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Old 07-25-2013, 08:39 PM   #1
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Tank Is Collapsing!!

Hi everyone,

I've got a 28-gallon JBJ Nano Cube, which has been running for about 16 months. Back in March and April, I had some out-of-town interviews, and got very sloppy with water changes--I think I went three or four weeks without doing one. Mea culpa.

Toward the end of that, I started noticing reddish algae growing on the sand and rocks. I assumed it was cyanobacteria (I'd had an outbreak a few months prior), so I increased skimming and did some extra water changes to make up for it--I figured dissolved organics were the cause, and wasn't too worried. That didn't work, and the algae started spreading FAST. I got some snails to add to my cleanup crew, but when I put them in the tank, they wouldn't open up until I moved them to a place where there was no algae... They actually ended up dying, even though I drip-acclimated them for about four hours. I got a second shipment of snails today, and the same thing is happening. Geez, could the algae be toxic for them?

I'm now thinking that this is a dinoflagellate outbreak rather than cyanobacteria, and I'm pretty worried about the tank right now. All of my corals are closing up and looking very unhappy, and, while my fish seem fine so far, I actually haven't seen my wrasse today... (Maybe I'm getting paranoid?)

Anyway, any advice you'd have would be hugely appreciated. Let me know if I left any information out. I'm attaching some pictures of the outbreak. You can see it's pretty awful at this point.

More information:

28-gallon JBJ Nano Cube
150 watts of LEDsó10,000 K white and royal blue, plus some deep red and ultraviolet that I added a few months ago
Two 425 GPH powerheads (not too happy with these; getting more like 200 GPH each)
Two 280 GPH return pumps
Protein skimmer
5-gallon water change every week
Feed mysis shrimp, hard pellets, Phyto-Feast, other treats

Salinity: 1.025
Calcium: 400
Alkalinity: 10.0
Magnesium: 1300
Phosphate: near 0
Temperature: 79 degrees F

Inhabitants:
2 clownfish
1 melanurus wrasse
1 3-inch maxima clam (aquacultured, baby!)
1 red fire shrimp
Turban, turbo, nassarius, and nerite snails
Acropora, montipora, birdsnest, zoanthids, blastomussa, ricordea, lithophyllum, leptoseris, pulsing Xenia, galaxea, etc.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:53 PM   #2
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Have you tried scrubbing your live rocks in RO water during your water changes?
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:55 PM   #3
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I have not tried that. The closest I've come to that is blasting the rocks with a powerhead right before doing a water change. That removes most of the algae, but it comes back so fast that I'm not sure even a thorough scrubbing would keep it from reappearing in full force in a few days...
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #4
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That is cyanobacteria no doubt about it... What kind of phosphate test you use... Its definitely a nutrient issue.....only this I found that worked for me in my nano is api phosphate remover it took about three weeks but it went away and has never came back been one year since I've had it ....or you could use gfo which works good to ....
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #5
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Def cyano. Nutrient issue, adding snails won't make the poop go away...they poop too. It'll be a long drawn out battle by cutting down on feeding, increasing water changes with ro/di water, and siphoning the cyano out before water changes. It'll take a couple months probably. Just stay vigilant.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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You can get a headstart by using chemiclean to remove the cyano. BUT you will have to correct the behavior that caused it in the first place. Lots of water changes and watching what you feed will go along way in solving the issue
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Old 07-26-2013, 07:32 AM   #7
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If you choose the chemi clean route for a temp fix follow the directions exactly make sure you oxygenate the water well a lot of people use it with no ill effects and then there is the few like myself that have had success and complete tank crashes using this product .. I think my tank crashes were due to lack of oxygen I did not have enough surface movement to add oxygen..simple fix would be a temp air stone while treating tank...
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of these tips and suggestions, everyone! After looking at a lot of threads and articles on dinoflagellate infestations, I'm going to black-out my tank for three days, see if that helps, repeat if necessary, and possibly use Fauna Marin's Ultra Algea X on the tank. I moved all of the inhabitants to a ten-gallon last night (a big job!), and put garbage bags over the glass and shut off the lights. Has anyone here tried the black-out method for dinoflagellates? I'm seeing countless horror stories about people battling dinos for months or even years, and I want to be aggressive with it up front so I don't have to go through all that. Also thinking about adding a GFO/carbon reactor...
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:09 PM   #9
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Gfo is a way to remove phosphates. Carbon will polish your water up. I run a dual reactor with both, though I am testing cobalt's new anti phosphate and nitrate resins.

But without figuring out what is feeding your outbreak, which I still see as cyano, you won't be any further ahead. Do you use tap water? How often do you feed? How much food? How often and how much for water changes? I don't recall them from your original post.
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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I used chemi clean in my 30 gallon nano cube. Two scoops and in less than 30 hrs it was all gone. I did my water change right after. Adding purigen and chaeto to my back in sump has helped keep my phosphates low. My cyano got bad to the point they covered a few corals. Weird i thought the corals sting the bacteria to keep it from growing on them
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