This is a guide dealing with nuisance algae in a saltwater tank. When you think algae growth in this hobby, you're normally thinking about 4 distinct pest algae that are common. Out of the four, two of them aren't even an algae. They are, Hair algae, Diatoms (not an algae), Dinoflagellates and Cyanobacteria (not an algae).

The primary reason why these algae are getting out of hand has to do with available nutrients. The two biggest culprits are nitrates and phosphates. All plant life consume nitrate and phosphates as fertilizer. Our primary goal is to reduce their concentrations in the aquarium to very low levels to bring about some form of algae control.

They are introduced into the aquarium via various methods including fish waste, fish food, tap water and detritus. If you are using tap water for your marine tank i recommend switching over to reverse osmosis/distilled water immediately. Tap water can be a source of nitrates and phosphates.

We need to being manually removing the problem algae from our tanks, as much as you can get out. Make sure there are no loose strands floating about as even the smallest bits can reproduce. Try to remove as much fish waste, detritus and uneaten fish food from the tank as possible. As they rot, they contribute to nitrate and phosphate levels.

Frequent water changes may be needed to reduce nitrate levels.The simplest method used to reduce phosphate levels is to use a good PO4 removal media like Phosban or Rowaphos. swear by these things. If the proper amount is used per gallon, your phosphate levels should be zero after 48 hours. After a week or two at low PO4 levels, brown diatoms are the first to disappear. The other three can be realy tough customers to deal with and may require up to a month.

Another problem we need to address is old light bulbs. Older light bulbs shift from their original spectrums to those that are red. These pest algae will thrive in red spectrum. So if your bulbs are older than 6 months, it may be time to change them just to eliminate a cause for the algae growth.

These methods of algae control will not bring about immediate change. As mentioned above, diatoms are usually the first to go, making them the easiest of the bunch to deal with. The other three require constant effort over long periods of time to truly ensure you get rid of them. Expect total removal to take place no less than a month. Patience and diligence are key.