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Old 12/23/2007, 08:25 PM
7808 7808 is offline
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algae gettin out of hand, hair algae?

my tank has slowly been takin over by a brown algae, started out as a rust color coating on the top of rocks and sand now its more like hair, im no expert so i cut down my light to only about 2 hrs a day and it looked like it was going away but i dont think it is now.

also i've noticed little tiny black worm like things on the top of some of the rocks, they way they move is like worms or catapilliers, there very small and black, almost hard to see small. any advise would be great.

also sence the algae is started to spread my crab seems to be alot less active in patrolling the sand, and the tiny little snails i seen on the rocks sometimes seem to disapear

tank is 20g with 10g sump 15lb live rock 20lb live sand one damsel and a crab, my ph, amonia, nitrate and nitrite levels all are normal. not even sure if its cycled yet but id guess not, its only a little over a month old and i could probly use more rock

Last edited by 7808; 12/23/2007 at 08:32 PM.
Old 12/23/2007, 08:29 PM
7808 7808 is offline
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also ive been feeding my fish and crab tiny pellets per advice of pet store (ocean nutrion brand) but recently as in the last few days switched to a flake (same brand) my fish seems to like it alot more.

im thinking pellets rotting on the sand might not of been helping. although the crab seemed to eat them
Old 12/23/2007, 11:18 PM
7808 7808 is offline
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hers one after a few days of 2hrs of lights on

a day later after 10hr or so of light

worm things

Old 12/24/2007, 01:30 PM
MMM33732 MMM33732 is offline
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Looks like cyano. Try to siphon off as much as you can. It should come right off. What are your nitrate and phosphate levels?
Old 12/24/2007, 05:05 PM
7808 7808 is offline
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nitrate is almost none, my kit doesnt do phosphate. is ok to siphon off live sand? i guess i figured it would suck it up

its hard to get a good picture of it but the stuff does have a hair like growth
Old 12/24/2007, 05:43 PM
lancer99 lancer99 is offline
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It's def cyano.....more circulation and better skimming might help, but maybe not....after a month, your tank is still pretty new. Best to just sit tight and wait it will probably disappear as soon as it came.

Even older, well-established tanks sometimes get cyano, so not to worry.

The worms might be bristleworms, but they are usually in the sand and not on rocks.

Old 12/24/2007, 07:13 PM
chem-e chem-e is offline
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What are you using for powerheads? Get some decent flow in there and keep up with the wate changes. It'll slowly get better, but this is just part of starting a new tank.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
~ Benjamin Franklin
Old 12/24/2007, 07:32 PM
7808 7808 is offline
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right now the only flow is the water falling from the hob aquaclear but my maxijet 900 shoots water from my sump but its now always on and not exactly powerful when it makes it to my tank, it flows more like a drinking fountain

but my tank is small so its not hard to make some current in there
Old 12/24/2007, 08:18 PM
chem-e chem-e is offline
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Originally posted by 7808

but my tank is small so its not hard to make some current in there
Add another powerhead in there when you get a chance. If I had a 20gal tank, I'd aim for atleast 400gph of flow in it. Start with one powerhead first and then add as you see fit. I've had a few powerheads and I really like my Hydor Koralia, so I'd suggest the Koralia Mini to start with. I'd probably do a couple of the minis if not the K1, but you can start with one and then add as needed.

When I first started, I had the same problem. I added a second powerhead and it made a big improvement. Then I added a better skimmer and kept up with water changes and before you know it, the tank starts clearing up.

One last suggestion - Check out the nano section for pics and ideas on flow, lighting, and filtration. You can see what works for a tank similarly sized.
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
~ Benjamin Franklin
Old 12/26/2007, 07:17 PM
7808 7808 is offline
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ok thanks for the advice. i dont see how i could get more flow in there though without making it into a whirlpool. when i put food in there it swirls around so fast its funny watching the fish try to catch it
Old 12/28/2007, 09:53 PM
mksalt mksalt is offline
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Water changes how often?
Old 12/29/2007, 10:30 PM
a2reefer a2reefer is offline
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Most important items to get when starting a reef tank IMO is an RO/DI unit (Reverse Osmosis/De-Ionizing) and a protein skimmer. The RO/DI unit will remove phosphates, silicates, nitrates, flouride and heavy metals (like copper...which shouldn't be in a reef tank at all with invertebrates). You can probably get by using just a RO unit, which will probably cost you less. I use a HOT (hang on tank) Aqua C Remora skimmer and I love it. Pulls a ton of gunk out of my water. Here's a link with specs and reviews. I bought my skimmer and RO/DI off ebay and saved a lot of money.

These two units together will help with algae growth and keeping your water parameters in check in such a small system. You will of course still have to perform water changes to export nitrates. Having a refugium with chaeto will also help with nitrate and phosphate export. Some dry foods contain phosphate and some types of charcoals leach phosphate.

Old 12/30/2007, 12:29 PM
Plantbrain Plantbrain is offline
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BGA here is not caused by excess NO3/PO4.

It's a new tank lacking NO3, assuming the test kit is correct.
You can change the water 2x a week 50% and still have BGA........

and 0ppm NO3.........

So it's plain to see that ain't the cause.

You have some Chaeto in there.
Now is it going to use the same nutrients and demands that BGA and other algae use?

Of course.

Now which can grow and live at much lower levels?

A skimmer can help, aeration can help, adding more Cheato and letting the NO3 come up a little but keep the PO4 fairly low would wiser.

Cheato will flourish if the NO3 is higher and the BGA will subside.
It takes a little while for this change, but if you keep up on it, the BGA will go away and the Cheato will grow in well.

But if the Cheato runs out of nutrients, then it'll leach and the BGA is more likely to come back, so a balance needs struck there.
Remove the cheato as it grows. Keep an eye on the Cheato's growth rate etc.

Micro aeration bubbles will help the cheato grow better also.

Tom Barr
Old 12/31/2007, 10:49 AM
a2reefer a2reefer is offline
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What kind of test kits are you using and can you post your exact water parameters? (Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, phosphate, pH, salinity, temp)

If you are done with your cycle you most likely have a low amount of nitrate feeding the cyanobacteria. You might be testing zero if it's being consumed. Same goes for if you test for phosphate. The phosphate test may read that you have low amounts, but if you have large amounts of cyanobacteria and algae in your tank it is getting consumed rapidly.

From what I have read on dozens of websites pertaining to cyanobacteria is that one of the big culprits is phosphate. Phosphate can get introduced to your system through dry foods containing it, carbon leaching it and tap water containing it, to name a few. You have stated that you are using dry food. I would do some research and try to find a food that doesn't contain phosphates. Also make sure everything you are feeding is getting consumed by your fish...only feed a little at a time. Some brands of salt contain phosphates also, so check the package to see that it says "Contains no nitrates/phosphates". I have heard though that some brands state this, but they still contain some phosphates.

Also do what other members have suggested and get more flow to the dead spots in the tank.

I really suggest getting a protein skimmer (will help get microbubbles into your tank as the previous poster suggested) and start using RO/DI so you are not feeding your tank of unwanted phosphates, nitrates and heavy metals. Salifert makes a great phosphate (PO4) test kit. You will want to add that to your collection of test kits. If you plan on keeping corals pick up a reef test kit that contains: pH, phosphate, alkalinity, magnesium, stronium, and calcium.

If you can't get a RO/DI unit right away, at least pick up some PhosBan. This will remove phosphates and silicates from your water. Plus when it is full it will not leach them back into your system like many other brands.

Keep asking questions and doing research about how to successfully keep a reef tank. There is so much to learn about truly neverending.
Old 01/01/2008, 04:23 PM
Zatko Zatko is offline
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One more thing:

Temperature fluctuations - cyanobacteria love it. I'm not talking about a gradual 76F to 80F, but more like a drop to 72F and below at night, and getting up to 80F during light/day.
Old 01/02/2008, 12:56 PM
GS-Rock GS-Rock is offline
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with new tanks its nothing to be worry about. i have a algae problems for the first 4 mo! you can sit it out and wait for your tank to cycle and try to clean up as much as you can a little every day, but if it really bothers you, with such a small tank you can get by with a 100% water change with no adverse affects imo, be sure to use pure ro water even better ro/di, get your water made and add the salt let it sit a day before doing the change, remove the livestock in the old water, set the new water to the same temp as the old, drip acclimation livestock, but to make it easy, its best to just wait it out
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Old 01/03/2008, 10:14 PM
Mishri Mishri is offline
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^ i would not do the above.. but he is right, wont hurt, (if done properly) but it also wont do anything to fix it long term.. good luck on the ID on those little black worms.. i have them too.. so far fish, corals, shrimp all fine.. but they definetly are not bristle worms.. they appear to be harmless..

be patient with the algae.. it will likely get worse before it gets better.. and i dunno if id listen to your LFS about what to feed things.. maybe drop 1 pellet in there ever couple days for the crab but that is maximum.. and that damsel you are right, should only eat the flake.. he must have picked at the pellet out of hunger but couldn't really do anything with it im sure..

more flow = only helps if flow reaches areas with cyano (like the sand) so you'd have to get it aimed so it might slightly swirl the sand but not really move it too much. I have had cyano in one of my tanks, it was a 5.5gal with a hang on the back filter, the cyano got anywhere the flow from the filter didn't hit.. which was the front left side of the tank.. so even though it was decent flow for the tank, it would have been better if i could have gotten low flow all over the tank instead..

skimming=not necessary but usually helpful to removed junk in the water column (its argued that this junk is also coral food, so many ppl turn off their skimmers at night after doing a feeding for their sps)

Last edited by Mishri; 01/03/2008 at 10:21 PM.

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