Hi all, first post so please put up with me if I don't understand all the rules!
I have a 50G tank with a 12G sump. I have 2 ruby clowns, a dottyback and 3 Chromis as well as an urchin, 3 large snails (turbos?) and 2 hermits. I have just started to add some coral (about 5 small pieces). I have crushed coral bed of several inches, and about 10 to 15kg (20 to 30lbs) live rock (although I worry that my initial batch wasn't that live, it had no coralline algae on it, but I bought one big one a month ago to help).
Right now all I have is a skimmer, a phosphate reactor with carbon bio balls and a bag of GFO
in a sock around my input to the sump. I used to have bio balls and some wool filter but I took them out after reading posts on this forum.
I am considering whether I need to improve my setup. I have RO
water, but I still seem to struggle with keeping the nutrients low. Nitrates measure zero, but phosphates have never been zero, and the best I have seen is about 0.6 ppm
, and it is usually over 1ppm.
I watch what I feed and change water and vacuum the bed frequently, but it seems like I am only limiting the problem, rather than it being ongoing maintenance.
My tank is about 9 months old, and in that time I have had the whole tank covered in green algae, then a cyano
bloom, then hairy algae, and now I have lots of diatoms and some hairy algae plus some brown algae on my rocks. During that time I have learnt a lot, and I think I follow the main basics, but it feels like I have some sort of basic problem with my setup. I have played around with power head positioning, flow of water to skimmer, etc.
I have no major coralline algae growth ( just a few small dots on some rocks) and the coralline algae on the one large rock I have is fading. My parameters are all in good ranges apart from the phosphates, so I can only assume this is my core problem, I.e excess nutrients causing bad algae to grow, making my tank look bad and not allowing good coralline algae to grow.
So, my question would be, what else can I do to set my tank up better or diagnose why I am not getting the nutrients out?
- should I have live rock in the sump? (and will this need light if I do?)
- my phosphate reactor has balls (like vodka dosing), should I switch to GFO
- is the GFO
and the reactor conflicting?
- my reactor feeds straight to the skimmer, but should I separate them?
- should I switch to a model where I grow algae in the sump?
- do I need more water flow in the tank to flush nutrients out and into sump?
I will post some pictures as well so that you can see my setup.