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Old 01-03-2003, 02:53 PM   #1
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In need of help!

I need help. I have a 55 gallon salt water aquarium. I have had it up and running for 1 1/2 years. for the last 3 months I have had some BIG PROBLEMS with alge growth. From maroon, lime green and even black. I have to admit that I made a really stupid mistake when I set this up due to not enough money for this hobby. I had bought the aquarium (fresh water setup), stand, air pumps, power heads and crushed coral and salt. Due to life problems it sat in storage for about 6 years. I finally moved into a home and talked my hubby into letting me set it up. I live in a rual area and only have 1 LF. The owner told me all I needed was an undergravel filter and I would be set. Well the sucker I am I fell for it, bought a 40 dollar UGF and set it up. All went well until lately. I have been doing water changes like crazy, all that seems to do is slow the spread alittle. I run my skimmer all of the time. Have tried stirring the substrate daily to help unclog any areas in it to no avail. I need to go to something else for biological filtration. The problem is I havent got more than $100 to put toward this change. Can I do something for this little amount of money or should I just tear it down and give up? My husband almost has me talked into this. I will have to drive 2 hours to get to a reputable store to buy anything but will do it if something can be done. Please help me I really love this hobby but just cant seem to afford the things I need to do this succesfully. Thanks
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Old 01-03-2003, 03:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
should I just tear it down and give up?
NO DONT GIVE UP!

I suspect your algae issues is a direct result of having high nuturents in the tank. You dont give water test readings. I suspect your water peramiters are a bit out of wack.

Have your LFS check for the following if you do not have test kits.
  • Ammonia
    Nitrite
    Nitrate
    Phosphate
    Alkinity
    Calcium
    PH

I know some of those readings will have little to do with your alage problem but its good to know what they are at any rate.

My guess is that your nitrates and phosphates are elevated.

Given you have a UGF this also helps support my guess as UGF's will hold nitrates vs remove nitrates. Water changes will help to some degree but unless you remove the source of the nitrates (assuming this is what is causing the algae) will put an end to the problem.

What kind of lights do you have?

Can you describe the algaes appearance. You have given colors but not texture. is it slime like? Hair like?

I can understand your budget and trust me we can get this fixed and stay within your budget.
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Old 01-03-2003, 05:21 PM   #3
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If i was you, i would remove the ugf. We recently had a member have similar problems. read his post. although this will be stressful but it may be your best bet. dont give up, saltwater is too rewarding.
check this thread.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...ght=remove+ugf
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Old 01-03-2003, 05:32 PM   #4
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Michael,

Perhaps that link should be a sticky.
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Old 01-03-2003, 05:34 PM   #5
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http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=9

http://www.rshimek.com/reef/sediment.htm

In addition to Mike's link here are a couple worthy of reading. IMO, the best filtration is a natural filtration, it is also very good at keeping some pest algae at bay.
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Old 01-03-2003, 05:47 PM   #6
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The maroon alge covers all the live rock that is exposed to light. I guess you could say it looks like slime. The black looks the same as the maroon just not as much as it. It sometimes look like it traps the bubbles under it. I try to keep it off just by moving the water briskly then syphoning the chunks of it out but it just grows back in 3 days. I will have the LFS check water peramiters tomarrow and get back with this info then. Thanks for the links to read. I will read them tomarrow when I have time in the mourning.
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Old 01-03-2003, 08:03 PM   #7
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It sound like algae growth from high nitrates. More than likely from the ugf. I would definatly invest in the kit fishfreek recommended and remove the ugf.

swbeginer, sorry i cannot make threads sticky, because im not a advisor. You will have to talk to a advisor.
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Old 01-03-2003, 10:20 PM   #8
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Sounds like Cyano to me. What kind of flow rate do you have in this tank? Can you adjust the flow so areas that this grows on have more current going over them?

I am also interested in the water test results.
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Old 01-04-2003, 11:54 AM   #9
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Well I got the water tests done yesterday. I can see now that I will have to purchase my own for accurate testing. I was told that the Nitrite and Nitrate were both WNL. The ammonia was slightly elevated but not to a harmful level. She could not test for phosphates until they get there next shipment of supplies in 3 weeks but she suspects this is fine as well due to the other test results. Salinity is 33 or Specific Gravity1.0245. She said "Your water looks beautiful, honey!" Ok, so why doest my tank?
For lighting I just have two 40 watt full spectrum florescent bulbs (5,000 k I think)and had an actinic for looks but it burned out and havent had time to replace it (2 hour drive to buy another) I don't have any corals so I havent done anything big for lighting. I was wondering if maybe putting lace rock in for base rock might have something to do with this? Can it cause problems? The slime like algae seems to grow more on this than my live rock.
For water flow all I have is a 350 gph powerhead running the UGF. I change the direction of water flow every time I top off the water.
The Berlin system looks like a good option. How large of a skimmer is needed to keep up with it. I will have to build one. Any suggestions? Venturi vs air stone? Also what kind of sand can you buy from home depot? It seems I have read people buy it there. Thanks for the advice. I will have to try posting a picture later if that would help.
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Old 01-04-2003, 12:15 PM   #10
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Ok. Does WNL stand for (Within Normal Limits)?

Do you know the EXACT readings of the kits.

Nitrate of say 30ppm might be within normal limits (not in my book) but it would contribute to your algae problem.

IMO any ammonia and nitrite is above where it should be.

Phosphates have absoulty nothing to do with ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate and can not be derived from any of those results. Phosphates are known fuel for algae.

What do you feed? How often do you feed?

When did your actinic light burn out? Could this have been around the same time frame the cyano started to take over?

The reason the slime is growing on the base rock more is probably because it is not overly covered with coraline yet.

You need more flow. You should shoot for at least ten times the tank capacty in flow rate. Given that you have a PH driving a UGF i doubt your even getting 350GPH as there will be some drain on the PH's capacity when its trying to pull water thru the substrate and filter plate.

There are many good mailorder sites on the net for aquarium goods. I understand your desire to help out the local shop but there are times that convience should take precidence. Your actinic bulb needing replaced and getting some test kits for example. Waiting 3 weeks for a testkit would drive me nuts. Also why drive 2 hours for a bulb when you can order one over the net for probably the same cost if not cheaper after facrtoring in gas and time.

www.petwarehouse.com
www.thatpetplace.com
www.marinedepot.com
www.hellolights.com --> lighting specialist

just to name a few.

Yes a pic would help if not to much trouble.
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