Re:Black Slime

#2346
Pete Giwojna
Guest

Dear Kris:

You’re very welcome to all I information and help I can provide!

Your Marine Store should be a good source for seawater. I asked what kind of water you are using because one of the sneaky or hidden ways phosphates, nitrates, silicates and other undesirable compounds can enter our aquariums is through the tap water we use for water changes or topping off our tanks. If the water quality in your town is not what it should be, you may want to consider buying reverse osmosis/deinonized water (RO/DI) for your water changes. Most well-stocked pet shops that handle marine fish sell RO/DI water as a service for their customers for between 25 and 50 cents a gallon. If your LFS does not, WalMart sell RO/DI water by the gallon for around 60 cents, and you should be able to find a Wal-Mart nearby.

Natural seawater is another good option for water changes. Like RO/DI water, natural seawater can be purchased at fish stores for around $1.00 a gallon, depending on where you live. It sounds expensive, but when you consider the alternative — paying for artificial salt mix and RO/DI water and mixing your own saltwater — then natural seawater is not a bad bargain at all. It has unsurpassed water quality and seahorses thrive in it.

You should also be aware that freshly mixed saltwater can have residual levels of ammonia, but if you aerate the newly mixed saltwater for 24-48 before you perform the water changes, the ammonia will be dissipated.

Along with low pH, dead spots and low flow areas favor the growth of nuisance algae rather than coralline or macroalgae and marine plants. Eliminating dead spots and stabilizing your pH at 8.2-8.4 can therefore help tip the balance back in the favor of macros and coralline algae, and help prevent problems with nuisance algae.

One simple measure that can thus make a big difference is to try positioning one or more small powerheads so that they increase the circulation in the area where the black slime tends to grow. Better water movement and higher oxygen levels will naturally tend to minimize the growth of slime algae and hair algae in these problem areas.

If you can cut down on your excess nutrient levels (especially nitrates and phosphates), maintain good water quality with the proper pH and alkalinity levels, physically remove as much of the black slime as possible and increase the circulation in the areas where it tends to form, you should eventually be able to eliminate it from your aquarium. But it can be a long, hard struggle once nuisance algae becomes well established in a tank and gets out of control.

I’m glad to hear your remaining seahorses are doing better. Let me know if the measures we been discussing are effective or not. If they don’t make a dent in the problem soon, or your seahorses begin to develop symptoms of a problem, let me know right away and there are one or two emergency measures we can try to address this problem as a last resort.

Best of luck eradicating that black slime, Kris!

Respectfully,
Pete Giwojna


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