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Old 09-20-2006, 12:50 AM   #1
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Location: Houston, TX
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Microbubbles....please help!

Girlfriend just spent a small fortune on a new SW setup, a 105 gallon oceanic with a wet/dry filter, the returns are spewing tons of micro bubbles. She wants crystal clear water and is willing to try anything to get it - switching to a different filtration system, higher/lower power return pump - anything.

She's not happy with the setup. I've googled and found lots of info on microbubbles, and the short end of it is that whether it's good or bad for the fish, the fact that the bubbles exist puts the life of the tank in jeopardy. If it's not pretty, it's going to be short-lived in her house.

Anyone here have any idea on how to fix this problem? I can post pictures of the setup if need be and I can try to answer as many questions about it as possible. I read another post on here about giving the tank time to cycle and that that might fix it - I've also read posts where people have had tanks up for a year or more and still have bubbles. I don't think time is going to be the answer. That coupled with the fact that this is still new enough to return equipment if that's what needs to be done to fix this, so waiting for it to "settle" isn't going to fly for an answer.

Anyway, thanks for the great reading, we both hope to become regulars on here. BTW - if you've posted a picture of a reef or a fowlr tank, she's probably already either drooled over how nice they look or she has put it as a background on her computer.

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Old 09-20-2006, 07:53 AM   #2
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Yeah. Include pics of the wet/dry setup. I think that might help folks diagnose. Sounds like you need a way to break up the bubbles created from the water coming back ito the wet dry from above before it travels to the return pump to back to the main.

Hopefully, it'll be simple to recognize. Got a black, spongy thing on the return pump to filter debris and bubbles before going back to the main? Got bio balls in the wet dry? Pics might help.

Are you only test running the system with fresh water now, or you got the sand, SW, rocks and stuff all in there too. Tell us where you are on your setup.

BTW, welcome the AA!! Both of you. Let's see if we can get this thing fixed so ya'll can hang around longer.

What part of the country (or world) are you in? Maybe I can swing by tonight and check it out.


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Old 09-20-2006, 09:59 AM   #3
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Please do not cycle with live animals.

Girlfriend just spent a small fortune on a new SW setup
LOL! We all know how you feel. The monthly cost should be A LOT less than the initial set-up.
Did you prime the filter first? Mine will spew out bubbles after I clean it.
Age is relative, you are only as old as you act....of course, this works in reverse....

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Old 09-20-2006, 04:56 PM   #4
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We're in Houston, TX, sure, swing on by - Maryland isn't THAT far of a drive.

Thanks for the welcome to AA

I'll try to get some pictures posted this evening or next. In the mean time, I can give you verbal descriptions of what you're asking for and links to representative pictures.

This is the sump that her setup came with. The intake on the right side has what looks like vacuum cleaner hose or flexible pool hose attached to the bottom of the tank and the pvc coming out of the box. There's a TON of bubbles generated here - I read somewhere that a sock (4 micron?) over this would help reduce the bubbles some but that it would become biological over time and require constant maintenance. The protein skimmer is currently turned off (we were told to keep it off for about a month or until the tank cycles completely?). Also, not sure how to properly prime a pump - is there a trick? It's definitely putting out some strong flow in the tank, so...

The guys that set up the tank took out about 50% of the bio balls in the middle chamber - said we didn't need that many. I've thought about getting some LR to put in there instead, but gotta fix the other stuff first.

The return area doesn't seem to have any bubbles in it, so we both seem to think the bubbles on one side aren't making it all the way through to the other - we think they're not the cause of the problem.

We've got a 9.5 mag-drive pump for the return and I have no clue what's hooked up for the protein skimmer, yet. There's no pre-filter on the return pump, and we've looked through what was left - no pre-filter to be found, got any suggestions?

Here's a quick run-down of the tank:

105g Oceanic, pre-drilled
100Lbs cured LR
100Lbs agronite
260 watt coralife dual PC daylight/actinic with moon lights
oceanic stand and matching wood canopy

PH is at 8.2
ammonia ~.1
nitrite 0
nitrate trace (or is it the other way around?)
sg 1.026

We were also told that cycling may or may not happen with that much LR or that it may go real fast. She's ready to put another 75Lbs of LR in the tank.

One more thing - we'll be going to MACNA this weekend - what's the best day to go - primarily interested in the vendors and exhibits.
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bubble, bubbles, microbubbles

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