Uncontrollable hair algae

Discussion in 'Algae' started by reefman_MC, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. reefman_MC

    reefman_MC Aiptasia Anemone

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    I had my reef setup for almost 3 years with a canister filter. December 2003 I decided to get a tank with a built in overflow. So I picked up the tank. I figured why not do a DSB since I'm moving the tank. So I made a fuge, put my DSB in the tank, and had my new setup running. In June I bought some rock which I later noticed had hair algae. It spread over all of my rock. All levels checked out and I couldn't figure out what the problem was. So in desperation I moved my tank and did starboard sheeting on the bottom. So it's basically barebottom. I still have hair algae worse than ever. I don't have a single rock that isn't covered in it. Here's a list of what I have done to get rid of it:

    Bought 120 blueleg hermits, 120 astrea snails, 35 turbo snails, 65 scarlet hermits, 3 electric blue hermits, 15 margarita snails, 6 lettuce nudibranchs(passed away since i got my stream pump) and 1 Seahare(all of this was bought randomly a few here a few there).

    I use Phos-gard 24/7.

    I siphon out the algae every week with a five gallon water change, and dip out what's floating with a net.

    Here are my current test readings:
    ammonia-0
    Nitrate-0
    Nitrite-0
    PH-8.3
    Calcium-420ppm
    Magnesium-1410ppm
    Alk-8.4 dKH
    Phosphate-0-.01(this is correct it has been tested my 3 LFS's and myself)
    Silicate-0

    Here are the only other things I can possibly think to get rid of it:

    UV sterilizer(not even sure if this would help)

    Lawnmower blenny(i've heard some bad things about them recently)

    Taking my tank down selling the stuff inside and doing a freshy discus/plant tank.

    I have recently noticed my RO/DI water has a fishy smell. I'm not sure why. It has had hot water run through it accidentally. I plan to try and buy a new membrane if you think it is no good. Although it was recently changed.

    I have also had a fuge full of hair algae and have had the light off for a month and had turbos in it. It's still full of algae regardless.

    I have ran out of options and ideas on what to do. I seriously upset my self when the thought ran through my mind of switching discus because I love my reef. I've had it, my hobby has turned into a curse which I'm constantly fighting and trying to fix. It is ugly and I'm ashamed of my tank. SO DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS?!! Please help me out.
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  3. JohnO

    JohnO Moderator

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    Just a few things and maybe some opinions that hopefully will help.

    Firstly take a deep breath and have a good look at the tank, I will bet you that the algae is growing on the top surfaces only of the rock. If you have any caves or openings in the rock I will also bet you that the hair algae is not growing inside.

    What does this tell you?

    Do you have hair algae growing on the glass? I will bet the answer to that is NO as well :)

    Hair ( and other ) algae do not just need nutrients to grow, they need light and a surface to grow on. There are some free floating algaes about but they are not normally an issue with reef tanks because of filtration.

    OK, so the first thing that I would do is to break the main tank lighting into 2 photo periods, for example have the lights come on at 7am, light until 10am, turn off for 2 hours, come back on at noon, turn off again at 4pm, or something like that. 8 hours of total light with a 2 hour break inbetween. Also have a good look around to see if any natural sun light is hitting the main tank.

    Next, get all the rocks out of the refugium and give them a good scrub, get all the hair algae off but try to keep the macros. Return the rocks and make sure that you keep the lighting in the fuge kept ON.

    I would go out and get a firm toothbruth and start to scrub the rock in the main tank, just a small section at a time. The algae will most certainly try to grow back but with some persistance you should start to get some coraline growing in it's place. When that happens, then the hair algae will not have a surface to grow an and you will have WON.

    Lastly, keep the Alk and Calc levels high, this will encourage the Corlaline growth.

    Cheers

    John
  4. reefman_MC

    reefman_MC Aiptasia Anemone

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    The hair algae has actually grown over the coralline. My rock are all covered with coralline under the hair. If I pull pieces of the hair algae off it has grown onto the coralline. The hair algae is growing on the glass in the fuge. There is natural sun light hitting the tank and always has been even when I didn't have hair algae. I will try scrubbing the rock.
  5. JohnO

    JohnO Moderator

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    That's fine, but I would still do something about the sunlight for a start. Even if you just put up a temporary screen for a while, just as an experiment then at least you will be able to rule out that as a part of the problem :)

    John
  6. reefman_MC

    reefman_MC Aiptasia Anemone

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    I'll keep the curtains closed and see what happens.
  7. Birdlady

    Birdlady Finback Whale

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    Just a note, I noticed the left side of my tank has lots of this "hair algae" growth, while the middle and right side have none! As my hubby is near the tank in the early a.m., he says that portion of the tank is in direct sunlight , where the algae is. So I think you guys are on to something here... ;)
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  9. reefman_MC

    reefman_MC Aiptasia Anemone

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    I have already almost got my tank fully switched to freshwater. It will be a Discus Planted aquarium as in my sig. I just wanted to thank every one for your help when I did have a reef. I may setup a nano in the future.
  10. Birdlady

    Birdlady Finback Whale

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    Ooohhhhh Poooooh! :p

    Welp, post lots of pics of the Discus! I Love them too! Don't know a lick about how to keep em but have always thought they were absolutley beautiful fish!! :D
  11. fletch

    fletch Kole Tang

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    WOW reefman what made you change to freshwater?
  12. reefman_MC

    reefman_MC Aiptasia Anemone

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    I've spent thousands trying to rid myself of this algae. I'm almost to the point I can't afford gas in my car. With the plants I'm more straight on and know exactly what I'm doing. I've got all the $ I need from selling reef stuff to go straight into plants and it will be months before I even pick up any discus. Plus I've got all the equipment I need. I just couldn't take it anymore. The algae was killing my corals off and it would regrow in a day or so. What's the point in having a reef with dead corals. Also my fish recently picked up a fungus and I could barely afford to treat them. Everyone has there breaking point and that was it for me. I've almost gone broke buying cleaning critters. Also I bought all this equipment before the algae really got bad and then had to buy the clean up crews. I don't want to scare any newbies away from this hobby by telling everyone this. So newbies if you are really interested in reef go for it, don't let my mishap change your mind.
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