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Jeffrey howell

Hair Algae with good water?

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Hi all. I'm at my whits end. I have a 30 gallon tank with 2 clown fish and plenty of soft corals. The corals are doing great, the fish are doing great. All the corals are extending fully and the nutrients are perfect. I've been doing frequent water changes, but I'm still overwhelmed with hair algae. I took the water into Aquadome and they said the water is fine. I bought two urchins and they haven't done much. I bought some emerald crabs and they died within a week of putting them in (maybe the starved?). I even performed a 3 day black out to try and get it taken care of. My lighting is as follows:

Fluval A3995 Sea Marine/Reef 2.0 LED, 48-60"

2 hour sunrise from 10 - 12

Daylight with pink 79%, cyan 100%, blue 100%, purple 85%, cold white 70%

2 hour sunset from 3 - 5

Someone please help. I've been fighting this for months. 

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We've all been there. It can take awhile, but stick with it and you'll win! How long is your total photoperiod? It looks like you're only running the lights from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. How much are you feeding those two clownfish? How long has this tank been set up and what kind of rock/sand did you start with?

Every tank needs a different approach depending on what's caused your algae problem. It's generally a nutrient or lighting issue. IME blackout only works on cyanobacteria. How to Remove Algae From a Reef Tank also has some good tips to help you as well. 

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Have you tried some different types of snails?

Aquadome said my waters fine too. I have cyano, hair and some other algae.

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Direct sunlight promotes GHA growth and moving the aquarium may help with the issue. It probably wouldn't solve the entire issue, but it would help. Moving an existing reef can be very difficult and I would consider it a last resort unless the reef is fairly young or most of the livestock has been lost already. I've battled GHA twice in the last three years using the techniques in the previously linked article. The first time was after a new tank cycle and it took about two months. The second was after a tank crash that took about five months. My tanks don't utilize a CUC of any substance and excluding herbivore invertebrates is a personal preference. What worked for me was manual removal, herbivore fish and time.  

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Persistent manual removal (including scrubbing rocks with a toothbrush) and small weekly water changes will likely do the trick.  it's important that your corals are happy and consuaming the nutrients in the water column to out compete the algae.  You will never be 100% free of hair algae IME.

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For starters I would recommend Forrest Rohwer's "Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas".  It's an excellent introduction to Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) and points out whether the equilibrium promotes algae or corals is independent of nutrients. In my two nuisance algae threads on this forum being patient and using only manual removal nuisance algae disappeared as inorganic nutrients increased.  

 

This system is one I think demonstrates the idea that it's the equilibrium that matters and not the amount of nitrate or PO4 per se that matters.  Being maintained now for roughly 8 years with tapwater the "gurus" say can't be done.

 

And I have to disagree with the idea sunlight causes nuisance algae problems.  The different spectrum may be a challenge for the average hobbyist to know how to stock  and deal with initially but the simple techniques I posted in my two algae threads work just as well if sunlight is a source of light.  Here's my system that gets seasonal variable of 1\2 to 2 1\2 hours:

 

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Try a sea hare, or a very small tang with a rehoming plan. I had a big “new tank” bloom on my biocube and a sea hare took care of it. Fun to watch creature.





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