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Old 04-17-2004, 02:05 AM   #1
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rusty brown layer over sand!

I am in the same old boat, I keep asking the same question, but apparently NO one has ever had this problem or they just dont mind a brown rust layer over their white sand It makes me think twice about having a salt tank. I love the fish, they are doing well, but the tank looks awful. I have posted this question on a few boards, but only get one or two maybe's (thank you for those!) One more try. I can change wanter sources, I can add chemicals, but someone has to have experienced this and fixed it. Right????


I have a 50 gal salt, 4-6" sand base, two clowns, two damsels, coral beauty, small clean up crew. It has a custom filter and protein skimmer, perfect water when I test. I use Calligan water for additions and changes.

My tank is beautiful, EXCEPT, it always has a rust colored coating on the top of the sand. I try to reduce the lighting, (std lighting) and keep the blinds down. I thought it was the lighting, but nothing seems to help. It just "looks" brown and rusty on the top of the sand. I WOULD LOVE any suggestions on this. I want the white clean sand. My tank is over a year old and the fish have done excellent. My clown fish breed and I have siphoned off and raise clark clowns. Most everything is great, except that my sand look horrible.

HELP. I have asked this question before on another board, but no one has ever responded with an answer.

Desperate!
RJ
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Old 04-17-2004, 09:06 AM   #2
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Sounds like cyanobacteria algae.
Quote:
I use Calligan water for additions and changes.
Culligan makes a quite a few different types of water filters. What kind do you have? IMO an RO filter is the way to go if that's not what you are using now.
Cyano is usually caused by excessive nutrients in the water. Have you tested your water for phosphate? How much and how often do you feed your fish?
You don't mention anything about powerheads. Poor water flow in the tank can help the cyano spread. Try adding a few powerheads and get the water circulating better.
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Old 04-17-2004, 11:41 AM   #3
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Is the algae more like a red/brown slime or is it more like a fine dust? A slime would indicate cyanobacteria, which would be a good indication of phosphates and excessive nutrients in your system.

A brown dust would be diatoms, which are usually caused by silicates in your water.

I agree with cccapt. If you aren't already using RO water, I would suggest switching to it. Many LFS sell RO water if you aren't ready to purchase your own RO unit. More circulation is also a good idea and possibly a cut back on how much/often you are feeding (depending on the current frequency).

Also, you might consider a phosphate/silicate sponge. This is only a temporary fix though. It will remove the phosphates/silicates, but you still need to determine how they are getting into your tank in the first place in order to solve the problem permanently.

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Old 04-17-2004, 01:37 PM   #4
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browns rusty sand

It is a powdery substance over the sand, almost like the sand is rusting. Not slimy that I have noted, it stirs in, but that only makes it come back worse. I feed daily in the am, I use culligan drinking water, not a filter

maybe that is the problem
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Old 04-17-2004, 06:57 PM   #5
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I feed daily in the am, I use culligan drinking water, not a filter
Is that water filtered by any mechanism?

Like cccapt said, you really need an RO/DI filter and better water circulation. Cyano needs two things to really thrive: Nutrients and poor water circulation. Take both away and your "rusty" sand should go away.
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Old 04-17-2004, 07:00 PM   #6
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They're diatoms. Everyone gets them in a new tank. Everytime you put something new in your tank it will get covered in them. Completely normal. Fighting Conch's eat it. You may want to try and get some macroalgae growing to compete for nutrients. Works for me. I get coraline algae growing on individual particles of sand but for the most part it is pretty white.
Hermits may eat it too. Macro probably works the best to get at the root of the problem - excess nutrients. How much LR do you have? Nitrate?
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Old 04-20-2004, 09:51 PM   #7
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same problem

Did you fix your problem? I have the same problem with my tank, it looks horrible with the brown sand. Did anyone help your problem?

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Old 04-20-2004, 10:31 PM   #8
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Get some more cleaners and stirr up the top layer of sand by vacuuming. This is probably a diatom bloom, I had several in my first 3 months, it will pass. Now im getting the harder green algae all over.
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