Gone for a Week - Algae Taking Over

Discussion in 'Algae' started by justonwo, Aug 23, 2015.

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  1. justonwo

    justonwo Fire Shrimp

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    Hello all,

    Quick background. I inherited a 6 year old tank about 6 weeks ago, and everything has been moving along splendidly. I went on vacation for the past week, having left a sparkling clean tank, and came back to find:

    1) Green/brown stringy algae all over the tank

    2) Little white stringy fibers (is this algae also?) on my acropora.

    A few comments:

    1) A few weeks ago, I increased my feeding from 2 feedings a day to 3, since the fish seemed to eat all the food. The person that previously owned the tank (my cousin) always did 2 feedings a day, and he always targeted 1 teaspoon per feeding.

    2) I filled my Eheim feeder before I left on vacation (1 week ago). It is now nearly empty. It's always a challenge to adjust the opening to get the right amount of food. If you are off by a millimeter, it will bump a massive amount of food. That being said, the volume of the feeder is 100 mL, which is about 20 tsp. So it seems like the dosing was about right. (3 tsp per day x 7 days - 21 tsp).

    3) I recently started dosing 2 part solution to raise the alkalinity of my tank (which is 5 dH without any dosing, and I've gotten it up to 8 dH). However, the baseline Ca2+ concentration is >500 ppm without adding anything, so my guess is that I'm increasing Ca2+ well over the ideal zone by using the 2 part additive. I'm not sure if that's a problem.

    Am I overfeeding? What other parameters do I need to look at to prevent the growth of this algae? And, of course, how do I get rid of it?

    Is the white stringy stuff on my acropora likely different from the other algae? How do I get rid of that?

    Thanks everyone.

    The green stuff on this rock is representative of most of what's in my tank.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This white stringy stuff on my acropora looks different, but seems like it would be too much of a coincidence that it happened when the other algae showed up.

    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
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  3. Va Reef

    Va Reef Giant Squid

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    Where to start...

    Unless you have fish that require multiple feedings a day, I would advise against feeding 3 times a day, at least while the algae persists. Cut back lights, cut back feeding, and give it some time.

    Which two part are you using? I would do a water change. Calcium that high is not balanced with alkalinity that low.

    For algae growth, look mostly at phosphates and nitrates. See above for how to get rid. I recommend running some media such as GFO and purigen if you aren't already.

    The white stringy stuff are mesenterial filaments. Basically coral and specifically acros will do this when feeding or when unhappy, in your case unhappy, probably because of the calcium/alk issue and or nitrates/phosphates being high. They will also do this if being stung.
     
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  4. justonwo

    justonwo Fire Shrimp

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    Thanks Va Reef. I'm using ESV Bi-Ionic buffer to adjust alkalinity. I think the calcium issue stems from the fact that my SeaChem reef salt puts the Ca2+ up really high. I tested my tap water with my calcium test kit and it registered 0 ppm (assuming the saltwater kit works for fresh water), so all of the baseline calcium is coming from the reef salt.

    I'm not using GFO/purigen. If I started using them, where would I put them?

    I think I found the cause of the mesenterial filaments on the acropora; there were two aiptasia at the base of the acro causing it to receded in one small part. Perhaps that was causing enough stress to trigger the filaments?

    I returned to my tank this evening after cleaning up the walls and it appears the stringy algae was really just the normal green algae that coats my glass on top of vermatid snail fibers (controlling those things is another pain that I'm struggling with). I will cut back on the feeding and light and see if the algae starts to die down. I was running both of my Kessil A360s at 100%. What would you recommend cutting back to while the algae is being controlled?

    Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it.
     
  5. justonwo

    justonwo Fire Shrimp

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  6. Vinnyboombatz

    Vinnyboombatz Giant Squid

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    If algae is the problem nutrient control is the only answer.
     
  7. Kevin_E

    Kevin_E Giant Squid

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    You use tap water?
     
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  9. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    If your using tap water then your issues are starting there with who knows what entering your system. Increased feedings and unstable parameters are going to equal disastrous results. Look into getting a Rodi unit and follow advice above. Matrix isn't going to be enough imo, gfo like rowa phos, chemipure blue or purigen will help but you need to stop feeding so much as well because your dumping nutrients that your tank can't process. I would stop dosing too until you read up on balancing calcium, Alk and magnesium, then make the changes SLOWLY.
     
  10. justonwo

    justonwo Fire Shrimp

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    Yes, is that insane? I'm following the instructions of my cousin who had the tank for several years.
     
  11. civiccars2003

    civiccars2003 Great Blue Whale

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    This doesn't seem too bad imo. I think your feeder fed too much. 3x daily is too much.
    Your fix will be in multiple small water changes every other day until it gets better. This should help your alk and calcium problem too. Once things change for the better, you can go to a routine water changes every other week.

    Edit: Get an RO/DI unit from spectrapure (I missed the tap water part. )
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  12. DSC reef

    DSC reef Giant Squid

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    Without knowing your TDS I would never suggest anyone using tap water. Who knows what is in there that a conditioner can't take out. My TDS is over 500 so I would seriously look into a RODI unit. Like a skimmer, I wouldn't run a tank without one