QUESTION OF THE DAY It decimated your tank but you're still here to tell about it! So tell us about it!

Have you ever had an algae outbreak so bad that you had to break the tank down and start over?

  • Yes

    Votes: 119 17.8%
  • No

    Votes: 464 69.3%
  • Having a major outbreak right now and I'm considering it

    Votes: 59 8.8%
  • I've never had algae and my name is Pinocchio

    Votes: 28 4.2%

  • Total voters
    670

revhtree

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UGH!! CRAP!!! NOOOOO!!!

That's what you say when you see it! ALGAE!! This is a good question and poll on a Monday because we have all week to discuss it!

Algae is going to happen in this hobby. No way around it. But sometimes algae can get such a strong foothold in your aquarium that it seems almost impossible to get rid of and at times destroy what you have built. It can be super frustrating and is probably one of the number one causes of people leaving the hobby. So let me ask you a few questions.

1. Have you ever had an incident where algae decimated your reef tank? (killed corals, caused a tank breakdown etc.) Tell us about it.

2. What type of algae did you have that caused a tank breakdown or that killed your corals?

3. If you were able to beat the algae how did you do it?



image via @dylan29
1427774237817_zps0od4w2gx.jpg
 
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KrisReef

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I bought an aquaculture colony that had some "cool-looking red" tuffs of algae growing on it. The tank progressed, the corals were growing like weeds and the red algae started showing up around the tank. At some point I took the original plug out and removed the colony but the red turf algae was established in the tank. It grew faster, smothered colonies and frags and I ended up removing most of my live rock, scrubbing it with a toothbrush and putting the rock back in my tank. If the rock was not easily cleaned I removed the algae and put the rock into the dark sump. I kept at this for at least 6 months, then I tried Vibrant and everything but the turf algae was knocked back pretty well. I then began adding tangs, snails, hermit crabs, algae eating slugs but I still had to take the rocks out and scrub them every now and again.

So I neglected the tank, (most of my prized corals had lost to the algae) and eventually the turf algae has been growing only in my refugium tank.
 

stanleo

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When I moved in with my boyfriend (now my husband) he had a reef tank that he really didn't know how to take care of. His philosophy of fish keeping is put rocks, water and fish in the tank and hope for the best. I knew absolutely nothing about fish keeping either fresh or salt so I dove into research mode for months because frankly living with that disgusting thing was a nightmare.

I tore everything down in a day and kept the 4 fish he had and the three corals in a heated tub with live rock and a pump for flow. I scrubbed the rock with a wire brush. Rinsed and vacuum ALL of the sand, scrubbed the glass and soaked all the removable equipment with vinegar and left just one rock alone, the one that had GSP that was barely clinging to life. I bought a protein skimmer and cleaned the two canister filters adding carbon to one and GFO to the other. Also bought a better light for it. Spent almost a grand in new equipment. I also added a new cleanup crew that was appropriate for this tank.

In the end we only lost the yellow tang and it was a vast improvement. I still had nutrient issues and algae but I kept it going for another year and a half till we had to move and broke the tank down. But I had the corals growing, added some new ones and even a clam that did quite well. That was my introduction into this hobby and I used what I learned to start my current tank that I think is doing quite well.

I have before and after pics.

slattank1_zpsa12366ef.jpg
salty2_zps0fed5de6.jpg
 

knowen87

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I had some pretty bad algae problems in my 150. I stepped up my water change schedule from non existent to 10% 2x per week. I also started harvesting as much as I could get off the rock. In a few months I was back to normal. Now I do auto water changes with the Apex DOS and I have not struggled since. It was the single best purchase I have ever made for my reef tank.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Losing a tank to algae is inevitable for most reefers, we're told to purposefully farm it no matter what at the start. cycling articles, for bacteria, routinely take the liberty of expanding recommendations into seeding your entire system w the fragments of joy we encounter in numerous tank algae restoration work threads.


what we arent told, is you can lift out the rock and kill it, independent of params, while the tuft is one inch square vs your whole tank. you get to stop doing that when:
1. you want to take a chance with your money and time.
2. the tank reaches cruise control, like you wanted at the start, and you can back off legit
3. you run a tank with less detritus packed into the sand and rocks, GHA's best feed source and a zone of mass that doesnt show up on your test kits for N and P though its chock full, and feeding on site via bacterially-mediated breakdown in the algae fronds.

gha is as adapted to reef life as your corals, thats why all water params grow it if allowed

how people kill it ranges person to person, there are methods that have strong growback and methods that do not have strong growback. The difference is only the # of repeats to keep the tank safe, and balanced vs invaded. its still a simple matter of will to wreck ones own tank, or not.

algae invasion is a psychology / information transfer issue its not param related. says big work threads :) Im aware books and articles claim differently.

anyone setting up a new tank, you dont have to entertain one single tuft, unless you want to.

Internal locus of control/responsibility vs external locus of control reefing attitude is the sole breakoint in you having algae tufted all over the reef.
 
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will25u

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Oh, jeez. I’d be in the “almost” camp if that was an option. We battled the devilish hair algae for almost a year and got very close to ripping our tank apart and setting it on fire.
 

jokerman826

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I had nothing but hair algae issues in my 40b reef. Could never get then under control no matter what I tried. I actually took the tank down twice to get it under control. Finally found out that black sand can cause the issues ibwas having. Took all of the black sand out and have not had any issues since.
 

Cnidoblast

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Currently tankless because of a dino outbreak that killed my only tank in the house - an invert only system
 

Imendoza87

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Had a back cyano outbreak and velvet outbreak, lost a clownfish and firefish. Nuked it with chemiclean and polyplab medic, 72 hr blackout with small feedings for the remaining fish, basically 75% water changes, lost some frags in the process but thank God it made it back!!!!

20191113_131116.jpg
 

Navgamma

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Had outbreaks before , but seems that the tuxedo urchin I had was the best solution even for cyano. Still have one till today, does the job of many snails. Abalones work the rock pretty fast too, but seem not to touch hair algae.
 

Johniejumbo

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I needed a sorta button. I didn’t break the tank down on purpose. Rather I got fed up and ran out of patience. I got a little over zealous cleaning hair algae and managed to accidentally kill almost all my fish and a few of the corals. I put the remaining cardinal fish in the qt and shut the tank down out of disgust. Wish I had done things different. And intentional break down and reset would have been much better. Live and (hopefully) learn.
 

Loggerhead

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Never broken a tank down for algae but have removed rock to scrub them with a brush and placed them back in once. Since then I have learned of many urchins and turbo snails that will keep it in check even in a young tank. I’m a bit older and more patient now so I will go the urchin route with any new tank once the algae starts to appear.
 

Maya Ybry-Yagy

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I had gha explosion that covered my rock work in a 220g. Months of converting to undetectable nutrients, black outs, fluconazole, removing all the rocks and soaking in peroxide and scrubbing and rinsing and more soaking scrubbing and rinsing, adding cuc and tangs and fox faces, water changes and more water changes, uv filters, algae scrubbers.... it was almost the end bc nothing worked. Then I tried vibrant and it cleared it in a few weeks. It worked so well with 0 negative issues that I was almost mad at the effectiveness and so much of my time wasted before trying it. Lol. If it hadn’t worked- that would have been it though. Learned a lot- but those 6 months were so frustrating and labor intensive- I totally understand why people throw in the towel.
 

ceruleanspiral

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UGH!! CRAP!!! NOOOOO!!!

That's what you say when you see it! ALGAE!! This is a good question and poll on a Monday because we have all week to discuss it!

Algae is going to happen in this hobby. No way around it. But sometimes algae can get such a strong foothold in your aquarium that it seems almost impossible to get rid of and at times destroy what you have built. It can be super frustrating and is probably one of the number one causes of people leaving the hobby. So let me ask you a few questions.

1. Have you ever had an incident where algae decimated your reef tank? (killed corals, caused a tank breakdown etc.) Tell us about it.

2. What type of algae did you have that caused a tank breakdown or that killed your corals?

3. If you were able to beat the algae how did you do it?



image via @dylan29
1427774237817_zps0od4w2gx.jpg

Dealing with it now... I think it’s green hair algae and maybe some turf algae in my Biocube32. I just added about 15 more snails, a chiton, a conch, and another dozen crabs about 4 days ago. I want a blue spot sea hare- would pay anyone who had one, but they’re sold out everywhere. Tank is too small for the regular ones.

I have a Rowaphos media reactor, change water every week, added 2 power heads, got a lawnmower blenny.

I’m using Vibrant 2x/wk since Oct 16 and it doesn’t seem to be doing anything at all.

My tuxedo urchin died over the weekend. Totally fine, full spines, eating paths of algae. Then I was messing with my ATO and I think it was in the area close to the outflow where the fresh water mixed. It dropped its spines and was dead 3 hours later.

I’m definitely close to crazy.
 

TVV

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Had green turf algae and some green hair at the same time.
1. Plucking it out of the tank helped
2. I bought every kind of algae eating cleanup crew including fish snails and crabs that reportedly would get rid of them.
3. Turned lights down to 8 hrs and reduced intensity by 25%
4. increased water changes to once per week 30% of volume for 4 weeks
5. fed less, stopped phytoplankton dosing for that same 4 week period
6. changed phosgard and chemipure twice during that 4 week period

Did all I could think of and all R2R advise combined to eradicate the algae issue...shotgun approach. Now I have no algae in the display other than what I scrape off the glass but have no idea which or what combination of the above actually did the job! I am back to high light intensity, 10 hr photoperiod, regular overfeedings (ha-ha), foxface+lawnmower blenny+snails died of starvation. The algae has been gone for 5 months now. Hope it stays away. Keeping up with chemi pure and phosgard with monthly water changes. Not much help, but all I got!
 

azbigjohn

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I seem to go through cycles where my tank doesn't get enough attention, hair algae goes berserk (or, more often bubble algae) and I get to the point where I am embarrassed and start on a major restoration. I am almost finished with just such a battle right now, but this time using Vibrant, and have to admit to liking what I am seeing at the 2 week point.

I HAVE broken down a tank for an aptasia outbreak; that is almost impossible to beat without a tank teardown in my opinion, but am being very careful to keep it out of my tank.
 

Bob Lauson

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I have had green hair algae issues in the past but I was diligent to go in weekly and physically remove as much as possible including physically removing rocks, scrubbing and placing the rocks back in the aquarium. This was when my tank was relatively new and after several weeks, the algae gave up the fight and did not return in any great quantities. Whenever I do see it today I will remove it. Removing the rocks in my current aquascape is difficult so I use a dental pic to get it off the rocks and then collect it in the filter socks.
 

How often do have to clean your aquarium glass?

  • Every Day

    Votes: 77 10.2%
  • A few Days a Week

    Votes: 223 29.5%
  • A Couple Days a Week

    Votes: 220 29.1%
  • Once a Week

    Votes: 182 24.1%
  • Every 10 or so Days

    Votes: 45 6.0%
  • Every Couple of Weeks

    Votes: 34 4.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 9 1.2%

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