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Hair algae

Rkcreacy

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What is the best treatment for hair algae. Is it a cleanup crew or chemical solution?
 

nightster

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Would pulling the chaeto be a good idea? So the nutrients from the chaeto dieing don't end up back in the tank?
 

SCUBAFreaky

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What is the best treatment for hair algae. Is it a cleanup crew or chemical solution?
When I switched my tank from a FOWLR system back to a reef tank and brought the metal halide lights back online the GHA absolutely exploded in my tank. I tried Chaeto at first but had very little success with it. My end solution was a multi pronged long term approach.

I run a Clear Water Systems CW-50 Algae Scrubber, Bristletooth Tomini Tang, a single emerald crab, and about 20 blue legged hermit crabs all for my 72 gallon tank. I will admit that this method takes a few months for it to completely eliminate and then keep the GHA away so you have to be diligent and very patient. Although I see a few red bubble algae bulbs pop up from time to time GHA is no longer any sort of issue for me. I will add that I also run an Aqua Ultraviolet 15w Classic UV Sterilizer but it is set up more for pathogen control than it is for algae control but I think it is a minor contributor to my algae control plan as well. @Cody will tell you to slightly oversize your algae scrubber so if I were to do this all over again I would probably go with the CW-100 instead of the CW-50 for my size of a tank.

While I was waiting for the algae scrubber to fully break in and start producing algae on the screen, I built a DIY GHA remover filter to help get the bulk of the GHA out of my tank. I used a filter housing similar to what you would use in a RODI system with 1/2" connections. I connected a Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 pump to the housing with a 50 micron sediment filter. The PVC pipe on the suction wand is not glued so I can use different lengths of pipe on the suction wand. The DIY filter just hangs off the side of my tank.

20200923_124642.jpg
20200923_124006.jpg

I bought a 6 pack of sediment filter cartridges off of amazon and the first time I used the filter to get the bulk of the GHA out of the tank I ended up using 3 of the cartridges. They're pretty cheap so I didn't mind. You can later soak the cartridges in a weak bleach solution to remove the algae so they can be reused again. I think I used this filter for a total of 3 different times to help keep the GHA under control while the algae scrubber really started working. While I'm using the filter to remove GHA I found that using a toothbrush on the rocks or a glass scrapper next to the suction wand really helped. I also use this filter to remove detritus from the rock work as well. I use either a 5 or 10 micron filter cartridge for that activity. And lastly I remove the cartridge from the filter housing and I use this setup to pump fresh saltwater from a brute trash can during my water changes. I use this thing a lot!

I should also note that one of the advertised features of the Clear Water algae scrubber is to reduce phosphates and nitrates. That has not been the case for me. Not on purpose I seem to run a high nutrient tank. I think when my tank was somewhat neglected for 4 and half years while it was a FOWLR tank my live rock became a phosphate sponge and it is graciously giving it back to me now. I can't seem to get my phosphates below 0.80 ppm and my nitrates hang around 25 ppm. Some people will freak out with these numbers but my corals are doing great. In order to maintain my phosphates at 0.80 ppm I am currently doing 20% water changes once a week. I also balance the high nutrient levels with an appropriate lighting duration and intensity. It has been my experience that you can't have high nutrients and a long, intense lighting duration. And vice versa, if I have lower nutrients then I've needed longer and/or more intense lighting.

I know folks swear by Vibrant. I went the other route and it really seems to work for me. I'm very happy with this methodology. I know it's not for everybody though.
 
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Reefahholic

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Would pulling the chaeto be a good idea? So the nutrients from the chaeto dieing don't end up back in the tank?
Yes this is best. It only kills cheato if the dose is large enough or very frequent. However, it’s typically those larger or more frequent doses that eliminate the hair algae. So pulling the Cheato and housing it in a QT or another system is your best bet.
 

nightster

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While I was waiting for the algae scrubber to fully break in and start producing algae on the screen, I built a DIY GHA remover filter to help get the bulk of the GHA out of my tank. I used a filter housing similar to what you would use in a RODI system with 1/2" connections. I connected a Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 pump to the housing with a 50 micron sediment filter. The PVC pipe on the suction wand is not glued so I can use different lengths of pipe on the suction wand. The DIY filter just hangs off the side of my tank.

20200923_124642.jpg
20200923_124006.jpg
That's a slick contraption you got.
 

Cody

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When I switched my tank from a FOWLR system back to a reef tank and brought the metal halide lights back online the GHA absolutely exploded in my tank. I tried Chaeto at first but had very little success with it. My end solution was a multi pronged long term approach.

I run a Clear Water Systems CW-50 Algae Scrubber, Bristletooth Tomini Tang, a single emerald crab, and about 20 blue legged hermit crabs all for my 72 gallon tank. I will admit that this method takes a few months for it to completely eliminate and then keep the GHA away so you have to be diligent and very patient. Although I see a few red bubble algae bulbs pop up from time to time GHA is no longer any sort of issue for me. I will add that I also run an Aqua Ultraviolet 15w Classic UV Sterilizer but it is set up more for pathogen control than it is for algae control but I think it is a minor contributor to my algae control plan as well. @Cody will tell you to slightly oversize your algae scrubber so if I were to do this all over again I would probably go with the CW-100 instead of the CW-50 for my size of a tank.

While I was waiting for the algae scrubber to fully break in and start producing algae on the screen, I built a DIY GHA remover filter to help get the bulk of the GHA out of my tank. I used a filter housing similar to what you would use in a RODI system with 1/2" connections. I connected a Sicce Syncra Silent 1.5 pump to the housing with a 50 micron sediment filter. The PVC pipe on the suction wand is not glued so I can use different lengths of pipe on the suction wand. The DIY filter just hangs off the side of my tank.

20200923_124642.jpg
20200923_124006.jpg

I bought a 6 pack of sediment filter cartridges off of amazon and the first time I used the filter to get the bulk of the GHA out of the tank I ended up using 3 of the cartridges. They're pretty cheap so I didn't mind. You can later soak the cartridges in a weak bleach solution to remove the algae so they can be reused again. I think I used this filter for a total of 3 different times to help keep the GHA under control while the algae scrubber really started working. While I'm using the filter to remove GHA I found that using a toothbrush on the rocks or a glass scrapper next to the suction wand really helped. I also use this filter to remove detritus from the rock work as well. I use either a 5 or 10 micron filter cartridge for that activity. And lastly I remove the cartridge from the filter housing and I use this setup to pump fresh saltwater from a brute trash can during my water changes. I use this thing a lot!

I should also note that one of the advertised features of the Clear Water algae scrubber is to reduce phosphates and nitrates. That has not been the case for me. Not on purpose I seem to run a high nutrient tank. I think when my tank was somewhat neglected for 4 and half years while it was a FOWLR tank my live rock became a phosphate sponge and it is graciously giving it back to me now. I can't seem to get my phosphates below 0.80 ppm and my nitrates hang around 25 ppm. Some people will freak out with these numbers but my corals are doing great. In order to maintain my phosphates at 0.80 ppm I am currently doing 20% water changes once a week. I also balance the high nutrient levels with an appropriate lighting duration and intensity. It has been my experience that you can't have high nutrients and a long, intense lighting duration. And vice versa, if I have lower nutrients then I've needed longer and/or more intense lighting.

I know folks swear by Vibrant. I went the other route and it really seems to work for me. I'm very happy with this methodology. I know it's not for everybody though.
Maybe there was some confusion in our talks, but I typically would recommend undersizing an algae turf scrubber, not oversizing. The biggest issue they run into is starving themselves to death because they consume and grow too quickly.
 

SCUBAFreaky

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Maybe there was some confusion in our talks, but I typically would recommend undersizing an algae turf scrubber, not oversizing. The biggest issue they run into is starving themselves to death because they consume and grow too quickly.
Hahaha. It prolly wasn't confusion. I must have flat out remembered wrong. Thanks for clarifying @Cody!
 

Cody

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Hahaha. It prolly wasn't confusion. I must have flat out remembered wrong. Thanks for clarifying @Cody!
It happens to the best of us! I know we talked about it a while ago, and these days, weeks feel like months, months feel like years. Plus, I was yelling at you across your yard while you were on your front porch haha
 
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