Best Ways to STOP Hair Algae

So you have always had a crystal clear tank. Now all of a sudden, you have a bit of hair algae. You pay it no mind thinking its just a small amount. What harm can it do?

Over the course of a few weeks, the small hairy problem gets worse. It gets to a point where you don’t know what to do to get rid of it and keep it out of your tank.

Algae Take Over

Algae Take Over

More than half of new aquarium keepers (and some experienced ones) get out of the salt water hobby because algae takes over their tanks and they go through the frustration of trying to get it under control before eventually giving up and tearing their tanks apart.

So what causes hair algae? What makes it grow?

Green Hair Algae begins to grow when the Nitrates and Phosphates in your system get too high. Add a light source and hair algae has everything it needs to live a long and prosperous life.

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Both phosphates and nitrates can be introduced into an aquarium by using a poor quality water source in addition to other things.

So let’s get down to it…

HOW DO YOU GET RID OF HAIR ALGAE?

Remove it manually

  • It’s the good ole tug and pull method. Although this is time consuming (not to mention your arm gets exhausted fairly quickly), it is the most fastest and most effective way to rid yourself of hair algae.

Change your water source

  • If you can afford to do so, purchase an RO/DI system to make your own water. It will pay for itself within a year. It also gives you the convenience of not having to leave the house to go to your local LFS and having to drag water containers back and forth from home.
  • We currently use a RO/DI 5 stage system from Bulk Reef Supply that can make around 75 gallons of water a day.
  • You can also use this system for drinking water as well as your top off water for your tanks.

Perform frequent water changes

  • Many aquarium keepers swear by weekly water changes. Some say they are unnecessary. But, if it makes sense, why not try it.
  • Water changes allow you to remove nutrients from your tank and replace the nutrient filled water with fresh salt water for your ocean living dwellers. If you are having high phosphate or nitrate problems, frequent water changes will assist with bringing those levels to a more suitable level for your tank.
  • Remember to use RO/DI water when doing water changes to your tank to make sure you are not adding any additional nutrients in your system that are normally found in tap and well water.

Cut down on Feedings

  • Feeding your tank inhabitants is a common way to add nutrients to your tank.
  • The quality and quantity of food you are feeding your tank will also determine what type of nutrients you are adding into your tank. Know what you are feeding your fish. Check out the ingredients.
  • Rinsing frozen foods before introducing them to your tank will help.
  • Make sure you feed your fish no more than what they will consume in a few minutes. I normally feed very small amounts until my fish seems no longer interested in eating. Your corals and other reef inhabitants will eat what ever left overs your fish leave behind.

Invest in a Protein Skimmer

  • Protein Skimmers can be very expensive, but they are very effective with removing nutrients from your aquarium.
  • You want to make sure you purchase a protein skimmer that can handle twice the volume of water that you have in your system. For instance, if you have a 75 gallon aquarium, you will ideally want to purchase a protein skimmer that can handle 150 gallons.
  • You will be amazed what a protein skimmer pulls out of your water. The collection cup accumulates “skim-mate” which is also known as fish poop. LOL. It smells something horrible!

Add a Tang or a Seahare

  • This won’t remove the problem, but will merely cover it up.
  • Tangs will graze daily on green hair algae.
  • Seahares are known as cows of the sea. Be very careful when purchasing this algae eating beast. Once there is no more algae in your tank for your sea hare to munch on, it will starve to death if you don’t provide it with something to graze on.

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Increase your Clean up Crew

  • Sometimes the increase in nutrients in your tank is because you don’t have a large enough CUC. Snails, shrimp, sea stars, urchins and hermit crabs are some of the many members of a good clean up crew. They eat all of the left overs that your fish and coral leave behind so that food doesn’t decay in your tank causing phosphate, nitrate and ammonia problems.
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  • Your clean up crew will also pick at some of the hair algae growing in your tank keeping it to a minimum. Don’t know how much to add? You can find cleaner packages all over the internet. Just make sure you choose a reputable one.

Add a Refugium 

  • A refugium will grow plants that will pull phosphates, nitrates and certain nutrients out of your water.
  • Chaeto and Mangroves are my personal favorites.

Any other ideas about how to get rid of hair algae? Let us know…Comment below!

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Shroom County

Mushrooms are a very gorgeous addition to any saltwater aquarium. They require a medium light source and low to medium water flow. They are very hardy for any new hobbyist. Their bright colors and ease of care makes them a crowd favorite. They enjoy a 1.025 salinity (salt concentration). They also thrive on the foods that are fed to your other aquarium corals. They are good tank mates. Take a look at true blues and reds from my 90 gallons of paradise.

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Want to know more about Mushrooms….Just ask!

Common Aquarium Start Up Mistakes

 

There are many basic start up mistakes that new hobbyist make when they begin. List are the most common mistakes.

1. Starting with a tank too small

The smaller the tank, the less room for error. Imagine dropping an Oreo cookie Ina glass of milk versus a gallon of milk. The glass would be mostly Oreo cookie. Or thunk about how much time i would take to boil water in a pot versus in a pool. When our parameters in our tanks change, they change slowly over time. The more water available, the longer you have to catch problems that could be detrimental to your livestock.

2. Adding animals too soon

A certain level of bacteria must build up in a tank in order for organisms to live. Many say 3-6 months of running a tank is needed to reach that ideal bacteria level. This also allows micro organisms to show their face in your aquarium. A tank must go through a complete nitrogen cycle to keep livestock healthy. This is where quality test kits will come into play.

3. Adding too much at one time

Each piece of livestock weather it be fish, coral or invert needs time to adjust to its surroundings. In order to keep a close eye on your bio load and how each fish reacts, you should add fish slowly. Most of the time hobbyist will tell you no more than 2-3 fish per month. Of course adding 3 small fish such as chromis would not be the same as adding 3 large tangs.

4. Housing too much once established

Know you bio load. Know how much filtration you have and how well it will keep your water clean. Many use a 3 inch per gallon rule when it comes to fish. Saltwater aquariums are a bit different. Know your limit. The better your filtration system, the more fish you can house. Also keep in mind the bio load of other organisms such as inverts and corals that you may want to add later.

5. Neighbors don’t play nice

There is nothing like adding an aggressive fish to a tank that holds docile fish. What do you think will happen? The docile fish WILL get picked on and possibly killed. When looking at how much saltwater fish can cost, I wouldn’t take that chance. Sounds like a waste of money. Know the compatibility levels for what you want to add to your tank.

6. Too much food

What you put in your tank must break down. Weather it be in fish poop or bits of food that don’t get eaten. Over feeding your tank may cause spikes in your nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels among other things. These high concentrated numbers can be detrimental to your livestock.

7. Not enough filteration

Filtration is key. Normally I use a 4 way filtration system that includes live rock filtration, refugium filtration (with plants that absorb nitrates and other nutrients in that water), protein skimmers and certain aquatic life filters such as clams. My particular set up can filter a tank stocked to capacity for a 300 gallon tank even though it only filters a 90 gallon. This enables me to spend more time enjoying and less time changing water so often.

8. Proper testing and maintenance

Proper testing is a major factor. Knowing when something is wrong in your tank is a major thing and needs to be tend to as soon as possible. Everyone maintains their tank differently. Over time you will find out what works for you. Personally, because I have a filtration system that is three times the size that my tank needs, I don’t have to change my water as often. This gives me more time to enjoy my tank without making it a burden.

9. Not purchasing correct equipment

Know where you want to go in the hobby. I started out with a 30 gallon tank (big no no for a newbie) and I ended up upgrading to a 75 gallon within a few months. Think about all the money I put into a tank, proper lighting as well as a stand and filtration on a 30 gallon. Then I turned around and spent even more money upgrading all that equipment for my 75 gallon. Do it right the first time. Shop used equipment. Ask your local fish store or local reefers. I couldn’t tell you how much equipment I have in storage that I don’t use. There are people to help.

10. Not understanding the needs of your tank

Know what you are getting yourself into. RESEARCH!!! Read blogs, books and magazines. Ask people in the hobby about their experiences. Make Friends!!!!! Understand that this is not a cheap hobby to do for a few months. It takes time, patience and above all MONEY! Be smart about your new commitment.

Any questions or concerns???? Please feel free to ask!

Happy Reefing!