Too much algae, 0 nutrients..

AlgaeBarn

maleks.reef

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Hi everyone. I am currently experiencing a phase in which my PO4 come back undetectable and my NO3 is below 15, however, the tank has all sorts of algae. I got brown (diatoms i think) algae on the sand, sea lettuce all over my rocks (pics 2 & 3), and a weird greenish-brown stringy type of algae on the back glass (pic 1). I want the algae gone, please help..

DT light is on for 9 hours with half an hour of sunrise and sunset.
I have a fuge with chaeto, the light is on for 11 hours. It turns on one hour before the DT and shuts off one hour after.
I have a HOB skimmer that's doing ok.

I will admit I'm running low on CUC right now but im not sure if CUC will eat all this sea lettuce.
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Smite

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How big is the tank? Could you house a lawn mower or starry blenny? I find them to do great with different types of algae, like hair. I'm pretty sure you're dealing with the start of GHA, green hair algae, on that back wall and rock. The sea lettuce you'll probably need to manually remove and then maybe a cuc or blenny will take care of it for you.

For me GHA was all about the right cuc and fish in the tank after manual remove on my part. Yours is still pretty short, so I think a good cuc and herbivore will take care of it for the most part.
 
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maleks.reef

maleks.reef

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How big is the tank? Could you house a lawn mower or starry blenny? I find them to do great with different types of algae, like hair. I'm pretty sure you're dealing with the start of GHA, green hair algae, on that back wall and rock. The sea lettuce you'll probably need to manually remove and then maybe a cuc or blenny will take care of it for you.

For me GHA was all about the right cuc and fish in the tank after manual remove on my part. Yours is still pretty short, so I think a good cuc and herbivore will take care of it for the most part.
Is the algae on the back wall GHA? It looks different from the GHA on the rocks. Also, ive had this alga on the back for many months now, 3 weeks ago i went it by hand and plucked most of it out, same with the lettuce. Tank was clean for a week, and now only 3-4 weeks later its all back. Kinda frustrating tbh.\

Tank is 30 gals with 2 clowns and a cleaner shrimp plus 4 snails
 
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maleks.reef

maleks.reef

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1) What are you feeding (amount and frequency)?
2) What kind of lights and what color?
3) What is flow like over the areas with algae?
1) ocean nutrition (the carnivorous type). For the pasy week, ive been feeding every other day about 1 big flake that's crushed into smaller pieces. I also feed reef roids, about half or even less of the recommended amount twice a week. Ive stopped doing that now.
2) I have an Aquarium System Solution (satellite series) light. I don't know the exact par or percentages of colours but the blue channel is all the way up and the white is all the way down, so there is white light but blue is dominating. I cant completely shut off the white light.
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3) Id say I have fairly medium to high flow all over the tank. I dont really have dead spots. The red sea return pump is very powerful and i have a jaebo pump that is on the 3rd option in terms of power and its on an ON-OFF type cycle.
 
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maleks.reef

maleks.reef

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So I know that the reason behind my 0 readings is that the algae are consuming it immediately, plus my fuge. So the question is, how can I stop it from growing in the DT? Would going in with a toothbrush and trying to manually remove as much as possible + 1 mexican turbo, 2 turbos, 3 nassarius + 10% water change help? Also what are some fish that I can add that would help with keeping algae at bay (note my tank is 34 gals). I know lawnmower blennies help but i dont exactly love how they look lol.
 

dvgyfresh

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i vote lawn mower blenny , mine is such a glutton eats mysis / pellets with the fish and still cleans all the rocks and even the sand (spits it out after cleaning) he’s really fat lol even eats caulerpa , if you hate them you can do a black molly and buy more cuc
 
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maleks.reef

maleks.reef

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i vote lawn mower blenny , mine is such a glutton eats mysis / pellets with the fish and still cleans all the rocks and even the sand (spits it out after cleaning) he’s really fat lol even eats caulerpa , if you hate them you can do a black molly and buy more cuc
Are lawn mower blennies really THAT useful in terms of algae control?
 
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dvgyfresh

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Are lawn mower blennies really THAT useful in terms of algae control?
Yes I have almost zero algae in the display , but I also have urchin , asterina stars , snails , crabs, sea cucumber, 100s of brittle stars ect ..
 
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maleks.reef

maleks.reef

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Yes I have almost zero algae in the display , but I also have urchin , asterina stars , snails , crabs, sea cucumber, 100s of brittle stars ect ..
Do you know if lawnmower blenny will be fine with a canary blenny? I really like the canary so it would be crappy if i have to choose between the two.
 

dvgyfresh

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Do you know if lawnmower blenny will be fine with a canary blenny? I really like the canary so it would be crappy if i have to choose between the two.
no idea , only have kept one blenny ever haha. My blenny has never shown any aggression but ya never know
 

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In your size tank nothing is going to compete with a lawn mower or starry blenny for herbivorous fish. I felt the same about them at first but they are characters and work so hard they've become one of my favorite fish. Half the time so fat from eating algae they look like walrus suntanning their gut, chilling on the rock work.

They will hold their own but not sure how it would go with another type of blenny in the tank. That could be an issue. Probably a losing battle for the starry since I think canaries have some type of venom?

Yes, from my experience that's the start of GHA on your back wall. If you don't have corals yet, you can run phosban or rowaphos and starve it out by truly stripping phosphates.

If you decide against adding the blenny then to me your CUC sounds pretty light. In 34g with hair algae and other types of algae I'd go with an assortment of snails. I'd start with 6 truchos, 1-2 mexican turbos, 10 nerite snails and about 4-5 nassurius snails since you have a sand bed. I'd avoid hermits as they'll start to take out your snails if food becomes short.

From there your refugium can start to help keep algae at bay and you'll be able to start getting nutrients to register. Then you can control them by your fuge photoperiod length.
 
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rhostam

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So I know that the reason behind my 0 readings is that the algae are consuming it immediately, plus my fuge. So the question is, how can I stop it from growing in the DT? Would going in with a toothbrush and trying to manually remove as much as possible + 1 mexican turbo, 2 turbos, 3 nassarius + 10% water change help? Also what are some fish that I can add that would help with keeping algae at bay (note my tank is 34 gals). I know lawnmower blennies help but i dont exactly love how they look lol.

I know some folk don't support the idea of brushing algae off of rock work and stuff but coupled with a few other practices it has been a really great tool for me in dealing with breakouts like this.

Whatever you brush off, you want to capture and remove from the system. Somehow. I've seen folk use a water change hose with a brush fastened at the end MacGyver style. Personally, I prefer a different approach. In my AIO, I would add extra coarse filter media to my baskets, turn up return pump flow, and reposition and increase Nero powerhead flow up and towards the overflow. Then I would brush the hell out of the algae on the rock work. This caused all of the loose bits to go into the filter. Once I was done, I would pull out all of the filter media and replace it and let fill up again at least twice. After a day or so, I would put my socks in temporarily to help polish the water. I would also dial back-feeding during this time to ensure that herbivores go after the algae that remains rather than just eat what I throw in the tank.

Once that manual treatment was done, there is still going to be some algae on the rock work and other stuff. But it won't be long and unmanaged. A crew of turbo and other snails can keep the growth down.

I had a lawnmower blenny and he definitely seemed to do his part in keeping things down, but nothing compared to snails. Recently, I've read articles suggesting that the algae that lawnmowers eat are just "in the way" of what they're really hunting: films and copepods, etc, nestled where algae tend to grow. Not sure if it is true, but I've seen my blenny pick and go over rock work with no apparent algae on them for hours on end sometimes ignoring where I definitely know there are algae.

 

jt8791

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I hear it’s hit or miss with lawnmower blennies on what they eat. Short spine pincushion urchins is what I would recommend. I’ve got a regular white and purple as well as a red tuxedo in my 30. I also grow red ogo in my fuges and keep a bit in the display to help compete with the gha, urchins munch on it and drag it all over the tank.

Maybe a couple emerald crabs, I wouldn’t suggest turbo snails since the majority of them don’t seem to make it for me. I plan to pull the few remaining once the gha is gone, growing ogo in the tank for the yellowtail Pygmy angel my lfs has on order and the urchins.

Between the urchins, couple turbos, emerald crabs and glass scraper/tooth brush the gha is mostly gone. I still have diatoms in the sand bed but I went overboard trying to vacuum it so I just added 10lbs oolite, 20lbs Fiji pink and a fighting conch. I was down to about 3/4” of sand.

I think the urchins alone would do the job just fine without the turbo snails, just be careful they don’t crawl into the sand bed and die after the gha is gone. Oh and according to algae barn on a post I came across on here sea lettuce and red ogo will compete with diatoms for silicates, if I read that post correctly.

Edit: Urchins will keep it under control but if it’s long or thick and bushy manual removal is your best bet. Hard bristle brush, glass scraper.
 
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