HOW CAN I GET RID OF ALL THIS RED ALGAE?????

Discussion in 'Marine Algae & Plants' started by ThePurpleTwelve, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. ThePurpleTwelve

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    Hello people. I am having a problem with red algae. It's growing on the sand, rocks, walls, and there were even random strands of algae floating around on the surface a couple days ago! (I removed them) I am mainly concerned about the sand bed. The rocks are fine as long as the algae don't grow out of control on them. The algae seem to like the white/red lights the best. I know this because whenever I have the blue light on, they don't grow. I can't leave the white/red lights off because my candy cane coral shrivels up whenever I turn 'em off. Nitrates are below 5 and have been so since the tank was set up. I run the Coralife Marine Filter with Protein Skimmer. I use LEDs for lighting. Can someone please tell me what kind of algae this is and how to get rid of it????
     

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  2. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    From what I can see, it looks like cyno bacteria to me and is sometimes associated with silicas as in the water from the tap. If we can get another member to confirm that it is indeed cyno, you can eliminate with a product called "red slime" in about 48 hours. If it returns you may have a source water problem....I am assuming you use RODI water always...
     
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  3. cracker

    cracker Well-Known Member

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    A good sifting of the sand wouldn't hurt either
     
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  4. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it looks like cyano to me.

    Before we get into any specific recommendations, please let us know the following information -
    How large is the tank?
    How long has it been set up?
    What filter media are you using?
    Exactly what lighting are you using?
    What are your exact water parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate?

    Here is something I have posted before on the subject and it has a lot of good information on what to do -

    DaveK's Standard Lecture #2 - Algae Control

    Algae control comes down to controlling nitrates and phosphates. If you have a problem with algae it is because these two nutrients are out of control. Do not think that just because your test kits read zero or low values that you do not have a problem. In many cases the algae is removing the nutrients and growing. This is why there is a problem.

    Here are possible sources of nitrates and phosphates -

    Feeding, especially flake food and not rinsing frozen foods before feeding.
    Using tap water to mix salt. Always use RO/DI water for this.
    "Dirt traps" and "nitrate factories" in the system.
    Low quality carbon can leach nutrients.
    Low quality salt can sometimes add nutrients. This is unusual today.
    Livestock load on the system

    Here are possible ways to remove nitrates and phosphates -

    Water changes. Change 1/2 the water and you reduce the nutrients by 1/2.
    Skimming. Remove the waste products before the biological filtration need to break then down.
    Nitrate and phosphate removal products.
    Deep sand beds.
    Refugiums.
    Algae Scrubbers.

    Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Most people that control algae will use many of the above methods.

    There are also other items that can effect algae growth rates.

    Good clean up crew.
    Other livestock that eats algae.
    Low general water quality, especially when the readings are off.
    Lighting, sometimes you can reduce it, especially in FO or FOWLR systems.
    Old light bulbs. Colors change as they age and this can be a factor.
    Water flow. More flow will often help keep algae down.
    Manual removal. Very important, especially when there is a big problem.
     
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  5. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    I've got to disagree in part here. While the red slime removal products do work, unless you have corrected the root causes of the algae problem, you'll quickly have another problem algae causing problems. All too often people add a red slime removal product and cause more harm than good because they didn't correct for the main causes of their problem.

    Generally, I recommend not using any of the red slime removal products.
     
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  6. ThePurpleTwelve

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    Tank is 30 gallons, been set up for over two months, I am using carbon, lighting is 140 watt LED, ammonia and nitrite are zero, and nitrates under five. I have no idea what phosphates are as I don't have a phosphate test. I use DI water. I had no idea I was suppopsed to rinse frozen food!!!!
     
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  7. ThePurpleTwelve

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    Now the whole sand bed is covered in algae.
     
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  8. ThePurpleTwelve

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  9. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. You have a couple of other factors to consider here. You might want to upgrade your filtration system. The filter you have seems to be a bit small for a 30 gal tank. Generally, manufacturers tend to be "very optimistic" about how large a tank theit equipment can support. Usually I figure that you want to use something they rate for a tank your size. In other words for a 30 gal tank use equpment rated for about a 60 gal tank.

    Your lighting might be way too high, especially at this point. For the time being, I'd run them about 8 hours a day at about 50% max. Then adjust it up or down as needed. If your running a really high end fixture where you can control each color component, you can also cut back on the amount of red and green light.

    Consider getting a phosphate test kit if you plan to keep corals. This is another nutrient worth testing for.

    Lastly, your tank is very new. It is not at all unusual for a new tank to go through a lot of algae blooms the first 6 months or so. The key here is to keep after algale problems, but don't panic.
     
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  10. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    DI and RODI water of course are different.
    Do you not use reverse osmosis first followed by Deionization?
    Cause that would be why, your water, while Deionized, contains Silicas that Cyno thrive on.....
     
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  11. ThePurpleTwelve

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    I use DI water because my dad has free access to it. (He works in a lab sometimes).
     
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  12. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    But are you not bypassing an important contaminant process? Reverse Osmosis membrane reduces 93%-98% of dissolved minerals, salt and other contaminates from your water supply. This is where the purification takes place.

    If I refer to DaveK standard lecture 2, he points out the use of RODI. I believe that this is a standard in our hobby.

    When I first started out, I used tap water. What a mess in a few months. Severe Cyno problem.
    Since moving to RODI source, good salt, all NSW parameters on point, I have not seen any cyno in my tank at all in 17 months now.

    The membrane diverts many contaminants like metal ions, minerals, silicates, copper....the list goes on......to waste....and pushes only the purified water which is then deionized.

    DaveK, Pat24601, or Oxy may elaborate more but I would guess that your problem stems from non-RO water. Your using basically tap water, while dionized, IMO, not sufficient. (That I am aware of)

    I know your source is free, but is the result what you want?
    My RODI unit, which cost me $100 bucks, was worth every penny...
     
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    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
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  13. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Ro/DI water is preferred, however, if your using RO water right now, you can test it to see if you have any problems. You should see a TDS reading that is under 5 for RO water. Tap water can be much higher. Mine is about 150.

    It is true that RO membranes are not usually very good at removing silica. However some high silica removal RO membranes are available. What you can do is check with the local water department and see what the silica level is. Since RO by itself doesn't remove much, you can figure what they tell you is what you are dealing with. Silica test kits are available, but you need to seek them out, usually from companies like LaMotte, and they are very expensive.

    All that being said, usually with a lot of silica you'll see outbreaks of brown algae, although as @Uncle99 points out they can cause cyano blooms also.

    If all else fails, you can consider getting your own RO/DI unit, but before you spend the money on that, test the water your currently obtaining and see what it's readings are. It's not too unusual to find that the readings are not as low as they should be.
     
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  14. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks DaveK for your post to the OP.
    I have always just assumed that I needed RODI water to be successful in keeping TDS below 5ish. I may be incorrect.

    As you correctly point out, RO membranes are in fact not the best at removing the ions from tap water, Deionization is, but is much more expensive. When we employ a RO filter which could last years, we can remove somewhere around 90% of the unwanted tap water ions, then the DI filtration process will remove the rest. Without the RO process, we would use up our DI cartridges way too fast. So is the issue just cost?

    So I now better understand the OP's use of DI water as for him, it's free.

    The only time I ever got cyno was when my water was not purified.
    Have not seen it, or any type of excess algae since following standard lecture number 2. The more I listen to the experts, the better my tank and the less the cost!
     
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  15. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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    I’ve been surprised by how many tanks have algae problems and the issue comes back to the core water or water mixing process. Everything from high TDS initial water such as using tap water or bad LFS water to dirty water comtainers.

    Keeping all that in line is really key.
     
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  16. ThePurpleTwelve

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    So basically you guys are saying that DI by itself isn't sufficient?
     
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  17. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, I don’t know.
    You can get free water that’s DI, this process takes out the smallest contamients so I am not sure what’s left, what would be interesting to know, like DaveK said is what’s the TDS of your DI free water?
    If less than 5, I would use it.
    A lab, LFS maybe could test?
     
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  18. ThePurpleTwelve

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    My dad used to have a TDS tester but not anymore. Maybe local Petco can test it...
     
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  19. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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  20. ThePurpleTwelve

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    I have like five bucks lol
     
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