How to get rid of Lyngbya

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ReefSlice

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I've been battling an unknown algae in my 4 month old 40g reef for 2 months now, and nothing I do seems to make any difference. I have identified it to be lyngbya at this point, it grows in a brownish hair like structure very quickly, almost exclusively in high flow areas. I was doing 20-30% water changes every week and scrubbing it off of the rocks, but it just returns every week. It grows on my rocks and sand, anywhere where there is turbulent flow. I dosed fluconazole over a week ago and it has had 0 impact on the lyngbya whatsoever. Every thread I read about it seems to end in people just scrapping the whole tank, which is something I really do not want to come to. I'm hoping someone out there has the answer to beat this stuff!
When it first showed up my no3 was around 6-8 and po4 was .02. Now it sucks up nutrients in the tank and my no3 and po4 will bottom out if not dosed. Nitrate seems to stay in the 3-5 range for a bit once dosed, but po4 drops right back down to 0 overnight even with dosing the equivalent of .06/day. I'm lost as to what to do here, my corals have all paled out from lack of nutrition and I can't keep nutrients up, but this stuff just continues growing. It even grows on my glass every few days, and my back wall becomes covered in it. Filtration is just a skimmer and filter sock changed every 3 days. I'd really appreciate any advice from someone who has dealt with this stuff! And as I said, I have scrubbed the rocks countless times and it just comes right back, so a rip clean is not the answer here. Attached picture is from 2 rocks with very high flow at the top of my tank.

closeupalgae1.jpg closeupalgae.jpg
 
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Best method is to remove rock and place in container of tank water and scrub with a firm toothbrush and hydrogen peroxide
Return it to tank and add some cleaners such as:
Chiton snails
Astrea snails
Ninja star snails
Pitho crabs
 

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I've been battling an unknown algae in my 4 month old 40g reef for 2 months now, and nothing I do seems to make any difference. I have identified it to be lyngbya at this point, it grows in a brownish hair like structure very quickly, almost exclusively in high flow areas. I was doing 20-30% water changes every week and scrubbing it off of the rocks, but it just returns every week. It grows on my rocks and sand, anywhere where there is turbulent flow. I dosed fluconazole over a week ago and it has had 0 impact on the lyngbya whatsoever. Every thread I read about it seems to end in people just scrapping the whole tank, which is something I really do not want to come to. I'm hoping someone out there has the answer to beat this stuff!
When it first showed up my no3 was around 6-8 and po4 was .02. Now it sucks up nutrients in the tank and my no3 and po4 will bottom out if not dosed. Nitrate seems to stay in the 3-5 range for a bit once dosed, but po4 drops right back down to 0 overnight even with dosing the equivalent of .06/day. I'm lost as to what to do here, my corals have all paled out from lack of nutrition and I can't keep nutrients up, but this stuff just continues growing. It even grows on my glass every few days, and my back wall becomes covered in it. Filtration is just a skimmer and filter sock changed every 3 days. I'd really appreciate any advice from someone who has dealt with this stuff! And as I said, I have scrubbed the rocks countless times and it just comes right back, so a rip clean is not the answer here. Attached picture is from 2 rocks with very high flow at the top of my tank.

closeupalgae1.jpg closeupalgae.jpg
Just looking at these pictures is giving me chills. I think this is what I had which led to a complete tear down and rebuild.
I believe scraping it off in the tank only made things worse. I never tried the hydrogen peroxide in a separate bucket technique. As far as in tank treatment, look into trying MB CLEAN and MB RAZOR at the same time. I have no idea if this will work or not, but it’s one thing I wish I had tried before tear down.
 
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Just looking at these pictures is giving me chills. I think this is what I had which led to a complete tear down and rebuild.
I believe scraping it off in the tank only made things worse. I never tried the hydrogen peroxide in a separate bucket technique. As far as in tank treatment, look into trying MB CLEAN and MB RAZOR at the same time. I have no idea if this will work or not, but it’s one thing I wish I had tried before tear down.
It's definitely a tough one, but I'm determined to treat it in tank without killing everything on the rock if possible. Razor scares me but I think dosing bacteria (although I already dose biodigest 1x week) may be a good idea. Thanks!
Anyone else ever deal with this stuff?
 

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It's definitely a tough one, but I'm determined to treat it in tank without killing everything on the rock if possible. Razor scares me but I think dosing bacteria (although I already dose biodigest 1x week) may be a good idea. Thanks!
Anyone else ever deal with this stuff?
no, but I know a decent bit on it.

Its cyano bacteria, so treat it with that in mind. If you blow it off, and don't siphon/catch it, it will just resettle.

Bottled bac could help, perhaps consider dosing silicates, dinos may beat the cyano in environments with high sillicates.

Lots of CUC will not eat it.

ensure proper nutrients

low lighting only blues.

Chemicals may not wipe it out 100%, and it may return if you use them.

Live sand/rock transplant may help.
 
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no, but I know a decent bit on it.

Its cyano bacteria, so treat it with that in mind. If you blow it off, and don't siphon/catch it, it will just resettle.

Bottled bac could help, perhaps consider dosing silicates, dinos may beat the cyano in environments with high sillicates.

Lots of CUC will not eat it.

ensure proper nutrients

low lighting only blues.

Chemicals may not wipe it out 100%, and it may return if you use them.

Live sand/rock transplant may help.
Yeah even taking the pieces of rock out that I was able to remove didn't seem to help much as it grew back quick. Would you continue with weekly water changes and siphoning out what I can get off with the siphon hose or do you think I'm better off slowing down on water changes and trying to keep my nutrients up? I'm debating adding a few lbs of real live rock as well. And what would be the longest blackout I could do without harming my corals?
 
Never Wash Another Nasty Filter Sock Again!

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Yeah even taking the pieces of rock out that I was able to remove didn't seem to help much as it grew back quick. Would you continue with weekly water changes and siphoning out what I can get off with the siphon hose or do you think I'm better off slowing down on water changes and trying to keep my nutrients up? I'm debating adding a few lbs of real live rock as well. And what would be the longest blackout I could do without harming my corals?
siphon will help, any traces left in and around tank can and will grow back. were your nutrients high or low prior to the outbreak?
 
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siphon will help, any traces left in and around tank can and will grow back. were your nutrients high or low prior to the outbreak?
I believe they were pretty stable with po4 staying .03-.06 and nitrate 5-10. However, if I'm remembering correctly I think my po4 may have bottomed out leading to this, as I did notice a bunch of new frags and existing ones started becoming pale days before this started, but I was only testing once every other week. Now I'm testing daily and dosing neophos and neonitro.
 

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I believe they were pretty stable with po4 staying .03-.06 and nitrate 5-10. However, if I'm remembering correctly I think my po4 may have bottomed out leading to this, as I did notice a bunch of new frags and existing ones started becoming pale days before this started, but I was only testing once every other week. Now I'm testing daily and dosing neophos and neonitro.
pretty sure those will just fuel the outbreak IMO.
 
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pretty sure those will just fuel the outbreak IMO.
This is where I'm really conflicted tbh. My corals are all pale, no death but very pale zoas and an anacropora with 0 growth on anything. So it's obvious they are nutrient deficient, but I also know nutrients will fuel an outbreak. So how do I break the cycle of feeding the outbreak while providing nutrition to my corals and fish?
 

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This is where I'm really conflicted tbh. My corals are all pale, no death but very pale zoas and an anacropora with 0 growth on anything. So it's obvious they are nutrient deficient, but I also know nutrients will fuel an outbreak. So how do I break the cycle of feeding the outbreak while providing nutrition to my corals and fish?
measure nutrients, could be them, perhaps due to the "algae" bothering them, could be Cyanotoxins tank may also just be straight up too young.

Fish can be fed as normal (use frozen food and not pellets).

Consider running carbon, not for nutrient control, but to remove toxins that may be present

Treating the algae is more important, the corals will likely not be healthy until its dealt with.
 

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When I had this issue start, my nutrients were not low. I also agree that the paling is probably from the corals being bothered by the algae.
And as someone said above, the stuff spreads like crazy when it comes off and lands in other places. I also bought like $200 Worth of CUC which doesn’t touch it and just dies.
 
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When I had this issue start, my nutrients were not low. I also agree that the paling is probably from the corals being bothered by the algae.
And as someone said above, the stuff spreads like crazy when it comes off and lands in other places. I also bought like $200 Worth of CUC which doesn’t touch it and just dies.
theres toxins in it. Throwing in CUC will just lead to death. Add some carbon.

Best CUC i hear for it are Nerites, Ceriths, Chitons, and blue legs, although its not super widely eaten.

once again, its filled with toxins, so keep that in mind, and keep removing it by hand too.

make sure alk is solid, low alk can contribute to cyano growth

I would recommend trying a blackout and UV, or silicates.
 

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Yeah even taking the pieces of rock out that I was able to remove didn't seem to help much as it grew back quick. Would you continue with weekly water changes and siphoning out what I can get off with the siphon hose or do you think I'm better off slowing down on water changes and trying to keep my nutrients up? I'm debating adding a few lbs of real live rock as well. And what would be the longest blackout I could do without harming my corals?
I think 3-days max lights out. Just curious where did your original rocks come from?
 

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also keep in mind, it's a strain of cyano, not dinos. It can be competitive in high nutrients too.
When I had this issue start, my nutrients were not low. I also agree that the paling is probably from the corals being bothered by the algae.
And as someone said above, the stuff spreads like crazy when it comes off and lands in other places. I also bought like $200 Worth of CUC which doesn’t touch it and just dies.
 
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I think 3-days max lights out. Just curious where did your original rocks come from?
Dry Marco rock. I expected a long ugly stage of hair algae and such but this stuff is nasty. I'll give a blackout a try after my next water change.
My CUC definitely doesn't seem to be very interested in it, sometimes my ceriths clear off a patch around a frag but other than that it doesn't get touched really.
 

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Dry Marco rock. I expected a long ugly stage of hair algae and such but this stuff is nasty. I'll give a blackout a try after my next water change.
My CUC definitely doesn't seem to be very interested in it, sometimes my ceriths clear off a patch around a frag but other than that it doesn't get touched really.
its cyano, not much eats it. Its also pretty toxic
 

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Dry Marco rock. I expected a long ugly stage of hair algae and such but this stuff is nasty. I'll give a blackout a try after my next water change.
My CUC definitely doesn't seem to be very interested in it, sometimes my ceriths clear off a patch around a frag but other than that it doesn't get touched really.
Try Nerites, my understanding is they eat cyano the best. Does it have a very weird smell to it when you empty the skimmer cup or if your glass cleaner uses a pad you have to rinse off? Whatever I had smelled very oddly unique and gross.

Please keep this thread updated. I’m curious to see the outcome and hope you beat it! Like I mentioned earlier, I took my entire tank down and started over.

I put in a bunch of Nerites in my rebooted tank as a preventative CUC for this stuff, in case they actually do eat it. But suspect they won’t touch it when it gets out of control.
 
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Try Nerites, my understanding is they eat cyano the best. Does it have a very weird smell to it when you empty the skimmer cup or if your glass cleaner uses a pad you have to rinse off? Whatever I had smelled very oddly unique and gross.

Please keep this thread updated. I’m curious to see the outcome and hope you beat it! Like I mentioned earlier, I took my entire tank down and started over.

I put in a bunch of Nerites in my rebooted tank as a preventative CUC for this stuff, in case they actually do eat it. But suspect they won’t touch it when it gets out of control.
It's hard to say, it's tough to get a solid amount out at once without siphoning little bits out at a time. It sucks because I want to yank it out as if it were hair algae, but it's just tiny little filaments that are too short and spread over the rock to get a grip on! I'll try a couple nerites. How old was your tank and how long did you battle it for?
 

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It's hard to say, it's tough to get a solid amount out at once without siphoning little bits out at a time. It sucks because I want to yank it out as if it were hair algae, but it's just tiny little filaments that are too short and spread over the rock to get a grip on! I'll try a couple nerites. How old was your tank and how long did you battle it for?
Yeah, you can't just pull it out, it almost like disintegrates in your fingers. What I had came off super easy with a toothbrush, but I don't recommend that, I think that made it worse for me as it settled and spread everywhere.

I think my tank was about a year and a half old when this stuff showed up. I battled it for several months and finally gave up when all my acros died. I never tried nerites, but have them now, just in case.
 
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