Sudden and strong algae growth - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 04-21-2009, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Sudden and strong algae growth


I have had my FOWLR for 4 months now (please see link below for tank set-up). After I got my protein skimmer 3 months ago I have never had detectable levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Last Sunday I did maintenance on my tank (cleaned protein skimmer cup and sponge, vacuumed crushed coral and did a water change). I checked all the levels and they were all zero (as usual). Suddenly on Wednesday I come home from work and there is green hair algae all over my tank!!! I check all the levels and nitrates are at 20 ppm. So I did a 20% water change and the levels barely budged. The next day I did another 20% water change and still nothing. So I just did monthly maintenance again and scrubbed all the algae off of everything. The pieces were so big I actually netted them out The nitrates are down to 10 ppm.

So now the algae is growing back. Not as sudden or fast but I see the little hairy bushels starting to grow. I can't get the nitrates down to zero. What happened???? I added 10 snails and a cleaner shrimp 4 weeks ago. Did the tank just go through another cycle? Maybe I overfed the tank? I got new brighter lights 3 weeks ago, did this contribute to the algae growth? I want to get the nitrates down for my anemones sake. Also, I have always had a little brown algae but this green algae is out of control and ugly. HELP!

See my tank's profile at:

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post #2 of 2 Old 04-23-2009, 07:11 AM
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i believe its the lights, usually you get the red but it depepnds on what you have in the tank but yea lights will do it to ya with the algae, now you are going to get an algae bloom thats not a bad thing necessarilly being that your tank is new. as far as the high levels thatwont level out, the overfeeding, i see you have very little LR and crushed coral, C.C holds more detrius than youd think and with the amount of LR you have you dont have a very good bioilogical filtration system, thats why reef tanks have so much rock in it, the bacteria on the rocks actually filters out the nitrates/ites. when you stirred everything up you probably releasd an extreme amount of amonia in the water and with out the LR it takes longer to cycle out. also you will get a spike generall when you chage water and if youve done water changes that often you probably removed alot of the good bacteria you want from the water and your not replacing it.

id go to my LFs and get some amonia tabs they work for me pretty good and get some bacteria and add it that will help, adding plants will also bring it down, thats why sumps/ref's have alot of plants in them, they pull out the nitrates. you really dont need that much light if your going to stick with just fish you have enough power for soft and hard corals and everything in between. Im not a pro but i have a reef set up with the crushed coral and i found that as long as i dont bother the sea bed im fine when i stir up the bottom, thats when my amonia levels spike, you might wat to get some nassarius snails and maye a sand sifting star or 2 they sift your sand for you safely and eat the left over food that gets trapped, basically get a small cleaner crew that will keep your bottom clean, I have a 47 and a i have 10 hermits 7 nasarius's 2 turbo snails emerald crab, peppermint shrimp and a spider decorator crab and i still could use a couple more hermits to catch the fall off.

you just dont have enough garbage men to keep your tank clean, remeber all the food that falls has to be broken down as well as the fish poop. you only have 3 hermits which is low id get probably 4 more, you can always feed them if you see them fighting or digging too much for food. Id get at least 4 nassarius snails they are sand sifters and a sand sifting star. I know your tank doesnt have make copepods in it, these little guys eat trash and you want then in the tank. rotifers basically all the little critters you really dont see. i wouldnt feed the fish far about a week they will make it trust me. the ocean isnt a buffet but we feed our fish like they eat 3 square meals a day every day and in the ocean that doest happen, stop the feeding dont do a water change b/c every time you do your removing the good bacteria and not replacing it and when you pour your water in im guessing it goes straight to the bottom and stirs up the tank. let it cycle, get some de-nitrifying or amonia removing product use it, and let it sit for at least 5 days, your fish will be fine with the fast specially if they're well fed. Id also get some macroalgae that will replace your bacteria that eats up the bad stuff. your going to want more live rock too its almost a need for saltwater wether you go fish only or reef itjust adds filtration i have roughly 60-65lbs in my 47 gallon and dont stir up the floor im not a fan of vacums for that reason. If you get the base down it will take careof itself ask any reefer, they dont stir up their sand the get sand cleaners but you just have too much space for your 3 hermits to cover and clean as fast as you change your water out and with that load, you really dont have to change it as often as you think because you dont really have a lot in it to lower your levels quickly also try less water chages mre ofen than one or two big ones, that shock your system if you change less water at more intervals youll find your levels dont spike as much

hope that helped

47 gal reef, emperor 400, t5's, 1 spider decorator crab, 1 baby emerald crab, 7 hermits, 7 nasarius, 2 turbo snails, 1 pincushion urchin, 1 pencil urchin, 1 striped hawk fish, 1 rusty clown goby, 1 mandarin dragonett, 1 yellow tail damsel, 1 engineer goby, acro, purple mushrooms green mushrooms, star polyps, button polyps
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