Chemical Algae inhibitors: Are they a cure, or just a band-aid to cover an underlying issue?

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Chemical Algae inhibitors: Are they a cure, or just a band-aid to cover an underlying issue?

  • Cure

    Votes: 8 2.1%
  • Band-aid

    Votes: 178 47.1%
  • Combination of both

    Votes: 140 37.0%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 44 11.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 8 2.1%

  • Total voters
    378

BTimms

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How does one eradicate green hair algae and filamentous algae?

Even when tests kits show low nutrients or specifically phosphates, it could be that high food input is still happening but the algae is consuming it faster that the test shows.

I’m sure bottled bacteria works well, such as brightwells clean. But getting to the root of the problem is the key.
CUC and reduced nutrient input is the solution. And chemical use is the hammer to help.
 

mrlavalamp

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I voted both, but I also bellieve there is no such thing as a miracle in a bottle that will solve all your problems.


Sometimes all you need is a bandaid to help the healing process. But a bandaid is not at all the right "cure" for a broken arm.

If all you are treating is a small scratch, then a band-aid may be all you need to get things back on track.

but if the scratch keeps coming back, you need to do something about the cause, yeah?
 

mindme

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Both, however I'd say probably 80% bandaid.

For the most part, it's going to lead to problems elsewhere. I've done this before with cyano and GHA. Treat for the cyano, it goes away, then here comes the GHA. Treat for the GHA, and here comes the cyano. Or even worse, the numbers just get bigger and bigger until it's bad for your livestock.

However, there is a time when it's a cure, and that's when I use it. When you have the tougher kind of algae that you do not want, then the chemicals can be a cure. You have bryopsis, bubble algae, etc in your tank? Then it's a cure because you can get rid of the more difficult algae in exchange for eventually more manageable types of algae. You are going to throw off the balance of things a little, but you can get rid of that type of algae.

Cyano kind of falls in this category a little. You can get rid of the cyano, but in exchange your algae is going to take off.

I recently had to get rid of bryopsis. And now right on queue, I'm getting a cyano problem. But I'm not treating the cyano unless it just becomes to the point of killing coral. So far not that bad, so I'm just waiting for the balance to fix.
 

mdb_talon

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Both. Or either. Or neither.

I dont think ongoing use of chemical algae killers to keep algae at bay is ideal. On the other hand there many cases it can be more than a band-aid. Once you have something that causes the algae or cyano to have an outbreak it can be very difficult to eradicate it just by fixing the issue that caused it in the first place. I have had a couple of huge cyano outbreaks in the past several years. In both cases I ended up fixing the root cause then used chemiclean to eradicate the cyano and it did not come back (until years later). Just trying the standard removal methods was not working once they get a foothold then it is not so easy to eradicate in my experience.

I
 

RichReef

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Having beat cyno, GHA, and TA without using those products has me voting band aid.

You have to put in the work by removing the algae or cyno manually. Match export to feeding. And there is no equipment or replacement for good husbandry. It is a must. Keep sump and equipment clean and find that gunk build up. It's somewhere in there.

Patience is another thing. Even after finding the problem you have to wait for the rock to reach an equilibrium with the water. This could take weeks and weeks depending on the build up.
 

Just a Wrasse.

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I opted for “not sure”, as in my relatively brief (2 years) reefing experience I’ve yet to encounter any algae issues. Either I’m doing something wrong or something right, but the only algae that grows like a weed in my tank is coralline.
Not in my personal tanks, but only once or twice in the store.
 

Just a Wrasse.

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Both. Or either. Or neither.

I dont think ongoing use of chemical algae killers to keep algae at bay is ideal. On the other hand there many cases it can be more than a band-aid. Once you have something that causes the algae or cyano to have an outbreak it can be very difficult to eradicate it just by fixing the issue that caused it in the first place. I have had a couple of huge cyano outbreaks in the past several years. In both cases I ended up fixing the root cause then used chemiclean to eradicate the cyano and it did not come back (until years later). Just trying the standard removal methods was not working once they get a foothold then it is not so easy to eradicate in my experience.

I
I also view to keep of using chemicals. Though nowadays everyone just uses them
 

HK180

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I think people resort to chemical inhibitors because they want an immediate effect or are at a loss of how to treat the underlying condition (lack of bacterial diversity/maturity, nutrient imbalances, etc.). Every algae outbreak is different; some can be solved by a combination of chemical inhibitors, manual removal, and UV, while others like dyno or chemiclean-resistant cyano need more aggressive tactics and time.
 

bnord

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Both my larger tanks had Cyano outbreaks that I helped keep in check with natural approaches and with both I finally treated with chemiclean and resloved completely. The 180 has now held for 6-8 months post treatment and the 90 was just last week. Wished I had not had to use them, but fought a hard battle surrendered. Treated with bacterial in a bottle afterwards, and added rocks from clean tanks to the sump to help them respond.

So other algaes I just continue to attempt good husbandry - and seems to be working. Just added a really sweet chiton from KP Aquatics, in attempt to get rid of that last resilient turf on the underhands of the rock. We will see
 

blazn

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For me, "cure" is too strong a word & "band-aid" to weak, concerning "chemical" algae inhibitors. I don't think that they are a "cure" by themselves, but they certainly can be part of the permanent solution, allowing other changes (less feeding, more water changes, etc) to take hold and last. I don't advise using these products regularly, as then they certainly are just masking the issue. But, there are times when they can be very beneficial. I've used Vibrant a couple times during non-typical situations (when I upgraded tanks and then when I increased my fish load and feeding qty well above normal levels, to improve a new specimen's chances at eating prepared foods). Each time I dosed just enough to get the desired result (typically less than the regular stated dosage) and only did so for a week or two. Vibrant performed extremely well in these situations and it's a product I plan on keeping around for situations like this.
 

ScottB

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I once heard a speaker refer to most algaecides as chemotherapy... it might kill the algae, but it will get other things too in unintended ways. I am not saying that tanks that are diverse and were started with real live rock and sand do not have algae issues, but they are much less... much less. I will still argue that spending the money that most people spend on band aids (and the money that equals the lost time) on real live rock would have taken away the vast majority of these issues. Sure, you have to work a bit to cure it and catch some crabs, but you can do this in a few days outside of the tank. This seems like nothing compared to people who have fought hair algae for months or years.

If none of you were around and reefing then, the super bad algae phases are a product of the dry/man-man/dead rock era... along with more diseases without a diverse bio system that is happy to gobble up ich tomonts and the like. Those of you that have been reefing long enough know exactly what I mean.
Cannot agree more. My first handful of builds were all live rock, and I really began to feel like I knew what I was doing. So I re-built a tank with this gorgeous aquascape of primarily dead rock, with a some live stuff in the sump. That system went through one nuisance after another. Dinos, cyano, GHA, Ich, vermetids... you name it, that tank went through it.

Same reefing methods & philosophy I used with all the others. Took almost 2 years to age in and settle down. Sucked out much of the fun. My other tanks had healthy acros within weeks of getting wet. Never, ever again.
 

attiland

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Thank you to @LiveFreeAndReef for the QOTD idea!

1. Chemical Algae inhibitors: Are they a cure, or just a band-aid to cover an underlying issue?

2. What products have you used to successfully beat an algae issue?


image via @WallyB
2020-06-07_CyanoZones.jpg
Cyano /diatoms/ Dinos are not algae. Since we are talking about algae in would be very last result. I haven’t had any algae ugly phase so I wouldn’t know.
 

batfish5

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When I have cyno outbreak which is once or twice per year I just dose double the recommended dosage of Chemiclean wait 2-3days and do a 25 per cent water change and HOCUS POCUS clean tank ,LOL.
 

Wrmurphy22

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I'm probably an outlier. I'd say band-aid because I've tried many treatments before when I had a horrible cyno outbreak (including a toothbrush to the rocks every week).

The only thing that "cured" my problem was time and water changes. I do notice the issues were popping up more in winter, possibly due to the way the sun hits my tank.
 

iMi

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I voted “bandaid.” The logic behind it being that excessive algae results from the lack of balance in the tank. These products don’t restore the balance, or do so only in the short-term, and therefore help us deal with the symptoms while we work to correct the underlying problem. There is nothing inherently wrong with using algae control/mitigation products of course.
 

G Santana

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Tank maturity and good husbandry will get you to the promised land/tank. With that said, if you are taking all the proper husbandry steps, a little help is always welcomed.
Vibrant, Phosphate Rx and Hydrogen peroxide got me over the last ugly hurdle, yes they were last resort but they worked and now they collect dust on my shelf while I have enjoyed the GHA free scape for the last few months.
But, good husbandry keeps the uglies from having to go to last resort options
 

Dindsy

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Well I said combination because I had a massive green hair algae problem in my tank. I was attacking vigorously with water changes syphoning into a filter sock, pulling the algae off rocks manually and I just could not get on top of it. I used Flux Rx and in 2 weeks it was completely gone.

But then I started to get Cyano (or dino's, I'm not sure yet) and I tried chemiclean and it mostly just killed my hammers. I am still fighting the cyano but won't resort to chemiclean again.

BTW what is CUC?
 

Gogol_frag

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Saltwater aquarium is all about balance. Putting additional chemicals in may solve one problem but impacts that balance and can cause other problems. I advocate for the natural solutions - Refugiums, Phytoplankton, Oxydator, etc.
Chemicals did zip for me (OK it helped me really marginally, but made no meaningful long-lasting imapact), and I would be very hesitant to consider them again.

Hi PeterC99, I see that you have been chasing an oxidator for quite some time. Did you manage to finally get one, and use it? I am looking for Model W (sounds like a poor man's Tesla, doesn't it?... ah well)

For any and all of you, who are using oxydators I have 3 questions:
  1. Is an oxydator beneficial against all nuisance algae, or only cyano?
  2. How different is the impact of using Peroxide/Oxydator than using Ozone, given that the active reagent is a free oxygen radical, for both?
  3. Will usage of peroxide/oxydators negatively impact PVC pipes, corals, fish, other inverts etc. upon usage? What about macroalgae?
I have stubborn nuisance algae in my tank, and am currently trying lights out with daily doses of Microbacter Clean.

I have benefitted from:
  1. Strictly feeding live
  2. UV sterilizer
  3. Daily Doses of MB7
However, I still have a bad case of the uglies.
 
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