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  1. #1
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    Are my water changes adding to my hair algae outbreak?

    I'm just wondering if I should stop my water changes. I have a green hair algae outbreak, which I've had for the last 4 months. It's a 180g tank. I introduced the algae accidently on a piece of coral thinking it was macro algae. I've been doing 20-30 gal water changes every week for the last 3 months with no improvment. My water test show no nitrite, nitrates, or phosphates. But of course it is feeding the algae and not showing up on the test. I use RO/DI water. I have a clean up crew, as well as a few surgeonfish. I also have a good skimmer running on my tank. I have also cropped this algae by hand too. I've added phospate remover, and carbon (phosphate free) to my sump. All my lights are new and still good. So I'm wondering if by adding new water by means of water changes, is helping to feed the hair algae? I know this can take months to clean out of the tank ( and unfortnunetly taking out all the rocks and scrubbing them isn't really an option I'm willing to do) So if anyone has a suggestion on something else I might try I'd be more then glad to give it a shot. Also I feed 2-3 times a week in small amount, of flake food, sometimes brine shrimp.

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you thought of everything except. . .what is your alk? Every reef plauge I every lived through was associated with low alk levels.

    Just a thought.

    Bill

  3. #3
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    Ahhh, the plague of hair aglea.

    I sincerely, doubt that water changes are adding to the algae problem. If you are using RO/DI, then water changes are helping the situation, not adding to it.

    Secondly, you didn't "introduce" hair algae accidentally. You may have added a piece of coral with hair algae on it, but if your tank parameters are conducive to hair algae growth, you would have gotten it anyway.

    The first step is the elimination of the problem. You are using "pure" water, and water changes will help. Hair algae grows because of excess nutirents, so you need to target this as a possible source of the problem. Get rid of the nutrients, and you will get rid of the algea

    The second strategy, is control/export of the nutrints. In order to control those nutrients, you need to look at your clean-up crew. You must have a balance of creatures that take care of detritus, scavenge, and eat the actual algea. And, you need enough of them to keep the system in balance.
    Please post the makeup of your clean-up crew.

    Laslty, macro algea is a big help in removing nutrients naturally. Having a good colony of macro growing in a refugium goes a long way to contolling hair algae in the main tank.

  4. #4
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    My Alk is 8.0dKH. I have about 30 turbos, 30 hermits, 2 cucumbers, 2 emerald crabs, and a sea hare. As well as a sailfin tang and a regal tang( which don't eat that much algae).

  5. #5
    Senior Member Zookeeper's Avatar
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    Your clean-up crew should be about 1 per gallon. You are way short.

    If you have 180 gallons, you need to add about 90 astrea snails. These won't help with the hair algae, but will take care of the diatoms (you need this for general algea). You also need to bring the nuber of hermits up to about 60, and add about 30 more Turbos snails (turbos do work on hair algae). Aslo add at least two Tuxedo urchins.

    Don't add all of this at once, do it over a period of one month, and in the mean time, keep removing as much hair as you can by hand from the system. This will not go away over night, it will take a few weeks, so be patient and keep up the water changes (10% each week).

    Lastly, if you can (but not critical), get a refugium going with macro algae.

    What kind of cucumbers do you have?

  6. #6
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    The Plague!!! Sorry to hear it!
    I agree with all of the advice above.
    I was wondering, are you are dripping Kalkwasser? And, if you have any sand beds in your system, what type? Phosphate test kits are notoriously unreliable, so even if you don't read any posphates, you probably still have some- especially with all of that hair algea- it will consume it fast enough so that it will not really show up on a test even though it is still in the water. Keep removing as much hair algae as possible, it is a good way of removing phoshpates. Kalkwasser is, however, the absolute BEST way of removing phosphates. So if you don't use it, START!
    I would say, too, that if you can, add the refugium. Imo it IS critical, besides adding a whole new level of biodiversity to your system, the macro algae will go far at removing disolved nutrients and competing with the plague!!
    Also, how old is your system? It can take up to a year to really stabilize....
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  7. #7
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    My tank is over a year and a half. I do drip kalkwasser, to compensate my evaporation. I have soom macro algae growing in my tank, but it doesn't grow all that fast, and my fish don't touch it. I don't know what kind of cucumbers they are, but they are all black. Right now I can't really afford to add much clean up crew, but I do try to get a couple hermits and snails a week. Right now I'm relying on 30 gal water changes once a week. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Please keep'em coming.

  8. #8
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    Hi, Sorry for you. I have some problem with that too since I moved. I'd like to know where you got your sea hare???? Seems it's hard to find...
    Thanks
    Béluga
    (send me also a PM please)

  9. #9
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    O.K. A few Questions...
    What kind of skimmer are you using?
    What test kits?
    What kind of r.o. and what kind of maintainance do you do on it?
    What kind of salt are you using?
    How much light is on the tank and for how long, and what kind of coral load do you have?
    How much flow in the tank?
    Do you add any supplements?
    If I think of more, I'll let you know!!
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  10. #10
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, Is anyone adding plant fertilizer or buckets of liquid iron to the tank?
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

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