battling GHA for some time.

 

@easyreefer I eventually gave up on testing as the Hannah was either 0.00 phosphate or erroring as it was too low to read. 

Remedies include:

  • up the skimming if you can or have a skimmer in the first place. 
  • Snails - for a 20 gal. You want at least 20 of various types, these guys won't eat long GHA but will mow the short stuff preventing it getting out of hand.
  • Emerald crabs are hit and miss, mine is a scavenger mainly eating fish food.
  • Accepting that it IS highly likely an N or P (or both) issue you are dealing with. 
  • Continue manual removal just before a water change 
  • Reduce lighting period to 6 hours or less for a week

I have started back dosing a liquid phosphate remover aggressively and the sandbed is now clean of red slime. I had the GHA you described on the sandbed and that is now clean. The algae on the rock is receding slowly. 

 

Or forgot all that and remove the real estate by putting a shit load of coral in 🤣🤣 

 

Good luck, don't loss heart. It's a horrible algae but is manageable 👍🏼

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paulsz

Have you picked the gha with your hands (wear gloves)? It doesn't look like the typical gha that snails devour. That algae is usually super soft and mushy. This one looks more like stiffer "branches" of algae. 

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king aiptasia

I had luxurious growth of hair algae until i put a molly in the tank, then all of it vanished in a week

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Jerad81

I know this isn't the most popular option but don't rule out a decorator crab. I put one in my 20g not long ago because of hair algae and he destroyed it pretty quickly. It didn't even touch any of my coral because it had enough hair algae to dress himself up with. Granted, you might have an issue with it knocking some of your coral over if it finds any growing underneath or around them but it will wipe out the algae unless someone already trained it to eat fish food. 

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growsomething
44 minutes ago, king aiptasia said:

I had luxurious growth of hair algae until i put a molly in the tank, then all of it vanished in a week

My lfs has these in their frag system, I assume for that purpose

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Ocean_dreamer89

With that much GHA, slow and steady is definitely key.  I agree with the others to reduce your lighting until you are able to get some control of the algae growth.  Hermit crabs are a good option.  I also had success with an urchin.  Some things to consider with those is knocking over corals.  I did not run in to this issue at all, but I know that others have.  They also eat calcifying algae, such as coralline.  If you don't mind dealing with possibly re-gluing some corals, the urchin is an algae eating machine.  I believe every solution with have its pros and cons.

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king aiptasia
3 hours ago, growsomething said:

My lfs has these in their frag system, I assume for that purpose

yeah i first was told they could survive saltwater from a lfs then i tried it and seen them decimate all the algae 

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banasophia

I would try reef flux... in my experience takes about 3 weeks if it is going to work on the type of algae you have. 

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easyreefer
9 hours ago, growsomething said:

That is an impressive amount of gha!

Not an expert and I've had none in my nuvo 10, past 40g and 3g pico tanks,  but those were all started w live ocean rock.  Curious if this was.  The rock looks good.

Can you start a chaeto refugium in a back chamber if this is an aoi? Something that competes with the gha?

Some fish love gha, especially blennies.

Back chamber is too small for refugium. In theory I can make few liters refugium inside stand, but will such small refugium make sense ?

Forgot to mention, I have one Lawnmower blenny, but he is lazy guy, saw him eating algae only few times.

 

8 hours ago, Jungle_v_i_p said:

If your GHA has covered your whole tank like that then your NO3 and PO4 are probably not correct readings because it’s getting sucked up by all the algae. 
is that light cycle full power for 11 hours, staggered, or ramp up and down?
I’d suggest cutting the run time back to 8 hours a day regardless. Algae loves light as well as nutrients. 
id also recommend adding more cuc. 3 astrea sand one Mexican turbo are not going to be enough in a 20 gallon in most situations. 
how much live rock do you have?

can you post a FTS as well?

You can rid this algae. Easy to give up but you can beat it. 

Yes, I have 11 hours staggered lights, only 5 hours on full power(some kind of full  - 85% of blue, 10% of white).

I have around 7kg/15pound of life rock

6 hours ago, paulsz said:

Have you picked the gha with your hands (wear gloves)? It doesn't look like the typical gha that snails devour. That algae is usually super soft and mushy. This one looks more like stiffer "branches" of algae. 

Good point. And it's true, long branches are ok to remove, but shorter sometimes so strong, so even rock start moving when I trying to remove them.

Also the one that live in sand grow so fast, like dinos, and they glue to sand particles very well, so I have to remove them with sand.

 

7 hours ago, Grimes said:

Agreed, this WILL be the case. I to have been battling GHA for some time.

 

@easyreefer I eventually gave up on testing as the Hannah was either 0.00 phosphate or erroring as it was too low to read. 

Remedies include:

  • up the skimming if you can or have a skimmer in the first place. 
  • Snails - for a 20 gal. You want at least 20 of various types, these guys won't eat long GHA but will mow the short stuff preventing it getting out of hand.
  • Emerald crabs are hit and miss, mine is a scavenger mainly eating fish food.
  • Accepting that it IS highly likely an N or P (or both) issue you are dealing with. 
  • Continue manual removal just before a water change 
  • Reduce lighting period to 6 hours or less for a week

I have started back dosing a liquid phosphate remover aggressively and the sandbed is now clean of red slime. I had the GHA you described on the sandbed and that is now clean. The algae on the rock is receding slowly. 

 

Or forgot all that and remove the real estate by putting a shit load of coral in 🤣🤣 

 

Good luck, don't loss heart. It's a horrible algae but is manageable 👍🏼

 

For phosphates testing I've used both Hanna LR and Salifert, same results - zero.

Also I'm dosing Red Sea NoPoX 1.5ml daily, which should reduce both nitrates and phosphates.

Should I add some extra phosphates remover as well ? 

5 hours ago, king aiptasia said:

I had luxurious growth of hair algae until i put a molly in the tank, then all of it vanished in a week

But you need to acclimate mollys for few weeks for salt water before that, right ? Would be nice if Amano shrimps can live in salt water, at least in fresh water they are best algae eaters.

17 minutes ago, banasophia said:

I would try reef flux... in my experience takes about 3 weeks if it is going to work on the type of algae you have. 

Thank you for the tip. I have ordered it from UK, but it stuck somewhere at customs :(.

 

 

Here is the picture of my tank on white only lig

2021-02-07 23.33.06.jpg

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mcarroll
13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

I know I'm the first one and not the last one with this problem...

But I'm so tired to fight with green hair algae.

Before we get to specifics, let me say you couldn't be more correct – you have joined the club now.

 

And it can definitely be demoralizing if you don't know where in "the fight" you are.  

 

Been there.  Cursed at my tank.  LOL  (Yeah, I can laugh now.  You will too.)

 

But first thing to remember is that there is no "fight".  

 

This is just algae living and doing its thing.  

 

So...

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

First they spread on the rocks, next one were SPS skeletons, LPS and other like GSP was also affected.

Their abilities toward rapid settlement of disturbed areas is one of the most amazing things IMO.  Gotta look at it as a healing process though, since it seems to work much like a bandaid for the disturbed area in question.  
 

Green algae really can pave the way for a healthy coral reef – they crave the same habitat.

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

I've immediately decreased amount of food from daily to 3 times for fishes, and 2 times for corals.

Unless you were overfeeding I would return to previous levels of feeding for the fish, perhaps even increasing it a little in quanity and/or frequency.  I would consider the fish feedings as your coral feedings and skip the dedicated coral feedings...which are pretty much impossible to do without overfeeding.

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

Tried to remove GHA manually as much as possible, but this made only temporary effect, and in areas like Zoa colonies or tiny branches of SPS it's impossible to remove GHA without harm to corals.

You were actually off on the right foot with manual removal.  But...

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

I also have 2 emerald crabs and about 4 hermit crabs.

If that's the only cleanup crew you have, then the two mithrax crabs are your only herbivores.  Hermit crabs are more likely to eat your herbivore (if you had snails) than to eat your algae, but both are possible!

 

So it's no wonder your work seemed to have been temporary.

 

What you needed was herbivorous snails....like Turbo, Trochus, Astrea, Cerith, Nerite.  Maybe up to 2 turbos per gallon.  But most tanks don't get anywhere near that density before control is established.

 

If you see algae regrowth happening where you've hand-cleared it, that just means you need a few more snails.  Add 1-3, depending on how big your tank is and how big the snails are (gonna need more Ceriths than Turbos).

 

And remember that snails can't really eat anything that's grown large enough to see (no teeth or jaw)....once you can see it, it's more or less your job to pull it.

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

The most strange thing for now that GHA grown even in the upper layer of sand bed. They stick to the sand, so when I remove them, I have to grab them with the sand.

Just plan on losing that little bit of sand...no biggie.  

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

Red Sea max nano 75 Liters / 20 gallons tank

A small tank like that is a benefit – take heart it's not a 6' tank with an outbreak like that.  👍

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

8 month old

This is par for the course at 8 months.  Keep in mind this is normal and you're really doing mostly fine!

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

No3 - 0.5-1.5 ppm

Phosphates not detectable

This is what's holding back any/all competitors to the algae....this will also make the post-cleaning regrowth more likely and worse.

 

I know it seems contrary at first, but you want your algae to be – like everything else in the tank – to be healthy and growing.  This is the kind of algae that herbivores will most want to eat.  Algae that is under stress tends to become less palatable to herbivores, among other self-defense moves.

 

13 hours ago, easyreefer said:

I've tried 2 weeks treatment with Razor Marine cleaner, it helped a little bit, but then GHA continues to grow on full speed.

Also tried some extreme method like dipping Galaxea coral in Hydrogen peroxide small concentration for 2 minutes, helped for 1 week only, plus coral was very stressed for sure.

 

Right now I'm doing complex treatment Razor Marine + Microbacter Clean.

 

It feels like I'm missing something.

Any suggestions ?

Your tank isn't "dirty" – your tank is just trying to come to life.

 

8 hours ago, Jungle_v_i_p said:

If your GHA has covered your whole tank like that then your NO3 and PO4 are probably not correct readings because it’s getting sucked up by all the algae. 

8 hours ago, Grimes said:

Agreed, this WILL be the case. I to have been battling GHA for some time.

 

@easyreefer I eventually gave up on testing as the Hannah was either 0.00 phosphate or erroring as it was too low to read. 

Remedies include:

Not picking on you guys with this observation....cuz this is "one of those statements" that circulates in the hobby for no apparent reason.  

 

But the idea that somehow algae are making your test kit wrong is some serious inside out thinking as soon as you stop and think about it: 😅..🤭..🤣

 

Unless your test kit is expired, or you're doing the test incorrectly, there is no problem with the readings – the test kit is correct and your water has zero of what you are testing.

 

12 minutes ago, easyreefer said:

Back chamber is too small for refugium. In theory I can make few liters refugium inside stand, but will such small refugium make sense ?

Good because a refugium would make things worse....among other things, it would be more competition for nutrients that are already at zero.

 

12 minutes ago, easyreefer said:

horter sometimes so strong, so even rock start moving when I trying to remove them.

You'll have to grab them one strand at a time.  If the rock is small but you want to keep it, you might have to get even more creative to chop it out of there.

 

I recommend working in small areas so that you can work in detail like this but still feel like you're making progress.  E.g. Cleaning a 1x1" patch is doable, even one strand at a time.  Be patient and work slowly.

 

Here's a good example vid on how to remove the algae AND on stocking snails.  (You don't need the other advice in the vid which would apply to a different tank than yours.)

 

12 minutes ago, easyreefer said:

For phosphates testing I've used both Hanna LR and Salifert, same results - zero.

Also I'm dosing Red Sea NoPoX 1.5ml daily, which should reduce both nitrates and phosphates.

Should I add some extra phosphates remover as well ? 

You need to stop any and all activities like this...all are causing the problem and will only make it worse until it turns into a dinoflagellate outbreak.  

 

That's all going in the wrong direction.

image.thumb.png.9a831a3f077ec41f31a6b8f84eb176e6.png

 

12 minutes ago, easyreefer said:

Thank you for the tip. I have ordered it from UK, but it stuck somewhere at customs :(.

It is a high-powered antibiotic.   Please don't use it on your reef tank.

 

I know it seems bad, but within a week or two it'll be nothing like the pic above.  

 

Follow the guidance here and in that vid.  👍

 

 

Edited by mcarroll
snail count info
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banasophia

You could also try a sea hare, but I’m not sure it will eat it since it doesn’t look like regular GHA to me. 

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banasophia

do your own research to decide if you want to try the reef flux or not... worked great for my tank with no harm to my fish or corals

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pokerdobe

Reef flux is primarily fluconazole, which is not an antibiotic but an anti-fungal. 

 

I've used fluco to great success with no harm to my corals or fish. 

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king aiptasia
4 hours ago, easyreefer said:

Back chamber is too small for refugium. In theory I can make few liters refugium inside stand, but will such small refugium make sense ?

Forgot to mention, I have one Lawnmower blenny, but he is lazy guy, saw him eating algae only few times.

 

Yes, I have 11 hours staggered lights, only 5 hours on full power(some kind of full  - 85% of blue, 10% of white).

I have around 7kg/15pound of life rock

Good point. And it's true, long branches are ok to remove, but shorter sometimes so strong, so even rock start moving when I trying to remove them.

Also the one that live in sand grow so fast, like dinos, and they glue to sand particles very well, so I have to remove them with sand.

 

 

For phosphates testing I've used both Hanna LR and Salifert, same results - zero.

Also I'm dosing Red Sea NoPoX 1.5ml daily, which should reduce both nitrates and phosphates.

Should I add some extra phosphates remover as well ? 

But you need to acclimate mollys for few weeks for salt water before that, right ? Would be nice if Amano shrimps can live in salt water, at least in fresh water they are best algae eaters.

Thank you for the tip. I have ordered it from UK, but it stuck somewhere at customs :(.

 

 

Here is the picture of my tank on white only lig

2021-02-07 23.33.06.jpg

I acclimitated my mollies over 12 hours and they survived, I'd reccomend a bit longer though and drip acclimation is an absolute must. For $3 fish it was an acceptable risk to do it fairly fast

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A.m.P
3 minutes ago, king aiptasia said:

I acclimitated my mollies over 12 hours and they survived, I'd reccomend a bit longer though and drip acclimation is an absolute must. For $3 fish it was an acceptable risk to do it fairly fast

I've heard of modest success with the old temp acclimate and plop-n'drop too.

But I think a 10g might be a little small long term.

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king aiptasia
17 minutes ago, A.m.P said:

I've heard of modest success with the old temp acclimate and plop-n'drop too.

But I think a 10g might be a little small long term.

my boy has been around for a year, his girlfriend died a few months ago without warning, he spends all his day munching away and i see his mouth marks on the glass fairly often

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easyreefer
10 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Before we get to specifics, let me say you couldn't be more correct – you have joined the club now.

And it can definitely be demoralizing if you don't know where in "the fight" you are.  

Their abilities toward rapid settlement of disturbed areas is one of the most amazing things IMO.  Gotta look at it as a healing process though, since it seems to work much like a bandaid for the disturbed area in question.  
Green algae really can pave the way for a healthy coral reef – they crave the same habitat.

 

 

Thank you very much for your thoughts, @mcarroll ! It inspire me!

I agree, that better to try natural methods against GHA. Methods like Reef flux or other fluconazole based treatment for sure sounds tempting. But better to understand the root cause.

And it's not that easy, so many variables in this formula. 

As I understand it's difficult to "overdose" cleaning CUCs, I will try to buy more snails.

Good tip about coral feeding, I always feel that coral feeding is something overkill at least for now, because most of the coral food go into filter anyway.   

 

Why you recommend to  return to normal fish feeding schedule ? My goal is limit amount of nutrients at least for the time of battle with GHA.

You also suggested to stop dosing NoPoX, but I see that when I stop dosing it No3 can go to even to level 30ppm after some time. So it works.

 

I see that opinions regarding fluconazole were splitted here. My internal logic says to me to hold on with it and try natural methods first(manual removal, CUCs, bacteria).

 

BTW, is it good idea to add more corals like LPS so they in theory can complete with GHA for nutrients dissolved in the water ?

  

 

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Tamberav

What are you feeding the corals? If it is something like reef foods twice a day, then that is the cause of your excess nutrients.

 

 

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jefferythewind

My tank is slightly older but doing the same thing now. Im not so upset though because the corals are doing great despite the algae. As @mcarroll said the two seem to like the same things, nutrients, light, etc. Im waiting until the stores open back up to get a few more snails. There are so many things growing in my tank but the corals look great.

 

As you can see I don't have much gravel left, it looks like you have gravel as well in your tank.

 

49148075-E1EF-4A5D-9360-4773CB5B8F80_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.a47bd55be7aba67cf7ac70a6eaae8c1a.jpeg

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growsomething

This is turning into an epic gha thread!

While we are giving opinions, I agree mollies are the algae bomb but you may want to give them back to an lfs after they get rid of the gha and have the tank on the right track.  

I agree with most Mcarroll said, with the exception of fluconazole.  (Fellow medic with banasophia here) You can correct the tank parameters and still need to deal with the gha which won't go away on it's  own.  Antibiotics are generally thought to be harder on a tank than antifungals.

Mcarroll wants you to not have low phosphates and nitrates.

Pick a course of action and try it.  Keep us updated on results.

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