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Old 09-26-2006, 01:27 PM   #1
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Am I overstocked?

I seem to be having cyano problems and I am about to test my water to see what I can find, but I wanted to post this quick question before I start tearing filters apart looking for NO3 sources. I have what looks like brown-reddish growth on the glass that keeps coming back overnight, and some dark brown algae on the rocks that I have seen identified as cyano on other posts here, also have some reddish brown on a large patch of the sand substrate.

Am I overstocked, posted below is my profile

55gal On the way to reef
4 X 65 Outter Orbit PC
2 X 65 10K Daylight
2 X 65 Dual Actinic

Coralife Turbo-Twist UV Sterilizer

Flow: 780 GPH
Red Sea Prizm Skimmer
Empty (cheap) HOB filter (for water turnover) about 300gph flow
100lbs LR

Inhabitants:
1 Devils hand Leather Coral
2 Frags from the Leather
1 Brain Coral
1 Coral Beauty (Not Bothering any corals)
1 False Perc
1 Neon Goby
1 Orange Tail Damsel
1 Peppermint Shrimp
1 Serpent Star
1 Feather Duster
5 Nassarius Snails
10 Turbo Snails
5 Margarita Snails
15 Assorted small Hermits
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Old 09-26-2006, 01:34 PM   #2
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I'm not too sure about the coral, but the fish/clean up crew look to be reasonable.
I would tend to think the UV Sterilizer should be taking care of algae, I don't use one so I am not 100% sure.
How long do you run your lights?
What/how much/how often do you feed?
What kind of salt/water are you using?
Is there a phosphate source detectable in your tap water?
I would siphon out the cyano and do a 20% PWC.
I removed the sponges from my filter (2 at a time) and noticed a big difference. I still had to siphon and do 2 25% PWCs in two weeks and that knocked it right out.
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:20 PM   #3
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LOL I had the outlet turned all the way down on the pump feeding the UV sterilizer so no flow hence no worky.

I run my lights 12 hrs a day (gonna cut this down to 9 for now)
Feed about 1 X a day
Use Water from LFS that tests clean and they use Oceanic Salt.

Gonna finish up my tests and post results, then throw some of the water I have in storage in a tub to start churning for a 25% WC and siphon job tomorrow. Did you see a NO3 spike when you siphoned and disturbed your sand bed, this is my biggest fear.

When you had your problem, did you get growth on the glass? If so, did you have to take your rock apart and clean the glass, or did it die off and clear up?

Something is going on here, gotta find it.
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:22 PM   #4
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are you overstocked?... probably not.

but i bet your problems are due to the following issues:

Overfeeding. You probably feed everyday... dont. feed every other day. your fish will not starve. feed enough food so that it is all eaten within 3-5 minutes.

Overlighting. I assume that you mean your light fixture is Four 65 watt bulbs. and of those four, two are actinic, and two are 10K. If you actually have Eight 65 watt bulbs on a 55 gallon, you are going to get algea. with the 4 bulb setup i wouldnt leave your lights on for more than 12 hours a day... try reducing your photo period and see if you get less algea.

Undercirculation. The flow through your skimmer should not be counted toward your circulation total. yes, it does move some water, but not anything close to the flow rating of the skimmer pump. if you are only using 300 gph from the empty HOB filter you need to get some powerheads in the tank to increase your circulation. with corals and leathers and such you should aim for at least 10 times your water volume as your as your hourly turnover. so with a 55 gallon tank you should have at least 550 gallons per hour flow. again, that is not counting your skimmer flow. more circulation flow will let your skimmer work better too.

Poor top-off water. You need to ensure your top-off water is free of phosphates, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. no matter what you do in your tank, if your top-off water contains these chemicals, you are going to get algea. use RO/DI from your LFS or from your own RO/DI unit.

let us know which matches your situation... oh yeah, how old is your tank, and how fast have you stocked it?

~mike
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Coralife Lunar Aqualight (4x65W),
60 LB Hirocks Base Rock, 40 LB LR 50/50 Keys/Gulf
150 LB Playsand (~3-4 in DSB)
2 x Blood Red Fire Shrimp, 2 x Cleaner Shrimp
2 x Black and White Percula Clown, 1 x Orange Spotted Blenny, 1 x Red Stripe High Fin Goby
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:25 PM   #5
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You both must have been posting at the same time. I would reduce the lighting and feeding. IME, cyano feeds off of dead cyano among other things, so it is best to remove it and do the PWC. I tried reducing lighting and feeding, but that didn't work for me. I just had to suck it up and do two PWCs....
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:39 PM   #6
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Got dead spots too, where additional powerheads or stronger ones might help. In addition to the feeding and lighting cut backs, I'd also look there. Sounds like you've got only the return flow for circulation.
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help so far guys. For clarification.

I have the HOB filter pumping out about 300gph (so it says)
4 PH's giving about 780gph flow through the tank (2 Maxijet 900 and 2 MJ 600)
Plus the small pump flowing through the UV sterilizer.

My Lighting is 2 daylights and 2 actinics in the Orbit fixture.

Is this hobby supposed to be fun? LOL
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:01 PM   #8
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It will be. Sounds like some good advice given so far.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:04 PM   #9
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I agreee that you're not overstocked. Check the feeding. Excess nutrients could be the problem. PWC and your feeding adjustments sounds like the right thing for now. I feed every other day.

BTW, what do you feed? Maybe frozen food without being rinsed to get the frozen, phosphate laden water off of it?

Check the phosphates in your tank and the faucet. Let us know what you get.
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinsdad
I agreee that you're not overstocked. Check the feeding. Excess nutrients could be the problem. PWC and your feeding adjustments sounds like the right thing for now. I feed every other day.

BTW, what do you feed? Maybe frozen food without being rinsed to get the frozen, phosphate laden water off of it?

Check the phosphates in your tank and the faucet. Let us know what you get.
excellent point that frozen foods are full of phosphates. i was oblivious to the phosphates in my frozen food. once i started rinsing the food, i really cut back on my cyano problems

also, my source water had some phosphates that were sneaking into my RO/DI water because my DI resin had channeled (stupid horizontal DI chamber). i still have the horizontal DI chamber, but i am more diligent in checking to see if it has channeled.

those two things really solved a lot of my algea/cyano problems. now i just have to find the mantis in my tank so i can keep some inverts alive to take care of the rest of the algae.

~mike
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55gal FOWLR,
DIY stand and Hood,
AquaC Remora,
Coralife Lunar Aqualight (4x65W),
60 LB Hirocks Base Rock, 40 LB LR 50/50 Keys/Gulf
150 LB Playsand (~3-4 in DSB)
2 x Blood Red Fire Shrimp, 2 x Cleaner Shrimp
2 x Black and White Percula Clown, 1 x Orange Spotted Blenny, 1 x Red Stripe High Fin Goby
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