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Old 04-18-2006, 04:03 PM   #1
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Brown Algae & Cloudy Water

My 55 gallon FO tank has been up and running for over 2 years now. I've been using the same filtration methods (canister and UG) and lighting, and have had this same setup running previously for almost 8 years prior. The position of the tank has always been in the same spot in the room, and never in direct sunlight. I perform water changes about every 2 weeks, and water tests have always been right on par. I have 3 healthy and active fish I feed about every 2-3 days, none of which are recent additions.

For the past 3-4 months or so, there has been alot of brown algae growing on the glass, rocks, crushed coral, etc. It seems to grow faster than I can clean it off! And recently (could be unrelated), the water in the aquarium has been a bit cloudy. I cleaned the filtration media and replaced two bags of carbon over a month ago, but the algae and cloudiness didn't seem to go away.

I've been doing nothing different the past 2 years (or the 8 years prior), and never had this problem before. Should I maybe replace some of the crushed coral I use as a bedding? Or what can I use to clean the bedding, if this could be a cause of the problem (or at least the cloudy water problem)? Can anyone offer suggestions?
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:45 PM   #2
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Do you use tap or RO water? Could something in your tap water have changed? Could your RO filter need changing?
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Old 04-18-2006, 07:35 PM   #3
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Salty I moved this to an appropriate forum.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:43 AM   #4
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Sounds like your tank is going through “new tank syndrome”. It’s not entirely uncommon with established tanks but we do need to know more about the tank:

Which canister do you use? How old are your lights? Do you use a skimmer? Do you pull water from the bottom of your 45 gal hex (is your UG in use or just sitting on the bottom)? Do you vacuum your cc with a siphon hose when doing pwc? Do you use GAC all the time and if so replace every 2-3 weeks? Do you have a clean up crew? How many gph are your ph/canister producing? What are your no3/po4 levels?

Sorry for the barrage of questions but something is off with a tank this old and it appearing out of the blue.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:52 AM   #5
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Thanks melosu...I was debating where to post my question.
And thanks dskidmore for replying...I use a combination of tap water and distilled water (I order gallon jugs by the bulk), and treat the tap water and aerate the new water mixture overnight before adding into my tank.
Based upon research I did (and probably should have done before posting prematurely!), I think the brown algea could be a poor lighting issue(?). I've been using the same halogen bulbs for the past 10 years (built to last!), and perhaps it's time to up the wattage power. I'm not sure what else could be the cause.

And I'm still not sure what I can do to make the water clearer. Would anyone recommend if I sift the crushed coral bedding around before the next water change (to help catch and discard some of the cloudiness/waste), or would that disrupt the chemical balance of the environment?
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:15 PM   #6
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You may have a nitrate buildup problem, between running a canister filter and having crushed coral. If this is the problem though, you can't really solve it in one blow.

Be extra dilligent about siphoning your crushed coral. If it's really dirty, take a small amount out at each weekly cleaning and rinse it well in declorinated water. Likewise, your canister media should be rinsed in dechlorinated water, but not more than 1/4 of your bioballs/cermaic bio media at once.

If you shift all the cc around at once, it's likely to stir up an even bigger cloud than you're currently dealing with.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:25 PM   #7
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Glad you replied tecwzrd. I'll try to answer all your questions, but will need to check into some.
I use a Fluval 304 cannister filter (good for tanks up to 70 gallons).
The lights are old and seem to luminate the same, but I will be replacing them.
I don't use a protein skimmer, and never thought I've had the need to.
For most water changes, I pull water from the mid-top of the tank via a siphon hose.
I used to vacuum the crushed coral (with the UG/powerhead turned off), but the siphon never really seemed to suck up the waste so I've cut down on this as of late.
The UG is active, operated by the PowerHead, though I don't know how many gph is being pumped off the top of my head.
I do use GHC (2 bags in my cannister), but have only been replacing them about every 4-6 months. The last time I replaced the bags was about 1-2 months ago.
No cleaner crew, as my current inhabitants would make lunch out of them (snowflake eel, clown grouper and porc puffer).
Last water test (last week), nitrates were way below 10 ppm. And honestly, I haven't tested phosphates in the longest time! But will run to the lfs and pick up a test kit if needed!
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:57 PM   #8
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Halogen lighting IME on tanks doesn’t go through color shifts like MH/PC/VHO so IMO that isn’t the issue but if it’s been 10 years (wow) since you have replaced them it couldn’t hurt. As a side note do you know the total wattage or Kelvin rating on them?

Your Fluval 304 does 260 gph which is fine but your replacing the GAC so infrequently is not helpful. Using GAC beyond 3-4 weeks is pointless because it typically doesn’t absorb DOC out of the water and can even leak them slightly if left in. I would recommend replacing every 3 weeks. Also using a tube extension to pull the water from the lower part of the tank will help with circulation.

A skimmer isn’t necessary for a FO/FOWLR but will help to keep DOC down. (crystal clear)

Using a larger 3” siphon should pull waste out of the cc. Considering your no3 is only 10 ppm it probably isn’t an issue.

High levels of no3/po4 can cause excess algae which is why I asked about those. A po4 test is nice to have since you are using tap/distilled and they could contain it.

I probably don’t have to tell you but your Porcupine Puffer & Clown Grouper are going to get huge even in a small tank and should be housed in a 100+ gal tank.

I see why you feed every 2-3 days now Those fish are pretty good about consuming food but expel a ton of waste. I’m amazed your no3 is only 10 ppm considering your lack of filter cleaning and cc substrate. Have you confirmed your test readings with the lfs?
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:27 PM   #9
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Thanks again for all the advice...I'll try changing the GAC more often to see if it helps (I'm sure it will), and will look into purchasing a skimmer (any recommendations, as I've never used one before?).
As for my puffer, I realize he's going to get too big (I bought him young, and he hasn't grown too much...yet). Unfortunately, I can't spare the space for a larger tank at this time, so I've been "trading" my fish with my lfs when they start to outgrow their environment. Though it's going to be tough letting go of this puffer, as they have such a great personality and I've grown attached to him (almost like a puppy!).
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salty27
will look into purchasing a skimmer (any recommendations, as I've never used one before?).
Sounds good, the following would be good for your sized tank.

AquaC Remora Pro (HOB)
Coralife super skimmer (HOB or sump)
Excalibur Skimmer (hob)
Bak Pak Skimmer (hob)
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