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F3NIX

Brown type of algae in my aquarium

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F3NIX

Hi, I’m having a problem with algae, but I don’t know if it’s diatoms or brown hair algae. I’m confused because my nitrate is almost basically zero and phosphate is less then .5. So idk if it’s diatoms or not. 

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Daan6661

Less than .5 or .05 ppm? 

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seabass

That doesn't look like diatoms to me.  Does it come out in clumps or does it break apart?  It kind of looks like some green hair algae covered with some cyanobacteria.  I would try to remove as much as you can (without using a brush on the rocks), and then add more herbivorous snails.

 

11 hours ago, Daan6661 said:

Less than .5 or .05 ppm? 

Right.  0.5 ppm is really high, while 0.05 ppm is fine.  Although basically undetectable can be a problem for your corals and potentially invite dinoflagellates.  In the absence of algae, I would try to keep nitrate between 2 and 10 ppm and phosphate between 0.03 and 0.05 ppm (with up to 0.10 ppm usually being acceptable).

 

The bloom is consuming the nitrate.  If the algae is green hair algae, it can be relatively easy to control with manual removal and algae eating snails.  If that's cyano on the hair algae, that might indicate you have some built up organics in your tank (which can be detritus and/or dissolved organics in the water).  Maintenance and improved filtration and/or flow (and maybe better feeding techniques) can usually improve this problem.

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F3NIX

It’s 0.05 phosphate and nitrate basically zero. It comes in clumps kinda. I’m thinking diatoms or Dino. I’m running chaeto but I turned the light off for the chaeto cuz I wanna let the nitrate and phosphate rise so it can beat the Dino if it is Dino. Should I run the chaeto to absorb all the nutrients or leave it off ?

 

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seabass
40 minutes ago, F3NIX said:

I’m thinking diatoms or Dino.

IDK about that.  But if you really think it's dinos, you can take a sample, shake it up in some tank water, strain it through a paper towel, then put it under your tank lights.  If the cells cluster back together after an hour, then you're probably right about dinos.

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F3NIX

I did it 30 min ago and I’ll post an update on it in an hour or two.

 

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DaJMasta

Looks like some diatoms (the brown on the sand) and some hair algae.  It will grow in the sand as well as on rock or wherever.  Agreed that nutrients could be reading lower than they are because they're being used up quickly by the algae, but the big ones are Phosphate, Nitrate, and Silicate.  If you can stop adding as much of them to the tank and you keep up removal schemes (skimming, manual removal, running chemical removal, algae scrubbing, etc.) you will be gaining ground on the problem even if it takes some time to see it.

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Tired

Actually, I would stop removing nutrients. You need to have nutrients in the tank for non-pest algae to do well, and outcompete the pest algae. You also need them to keep corals healthy. Trying to starve algae out keeps your rock from getting nicely established and covered in beneficial algae, keeps your microfauna from multiplying, and invites probably the worst pest you can have in your tank: dinos. 

 

Aim for at or above 5ppm nitrate, and no less than 0.03ppm phosphate. 

 

How big is the tank, how long has it been set up, did you start with dry rock, and what types/number of snails do you have? 

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F3NIX

I think it might be dinos. It’s a 75 gallon with a 20 gallon sump. I started with live rock and some old dry dead rock. I have like 25 mix of snails and 5 hermits. I strained some water with a algae sample into a container and a little bit of stuff showed but not sure if it’s Dinos or not. I think it’s cyano but my nitrates and phosphate are basically zero. 

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F3NIX

I just did a test on phosphate and nitrate and it’s zero or maybe .1 so I’m guessing dinos ? I have the api test kit and tested twice. It’s annoying and I’m trying to get rid of it, but I don’t know how to approach it. I feel like it’s diatoms, dinos and Hair algae😂.

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Tired

Start with the dinos, they're the biggest problem. Read up on what people have done to get rid of them. Basically: get your nutrients up, up, up! Past bare minimum levels, if at all possible. Adding copepods and well-established live rock to help with biodiversity may have some benefit. Feed your fish a good amount daily, feed any corals that will take it at least once a week, and reduce water changes until your nutrients are at a good level. I see some soft corals in one pic. If you only have soft corals, they'll love dirtier water. If you have some LPS, they might like it as well. Just about anything will like more nutrients than you currently have. 

 

Diatoms and hair algae are fairly normal in a newer tank. They'll go away on their own if you have reasonable nutrients (not zero, not sky-high), a reasonable cleanup crew, and give them time to spike and fade. Pull out any long tufts of hair algae by hand, your snails can't eat that. You should expect to see a lot of algae in a new tank. As long as it's not actively smothering any corals, it's not a major problem, just an aesthetic one. 

 

Don't use any bottled products to get rid of the algae, even the stuff that claims to be natural. All of it is bad for your tank's maturity and biodiversity, and will, at best, reduce the amount of algae until something else pops up to take advantage of all the free space. The only time you should be using bottles to get rid of algae is if you need to dose nutrients. 

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F3NIX

I’m going to get some copepods and not do a water change. Will a black out help ? I heard you can run blues only for 2 or 3 weeks until their gone. I have reef roids, so I’ll over feed with that and fish food. My tanks been up for almost 2 months. Started with live rock and live sand and some old tank water, so it cycled pretty fast in about a week. 

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Tired

Part of the way you get rid of dinos is by establishing enough biodiversity, including other algae, to overwhelm them. If you somehow manage to just kill the dinos without changing the situation that allowed them in the first place, they'll just come back next time they get reintroduced. A blackout will harm the other algae. You want algae. 

 

Don't overfeed, you'll get high organics that will encourage pest algae. Just feed a reasonable amount and stop doing water changes until nutrients are up. 

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seabass
17 hours ago, F3NIX said:

I strained some water with a algae sample into a container and a little bit of stuff showed but not sure if it’s Dinos or not.

I'm still not convinced that you have dinos.  This conclusion should be confirmed with a microscope or by the shake test I described above.  Cyano will strain through the paper towel, but will not group back together under your tank lights.

 

11 minutes ago, F3NIX said:

Will a black out help

For dinos, a blackout will allow the grouped cells to disperse.  However, this won't get rid of the cells.  And as Tired stated, a blackout alone usually doesn't get you any closer to getting rid of dinos.  Occasionally, blackouts can be used in conjunction with another method for some success.

 

35 minutes ago, F3NIX said:

I heard you can run blues only for 2 or 3 weeks until their gone.

That would be really convenient.  But unfortunately, this won't kill dinos.  It might possibly help with cyano.

 

36 minutes ago, F3NIX said:

I have reef roids, so I’ll over feed with that and fish food.

As Tired suggested, this is a bad idea no matter what problem you are facing.  If you need to increase your inorganic nutrient levels, it's best to dose them.

 

I still think you are dealing with green hair algae and cyanobacteria.  Some tank maintenance, manual removal, and herbivorous snails are probably your best bet.

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F3NIX

Ok, I’ll do that. Would a Manual removal of the dinos  at least once a day help ?

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seabass

If dinos, manual removal usually doesn't help long-term.  This recommendation is primarily for cyano and GHA.

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F3NIX

I think it’s dinos cuz it looks a little better in the morning compared to the after noon. I did the shake test and some stuff kinda formed. I manually removed it. 

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F3NIX

I’ll try to get another picture. When it grows back in like a day 😂

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F3NIX

A little bit is starting to grow back. It doesn’t have air bubbles like dinos but is starting to affect 2 of my corals and anemone. I’m so lost to what it is. 

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F3NIX

Sorry it’s hard to get pics of it. It looks like diatoms and cyano. Why would my anemone be doing bad ? It was opening great at first now it’s not. Low nutrients, phosphates and nitrates I’m guessing ? 

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seabass
5 minutes ago, F3NIX said:

It looks like diatoms and cyano. 

Maintenance, manual removal of GHA, and herbivorous snails will help.

 

Cyano is often a result of excess organics (from detritus, and dissolved organics in the water).  This can be due to lack of sand bed maintenance, lack of flow, lack of filtration, excess feeding, etc.

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F3NIX

You think it is from 3 pieces of dead rock I put into the tank when I started ? Die off. I thought it wouldn’t happen, cuz I cleaned them off and soaked them. Should I run chaeto or no ? My flow is pretty good and my filtration is good too. I don’t run a skimmer. Would that help ? I have a old one that I haven’t used for a while. 

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seabass
On 5/14/2021 at 5:48 PM, F3NIX said:

You think it is from 3 pieces of dead rock I put into the tank when I started ? Die off. I thought it wouldn’t happen, cuz I cleaned them off and soaked them.

Not really.  But new rock is a perfect canvas for hair algae.  Plus, it's not colonized with other beneficial life which can compete with pest algae and other protists.

 

On 5/14/2021 at 5:48 PM, F3NIX said:

Should I run chaeto or no ?

Chaeto will help lower nutrients.  That doesn't seem to be your current problem, so no.

 

On 5/14/2021 at 5:48 PM, F3NIX said:

My flow is pretty good

Total flow about 30 times turnover per hour?

 

On 5/14/2021 at 5:48 PM, F3NIX said:

I don’t run a skimmer. Would that help ? I have a old one that I haven’t used for a while.

A skimmer can help reduce dissolved organics in the water.  Activated carbon can help with this too.  IDK, I like protein skimmers; but I wouldn't expect it will make you problem magically disappear.  But I do like using them; if for nothing else, they increase the oxygen levels.

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F3NIX

Ok I’ll just let the tank run with no water changes and just feed and hopefully it will balance out in a month or so. I’ll get copepods today. Idk my turnover, but their is a good amount of surface agitation and my corals sway a good amount. It’s getting on my gsp, and now it won’t open really. Some brown algae. My Xenia won’t open no more either. 

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F3NIX

Should I run lights for 5 hours Instead of 10 ?

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