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Help!! Issues w/ Algae and Cyano

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mark Nelson, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Mark Nelson GIRS Member

    26
    Coralville
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0
    I have had nuisance algae and cyano in my 100 gallon tank for the last several months and could use some advice on dealing with it. The algae is bright green...like neon green / non filamentous. I have been set up for ~ 5 months at this point. I have 2 SB Reef lights on the ends of this 6' tank...have not bought one for the middle yet. The Algae / cyano issues are concentrated on the ends where the lights are w/ virtually none in the middle. Using RO/DI water for changes. I don't have my water parameters at the moment. I have shut off the white spectrum for several weeks and that seems to take care of the green as long as I leave it off. (Don't like just running just the blues though) I have mainly fish in the tank at the moment ~ 12 damsels of various types and a few corals ...feeding 1x per day . I have crushed coral in the bottom and am thinking about removing it and either leaving the tank bare bottom to cut down on the places where waste is accumulating or replacing it with new Caribsea sand. I have just purchased a dual BRS reactor for carbon and GFO that I'll be installing this weekend and some Chemclean for the cyano. I am running a sump with old school blue bio balls but have thought about how I could rework that into something more effective and modern. Using an MRC skimmer...btw. I want to create a mixed coral reef but feel like I need to get my algae issues under control 1st. Any advice for improvements?
     
  2. Derek34 GIRS Member

    198
    Manchester, IA
    Ratings:
    +38 / 0 / -0
    The beginning stages can be some of the most difficult while you wait for your tank to mature and stabilize. I would invest in at least a couple of good test kits for nitrate and phosphate. Those are going to be the two biggest drivers of nuisance algae/bacteria. The carbon and GFO reactor is a great first step. Keeping the phosphate down should improve the issue with the green algae. As I'm re-reading here I see you mention that it's non filamentous. Have you been able to determine that it is not coralline algae. Coralline algae can come in all different colors. So that would be one thing to look for. If it's not coralline algae then the GFO should knock it down. To combat the Cyano, the standard methods are increased flow to the problem areas and/or a black out period (typically 3 days)to knock it down. I've not been a fan of the black out period. Cyano can be difficult sometimes because it's not an algae but instead a bacteria. As a result it is able to thrive in low nutrient environments, which means your carbon and GFO may not touch it. I personally believe it occurs due to an imbalance in nutrients and bacteria. In my opinion the best ways of dealing with cyano are to 1. remove what you can of it and let it ride. It will go away eventually as your tank finds it balance. 2. Add beneficial bacteria (Micro bacter 7 or similar) to help your tank find it's balance faster. 3. Add a bacteria that consumes it (Vibrant) Just remember to stay up on your export game and keep that skimmer working in high gear. or lastly go nuclear and eliminate it chemically (Red slime remover). Going nuclear can have an adverse effect on your overall bacteria population. So not just the Cyano but also the good/beneficial bacteria will be eliminated. With that said I have used Red slime remover on a number of occasions and have never seen any noticeable ill effects. It eliminated my cyano and everything was peachy! I'll let you pick the path that suits you! Good luck and keep us informed!
     
  3. Derek34 GIRS Member

    198
    Manchester, IA
    Ratings:
    +38 / 0 / -0
    Also as far as removing the sand/crushed coral bed... I personally would be leery of doing this. There is nothing wrong with using crushed coral for your substrate, just be aware that with the increased particle size of the substrate the easier it is for it to capture and hold on to water particulates. So in short it just needs cleaned on a regular basis. Yes smaller particle sand won't hold as much gunk but it also needs cleaned on a regular basis and can be blown around much easier making it harder to increase flow. I say I would be leery of removing your current substrate because this would be a major instability event. Right now your tank is trying to find stability and you would basically be hitting the reset button. Maybe that's what you are after, maybe it's not! :)
     
  4. Mark Nelson GIRS Member

    26
    Coralville
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0

    Hello...thanks for the tips!

    -Mark
     
  5. Alex McG GIRS Member

    107
    Altoona, IA
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    GFO will help remove phosphates and rinsing frozen foods will reduce from the start. I highly recommend getting a PO4 and NO3 test kit. Salifert are cheap and reliable enough to get you on the right track. I ran chemiclean to get rid of red cyano a few weeks ago. That stuff works great but turns out the cyano was out competing everything for nitrates which were undetectable prior to running chemiclean. My nitrates are up to 1 since running and the corals are happier but with the cyano gone I now have a minor outbreak of hair algae and dinos. I also started using vibrant and love the stuff. If the cyano isn't out of control I'd recommend starting with vibrant which will be a slower adjustment over chemiclean and allow the tank to balance out better.
     
  6. Alex McG GIRS Member

    107
    Altoona, IA
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Also the BRS guys removed the sand from one of their tanks and had a horrible experience with it. They talk about it in a few of their videos. I started my current tank bare bottom and don't plan on doing anything but that in future tanks. That said I'd be cautious of removing it from an existing tank.
     
  7. wylie New User

    5
    50320
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0
    How often do you do water changes? Whats your flow?
     
  8. TrieuLy Good Enough Reefkeeper

    27
    Des Moines, IA
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0
    I suggest you that in stead spending money on reactors. Buy tons of clean up crews (I mean like hundreds to thousands of them) maybe a lawnmower blenny. I never ever had a reactor, all I had is just a bag of carbon in the sump. I never measure phosphate and nitrate. That is just my experience with nuisance algae.

    If you not sure where to get large quantity CUC, go to reefcleaners.
     
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  9. Derek34 GIRS Member

    198
    Manchester, IA
    Ratings:
    +38 / 0 / -0
    I would not go this route. You should only get a clean up crew that your tank can support. Otherwise you will end up with a massive nitrate and phosphate problem when hundreds or thousands of them die because your tank can't support them. If you get too many you are really only basically dosing nitrate and phosphate to your tank. Reactors, refugiums with Macro algae, Algae scrubbers, and Algae reactors (ARID) are in my opinion the best ways to go for nitrate & phosphate reduction. Along with water changes & skimmers of course!

    He does have a case though for the use of utilitarian fish!
     
  10. Mark Nelson GIRS Member

    26
    Coralville
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0
    Hello...and thanks all for the great advice!

    I have decided to "nuke" the tank and start over with a new sump arrangement and new substrate. I was running bio balls and I noticed that they are clogged with waste material. My existing substrate is also covered with algae to the point where I just want it out. I am moving forward with the following.
    -Tank in black out for 48 hrs
    -Removing bio balls
    -New sand substrate.
    -BRS GFO / Carbon dual reactor.
    -Bio re-seeding media Microbacter7
    -8x8x4 Ceramic bio block

    Going to set up 1/3 of my sump as a refugium. Does anyone know where to get Chaeto to get me started? I see it on ebay.

    Thanks
    Mark
     
  11. TrieuLy Good Enough Reefkeeper

    27
    Des Moines, IA
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0
    I don't disagree with you and your method. In his case, he already have algae existing in the tank. In stead of sitting there and scratching your head, or put yourself into extra work. I would let the "nature" do its work and have the clean up crews to "mow the lawn" for you. You can still have all the reactors and stuffs as your "preventative" action (if you care about numbers). Reefcleaners they have tank size packages, so you can have the right amount for your tank size.
     
  12. TrieuLy Good Enough Reefkeeper

    27
    Des Moines, IA
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0
    Hi Mark,

    In my experience, I have gone "nuke" several time before, and every time, the algae came back. Because technically you set up a new tank. Even when I upgraded my tank, the algae still come back and haunt me, and I thought "why bother having corals, let's have a tank with fish and algae".

    I only have filter socks, a carbon bag, some rocks in refugium, protein skimmer and return pump in the sump (and a coral banded shrimp because he attacked my fish and now he is in solitary confinement). I always have second thought about those vendor advice, most of the time they tell you to use this use that because they want to sell the products.

    I could only advice you that you should give nature a chance instead of using bunch of chemicals. Watch them work their magic. It works for me, maybe (and hopefully) it will works for you.

    Best of luck.
     
  13. Mark Nelson GIRS Member

    26
    Coralville
    Ratings:
    +4 / 0 / -0
    Hi...I realize that I am starting over and that I am probably going to have more algae as a result of the route I am taking. I feel that in the long run what I am setting up will be more successful than what I had been doing now.

    Thanks!

    Mark
     
  14. Derek34 GIRS Member

    198
    Manchester, IA
    Ratings:
    +38 / 0 / -0
    One more friendly tip which you may be aware of already... Once you have your refugium set up with your macro aglae, be careful and don't use your GFO too aggressively. It will deplete the phosphate needed to grow your macro. A lot of people with refugiums don't have to use GFO anymore or if they do it is sparingly and they monitor their phosphate levels. Keep us in the loop as you go if you run into a few road bumps!
     
  15. johnk183 GIRS Member

    45
    Coralville
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0
    I struggled in the beginning with a setup with bio balls. I could never get the nitrate under control. When I switched to using live rock and marco algae in the sump and removing all bio balls. nitrate is lower always and less algae. GFO will reduce algae or even eliminate it even in the sump so be carefull. agree on the snails and hermits to eat the algae
     

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