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. muhli

    muhli Guest

    I'm really tempted to try urchin in my tank, but I just dont want to touch them at all
  2. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    We've had tuxedo urchins in all of our tanks and they are great clean up crew and interesting creatures.

    Our current blue tuxedo urchin picked up 3 heads of Zoas that a crab clipped off and has been wearing them on his head for months, where they're still growing.

    Between the urchin, snails, and our tang we have good algae control for everything but bubble algae. We had an emerald crab who was eating it but he developed more of a taste for LPS than algae after a few months and grew large enough to be threatening.
  3. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    My emerald crab is such a bully. My wife wants to get rid of him but my daughter won't let her. He is one of the more active inhabitants.
  4. gaberosenfield

    gaberosenfield Juvenile Chromis over an Acro in the Red Sea

    I have a refugium that is equal in size to my DT (75 gallons). Not only do the macroalgae and soft corals in my fuge fail to outcompete microalgae in my DT, they can't even outcompete microalgae in the fuge, which seems to have perpetual problems with cyanobacteria that my DT doesn't have. My experience is that macroalgae is not very effective at combating nuisance microalgae. I still love macros, and I like having the big fuge cause it's like a second, different tank that mimics a different ecosystem and provides a constant supply of pods and stuff to the DT. Nutrient control, herbivory, and competition for space with desirable organisms (corals, macros, coralline algae, sponges, tunicates, etc...) is how "pest" algae is controlled in nature, so a combination of those will probably do best to control pest algae in our tanks as well.
  5. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Not all macro algae are equal at nutrient uptake. Also, I see a lot of people lighting their macro algae way too many hours and that definitely can and will lead to problem algae in my experience.
  6. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Getting the benefits of large amounts of macro-algae can be tricky - you do need a lot of lighting and flow. I have a very bright full-spectrum CFL (30w) on my chaeto and a lot of flow.

    One of the biproducts of large amounts of macroalgae growth is increased dissolved organic matter in the water in the form of photosynthetic byproducts from the algae - the carbohydrates and sugars which may feed both bacteria and cyanobacteria growth unless stripped with activated carbon.

    So, I would say chaetomorpha is effective if brightly lit, provided a lot of flow, and the DOM increase is managed with active carbon filtration. Many folks trying to use macroalgae in refugiums aren't doing any/all of these things.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  7. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Officer at large

    Man, this topic really isn't as cut and dry as I thought/hoped it would be.
  8. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Not much in this hobby is
    Enderturtle and Baykes like this.
  9. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    Heavy skimming.
    Large monthly 100 gallon water changes.
    A lot of tangs.
    Large mexican turbos.
    Tried gfo, bio pellets, vodka/vinegar dosing, macro algae, etc.
    Now dosing lanthum chloride and implementing a sulfur denitrator reactor.
  10. MarcS

    MarcS Guest

    I'm a new guy and the complexities of this hobby and this topic in particular are both mind boggling and fascinating to me. Thank God I found this forum.

    I bought a used 120 mixed reef on Craigslist in October last year that had a lot of hair algae then I was overfeeding and leaving my lights on for too long so I created a nasty cyano problem. Bubble algae was forming in some places too. My tank looked so gross it was discouraging but I got rid of it all of completely within a few months.

    -I added a refugium with chaeto (which is growing like crazy and absolutely crawling with pods)
    -Added a reactor with gfo
    -Started doing weekly 20 gal water changes with my own RODI water from the 4 cylinder filter I plumbed in right behind my tank.
    -Bought a pack of 200 assorted snails and crabs with about 30 turbos in there.
    -Learned how to run and clean my skimmer properly which I had no idea about previously.
    -Reduced my lights intensity about 30%.
    -Reduced the lighting cycle from 13 hours a day to 7 (one of countless new guy mistakes and I'm sure I'm still making more that I don't know about) All of my coral still looks good.
    -Spent some time everyday pinching off pieces of hair algae on the rocks which seemed like an insurmountable task at the time.
    -Added two more power heads because the two I had were not moving enough water and I had dead spots.
    -Siphoned out dirty surface sand at least once a week to a point that I had to add quite a bit more sand.
    -Cleaned the inside of the glass with those white magic eraser pads every few days.
    -Reduced the feedings from everyday to once every 2-3 days.

    I don't know exactly which parts of those steps had the greatest effect or any effect for that matter but my tank is crystal clear and clean now. Totally different. I don't have to clean the glass nearly as often. I do get a little bit of algae on the walls of my sump in the section that contains my return pump but I wipe it out every couple of weeks. Easy.

    Yesterday I was at Keith's Coral Reefs near my shop in San Jose and saw him setting up his algae scrubber. That was the first time I've seen one and it seemed like a good idea. I think I'll build one just for added measure.

    Enderturtle likes this.
  11. ddrueckh

    ddrueckh Guest

    I had GHA and Cyano for 18 months. I tried everything:
    -Large water changes
    -Chemi Clean
    -Lots of GFO
    -Reduced lighting
    -Feeding less
    -Vinegar Dosing
    I tried everything. Nothing seemed to work. I was about to give up...

    What finally worked:
    -Small water changes once a week
    -No Chemi Clean
    -Removed GFO
    -No AlgaeFix
    -No Peroxide
    -Normal Lighting
    -Feeding my fish well
    -No Vinegar Dosing

    -I did add a small ATS to my system. It grows a decent amount of algae every week.

    My tank has never looked better. The corals have colored up nicely and I barely have a patch of GHA in the tank. I think I just tried too hard in the past and all the changes and dosing just killed things and made the problem worse. My advice:

    -Let it run it's course! It will go away. It just takes time. People say nothing good happens fast in a reef tank. The same is true for getting rid of algae. Trying to get rid of it quickly will just cause problems.
    -I am a firm believer in Macro Algae or ATS. I would have done Macro if I had the room. I think it is less to maintain. The ATS is doing a fine job, though.
    -Consistent small water changes.
    -Stable water parameters
    -Currently, my Phosphates are at .03. If it goes up, I will probably try a tiny bit of GFO in a reactor to slowly bring it down. My nitrates are at 0.25. I am feeding heavily and watching the Nitrates and Phosphates. So far they are stable. Everything looks happy, so I am fine with where they are.
    -I have also run Carbon the entire time.

    I don't believe there is a simple get rid of it tomorrow fix. Slow and steady...
  12. WrightReef

    WrightReef Guest

    - NOT OVER stocking fish my ammonia, nitrite, nitrate all ZERO
    - 8hr light cycle
    - Start with RODI <1ppm TDS
    - Skimmer dialed in
    - feeding just whats needed, slowly
    - good mixed clean up crew
    - Water changes
    - Test weekly, respond before it grows

    My refugium is live rock rubble (bacteria surface), with Cheto on top for pods nursery, not for removing elements.

    My vote is for Sea Hare over Urchin, but both are hungry guys
    Enderturtle likes this.
  13. WrightReef

    WrightReef Guest

    Forgot one item,
    I have a large extra power head in my tank on timer.
    For 30min each day at noon I have "surge mode" whips everything up and down to the skimmer.
    Leaves less in tank to brake down into the basic nutrients for algae.

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