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FAQs on Controlling Filamentous ("Hair") Marine Green Algae 4

Related FAQs: Hair (Filamentous, Attached) Algae 1, Green Hair Algae 2, Green Hair Algae 3, & Green Algae Control 1, Green Algae Control 2, Green Algae Control 3, Green Algae Control 4, Green algae Control 5, Green Algae Control 6, Green Algae Control 7, & By Group: Bryopsis & Derbesia, Bubble Algae (Boergesenia, Dictyosphaeria, Valonia...), Caulerpa Compatibility/Control, Chaetomorpha, Halimeda, Neomeris, Hair (Filamentous, Attached) Algae, Green Water  (Planktonic) Algae Blooms, & Algae ControlMarine Algicide Use, Nutrient Limitation, Marine Algae Eaters, Culturing Macro-Algae; CaulerpasControlling: BGA/Cyano, Red/Encrusting Algae, Brown/Diatom Algae

Related Articles: Embracing Biodiversity, Green Algae By Mark E. Evans, Algae Control, Caulerpa Algae, Marine Maintenance, Nutrient Control and Export, Marine Scavengers, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Mithrax/Emerald Green Crabs, Sea Urchins, Blennies, Algae Filters, Ctenochaetus/Bristle Mouth Tangs, Zebrasoma/Sailfin Tangs, Skimmers, Skimmer Selection, Marine Algae, Coralline Algae, Green Algae, Brown Algae, Blue-Green "Algae"/(Cyanobacteria)Diatoms, Brown Algae

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Marine Aquarium Algae Control

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

<Free> Live rock with green hair algae      6/2/17
Quick question,
There is a guy around me breaking down his 125 salt tank. He is basically giving away his stuff for free. He has lots of live rock that I would like, problem is there is a significant amount of green hair algae on it.
1) What would be the consequences to putting rock with GHA on it into my tank that has none
<Not much... evidence of previous lax maintenance; can be cured by improved on your part>
2) Is it safe to put the live rock he has without the algae in my tank?
<Likely so; yes. I would use it... a bargain... if naught else, cleaned/bleached/air-dried as base rock>
3) Are there ways to get rid of the algae if I were to put it in my tank?
<As stated, good care over time. A dearth of available nutrients (mainly N, P...), competitors (macro algae culture principally), and stocking of algae predators. >
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
<Let's have you read this review:
and the linked files at top....>

<Bob Fenner>

Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics      7/8/15
I'm going to apologize in advance for the length of the email, but I did want to make sure I gave you every detail possible.
<Real good>
I have been combating hair algae for approximately a year now.
<No fun!>
Here is the current stock and tank information.
180 gallon reef tank 72in x 24in x 24in, 80 lbs live rock, aragonite substrate
<Mmm; well... let me comment as we go along. I'd ditch the Aragonite... see WWM for rationale and alternatives>
30 gallon sump
<Oh! What do you do with this sump? I WOULD have a DSB here, RDP macro-algal culture>

Livestock, inverts, corals: 2 black and white clowns, 2 ocellaris clowns, mandarin dragonet, royal gramma, orchid dotty back, lawnmower blenny, azure damsel, 5-pincushion sea urchins, purple Linckia starfish, peppermint shrimp, handful shrimp and snails
Zoas, Palys, hammer/anchor, star polyps, mushrooms, Sympodium, candy cane, rock anemone, rose bubble tip anemone, Acan (not doing so well)
<Likely it's losing to the Zoanthids and more... Better placed elsewhere>
Livestock fed about once a week-
<I'd increase this with smaller feedings to at least every other day... if not daily>
frozen and freeze dried mysis, salmon roe(Asian market sushi), new life spectrum. Stopped frozen stuff about 3 weeks ago after realizing the perils of not washing
Coralife 2900 powerhead installed a couple weeks ago (prior to this Koralia 1400)
Hydro Koralia 1500
Kessil 360w x 2
one cheap recycled LED with just the actinic being used
Reef Octopus Classic NWB 110 in sump skimmer(I know this is under rated for the size of the tank, clean out grime weekly)
Homemade phosphate reactor using PhosGuard introduced about 2 weeks ago(prior to this phosphate was at 1.0)
Auto top off with unsalted RODI water
5 stage BRS RODI with chloramine for source water; filters changed about 2.5 months ago, but prior to that had not been changed in a while(well passed what they should have been).
Seems like problems with algae started shortly after a major tank wipeout from ich.
<Am wondering what your RedOx is here... I'd bet low; under 200 uS/cm.>

Left tank essentially fallow(no fish or coral) for about 3 months or so.
Started reintroducing fish and coral shortly after algae started. Measures taken-removed all substrate(typical sand) and switched to aragonite and rocks scrubbed about 3 months ago. Tank looked good for about 1-2 weeks
and then algae returned. I've bulb suctioned and manually removed the algae with water changes. Water changes about 10-20% every week. Current levels as of two days ago with water change were
kH 5.7
<Mmm; low... s/b 7-9.... the higher value better>
alk 2.05
<Better higher.... I'd shoot for 4 meq/l>

Nitrates 0.2
Phosphate 0.25
Calcium 500
<Too high... I'd keep under 400 ppm>

Mg 1410
<And this in proportion... about 3X>
pH 8.2-8.4
RODI water nitrates and phosphates negative
<The above two mighty fine>
I've included some pics, taken two days after a water change
<Bunk and gunk!>

Again, apologies for the lengthy email. Thank you so much for your help
<No worries... you see my suggestions above? Dump the gravel, mod the sump/refugium (add sugar fine DSB of 10 cm/4in plus depth), macro-algae of use; lighting on a reverse photoperiod....); increase the feeding interval;
time going by.... and Wham! All fixed. Bob Fenner>
Re: Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics      7/8/15

Bob thank you for your quick response and expertise. After your response I tried to find all the articles about the RedOx and dsb/macroalgae use so I didn't ask a bunch of already answered questions,
apologies if I didn't succeed. I'll decrease calcium and magnesium, increase alk/kH. Would you actually recommend measuring RedOx level or just treating empirically by adding Caulerpa?
<Am a HUGE fan of measure; and if practical, manipulation (w/ 03 admin.) of RedOx... ALL public aquariums and bigger wholesale; many retail facilities avail themselves of this useful tool/window into biological fitness of systems>
I'm running into a little bit of confusion regarding the substrate. From what I am reading(please correct me if I'm wrong) the issue is more with the size of aragonite and not the aragonite itself.
<You are correct; though many "aragonites" trend to be more calcite/insoluble than useful period>
I will add a sugar fine dsb into a section of the sump along with macroalgae. Is your preference Caulerpa or a variety?
<Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/refugalgfaq2.htm
Am decidedly against the use of Caulerpaceans nowayears; instead push species of the genera Gracilaria and Chaetomorpha>
Whatever the substrate is would you recommend the display tank have sugar fine as well?
<Mmm; yes; unless you're stocking some organisms that can/will use other... >
So after correcting all of this will all the algae dying off cause a spike in nutrients and if so will normal water changes be sufficient or will manual extraction be needed?
<Indeed it will>
Thanks again for all the help
<Thank you for your intelligent, patient involvement. BobF>

Re: Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics        7/9/15
Okay I'm eyeballing the Milwaukee ORP tester on bulk reef. As far as treating with ozone, are the human health concerns reasonable and likely
<No.... as gone over and over... on WWM, books and articles I've penned... get/use a unit (ozonizer, likely a corona discharge unit) that only produces a few mg. of 03 per hour... No human danger>
(have a 13, 8 and 3 year old)? I went ahead and got some Chaeto and Gracilaria from LFS and put it in sump with LED lighting. They had CaribSea aragonite Aragamax sugar size oolite-would this be acceptable?
<Ah yes>
Thanks again for your advice
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Hair algae-Second send, smaller pics; Ozone/RedOx       7/19/15
Bob I received my Milwaukee MW500 ORP meter and you were spot on. ORP read at 11.
<Yeeikes! Distilled water, milk, or dielectric oil used to fill submersible pumps!!!>

Thoughts on such a drastically low ORP?
I'm planning on installing an Ozotech Poseidon 200mg/hr 30281 aw-blk and using a Milwaukee mc510 (wish I would've got this in the first place) to control it. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but from any info I've been able to find it appears the two can communicate with each other.
<Should be able to. Contact the manufacturers of both if a problem>
Based on the crews previous comments it looks like both units are typically on the preferred lists compared to other devices, does this still stand true?
Thanks again for your insight
<And you for your participation, sharing. BobF>

Marine aquarium... no data; reading, using WWM       7/8/15
Hey my name is Michael I have an aquarium that is over run with green hair algae what do you recommend.

I've tried everything pulling and brushing it off. Shortened my lighting introduced a few fish recommended from local pet store and nothing it always comes back I'm using water out of a ro system for water changes my pH levels seem good in my water test. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Email me backache XXXX@yahoo.com thanks
<Uhh; start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
scroll down to the algae tray.... general and hair algae FAQs files... Bob Fenner...>

Hair Algae. Using WWM        4/23/15
I have a 125 gallon reef tank that has become an eyesore with hair algae.
I have been doing frequent water changes, control feedings to minimize waste, and use a protein skimmer and phosphate reactor, all to no avail.
I have 180 pounds of live rock most of which is covered with hair algae and I have to use a stiff brush every other day so it doesn't become overwhelming, and I'm getting worn out with it. All fish and corals seem happy and healthy.
Any help you can provide would be much appreciated. Before I tear the system down, I thought I would send a message to you to see if there is anything else I should try.
Thanks in advance
<Have you read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FilamGrnAlgC4.htm
and the linked files above? Do so. Bob Fenner>

Hair algae issue        3/3/15
Good afternoon crew! Ok I am going to make this quick and condensed for you, I am have hair algae issues on my live rock and all other surfaces in my reef tank, I have been battling this for over 8 months with no success.
I have tested nitrate it reads 0
<Being taken up....>

and phosphate and it also tests 0 I presume it is from the algae consuming it. Brief on my tank its a 90 gallon, with 55 gallon sump, Mag 9.5 return pump with dual returns one on each end, Hydor 1150 power head, large reef octopus skimmer, gfo reactor which is changed every two weeks, carbon reactor changed monthly, and uv sterilizer changed every six months,
lighting is reef breeder 48 photon with a 8 hour light cycle which only runs peak intensity for 2 hours. I have about 100 pounds of live rock and a three inch sand bed. I have upped my water changes to 40 gallons a week, over this time period slowly thinking I am missing something, I siphon/ scrub/pull/ trim/ turkey bast/ and blow power heads directly on the rock
and toothbrush my rocks weekly but to no avail it comes right back! I only have 6 small fish in the tank, but several very large stony corals, SPS and LPS mixed, along with a large maxima clam. All the corals are growing very well with excellent color and polyp extension, all my inverts are normal with no signs of stress, I have the clean up crew from hell but they aren't making a dent.
<Which species? Do you have a Salarias, related species of blenny?>

The tank itself is only 2 years old but the rock is from previous systems I have had over the years and just added as I upgraded over time, the rock ranges in age from 8-2 years old. The sand bed is only 2 years old and ironically it is the only thing the GHA isn't on. My sump has not single a spec of algae growth in it.
<Do you culture macro algae there?>

I batch mix my water for all of my tanks and they do not have a single problem, so it is not my rodi water or salt, I have a twin to this tank that is all two years old and not single issue. So after researching and
trying just about every single thing I can think of
<.... Have you read on WWM re? There are other competitors, predators... Lanthanum use, RedOx....>
I am and ready to pull my hair out! Is it possible my rock is leaching phosphate into the water and the algae is just consuming it to fast to detect?
<Possibly a factor. Easy enough to test for>
Is the tank worth saving or just rip it down and by all new live rock? Am I to the point of no return for the rock in the tank? I physically have tried all methods I can find short of some of the chemical ones as I am nervous about doing it with my corals... Please help thanks as always Brian
<See WWM re pest filamentous algae... Do you need help using the search tool? (on every page), Indices? Bob Fenner>
Re: Hair algae issue        3/3/15

Hi Bob I have a starry blenny he is about 5 inches,
I have tried a sea hare which only lived for about 2 weeks and died however it was making a dent,
<Most Aplysids sold in the trade are inappropriate for aquarium use>
I have 6 urchins, about 10 Mexican Turbos, no clue on hermits and other types of snails, I have a refugium with Chaeto in it growing well on opposing light cycle of the main tank, I have looked in to lanthanum and hydrogen peroxide, I have already done the hourly PH testing with no major swing noted, I actually did it for a full 24 hours I am that determined, I am considering "cooking my rock", I have read page upon page on your site and others. As I said the only thing I can think of is the rock being the culprit. Unless you can think of something I missed.
<Am tempted to suggest you read/try Quinine for a few half doses... to "re-set" the balance in your system.
Know that there are kinds, mixes of species of algae that can/do modify an environment to vastly favor their existence, supremacy (sort of like the two-party system at the fed level.... oh, okay don't get us started).
Oh; and I do want to direct you to reading re a new product: Nualgi.com ....
Spoke w/ the owner/mgr. at last years Aquatic Experience and more recently on the phone (turns out we live in the same phone prefix!). Looks like the real deal. B

GHA Problems (Green hair Algae); SW, rdg.     1/13/15
A happy new year to you all! I'd love to say the same to my tank but sadly, I can't. I'm actually pretty close to tearing the whole thing down because of an outbreak of GHA.
<Can be over-come...>
Anyway, my problem started some time in December.
The system which has been running for over a year then is a 17G nano cube with a 5G sump. Filtration is done by LRs mainly and via protein skimmer (an RO NWB110, rated for 100G). Livestock is a mixture of softies and LPS, with one false Perc and a tail spotted blenny. Ever since the nutrient levels were a bit on the high side as I tend to feed a little bit more,
10-20PPM nitrates and phosphates at around .5 (.5 PPM? I know right?),
but thing is, despite these relatively high levels, I have not had any issues with algae. Corals were all looking great as well.
<Like weeds in gardens (terrestrial); having more than enough fertilizer can be fine... given competition effects, other good planting... weeding/maintenance... the same avenues for combating pest algae in aquariums. Oh, all covered on WWM in articles and thousands of FAQs>
Well, it was, right up to the point when I decided to reduce the levels in November because I was thinking of adding SPS to the tank. I started using Phosguard for phosphates and started carbon dosing (I chose sugar). I gradually build the sugar dose and after a couple of weeks, both nitrates and phosphates read 0. I was a happy clam.
<If you had a clam or the SPS they would NOT be happy... need both>

Then I started noticing patches of GHA growing from one of the rocks.
I completely
<Ah, no>
pulled them off (or thought I did) and thought it odd. After that, there were more patches and this time
in all the places! I've been pulling them off where I can and have been doing the usual maintenance of WS
<What is this WS?>
every 2 weeks, currently on a maintenance dose for sugar, and I've cut down the light exposure to 6 hours a day, but
it appears that I am losing the battle. More and more GHA are appearing everywhere and some of my Zoas are starting to close up due to the close proximity of some of the GHA.
<Nope; lack of nutrient>
All this time, the nutrients are at 0.
Help! What do I do?
TIA, Gabe
<Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm
and the linked files above.... where you lead yourself.... till you have a plan. Bob Fenner>
Re: GHA Problems     1/13/15

That was fast! Thank you for the reply. Sorry, water change (WC), not WS. What confuses me though is that where is it coming from?
<The original spores? The air, rock, water... >
What's feeding it?

When nitrates and phosphates are at undetectable levels. In the past weeks they really look like they're thriving :-/
<Don't write: READ. BobF>

Niger Trigger... Ramblin' gal... re? stkg? Alg. control? Bar svc.?    3/9/14
I had 3 different Triggers in my tank, I re-homed the Picasso and Clown today but we couldn't catch the Niger. He is about 1 year old. 4 to 5 inches.
<May need to trap... or small hook and line... or drain the tank down>

  He gave me a hand size Brittle Star in return.   I have Leathers and a few mushrooms, (I'd like to get more mushrooms).  I have a sail fin tang, hippo tang, lawnmower blenny and a plain hawk fish.  My question is regarding the Niger, I'd like to get a sea hare
<Do see WWM re... These rarely work out>

 to clean up the hair algae in the tank but don't want to worry about the trigger messing with it and it letting off ink. I have a 110 gal tank with a LOT of live rock.  I also would like to get a couple more small fish, any recommendations?
<That you take the time to read on WWM re the compatibility FAQs files... for everything you have, and intend>
I really appreciate your expertise.
Warm Regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Niger Trigger... ? Full Luna?    3/9/14

The FAQ's seem to be specific to peoples questions that are not my questions.  I don't see anything about these rarely work out,  sorry but do you have a link or something?
<... a link to what?>
Re: Niger Trigger   3/9/14

What do you think about a fox face for eating hair algae?
<Siganids do eat several types...>

bio pellets vs. vodka      3/8/14
Hi, I have been running bio pellets(in a reactor) as a nitrate reduction systems, I have a second reactor with gfo. I still struggle with small amounts of hair algae. I have recently read some literature that suggests doing vodka dosing instead of bio pellets. Do you guys have a preference or recommendation for nitrate control?
<Six of one... either/both use is based upon a real need/shortage of carbon... Well-fed, managed systems rarely are C deficient. Providing more is counterproductive; even deleterious. Bob Fenner>

waters on Cape Cod; diving for Mespilia in the wrong sea      3/7/14
Hello everyone!
This post / question will be different, I'm sure, and I hope you can answer it!
I live on Cape Cod Mass and my 75 gallon reef tank is totally smothered with GHA!
And yes, I have tried everything  possible to rid the system , using tons of advice for the past 9 months!
Last resort, Tuxedo Urchins Mespilia globulus.
The problem is, I am totally out of money,..BUSTED!
If I were to dive into the waters here on the Cape, where would I find them, if at all?
<Ah no... are tropical... in the Indo-Pacific. Nothing you could/would find there will really do well in a heated system... possibly w/ the exception of life swept up summer-seasonally from the south>
Hopefully, not too far down, as I can only hold my breath for about one minute!
I'm serious!
<Turn the lights off for now. Save up for a good scavenger. Bob Fenner>
 Re: waters on Cape Cod      3/7/14
So glad I found you at the helm Bob,...lights  are off! Will keep you
posted, ........hold your breath, your lungs are more advanced than mine!
<Well; more aged. B>
Like a good cheese!

RE: Help Needed!!
Filamentous algae in a comm. setting      5/4/13

Hello Crew , hello NateG !!
Here is a quiz on which I have spent too much time on.
As Mr. Bob already knows , I am a pet shop owner specialized on aquariums.
In my corals tank I have the following problem the last 6 months.
The tank "produces" 2 types of algae (as I believe) as per photos. First time I noticed that was after I received for a customer a Caulerpa rock that I hosted for about 14 days. In this tang as a cleaning crew I have a Lo Vulpinus , a Ctenochaetus Tominiensis , Salarias Fasciatus , Six Line wrasse and a Mandarin. Tomini usually was hitting the Caulerpa rock so at first I was thinking that Tomini moved the Caulerpa at other places in the tank and Caulerpa started growing , so after 2 months I removed the whole algae (or as much as I could from the racks) manually. Removed all the corals and cleaned theirs rock and then removed the sand bed , and cleaned all the glasses and racks. After the cleaning procedure , changed the 40% of water , picked another sand bed (black one) but the quantity was less than what I removed. After 2 approx months the same thing happened , cleaning once again the whole tank manually. Right now , once again after 2 months we are at the same point.
So here is the set up and parameters of the tank
700 Litres (350 x 40 x50 cm )
No sump.
<I'd add/ w a DSB, a RDP lighting arrangement>

An external filter (Rena XP3) 1250 ltr/h , with Sera's activated carbon , Sera's Phosvec Granulat and Sera's Silicate clear.
Aqua medic Skimmer shorty 3500 with 2 x Eheim 1260
3 x Tunze Turbelles , 4000 ltr/h each and Tunze wave box.
All the parameters are measured by Hanna's equipment.
Salinity 1026
Temp: 25 Celsius
PH: 8,1 - 8,3
KH : 8,5 - 9
Ca: 420-445 ppm
Mg: 1260-1300 ppm
NH4 undetectable
NO2 undetectable
NO3 <1,3
PO4 < 0,10

I dose manually every day Ca and KH , and magnesium as needed.
I use Seachem-AquaVitro Fuel twice a week ( I know that this could be fuel for algae also)
I feed every 2 days Gamma NutraPlus complete feed (as per tank litres)
I feed every day Sera's GVG mix , and Gamma frozen Brine shrimp.
I use AquaVitro salinity salt.
If you need any other info please let me know
I would appreciate your thoughts.
Best regards
<I'd likely add a phosphate limiting chemical (Lanthanum) or absorbent here to knock the PO4 down an order of magnitude... The DSB arrangement will do this long term. Bob Fenner>

Re: Help Needed!! Comm. alg. control... new eBook announcement        5/8/13
Thank you very much for your reply and your thoughts.
Unfortunately is not possible to install a sump at this tank. (no space at all)
<Maybe large canister filters then?>
Any idea what kind of algae are those?? I tried to match them with some other photos from WWM but with no success.
<Have to look through a microscope... could be some sort/species of filamentous green (Chlorophyte) or even a BGA (Cyanophyte), or...?
Algae/Thallophytes and the Monerans that are Blue-Greens are classed at the Division level on the bases of their gross micro-morphology, storage foods, photosynthetic pigments... see the Net or works on Phycology/Algology re.
Am writing an e-book re presently>
Best regards
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire   5/6/13
Hello Crew,
<Hiya Dave. Nate here>
Hope all is well your way.  I have some questions about a major hair algae outbreak.  I'll start with some history.  The tank is 75 gallons.  The inhabitants are a banded sleeper goby (Amblygobius phalaena), Tailspot blenny (Ecsenius stigmatura), royal gramma, solon fairy wrasse(Cirrhilabrus solorensis) and a melanurus wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus).  I had been running a Remora pro but was unhappy with the results(not the fault of the skimmer, just too big of a tank and to big of fish) and a large CPR Aquafuge. I also have 90-100 lbs of rock and 3 inches of sand(that I think has become a nutrient sink).
<What particle size?>
For circulation I have a Vortech MP40 that I run on either reef crest mode or nutrient export. The lighting is 4 T5s with 4 month old bulbs.
I have plans to upgrade to a 90 gallon soon, but its not soon enough as the outbreak has become a real eye sore. Plus I feel that it may be adversely affecting my fish. Normal parameters are 0 on nitrite and ammonia. PH usually is around 8.0-8.1 as best as I can read on a Seachem test.  **Nitrates and phosphates barely register though I am sure they are there.
<Well said>
 I've done a lot of reading and tried different things like adding Phosban and carbon reactors.  I have started another plan and would like any thought and advice you would care to give:
<How about a clean up crew?>
Step 1. I have added a 10 gallon tank as a sump with an Eshopps U-tube overflow( I am terrified of this, but until I can get my drilled tank started this seems like the only solution). I know the 10 gallon is small, but it was all I could get to fit in my stand. I use an Eheim 1262 with a gate valve for a return.
Step 2. Added an AquaC EV-180 with another Eheim 1262 pump plumped externally.
Step 3. Added a 10 gallon trash that receives water from a pump in the sump and returns it to the sump.
Step 4. This is where I need help.  My first move was to manually remove the large clumps of hair algae.  I pulled several rocks from the tank and scrubbed them as well as possible, and placed them in the trash can where they will not receive light. My thinking here is that the lack of light will choke off the algae and I can begin moving the rock in and out of this area as the larger skimmer gets control of the nutrients.  Is there any value in this or would I be better off just using this area as a remote DSB to help with nitrates?
<I wouldn't go with the DSB until you have other things under control. Put those resources into an urchin or 3, several turbo snails, Trochus, a small army of blue leggers, Nassarius snails (XL), Cerith snails. All very useful cleaners. Let them do their job slowly over time. Once the algae is under control start to pull out an urchin or two and the Turbos. Bring them back to the LFS for some credit.>
Also, earlier I said the fish had been acting up.  The Halichoeres has suddenly been a lot jumpier for lack of better word. He is about 4-5" and usually just cruises the rocks picking at them when he sees something he likes.  Over the last few weeks, he has begun hiding and darting around the tank more.  He ate my large cleaner shrimp, which he had never showed even a passing interest in (though I always knew there was a possibility).
<Ah yes, I'd forgotten you had that little bugger.>
I attribute the attack to the reduced feedings I've implemented to help the algae problem, but he has also become more boisterous with the other tank mates.  Could the water quality be affecting him, or should I increase the feedings again?
<Continue to at least feed daily>
Sorry about the length of this. Thank you for the continued help I have received from you over the years.  It has been greatly appreciated by me and all my friends who have asked me to help them set up tanks after seeing mine.
<Is it a true fish only system? Although by putting the rock into the 10g trash can may eradicate the algae off of those particular rocks. Its dissolution is feeding the rest of the algae in addition to being pulled out by the skimmer. Run your skimmer thin for several weeks. Hair algae is no doubt a lot of work to get rid of. I've found that the easiest/best way to get rid of it is with a substantial clean up crew and lots of water changes. But you must also address what gave the algae a foothold in the first place. Hope that helped. -NateG>
Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire   5/6/13

Thanks for the quick response.  To answer your questions and provide a little more info:
The sand is mostly sugar fine with a cap of larger grain to prevent a sandstorm. 
<A nice blend you have there>
Unfortunately, the goby and some snails took care of mixing that for me.
<haha yup. Looks more natural that way right? :)>
The photo period is 12 hours with a reverse period on the fuge.
There is some coral in the tank, but it is just pulsing xenia. Also the rocks have a healthy coralline coat on them.
<Cut the display down to 6 hrs. Do you have the stock power compact light on the AquaFuge? Up that cycle as well>
My cleanup crew is 3-5 Turbos. One of them was even involved in the scrubbing the other night as it too had become overgrown.  I have an several Nassarius snails, 6-10 Cerith, a few Astrea and Trochus, and a few Nerites.  I gave up keeping track because I find a shell every once in awhile from Halichoeres helping himself to a snack.
<Right...try and keep track anyways. Right now in particular. Turbo snails are incredible algae eaters. A nice big handful of them will save you a lot of time and energy. But all will starve afterwards when the algae pop can only support a few. So what is your goal for the tank? Mixed reef? Fish only? That wrasse really doesn't belong with reef inverts. Gorgeous fish but be conscientious my friend>
I use R.O. water I get from the grocery store machines. I don't think it is exactly 0 TDS. It was in the 20s last I checked it I think.
<Ook. That be a game changer haha. The "Purified Drinking Water" sold by the gallon at Wal-Mart isn't the cheapest way of going about this, but it tests much much closer to zero. There is really no way of telling what that reading of 20 consists of (without doing costly mail out tests). With all of the variables in play. Good RODI water is an easy fix>
What kind of urchins would you recommend? I had always held off of those because I was worried about the nitrates and wasn't sure if any of my fish would harass them(I'm sure by now you know which fish I was concerned about.)
<Tuxedo Urchin (Mespilia globulus) is a personal favorite>
Would a sand sifting star or a brittle star be of any use?
<I don't have a lot of experience with fish only systems, so unfortunately i cannot speak of their safety. But yes they could be beneficial>
I have always been concerned that a brittle or serpent star could become dangerous to the fish. 
<Brittle=danger, serpent="peaceful". You may occasionally come across a particularly aggressive serpent star like any other critter that can go in a reef>
What about a Rabbitfish? I had seen Siganus doliatus recommended for 90s on this site before, but hesitant to throw another fish into this mix with the wrasse acting up the way he is. Also, when you say run the skimmer thin, can I assume you mean very wet and keep up with top offs?
<Yep. You only have the one coral. At this point rip out as much as you can>
Oh and I forgot to mention another reason for the trash can fuge was to provide a safe haven for peppermint shrimp while attacking the Aiptasia that has gotten hold on some of those rocks as well.
<Ah. Yeah I would put using 0 TDS RODI as your top priority. Take a look at getting yourself a solid RODI unit and perhaps an ATO down the line. They are invaluable. -NateG>
Thanks again,
Re: Hair algae battle. fish gone haywire   5/6/13

I had meant it to be a mixed reef when I upgrade.
<Very cool>
I did do a lot of research about the melanurus wrasse and found most people had few problems and even recommended them for reefs because they were excellent pest controllers. 
<Yeah but ate your shrimp...I don't like him>
Unfortunately, I may have gotten one of the more rowdy ones.
For the first year+ it's been a model citizen.  With luck it will calm down again with more frequent feedings, otherwise I'll look to remove it.  I'll look into getting my R.O. unit going.  I had leak troubles and haven't had time to address it so it's sitting in my garage. 
<What model is it? What kind of a leak? Where from?>
Oh and one last weird question/observation. My solon fairy wrasse swam in the powerhead current and rolled over and righted himself in less than a second and just kept swimming like nothing happened. Is it normal for a fish to do a barrel roll? I know I've never seen it. Thanks you for all the advice, it is truly appreciated.
<This is in front of your MP40 or other powerhead? Either way I wouldn't worry too much about it, the powerhead has pretty unnatural flow when sitting right in front of it so its not unexpected for the wrasse to behave abnormally -NateG>

Hair algae, SW...        12/5/12
Hi guys, I'm in need of advice regarding some sort of hair algae (long, silky, light-brown, feathery strands, which enjoys growing on all surfaces) in my 3 month old 40g long mixed reef.  The tank was started with 50lbs of dry Marco rock, 15 lbs of LR from a pre-existing 20 gal tank (with no visible algae--save coralline, whatsoever) and a few cups of sand from that system.  I also added 40 lbs of dry aragonite, rinsed thoroughly with...well water, straight from the hose.  I did this because the sand was so incredibly "milky", and though I did strain off the water, it was admittedly still quite damp.  I think this may have caused the algae, but also fear that I might have stressed the system's biological balance, having, after one week, added my existing livestock: 3 Pajama Cardinals, a Pencil Urchin, a few snails & hermits, a few Ricordeas, Green Star Polyps, and an unidentified lime green LPS "polyp rock" hitchhiker from the original batch of Fla, aquacultured rock...
<Have you measured Alkalinity, HPO4? This rock may be leaching...>
then, a Flame Hawk about a month later.   
The system uses a single "east-west" drilled overflow, two Koralia powerheads on a wavemaker, a 20g sump, including a Reef Octopus skimmer (rated to 125g), a Liverock/Chaeto filled fuge, and a Mag 5 return. 
Lighting is a 48" x 4 lamp TEK light, raised a ft. off the surface.  I use only RO/DI water (TDS measuring at 2ppm currently) for top-off and water changes, which are done monthly at 20%.
<I'd do ten percent weekly>
 Nitrates and Phosphates are undetectable, though I do run Phosban pellets,
<These may be a source of trouble>
stretched out in a media bag along the top of the sump's bubble-trap for a couple days at a time.  All other parameters measure within recommended ranges, except for Alk, which is chronically low--5.4 dKH, presently.  I've heard that low Alk. can result from new aragonite, and had been dosing a couple teaspoons of baking soda daily to raise it, and though this worked, I've stopped this, preferring to find the root issue.  I feed the fish a quarter cube of frozen, rinsed Mysis daily.  Everybody appears to be doing quite well.  I add no other food/additives.
So, as far as the algae issues, with continued proper maintenance, will this correct itself over time?
<Maybe, perhaps not though>
 If it is, say, phosphates or silicates from the well water causing the algae, how long could it be these elements are finally "processed" out of the system?
<Harvesting of macroalgae mostly... weeks, months>
  I fear that manual removal will exacerbate the problem, as after cleaning off the glass on a couple of occasions, I did notice more growth (seemingly suddenly) on the rock. 
Thanks so much, I really enjoy your website.
<Please take the long read here:
and the linked files re filamentous marine algae above... Nothing "jumps out" here as a principal cause, and the usual general approaches (nutrient deprivation/export, competition, predation...) are open to you. Do you have space, interest in setting up a tied-in sump/refugium? A DSB there... RDP algal culture... ? Many roads... Bob Fenner>

Hair Algae/Bio-Pellets - 030112
Hello Everyone,
<<Hiya Rob>>
Second time asking a question, again after spending hours trying to find the answer.
I have a 100g reef tank, approx 80-100lbs live rock, medium coral load, with 11 medium sized fish.  I changed my filtration method from refuge with bio-pellets to sump with bag filters and bio-pellets.  The reason for the change was to try and get a better handle on my never-ending battle with Aiptasia and hair algae.
<<I see>>
(I brought in some pics to my LFS and the look of horror said enough).
<<Uh oh>>
Most of my corals are happy but some are being choked out or irritated by the hair algae.
<<Indeed…competes for the available space/resources like any other reef organism>>
I regularly get the water checked and nothing is out of the norm,
<<Mmm, or maybe just nothing you can test/measure>>
nitrates were high before the bio-pellets but have stayed in check since.
<<This is likely still an issue…with the “excess” being consumed by the nuisance organisms before it can be measured>>
I have heard that the bio-pellets will feed the corals, as a byproduct,
<<This seems to be the conventional wisdom…supported mainly by conjecture and anecdotal proof I think, but no real empirical evidence as I am aware.  I’m not saying it doesn’t happen and/or using this medium is not of some benefit, but do we even know for certain what bacteria strains are consuming/populating this media?  Just some “food” for thought>>
so I am wondering if this same food is feeding my Aiptasia and hair algae as well?
<<I would think not, though who knows what may be introduced as byproducts of the manufacturing process of the pellets.  And if the claims are accurate…this bacterial food element should be “competing for the same foods” (DOCs) as the nuisance organisms you list (FYI – Aiptasia are very good absorption feeders too).
To give you an idea of the growth, I buy 3-4 bottles of Aiptasia killer per month,
<<Perhaps you need a different product/method of attack.  Don’t discount the effectiveness of a Kalkwasser slurry simply squirted over the top of the offending anemone (shut down water pumps, cover the animal completely, and give it a few minutes to work before restoring water flow)>>
and pull cupfuls of algae out weekly.
<<I can sympathize (continually fight these battles myself)…and can tell you, perseverance is key here.  You need to determine and address the issue of excess organics, if possible, but I also find employing “biological” controls to be a big help in most cases.  I feed my captive reef very heavily by comparison to most, so having a variety of herbivores available (Tangs and Rabbitfish, in my case) is a must to keep nuisance alga in check.  I also have found that once Aiptasia have proliferated in your system, short of “nuking” the system and starting over, you will never be totally rid of them.  Biological controls for the Aiptasia (Copperband Butterfly, Raccoon Butterfly, Bristletail Filefish, Peppermint Shrimp, etc.) are not always effective and sometimes even destructive to desirable organisms, though in my experience CBs have always proven valuable re>>
As always, thank you for the help and the info on the site!
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>
Re: Hair Algae/Bio-Pellets - 030212

I unfortunately tried the usual band of cleaners and herbivores with little success; hermits, Mithrax, hares, Copperbands, etc., etc., etc.  They all seem to either avoid the buffet or disappear never to be seen again.
<<Does sometimes go that way>>
I forgot to mention I have Coralife 125g skimmer which when it's not being finicky produces about half a gallon of skimmate per day.  I am going to try the raised magnesium idea next, seems like a lot of folks with good results.
<<Mmm, possibly…have also heard anecdotal accounts of raised pH (8.6) reducing/eliminating nuisance alga.  But what risks are there or what happens when you stop this?  Finding and fixing the issue is still preferred, or employing ‘long-term’ controls (i.e. – biological) to deal with it…though I’m sure you understand I am only stating the obvious.  There is no ‘silver bullet’…finding that “balance” is what’s key>>
The only idea next is cooking the live rock, but the LFS tends to believe the rock I have may not be able to be rid of phosphates to low enough levels (the rock is Caribbean that was used previously in a fresh water setup with a few years spent as landscaping in between).
<<I see…and perhaps exposed to Phosphate/Nitrate plant fertilizers?  But even if not, you likely realize that completely replacing this rock with quality live rock will probably go far in helping with your current issues.  Cheers…  EricR>>

Tufa Rock and Hair Algae 3/1/12
Hi Crew,
<Hello Rebecca>
So I see on previous posts that Tufa rock seems to be implicated in some cases of hair algae troubles. What exactly is it about Tufa that could contribute to more hair algae growth than what you would get with other rock?
<Depending on where it formed or where it was collected from, Tufa rock may contain  significant detrital components along with phosphorous and can be problematic re nuisance algae growth.  Best not to chance it.>
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Rebecca Bray

Set-up Question    2/28/12
Crew @ WetWebMedia,
<Hi Les>
I have a two year old 180 display with two sumps totaling 225 gallons. 
Three months ago I left the country for three weeks and came home to a hair algae problem that I have been fighting ever since. 
<Always seems to be problems when this occurs.>
I believe the problem was overfeeding with an auto fish feeder.
<Very likely.>

My last effort in combating the algae is that I have purchased a Reef-Octopus Bio-Media Reactor to remove any nitrates and phosphates that may be  feeding the algae.
<Carbon dosing is a proven method of reducing dissolved waste.>
If that doesn't resolve the algae problem then I would like to redesign my setup and wanted your opinion before proceeding.
<This will not happen overnight, will take two weeks before enough bacteria are present to effectively reduce the waste.>
I have a 180g display that is built flush into a wall with a maintenance closet behind it.  I'm considering buying a new 160 gallon bow-front tank and just pushing it up against the front of the current display.  The idea is to have the old display (no longer seen) contain the 300lbs of LR (along with the unsightly algae) and the new display would only contain a few large pieces of beautiful dead coral that I used before switching to LR two years ago. Using this method I could at least remove and clean the dead coral when necessary.  Of coarse, I would put also put a few pieces of live rock in the new bow-front to set live corals on etc.  I assume keeping a few pieces of LR free of algae would not be as difficult as keeping 300 lbs of LR clean. Obviously, I would plumb the two tanks together to share water and establish proper water flow.
So, is having one tank to contain my unsightly algae ridden LR and one tank to contain a few pieces of LR, decorative dead coral, fish and my live corals a dumb idea?  Am I making a mistake with this concept?
<I believe so.  You are masking the problem rather than correcting it.  I believe you will be pleased with the results of the carbon reactor.  You may want to read here as well and related articles found in the header.
Thank you,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
WWM Supporter

Algae, Marine 12/9/11
Question...I have a 45 gallon running for a few months. I am now getting looks like green hair line algae I guess. It grows on rocks and looks like miniature ferns foliage. Is this a good or bad?
<Generally it is considered bad, although I guess if you like the way it looks it's ok.  It is usually an indicator that there is a nutrient problem in the tank.  Nitrate and phosphate is often the cause.>
Some grows on glass which I scrub off. Someone told me its because of using tap water (from Toronto). Can't buy r/o system right now.
<Tap water often contains contaminates that cause boost algae growth.>
Someone else said buy sea hair or snails or hermit crabs to control it.
What's best?
<Figure out the root cause is best, most likely caused by either overfeeding, too few water changes, overstocking, or all of the above.  An overabundance of nutrients is the issue here.  See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm .>
Algae, Marine 12/9/11 12/10/11

Change 5 gallons a week a feed a dash only fr 1 fish
<Check your tap water for nitrates and phosphates, I'm guessing this is the source of your nutrient problems.>

Mixed Reef with issues, 8/12/11
Good Morning Crew!
I have a 90 gallon mixed reef with issues. When I first started to maintain it 2-3 months ago, it was a hair algae forest, where you thought it was just fish flying through a mass of algae.
Surprisingly enough though, there were corals underneath somehow surviving.
<They can be quite resilient.>
Now the algae is kicked back considerably, but it is still hanging about in small clusters throughout the rock. The corals are all growing well; Euphyllias are all splitting and branching out nicely, leathers and rose bta are all growing nicely.
Still algae though. I believe the owner is overfeeding again, which I know can lead to excess nutrients which are evident in the test results.
Test results 8/12/11
Ammonia- 0 mg/l
Nitrite- 0.15 mg/l
Nitrate-40 mg/l
pH- 8.35
Alkalinity- 4.5 meq/l (KH- 13)
Calcium- 445 mg/l
Salinity- 33 ppt
(S.G.- 1.025 @ 77.6 F/25.3 C)
Phosphate- 5.0 mg/l
<As you said nitrates, nitrites and phosphates are all high.>
I have been doing 30 gallon water changes every other week to keep these values in line, but as you can see, since my last visit, the nitrates have gone from 5 mg/l to 40 and the phosphates have gone from 0.5 mg/l to way out of control (not to mention the nitrites!) There are a few rocks that have a bit more than others, but for the most part it is growing in small patches throughout.
<This could be part of it, all these nutrients were tied up in the algae forest, and have been released now that it is dying off.>
When I perform the water changes, I scrub and siphon out as much of the algae as possible, and it has been less and less every visit. Today I am concerned due to the recent spike in nutrients, so I will have a talk with the customer about proper feeding habits. (There are a bit of fish as well.) Do you have any other suggestions? We have been discussing installing a refugium (to help control nutrients as well as the other numerous benefits of a refugium) as well as taking his (WAAAY outdated) compact fluorescent fixtures away and replacing them with T5HO kits... He has changed the metal halide bulbs as well as the cfls within the last 2 months, and that has helped with coral growth, as well as slowing the algae growth to a degree. I know the tank needs more flow overall as well, and we are looking into the various systems out there for "wavemaking"... Is this the right direction to move to? (Refugium, T5HO/halide combo, increased flow, decreased feeding, possibly adding some form of media reactor.)
<Is what I would do, perhaps add a deep sand bed in the refugium to help a bit with the nitrates too.>
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply.
<I think you are on the right track, nothing I would do differently.>

Help! SW, hair algae bloom... mixed inputs    5/9/11
<Hello John>
First let me apologize for the long email, but I think I may have a big problem.
I have a 54 gallon corner tank as my main tank with live rock, some mushrooms, toadstool leather, Zoas, some other soft corals that popped up and 2 percula clowns, 1 green chromis, and 1 black neon goby that flows into a half full 29 gallon tank through a filter sock with a poly filter and Purigen bag with baffles where the water is forced under grating up through the Fiji sand into the area with Chaeto, and mangroves and then over the second baffle where a pump brings the water down to a 15 gallon extra high about half full with water and live rock and sand substrate that finally pumps back into the main tank.
A while back I was having trouble with hair algae and high nitrates.
First, I changed my crushed coral substrate to live sand because people told me that crushed coral can harbor waste which may have raised the nitrates.
<Can be>
I also added wave maker pumps that move the water to get rid of any "dead spots". After about a year or so of not a lot of luck I did a 1/4 - 1/3 tank water change, moved some of the live rock around to allow more water flow, replaced my protein skimmer because my old one didn't seem to work that well anymore, and bought a new halide bulb because I heard they should be changed every year.
<Mmm, was this new one "phased in" over time?>
I also added the bio kit reef glass tubes which includes:
Biodigest, Bioptim, Reef Booster, Iodi+ et Stronti and also put "Two Little Fishies" NPX Bioplastics Nitrate & Phosphate Reducing Polymer Media - 200ml in my poly reactor.
<This may have disturbed your stinging-celled life...>
Now at first everything seemed to be running normally, I was getting the normal amount of coralline algae growing all over the place and spending my usual time and muscle power scraping it off the glass. All of a sudden, I started getting green hair algae in the spots where the water was being pushed by the wave pumps and then what looked like other types of hair algae in other spots. I had a Medusa coral that now seems to be dead (really skinny and hair algae all over it). At first I thought it was the new bulb because I went from a 15k to a 20k which was a lot more blue, so I bought another bulb at 15k and replaced the 20k. Now, I have hair algae all over the place and bubble algae in other places and my soft corals are all shrinking, including my green mushrooms which were about 3 - 4 inches in diameter and now shrunk to about an inch. I tested the water with my Aquarium Pharmaceuticals master salt test kit and the ammonia was fine, the phosphates read zero,
<Being taken up by the algae>
the nitrates seemed actually lower than it had been in the past, but still a little high (around 10 ppm), and the PH seemed a little low (around 7.9 - 8.0), so I put some reef buffer
<In your new/make-up water, NOT directly into the tank I hope/trust>
to bring the PH up.
I know the nitrates are high,
<Mmm, not really>
but I've never had a problem like this even when it was closer to 20ppm. I've been using trace elements like KORALvit Combi about every other day and Amino-Life a couple of times a week with success, but now it seems to be doing nothing. I've used Marine S.A.T. in the past with luck and started using it again to try to get rid of the algae, but I don't know what else I can do. I'm afraid my corals are all going to whither and die. Also, my mangroves seem to not be doing as well (2 died and the others are starting to lose leaves). I feed the fish some sinking pellets every other day, and only what they will usually eat in a feeding and keep the light on the main tank about 8 hours a day and over the plants at least 10 hours a day. I also seem to have lost most, if not all of the hermit crabs I've had for years.
I think that's all the info I have, please help me!
<There's just so much going on here, w/ all these additives, changes to the system... I would "punt"... i.e. do some large scale water changes... 30-40% three times, every three days, vacuuming the substrate one side, then the other... get rid or turn off the Li'l Fishies product, and feed very lightly for a few weeks. IF your livestock shows extreme signs of distress, I'd be adding a couple of units of high grade carbon product (e.g. Chemi-Pure) and Polyfilter in the filter flow path. Don't worry or do anything to the green algae for now. Bob Fenner>

Your thoughts please, power washing   3/27/11
Wet Web Media/Bob Fenner:
FYI. I have discovered what I believe to be a novel approach to control of hair algae and other undesirables. For about two years now, I have been removing all my live rock (300+ lbs.) from my 210 gal. almost reef tank and pressure washing it with saltwater.
It removes everything except coralline algae and well fastened Halimeda (sp?) algae. The coraline algae seems to thrive after the cleaning. Since I live on a saltwater bay, it works out good for my situation and it only needs to be done about every six months. I still keep my water parameters good, Do not know how long the pressure washer will last, but so far, no problems.
<Run some fresh through it, assuredly, after each marine use>
I also pressure washed an aquarium I take care of for a museum using the old water prior to changing (used a sump pump in the aquarium). This seems to have potential, and I would like Mr. Fenner's thoughts. Thanks for the good job you do. Jim in Florida
<Thank you for sharing Jim. I have a friend of the same name (Jim Stime, of Aquarium Fish Guy video fame) who tried to power wash an artificial coral construct in a tank, but underwater! It didn't work out quite as well.
Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Algae: Nuisance Hair Algae -- 3/6/11
Hey WetWebMedia,
<Hey Les, Lynn here today.>
My 200g tank is now 8 months old and has been through a series of changes in its development. Along that way I have fought many battles and have been victorious with patience and help from the great crew at WetWebMedia.
My new battle is with a new algae that is trying to take over the entire tank and I'm almost conquered.
<Yikes, I've been where you are a time or two myself so I know how frustrating it can be. The trick is to figure out what the main contributing factor is that's allowing the algae to suddenly take off/thrive and correct it. Most of the time that factor is related to excess nutrients in the water (from overcrowding, overfeeding, insufficient water changes, skimmer not working efficiently, etc.).>
I contribute it to missing a 20% bimonthly water change and possibly overfeeding.
<Yep, that among other factors can most assuredly lead to problems.>
Nevertheless, it has spread quickly. Can you help to identify what type algae it is (see attached 2 pics) and what fish/critters might consumer it.
<It appears to be something in the genus Bryopsis, Derbesia, or Chlorodesmis, all commonly referred to as "hair algae". If I had to guess, I'd say it's either Derbesia or Chlorodesmis. Please see the following links for photo examples (just keep in mind that there are many species with varying appearance).
Derbesia: http://www.algaebase.org/_mediafiles/algaebase/3EE735B1076c
Bryopsis: http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/algae/images/Bryopsis_pennata.jpg 
Chlorodesmis: http://university.uog.edu/botany/474/images/chlorodesmis.jpg
Nutrient control is going to be an important factor in getting a handle on this situation. Do drop back a bit on feeding, resume a good water change schedule, monitor water parameters, and if you have a skimmer - check skimmate production. In addition, be sure to review the FAQ's at the following link for more information/factors to consider, as well as potential grazers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BryopsisF.htm
More terrific info on algae/nutrient control:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >
Thank you,
<You're very welcome and good luck!>
Les Currey
<Take care, Lynn Zurik>

Yet Another Hair Algae Question(s)    2/22/11
Hello there Crew, Happy Family day from Canada.
<Haha, hello from mid-California!>
I will just say that I am sorry in advance for the many questions and or concerns that I have but I am becoming beyond frustrated with my continuing problem.
<Hair algae is!>
I seem to have the uncanny ability to grow hair algae really well in my tank.
<Maybe you can teach others how!>
The tank is 125g with a 25g sump divided into 3 compartments..more on this later. I know there are plenty of posts regarding this issue and trust me when I say that I have read most of them.
<Ah, good.>
These are my possible concerns or problems I can guess might be causing my issues. I use only R/O water for top ups and fill and pre mix R/O water with Aquavitro salt in a large 35g old water softener tub. Do roughly 15g water change a week and clean out sump and skimmer monthly.
<I am going to assume you mean the complete skimmer and not the cup.>
I have plenty of flow, running 2 mp40w ES pumps and 1 mp20 on back wall also. These are mounted near the top 5 inches of the tank and I only have one small over flow box in one corner of the tank.
I use 3x150w 10k metal halide HID bulbs with 4x39w T5 actinic. These bulbs are about 7 months old now. Possible problem #1?
<Not likely, 7 months is not that old for a 10000K.>
My next concern is the output or power of my protein skimmer. I am using a Euro Reef RS-135 older model skimmer. I have modified it with an aquarium grade gate valve for maximum fine tuning. Maybe this is not powerful enough?
<Good skimmer and size.>
I also use a filter sock on my return line which I swap out and clean about every 3 days.
<Also fine.>
The third possible problem that I must consider is in my sump. My first chamber contains my skimmer and my last chamber contains some live rock and my return pump separated by a half wall. In the middle I have a large ball
of Chaeto which is about 5" in diameter now.
<What light are you using? How long have you had the macro? It should grow fairly quickly.>
I also have what I intended to be a DSB here. It is only 4" deep and I put a couple Nassarius snails in
here to keep it stirred a bit. Is this acting as a nutrient trap or am I missing something with its setup???
<Sounds fine depending on the lighting. As for a possible nutrient trap, flow needs to be adequate over this too to prevent this.>
All my parameters are ideal. Sg 1.024, Temperature 78-80F, Nitrate and nitrite 0, Cal 390, PH 8.4 steady. Phosphates test as below .5ppm although I realize this result can be inaccurate due to the algae consuming the phosphates. I have also recently (15 days ago) installed a Phosban reactor with Pura Phoslock in it. It is mounted hanging on my sump.
<The phosphate should drop quickly with this.>
These excess nutrients must be coming in from somewhere correct? I will be sending my R/O water for testing this week for TDS. I'm assuming this is my main concern apart from other chemicals.
<You can buy a TDS meter that is "good enough" for these purposes for next to nothing nowadays.>
I have reduced feeding for about a month now to once every other day and feed New life Spectrum pellets and rinsed frozen Fish and Reef #1 and #2 mixing it up each feeding. Never more than one cube or a few pinches.
<Sounds fine too.>
Clean up crew is not huge but I am starting to think they do not really deal with hair algae as much as I would believe.
<None really do.>
I have roughly 10 Mexican Turbo, 15 Cerith, 10 Nassarius, 20 blue leg hermits, 5 scarlet reef hermits, 3 emerald crabs, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp, 5 banded Trochus.
Tank vertebrates are as follows: 1 Hippo tang, 1 yellow tang, 1 oriole or bi-colour angel, 2 ocel. clowns, diamond goby, algae blenny, 3 blue chromis. I would consider this lightly stocked. My next purchase will be a Kole or most likely a Tomini tang. Will a bristle tooth really eat as much hair algae as some people say?
<Not likely.>
Maybe this is my problem although I am more inclined to fix what is causing the problem in the first place.
Sorry for the long email but I really am looking for something that I may be missing here. Is it ok to scrub the rocks clean while they are still in the tank also and then do a water change after this or will this simply spread
more algae or nutrients throughout the tank? I have been picking out and siphoning out as much as a care to lately.
<You could certainly scrub the rocks, say an hour or two before you change the filter socks. Do continue to manually remove all you can. Part of the cycle people fall into with algae control is that as you do things correct and the algae dies it re-pollutes the tank, fueling more algae.>
Thank you kindly for your time and wisdom!
Pictures attached. The rock with the Ricordea is by far the worst area
P.S. All fish and coral are doing great and seem very happy and coral growth
is excellent. I do not use any additives.
<It sounds like you are on the right track here. Just continue to do what you are doing and give it some time. Do confirm your RO water is good.
Have you tested your makeup water for phosphate or nitrate?>
<Frustrating problem, we have all pulled hair out from this at one time or another. Scott V.>

Re: Yet Another Hair Algae Question(s) 2/23/11
Thank you as always for the quick response.
Yes I did mean the whole skimmer not just the cup!
<I figured!>
My light over my DSB and Chaeto in my sump is just a regular fluorescent that only comes on at night opposite my main lights. Is this ok?
<This is where I personally diverge from what most, including some of the crew, say. I am all for lighting it up! A minimum of 65 watt PC is what I would use, a 96 watt quad compact or even small MH do well. What I find is many actually make the light the limiting factor on Chaeto growth.>
My RO water was tested at 18ppm TDS.
<Not bad with no DI.>
I have not checked my pre made salt mix water in a while for phosphates or nitrates. Will do this today to see if something is amiss. Also the flow across my sump is quite good. I will scrub the rocks again and do a larger water change to see if it stays away.
Thanks again.
<Welcome again! Sorry there is no magic bullet here, sounds like you are doing all right. Scott V.>

Algae, Hair, SW, reading  12/15/10
<Close enough>
I have a 3mo old 175g salt water display w/40g sump/refugium and 280lbs LR.
<Mmm, like to state that though three mo.s may seem a good period of time, your system is not really "that" established>
I run a Reef Dynamics INS 250 skimmer in the sump and Chaeto in the refugium. I circulate 18x the total water per hr. I run a small amount of Phosguard and charcoal that I change regularly. I use a AquaticLife T5 HO (High Output) light fixture with 10ea- 420/460 nm (8 blue & 2 purple), 2ea 10,000K, and 6 - lunar LED lights. I have numerous snails, crabs
<Mmm, keep your eyes on these>
and a Coral Banded Shrimp
<And this>
whom I suspect recently ate two Lettuce Nudibranch (your thoughts on that).
<Likely so; or the decapods>
Recently I added a couple clowns, Goby's and one Lawnmower Blenny. All water parameters are good.
All that said, my question is that I battle what I think is extremely fast growing hair algae which grows only on the top rocks. These are long single strands with a air bubble attached to the end that float vertically.
These strands grow 2+ inches or more a day and can quickly reach 6-8" long.
None of my snails, crabs or fish seem to eat it.
<Some types/species are unpalatable to many erstwhile predators>
I had hopes the Blenny would but he stays near the lower height rock. I must vacuum it up every other day - lot's of work.
What is this, and do you recommend and animals or fish to combat it?
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FilamGrnAlgC2.htm
and the linked files above, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Question about Algae 10/4/10
HELLO again everyone!
<Hi Maria, Misty here>
I just wanted to see if you guys can identify these types of algae in my SW tank.
<Looks like hair algae in these photos.>
Just curious to know what they are and if I need to get rid of some or none
<Yes, I'd get rid of this. Grows aggressively in the tank, becomes a pest/plague easily That being said, please tell me more about your tank (how long has it been up, bulbs recently changed, inhabitants - fish, inverts including corals, recent parameters, other recent changes, and do you have a sump/fuge?).
And read here (as well as related articles):
They don't seem to be bothering anything in my tank at the moment.
<Can quickly start to take over, but several natural ways to control growth...very common problem.>
Also they mostly grow on the top of the rock not they sides at all most likely due to the light placement Thanks! Let me know if you need more
pic got plenty.
<Cheers, Misty>

Re: Question about Algae, Grn Hair, contr.  -- 10/4/10
Hey misty! <Hello again :)>
It's a six gal Nano tank been up for two months have live sand with live rock to start up not sure what strength the lights are it came with the system as well as the filter which is built in. I have one tomato clown, one firefish, one scissors tail Dartfish, one zebra barred Dartfish
<OY, these fish all do better in a tank at least 30 gallons in size>
, two cleaner shrimp, two emerald crabs, two turbo snails, three Margarita snails and three mushroom corals...just got the crabs and snails to help control the algae prob. <on the right track with the crabs and snails to help with natural algae control. Since you don't have a sump or refugium, I'd recommend a one-gallon water change at least once a week, making sure that the new saltwater matches the parameters of what's in the tank. With such a small water volume, nutrient export by way of 10-15% frequent water changes will be absolutely necessary for the health of the system/inhabitants. DO also look at some smaller fish choices, as all of your current inhabitants need a larger tank...and I suspect that the tomato clown (one of the "meaner" species) will become aggressive in such a small space...will likely be an issue among the Dartfish/firefish as well. There are some really cute options for Nano tanks, such as the clown gobies, see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobiodon.htm and DEFINITELY read this:
Six gallons is really small...I'd stick with no more than one or two very small fish. I've often thought of adding a Nano tank to my household specifically to keep a cute little clown goby - they are big on personality. I think I smell a larger tank in your future ;)>
<Cheers, Misty>

Green Hair Algae Not Responding To Treatment Attempts/Algae Control 8/18/10
Hello crew.
<Hello Kelly>
I still consider myself a newbie and I'm running into a recurring problem:
Green Hair Algae. I'm new, but I've been aggressive about educating myself but now I'm just stumped and my patience is close to breaking.
The background and specs:
- 75 gals, set up for seven months
- CPR CY194 wet/dry, sans wet/dry media - basically just a 25g sump for the skimmer
<What is your water flow rate?>
- 10g refugium with macroalgae ( primarily Chaeto)
- 350W T5's - half actinic, half 10k's (new)
<Reduce the actinic lighting to 1/2 of what you presently have and replace with 10-12K lamps. Actinic lighting tends to promote nuisance algae growth, and you will be benefiting your corals with more photosynthetically useful light. Actinic lighting does little for coral growth.>
- 80lbs of LR from an established tank
- 40lbs LS, 40lbs "dead" aragonite sand
- 2 small percs w/ gbta, 3 small Chromis, yellow watchmen, 2 pistol shrimp, 3 clown gobies, assorted cleanup crew of snails/hermits
- ... and recently added: 6 large turbo snails and a sea hare.... getting FAT, I'm sure, on all that hair algae.
- Large leather tree, yellow scroll, frog spawn, green star polyps,
- frozen Mysis fed once daily, a bit under 1/2 cube.
On the recommendation of my LFS (and despite my skepticism), I initially filled the tank with tap water run through a carbon canister. Let that run in the tank by itself for a couple weeks before I added the live rock and sand. I recognize this initial use of tap water as the likely problem so I have been doing weekly water changes of ~25g for awhile now. Sometimes I'll throw in a bonus water change mid-week, ~10g (I realize that probably doesn't do much but it makes me feel better to do something). While cycling the tank and also a couple other times between now and then I've ran the sump with phosphate sponges in a media bag.
<Would be better to use a product such as RowaPhos.>
That's where I am today and I've got green hair growing like there is no tomorrow. I even have green hair growing on the Chaeto!
pH 8.6 (I know that's a touch high)
Am/ite/ate 0/0/0
salinity 1.024
phosphate 0
My at-home kit has been testing these levels for awhile. Feeling that
*something had to be higher than my kit was reading (or that I was testing incorrectly) I brought some water in to be tested at the LFS. They found the same results. This is so frustrating because if it had tested positive for anything at all I would know what to do next. But I'm stumped.
Everything I have learned about green hair tells me that phosphates and nitrates are the culprits, of which I *apparently* have none.
<Problem with phosphates is that they are quickly absorbed by the algae, thus the "0" reading.>
All livestock, including the anemone, are healthy and happy. Corals or open and have great polyp extension, the nem has been growing and become more and more beautiful since we purchased it. If water quality readings were being falsely read I would expect to see distress.
I've added the Turbos and sea hare but that is just a Band-Aid...
<Correctly stated.>
I want to get to the source of the problem. I'll continue my water changes. What else can I do? What else can I look in to?
<You didn't mention what type of skimmer you have and/or how often it is cleaned.
A quality skimmer sized correctly for your tank is a big plus. The use of Chemipure or a good grade of activated carbon will also help removed dissolved nutrients from your system.
Lets start by reading here.
<On it's way. James (Salty Dog)>

Severe Hair Algae Problem... Do and read over   7/23/10
Hello All,
I am having a significant hair algae problem, I have searched for the answer on this and many other resources and I have tried many solutions but still I have a problem.
<This tells me nothing re what you've actually done>
First some info on my tank, I have a 115 gallon mixed reef tank, I run 4 power heads in the tank, an Aqua C protein skimmer, a Phosban phosphate reactor
and bio balls in my sump.
<Again, why?>
I run 2 12K halides (these are old and
probably need to be changed) and a set of 50/50's that are relatively new.
I do not have a refugium at this point.
<You'd be better off with...>
I have had this tank for about 2 years now.
<Have you replaced, replenished any of the live rock as of yet?>
I am also making my water with a 6 stage ro/di system.
After testing my tank I have the following results:
Magnesium - 1250
Silica - .2
PH - 8.2
KH - 8
Nitrate - 0
Phosphate - 0
<"Corals" need some/measurable amount of both HPO4 and NO3>
Calcium - 480
<Too high, and disproportionate w/ [Mg]>
Iodate/Iodine - 0
In addition, I have had a little problem regulating my temp on the really hot days, normally my tank is between 76/78 deg but on the hot days it is getting up to 80/82.
<This should be okay>
I began to see the hair algae problem a couple of months ago. It started with green algae on the glass that was hard to remove and hair algae on the rocks. I began to attempt to clean it up by picking it off and suctioning it out and doing weekly water changes. In the meantime I went to the LFS and they told me first to put a sea hare in the tank
<... what/which species? Many sold are cold water animals... that won't live in tropical settings. See WWM re>
which lived about 2 weeks and died. Went back to LFS and they sold me bio available Carbon Source and Complete Bioculture to does <dose?> the tank with, trued <tried?> that for a couple of weeks and the problem didn't lessen in fact it probably got worse.
Finally, I tore down the whole tank last weekend, scrubbed the rock, changed the substrate, did a 25 gallon water change and put it all back together. Today, 4 days after the big clean I am beginning to see the start of green
algae growth on the glass and hair algae on the rocks. Help!!! I am not sure what to do now. I am wondering if my RO/DI system is not good, I just got it around January and it is brand new but I bought it online and not sure how good it is.
<What does the water test like, tap and after going through it?>
I am worried about the silica that may be present in it and I am thinking about having it tested at a specialty filtration
My other concern is the lighting, I am going to purchase some new halides but again not sure if that could be causing this issue. Please let me know if you have any insight as to what I need to do to resolve this problem.
<Let's have you start again. Read here:
and the linked files in the series (above). Read over also the issues I notice (use the search tool on WWM). Bob Fenner>

Re: Nuisance algae question, SW   4/28/10
Thought you might be interested in how this nuisance algae problem has developed after 3 months, or at least the information might be good for your archives.
After further frustration, my LFS owner recommended a product called Algaefix.
<... the active ingredient is gone over and over on WWM... toxic outright... and the use, even further toxic>
I was reluctant to use a chemical solution, but it did work.
Unlike ethanol, it did not kill the algae. after a few weeks, the apparently healthy hair algae peeled off the rock with ease. A little elbow grease was necessary to get the rest out with a brush, but my aquarium is now basically free of hair algae. There were a few side effects: it killed one particular species of Zoanthid entirely, as well as my Anthelia. All other Zoanthids, corals, and clams were and are fine, as are my fish. So there's that.
What I did learn in this process is that the hair algae was 100% associated with detritus.
<Mmm, maybe these are positively correlated... but not necessarily... i.e. both can exist w/o the other. Conditions that allow/engender detrital accumulation DO encourage algal growth>
Where detritus collected, the algae grew. With my skimmer and running Rowaphos, my nitrate and phosphate levels were completely undetectable. However, I assume there was a lot of both locked up in the detritus that settled on the rock.
<Likely so>
I placed another Tunze stream (Nano) in the lower back corner to blow water through the rock structure. A also
began using filter socks again (rotated out every 3-4 days) on the overflow to my sump, immediately before the skimmer. And I regularly blow detritus off the rock with a turkey baster. This combination seems to do the
I thought I had enough flow with the original Tunze Stream and wavebox but, in retrospect, I think the flaw is the rock structure. If I could go back and do it again, I would build some PVC shelves to elevate the rock and
improve flow.
<Easily enough done with your next re-model!>
<Thank you for sharing Ed. BobF>

Algae... SW... no reading    4/28/10
<Hi Jim>
I have had a bad algae bloom for 3 months now. I clean the rocks do water changes and within a week to two I have long hair green algae.
I have snails I even got a big slug to eat it. (He died within a week, ate <sic> to much J)
It's 75 gallons- Protein skimmer, under tank sump filter, Power heads and Reef lighting.
<Not enough info here, but.. have you perused our FAQ's on this? All the methods for control are gone over and
over.. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm>
Live Rock one anemone a clown fish and one goby.
What can I do it's starting to get really frustrating.
<Agreed. Maybe one of the smaller-growing Rabbitfish might help here.. an S. doliatus perhaps..http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2008-12/fish/index.php..
assuming of course you have tries all other avenues first...>

High pH And Tons Of Hair Algae/Lacking Useful Info 4/18/10
Hey guys and gals,
I have a ton of hair algae and a reoccurring pH spike issue. Most of my 5yr old, 90 gallon tank is wrecked but one scooter and blood red shrimp continue to fight on. I also have a huge frog spawn (which is hiding and 1/2 dead)
and a giant anemone which used to have 2 breeding orange skunks who were killed by whatever is causing my pH spike. (I assume). I have been using Instant Ocean and doing very frequent water changes. Every time I did a water change, it seemed to shock the anemone. I've changed out the metal halides and my RO/DI filters. I dont know what else to do!
I have a well established 90 gallon tank with a 20 gallon sump/refugium.
The refugium has a DSB and Caulerpa. The pH seems to spike from 8 to 9. I add white vinegar to bring it back down but in a week or less, it's back to 9.0.
I want to get rid of the hair algae and pH issue! HELP!
<Dan, what is your dKH? High dKH levels can cause high pH readings. Have you compared your pH reading with that of another test kit. Is possible your test kit may be giving you a higher reading than what the actual condition is.
As to the algae problem, what are your nitrate and phosphate levels? What additives are you using, and the frequency of dosing each. I need you to draw me a better picture than what you stated above. Do get back with me. James (Salty Dog)>

Green hair algae question   2/28/10
Hi there!
<Uhh, where's the prev. corr.? We can't tell whom you've been corr. with or what you're referring to>
Thanks for answer a while back on my striped mushroom. The little one is growing very nicely. About half the size of a dime now.
I have a new question though. When I set up my tank in October I started having green algae on one of my rocks. My LFS told me to leave it and that I would get something to eat it once it was established. Well I got red &
blue leg hermit crabs, a lawnmower blenny and two emerald crabs. None of these are interested at all in this algae.
<There are MANY unpalatable types>
So my question is...if I flip the rock over and the algae dies from lack of light will it pollute the water?
<Mmm, might>
This way I can keep up with new growth on the other side of the rock instead of letting it grow too heavy like it is now.
Thanks in advance!
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/avoidingalgaeproblesm.htm
and the linked files... Bob Fenner>

algae, contr., SW    2/26/10
<Hi Dean>
I have an ongoing problem I hope you can help me with.
<I'll try>
I have a 125G salt tank with about 100 pounds of live rock and 8-10 fish. I have been battling hair algae for about 3 of the 6 months this tank has been set up.
<Look to your stocking/ feeding>
I bought a Aquaripure nitrate removing filter a couple weeks ago and currently waiting on that to establish.
<This is a denitrator. Be aware that these are difficult to run without an ORP computer>
My filtration is a Marineland Tidepool with the single large BioWheel.
<An integrated sump. Does the wheel trap debris?>
Should I remove it, and if so how?
<With the amount of live rock you have you could probably safely remove this, assuming your fishes are not too large. If they are then that is your problem, not the wheel>.
Is this wheel causing my algae breakout?
<Probably not>
My nitrates read 0 but could be a false reading if algae is consuming it all.
<I have to ask -- if your nitrates are so low why have you added a denitrator? All life needs some NO3 and you will deprive your system of it with this>
I feed sparingly and remove phosphates.
<How are you removing this, and what are your test results for it?>
Should I remove the wheel? I can't remove it slowly like removing a few bio balls at a time but can maybe stop it from spinning then remove later. I have done all the tricks for the hair algae there is but I'm convinced it's this wheel.
<You could try removing it, but I doubt if this is THE answer. Combating algae problems is best done by 'attacking from all fronts'. Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm. Maybe try a refugium set up to out-compete the algae>
<Cheers, Simon>

26/02/10 Re: Hair algae
<Hello Dean>
Thanks for your response.
<No problem>
As for fish, I have a Yellow Tang, 2 Brown Tangs
<Are these Ctenochaetus? What species?>
, 3-4 Damsels, a Lawnmower Blenny
<I would be surprised if this is getting along with your Brown Tangs>, Scooter Blenny, Copperband Butterfly.
<This is overstocked with three Tangs, depending on what they are and how big depends on how much overstocked. Please capitalise these names in future correspondence Dean if you could>
I am feeding dry algae sheets every other day,
<How much? Are these eaten immediately or do you leave them in the tank?>
frozen brine once a day that I rinse in RO water, and sometimes shrimp that is also rinsed in RO water.
I run the Aquaripure because I was told you do not want any nitrates in a tank, and I do not know what a ORP computer is.
<Mmm, you do need 'some' NO3, these units can efficiently remove all, to the detriment of the system. They should only be employed when nitrates are high, and yours are not. An ORP computer is a computer that measures/ adjusts the Oxidation Reduction Potential inside the denitrator. This turns the pump/ flow on and off when required. Without this, you will find you are constantly fiddling around with drip/ flow rates etc. Also there are some bad H2S smells that can come out of these units because they are operating in anoxic conditions. The computer prevents this.>
I doubt the BioWheel is trapping much debris <Me neither> but I have removed it and in its place I added live rock rubble.
<Mmm, may be counterproductive here>
Other than the fish I have 3-4 Mushrooms, a Leather, Zoanthids and polyps. Also one Anemone. Could it be my feeding and if so, how much would you feed and what?
The algae really took off when I installed a new MH light with fluorescents. Also I am looking into a refugium set up now.
<This will help, benefit>
Bought some macro for the tank.
<Yes, this is a good weapon>
Thanks Dean
<No problem Dean. You really need to attack this from all directions, and your main weapon is good old fashioned elbow grease. Removing algae, water changes etc. Grow some competing macroalgaes, reduce numbers of fishes, maybe look to using some GFO in a reactor to limit PO4, aggressive skimming. There are many other small things you can do, learn about by reading. Spend some time trawling through the FAQ's here on WWM, there are MANY such. These problems are difficult but also beatable. Simon.>

At my wits end - Hair Algae and Aiptasia   1/18/10
Hi WetWeb, <Hi Matthew> I'm a little stuck and hoping you might have some advice. <I'll do my best> 400L - 2 Clown<s> + Bubble anemone, 2 Blue Tang <s> <Which 'blue'? Not enough space here for two, I'd reduce this to one>, 1 Rabbit fish, 1 Hawk fish, 1 Bi-colour Lawnmower Blenny <Please capitalise names of fishes and invertebrates Matthew, I've had to go through and correct all of these>,1 very large Brittle Star - and a darn 'clicking' Mantis Shrimp <Mmm>. I fed my fish a mussel which was fine but unfortunately left the mussel shell in the tank for a few days before removal <Should not cause a problem in a 'balanced' system>. I also added "live" sand to my tank.....not the best start. I have a feeling the live sand has just polluted my tank. *grumble* <shouldn't unless it was very dirty>
Since then I have green hair algae and Aiptasia growing through my tank.(I think it came from the mussel) <not likely>. So here's what I have tried:
Checked the water - all fine except phosphates showed a medium reading <and is probably the root of your cause>. Minimised bright lighting to 3 hours a day and kept the blinds down <For how long? Your anemone NEEDS this light, and you have stated that you have high phosphates, so the light is not the issue>. I performed some large water changes (using filtered seawater only) <Is this real seawater? If so, how is it filtered? Have you tested this water for nitrate and phosphate?> and swapped out my filter medium <I would probably have removed this completely - what filter medium and where is it kept?>
I minimised the amount of food entering the tank (I feed them only frozen brine cubes <not nutritious, try Mysis> and dried seaweed <ok>)
I now only feed them spectrum(dry food) <Is a good food> with a little brine once a week. Added a weed to my sump with a light to try and absorb additional phosphates.
<Good move as competition for nutrients is required in any battle with algae> Introduced 3 Peppermint Shrimp -but I think my Hawk fish ate these <or the mantis - and these are not really effective Aiptasia eaters>. Added 2 large blue star fish - They move around the tank and look happy enough but little dent in the algae
Added 2 Rhombus snails - Which are munching but are barley having a noticeable impact. Added two additional lawn mower blennies.<two? These are very territorial>.
one <One> fell victim to the Mantis Shrimp I think <Just as likely to have fallen victim to the other blenny. Did you research these animals before adding them?>. the <The> other isn't making much of an impact although is growing.
Added a large and active abalone....it seemed ok for a while then it shrank and died. Starvation perhaps? <hmmm, too much going on here to tell. Have you looked here? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/abalones.htm >. Weird with all the algae about.
Still not much progress - So moving the rocks I pulled a little of the algae off and manually killed many of the aphasia <Aiptasia> as I could <full stop here?>
A little better but then growth returned...as I type this I have just removed 90% of the sand in my tank leaving only a dusting to cover the glass bottom as I figured the live sand must be the culprit. <No, an unbalanced system is what you have, with nutrients as the root cause, and it seems that you are trying to add a host of creatures to control this without fixing the underlying problem. All these creatures are doing is adding to the bioload, you are treating the symptom here and not the cause. Herbivores are all well and good, but they must be utilised as part of a well thought out plan and not relied upon for algae control>.
So what to do next? <I would start by removing one of the 'Blue' (Paracanthurus?) Tangs, and keep plugging away with the maintenance/ water changes. Grow the algae (Chaeto?) on a reverse-lit photoperiod to out-compete the pest elements. Maybe try some Iron based media in a reactor until your phosphate tests 0.003ppm. Test your source water. There are many other approaches and you need to formulate a plan, see here and the related FAQ's: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm.>
I read that perhaps I could introduce certain crabs but reading WWM, I hear Bob is usually not pro-crabs in the tank and besides, I am guessing my 'clicking' Mantis shrimp will likely take them out (Had 6 black crabs (live rock hitch hikers) in the tank previously which are now all gone) <Don't add anything else at all, least of all crabs>
So my next steps might be...dispatch the shrimp, add some crabs and cross what I can !! <No> I have attached a photo showing algae and one or two cheeky aptasias <Aiptasias>. I was hoping that perhaps you have some additional ideas on things I haven't thought of. <I have posted some here but there are many other things that you can do> (Perhaps a small muzzle for my Hawk fish so I can add more peppermint shrimp?) <Matthew, I have spent a long time correcting this post with punctuation and capitals/ spelling, there are so many errors that I don't even think I've got them all, and I do not now have time to go back through. You will get a better and speedier response if you follow the directions here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wwmadminsubwebindex/question_page.htm > Regards -- M Matthew Stedman <Simon>

Green Haired Algae   1/16/10
Hi Folks <Hi Brian> This is my first time visiting your site, as you were recommended by a friend <welcome to WWM!>. I have a problem with green haired algae <as do many>. I kinda let my 90 Gal marine tank go as far as maintenance goes as I got very busy (I know no excuse) anyway I have been battling green haired algae for 6 weeks now & am not making much progress <Can be a long-term struggle>.My system 90 gal, 20 gal sump, 130 lbs live rock, 2" live sand bed, no coral but would like to start, in sump aqua medic protein skimmer <the make I use - efficient and reliable>. I was using Instant Ocean Salt but started using Red Sea Coral Pro as I heard that Instant Ocean was not really a good salt <Mmmm> & that Red Sea is naturally harvested and a much better salt <sounds like a marketing ploy to me, although this is a good salt>, started Red Sea 6 weeks ago hoping that a better salt would help to get rid of the algae <not likely>, I pulled all the rock out and brushed every piece in the water I took out for changes <labour intensive, but ok>. I am doing 20% water change weekly, (I prepare my water 48hrs ahead with air line, heater & powerhead for circulation) I also have 4 #3 Hydor power heads in my tank. All my levels are right on the money including my phosphate <but one persons 'right on the money' might not be someone else's - what are the actual numbers please?>, I vacuum the sand as well to get out the algae <? the algae is on the sand? Is this BGA (Cyano?) or hair algae as stated? I would only vacuum Cyano off the sand, otherwise if there is not a major nutrient issue (as you seem to indicate)then I would question the act of sand vacuuming, depending on grain size and depth>. I have a 48" Current 6 tube Light Fixture 3 white's 3 blues running 10 hrs a day <This is a T5 fixture I am guessing, but I don't think excessive light is the issue here> Have scrubbed the rock twice now in 6 weeks and the algae keeps coming back <yes>. It's improved a lot in 6 weeks but still growing <keep pushing on, this is war!>, I'm not over feeding once a day <ok>. 3 tangs <3 tangs in a 90? What tangs and what size? Your tank is not suitable for 3 tangs> -2 clowns-clean up crew-cleaner shrimp <ok>. Do you have any suggestions how I can get rid of this pesky algae <a few, yes>, are there any additives that you know of THAT WORK! or am I doing something wrong. <No such thing as additives that work I'm afraid. There are no easy or 'quick' fixes here. 1) You have not stated your actual levels, so I will assume from your post they are low. This means that you are in a 'war of attrition' with this algae and that you need to keep pulling it out and keep doing the water changes etc. Try using a turkey baster on your live rock where the algae is growing to blow the detritus out of the rock there. 2) You state that you had not maintained this tank for a while, so now you are left with this problem. That is part of the issue. 3) Your tank is overstocked with three tangs. If it were me, mine, I would be looking at replacing two of the tangs (the two largest growers whichever they are) with one of the smaller-growing Rabbitfishes (Such as an S. Doliatus) to reduce the load on the tank and introduce a real algae eater that might actually tackle this stuff head on. If you do this don't forget to quarantine! In the meantime please read here and get some other opinions on what is a very common nutrient-related problem: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm >Thanks <no worries> Brian <Simon>

Green/Hair alg. control, SW 1/4/2010
Hello. Love the site... look it over all the time and you've helped me a couple of times, thanks. Have a question that I couldn't quite find the answer to. I went away for 6 weeks and had my daughter take care if my two tanks... a 46 gallon and a 72 gallon. She had taken care of them before and did fine with them. The 72 gallon was fine but this time, I came home to find the 46 gallon over taken with green hair algae which I have been trying to get a hold of for 5 months now with water changes and manually taking it out all of the time. It is all over the place. I have only had that tank for 2 years and the other for 1 but have had much success with them other than this. They are full of coral and some fish and the parameters have always been right on. I use r/o water and I hope my question is easy...
can I do a 50% water change a week to knock it out without making my tank cycle again or mess the parameters up?
<Likely so>
I hope that this will help me as I am battling way too hard.
Thanks in advance.
<Best to take ones time here. Green/Hair algae is not "that" toxic...
Perhaps review other general strategies for control:
and the linked files above... A refugium... competing macro-algal culture there... on a RDP light period, a DSB... predation... Bob Fenner>

Re: 46 gallon over taken with green hair algae    1/16/10
Sorry it took me so long for my reply, had knee surgery and just got back on my computer... another thing to help me battle this. Thank you so much for the information... I will look all this over.
<Real good>
I do have a small refugium hooked up on the back. I ordered some extra red legged and blue legged hermits, some Mexican Turbos which have already started helping, and bought a Rabbitfish which I don't know will help but I liked. Hopefully with these, the water changes, the extra reading will help me win the battle.
Thanks again!
<Welcome, and speedy recovery! BobF>

Hair Algae 12/30/09
I had a bad hair algae problem develop. Nothing really became a problem until I left on vacation for 10 days. I tried to measure out food for my tank sitter,
<Good idea>
but I must have measured (way!) too much. I've been reading as much as I can on this site for help to get the rather extreme problem under control, with some success. About five days ago, the green hair completely crashed. Basically all of the green hair is now gray and dead or dying. My skimmate has turned a nasty green color.
I've been trying to siphon out all of the dead and dying green hair.
This sudden crash has caused some havoc with my system. Most noticeably, my ph has been in a constant free fall for several days. 
<Keep changing water...>
I write to discuss whether my current course of action is appropriate to resolution of the problem. I've been siphoning out as much as possible.
The siphoning includes an approximately 10% water change. I've done this twice in the five days. However, other than replacing the carbon, I don't really have any other strategy for restoring order. Any thoughts?
<All sorts... you might want to, even need to resort to pH buffer/ing... but w/o actual values, I would just keep siphoning. Have you read here:
and the linked files above in the series? On WWM re Alkalinity/reserve? Bob Fenner>
Timothy J. Hoppa
Re: Hair Algae 12/30/09
Thanks for your reply. I can't express how useful WWM has been in my short reef career. I've read all the FAQs on Green Hair, and I attribute this reading to the death of the green hair algae.
Unfortunately for me, it all died at basically the same time.
<Such crashes can be big trouble as we both know>
I've also read the articles on alkalinity and my confusion on this topic prompted my original email. I've been using a variety of techniques for maintaining and/or increasing ph during this rough period.
Specifically, I've moved a powerhead output closer to the surface to increase agitation, I've added Sodium Carbonate (self-cooked) and used Mr. Calfo's Kalk slurry.
<Mmm, I'd either just use a good (manufacturer's) product here or simple sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) additions likely>
I use a SeaChem alkalinity test kit. Today it read 3 mEq/l, which is down quite a bit (looking at my heater, I feel pretty certain as to where it went). To increase my ph, I added about a teaspoon of sodium carbonate to my 90 gal. tank.
As you can see on the attached, ph has been in an ok-ish range during the last two days. However, during the daylight hours, it's on a steady decline, losing ~.1 every couple hours. I would have expected something different.
<Again... just the bicarb... or the commercial prep.>
This is why I've turned to water changes (when all else fails...).
Seems to be working. Any reason to adopt a different course?
<Mmm, no, not really... What you are doing presently will very likely work out long term. BobF>

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Marine Aquarium Algae Control

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