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Opinions on dosing and algae

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  • Opinions on dosing and algae

    Hello all.

    Hoping to get some opinions on my current dosing as I am fighting with with quite a thick hair algae, it almost comes off in clumps like turf.

    1. Gross water volume of your complete system (incl. sump etc.) - 400L
    2. Net water volume (incl. sump etc.) - US gallons / UK gallons / liter
    3. Are you using a CaCO2 reactor or other technique - No
    4. Are you using a PO4 reactor (how long, how long ago, etc.) - No
    5. Are you using Ozone - No
    6. Are you using UV - No
    7. What skimmer are you using (type, rated water volume) - Deltec SC1456, rated to 1000L
    8. What are your actual PO4 and NO3 levels - NO3 has registered as 0 or <1 for months. PO4 averages out at around 0.02 both using red sea test kits.
    9. What are your actual Ca, Alk and Mg levels - Ca: 500 Alk: 7.9 Mg: 1400. Waiting for corals to actually start growing so I can lower the calcium. Currently not needing to dose anything.
    10. What filtration method do you use (refugium, DSB, Miracle Mud, etc.) Just the skimmer
    11. Type of light (Watt, color temp, how old, etc.) 2x radion g3 xr30 and 1x xr15
    12. What corals do you keep - entirely sps apart from a single head of frogspawn.
    13. Tissue color (light or dark) - 2 initial frags I bought browned out. The latest have been in the tank a month and have kept their colour.
    14. How long has the tank been running - around 6 months on Zeo. About a year on triton prior to that.
    15. Why do you want to use the ZEOvit system. - Used it on my previous tank with excellent results. Had great colouration and low nutrients. This tank is just proving difficult.
    16. Any supplemental dosing (type, amount, why, etc.) - Only currently dosing the zeo products.
    17. Live rock (how much, how old, etc.) - Can't remember weight of the top of my head but around 2 years old now.
    18. Any present problems - Algae on rocks.
    19. Problem description (tissue loss tips, tissue loss base, diatom bloom, algae, etc.) - I would say the corals are surviving but certainly not thriving. I have some polyp extension but nothing like in my previous tank.
    20. What test kit do you use (how old, recently switched, etc.) - red sea test kits for PO4 NO3 Ca Mg. Salifert and kh guardian for KH. Salifert for potassium.
    21. Present dosing, amounts and intervals (ZEOvit, ZEObak, ZEOfood, ZEOstart, ZEOspur2, etc.) - Outlined below.
    22. Other water parameters and water stability (salinity, temp, etc.) Outlined below.
    23. Which salt brand do you use - Reefers Best

    Latest parameters (very much a regular set of results for me):
    Temp 25.7c
    Salinity 1.026
    Kh 7.94 dkh
    ​​​Ca 500
    Mg 1400
    K 380
    NO3 0.3
    PO4 0.01

    Zeo Dosing
    Zeostart - 0.3ml x2 daily
    Zeobak - 4 drops- 2 times a week
    Sponge Power - 4 drops - 3 times a week
    BioMate - 4 Drops - 2 times a week
    CoralSnow - 6ml - same day as biomate
    A-Balance - 8ml - once a week
    Coral Vitaliser - 4 drops - 3 times a week.
    ZeoZym - don't use this religiously but once a week if I do.

    So after all that. To summarise. I had issues on triton and never got on with it so went back to what I felt I knew. I have been battling algae on the rocks the whole time, scrubbing them once a week or so and picking it off when I feel there is enough for me to do so. My thoughts are that the rocks are leeching phosphate back into the water, which they absorbed during my poor experience with triton. As I am seeing very little nutrients in the tank, but still getting a PO4 reading, that would suggest it's definitely in there at higher levels when the amount of algae is taken into account.

    The corals not having much of a demand for alk or Ca also would suggest to me that elevated PO4 is inhibiting their growth. My reactor currently runs at around 220L/H with 0.8L of media. Im reluctant to change this as NO3 is already pretty much undetectable. Water changes are done about every 10 days and most of them are done siphoning the sand.

    Any input as to where I may be going wrong or whether I just need to ride out the algae would be much appreciated.

  • #2
    Hello ZeoLuke, it looks like your corals seem to be restricted in terms of healthy growth. First of all, let us do this to ensure that the salinity level is correct and the basic water parameters are high. Not sure about your activated carbon brand, let us change the carbon brand, it is good to use KZ carbon. After changing to KZ carbon, let us do it indeed. Within 10 days, change the water 20% every time and do it 3 times. This refreshes in a balanced way and reduces the pressure on the coral, keeping the parameter level as much as possible at NSW, potassium Level to 380g (must be correct level). The reactor flow seems to be half of the system recommendation, so how healthy is the coral? Is the polyp expanding well?

    Another question, regarding the addition of elements (Kh, Ca), what method is used?


    • #3
      Hello Luke and welcome to !

      As Jacky already pointed out the reactor flow is to low, should be ~ 320 liters our hour in your case. You have mention that corals do brown out in your system even nutrients seem to be low which is unusual. I would recommend to cross check your PO4 test with a photometer once to make sure the real PO4 level is not higher. Can you please post a full tank shot to give us a better idea how massive the algae are ?



      • #4
        Hello both, thanks for your replies.

        I have used half a bag of kz carbon passively in the sump, changed every 4 weeks for 18 months now. I used it even during triton.

        I currently am not dosing any alk or Ca as there is none being used by the corals. I shall be using the balling method with fauna marin when the time comes. Its all set up and mixed, just haven't needed to dose yet.

        I aways test PO4 twice using red sea and hanna. Hanna reads 5 ppb which converte to 0.15 ppm and red sea around 0.01 ppm.

        I have attached pictures of polyp extension, one of tbe frags that browned out and one fts so you can see the algae.

        Attached Files


        • #5
          Thank you for the pictures, the coral in the first picture looks healthy but the others from the full tanks hot have indeed relative dark tissue even nutrients are low already.

          I can not really see it clear in the picture, do you have a idea which kind of algae those are exactly ?

          The dark tissue can be a result of elevated trace element concentrations or a wrong lighting spectrum. Another possibility is that you have mention most corals are coming from a different tank which where brown since the beginning, they might need additional time if the nutrient concentrations in the other tank where elevated.

          Basically your dosing regimen is fine, I would just increase the reactor flow.



          • #6
            I believe the algae to be either green hair algae or turf algae. I'm leaning towards turf algae as it's growing very densely packed.

            I dont dose anything other than the zeo products above and haven't done for 6 months. In that time I have probably done atleast 10 x 15% water changes atleast so I would be very surprised if it were trace elements unless they are coming from the zeo. Lightning spectrum is just the AB+ profile which many SPS fans use apart from I have added in a little more white light for my preference. I lowered intensity on the lights to compensate for this so the majority of the rockword is sitting at 350 par.

            Hopefully its just a simple case of the reactor flow needing to be slightly higher. I raised it to 325L/H yesterday so we shall see how that effects the tank.


            • #7
              Green hair algae are usually slimy if you rub it between the fingers which is usually not the case with green turf algae. If those are turf algae they might grow even if nutrients are not detectable so something to get rid of it as soon as possible. Does herbivore eat the algae ?



              • #8
                I wouldnt say its slimy so it sounds like turf algae.

                I have tried introducing numerous things to consume it but haven't found anything that really likes it. My regal and yellow tang don't touch it. Added numerous hermits which seem more interested in the sand. My trochus snails almost entirely reside on the glass, likely to get away from the hermits. I gave in and added a pretty large sea hare around 10 days ago which does roam the tank alot. I'm hoping he manages to get it down somewhat but I wouldn't say he's overly keen on it either.

                Do you have any suggestions for a species that may eat jt?


                • #9
                  I had always good experiences with sea urchins like a Tripneustes gratilla.



                  • #10
                    Yeah I've read good things about urchins and Fluconazole, but I'd rather stick to more natural before I go chemical. That would likely be my last resort.


                    • #11
                      Quick update. I have been monitoring my alk consumtion closely. It was previously trending upwards slightly with no dosing.

                      Since increasing reactor flow I have seen a slight increase in consumption, so shall need to start dosing. Hopefully this is due to the corals being a little happier. I have also confirmed these results with a salifert kit just to be sure. Both gave the same results.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Great equipment, I also have a KHG, which automatically monitors and automatically tests and adds, which is indeed quite convenient.

                        Don’t forget to keep the levels of other elements as stable as possible to NSW (including potassium)


                        • #13
                          I bought just the monitor version when they first come out and have to agree jacky they are excellent. I wouldnt set a tank up without one again.

                          Testing every 3 days currently. Hopefully this will allow me to bring my calcium back down to normal levels.