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Hair Algae outbreak Please help

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beege29 View Drop Down
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    Posted: May 09 2017 at 10:24am
still battling the giant outbreak of hair algae. it's so ugly. brown and long. Have tried dosing vodka. black out lights. cut back water changes. changed gfo. i don't have a skimmer. using canister filter. the turbo snails and ceriths won't touch it neither will the sailfin or starry blenny. I want to order a cleaner package from reef cleaners but I dont want to spend 50$ if the ceriths and nerites and nassarius wont touch it either. any suggestions on the snails?
90 gallon mixed reef
30 gallon sump
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Krazie4Acans View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 10:37am
I guess I need to go find your other thread to see why some of these things were tried.

Here are my thoughts:
Vodka (or any other carbon dosing) without a skimmer is counter productive and will most likely make the problem worse.
Black out lights will slow the growth but if the underlying problem isn't solved then it will just come back again when the lights are turned back on.
Why cut back on water changes? Hair algae is a sign that there is a nutrient issue in the tank and on a system with a canister filter the best way to manage those nutrients is large water changes.
Running GFO will help with part of the problem (the Phosphates) but you still need to reduce the Nitrates as well (again large water changes).
Pulling the algae out by hand to reduce the length and amount in the tank. This will help get your fish and CUC to work on it. Most will not touch it when it's really long. Once it's just short fuzz they should get to work on it.
Nassarius snails do not eat algae. They eat detritus in the sand bed so will be little help on the problem you are describing but could help remove some of the stuff breaking down in the tank that is producing the nutrients feeding the algae.
Crabs will do better at removing large amounts of longer hair algae and then the snails will help clean up whats left. This is all dependent on improving the water chemistry and correcting the base issue of nutrients in your system.

I hope that helps somewhere in all of that.


Edited by Krazie4Acans - May 09 2017 at 10:41am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 10:44am
Hand removal. If you can, take out the rocks and scrub it off with a tooth brush. Scrub down the back and anywhere else it is. Then do a giant water change (like 80%), run the skimmer pretty wet. Also, i would invest in ozone treatment or an algae scrubber.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote electricreefer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 12:06pm

Hello,

Completely agree with Krazie statements. Are you certain that you have identified the type of algae that it is? Maybe if you could post a picture of the algae that may help. I only say this because there are more types of algae than I can count and some things that look like algae but aren't. There are people on this forum that are much more experienced and educated than I am when it comes to algae, but I would suspect that they would probably inquire about pictures and tank stats (No3,PO4,Etc...) as well. Maybe you posted it elsewhere? Word of caution for what its worth.... Don't buy any livestock to try and battle the problem unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are dealing with, and even then there may be other alternatives that will be more successful. Good luck!

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Krazie4Acans View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 12:31pm
Agreed. A picture would help as would test results. The other thing that can affect this dramatically is lighting. What kind of lights are you running on this tank?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote electricreefer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 12:49pm
Just found his original post from 4/28 where he posted more info. If nitrates and phosphates are truly always zero, and you your TDS is zero for your makeup/WC water then perhaps you aren't dealing with hair algae? I have never had or seen in person brown hair algae so I can't really give great advice on that although I'm sure cause and effect is the same or very close to that of GHA. When you say it's long and brown is it slimey? What happens when you reach in and pull patches off the rocks? How long does it take before the patch returns? Also I'm not sure where you get your RO but just because it's from an LFS doesn't always mean it's good! Have you personally tested your TDS? Have you tested your test kits against others? These can lie too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beege29 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 12:51pm
I will start with the test kits and removing some by hand. thanks all
90 gallon mixed reef
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2017 at 5:34pm
Is there a pic of this algae somewhere so we can be sure we are giving the best adviceQuestion Here are some bits of advice regarding algae which I have learned from members of this group and many years of keeping reef aquariums.
 
Look in this WMAS Newsletter to read my story of how I rid my tank of Hair Algae. Look at the articles "Saving a Reef" and "RDP Filtration".

Algae is the best water cleaner in the world because of how it eats all three Nitrogen compounds as well as Phosphate pollution, even before a test kit can show it. Test results at zero are always expected in a tank where there is lots of robust algae growth.

In these situations, because N and P are near/at zero, water changes are absolutely worthless and because new salt water contains trace elements that also feed algae, reducing/stopping water changes is an important help to getting algae under control.

A lid over the top of a reef aquarium creates a lack of gas exchange at the water surface. This keeps CO2 in and O2 out. Not good! This makes water pH go below 7.8, especially at night.  A decline in pH at night is due to the stopping of photosynthesis which makes plants/algae use O2 and exhale CO2. Extra CO2 and low pH create an ideal condition for algae growth (and stresses animals, leading to poor health and a bloom of the Ich parasite).

The setup of a Reverse Daylight Refugium (see the article in the link above) is one of the best ways to combat nuisance algae. Otherwise, where a Refugium is not practical, make sure there is excessive water flow and turbulence of surface water to "de-gas" the aquarium. Setting a powerhead down low pointing up to the surface is an easy way to create essential gas exchange.

Canister (read external) filters and any sponge or floss filter (including filter bags), unless cleaned every week or so, are generally bad news for a reef aquarium because of how they harbor nitrifying bacteria producing excess Nitrate which grows algae like crazy.

Darkening the tank must be done long enough, complete enough and for enough times to cause the algae to start dying so that it becomes more tasty to the herbivores. The same algae, grown in different tanks, will taste different. Older growth algae is tough and bitter, whereas algae that is dying and/or dead tastes better to many herbivorous animals.

The most common problem in reef aquariums is where little nubs of tender algae start to grow out of control. Before the hobbyist realizes it, there is a full blown algae bloom. These tender nubs of algae would have been eaten, if there had been sufficient numbers of herbivorous snails, algae eating bugs, fish and hermits. 

I cannot overemphasize the need for tons of herbivores to eat algae and keep it under control, especially in new tanks (tanks less than one year old). I agree with what has been said by others that sometimes the best way to deal with this is to scrub the algae off the rocks with a toothbrush trying not to let the LR stay long out of water. After brushing, getting bubbles out of the LR by twisting, turning and shaking the LR underwater prevents new pollution which would otherwise cause more algae growth.

Hope this helps.
Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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