Diatoms & Green Hair Algae

Discussion in 'New To Reefing' started by pvancomp, Feb 12, 2018.

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  1. pvancomp

    pvancomp Member

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    Looks like my tank is starting to go through it's diatoms and green hair algae cycles now. Lots of the rock work is covered in the diatoms and there's even some green hair algae growing on the rocks as well.

    I know it's part of the normal cycle process, but I've read where some say you should let it run it's course as it's standard for a new tank, and some say that there could be something wrong with the water chemistry. I did a 15% water change over the weekend, and nitrates are below 5ppm, no ammonia or nitrites. Going to get myself a calcium and phosphates test kit once pay comes in this week (saving for a wedding ain't easy o_0). Only have 1 turbo snail, 2 clownfish and 2 torch corals in the tank right now and feed a couple pellets each every evening so can't imagine the waste is going to be too high either.

    Should I relax and just let the algae courses do what they do, or is there something extra I should be doing to get rid of the algae? I haven't got a skimmer running at the moment, as I've been told that as long as I do 10-15% water changes every week I wouldn't need to worry about one for the time being until my bioload is higher.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  2. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    I’ve sat back and tried to let this crap run it’s course. Currently battling through it and it’s making me want to give up this hobby.
    Here is what you need to do, and I need to heed my own advice, get the nitrate and phosphate down to ultra low numbers and sit back and enjoy your sparkling algae free tank.
    The best tanks I ran deployed a 10 percent weekly water change. They could last for 2 months without one as long as the water change routine took place again after that break.
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  3. Ben Daley

    Ben Daley /dev/null

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    I think that if the tank is new, don't stress about it. The diatoms should starve out after consuming the silicates in the water. If they are still there after 4-6 weeks it might be worth looking at your source water for salt/top-off.

    As for the algae, that can be starved out as slin said, although that requires a process in place to remove the nutrients from the water. I read an article not so long ago that mentioned algae really only needing n/P to get started, after which it will be sustained by photosynthesis... So it wouldn't hurt to manually remove some too.
  4. potatocouch

    potatocouch Member

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    Don't intend to hijack this thread but I have similar issue where rocks are infested by algae to a point that it is so disgusting but to have it plugged out one-by-one is also impossible. Would maintaining the water quality (UL) No3 and Po4 and help with complete darkness helps to reduce those algaes or physical removal is still the best way?
  5. daveH

    daveH Team Leader

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    Post a couple of pics of your tank and setup so we can see what you’re working with if you can.
    Especially your sump if you have one.
    Cheers
  6. pvancomp

    pvancomp Member

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    I'll try and get some decent pics with the camera tonight if I can. I have a pic of the sump here for you. Currently using RO/DI water but thinking of getting Phosguard this weekend to help reduce the phosphate levels as well. Would this help or would something else be more effective?

    Ignore that wipe on the sump, I use it to wipe the diatoms off the glass since it's more effective than my magnet cleaner. I leave it hanging there so it doesn't get confused with the regular ones for cleaning.

    20180128_214627.jpg
  7. ezza

    ezza Member

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    Ultimately, the algae is the product of the nutrient cycle that is starting up in your system. The algae pops up because the nutrients are "available". You can add life forms to consume the algae or you can remove it manually. I guess it all comes down to how long you are willing to let your tank cycle for before you add living things to the soup mix. I prefer to remove the excess algae personally. Hair algae is a bitch to get rid of, so that is one I will try to scrub, collect and soak off depending on where it is. I don't think my tank ecosystem is deficient... I have some cyano at the moment which appears to be related to my light dying. I have been vacuuming the system every day to remove as much as I can, because some of these algaes will just swamp your system and overwhelm it to the point that it is hard to remove them later. Getting rid of the excess that you can also pushes your cycle to work harder, because the algae is using your phosphates to grow lush and plentiful. There is plenty of edible algae available any day of the week without me allowing the horrible ones to set up shop. 0_0
  8. pvancomp

    pvancomp Member

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    Thanks for all the replies guys.

    Currently there's only 2 small clowns in there, and a turbo snail. By small, I mean less than 2" in size each.

    I'll get some Phosguard to help keep the phosphate down as well as another snail to munch to the crap as well. I think the liverock that is covered in the algae is going to need a good scrub every few days to keep it off until it's over. Luckily none on the rest of the rock work yet.
  9. Ben Daley

    Ben Daley /dev/null

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    Have you considered growing macro in your sump? IME having the system absorb/deal with the nutrients is more stable and less work than manual removal or chemical/mechanical filtration
  10. pvancomp

    pvancomp Member

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    Sorry it's taken so long to get back, been busy with Chinese New Years :p
    I'd honestly have no idea how to go about growing macro in the sump o_0 Is it the same as chaeto that needs a light on for certain hours everyday?
  11. Ben Daley

    Ben Daley /dev/null

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    Yip. I was going to suggest making a small box out of egg crate to hold the chaeto. You'd just need to get a light and timer for it.
    I think growing macro is one of the better options as it will uptake nutrients in the right ratio; although it's effectiveness will be limited by size of the fuge and quality of lighting, so manage your expectations accordingly.
  12. potatocouch

    potatocouch Member

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  13. Ben Daley

    Ben Daley /dev/null

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    I have no experience with it, but it seems like a band-aid rather than a solution. The more I learn in this hobby, the more I favour a holistic long-game approach over reactionary corrections.
  14. potatocouch

    potatocouch Member

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    Sorry, I meant in conjunction with root cause fix of course ... so my understanding is that those algae that already infested the system won't grow as rapid but won't go away, even you drop the No3 and Po4 level (be that massive WC or carbon dosing) .. or is this statement inaccurate?

    Plucking away those GHA (especially underwater) is tedious, not to mention extremely hard to not let those algae get away from your tweezers and ended up at different spots.
  15. daveH

    daveH Team Leader

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    Sorry, can’t help with that question. I’ve never tried HP dosing.
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  16. ReeferRob

    ReeferRob Solidarité

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    First things first. Check your make up water. I was battling issues with my systems and found out my membrane was letting way too much through. I use Seachem's aluminum oxide phosphate remover, in the systems now as well as on my make up water, it takes silicates out of the water as well as phosphates. I was battling a dino outbreak and once I started using it, they went away
  17. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    Just started AF dosing, a week ago.... tested my phos and it was high !!!!!!!!!!!
    Apparently I think my bacteria population crashed a while ago, will be keen to see this weekend what the levels are at. Maybe just maybe I might have my reefing Mojo back.
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  18. ReeferRob

    ReeferRob Solidarité

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    Go slow bringing you population back Nils. I started dosing again a few months back and made milk water for a week, lol.
  19. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    True that, made milk water in the past but this time following the instructions 1 drop at a time.
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  20. pvancomp

    pvancomp Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. Top up water seems to be ok, added a very small amount of Phosphate Remover, 1 tablespoon, less than half what the Seachem bottle recommended, and it seems to have helped. No more GHA and hardly any diatoms as well. Got a skimmer running in it now too and having to empty that every 3-4 days or so, just a PIA to tune because the cup is on so tight you have to take most of the skimmer out to wash it :banghead

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