Is this brown algae okay? GFO question?

The Coug

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New to reefing—I bought used reef tank with livestock. I’ve had if for about 3 weeks and have a question on this brown algae. When we moved the tank it had a phos spike to 0.4, and started getting brown algae. I got a phos reactor with GFO running and have since brought the levels down from 0.37 to 0.17 to 0.03 to 0.00 over 2 weeks.

Questions:
1. Is this algae a bacterial bloom or diatoms? It was fairly wide spread on some rocks, walls, and sand bed. It’s since gotten better but still going strong on this one branching rock. Can I just scrub it off or should I wait it out?

2. I stopped the GFO reactor after it read 0.00. Is restarting it with a smaller amount of GFO a wise idea or should I just wait to see if elevated phos levels return?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

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Seadoc

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Welcome to this fantastic hobby.
Seems that you are having a diatom bloom. I would just ride it out.
Be careful with the GFO. You don't want your phosphate levels at 0, as dynos can start to creep in and can be a pest to get rid of.
 

malacoda

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Did the brown algae start after you began to lower your phosphate or at the time of the spike?

0.00 Phospate (PO4) is too low. Could trigger a dinoflagellate bloom ... not to mention cause corals to struggle. And some types of dinos do look like brown algae on sand and rocks.

Regardless, I would aim for 0.03 - 0.05 PO4 and 2-5 NO3. But even 0.10 PO4 is rarely anything to worry about.
 
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The Coug

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Did the brown algae start after you began to lower your phosphate or at the time of the spike?

0.00 Phospate (PO4) is too low. Could trigger a dinoflagellate bloom ... not to mention cause corals to struggle. And some types of dinos do look like brown algae on sand and rocks.

Regardless, I would aim for 0.03 - 0.05 PO4 and 2-5 NO3. But even 0.10 PO4 is rarely anything to worry about.
It started at the time of the spike. The algae was my main purpose of starting the GFO instead of trying to wait it out. It seems better most everywhere else though now after the phos drop except for this one area. It is a lower flow spot, wonder if that is contributing.
 
Mega Meltdown After Sale

malacoda

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Low flow could certainly be a factor. Other than getting your PO4 up just a touch, I would just keep an eye on it. Hopefully the tank's microbiome will balance itself back out and it'll slowly fade away.

If it continues to linger in that spot for a couple of weeks, or begins to spread, the first step IMO would be to try increasing flow in that area a bit.

If that doesn't do the job, the next step would be to give it closer look in an attempt to figure out if it's algae, cyano, or dinos and take specific targeted measures beginning with the least aggressive and working up.

Just don't try to cure it over night by trying to throw every cure in the book at it all at once. Whatever it is, it's very mild right now ... and declaring all out war on it could just as easily throw the tank off balance and fuel its spread as could get rid of it.
 
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The Coug

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Thank
Low flow could certainly be a factor. Other than getting your PO4 up just a touch, I would just keep an eye on it. Hopefully the tank's microbiome will balance itself back out and it'll slowly fade away.

If it continues to linger in that spot for a couple of weeks, or begins to spread, the first step IMO would be to try increasing flow in that area a bit.

If that doesn't do the job, the next step would be to give it closer look in an attempt to figure out if it's algae, cyano, or dinos and take specific targeted measures beginning with the least aggressive and working up.

Just don't try to cure it over night by trying to throw every cure in the book at it all at once. Whatever it is, it's very mild right now ... and declaring all out war on it could just as easily throw the tank off balance and fuel its spread as could get rid of it.
Thank you so much! That sounds like real good advise I’m gonna follow. Aiming to grow my patience with this hobby.
 

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