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Old 01-07-2007, 04:44 PM   #1
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I need a reset button!

I have a 40 gallon FOWLR tank that has slowly started to fall apart recently. Of my 4 fish, 3 died. I also started to get a load of algae and strange green plants that grow like weeds. I have a CPR BakPak skimmer and a small HOT filter that I put a sponge filter in. I used to use tap water, but have since purchased a RO/DI filter that I make water with.

Basically I need a way to fix my tank without scrapping it. I don't want to kill the existing fish or throw away all of that live rock. The tank has been established for over a year, but in the past 3-5 months it has gone down hill. Should I get a canister filter? A wet/dry filter? A different cleaning crew? Etc?

Can someone help me please?

Here is a picture of my tank:
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:15 PM   #2
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Hmmm.....looks like you've got a ton of cyanobacteria (the red stuff) there. Do you have test kits? Can you tell us what your readings are for pH, nitrate, nitrite, specific gravity and anything else? If you don't have any test kits, take some water to a trusted LFS and have them test it, then buy some kits. The Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Saltwater master kit is a good start.

Also, what lighting/how long is it on, and what is your water change schedule? Looks like you've got a decent amount of LR in there. DO you have any powerheads for water movement?

My first suggestion would be to mix up a batch of water and do a large water change. I'm relatively new to SW so I'm not totally up on getting rid of cyano in SW tanks but someone else who is will chime in. My guess is that your nitrates have slowly climbed and finally got to a critical level.

Don't give up, we'll figure this out! Let's hope your sixline makes it, too...moving him to another tank (the LFS might be a good bet) until you get your tank under control might be a good option too but let's wait and hear from some other folks first.
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:23 PM   #3
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The green plants appear to be grape caulerpa (not positive due to blurriness, but I think so). Yes, you have a heck of a cyano outbreak.

First things first...do a large water change and then plan on doing about 20% every 3 days or so for awhile. Take an airline tube to siphon out the cyano daily. Keep the lights off. Change out any filter media you might have. Rinse out the sponges in saltwater. There is a possibility that the caulerpa went sexual at some point in time and you didnt notice, this also would have lead to the demise of the fish. Please test all important water parameters and report back to us, but the above things need to be done as well.
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help so far. Here is what my Aquarium Pharmaceuticals kit says:
pH: 8.2
SG: 1.026
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

From what I understand those numbers don't look too bad. I'm in the process of making a large batch of saltwater as we speak. I typical do about a 15% PWC every week or so. Like I said, though, for the first 8 months I was using tap water. I've since changed to RO/DI. For powerheads I have one "50 gallon" unit blowing across the top of the tank. Is there a better filter I should be using instead of the HOT type? Would a canister help?
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Old 01-07-2007, 06:58 PM   #5
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a good cannister would help, I personally like aquaclear HOB filters. They are super easy maintenance and a good dependable filter. I would get the biggest one (rated for 60 gallons and up) and that would do you. It would also be less expensive then a cannister. You do not want to use a bunch of media and have it compete with the rock. I am super surprised you are not seeing any nitrates. The caulerpa really must be doing a number sucking up the nutrients. You might want to check for phosphates, that is another leading cause of cyano.
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:11 PM   #6
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I actually was using the aquaclear 50 gallon HOB filter and it clogged up in the past couple days and burned out. That's why I thought that maybe a HOB filter wasn't cutting it.

How would I check for phosphates? Is there a seperate kit for that? Also, is there a way to get rid of the caulerpa easily?

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 01-07-2007, 07:15 PM   #7
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Hmm, well, I would really clean out the aquaclear well, try it again, it is almost impossible to kill those things. Clean the impeller area out, and the impeller itself.

Yes, the phosphate test is a seperate test and requires a testkit.

As for the caulerpa, just yank it out by the handfull.
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Old 01-07-2007, 11:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hara
First things first...do a large water change and then plan on doing about 20% every 3 days or so for awhile. Take an airline tube to siphon out the cyano daily. Keep the lights off. Change out any filter media you might have. Rinse out the sponges in saltwater.
That is mighty good advice given here. Dont worry Believe it or not there is a reset button and Lisa mentioned it above. It`s call PWC`s. Your RO/DI unit will go a long way in helping.
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Old 01-08-2007, 12:24 AM   #9
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If you can spare the cash pickup a couple cheap power heads. You can always use the extra's while mixing water. Point them at numerous areas of your largest cyano outbreak.

Killing the lights will help. Not sure about food here, you should be cut WAY back on feeding if you are daily feeding.

Do you have any cleanup crew?

Scrub those rocks that you can remove (nothing living on them you might want to keep) and scrub in the water change bucket. Just to get the red cyano off them. Return to the main tank.

Did you get that Base Rock and Live Rock you mentioned in your "My Info". Did this cyano outbreak happen shortly after you got those rocks and put into the tank by any chance? Or more of a gradual thing?

PWC's baby! Keep them a coming. Then when you are done, do some more. :0)
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Old 01-08-2007, 01:16 AM   #10
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I guess I really need to update that "my info" section. Yes, I started off the tank with both the base rock and live rock about 1 year ago. The breakout didn't happen until about 3 months ago and just keeps getting worse.

I actually plan on going to the LFS tomorrow to pick up a couple new powerheads to help the flow in my tank. My cleanup crew has dwindled a bit from where they started. I did have a bunch of cerith and nassarius snails with some red hermits. Most of the cerith snails have moved on and the same goes for the hermits. I may get more to help eat things up soon.
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