Algae control

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Flagg37, Feb 1, 2016.


Preferred method of algae controll

  1. Algae scrubber

  2. Macro algae in refugium

  3. UV sterilizer

    0 vote(s)
  4. Other

  5. None

  1. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    What is your preferred method for algae control? Scrubber, macro algae in refugium, uv, or something else all together.

    What pros/cons do you find with each one?
  2. iCon

    iCon Supporting Member

    In priority order:
    - Regular water changes.
    - Macro algae.
    - Appropriate feeding schedule.
  3. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Have a good protein skimmer
    Change water,
    Use GFO
  4. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    what Mike and icon said
    and if you have enough room...tangs and rabbit fish
    Coral reefer likes this.
  5. sjbro

    sjbro Supporting Member

    I battled HA for 2 years or so. What worked in the end for me was:
    - controlled nutrients: reduced feedings, livestock & favor herbivores, stopped adding new CUC, specially snails appeared to die often causing more nutrients, did aggressive skimming, made sure RODI water is pure
    - used some phosphate reducing media. For me the bio-pellets worked best. Maybe because I cold not keep up with the maintenance on GFO when I tried that. Or maybe because they work differently by stimulating bacteria instead of bounding the phosphates?!?
    - lots of patience. I added no new livestock for about 1 year, I kept pulling HA out & scrubbed the rocks, siphoned algae & dirt, kept the skimmer clean & the bio-pellets tumbling.

    The algae kept growing back, until one day I just noticed that it vanished from some rocks. Then in couple months it was mostly gone.
  6. Nav

    Nav Director of Marketing & Photography

    I've had my tank for almost 2 yrs now and never seen a single patch of algae in my DT. What I do?

    - Religious 20% PWCs every 2 weeks
    - Algae Scrubber, clean every 2 weeks
    - Purigen
  7. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    a UV doesn't really get rid of algae.

    I have one, and the only place the algae grows, is on the UV itself.

    I've since removed it and no noticeable difference in my tank.
  8. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Well, it gets rid of free floating algae really well, but does little for algae growing on surfaces.

    So UV is good for pools and poorly maintained freshwater tanks.
    But not all that useful for a reasonably maintained reef tank.
  9. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    So to be precise / nitpick:

    For algae control:
    Tangs + Snails + Nutrient reduction
    I would say Tangs + Snails do most of the work.

    For nutrient control, which affects more than just algae:
    (Algae scrubber transitioning to vinegar dosing) + skimmer + water changes + GFO
  10. euod

    euod Supporting Member

    Love my fish too much to ever lower the nutrient or feeding.
    I'd get the biggest skimmer for export nutrients.
    I have used biopellets and now trying to switch to macro algae just for kicks since Michael Paletta have been preaching the method like the bible. My skimmer does most of the work though.
  11. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Nutrient Export is the key to good algae control, especially paired with algae grazers to trim whatever population may exist.

    The best methods of nutrient export are always up for debate, but protein skimming, water changes, GFO, and macroalgae are all good tools that do slightly different jobs.

    In general, most folks seem to have better luck managing Nitrate breakdown/export than Phosphate since exporting Phosphate usually requires special media in a reactor (GFO or aluminum oxide). You can approach export a lot of different ways, but the real issue is managing the nitrate and phosphate levels if you want to prevent cyanobacteria and nuisance algae.
  12. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I feed heavyish. I run a skimmer and vodka/vinegar dosing for a while but didn't really get rid of it all. The vodka/vinegar dosing would help up to a point then it would stall. Recently started running GFO and that helped the vodka/vinegar get over the hump and I'm getting nice dark skimmate again. Algae is slowing disappearing, a tang, angelfish, snails and urchin have been working hard at getting the rest out.
  13. neuro

    neuro Webmaster

    huh. i did not know that. I've had a few forms of nuisance algae, none of which my UV prevented.
  14. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    UV is helpful at containing the spread and blooms of algae or bacteria, but the size of UV most people use doesn't concentrate the dose enough to be effective.

    I ran a 36w UV on our tank for almost a year before it leaked and shorted out, but even with a giant 36w bulb I had to keep the flow < 300 gph to get a strong enough dose to be effective. I noticed an uptick in both cyanobacteria and hair algae when our UV died, but this means our nutrient export was lacking and that the UV was killing off the spores/bloom in the water column which slows the spread. Better to have your nutrient export in check, but a properly powerful UV will slow the spread and give you more time to react.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  15. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    Water changes
    ton of urchins that scour rock
    Tank under a year old so maybe it hasn't had time for much nutrient buildup. Considering I have only 1 small goby in 105g I feed a lot of meaty foods and bottled foods for my ton of inverts that I love. I do see a bit of algae growing in my Tunze powerheads where urchins do not go.

    I have a small clownfish tank that is a mess of algae. I think it has inadequate skimming and I wonder if its PC lighting is too much or old and encouraging algae. Clowns hosting in algae = embarrassing.
  16. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Other - Cursing the reefing gods as to why your (insert animal here) doesn't consumer said algae and hoping for a physical confrontation so you can go all mythical on their asses!
    Baykes, Flagg37 and MolaMola like this.
  17. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

  18. gaberosenfield

    gaberosenfield Juvenile Chromis over an Acro in the Red Sea

    +1 to urchins! They're bulldozers and will scratch acrylic and eat coralline algae, but a few hungry urchins will destroy all algae in conjunction with nutrient control. Plus they don't need large tanks like tangs and rabbitfish.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk
  19. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    0_0 the urchin! I put jills urchin in my acrylic tank as a temporary home so the algaefx doesnt kill the urchin!

    I hope the little booger doesnt munch on the front acrylic panel!

    Algae control.....see my tank journal. In short, i switched from RO to RODI water. Keep my clean up crew active and diverse (turbo, trochus, astrea, and cerith snails, 1 fighting conch, blue legged hermit crabs and red legged hermit crabs. My reasoning is that different clean up crew invertebrates might different algaes. I do 20% water changes twice a month. Avoid overstocking my tank with too many fish.

    I have a ball of chaetomorpha algae in the sump....i dont think its helping much for algae control. I dont think it does a goos job outcompeting pest algaes.
  20. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Maybe you aren't giving it enough flow?

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