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Old 06-19-2006, 12:24 PM   #1
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uh oh... what happened?

hey guys, i have a quick question for you pros

i set up my 10 gal nano-reef on 6/7/06 with 8 lbs of LR and 40 lbs of live aragonite sand. it skipped the cycle and began to get a diatom bloom on the sand and on the rocks.

i added 3 margarita snails and 2 scarlet hermits on 6/12/06, they went to town on the diatoms and all seemed well.

here is where things went fishy... i left for a small trip on 6/16/06 and the tank looked great, clear and happy. I came back on 6/18/06 and my tank is super cloudy looking, all the diatom on the sand-bed and rocks turned into a gray matter and there are about a million tiny white "bug" looking creatures in my tank. One of my scarlet hermits molted, and i thought he was dead... but he tricked me. my snails are all still very active. my levels all checked out perfect too.

ammonia - 0 ppm
nitrite - 0 ppm
nitrate - <5 ppm

so my question is why did my tank become cloudy, where did all those dang bugs come from, why did my diatoms turn gray and disappear, and finally do i need to supplement my crabs/snails a food source since all the diatoms are gone?


thanks so much guys. i really appreciate the help you have given me.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:01 PM   #2
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What kind of filter are you using, is there carbon in it?

The "bugs" are probably pods, they are good, they probably came in on the LR or LS.

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One of my scarlet hermits molted, and i thought he was dead... but he tricked me.
Mine too. It looked like he died and fell out of the shell. A day or two later I noticed him moving around again.

What type of lighting/how long do you run them?
I'm not too sure about the stuff turning grey, maybe some one with more experience might be able to help. Are you sure it is not just stirred up sand?
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
What kind of filter are you using, is there carbon in it?
yes, it's a whisper HOB with activated carbon in the filter

Quote:
The "bugs" are probably pods, they are good, they probably came in on the LR or LS.
that's what i assumed. i was just wondering

Quote:
What type of lighting/how long do you run them?
50/50 coralife compact flourescent 4wpg, they run apprx 12 hours a day.

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I'm not too sure about the stuff turning grey, maybe some one with more experience might be able to help. Are you sure it is not just stirred up sand?
it's definitely the old diatoms turned gray, its exactly where my patches of diatoms were. it's not stirred up sand, my sand is white.

thanks for the help... still don't know when the water is so cloudy.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:10 PM   #4
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Are your lights on a timer or did they run 24/7 while you were gone? The bugs are probably pods as roka64 said.

The lr and pods will provide enough food at this point for your small clean up crew. Were you planning on adding any more lr? I’d get another 8-10 lbs as long as it fits. When are you planning to add a fish?
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:15 PM   #5
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i was seriously considering adding more live rock... i could probably fit another 8-10 lbs in.

thanks for the info on the pods, i appreciate that.

i told my little sister to turn the lights off at night, she may have left them on... i'm not sure. if they were left on 24/7 while i was gone, could that be the source of the cloudy water?
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:51 PM   #6
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if they were left on 24/7 while i was gone, could that be the source of the cloudy water?
Absolutely, light feeds bacterial/algae blooms which cloud the water considerably even without much of a food source.

It shouldn’t cause any damage since your inverts can still sleep in full light. Fish would have been stressed though. Using a timer or going lights out if gone for the weekend is safer then your sister's memory

If you haven’t replaced your carbon in your HOB for more then 3 weeks I would to help clear it up. If you add another 8-10 lbs of lr it would provide enough surface area for bacteria to cultivate so you could do away with your HOB except for when you want to run media.

HOB filters if not cleaned regularly collect waste and build up your no3 levels very easily are best kept empty if you have enough lr to support your system. Generally 1.5+ lbs of lr per gal is enough.

Is the filter your only source of water movement or do you have a couple of powerheads in there as well?

Also diatoms usually only form in newish tanks due to the higher concentration of nutrients during your cycle (even if you never experienced it) and can change to just about any color while absorbing the excess nutrients. Your two hermits should eliminate most of it while the snails keep your algae down. Personally I’d add 2-4 more hermits but try to keep them around the same size or else larger new ones could prey on smaller ones. Also see if your lfs will give you any extra small hermit shells (varying sizes) so they have something to go into when they molt and grow.
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:24 PM   #7
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thanks for the info tecwzrd! i bought a timer and have the lights on for 12 hrs a day. i hope this will cut down on the cloudiness. speaking of the cloudiness, it has changed from a white opaque look to a more green haziness. will this go away by itself or will it require some drastic changes?

all i currently have for water movement is the HOB, should i invest in a few powerheads? i currently have 8 lbs of LR, so i'm going to add 7 more lbs when the water clears up. would it be best to add the LR and use powerheads and a media-less (unless i need some media) HOB?
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Old 06-21-2006, 10:01 AM   #8
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The green cloudiness is an algae bloom which is fairly common in newer tanks. I’d go lights out for the next 3 days or at least reduce to 4-6 hours a day using your timer and run fresh carbon to clear it up. You could use a couple of power heads to increase current to 15+ times turn over on your tank (total of 150-250 gph including your hob).

You want a brisk all over current in the tank with little dead spots anywhere for good oxygenation of the tank. Aiming two power heads on opposite sides of the tank directly at each other or at one point in the front or back of the glass in the middle helps to create good convulsing currents.

Since it’s a smaller tank you may want to consider doing a simple closed loop system using a pump outside of the tank with one intake and two outputs on each end of the tank so you don’t have to clutter up the inside with powerheads. You can use PVC or Loc-Line with a simple Intake Tube W/Strainer

melevsreef.com has a good example but you can do it without the SCWD.

I’d still keep the HOB for when you do want to run media and for added circulation.

The extra live rock in the tank acts similar to your hob as far as a filtering goes because it provides the necessary surface area for bacteria to cultivate and the power heads, HOB, and/or closed loop system provide the current over that bacteria so it can do its job.

The advantage of using live rock to act as your filter versus your HOB or a wet/dry system is that it’s all in your tank and any waste that settles on the live rock or sand can be eaten quickly by your clean up crew whereas waste just gets trapped in a canister, HOB, or wet/dry system and decomposes to no3 and needs to be cleaned weekly.
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