Help Please! - Beginner - Algae Issues in 6 Month Old Tank

JPCommenter

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Hi All,
I currently have a 6 month old tank that is going through an algae outbreak. I know this is to be expected in a newer tank, but need advice on what I should be doing to mitigate. I know 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates is not good, but I don't know if feeding the tank more will make the algae problem worse. I've seen many different opinions about whether or not the tests are reading false zeros since the algae is consuming the nutrients.

-20 gallon IM Nuvo
-Caribsea Life-Rock
-Hygger Mini Wave Maker
-Filter floss & Red Sea Reef-Spec Carbon
-IO Reef Crystals salt
-2 clowns
-1 Tailspot Blenny
-3 Trochus Snails
-2 Nassarius Snails
-2 Cerith Snails
-1 Tiger Conch
-1 Porcelain Anemone Crab
-1 Duncan coral (staying mostly closed the past month)
-1 Toadstool (seems to be doing fine)

Parameters (Salifert tests):
Nitrates: 0
Phos: 0
Calc: 425
Alk: 7.5
Mag: 1290

In the past I was doing 20% bi-weekly water changes, but have been doing 15% weekly for the past 2 weeks since the algae got worse. Below is a pic of the tank before I manually removed most of the algae, which I do when I do water changes. I never run white lights, but I turned them on for the photos. I guess the other question is how people manually remove this type of algae without changing the water, if the WCs hurt the tank by taking nutrients out. It's always easier for me to just remove while I'm doing my WC. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

20230726_204738.jpg 20230726_204718.jpg
 
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JPCommenter

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I didn't see any powerheads, so I might suggest adding a small one and/or some RFG nozzles to your outlets (Im makes a SpinStream for your tank).
Sorry, I forgot to mention that in my equipment list. I have a Hygger Mini on the left side towards the back.
 
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What are you running for your filtration setup on either side? Refugium? Skimmer? Bio media?
Just filter floss on both sides, and a small bag of Reef-Spec carbon on the left side (since a 20 ga doesn't require much). I had read not to overdue it on filtration when first starting a tank, so I haven't purchased a skimmer yet. I've just been doing water changes for nutrient export.
 
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randomfishdude

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I would keep feeding how you are... add more cuc also you have what looks like chyrstophytes on the back wall. (Could be wrong but looks like what I had)
The rest is just algae.
If adding more cuc dosnt get nitrate and phosphate. I would start feeding more
 
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blaxsun

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Just filter floss on both sides, and a small bag of Reef-Spec carbon on the left side (since a 20 ga doesn't require much). I had read not to overdue it on filtration when first starting a tank, so I haven't purchased a skimmer yet. I've just been doing water changes for nutrient export.
Are you using 2 caddies or a caddy plus the filter sock?
 
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Are you using 2 caddies or a caddy plus the filter sock?
2 caddies. I didn't want to worry about washing the filter sock. I TRY to change the filter floss twice a week, but sometimes it hasn't been replaced until my weekly water change.
 
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blaxsun

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2 caddies. I didn't want to worry about washing the filter sock. I TRY to change the filter floss twice a week, but sometimes it hasn't been replaced until my weekly water change.
InTank makes a better caddy, so that's something you may want to look into at some point. I would run 2 layers of filter floss in the top, ChemiPure Blue (they make nano packets) in the center and some bio media in the bottom chamber. Long-term that will help with your filtration.
 
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I would keep feeding how you are... add more cuc also you have what looks like chyrstophytes on the back wall. (Could be wrong but looks like what I had)
The rest is just algae.
If adding more cuc dosnt get nitrate and phosphate. I would start feeding more
I've only had 2 of the trochus and 2 Nassarius snails for 4 days, so do you think I should wait another week and see how it goes? The trochus seem pretty big for my small tank, and I dont want the CUC to starve in the long run.
 
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19Mateo83

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Your algae issue is bottoming out your N&P. Fix your algae by adding algae eaters (turbo snails and astrea snails and other hungry algae eating snails) and manual removal. You can add more snails than you think to a 20. I had 10 astreas, a turbo, a stomatella and about 15 blue leg hermits in a 14 gallon and they put a hurting on nuisance green things, plus they added organic phosphates (feeds corals). Dosing N&P will only make algae grow faster. It may seem like you are walking a razors edge with 0 nutrients but they are there, just locked up in the algae.
 
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randomfishdude

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I've only had 2 of the trochus and 2 Nassarius snails for 4 days, so do you think I should wait another week and see how it goes? The trochus seem pretty big for my small tank, and I dont want the CUC to starve in the long run.
I would add some to that. Maybe 2 mor nassarius and trochus. Along with 2 turbo snails.
Turbos eat algae like there's no tommarow.
But your cuc won't starve easily. It might seem like there's anything at sometimes but there's really alot just they're eating it.
 
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randomfishdude

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Your algae issue is bottoming out your N&P. Fix your algae by adding algae eaters (turbo snails and astrea snails and other hungry algae eating snails) and manual removal. You can add more snails than you think to a 20. I had 10 astreas, a turbo, a stomatella and about 15 blue leg hermits in a 14 gallon and they put a hurting on nuisance green things, plus they added organic phosphates (feeds corals). Dosing N&P will only make algae grow faster. It may seem like you are walking a razors edge with 0 nutrients but they are there, just locked up in the algae.
Wow that's alot. I don't have near that many inverts in my 80gal.
 
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InTank makes a better caddy, so that's something you may want to look into at some point. I would run 2 layers of filter floss in the top, ChemiPure Blue (they make nano packets) in the center and some bio media in the bottom chamber. Long-term that will help with your filtration.
I replaced the filter sock with the InTank caddy that you mentioned. Thats on the right side. Nothing but filter floss in it now. No issues with buying Chemi Blue. Again, the biggest dilemma that I've seen on R2R is that beginners (me), see contradictory opinions about if nutrients are 0, should you stop doing water changes vs doing more.. There doesn't seem to be a consensus. I really appreciate your input though.
 
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blaxsun

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I had two IM Fusion Lagoons and I stuck with 10% water changes every 2 weeks, scraped the glass every few days and ran the RFG SpinStream nozzles. The only difference is that I ran one InTank caddy plus a filter sock which I changed out every week. And an IM Skimmer, but do not drop any $ for these under any circumstances because they're absolute garbage.

If your LFS has any, add some ring cowries to the rocks. They're known to reliably consume dinos.
 
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randomfishdude

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I had two IM Fusion Lagoons and I stuck with 10% water changes every 2 weeks, scraped the glass every few days and ran the RFG SpinStream nozzles. The only difference is that I ran one InTank caddy plus a filter sock which I changed out every week. And an IM Skimmer, but do not drop any $ for these under any circumstances because they're absolute garbage.

If your LFS has any, add some ring cowries to the rocks. They're known to reliably consume dinos.
There is stuff that eats dinos?
I wish I knew that. Now I gotta go order some of thoes online for my issue.
 
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blaxsun

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There is stuff that eats dinos?
I wish I knew that. Now I gotta go order some of thoes online for my issue.
Unofficially, yes. YMMV, but many of us swear by them. They have fairly low nutrient requirements, so you'd probably see some benefit with 4-6 of them. A small blue tuxedo urchin is another good algae eater.
 
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Your algae issue is bottoming out your N&P. Fix your algae by adding algae eaters (turbo snails and astrea snails and other hungry algae eating snails) and manual removal. You can add more snails than you think to a 20. I had 10 astreas, a turbo, a stomatella and about 15 blue leg hermits in a 14 gallon and they put a hurting on nuisance green things, plus they added organic phosphates (feeds corals). Dosing N&P will only make algae grow faster. It may seem like you are walking a razors edge with 0 nutrients but they are there, just locked up in the algae.
Thanks for your advice, i chose my snails based on which ones could turn themselves over because i travel for work, sometimes a week at a time.. i can't see them daily in order to turn them. Lol I'm also trying to avoid hermits in fear that they will kill the snails eventually. Point taken though. Appreciate it
 
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randomfishdude

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Thanks for your advice, i chose my snails based on which ones could turn themselves over because i travel for work, sometimes a week at a time.. i can't see them daily in order to turn them. Lol I'm also trying to avoid hermits in fear that they will kill the snails eventually. Point taken though. Appreciate it
Very good... I've had my hermits kill a turbo before. I added shells so they wouldn't but I would definately stick with that. Turbos rarely need to be flipped over by what I've noticed.
It's been like 1 every 2 or 3 months.
But that's in a tank with some interesting aquascape and also quite a few turbos.
 
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19Mateo83

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Thanks for your advice, i chose my snails based on which ones could turn themselves over because i travel for work, sometimes a week at a time.. i can't see them daily in order to turn them. Lol I'm also trying to avoid hermits in fear that they will kill the snails eventually. Point taken though. Appreciate it
I intentionally got blue leg hermits that are teeny tiny, they are not at all aggressive. I also got extra shells with them just in case. I have however had issues with red leg hermits.
 
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