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Old 05-25-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
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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/DI 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.
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markyj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2012, 04:06 PM   #2
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It looks like you have your bases for the main part. The few problems I see is 1) the crushed coral needs to go IMO. The pieces are too big and will trap and hold excess food and waste. Replace it with a sand substrate and you`ll see less excessive nutrients that are causing those algeas and cyano blooms. 2) When you say you watch what you feed can you give me an amount? I feed every other day and have been doing so 14+ yrs now. Over feeding is one of the biggest downfall there is to water quality. 3) Never used a reactor or GFO so I cant help you there. 4) This statement "excess nutrients causing bad algae to grow, making my tank look bad and not allowing good coralline algae to grow" is a very true one. I`m not too concerned with the coralline not growing as much as I will that it will grow any and further any nuisance algea there is. Check out this battle plan . Good luck with the tank.
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