beating hair algae in a tiny tank

Discussion in 'Tips and Techniques' started by snakeblitz33, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. snakeblitz33

    snakeblitz33 Well-Known Member

    I have a 5g reef tank that has mixed corals - soft, lps and sps corals. I have been feeding the corals phytoplankton and putting a couple of grains of pellet food in there every now and then. Over the last few weeks, my tank has developed a hair algae problem. Also, my flame scallop passed away and I didn't catch it in time before it rotted away, so that could be the main issue.

    My plan of attack:

    1. Get a turbo snail on loan
    2. Siphon out some of the hair algae at the next water change.
    3. Change my RO/DI filters out because TDS has reached 7. yikes.
    4. If necessary, use a little GFO in a nylon bag in the sump. Id rather not use GFO with out delicate the system is.

    Not really asking for advice, just sharing my experience as the process continues in such a small tank. If anyone is interested in an in-depth discussion of reef chemistry in a small tank, let me know. I'll be glad to share.
  2. beth

    beth Administrator Staff Member

    What kind of corals do you have and what are you using for filtration? Lighting?
  3. snakeblitz33

    snakeblitz33 Well-Known Member

    I have 20+ different types of corals, ranging from soft corals to LPS to SPS. Filtration is primarily live rock, a small stock filter and a carbon pillow.

    Lighting is a kessil A80 that is on from 6am to 9pm. It stays at 5% until 3pm and ramps up to 90% until 8pm and then ramps down and turns off by 9pm. Its already such a small light that I feel like less than that would be detrimental to the corals.
  4. beth

    beth Administrator Staff Member

    You have 20 corals in a 5 gal nano! What are your water readings: ammonia, nitrites, nitrates? Fish in tank? How long has your tank been set up? Can you provide a good digital pic of the problem?

    Most definitely want to keep TDS at ZERO. If you've gone through setting up an RODI then you have to make optimum use of it, particularly with stony corals.

    Yes one turbo snail on loan will help out, don't get more than that because a 5 gal is not likely going to be able to support the feeding needs of a turbo.

    Stop using pellet food to feed corals.
    snakeblitz33 likes this.
  5. snakeblitz33

    snakeblitz33 Well-Known Member

    It's a delicate balancing act for sure.

    Nitrate and phosphate are both zero. I was trying to increase nitrate to 5ppm and phosphates a little too, but I obviously did not have enough herbivores to take care of the algae that arose.

    Photobucket banned me for posting to a third party website. My phone camera takes high quality pics and swf only allows a few kb of memory upload. I won't be able to upload a photo. I wish I could.

    I've only been using distilled water for the past year or so for top off. My RO water has been used for drinking and cooking mostly, except for the occasional emergency.

    I'll stop by the lfs on Wednesday.
  6. beth

    beth Administrator Staff Member

    Why do you want phosphates and nitrates? Better to have none.
  7. snakeblitz33

    snakeblitz33 Well-Known Member

    Experiment with growth and coloration of sps
  8. beth

    beth Administrator Staff Member

    You have 20 corals in a 5 gal. You're going to have to remove most of those pretty soon as they start to grow. The added phosphate is great if you want to proliferate hair algae. But has potential to actually stunt growth of corals due to growth of microalgae in the water, blocking much needed light that stony corals need to survive. I'm assuming you have a plan to move the corals elsewhere as they grow out.

    The lighting fixture you are using I have no familiarity with but I did go to the manufacturer's homepage and still did not see much info. What's your take on that fixture? Is it a good choice for the type of corals you have?
  9. snakeblitz33

    snakeblitz33 Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is a great choice of lighting for a small tank. It's kept SPS very well in my tank and for others.

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