is red slime from high phosphate
* Lighting: The use of improper bulbs, lack of maintenance, and extended lighting hours are contributors that can lead to all sorts of algae problems. While these organisms do well in the 665 to 680 nanometer (nm) wavelength range, they are quite active bewteen the 560 and 620 nm range as well.
o Solutions: Only use bulbs that are designed for aquarium use, run the lights 8 to 9 hours a day, and following the basic wattage rule of thumb, try different types of bulbs to increase the intensity and the spectral qualities of the light in the aquarium, particularly when it comes to any type of full-spectrum or color enhancing tubes being used.
* Nutrients: Phosphates (PO 4 ), DOCs (Dissolved Organic Compounds), and nitrates (NO 3 ) are primary nutrient food sources for red and other slime algae.
o Phosphates (PO 4 ) are commonly introduced into aquariums by means of using unfiltered fresh tap water, and through many aquarium products that may contain higher than normal concentrations of this element, such as sea salt mixes, activated carbon, KH buffers, foods, and many other sources. Also, for established reef tanks the long-term use of kalkwasser precipitates phosphates out of the water, and these phosphate based compounds can settle on and in the live rock and substrate.
+ Solutions: Use RO/DI filtered make-up water, a high quality sea salt mix, and be aware of the elements contained in other common aquarium products you may be using. For solutions to problems that can arise from using kalkwasser
Allowing excess DOCs to accumulate in an aquarium in turn gives rise to nitrate (NO 3 ) problems. However, nitrates can also be introduced in the same manner as phosphates, and because it is the final byproduct produced in the nitrogen cycling process, it can naturally build to high levels due the lack of proper aquarium maintenance care. Another contributor to DOC/nitrate problems is when new live rock is introduced, as the curing process can add nutrients when some organisms on the rock dies off.
* Solutions: Practice good aquarium maintenance care routines! This includes keeping the substrate clean, cutting back on feedings, regularly rinsing, rejuvenating or changing any type of filtering or adsorbing materials (such as filter flosses, cartridges, bio wheels, sponges and carbon), performing regular partial water changes, and for DOCs in particular, adding a protein skimmer (read reviews & compare prices). For those with systems that have been running for some time and use wet/dry trickle type filters, the bio media in them, especially bio balls, are real nitrate factories, and therefore should be carefully rinsed and cleaned periodically.
* Even though hermit crab and snails won't eat this type of algae, to help keep the aquarium bottom clean and tidy add some tank friendly algae/detritus eating hermit crabs, one or two true crabs, shrimps, or other good substrate sifting tank janitors, or a fish. Scott Michael recommends the Orange-Spotted Sleeper Goby (Valenciennia puellaris) as being the best.
* When adding live rock, take the time to cure it properly.
* Important Note: If your tank is still cycling, DO NOT add any new animals, do ANY water changes, or perform ANY MAJOR substrate or filter cleaning tasks, other than to change dirty prefiltering materials and/or to QUICK siphon stuff off the bottom, until the tank has COMPLETELY FINISHED cycling. Because this type of algae does not attach well, it can easily be peeled off and removed by light siphoning, with larger floating pieces being removed with a net, or turkey baster.
* Carbon Dioxide (CO 2 ): Low water flow or movement throughout the aquarium produces carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), which algae consume.