Red Slime Algae Eaters?


OK, this is one of many postings on this same topic - my apologies.
Setup: 90g, setup since January. 90# live rock, 10# live sand. 7 fish (2 clowns, hippo tang, yellow tang, sailfin tang, mandarin goby, neon dottyback). 4 cleaner and 3 peppermint shrimp. 2 emerald crabs. Lots of astrea, turbo and bumblebee snails and blue-legged hermit and scarlet hermit crabs. 14 corals (mushrooms, bubble, brain, torch, yellow leather, yellow polyps, xenia, fungia, lobophyllia, orange colony polyp). 20g sump with wet/dry filter and protein skimmer. Two 750 powerheads for circulation. 4x 96w lights (half actinic, half full-spectrum). Actinics are on for 11 hours; full spectrum for 8 hours. Replace 10g water every week and top off with AragaMIGHT and Reef Builder as needed.
Conditions: Temp: 75. Calcium: 350. Alk: ranges between 2.2 and 3.2 (usually on the higher end). Ph: ranges between 8.0 and 8.4. Salinity: 1.0235. Nitrate: has not exceeded 5 (usually under 2.5).
Problem: We've had a red slime algae problem for the last month or so. It started just in the substrate but is now growing on more and more of the rocks. We've been keeping the alkalinity up by adding reef builder and improved the circulation in the tank by adjusting the placement of the powerheads somewhat. The only thing we might be doing still that would be contributing to the problem is possibly over-feeding (we're new at this and don't want to under-feed), but we're keeping the filter pads replaced as often as needed. We do a 10g water change every week or so, using tap water and Instant Ocean. Our tap water measures 0.1 for phosphates, and the tank reading is usually about 0.3, which is at the upper end of acceptable. We'd like to get some, preferably natural, help with the problem since we've only managed to slow it's growth but it's still gradually getting worse.
Question: I've seen recommendations on this board for snails and crabs that eat red algae. has the Reef Janitors package with the crab (chibanarius or clibanarious digueti, mexican dwarf hermit) and the snail (Cerithium strercusmuscarum). Does anyone know much about these two guys? I haven't been able to find out anything else about them except what the reef janitors site says - which says they're reef-safe and fantastic. I'd hate to fix one problem by creating another.


New Member
two recommendations:
stop using tap water if at all possible, it really does make a difference
to use reverse osmosis water. and as for the over-feeding...i wouldn't worry about underfeeding your fish. the tangs should be grazing on algea as it is, and i skip a day every now and then on feeding my fish...if they are healthy it won't hurt them. but it will cause you big head aches if you overfeed them. if you're changing 10 gallons per week, that should be sufficient to maintain good water quality - if you stop overfeeding. you might want to try having your actinic lights on only a 1/2 hr prior to and after your others turn on/off. or even 15 mins. just to make the transition more natural, but not to encourage algea growth too much. lastly, there is an insert you can put into your filter/sump that will help absorb phosphates. i forget what it's called, but i have purchased it before from my fish supply looks like white gravel kind of. well, good luck


Thanks for the suggestions. They're consistent with what our LFS has been telling us, so I guess we really need to cut back on the feeding for a while and see what that buys us. They claim that our local water supply is OK - but we were thinking about trying a few water changes with distilled water, too, just to see if that makes a difference. Thanks for the help!
If anyone has had experience with the claims of for their snail and crab that eat red slime algae - am still curious!
[This message has been edited by KMatysek (edited 05-30-2000).]


The only thing I know of that eats the red slime algae is a queen conch. I am fighting a red slime problem myself but I know that my problem is tap water. I am in the process of trying to aquire a used R/O unit (I'll know by the end of the week) or I am going to purchase a tap water filter for around $30. Everyone I talk with and every article I read points a finger at using tap water for a red slime problem.
I'm new as well, I went on eBay and bought a r/o for $50.00 new free shiping. It's portable ment for Moter homes or appt. it's just a 50 gallons a day. It takes about one hour or so to fill up a 5 g bucket. I love my little r/o filter I keep mine in a small box lined with a plastic bag and keep it under my bed till I'm ready to us it then I just set it on the counter in the kitchen and it's ready to go.


Well-Known Member
Hello all,

Red slime AKA is not an algae, it's bacteria. It is the direct result of bad water quality and low water current. It means too many nutrients are settling where you see it growing. Overfeeding and poor water quality is why you are experiencing the problems you are. Distilled water is too expensive and not acceptable. RO(reverse osmosis or RO/DI Deionized).

Every large grocery store sells RO water at the refill station. The Super Walmart by me sells it for 37 cents a gallon, our LFS sells it for $1.00. Your own unit will cost about $200.00 and then you have to keep up on the filters. Culligan water company will install a unit, and take care of all the filters for about $40.00 a month. Culligan water is what Walmart uses. The 5g jugs are expensive ($15.00 for a filled bottle...deposit) but reusable and will come in handy for many years to come. When they grow old, I just return them and get a refilled bottle for about $5.00...usually I would refill the jug for about $1.85

Now compare that price to all the junk you want to get so you can be rid of the red slime your poor water quality created. Since the entire system is water, that is not the place to pinch the pennies. Water quality is the single most important thing when keeping a fish tank..