Brown/Hair Algea

Discussion in 'Algae' started by david, Jul 3, 2004.

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  1. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    Don't rip hair algae while it's in the tank. Macroalgaes are sessile so they only have a couple lines of defense against predation....toxins, fragmentation, and fast reproductive rates. If you rip this while in the tank, it will fragment and the fragment will re-attach somewhere else in your tank. However, you can take a rock out, put it in a bucket of water you just took out with a waterchange and scrub the rocks. BE SURE TO RINSE WITH FRESH SALTWATER AFTERWARDS....RINSING WITH THE WATER IN THE BUCKET WOULD PICK UP THE FRAGMENTS.

    At the moment, your Nitrate test kit is useless and your Phosphate test kit is useless like Da Colts said. You can only test for items in the water column and the Nitrates and Phosphates are being sequestered by the algae faster than you can test for them.

    I would give your skimmer a good cleaning (don't use soap...just use water). Then before your next waterchange, I would turkey baste the rocks big time.

    Both the UV filter and the pads are reef safe. However, UV is better at preventing problems than fixing them.

    If you are using any kind of prepared food whatsoever, it is going to be high in Phosphorus. Here's a quote from this article http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2002/chem.htm
    My first advice would be to not use any prepared foods (including phytoplankton, zooplankton, etc.). My second piece of advice would be to first freeze your ingredients for your blender mush. That will turn all of the organic phosphates into inorganic phosphates. Then thaw and soak your ingredients for at least an hour in the distilled water as it will act like a magnet and pull a lot of the inorganic phosphates out of the food. Then throw out the water.

    If you do a google on seafood processing you will find a lot of articles, but here is one in plain english.

    Polyphosphates and seafood
     
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  3. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Great stuff Curtis! That should help a lot.

    I got one more, silicates.

    They'll fuel that stuff too.

    I'd test for that.
     
  4. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    Good point. If the brown algae is diatoms, then silicates are definately suspect.
     
  5. david

    david Peppermint Shrimp

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    How do you know if the brown algae is diatoms or not? In the morning there is none and then within a couple hours of light it starts to form on the sand only.
      And I really can't pull the rocks out because I would be moving the coral all over the place just to get the rocks out. I have been turkey basting the rocks like crazy and doing water changes like crazy but I have been turkey basting even if I don't do a water change just to keep the algae from collecting detritus and becoming independent of the water column. I got a in tank refugium(cpr) last night and it took a while but today I found a place to put it ( it needs alot of room) but hopefully some ball calurpa will go nuts in it as all the other plant life is now covered in hair algae
    I feed the tank really sparingly now I have stopped adding filter feeder foods i.e. D.T.'s I feed the anemones only once a week now and only feed the fish once a day and not at all on the days I feed the anemones. I feed the anemones frozen food and the fish a mix of prime reef and formula 2 (both flake) Is this maybe a problem?
     
  6. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    Diatoms don't go away at night so it sounds like it is just a type of cyanobacteria then.  There are many strains and many colors....it isn't always red or blue-green.  

    There are some critters that will eat cyano's. However, this is like giving your kid cold medicine to cure a cold instead of making your kid wash his hands often to prevent a cold.   One of the things that never gets asked is how did I get my cyano bloom.

    Cyano's are heterotrophic bacteria which basically means they get their food from dissolved organic compounds and photosynthesis as well.  We can remove some DOC's with Granular Activated Carbon and water changes but we can remove even more with a properly sized protein skimmer.
     
    Because cyano's are a blend between an algae and a bacteria, you should also do the normal things you do to prevent algaes.  Such as......

    Do not overfeed----ever.  Normally, this revolves around uneaten food but in this case, the major problem IMO is excess fish waste (which will degrade into DOC's).
    Always use RO/DI water if your municipal water supply adds phosphates to their water (as most do).  
    Never overstock your tank.
    Use a quality protein skimmer.
    Check on the photoperiod you are using and make sure your bulbs aren't so old that they have experienced a color shift.
    Increase circulation to get the waste suspended in the water column for your skimmer to pick up.
    Siphon the cyanobacteria out after it has grown all day to lower the amount available in the tank to reproduce.

    There is one other possibility and I doubt you have this so I don't want to alarm you unnecessarily.  If on the other hand, it is very slimy and looks a little like snot, then you MIGHT have dinoflagellates. I want to reitterate that dinoflagellates are rare.

    I wrote a little info up on them but I need to go back and refine it.  It's not well written because language skills are not my strong point.

    FWIW---Here it is.....
     
  7. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    Many times I have seen people worried about a film of cyanobacteria (slime algae). The helpful people post all of the proper questions to help a reefer solve their problem. I.E.---How old are your bulbs?, Do you use RO/DI water?, What are your nitrate and phosphate levels?, When was the last time you did a water change?, Do you have good flow in your tank?, Did your tank just finish cycling?.....

    Then a week later, the same person will come back on and tell everyone that they did what they were told, and the slime algae still exists. This will start a round of questions like.....What test kits are you using?, When was the last time your RO/DI membrane and resins were replaced, etc., etc. They are told to do another waterchange and it will resolve itself---but it doesn't.

    IF IT WALKS LIKE A DUCK AND IT TALKS LIKE A DUCK, IT IS ......

    Usually a duck---but not always. Sometimes we think we are dealing with cyanobacteria and we are not. Sometimes we are dealing with dinoflagellates. Almost all of us with reeftanks, have dinoflagellates in our tank----Zooxanthellae. This symbiotic dinoflagellate is present in many of our corals. They are from the Kingdom of Protista and the Division of Dinoflagellata. This group possesses two flagella which move them through the water. They have additional pigments in addition to chlorophyll---usually brown or red. Some of them are bioluminescent. I'm sure many of you have heard of bays that glow when the water is disturbed. If you like to experiment, check out this link (BUT DO NOT PUT THIS IN YOUR REEF TANK---ONLY A SPECIALLY SET UP NANO). http://www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/~biolum/organism/dinohome.html The brown dinoflagellates are present in many of our corals and that is the reason there are so many brown corals. The red dinoflagellates are sometimes known as the Red Tide. I'm sure most of you have read at one time or another about the Red Tide destroying a reef. You do not want this in your tank. Not only do dinoflagellates exist in many corals, they also exist in many Tridacna Clams, anemones, and some sponges. They are never a problem if they are existing in a symbiotic relationship. However, they are a HUGE problem if they are existing in a free-living form.

    LUCKILY FREE-LIVING DINOFLAGELLATES ARE RARE IN REEF AQUARIA

    Dinoflagellates (hereafter called Snot Algae or Dino's) are one of the meanest things you have ever met in your life. (I unfortunately have had first hand experience). You will follow all of the advice and the problem will keep getting worse and not better. On top of that, some Dino's are toxic (think red tide). If you have a poisonous type, any snail, conch, fish, worm, etc. that eats the bad Dino's will eventually die while you are doing [EDIT....everything] people are telling you to do. Then your clean up crew (bristle worms, crabs, etc.) will arrive for clean up duty and will die as a result of absorbing the toxins in the animals they are trying to eradicate. This provides more nutrients for the Dino's to grow.

    They have one interesting characteristic. You will follow everyones advice and go to bed. Then you will wake up in the morning thrilled that the advice worked. It looks pretty darn good---almost everything thing is gone. You go to work---come home 9 hours later and the slime algae is even bigger than yesterday.

    If nothing is working, you might have Snot Algae. This algae is different. It is usually brown, has ton's of oxygen and/or Nitrogen bubbles in it, dissapears to a great deal (or entirely) overnight. (Remember it is photosythenetic---that's how it helps your corals grow). It is often called snot algae because it has the same grossness and the same consistency.

    HOW DID YOU GET IT AND WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?

    First off, the mere presence of bubbles does not mean it is Dino's or snot algae----cyanobacteria can trap bubbles temporarily that are trying to exit the sandbed or are produced by the cyanobacteria on it's own. As a result, some bubbles can be present with it too. Luckily, most of the time, it IS cyanobacteria. Dino's are usually caused by two things.....Bleaching of corals due to extreme temperatures or a major swing in tank chemistry.

    Even if you have non-toxic Dino's, they are still dangerous and precautions must be taken. They have the ability to take up a lot of oxygen. Your fish can "drown" due to the lack of dissoved oxygen not to mention the pH impact.

    Again, I want to remind you that this is rare. Usually it is cyanobacteria. However, if you follow a lot of advice and nothing improves, it might be snot algae.

    Most of the treatments for cyano's applies to Dino's. However, Dino's require a little more. The pH must be bumped up (8.4 to 8.5) which can be accomplished by dripping Kalk faster than normal.  This means your alkalinity is going to be raised higher than normal too.  Sometimes you even need to leave the lights off for a couple of days.  In short, what Alice said.

    Here are a couple of links
    http://bellnetweb.brc.tamus.edu/dinoflag.htm
    http://www.reefs.org/library/article/t_crail.html
     
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  9. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    The colors can vary but here are some of the differences.  Cyanobacteria typically grows in sheets on the rocks or sand.  

    [​IMG]

    Dinoflagellates typically start out as sheets too.  Then as the population grows, they get real slimy, and then start stringing up towards the surface.  This picture shows how they are going upwards.  Sometimes a piece will break off and float around at the tank surface.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Great info on Dinos Curtis! [smiley=thumbs_up1.gif]

    (FYI- some of your links are busted though!)

    If it's diatoms,

    Here is a link on diatoms and silicates.

    Looks like you have a lot of reading to do David! ;D
     
  11. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

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    Thanks...I fixed one link and deleted the best link that I had on the subject. I wish Animalnetwork.com would fix all of their links.

    I liked your article on diatoms and added it to my favorites. I'm not sure why my two pictures that I put in the gallery aren't showing up.
     
  12. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Yeah that article was nice.. as were yours I scanned.. I have a lot of reading to do tonight as well! ;D

    Looks like your links just had some line breaks. that's all. I fixed them. :)