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Old 05-11-2010, 07:55 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by thincat View Post
Your #'s are within a good range, Cal a little high , so I thing with good tank maintenence you should be okay and not beat yourself in the head so much that you don't enjoy your tank. You
I would be happy if I could just get rid of the algae
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:58 AM   #212
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I see over at the Seachem forum that you're adding some of their bottled bacteria at every water change. Did you have a cyano issue before starting that?

If I remember right, in the beginning when your nitrates where through the roof, you were adding some type of "clean up" bacteria to your tank? You stopped adding the stuff - and did a bunch of other stuff too, granted - and your nitrate issues starting coming under control. My suggestion then was to just lay off the quick fix stuff and let your tank settle down. Maybe I missed something in this thread, but it seems like your tank was doing fine, but now all of a sudden you're adding/changing a fair amount of stuff all at once. (Think you just changed salt, too?) Just my 2 cents worth as usual, but I'd just slow down, take a deep breath, and let your tank mature on its own.
The algae started to come back when I slowed down on the water changes and went from big water changes down to two 5g a week water changes. The algae was already there when I started adding the bacteria. The reason I am adding the Seachem Stability is because I started using De*Nitrate and wanted to establish a good bit of bacteria in it. As far as maturing the tank is about 6 years old. I did change salt I am trying to find the salt that fits me best.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:45 AM   #213
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Bacteria will coat any surface it comes in contact with so there is no need to add any bacuse of the de*nitrate. It will become coated in a matter of weeks or less.

A few years ago I used Boyd's Chemi-Clean to help my cyano problem. Once I got it in check I reduced feeding to every 3 days (still prcaticsing that), cut my lights to 3 hours/day and did wekly 30% water changes. I also got more powerheads and made sure I had flow along the sand bed. I now have a perpetual low spot / hight spot of sand, but no cyano.

Stop chasing the problem with more additives. Check your food sources for phosphates and nitrates. Rinse all frozen food with RO water before feeding, siphon out as much cyano as you can with each pwc, and get some flow over those areas so it cannot gain a foothold again.

Hope some of that helps.
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Old 05-11-2010, 11:59 AM   #214
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The algae started to come back when I slowed down on the water changes...
Well... I think you have your answer right there.

The tank may be 6 years old, but I think it's safe to say that if you take a tank that originally had something like 160ppm nitrates and bring it down to 2ppm nitrates over several months, you've essentially got a new tank as far as water parameters are concerned.

I like to compare our tanks to the old-school cruise controls on cars that didn't work too well. You'd set the speed you'd want and the car would cruise right up to that setpoint and then overshoot your target. Then it would back off and you'd be too slow. Then too fast. Then too slow. You get the point. The population of everything in our tanks (bacteria, good and bad hitchikers, algea, etc) is like this. It takes time for things to reach their equilibrium point, usually more time than we're willing to wait. And that's why there's a market for all these "fix-it" additives.

All the de*nitrate stuff does is create a home for anaerobic bacteria that convert nitrates to nitrogen gas. Looking back on your thread here, it seems like your sand bed was already doing that looking at that video you posted. Seems like it was doing it just like it's supposed to do, with no help from anyone or any bottle.

The only reason I bring up the salt mix is that yeah... it's *just* salt. But there's enough anecdotal stories from folks out there that experience different issues with algae (hair, cyano, etc) immediately after changing salt - and nothing else. If the cyano issue coincided with changing salt, that could be a culprit also. But again, without systematically changing only one thing at a time and waiting for results, you're not really going to know what the problem was once it goes away.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:11 PM   #215
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Real life example of a cyano battle...

I decided to move my HOB filter about 8 inches to the left and redo the intake plumbing on my HOB skimmer and move that intake too. I did this to "clean up" the look of the tank and open up some space on the back wall of my tank.

A few months after this, I started having a cyano problem along the sand in the front center of my tank. Water parameters hadn't changed at all - no phosphates, 0-1 ppm nitrates. Everything parameter-wise was rock steady as usual. But I couldn't chase this cyano away for the life of me. I vacuumed it out along with the top layer of sand. It came back. I repeated and added more sand to take out the low spot. It came back. I didn't get to the point of killing the lights or using chemicals, but I can't say I didn't think about it.

I added a nano Korallia along the back of the tank shooting through a gap in my rocks to where the cyano was forming. It seemed to help for a week or so and then the cyano was back. For some reason, it never occurred to me that the movement of my HOB equipment could've changed the flow patterns in my tank enough to allow this pocket of cyano to exist. But one day I decided to move the HOB equipment back to where it was and see what happened.

Within a week, the cyano was gone. Nothing else changed - just the placement of that equipment and the currents it created in my tank. Water parameters were still all the same. And the stuff is still gone.

My points are that (1) everyone has cyano issues from time to time and (2) they can be caused be really really subtle things. It isn't just a nutrient issue.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:20 PM   #216
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Well... I think you have your answer right there.

The tank may be 6 years old, but I think it's safe to say that if you take a tank that originally had something like 160ppm nitrates and bring it down to 2ppm nitrates over several months, you've essentially got a new tank as far as water parameters are concerned.

I like to compare our tanks to the old-school cruise controls on cars that didn't work too well. You'd set the speed you'd want and the car would cruise right up to that setpoint and then overshoot your target. Then it would back off and you'd be too slow. Then too fast. Then too slow. You get the point. The population of everything in our tanks (bacteria, good and bad hitchikers, algea, etc) is like this. It takes time for things to reach their equilibrium point, usually more time than we're willing to wait. And that's why there's a market for all these "fix-it" additives.

All the de*nitrate stuff does is create a home for anaerobic bacteria that convert nitrates to nitrogen gas. Looking back on your thread here, it seems like your sand bed was already doing that looking at that video you posted. Seems like it was doing it just like it's supposed to do, with no help from anyone or any bottle.

The only reason I bring up the salt mix is that yeah... it's *just* salt. But there's enough anecdotal stories from folks out there that experience different issues with algae (hair, cyano, etc) immediately after changing salt - and nothing else. If the cyano issue coincided with changing salt, that could be a culprit also. But again, without systematically changing only one thing at a time and waiting for results, you're not really going to know what the problem was once it goes away.
First of all thank you all for trying to help get to the bottom of this issue. Your replies are more appreciated than you think.

Kurt: The algae problem began before I switched salts. It actually began when I put on my new light fixture. I was hoping that the new lights were the problem. Five or Six weeks later the algae is getting worse.

I not only have cyano I have green hair algae aswell now. It is growing ontop of the few Macro's I have in the tank and it and cyano is just laying over and swaying in the flow on my sand bed. I have 2 Hydor 2's on a wavemaker and a Rio 600 on the back glass. I tried to put another Hydor 2 on the back glass but having 3 was way to many in a 55g. I have 2 older ones about a year old then they got replaced with the controlable ones. What scares me about the nitrates is that yep the test kit says 2-5ppm but they are obviously higher than that. Myabe I should try and put another one in the tank again for awhile and see what happens? When I said I slowed the water changes down the slow down was going from 40g a week to 10g a week.

cmor1701d: yes the bacteria will grow on the de*nitrate in time. The idea of adding the bacteria was to speed up the growth of the bacteria in the reactor. As far as feeding I skip 2 days inbetween feedins and when i feed I use a coffee filter and thaw the food out using RO/DI water
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:29 PM   #217
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I understand nothing happens quick in saltwater except for disasters. The problem I am having is that I started this back in what Oct. I think! Got the tank looking nice and now I am watching it go back to where it was. The only reason the Nitrates and maybe phosphates are as low as they are in my opinion is because the cyano and hair algae is keeping it there. I have been told I am doing to much at one time. Maybe what I need to do is ask this question? Each of you sees what I have done and what I am doing. I can stop doing these things. Lets try and fix this problem. What should I do? Give me one thing to try and for how long I should try it and/or what should I stop doing. After we try that if that does not work we will move on to another. I just want this to not be a problem. I want good looking sand, glass, and rock. For once I want to scrape coraline algae off my glass instead of micro's, LOL! So lets do this!
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:41 PM   #218
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... Each of you sees what I have done and what I am doing.
But see... that's the problem with "remote" troubleshooting - we don't really know everything you're doing! For example, I didn't realize you were dosing the Stability bacteria with every water change until I read your last couple posts over on that Seachem forum. You mentioned here that you added it when you set up the de*nitrate reactor, but there was no mention that you were continuing with it. I'm not criticizing or anything... just pointing out that we often don't mention things because we don't figure them to be of any importance. But with troubleshooting anything, it's often those little things that provide clues to solve the problem.

Quote:
...I can stop doing these things. Lets try and fix this problem. What should I do? Give me one thing to try and for how long I should try it and/or what should I stop doing. After we try that if that does not work we will move on to another. I just want this to not be a problem....
Ahhh... now we run in to the "ask 10 people and you get 12 opinions" problem! We all offer suggestions (I hope) based on our own experiences and we all have different experiences. It's your tank and you have to filter the advice you get here and do what *you* think is right. With that said...

I went back and skimmed this thread again and refreshed myself with the chain of events. Sounds like the initial huge drop in nitrates happened from massive maintenance, water changes, and plain ol' brute force. They came down from 160 to something around 20. You switched brands of nitrate tests once they got down around 20, so it's questionable what the actual number was, but it was down to a reasonable level. You added more rock, and some fish. And you've battled the roller coaster nitrates since then.

You really *do* have a different tank now versus then. Before, you didn't have anything but the starfish in there. Now you have fish. And you added rock. Not sure if it was completely dead base rock or not, but if it came out of a tank it's a source for new algae. Just my opinion, but the hair algae you're battling now might just be the latest of many "plagues" that come in to our everchanging little closed systems. It may have hitchiked in with new rocks and with the new lighting it's just doing its thing.

What would I do? Hard to say because I really wouldn't have added that denitrate media - seems like a place to trap debris. But I would definitely stop with any bottled bacteria and let the bacteria in your tank find their own equilibrium on their own. I'd also suck up any cyano and algae on your sand bed every couple days, taking a light layer of sand with it. I'd check your flow patterns and see if where you're seeing the cyano/algae building up on your sand bed, that there isn't a dead spot there, or if that area is where currents collide and are depositing debris. If it is, I'd tweak powerhead placement or timing of your wave cycles. And I'd probably do 7-10g water changes every 3 or 4 days. And I'd do this and nothing else for 3-4 weeks and see what happens. But that's just me...

From my own cyano experience, I know it's hard to stand by and do "nothing" while things seem to get worse. But like a lot of stuff, things sometimes have to get worse before they get better. And it's not that you're doing nothing... it's just that you're waiting to see if what you're doing is going to have any effect. I've been fighting bubble algae for over 2 years - and I *think* I'm just starting to turn the corner on that one. Maybe.
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Old 05-11-2010, 04:54 PM   #219
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Its all good man. I love a good challenge but this is getting crazy, LOL! I have done that I have tried to filter out a lot of opinions and tried to do what made sense to me. The rock that was added was dead reef rock. For the last 2 weeks I have been doing water chnages of 15g on Mon and Thurs. I can try tweeking the power heads a little and see what happens. I do have 2 non-controllable Hydor 2's aswell. I will stop adding the bacteria and see what happens. So your suggestion is to syphion the sand, do 7-10g water changes every 4 days and stop adding bacteria for 3-4 weeks and see what happens?
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:34 PM   #220
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I once had a NASTY problem with cyano. It seemed to show up in mass amounts overnight every few days. I was trying everything and it just kep coming back.

I then did two thing:
1)Reduced lighting. (Time on and also STRAY light!)
2)Reduced feeding. (Feed just enough such that each fish gets a few mouth fulls, and this only every other day).

After that, the cyano went away pretty quickly! I really didnt do ANYTHING else. I even got quite lazy with PWC (10% every two weeks!). Cyano STILL stayed away. I wound up with a new algae that now grows on the sides of the tank (whispy brown stuff), but NO cyano.

I dont have any powerheads pointed at my sandbed either.

So my point is that you are getting excess nutrients from SOMEWHERE. Remember that phosphates are unavoidable. You can minimize them, but you cannot eliminate them. The more food you put into the water, the more nutrients in your water. Either the fish poop it out or it goes uneaten and it breaks down that way.

I think you should take a HUGE break from complicating the tank. I am pretty lazy with my tank, but saw a huge imrpovement just from adjusting two things. After the cyano went away, I added some chaeto and am running GFO in my fluval 305. The cyano is still gone and now that brown whispy algae is losing its grip too.

If feeding less isnt an option, then you might consider your tank to be overstocked. I think that is why alot of the pros here suggest such seemingly low numbers of fish in a tank. I have a 20g and I have FOUR small fish! Id bet thats overstocked alright and the reason I have brown whispy algae! GFO seems to do a great job at lowering nutrients as my chaeto is new and still a small mass. (couldnt be responsible for lowering nutrients.)

EDIT: I noticed you added dead base rock. That might be florida limestone rock and full of minerals. I know that here in florida, we have phosphate mines. Could be a slim possibility that the dead rock has some phosphates in or on it. Did you wash it really well? A good test might be to get some more and crush up a bit in some salt water so you can test for phosphates.

Matt
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