First saltwater tank, 40 breeder

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KleineVampir

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I got some hair algae growing out of the substrate. Is there anything that would actually eat that?
 
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KleineVampir

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Apparently jewel blennys would work. I'm gonna sleep on that one. Chances are the local fish store here doesn't have them. I guess I'd have to call them and ask...and if I can't get them here I'd have to order them online which I don't want to do. Which is part of why I don't want to call!
 
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KleineVampir

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45 dollar shipping for a fish....OOF! I dunno if it's worth it at that point. The main problem I see with it is that it might eat all the algae and then get hungry. Then I might have to buy some algae wafers or whatever. If this thing is gonna be 5 inches long and constantly wanting food, I just dunno if that's what I really want. Too much solution for too little of a problem! I'd probably rather just do the 0 dollar option and have some hair algae. It's not really that bad. I guess that's where I'm at with the 0 water change though. Looks like only expensive critters can solve the hair algae problem. At least it can happen though, unlike with freshwater where I couldn't find anything that would eat the hair algae.
 
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KleineVampir

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So...yeah, there is a decent amount of algae slowly building up in the tank. The ceriths I got seem to only be able to cover 1 wall...the back wall that gets some of the purple light at night from the fuge. I think they got into the habit of being on that wall since it probably grows algae like nuts. But now I think they're being overwhelmed. I looked at some snails but I didn't really see anything too special. I was thinking about nerites maybe though since I know they're good at cleaning off the glass. But I do have some hair algae too. My dilemma is that Ceriths seem the best, and I could just get more, but they aren't gonna be that interesting. If I get something else, it might not work as well but it might be more interesting. Maybe if I can find some pretty nerites...anybody know a snail that looks good and eats at least film algae or hair algae?
 

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Turbo snails are good for hair algae, but if it’s really long, they will avoid it, so manually removed as much as you can and add ONE snail. You don’t want the snails to starve and die later.

That said, you should be looking at the source of the algae. Control your nitrates and phosphates, through exporting (e.g growing Chaeto, or skimming, or water changes, or all of them) and probably add something to take up phosphates, like GFO. Or minimize the input, I.e. feed less.
 
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KleineVampir

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Yeah well this is a 0 water change wacky experiment. Seems fine aside from the hair algae. If only I had something to eat it all! I guess I might need to get that blenny, but sadly the work I'm getting done on the house is using up a lot of the budget. In other news, though, I did get some trace elements. I know that's exciting stuff. It seems like something I should have if the trace elements aren't gonna be coming from water changes.
 

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Yeah well this is a 0 water change wacky experiment. Seems fine aside from the hair algae. If only I had something to eat it all! I guess I might need to get that blenny, but sadly the work I'm getting done on the house is using up a lot of the budget. In other news, though, I did get some trace elements. I know that's exciting stuff. It seems like something I should have if the trace elements aren't gonna be coming from water changes.
Well.... if you dont want to do water changes then I'd look into triton method of keeping the tank. you NEED to export phosphate and you'll need to replenish the elements that get used up, or you're just setting your self up for failure, and going to kill all of these animals. Randomly adding trace elements is not going to be helpful, as you'll inevitably overdose some and underdose others, screwing up your water chemistry even more, in the long run. You'll need to test.
 
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KleineVampir

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Well I am doing the triton method, de facto since I'm not actually using the triton elements but I do use the chaeto refugium.

Part of the point of this tank is to create the easiest and simplest possible saltwater aquarium. Nobody really knows exactly how trace elements work or exactly how much is needed. Though of course you can overdose certain elements. If maintaining exact amounts of trace elements was necessary to keeping a reef tank I'd probably quit, and probably nobody else would do this either. At that point I'd need even more money and probably an advanced degree in biochemistry to keep a tank; but I don't think that's the case. You can subscribe to whatever school of thought you want, but I'm gonna subscribe to my school of thought which is to dose supplemental trace elements just a little bit as to not overdose...but at least you have some trace elements which is better than totally neglecting them.

Anyways, I bought a lawnmower blenny and some pretty cool green zoanthids. The hair algae has gotten pretty bad and it's now clear that something has to eat it to keep it under control! If he really eats the hair algae it could be one of the final things this tank needs to achieve balance! The refugium is probably a little too small and I probably need to get a better light if I really wanted better results with it. That said hopefully the algae in the fuge will grow better once the algae in the display is cut down.
 
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KleineVampir

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Man it figures the one thing I don't research beforehand has one of the most powerful toxins known to man. Jeez...

So the question is, how dangerous are these things? People say they're basically poisonous, or they have some kind of poisonous mucous...but then why would that be a coral anybody would want? This is one of those things that nobody has communicated effectively. At least not for me.

I mean my impression is that so long as you don't squirt their juice right into your eye or an open wound you'll probably be fine, but then again how does it not spread through the tank? It must just be like a dense mucous that doesn't really mix with water. Still seems like a weird risk to take. It's just one more thing that can go wrong. In a world with all the beautiful coral we have, not sure why we would pick this one. Honestly I think I'm just gonna tell them to send me something else. I don't want to think about or worry about anything poisonous entering my tank at all, when there is no real reason to do so.
 
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KleineVampir

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It must be a really short-range poison, but still...somebody said if a rock hit it, the poison could kill everything in your tank. Too rich for my blood!

Anyways I got it changed to a couple beautiful acroporas, though they are even more expensive.
 
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KleineVampir

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Ok so actually I still got the zoas, because that's what they sent. In my email I told them to send the acros, but....yeah, that just didn't happen for whatever reason. All good though. I got charged for the zoas and I got zoas.

Aaand there's the blenny! So far he seems pretty shy but he seems to be healthy. I wish he'd get to eating algae already! Still some suspense as to whether or not he'll eat the particular hair algae in my tank. He's cool though, he has active camouflage that works pretty well! I didn't know that until I saw him do it. He can turn almost totally black on the black heater probe, or the same whitish color as the rocks if that's where he is. I definitely feel he adds a lot to the tank even if he doesn't eat the algae. Also I should mention that he's small. Though he looks like he may be somewhere between 2 and 3 inches long. Which is more than I paid for...only paid 20 bucks for a 1.25 - 2 inch blenny.

The zoas seem to be opening and closing a lot. Or sometimes they only close one side. I guess they're eating. I am putting some reef chili in there. I'm gonna be feeding a lot more of that now, maybe every other day. No more than that though.

All in all the aquarium is more interesting now than ever. The only problem is the hair algae, which hopefully the blenny will slowly solve.
 
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KleineVampir

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Anybody got any more recommendations for something to eat the hair algae? The blenny is doing some stuff but he seems to prefer other types of algae to the hair algae. I'm hoping they all eat that algae and start getting desperate enough to eat the hair algae. I'm thinking about snails I guess, not a fan of hermit crabs myself.

Then again something cool like an urchin or a starfish would be really cool. If they ate algae but not corals...
 

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Anybody got any more recommendations for something to eat the hair algae? The blenny is doing some stuff but he seems to prefer other types of algae to the hair algae. I'm hoping they all eat that algae and start getting desperate enough to eat the hair algae. I'm thinking about snails I guess, not a fan of hermit crabs myself.

Then again something cool like an urchin or a starfish would be really cool. If they ate algae but not corals...
Cerith and Trochus snails work great for me and cover most algaes. Ceriths especially seem to go after the hair algae. Both types can right themselves if flipped. I have heard repeatedly that Urchins will eat all types of algae, even coralline, but I have never kept them because my rock structure is loose.
 
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Yeah, I've had ceriths in the tank for a while now, could try trochus. I've heard good things about them too. I think the hair algae grew too high for the ceriths. I need some extreme measures! I'm gonna go to the fish store tomorrow and see what they have for algae eaters. I think the sea hare might actually be my best bet. I've seen the way they eat hair algae. They have big mouths that can come over the top of it and eat it. I'm pretty sure the fish store has one, too.

I was also thinking about fish but of course all the algae eating fish aside from blennies, like tangs and foxface fish are a bit too big for my tank. Urchins seem a little too wacky for my rocks and coral. I might get desperate and try hermit crabs.
 
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Welp, I got a yellow tang! Not a very big one. Also got a firefish to replace the one that died. And a pretty big ball of chaeto just to try and get that going some more.

Hopefully the tang helps with the hair algae.
 
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Welp, full disclosure: The tang died. He didn't even last the first night. Yeah yeah, I guess I'm not as slick as I thought I was! Then again, he was an impulse buy without doing much research. Or then again, it might not even be my fault. His skin was sorta transparent and he was kind of skeletal. Maybe the real thing to know is how to pick out a healthy tang in the first place. At least at first. One thing is for sure though, he didn't die of starvation! And honestly he looked so good when he was first put in the tank. He was already eating hair algae and he looked fine.

The real aggravating part is that the fish store won't give me my money back! 60 bucks this thing cost and he didn't even last 24 hours. Oh well, I guess it's tuition at the school of hard knocks!

At least all the other inhabitants are fine. I had to rearrange the rocks to get the tang out of the corner, and you can bet the crab was munching on him too.
 
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KleineVampir

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I just tested calcium, magnesium, and kH. They all seem fine. Magnesium levels seem pretty high but I think that's ok. Looks like the kH is about 7 or 8. Probably somewhere in between. Calcium seems high enough, about 400 or a little under. So it looks like the water doesn't change much over time if I'm not changing it.

Once again I'm stuck with trying to solve the hair algae problem. I'd like to do it with hair-algae eating animals.
 
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Ok I bought a sea hare to combat the hair algae. He seems to be eating it already! He never hid or anything, just started eating hair algae as soon as I dropped him in!
 

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Ok I bought a sea hare to combat the hair algae. He seems to be eating it already! He never hid or anything, just started eating hair algae as soon as I dropped him in!
First I seen first op post was a while ago so skilled first few pages so forgive me if some of this is already dealt with..

The person saying one snail in a 40 breeder is way off.. 2 per 10g is a good rule there will always be some for then to eat he’s right in the longer hair they will bypass though.. astra snails in bulk though will do wonders and are used in most frag tanks for this reason.

you could get freshwater Mollies from lfs which are brakish 10min drip acclimate and they will eat the hell out of your algae. Just feed once a week to the tank and the fish will do the work for you. If you feed more they won’t be hungry enough to settle for Dali’s when you keep adding steak to the menu. You’ll want to get 2-4 and once under control give them away before they bread like roaches in there.

Second thing is the algae is growing for a reason so until you fix that issue it really won’t matter much.. what is your pho’s and nitrate readings? Also need a picture of how much algea cause those readings won’t be right cause the algae is consuming a lot of them..

Do you have corals yet? If not turn your lights off except when you are looking at the tank.

I’m going to guess you are mostly feeding flake food? High pho’s per fish consumption. Don’t know your stick but frozen meals are generally preferred over cheap flake 9/10 times for this reason.

Reduce lighting. Reduce feeding, feed better foods is best I can say wo some parameters and data.

Thing is you can buy everything you want to eat the problem but that doesn’t fix the problem. You need to get to the issue of why you have this problem and prevent it not try and solve it post term with cuc or fish.. you’re going to waste a lot of money for a simple to solve issue this way..
 
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KleineVampir

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Nonsense! The sea hare might be able to do it! If not, I'll get another one!

This is a 0 water change tank with a chaeto refugium. What I've found is that if you don't get enough chaeto it won't really take off and absorb nutrients any faster than the hair algae in your display, or in the refugium for that matter. So partly it's on me cheaping out on chaeto...I thought it would grow faster than it did. I think it takes a while for chaeto to adjust to the tank's water before it actually grows.

It's a pretty ambitious plan for a newbie, though at least I have some freshwater experience. The good thing is, if I'm successful I will have eliminated water changes with virtually no drawbacks. In fact, the plus will be that you will have algae eaters eating for free!

Part of what I'm hoping with the algae eaters, such as the sea hare, is that if they keep the algae in the display low, the nutrients might get picked up more by the chaeto in the fuge. I'm not sure how much I'm gonna need to combat the algae with critters though. It might be silly if I need 4 sea hares to keep the hair algae down, but I do like sea hares!
 
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