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Old 08/19/2018, 09:06 AM   #1
Horace
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Nitrate Dosing, Carbon Dosing, Po4 Remover...Still HA...

Hey folks,

I have been fighting a long battle with Hair Algae that I have been unable to get control of. However, before you start with the common responses of Control your feeding, lower lights, add po4 remover blah blah, know that I am not a novice reefer. I am aware of the fundamentals and then some .

What I would like to hear some expert opinions on is how I should continue to battle. Fundamentally I KNOW I NEED TO KNOCK OUT THE NUTRIENTS.....but I am looking for opinions on next steps.

I have been testing nutrients in my system from the start, but to my continued surprise, my water tests at basically 0/0 No3/Po4 with my test kits. I realize they are not likely accurate, but the fact that they show no detectable nutrients is very telling, and does indicate at the least that my nutrients are NOT built up in my water column like most observe.

So far I have the following action in play:

1. I have been running po4 remover (Rowaphos) for at least 6 months and continue to do so.

2. I have been running activated carbon since the start of the tank (about a year now).

3. the last 1+ month I have been dosing Vinegar. I am now up to dosing about 100ml+ per day to my roughly 215g total system volume.

4. I have a Lifereef skimmer which is pulling a fair amount of gunk.

5. I have a Rollermat that is constantly keeping semi-fresh filter floss in my system (IE I dont leave rotting filter bags in the tank.)

6. I have Chaeto section in my sump (more on this in a sec)

7. I used to have a Algae Turf Scrubber on the tank that I built. It worked well but was a MAJOR maintenance item that I didnt want to deal with any longer so it has been removed (Algae was an issue then as well). It was also loud, which I disliked (water splashing/draining from the box).

8. After reading about some folks needing to actually dose No3 to get the Po4 down (I can only assume at this point I have Po4 since the HA continues to grow). I dosed approximately 3-4ppm of Nitrate (via KNo3) to the tank. This Nitrate was nearly INSTANTLY absorbed by the tank. The Cheato ball nearly tripped in size in a matter of a few days (its now about the size of a soccer ball), and if anything the HA in the display is worse than before (though not much).

9. I have a fairly small clean up crew, and perhaps some help here is in order, but I have a large Melanaris wrasse so some of my options are limited. I do have a couple urchins, one fairly good size Long Spine, and a pin cushion a bit larger than a golf ball. Both are quite active....

So as far as I am concerned, I am basically doing everything that I know of to try to starve the tank of nutrients, short of starving my fish (I really dont think I overfeed them!). I have about 12 medium to small fish in the 180g tank. The largest being a 4" Blue Tang, and they go down from there.

So my question to you all is how would you proceed? Would you keep dosing the No3??? (I have not added further No3 since the first few doses). Should I continue to ramp up the Vinegar? More P04 Remover??? Honestly I am a bit at wits end here.....I want this freggin HA gone, and it is being EXTREMELY subborn and resistant to any Nutrient reduction, and from the look of it, is absorbing the nutrients so fast that my other methods of attacking the nutrients are apparently not out competing the HA....

My thoughts on next steps are to incorporate a more aggressive bacteria program like Zeovit (I have had success with this in the past, but really dont want to add that maintenance intensive routine and significant cost to my tank)


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Old 08/19/2018, 05:29 PM   #2
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A few random thoughts.

Algae can obtain nitrogen from sources other than nitrate and it might not be from the water column. Locally, enough phosphates and nitrogen compounds may be seeping from the substrate but not enough to accumulate to measure with hobby kits. I believe this is why increased circulation can help in some cases of cyanobacteria infestations. Never heard it working for hair algae eradication though. So, if you are happy with your circulation, consider using a turkey baster to “blow” water over the hair algae mats to see if they are accumulating detritus. They might be creating microenvironments of nutrient accumulation and feeding themselves or just choking out encrusting algae like coralline.

Dosing carbon, bacterial competition for nitrogen, seems like a reasonable approach, though you are getting close to the upper limit where bacteria floc start to appear. I don’t recall reading it as a sure cure for nuisance algae. Maybe continue dosing awhile longer, but watch your alkalinity. It might start creeping upwards.

Hair algae seems to be a great competitor for nutrients. Maybe it is time to get physical. Can you increase the grazers? Borrow a hundred snails for a month?can hou physically scrape any off?

Aren’t there chemical attacks with fluconazole or hydrogen peroxide?

You have a tough problem and seem to be doing all the right things.


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Old 08/19/2018, 06:26 PM   #3
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yeah, I can get to some of it, but my rock is super porous and it is attached "down in there". I dont really have much of any algae on the sand bed itself, but you may be on to something with the turkey baster. I do have a ton of flow in the tank, but those little nooks and crannies in the rock def would trap stuff. Perhaps not coincidentially one of the worst areas is right under one of my main circ pumps ( have two opposing CP40 Cross flows blowing the length of the tank....there is a TON of flow in there, and the are only running at 40%.....maybe its time to crank them up a bit and get my hands in the tank. Yeah maybe a few mexican turbos are in order . I dont have much in the way of corals at this point (i really wanted to get this HA in order before adding any sensitive corals). I guess I will just continue with the chemical warfare and add to it more manually pulling (I find a toothbrush works pretty good), and some additional eaters.

Perhaps a lawnmower Blenny????


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Old 08/20/2018, 04:49 AM   #4
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Fluconazole... DO IT... DO IT..
It works very well.. Dump it in.. Give it 2-3 weeks... GHA gone..

How old is the tank?


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Old 08/20/2018, 07:49 AM   #5
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Fluconazole... DO IT... DO IT..
It works very well.. Dump it in.. Give it 2-3 weeks... GHA gone..

How old is the tank?
I may give the Fluconazole a shot. I think I just need to knock it out so other methods can take over. Getting over that HA competition hump seems to be a real *****!

Tank is approaching 1 year...so IMO it should be beyond the nuicense algae phases.

My last tank NEVER had algae issues....ever...so to have a significant problem from day one like this tank has really had me scratching my head.

The one major difference between this tank and the last is I used mainly dead rock (Marco if I recall correctly). I am thinking they may be leaching Po4, but I am uncertain...


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Old 08/20/2018, 09:10 AM   #6
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I may give the Fluconazole a shot. I think I just need to knock it out so other methods can take over. Getting over that HA competition hump seems to be a real *****!

Tank is approaching 1 year...so IMO it should be beyond the nuicense algae phases.
Give Fluc a try.. It works great...

And no... There is no "after 1 year algae stops"... Algae can/will occur at any phase/age of a tank if conditions are right..
The conditions for algae can be the exact same conditions that make corals and other marine life happy.. Its all about who takes hold the best..


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Old 08/20/2018, 10:08 AM   #7
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Give Fluc a try.. It works great...

And no... There is no "after 1 year algae stops"... Algae can/will occur at any phase/age of a tank if conditions are right..
The conditions for algae can be the exact same conditions that make corals and other marine life happy.. Its all about who takes hold the best..
Yep, understood, I am just referring to the common comment about the expected early cycles when you expect to see this stuff. I realize you def can and will get algae at any phase under the right conditions.

I ordered some Fluc....While I historically am very much against chem treatment of issues like this, I really feel that my husbandry thus far has been solid, and I think once i get this under control, I think I can keep it minimized long term. I think i would have to really starve the tank substantially to get the HA out at this point, and I have never had luck with corals under those conditions.

Part of my plan is to actually get more corals, seeing corals themselves serve as a No3/Po4 sink as well....right now I have just a few zoos (literally). I think adding some softies like leathers and some fast growing Montis (digis and caps) should also help create a nice nutrient sink.


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Old 08/25/2018, 10:34 AM   #8
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I installed an algae scrubber from these folks:
https://www.expressions-ltd.com/coll...lgae-scrubbers
I’ve been running for 2 months now and seeing good results. Removing and cleaning the screen has been very easy and only takes a few minutes. Strange that they’re not strictly speaking in the aquarium business, but I believe it’s a solid product.


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Old 08/26/2018, 11:55 AM   #9
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If you want to increase Nitrates to pull out PO4, I would remove the macro algae so it doesn't take up instantly the No3. Then start the vodka method to pull both the nitrate and Phosphate out together in ratio.

hope that made sense


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Old 09/10/2018, 12:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgyvr View Post
Give Fluc a try.. It works great...

And no... There is no "after 1 year algae stops"... Algae can/will occur at any phase/age of a tank if conditions are right..
The conditions for algae can be the exact same conditions that make corals and other marine life happy.. Its all about who takes hold the best..
Where and under what name can you purchase fluconazole?


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Old 09/10/2018, 05:14 PM   #11
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Where and under what name can you purchase fluconazole?
Reef Flux... Amazon or other retailers..


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Old 09/13/2018, 07:21 PM   #12
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I had to do a major renovation to my reef tank because of hair algae. Moved the corals, Removed most of the rock work, put some in my sump and some to die in the sun. Manual removal, aggressive algae crew, and intense macro algae in refugium to out compete the hair. I added a few fish to add nitrogen for my macros. Put the dead rock back after a month So far so good


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Old 09/16/2018, 04:21 AM   #13
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If you want to increase Nitrates to pull out PO4, I would remove the macro algae so it doesn't take up instantly the No3. Then start the vodka method to pull both the nitrate and Phosphate out together in ratio.

hope that made sense

Does not make sense!

When phytoplankton grows it absorbs C/N/P in the ratio of 116/16/1.

When macro grows, it absorbs C/N/P in the ratio of 560/30/1. So, when macro absorbs ammonia it also must absorb phosphate and carbon in those ratios.


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Old 09/16/2018, 05:25 AM   #14
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Have you tried a sea hare? I have not personally used one but most feedback I hear is they are so good at the job you end up taking them back to the LFS so they won't starve.


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Old 09/16/2018, 05:27 AM   #15
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Does not make sense!

When phytoplankton grows it absorbs C/N/P in the ratio of 116/16/1.

When macro grows, it absorbs C/N/P in the ratio of 560/30/1. So, when macro absorbs ammonia it also must absorb phosphate and carbon in those ratios.

Let’s ignore the carbon part of this comparison because CO2 is abundant for phytoplankton and macro algae. The 30:1 and 16:1 N:P ratios both tell a similar story. More nitrogen is needed than phosphorous. That’s the big picture and a generalization of elemental needs.

Organisms can also build up reservoirs of these elements in times of plenty, throwing off the ratio. Similarly, rate of growth disturbs the ratio. The stoichiometric ratio is a rough number of what an organism needs, on average but not necessarily what it absorbs.

Organisms in general absorb material with wide range of stoichiometric ratios and eliminate the excess. Organism use material for biomass, the elements of which are reflected in the stoichiometric ratio. The elements absorbed for energy production may not. The biomass stoichiometry is instructive but does not reflect what an organism absorbs, just what its elemental goal is.


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Old 09/17/2018, 04:40 AM   #16
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Let’s ignore the carbon part of this comparison because CO2 is abundant for phytoplankton and macro algae. The 30:1 and 16:1 N:P ratios both tell a similar story. More nitrogen is needed than phosphorous. That’s the big picture and a generalization of elemental needs.

Organisms can also build up reservoirs of these elements in times of plenty, throwing off the ratio. Similarly, rate of growth disturbs the ratio. The stoichiometric ratio is a rough number of what an organism needs, on average but not necessarily what it absorbs.

Organisms in general absorb material with wide range of stoichiometric ratios and eliminate the excess. Organism use material for biomass, the elements of which are reflected in the stoichiometric ratio. The elements absorbed for energy production may not. The biomass stoichiometry is instructive but does not reflect what an organism absorbs, just what its elemental goal is.
Spot on. Macro is a sponge and it will absorb what is in the water. “Eliminate the excess” is interesting and explains why some macro is so messy with giving off DOC.

When I first starting growing macro, it was to produce a fresh live food from the sea. Red Ogo, Gracilaria Parvispora, has been a mainstay of Hawaiian diet for centuries. After setting up 10K gallons of tumble culture in my greenhouse, I found out that the high sulfur content of Trinity aquifier water ruined the marketability of Red Ogo as a human food.


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Old 09/17/2018, 06:44 AM   #17
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Spot on. Macro is a sponge and it will absorb what is in the water. “Eliminate the excess” is interesting and explains why some macro is so messy with giving off DOC.

When I first starting growing macro, it was to produce a fresh live food from the sea. Red Ogo, Gracilaria Parvispora, has been a mainstay of Hawaiian diet for centuries. After setting up 10K gallons of tumble culture in my greenhouse, I found out that the high sulfur content of Trinity aquifier water ruined the marketability of Red Ogo as a human food.
Interesting example. Too bad about the sulfur.

Another reason that algae exude DOC is that they cannot turn off photosynthesis when production of carbohydrate exceeds the demand. So, these organisms dump it to the water. This might be viewed as intermittent carbon dosing or potentialy intermittent poisoning of coral (some sugars are toxic to certain coral).


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Old 09/17/2018, 07:07 AM   #18
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I just finished 2 weeks of the antifungal med fluconazole at twice the usual dose. Before starting, I pulled as much algae out then dosed the tank. I had bryopsis and hair algae, both are gone. I have other types of green algae but those are still alive. I think my macro algae took a little hit though.


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