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Controlling Algae In A Nano

Discussion in 'Nano Reefs' started by Robbo85, Oct 24, 2013.

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  1. Robbo85

    Robbo85 Member

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    Hi, some of my live rock is starting to go a bit green an I'm getting a bit of hair algae.

    I m trying to manually remove it but I'm looking for a longer term solution.

    I have a 15l tmc cube with stock lighting and skimmer but I have added activated carbon and filter floss and upgraded the heater and added a power head.

    PH is 8.2 and amonnia nitrate and nitrate are at zero.

    No fish just a trio of sexy shrimp 2 turbo snails two narcasis snails and a variety of soft corals.


    I don't really want to add hermit crabs as they may attack my snails, anyone got any ideas of a critter that could help?
     
  2. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
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    Small hermit species like Clibanarius tricolor or Clibanarius digueti would not be a risk with your snails as long as they had access to meaty food periodically and with suitable empty shells provided. However, hermits are also unlikely to eat hair algae, so they wouldn't help with the problem at hand. The cause of the algae will be nutrients, so be aware that as you beat it back you may see nutrient levels rise if there is nothing to out-compete it. What is the tank's feeding regime? That may be the root cause. You might also have phosphates feeding the algae if you haven't tested for those.
     
    Anyway, going for critters isn't the first thing I'd recommend in a tank of this size, particularly if the existing snails arn't touching the algae you want removed. What species snails are they?
     
    In small systems, I find hair algaes are most easily dealt with by a combination of manual removal, increased WCs, and adding a competing nutrient sink like chaeto or another macroalgae. An algae-eating critter can help knock back the algae coverage faster, but usually won't solve the problem by itself. Most of the super hair algae busters I know of require a much bigger volume (sea urchins, sea hares, etc.) and wouldn't be suitable in a small tank. An additional problem with going the critter rout is that critter-only algae eradication is achieved through over-grazing, so you are left with a tank that actually doesn't supports its bioload, necessitating target feeding or moving animals. When the animals move, the algae comes back, and round you go...the only stable approaches are either to keep the system permanently overgrazed and target fed or to attack it at the nutrient level.
     
    Just to make mention of it, emerald crabs are sometimes employed for hair algae removal even though they are technically omnivores, but probably not a good choice for a 15L even though they don't need big tanks necessarily. Mainly the crabs need meat periodically to not go on a rampage, and that could make the nutrient side of the battle harder in a small volume than just going after the algae manually.
     
  3. Robbo85

    Robbo85 Member

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    Hi , I don't have a phosphate test kit so I can't test for that right now. I don't really have a set routine for feeding, I just ever few days put a few sinking marine food pellets for the shrimp and once -twice a week add a tiny amount of coral food that my LFS makes.

    I must stress at this point the algae situation is in control, it is a tiny amount of hair algae and just some of the exposed rock (from breaking apart) going a tad green. The glass, sand and majority of rock is looking good, just trying to nip it in the bud.
     
  4. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
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    monofilament algae like hair algae are often promoted by nitrates in the tank. Less feeding, more water changes, skimming, and plenty of live rock generally keep it away.
     
  5. Robbo85

    Robbo85 Member

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    Nitrate is at 0 and you really couldnt get any more live rock in. I will be upping the water changes and pull back on the feeding, would reducing the time the lights are on help? Currently on for 9 hours plus 1 hour of blue led.
     
  6. Donya

    Donya Crazy Crab Lady
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    Nitrates will be low in part because the algae is using it up. What is the coral food? 
     
    EDIT: also should ask what corals you're trying to feed with it? Most soft corals don't require feeding as long as the lighting is sufficient.
     
  7. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
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    I agree with the above. Nitrates and phosphates will often read zero but the presence of algae lets you know they aren't really zero. These nutrients, rather than lighting, is going to be the cause.
     
    If you are feeding the corals then my guess is that's the source. Many foods marketed for feeding to corals such as phytoplankton, are high in these nutrients.
     
    I also agree that for many corals, especially soft corals, feeding is not needed. Zooanthus for example get their main nutrients from light and the rest is generally through absorption rather than feeding. Many LPS like fungia, acans, etc. will eat mysid or brine but for mushrooms, zoos, paly, Kenya tree, etc. no need to feed.
     
  8. DevotedToDiscus

    DevotedToDiscus Fish Herder

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    I had a similar problem, and added phosphate remover media to my filter and it was gone in a week. [​IMG]
     
  9. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
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    I agree, removal media like GFO works wonders. If husbandry is the cause they are only a stop-gap measure though.
     
    I'm wondering in this case if it's the coral food that is the cause. I have a feeling just by eliminating un-needed feeding the problem will correct itself.
     
  10. Fishmanic

    Fishmanic Moderator
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    does removing phosphate affect ph
     
  11. Robbo85

    Robbo85 Member

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    Thanks everyone, I won't feed for two weeks and see if there is a difference.
    Back to the lighting? What is the normal amount of time to have the lights in for?
     
  12. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
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    I have mine 12 hours on and 12 hours off in both my planted tank and my reef tank. Granted the reef lights are on a controller so that's not 12 hours at 100% but it is for the planted tank. Light really isn't the issue when it comes to algae growth.
     
  13. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
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    Oh, I also think it will take longer than just 2 weeks.
     
  14. Robbo85

    Robbo85 Member

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    I haven't feed since last post and now one of my sexy shrimps are eating my GSP and pulsing Xenia
     
  15. Chad

    Chad Reef Tank, Crustacean, and Puffer Enthusiast
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    That's very odd behavior for a sexy shrimp. If you have some sinking algae wafers you can break one up and place it next to the anemone the shrimp lives on, or if no anemone is present where it's likely to get to it.
     

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