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Help with gelidium

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    Posted: August 20 2016 at 11:22am
I'm at a loss and need some help. I am 98% I have an outbreak of gelidium that I've been battling with for a few months. Before I go any further, here is the important stuff everyone asks about.

On average, over the last 3 months;
dKh - 8.5
Ca - 450
Mg - 1380
NO3 - 0
PO4 - 0.00
Photoperiod with Gen 3 Pro is AB+ for 8 hours at 65% with wide angle lenses
I wet skim 24hrs.
GFO - 10 tbsp
No filter socks
5 gallon WC weekly with HWmarine

So, I'm at a complete loss. I've recently added a pincushion urchin because I've run out of ideas and options short of drying out rock and sand. I've done 2 blackouts now for 3 days and am currently on my third blackout. I peeked in the tank this morning and it looks like there is more algae. It's very discouraging. I'm worried it will over grow all my sps frags.

Any help would be vastly appreciated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 11:33am
Your no3 and phosphate are giving wrong readings since the algae uses it up so quick.

I had issues with cotton candy algae and hooked up a biodinitrator and it has been smooth sailings since. It takes a few months to start working but awesome results.I have even stopped using gfo

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 11:49am
That could be very accurate. But then I have to ask where the PO4 and NO3 is originating from. I have been under feeding my tank. I feed an 1/8 tsp of frozen, chopped mysis every other day. I use RODI water and change the filters out every time they start to change color in the slightest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 12:01pm
Detritus, is my guess.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 12:11pm
I clean my sand bed and clear out the sump alternating between the two each water change. Detritus isn't accumulating anywhere.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 12:43pm
Hmmm, skimmer functioning correctly?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badfinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 12:44pm
Corals growing?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 12:45pm
Skimmer pulls out some thick gunk. I skim wet too. Some of my acroporas are growing super fast. Some have stagnated
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 20 2016 at 2:25pm
Ouch I hate it when nuisance algae gets out of control. Of course that pretty red algae could be welcome in some tanks by some hobbyists. Smile See the pics below.

One thing that was touched upon but not as yet seriously addressed is the number and type of herbivores in the tank. An important key to algae control has always been having sufficient herbivores to eat the algae. Have there been sufficient snails to eat the fresh new sprouts of algae before it became a nuisance? Also, I am certain there is an herbivore that loves to eat Gelidium. My guess is that a hungry Rabbitfish or a Tang of the Unicorn family will do the job.

As we all know, Zooxanthellae need N and P compounds as food for growth. With N and P levels at zero, it's not surprising that some of the coral aren't thriving. The growth of algae, including Giledium, combined with nutrient removal by the Skimmer, the GFO, bacterial biofiltration, and perhaps a Refugium of Macroalgae is stripping the water of those essential nutrients. In other words, the robust growth of this Giledium Algae is helping keep N and P at zero.

New salt water in the form of frequent water changes is actually a nutrient contributor. Certainly we don't expect salt mixes to contain N and P, but its the other nutrients that are replaced by a water change that feed algae and animals. Scaling back on the frequency and size of water changes and even stopping water changes for as long as you can stand it, could be helpful in curtailing this nuisance algae outbreak.

Hope this helps,
Aloha,
Mark  Hug


This red alga, possibly Giledium, was very prominent on this clam upon arrival in my tank in 2004, but the herbivores, including a Yellow Tang and a Purple Tang, in time ate it all up. Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 21 2016 at 8:17am
Mark, I first want to say thank you for the mellow response :)

I do have a good number of herbivores in the tank (at least I think so). I have a starry blenny, about 15 cerith snails, 5 astreas, 3 turbos, 2 nerites, an emerald crab, a pincushion urchin and a long spine urchin (with a small tang on the way).

If the water is already void of and nitrogen and phosphorus, why would a water change hurt the alage? I've always been confused by that notion.

Also, if the test kits are reading zero, I find it very hard to believe that the algae is consuming the nutrients faster than I can test for them. To me, that would imply that as soon as I test for nitrate and phosphate and was given a reading of zero, the algae would immediately die afterwards. I am in no way adding as much nitrate and phosphorus into the water as fast as the algae can consume it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 21 2016 at 7:46pm
It's not gelidium. Error on my part identifying the algae
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 21 2016 at 11:20pm
Smile

 "3 Turbos" 
? Are those Margarita Snails or are they the large Pacific Turbo Snail? I've found the large Pacific Turbo to have a voracious appetite for all kinds of red algae. Smaller Pacific Turbo Snails can be purchased thereby avoiding the bulldozer problems of the larger ones.

"a small tang on the way" 
Hopefully the new Tang will take a liking to the red algae.

"why would a water change hurt the algae?" 
Maybe I misunderstand your meaning, but water changes don't hurt the algae. New salt water replaces nutrients in the tank water that were lost through consumption. Both coral and algae consume the replaced nutrients. I know not only from my own personal experience, but also from the results of hobbyists following my advice, that water changes do indeed encourage algae growth. BTW, what size is this tank? A 5 gal weekly w/c is what percent? That's a constant source of fresh nutrients.

"I am in no way adding as much nitrate and phosphorus into the water as fast as the algae can consume it." 
I agree, sort of Embarrassed. You stated that the tank is being fed a very small amount so we would logically assume the algae is eating nutrients coming from somewhere else. Yet you said that with weekly water changes the LS in both the display and the Refugium are alternately vacuumed weekly.
This is a red flag. Why? 
Because vacuuming the sand is disturbing the sand bed. It's interrupting the animals, including bacteria, that make their home in the LS. These are the animals that process pollution - the animals that make LS alive. Depending on the tank set up, undisturbed LS can provide as much as 75% of the biofiltration capacity. Without a functioning LS bed, where do Nitrogen and Phosphorus compounds go? The answer?Algae is eating those nutrients. Shocked 

I realize that not vacuuming the sand runs contrary to "professional" tank maintenance procedures. It may seem counter-intuitive. To understand the reasoning, read my posts in this thread from the Reefkeeping Tips:
How to keep the sand bed looking clean and white:
http://utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=71203

Continuing on, the next most likely source of pollution(nutrients in the form of N and P) is the rock. Think for a moment in terms of directional flow. Where are nutrients originating and where are they ending up? If, as often happens (especially when re-using old dead LR), the LR in this tank is emitting nutrients and this nuisance algae is immediately consuming those nutrients. In essence, nutrients are coming out of the LR and quickly ending up as new algae growth. The N and P never make it to the surface water where the test sample is being drawn. If you're wondering, Yes, algae can eat N and P so fast that it never enters the general water column.

This post is already too long, but I have one more comment. May we see a pic of the algae? Yeah I know, I always ask to see a pic. Embarrassed It also wouldn't hurt to see a pic of the full tank and another of the sump/Refugium. Someone here may be able to ID the algae or may have conquered an outbreak in their tank. Pictures are always an invaluable reference for those of us trying to help with an aquarium problem and all of this should be helpful for other hobbyists wanting to learn to avoid the same issue in their own tanks. 

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - August 22 2016 at 6:33am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 22 2016 at 9:10am
It's not gelidium. Error on my part identifying the algae

Well, the red algae is being taken care of as we speak. I am blowing it off the rocks and changing my filter socks twice a day. Yesterday I did a 10 gallon water change after blowing the rocks off with a turkey baster. Most of the red algae came off and showed green tufts of algae underneath the red algae. So hopefully my small tang will munch it all up soon, along with my expanding clean up crew. My issue boils down to less than ideal husbandry. I need to increase my water changes and the cleaning of filter socks to meet my bioload. I also need to increase my clean up crew.

You'd be so proud Mark, I actually put my refugium back online. The filter sock chamber in my sump is going to be only for macroalgae here on out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 22 2016 at 10:51am
Sounds like it could be the common red Cyanobacteria or possibly Asperigopsis Algae that got out of control because of insufficient herbivores. I cannot overstate the importance of herbivores. They are a long term solution that makes regular maintenance a breeze.
Even after being blown off, these two alga often return. Let us know if we can help you get to the root cause to save all the maintenance hassle.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - August 22 2016 at 10:53am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 22 2016 at 8:52pm
Between manual removal, frequent changes of filter socks, increasing the clean up crew, having the refugium back online and larger water changes, I should see this algae fade away.

I'm just glad it's not gelidium. This is much easier to fix :)

Edited by evan127 - August 22 2016 at 8:53pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 23 2016 at 7:54am
Thumbs Up

You have me spinning around in circles, Clown like a dog chasing it's tail.  Wacko LOL

What algae is this? 
May we see some pics? You know we all love to see other reef tanks, set ups, coral and algae. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote evan127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 23 2016 at 8:25am
I am thinking the red algae was cyanobacteria, but I've never seen it so stringy. Maybe it was from all of my flow. The green stuff underneath is just short green hair algae. I can upload a picture when I am at my computer later.
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