Red Hairy Algae on Live Rock - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 04-12-2009, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Red Hairy Algae on Live Rock

This is my 46 gallon bow front with a we/dry sump 2 150 watt heaters an aquataquatic aquarium protein skimmer about 2 ft tall works wonders. 35 lbs of live rock and 3 in sand depth

Im pretty sure its caused from to much nitrates. but i ran out of test kis and need to get new ones for about a week now... =/ but my fish look pretty normal and feed once - twicedaily with brine shrimp and cyclops freeze, and i have a healthy mandarin in there, he eats Brine shrimp and stuff on my rocks, im pretty sure i dont have copepods, the petland i bought it from has prety informative competent people an they told me there mandarin ate brine shrimp so i snagged him up asap because ive had 4 that died. just wondering if anyone could give me some input on any special Mandarni care they could offer would be great, hes my favoriteeee fish and hes my goal ot be able to keep him for a long time.

im still a beginner and if theres anyone anybody thinks i should know or anything i should watch for that happens commonly in the hobby, i would love any links to any specific informative forums or book reccomendations

also my fish are
Porcupine puffer
Dog face puffer
Red head gody (baby)
2 scooter lennies one red spotted
purple firefish
False percula clown
Formosa wrasse
Green carpet anemone
Sand sifting starfish'couple of nass. snails
Lettuce nudibranch
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post #2 of 3 Old 04-12-2009, 07:37 AM
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Wow. I'm not sure where to begin. Sit down, hang tight, and be prepared for a difficult ride. I have to tell you, of all the posts I've answered in the last 3 or 4 months, your tank may have more potential for disaster than any of them. You have received HORRIBLE advice and very quick corrections are needed.

Lets start with the setup. You say you have a wet dry filter. By definition, this means you have bioballs or other biomedia. These filter medias have not been used in marine aquariums for a long time, due to the fact that they are VERY effective at RAISING Nitrates. This is the exact opposite of what we want in a marine aquarium. A properly set up system will utilize live rock and sand as the only biomedia. Combine this with an effective protein skimmer, which you say you have, and you have a very low maintainance high probabiliy of success setup. Doing frequent water changes to lower NItrates is not a good option, because the large water changes necessary for such results is extremely stressful on the fish and other livestock. You asked for links... so here is a basic article on filtration for marine aquairums:
I would also recommend "The Reef Aquarium" by Jullian Sprung and Charles Delbeck. It is a 3 part series and absolutely an essential read.

Let move on. Your live rock and sand are exactly wrong. If you wanted to do something incorrect and intentionally cause a system to crash, you would be on track. The amount of live rock you have is not even close to sustaining a stable environment. You need to triple this amount of rock. I suggest adding some base rock for starters. Check out and consider placing a 25 pound order of Fiji dry rock. (be sure to cure it before placing it in your tank). You could then add another 15 to 20 pounds of live rock. I suggest using Craigs List to find some experienced live rock from another marine aquarium, or buying live rock at the LFS that has been there for some period of time. Stores which deal in high volume of marine traffic are NOT good places to buy live rock, because it generally is not cured. You want rock that takes several weeks to months to sell and has no noticable odor.

Next the sand. Your sand depth, again, is exactly incorrect. A marine sytem should have less than 1'' of sand, or MORE than 4'' of sand (max 6''). Anything inbetween causes nutrient buildup without proper denitrification. You currently have a cynobacteria bloom. (the red algae) This is caused by the excess nutrients that are leaching into your aquairum from the sand bed and biofilter, and from the lack of live rock to remove these nutrients efficiently.

Then there is your anemone. You do not have enough experience to care for this animal. They are one of the most difficult of all animals to care for properly and should be left only in the hands of very advanced marine aquarists. They have very special lighting and feeding requirements, and require absolute pristine water quality. You can't provide this. It needs to be returned to the LFS.

Next lets talk fish. Your fish selection is horrible. (Sorry) You have fish which are not capable of living in your aquarium. The mandarin WILL DIE if you leave it in your tank. This is not a maybe, it is a for sure. Mandarine REQUIRE very large populations of copepods and amphipods to live. These populations occure in aquariums with the correct amounts of live rock and sand. Even then, a minimum of a 75 gallon tank is needed to sustain these populations unless you have a refugium, which you don't.

Moving on, the pufferfish need a lot more space to develop a healthy immunity system. These fish are very sturdy and disease resistant, but are VERY prone to sudden behavior issues related to their care. They will stop eating completely, lay on the bottom of the tank, and often just slowly shrink in the stomach area. These are developmental problems caused by the hormones released into the water. This is common for fish kept in smaller aquariums, and these fish are a perfect example. To keep either of these species you need a minimum of 125 gallons, and honestly more like 180 to 400 gallons. You can not overcome this issue. These fish also have to be returned to the LFS.

Oh yes, your Scooter Blennies. This fish is identical in care requirements as the Mandarine Goby. Everything I said about the Mandarine applies, and you have a total of 3 fish with these care requirements. In other words, even in a 180 gallon aquarium, you would probably not sustain these fish for any extended period of time. The fact that they are eating Brine Shrimp is irrelevant. It means nothing. Brine Shrimp do not provide the dietary requirements of these fish. You can feed a child Oreo Cookies, but it won't stay healthy.

On a side note, you have a sponge filter on your power head as a prefilter to the skimmer. This needs to be cleaned several times per week to help reduce phosphate buildup. Normally I would go into detail on this, but you have so many other problems that this is just being picky.

Are you testing calcium and alkalinity and adding buffers and calcium supplement? This is a required part of care for a marine aquarium. For some reason, I doubt Pet Smart explained this.
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post #3 of 3 Old 04-12-2009, 09:59 AM
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I have to agree entirely with Pasfur. You Also have ENTIRELY too MANY FISH for this small Tank!!!!!! I run a 120 GAL and only maintain about 15 small Fish. 200 Lbs of live rock. I hate to say it but you need to take immediate action or i am afraid you will have a total meltdown. Also Mandrin only eat copepods and amphipods. Check out e-bay you can get some very good deals on copepods.
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