Tearing my (green) hair (algae) out- it's driving me bananas!

DirtMcGurt

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That's a good way to describe the method. RESET. That's exactly how I felt it impacted my tank. I still had some grow back but I could just pluck it out or scrub it off with a toothbrush. I noticed that when I put my rock back in... any rock that wasn't exposed before, or that didnt have coraline, grow back was more likely. I also used Vibrant regularly after cleaning the GHA out. Now my DT is almost spotless.
 

Sea MunnKey

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weird thing is I have some hair algae growing on my small DIY frag rack (regular eggcrate white material) just slightly below my water surface and that's the only spot that grows this specific hair algae and nowhere else in my system .... is this odd?
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Vibrant has really held its own in the hobby they've brought a great product to us. It holds its own in work threads for sure, ten thousand patterned happy dosers. I sure like these blended options as time goes by/ feedback and trials- it sure is hard for large tank owners to access rocks directly but if at all possible we are finding these dosers better as preventatives vs removers.

Sea Munnkey I have some on my heater plastic, I just leave it out of laziness. It does like plastic I agree
 

pasquale petrovia

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I wasn't trying to step on someone else's thread, but my parameters were all good PO .05 Nitrates 7-8. alk 10.75 which I know is high (Reef crystals) Mag 1375 CA 450. Still reading same. I had to use straight well water for 100 gallons in emergency and have since changed 50 gallons 3 times in last 3 weeks. Just have to ride out the storm. FRUSTRATING
 

bwomac44

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Don't add a sea hare if you have a cleaner shrimp.
I added one against the advice and stories I saw online.
My cleaner shrimps picked at the exposed anus of the sea hare until it died. Sad.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Pasquale post any pros and cons you encounter along the way it might give someone ideas for similar systems. Among the options you are trying, it would be neat to lower light intensity a bit off norm to respond to the current challenge. Corals can take lesser intensity a while and not have issues. We find decreasing white intensity notably while keeping blues is associated with less algae, and it's easy to undo if you decide

Hey would you consider working one test rock with us

If nothing else appears to work, we'd like to see pics on a rock scraped free of algae with a knife tip, precision dental dig the surface work. Rinse off using saltwater, take time be detailed. When it's cleaned, use peroxide only on the former algae spots. Wait two minutes, rinse in saltwater and put back in tank. Evaluating that specialty run against the current tank is a neat way to see if rasping works for you. It's powerful. A brush does smash and fragment, agreed with Phree on that point. A rasp digs and dislodges like plaque removal

Then rinse in saltwater, this is a key change up where a test rock might behave very well
 

DirtMcGurt

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I wasn't trying to step on someone else's thread, but my parameters were all good PO .05 Nitrates 7-8. alk 10.75 which I know is high (Reef crystals) Mag 1375 CA 450. Still reading same. I had to use straight well water for 100 gallons in emergency and have since changed 50 gallons 3 times in last 3 weeks. Just have to ride out the storm. FRUSTRATING
Oh wow. I didn't know you had to use well water. Seems like you're on the right path tho. It is frustrating to wait and let the tank settle. If the hair algae won't go away you may consider the H2O2 approach.
 

DirtMcGurt

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In my experience with GHA, it seems like getting as much out of the tank as possible really helps. I'm curious if the hair algae is soaking up the nutrients that the bacteria needs. Because after 2 or 3 weeks of getting mine clean, my corals started opening up more.
 
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ceruleanspiral

ceruleanspiral

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I have to 2nd @brandon429 and this H2O2 method. I posted my before and after shots. However, I believe you need to also keep parameters stable and find out what is causing the growth as well as cleaning it out. I scrubbed all my rocks and then sprayed them with full strength 3% peroxide and let them cook for 15 or 20 mins outside of the water. Also vacuumed my sand thoroughly and did a large water change. That killed 90% of my GHA. Then I think balancing my N03 and P04, along with other parameters, kept the algae away.

Ok. I only let it sit outside the water with the perixide for about 2 minutes. Nobody said anything about time, so I just listened to it pop/squeak and then rinsed it when it slowed down a bit. The bigger rock I did has about half the algae it did before. I cannot re-do that rock as my chiton is now on it. You can't yank those off, it will kill them. They eat algae though.
 

DirtMcGurt

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I only went longer because if it didn't work I was getting out of the hobby lol. I think you did it correctly. Brandon429 has the most experience with this method, that I know of, so I would go with what he is saying.
 

pasquale petrovia

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I will try a single rock experiment and let you know if it comes back. My wife works in the dental field so we have some picks and scrapers. I will post later
 

Bret Brinkmann

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Not If you used nothing but real live rock from the ocean with no die off. It's available. Not many here take advantage of it. That's why these kinds of threads are on here daily. Unless you totally neglect your tank, if you use real live rock from the ocean these threads would disappear.
I used real live rock from the ocean with no die off and I still got the uglys. I have read threads of others having the same experience. Although mine is the only example I have heard off where there were no fish in tank for the first 3 years roughly. My ugly phase began at about the end of year 1. I didn't neglect my tank because there was nothing to neglect. A few snail to eat some algae but no fish and thus no food being added to the tank.

Just out of curiosity, what is your magnesium level reading? Whenever I run into this when starting a new tank, I raise the magnesium between 1500 to 1600, and it dies off on its own. I used to believe the Kent Magnesium was the best to use for use, but I've been using Continuum or Brightwell with the same success.
The only algae I've ever seen be impacted by Mg is bryopsis. All other algae for me kept growing. However at those levels Mg becomes an anesthetic to snails. Prolonged exposure to those levels will kill them. If a snail looks "drunk" and Mg is in that range, then there's a good chance it's Mg toxicity. Some snails are more sensitive to this then others. I think astrea and turbos are the two most affected.

Now think about the about situation a little more. Your snails won't eat bryopsis. You boost Mg to kill the bryopsis. Now your snails start dying. No snails make algae control more involved for you because now YOU have to put forth the effort instead of your snails. If you don't know about Mg toxicity, then you learn the hard way like I did and eventually resort to other means of algae control. Of course if your tank is large enough you could get a tang or foxface. But if you have a smaller tank like me, you're gonna have to put in more time.

You test nutrients but phosphates and nitrates are always zero. You learn test kits can only measure inorganic sources not organic sources. The tests aren't wrong, there aren't any inorganic sources.....in your water column.... The rocks and sand on the other hand may have quite a bit inside them. We can't test for these situations at this time. You can verify suspicions by cleaning your sand but that isn't a test and can be a lot of work depending on your setup.

While washing sand can be effective in some cases, rocks are a different story. The water and nutrients, penetrate all the way through the rock and therefore their transport out of the rock can take months, because flow through a rock is not fast but it does exist. All the while your water still test no nutrients. This is why the algae with holdfasts grow on the rocks primarily. Because they can extract the nutrients from the rock via their holdfast/rhizomes just like a terrestrial planet does with top soil.

No one doubts that a total tank teardown and thorough cleaning will rid the algae. It's the growing back part that kills our desire to stay in this hobby. Especially when you have a larger tank. Why spend even 1 hour, let alone an entire day for some of us, doing something when a week or two later no one will be able to tell? It's demoralizing.

The uglys WILL happen. The best we can do is manage it, not make it go away or skip it. If we fight it too hard, like I did, using too much phosphate removers then we get dinos. If we do nothing, then the tank gets overgrown. The key to making it through is limiting your expectations. You will have some algae growth. That is normal and okay. Don't bottom out the nutrients in your water column because as long as nutrients are coming out of your rocks, the water doesn't matter nearly as much as people like to believe. Manual removal and herbivores can go a long way if you get the RIGHT TYPE of herbivores and the RIGHT AMOUNT of herbivores.

You still may need additional methods to help control the growth. Bacterial and chemical dosing can be effective, but ONLY if you have a means to remove the nutrients that are released from the dying algae in the form of absorbers and/water changes. These methods can take time so be patient, like months long patience. They tend to work on the smaller algae first, then the larger stuff. Research the method before applying it. Some methods are counter productive when combined like fluconazole with an algae reactor.

Once the nutrients inside the rocks have diffused out enough to establish an equilibrium with the water, algae growth will slowly subside. At least it did with me. I now need MORE algae growth to sustain my snail population and I dose nutrients daily to maintain my macros and corals.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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the method is very strong, because among methods its the only one that allows you total control over a crop of area, your choosing on square footage size.

ive come to the conclusion that algae isn't to be seen as permanently gone until you've put coral flesh or deep coralline in that former plant spot.

until then, w open real estate, all we're doing is trading in ways to bide time until some regrowth occurs but this way is hammer strong. the picking and dental approach itself removes algae totally, because we are taking out some of the minor rock face its attached to (and a parrotfish bites off whole chunks, we're nicer, just under the anchor point)

the detailing on the test rocks lets us know how hard/deep to scrape/debride etc, just experiment away

that final burn of peroxide is for cellular cleanup its not for plant removal, that has been done throughly and with rinse by the time its applied.

*the fact this direct access method is rough, requires work vs a water doser, and isn't ideal for large tanks-not factored.

this is the very first time we are allowed to make one section under our total control...that means doing this day 1 or 3 is ideal vs as total catch up, but nonetheless its handy for the back pocket if nothing else works.

even if we're going to use fluconazole or vibrant as the major control theme, they will always work better with less chance of growback if we apply them in the clean condition vs the invaded one. I cannot find a better, less work method to use than this one even though its breaking most reef rules to run it. No harm in a little test rock :) can you all post pics before and after of them pls we would link to our peroxide test rock thread
B
 
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ceruleanspiral

ceruleanspiral

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With the full 3% peroxide, The two rocks that I treated and can see (the other is under gha-covered graciliara) are mostly clear now. I will probably remove the graciliara entirely and buy new.

I just did the peroxide treatment to another rock, far right, yesterday. I am continuing to manually pick, usually 20 to 30 minutes per day. The sand looks really good with the fighting conch that I added, so I don’t think I will have to do anything with that. I will probably do the tall front left rock next, maybe tomorrow. If I take that whole structure down, I might do the purple rock in the front middle as well.

As it is, I’ve seen a new type of algae, or new piece of turf or hair algae on the rear left rock. I am going to have to figure out what that is before I try to pick at it or peroxide it.


I am still using vibrant.

E5A176C3-B3AC-46AF-8831-93A336AC94B4.jpeg 2C7FDDF7-1A05-4AFC-BD33-EAD2F47A7BF5.jpeg
 
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DirtMcGurt

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That's a good start. Keep an eye on those 2 rocks you've done. When I did my tank, I tried a few rocks at a time and it seemed to grow back in a couple weeks. But I could have just scrubbed them instead of using peroxide. Not 100% sure. Very little came back after I pulled all the rocks and treated them all at once. Also cleaning it from every surface on the tank. Not saying yours will come back on those 2 rocks... just letting you know what my experience was.
 
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ceruleanspiral

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That's a good start. Keep an eye on those 2 rocks you've done. When I did my tank, I tried a few rocks at a time and it seemed to grow back in a couple weeks. But I could have just scrubbed them instead of using peroxide. Not 100% sure. Very little came back after I pulled all the rocks and treated them all at once. Also cleaning it from every surface on the tank. Not saying yours will come back on those 2 rocks... just letting you know what my experience was.
When I was using the diluted peroxide, the rocks would get down to about 25%, but grow back nice and thick after a couple of weeks. I'm watching and planning to pull any I see going forward. So much picking...
 
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ceruleanspiral

ceruleanspiral

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That is a lot of shells in the sand. How is your CUC doing? Any noticable results? Any mortality?
I put most of those shells in there so my crabs would be less likely to go after my snails. A few are from the dwarf ceriths I bought. I ordered 10 but think they sent me 50, I am pretty sure a few of them were dead (one of my hermits was snacking on a snail the first day) but I put everything in anyway since nothing smelled bad. I can't tell if I lost much CUC or not. I lost a peppermint shrimp but I think that was before the peroxide (but after Vibrant). I put in about 12 hermits but I only ever see a few. My 2 biggest hermits (striped leg and polka dot) have been MIA for a while, so maybe they died. It's super hard to keep track of CUC.
 

Bret Brinkmann

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I always said it takes 10 dwarfs to eat like 1 regular cerith. You've had a couple invert deaths like the shrimo, BTA and urchin. I wonder what a Triton test would show.
 
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