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Old 02-15-2005, 03:37 PM   #1
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Wretched diatoms...or cyano? Advice appreciated.

OK, so my tank has been up for a long time. About 1 year. I absolutely cannot get this crap to go away. At night, it disappears...leaves the substrate, and the glass, and the rock. As soon as those halides come on, wham, it's everywhere again.

It's a reddish-brown, slimey, and the "hair" kinda waves in the current. It's just not leaving. I don't have a fuge yet, as I just got some lights to go over the sump/to-be-fuge. So I've no means of real nutrient export. I have a couple of ideas/questions.

1. I use RO/DI water. It's been about a year, so I'm going to replace the cartidges...but this problem has been ongoing. Is it maybe the sand? Or the tufa rock? The read LR.com LR has minute amounts on it, or none at all. I'm not sure if it's attracted to the porosity of the tufa or what, but it covers it. Think either of these could be sources of nutrients?

2. What macro-algae do you recommend for a fuge? I heard of one (looks very wirey, grows in clumps) that you can let grow and not worry about it going sexual, you just trim it back as it outgrows its space. The guy loved it, but does anyone know what it is?

3. My skimmer doesn't pull hardly any gunk out of that tank. It's a 125G w/ a 55G sump. The skimmer does hardly anything. I'm going to rip it apart today for it's scheduled cleaning, and I think I'm going to toy around with the inlet to see if I can't increase water flow. It has a mag 9 on it, and it's a Berlin Classic XL.

Ok, I'm really at a loss here. It looks terrible, and while it isn't bothering any of the inhabitants yet, it's just gross looking and signs of something wrong with water quality.

pH- 8.2
ammonia-0
nitrite-0
nitrate- 5ppm (a week or so ago...need to retest...will update)
PO4- ?? will check and update
Alk- 12dKH
Ca- 400ppm
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Old 02-15-2005, 03:44 PM   #2
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While I am not personally familiar with the Berlin Classic XL skimmer, they are not known for working very well. With a tank of that size and your bio load, you should be able to generate a lof of skimmate on a daily basis. The fact that you have 180g of total capacity and your skimmer is barely working is a good indication that something is not working right imo.
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Old 02-15-2005, 05:44 PM   #3
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I think something, somehow, got into its "venturi" airline. I cleaned out the tubing and re-adjusted the screw and it's pulling foam like crazy. Maybe that was it. Here are the updated test results:

(Salifert) Nitrate- 2-5ppm
(Red Sea [I know, it sucks]) Phosphate: 1-2ppm

I know that phosphate is a bit high. I'm going to test my RO/DI water to make sure it isn't coming out that way. And it's time to recharge my purigen bags...but still, maybe lack of skimming and those PO4 levels?
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:17 PM   #4
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It sounds like cyano to me. Since you now you have the phosphates I guess you know they are the cause. It can be a problem with overfeeding or other source of theses excess nutrients. I wouldnt blame the LR. It will help now that the skimmer got up and running properly. It will remove alot of the problem. I plan on getting chaeto for my fuge. It is commonly called brillo algea because of its clumpy/wire look. Now that you are changing the filters and have the skimmer working good you might see it go away
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Old 02-15-2005, 06:33 PM   #5
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I had a sponge on my return pump I never changed or cleaned. I actualy forgott about it. well i removed it and it is better now, but still not perfect.
Thing hard, maybe you missed something too.
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Old 02-15-2005, 11:14 PM   #6
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The macroalgae you are referring to is chaetomorpha. Although you do not have to worry about it going sexual, it is not as good at caulerpa for nutrient export.

Although Red Sea Berlin skimmers are not the "best," they are still decent skimmers and should always be producing some sort of foam. I properly. You may also want to increase the amount of water flow in your tank. It seems like cyano likes to grow in "dead spots" where there is little water flow. If phosphates continue to remain high, doing frequent small water changes with RO/DI water should help. You may also want to consider adding a phosphate absorbing product such as RowaPhos. I have had great luck with this product. Good luck.
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:58 PM   #7
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Thanks all for the quick replies!

The skimmer pulled out 1/2 a liter of gunk in the span of a few hours. So it's operating as it should now.
I scrubbed everything off, and syphoned out a whole lot of it. I re-adjusted my powerheads to increase flow. I removed the spray bar from the return (far more trouble than it was worth) so it's flowing well now. The surface has more agitation, and I can see the currents in the tank. I'm much happier with flow now.

The bin is filling for a water change and I replaced my PhosBan. I also have 3 purigen pouches to help with nitrate reduction (I don't remember if it removes phosphates or not) but they needed to be recharged too, and they're doing so as I post.

As for the chaeto, I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of export power because 1) It's better than what I have now...which is nothing...and 2) I do pretty well at keeping up with my tank, but one more thing to have to remember and worry about...I'd probably screw it up. So thanks for the info on the chaeto!!
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