Progress on Red Turf Algae

Discussion in 'Algae' started by sen5241b, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    There are MANY red algaes and almost every discussion of red turf algae on the web confuses different types of algae. It is a dark red wine color, grows in low nitrate/phosphate environments, especially in high flow areas. You cannot scrub or pull it off --it is far to tough. It is short and velvety to the touch. It has little vine-like creepers (see last photo) that grip the rock. It can overgrow and kill some corals --I've seen it happen. The best thing to do is to control it and forget about eliminating it. It doesn't look so bad. Scroll down to see what kills this stuff and what doesn't.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What gets rid of it:
    1. Put algae covered rock in a completely dark 5G bucket with heat and flow and wait about 3 months or more. It must be totally dark!! I wrapped bucket with black plastic. This worked fine and there was no trace of algae left on the rock. Yes, 3 months is a long time.
    2. Inject algae with Chem-Marin's "Stop Aptasia". I've heard Joe's Juice works also. Turn off flow and leave the stuff in there for about 25 minutes. Move slow so as not to stir it up. Afterwards, I suction most of it out with a turkey baster. In a few hours the algae will turn bright red, after a few days it will turn white, after a couple weeks you can scrape it off.
    3. I used a disk-shaped, steel wire brush that can be attached to a drill to scrape a lot of it off. If you do this, rinse the rock well with used tank water. This method will also scrape a lot of rock itself off and beneficial bacteria with it so use this method in a limited way.
    4. Recently I've noticed that some of it has begun to turn white on its own without having applied any "Stop Aptasia". Someone else said that this stuff will go thru a cycle in which it eventually just dies off. I have not seen that happen yet. Perhaps a die off may ocurr because some some trace mineral that the algae needs has been exhauasted.
      Good success has been reported with Short Spined (Diadema) urchins.

    What did not work:
    1. Tried a Blue Tuxedo urchin and he will not eat it. I put him right on the stuff many times and he can't crawl off of it fast enough.
    2. I tried a blow torch on the rock and it caused a massive cycle (in my experimental tank).
    3. Scrubbing is useless. Your brush will disintegrate before it comes off.

    I have not tried increasing magnesium to high levels as a method of killing algae.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
    sen5241b, Oct 12, 2010
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  2. sen5241b

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Wow. Good post. Want me to make it a sticky?
     
    Bifferwine, Oct 12, 2010
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  3. sen5241b

    Toolman RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH

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    I don't claim to know much about this stuff but since you are conducting an experiment what would happen if you microwave the rock for a couple of minutes????? Sorry did not read whole post did not know problem was solved
     
    Toolman, Oct 12, 2010
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  4. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    Yes a sticky. Red Turf algae has been a very challenging problem. I think this will help people.

    As for "boiling rock" or dipping it in bleach (followed by de-chlorinator), yes that works but you will kill everything else on the rock and I did not want to do that. By the way, although the instrucitons say "Stop Aptasia" will not harm anything else in your tank --I have seen it kill Green Star polyps. "Stop Aptasia" may be the easiest method to kill red turf algae BUT be careful with the stuff.
     
    sen5241b, Oct 12, 2010
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  5. sen5241b

    lilduud

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    i hate it when bad algae attaches to my inverts... i usually end up killing them ;( because they spread it sooooo bad!!! when i had ahir algae i could see it transfering to the rock where one of my astreas was eating... i later flushed that astrea =/ call me a bastard but it was an easy fix.
     
    lilduud, Oct 12, 2010
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  6. sen5241b

    Hiker4twenty

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    Good write-up Sen. Thanks for sharing!
     
    Hiker4twenty, Oct 12, 2010
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  7. sen5241b

    dcantucson

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    Good job Sen.:claphands

    3 months is frightening.
     
    dcantucson, Oct 13, 2010
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  8. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    After three months some of the rock still had the red turf algae growing on it! Seems the stuff died off only on the rock at the bottom of the bucket that was in total darkness. I wrapped the bucket in a black trash bag.
     
    sen5241b, Oct 13, 2010
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  9. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    Update: A few days after I killed the red turf algae with Stop Aiptasia it turned white. Abouy 2 weeks later, hermits began eating it.
     
    sen5241b, Nov 1, 2010
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  10. sen5241b

    Hiker4twenty

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    Good to know Stop Aiptasia works. I noticed my Yellow Tang eating it. I have some growing all over the place now from some LR I put in the tank.
     
    Hiker4twenty, Nov 3, 2010
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  11. sen5241b

    Ulta REEFER

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    Sigh... I think I have this stuff taking over my Aquapod... =( It doesn't look 'quite' as long as the stuff in your pic tho, maybe you are just zoomed in good? Neways it sucks too b/c its on a rock with about $250 worth of corals attached to it =(

    Weird how I can get red turf and flatworms in my aquapod and nothing in my 50g when everything came from my 50g... >_>!
     
    Ulta, Nov 12, 2010
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  12. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    ADVICE: This algae grows exponentially so attack it early before it expands !
     
    sen5241b, Nov 12, 2010
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  13. sen5241b

    Ulta REEFER

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    Is this method safe to use with a lot of corals nearby? Like I mentioned earlier all my corals are attached to the rock so I would have to find a way around it or live with it >_<

    Last resort being if this stuff starts taking over the corals I would prolly have to break the rock up, chipping pieces off with coral attacked. would really suck if it resorts to that.
     
    Ulta, Nov 14, 2010
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  14. sen5241b

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    It's safe to use with corals nearby. Just don't get any of it on the corals. It's easy to aim.
     
    Bifferwine, Nov 14, 2010
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  15. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    Sorry I did not respond sooner. First, turn off flow. Take a needle-less syringe or an eye dropper, and then moving VERY slowly so as not to stir up anything, inject the algae like you are saturating carpet with syrup. Let the stuff sit for 20 minutes. Maybe cover it with the cut-off end of a plastic 1-liter coke bottle so that fish and critters don't stir it up. Then slowly suction out the "stop aptasia" with a turkey baster. Turn flow back on. The red turf algae will turn bright red almost immediately and this means you killed it. A few days later it will turn white. After a couple weeks you can brush it off with a steel brush. You will probably need a series of treatments if its really bad.

    [​IMG]
     
    sen5241b, Nov 19, 2010
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  16. sen5241b

    Ulta REEFER

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    Thanks a mil Sen, I'm gonna try that as soon as I get some "Stop Aptasia"!

    You were right... It started out slow but it seems to be picking up quickly >_<

    Here's some pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Ulta, Nov 19, 2010
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  17. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    Yes you got red Turf Algae. I'm gonna try taking some large rocks out of the tank and put them in a pan of tank water keeping the rock fully or maybe partially submerged then saturate a large area on the rock all at once with "stop aptasia". Then follow with a 50% water change.
     
    sen5241b, Nov 20, 2010
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  18. sen5241b

    sen5241b

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    Quick update: Taking my top rock out every 3 or 4 months, partially submerging it in a plastic bin and then applying a lot of Aptasia X worked well. The top rock is generally in high flow areas where Red Turf grows the most. With this method I was able to kill a lot more Red Turf Algae than using it in tank. I use tank water to rinse the rock thoroughly before putting it back in the tank and then I follow with a 50% water change. I also use the Aptasia X "in tank" 2 or 3 times a month to control it.

    I have reduced the time I let the Aptasia X sit on the algae from 20 minutes down to about 10 or 15 minutes and it seems just as effective at killing the stuff.

    In places where the stuff grows in between tightly spaced coral polyps you cannot use Aptasia X because it might kill the coral. In this situation, I use tweezers to rip it out from between the polyps.

    I am not so worried about this anymore. The algae is not unattractive and it can be controlled.
     
    sen5241b, Jan 11, 2011
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  19. sen5241b

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    Man what an ordeal! You know what they say...if you can't beat 'em, join em....in this case, if you can't beat 'em, enjoy 'em!
     
    wontonflip, Jan 11, 2011
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  20. sen5241b

    Ulta REEFER

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    yeah.... I pretty much gave in and let the red turf algae win my battle :sad:

    so my 24g aquapod has red turf all over I just glue my corals on top of it and the corals overtake the algae when the grow across it :grin:
    The zoas do surprisingly well at spreading over top of it >_<

    It just got too far out of hand to fast...

    lol... so now I have flatworms and red turf in my aquapod.... but you know what? I really don't mind it... the tank still looks fantastically stunning and they aren't really hurting anything
     
    Ulta, Feb 3, 2011
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