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Old 01-30-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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Question Question about brown/red algae

Hello, I was wondering if this is diatom algae that is growing in my tank. It is brown/red in color and is growing on the glass and on the sand bed. I did some research on the net and found mixed answers about if it's good or bad. At this point I'm scrubbing it off the glass but not to much do about it being on the sand. I was curious as to what stage my tank is in at this point in the cycle. It's been about 30 days since i put the water in. Live bio-sand was used and 40 or so pounds of cured live rock was added the same day. I added 2 small fish a week or so after first adding the water, sand and rock. My levels are:

Nitrate=0

Nitrite=0

Ammonia=0

pH=8.4

I was wondering when will be it ok to start adding some corals. I have some good sized purple musrooms in there and they seem to be doing fine. I've been adding B-Ionic calcium buffer system just about daily. Any help would be great.
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Old 01-30-2010, 01:16 AM   #2
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Well... if you have mushrooms, you have coral! But I know what you mean...

Hard to tell about the diatoms without a picture, but diatoms look like rust powder over everything and will easily blow off things. Cyanobacteria is the other possibility, but it is slimy and filmy and doesn't blow around like dust. Diatoms aren't pretty, so they're usually considered a "bad" thing - but with new tanks you can't do much about them. It's just a phase just about every new tank goes through.

Hard to tell where you're at in your cycle - you're either at the beginning or the end since you have no ammonia or nitrites. You say you used cured live rock, so you may have missed whatever cycle happened since the fish have been in there for 3 weeks or so by the sounds of it. With fully live/cured rock, there is often no measurable ammonia because the tank is technically cycled already.

As far as when to add corals, I'd give things 3-4 months or so after cycling. Depending on how many fish you end up adding, I may even wait longer. With every new fish comes an increase in bioload, and a possibility that your water parameters will go bonkers.

Regarding the calcium/alkalinity dosing - unless you have some serious coralline algae growth happening already (doubt it) you really don't need to do that yet. Normal water changes (weekly? every other week?) with a name brand salt will give your tank what it needs. Once you start adding coral, then you should be watching your calcium and alkalinity levels, and dosing accordingly. Hopefully you've got a calcium and alkalinity test kit to know what's going on with the B-Ionic dosing. One of the cardinal rules of reefkeeping - don't dose it if you don't test for it (and know whether or not you need it!).
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kurt_Nelson View Post
Well... if you have mushrooms, you have coral! But I know what you mean...

Hard to tell about the diatoms without a picture, but diatoms look like rust powder over everything and will easily blow off things. Cyanobacteria is the other possibility, but it is slimy and filmy and doesn't blow around like dust. Diatoms aren't pretty, so they're usually considered a "bad" thing - but with new tanks you can't do much about them. It's just a phase just about every new tank goes through.

Hard to tell where you're at in your cycle - you're either at the beginning or the end since you have no ammonia or nitrites. You say you used cured live rock, so you may have missed whatever cycle happened since the fish have been in there for 3 weeks or so by the sounds of it. With fully live/cured rock, there is often no measurable ammonia because the tank is technically cycled already.

As far as when to add corals, I'd give things 3-4 months or so after cycling. Depending on how many fish you end up adding, I may even wait longer. With every new fish comes an increase in bioload, and a possibility that your water parameters will go bonkers.

Regarding the calcium/alkalinity dosing - unless you have some serious coralline algae growth happening already (doubt it) you really don't need to do that yet. Normal water changes (weekly? every other week?) with a name brand salt will give your tank what it needs. Once you start adding coral, then you should be watching your calcium and alkalinity levels, and dosing accordingly. Hopefully you've got a calcium and alkalinity test kit to know what's going on with the B-Ionic dosing. One of the cardinal rules of reefkeeping - don't dose it if you don't test for it (and know whether or not you need it!).
Ok, after reading some more I'm almost certain it's diatoms, they usually forms at the end of a nitrogen cycle at or around day 30 days or so. Thats just about where my tank is, about 30 days. So I'm hoping it's at the end of the cycle and not the begening still. If both fish are alive and well I'm asuming it's at the end.

I do have tests for calcium, phosphate and carbonate hardness, the calcium tests is difficult to under stand, I think I ended up doing it wrong. I need to retry it so I don't know exactly what content is in it. I give it daily to every other day doses according to the gallon size of my tank. I thought is was more kind of food for everything in the tank, like the live rock itself and hitchikers and the mushrooms. I don't think theres any coraline algae in my tank yet that I know of, is that the purple stuff?

I am doing weekly water changes with r/o and some real reef water including all special beneficial bacterias. 20 gallon sump with overflow box and a good skimmer running it and T5HO light setup.
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:26 AM   #4
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What do you mean by "real reef water"?
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Old 01-30-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
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DON'T DOSE ANYTHING YOU DON'T TEST FOR!
So if don't understand the Calcium test STOP DOSING Calcium until you do, or have had the lfs test it for you.

I suggest you get a Salifert test kit for Ca, Alk, and Mg, then test and post the results here. All of those are related and need to be in a certain range in relation to each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAnviL View Post
I am doing weekly water changes with r/o and some real reef water including all special beneficial bacterias.
HUH? I'm trying to understand exactly what you are doing here? Are you using RODI water to mix a good quality SW mix with? Are you then adding additional bacteria you buy at the store? Please explain that statement further.

All you need to do is get a good quality salt mix and mix it with RODI to achieve a 1.023 - 1.025 SG using an ATC (automatic temperature calibration) refractometer. Do a 10%- 20% pwc every week and use RODI (no additives) to make up for the amount that evaporated every day.
In your tank that is all you should need to do to maintain excellant water parameters. If you end up with lots of sps corals a/o clams, etc. that need a lot of calcium, then you may need to does with a two-part kit.
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Old 01-31-2010, 01:33 AM   #6
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...I give it daily to every other day doses according to the gallon size of my tank. I thought is was more kind of food for everything in the tank, ...
The dosage on the bottle is just because they have to put *something* on there. In reality, you need to figure out what the calcium and alkalinity usage is in your tank on a daily basis. Then, you add the ca/alk supplements - in the appropriate amount - to keep your ca/alk stable. Many people, depending on the brand of salt mix they use, do not need to use a 2-part supplement at all to keep their cal/alk levels within acceptable range. In my opinion, "acceptable range" is calcium somewhere in the 400-440 ppm range, and alkalinity in the 8-12 dKh range.

I'm pretty sure your tank, with its age, doesn't need supplements of any kind. Calcium and alkalinity is used by hard corals to build skeletons, as well as coralline algae - the hard purple stuff. And it surely doesn't need any bacterial supplements. That's what you spend the big $$ on the cured live rock for!

Here's a couple good reads regarding calcium and alkalinity...

Calcium and Alkalinity by Randy Holmes-Farley - Reefkeeping.com
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/nov2002/chem.htm
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmor1701d View Post
DON'T DOSE ANYTHING YOU DON'T TEST FOR!
So if don't understand the Calcium test STOP DOSING Calcium until you do, or have had the lfs test it for you.

I suggest you get a Salifert test kit for Ca, Alk, and Mg, then test and post the results here. All of those are related and need to be in a certain range in relation to each other.



HUH? I'm trying to understand exactly what you are doing here? Are you using RODI water to mix a good quality SW mix with? Are you then adding additional bacteria you buy at the store? Please explain that statement further.

All you need to do is get a good quality salt mix and mix it with RODI to achieve a 1.023 - 1.025 SG using an ATC (automatic temperature calibration) refractometer. Do a 10%- 20% pwc every week and use RODI (no additives) to make up for the amount that evaporated every day.
In your tank that is all you should need to do to maintain excellant water parameters. If you end up with lots of sps corals a/o clams, etc. that need a lot of calcium, then you may need to does with a two-part kit.

Ok, just about every week I do a water change. I drain about 5 gallons or more from the tank and then I'll add about 5 gallons or more of this


It says it contains live marine Heterotrophic, Autotrophic and Chemolithotrophic bacteria. And fortified with QX-23 enrichment solution:

They recommend using 100% of this in your aquarium but I don't. What I do is after draining about 5 gallons I'll add about 4 back of this stuff and then adjust it with about 1 gallon or so of regular r/o water to get it at the right salinity. Before I have been using this sea water I used r/o water with Instant Ocean sea salt. Is this Nutri-seawater no good to use? It comes recommended at my local fish store, I'm also wondering if using the 2 part calcium buffer kit is what caused my diatom break out. At this point I will no longer add the calcium kit to my tank, atleast until I get animals needing it and I understand how to test for it correctly.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:59 PM   #8
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I haven't purchased a refractometer yet.
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:06 AM   #9
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Just my opinion... but take the money you're spending on the Nutri-Seawater and redirect to a refractometer. A refractometer is the #1 best investment you can make, especially if you're heading for a reef tank. RO water plus Instant Ocean will give your tank just about everything it needs without using overpriced "real" saltwater. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it - it's just that plenty of folks do just fine without it.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:18 PM   #10
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Another point for the refractometer is this: If it is "Natural Seawater", why do you have to adjust it. Either your readings are off or there is something wrong with the water to make it so salty>. Just thinking out loud>>>>
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