I did a big water change on Monday this week. 2 batched of 40 gallons each, I emptied and cleaned the sump, rinsed the bio-balls, then filled the sump up with 15 gallons, pulled 45 out of the tank and filled it with the remaining 25, then pulled about 20 more out while mixing up the other 40 and filled all the way - effectively about 74 gallons, or just under 50%.
I took apart the power head, which wasn’t as dirty as I thought it would be. I replaced the return hoses, which was a darn good thing, because I took off one of the clamps and the hose came off the bulkhead with just a wiggle, and it was dry and hard. It could have been bumped off at any time, so it was good that I took care not to disturb it this whole time!!
I was going to remove the intake bulkhead and clean inside the overflow, but skipped that part for now. The insides of the return pipes are pretty dirty, goo gooped up on the inside, but that’ll have to wait for another day.
I didn’t do any gravel siphoning, but I did notice that the gravel, LR
and glass are growing quite a bit of green hair algae.
I ran the Magnum overnight, on a brand new cartridge, and when I got there the next day it was sucked in on itself, so the cleaning job really stirred up a lot of gunk. I had to take a toothbrush all around the edges, and a stiff scrub brush and algae scraper wand to the overflow towers to get the calcified dead algae off of it. It looks a lot better now. No pic, sorry. The job took me 4 hours, and I was exhausted after that.
I tested the water yesterday 1/12 and here are my results:
Temp 80.2 F (Digital)
pH 7.8 t 7.9 (API)
Salinity 35 (refractometer)
Ammonia 0 (API)
Nitrite 0 (API)
Phosphate between 2 and 4 hard to tell (Salifert)
Nitrate 80 (API extrapolated)
The Phosphates are interesting to note, because back on 12/29/09, they tested about 2. Now after about 2 weeks of soak time and a 50% water change, they’re higher. This can only be from feeding practices, but he feeds them ¼ of a piece of frozen shrimp a day, so would that cause a phosphate rise?
What interesting about the Nitrates is that 80 now extrapolates to 160 before, which is lower than or equal to what it was after the last water change. It’s possible that some de-nitrification is happening, but then again, it is an API test kit we’re talking about.
I plan on doing another 50% water change to get the nitrates down to 40 and hopefully the phosphates down to below 2, then I will add a phosphate remover to the sump and install the protein skimmer (which should have arrived already, but for some reason has not)
I am also scheduled to get my 150 GPD RO
unit TODAY! It’s on the truck, out for delivery. The wait is killing me. NO MORE TRIPS TO WAL-MART!!!
Also, I’m going to soak a bunch of the base rock I have to make sure there’s no dead organisms that would give off ammonia, and put a ton in there. Also need to replace all the bulbs, and scrub the LR
again to get the algae off. I’m guessing that the absence of the Yellow Tang is probably not helping, he probably kept the algae under control a little bit.