By Bob Goemans
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Bob Goemans corresponds with David Hammett (Nashville, TN)

David Hammett (Nashville, TN) writes...

Hi Bob,

I am new to the saltwater hobby and just got an aquarium. Have just finished my cycling and put 2 small angelfish and a Long Nose Hawkfish into the aquarium. I also have a Xenia, small clam and a few Zoa's or Zoo's. As for the cleanup crew, I have about 100 different snails and 6 crabs. Again I am only into this all for 3 weeks. According to your book "Marine Algae Control Secrets" and going on line it looks most like Microalgae is my problem, but do not have any stony corals. I do have 130 lbs. of live rock.

The algae sticks to everything and when I use the magnet clean it looks like a green power that is on the glass. I know this is hard to understand what I am explaining but any help would be great. I put in Algone some one said would be good as well as a Polly filter in the sump. Also put in the sump a ChemiPure filter. I do have a protein skimmer, wave master, RO water, calcium reactor, and just hooked up a Red Sea Aquazone 200. I am just trying to give you all information so I can cure this green problem.

Any help you have would be great.


David Hammett

Nashville, TN

Bob replies...

Hi David,

Thanks for your email and there's much to talk about!

First, you do not mention the size of the aquarium or type of sandbed, nor the size and type of lighting equipment or brand names of the other equipment, or if the live rock was cured before you put it into the tank, or what is being fed and how often. Nor do you mention water test results. A lot of info is missing!

I'm going to presume, therefore, several things to move on. I assume you have begun this aquarium on the thought that the live rock would provide the necessary nitrification processes to keep your fish/coral healthy. That may be true with 130 pounds of rock if it were in good shape and somewhat cured. But if uncured and loaded with material that will die-off and add to the organic load in the aquarium, your fish may become stressed from resulting ammonia and become wide open to a disease. Hopefully it doesn't go this way. If you do not have test kits, suggest getting ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, alkalinity, phosphate, and calcium test kits, and a Specific Gravity hydrometer.

As for the green microalgae on the side panels and maybe also the sandbed surface, it's a sign that 'ammonium' is present in the water. And this is probably due to the system still being in a 'cycling' status or excess food now going into the aquarium. Once the nitrification cycle is fully established, this form of alga usually only occurs when the system is overfed. So control in a sensible way what is being fed. And to add any type of anti-alga chemicals at this point to rid this form of alga is not something I would recommend. However, there is a product called Fritzyme #9 in the 'concentrated' form that I would recommend using as stated on their label. It would quickly help establish the nitrifying cycle and that may just quickly bring this situation to an end! For now, simply wipe the side panels clean during this timeframe and prevent it from forming any thick mats on the bottom sand by siphoning it out with a small ID hose.

And since I do not sell products, I would never recommend anyone put that number of snails and crabs into a 'new' tank, where they will simply starve to death and add to the nutrients in the system, degrading the quality of the water! However, do recommend about two Astraea type snails per gallon, and 'no' crabs!

As for the Poly-Filter, which is an excellent product, continue to use as directed. The same is true of Chemi-Pure (which I used). The Red Sea Aquazone is also a very good piece of equipment, and hope you understand how to use it. Why use a calcium reactor if you don't have any stony corals?

Recommend visiting my website and taking in some of the vast amount of information that is presented. In fact, I have a section devoted to algae that has 160 photos of it along with what animals consume it. Check it out.

And try to find some time to read up on the hobby, and if you have further questions, don't hesitate to contact me. There are no dumb questions!

Hope this helps,



Algae Control

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