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Old 03-27-2005, 04:10 PM   #1
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Somebody Help Me Please

OK, I have had a small saltwater tank (First it was a 3, then a 6, then I changed it to a 10 gallon, its been a 10 for about a year) for a few years and it has been great, always healthy, always clean, water always perfect. For the last few months evertything (glass, liverock, polyps, everything!) has been getting covered with some brownish colored stuff that easily comes off when I brush it off or blow it off with a turkey baster thing and some grassy looking algae. I clean it all change a large portion of the water, but within 2-3 days it is back. The only thing that has changed is that I had a lot of bristle worms in the tank, then I bought a hawkfish which I think may have eaten most of them. What can I do to to rid the tank of this stuff? Do I have to do a complete breakdown and clean everything, change the substrate? Can I rinse the liverock in freshwater for a few seconds? I'm confused and I've even thought about getting rid of the thing since I can't seem to get it under control.
Any help would be welcomed.

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Old 03-27-2005, 04:37 PM   #2
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Have you checked your phospates or nitrates?

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Old 03-27-2005, 07:17 PM   #3
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Sounds like it could be synobacteria. As mentioned, check for PO4 as it is most llikely the cause. Water changes with a high quality RO/DI water will certainly help.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:09 PM   #4
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What type of water? Check your filters if they have not been changed lately
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:15 PM   #5
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what type of salt are you using? People have reported while using Oceanic salt they got this brown algae growth.
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:18 PM   #6
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Give us some more details on the texture (slimey or dust like) of the brown algae. It might be diaitoms or cyanobacteria. I would check my water peramiters as others has suggested. I might evey take it to the lfs to have them check it as well, depending on how close they are to your home. If you have the water out of the tank too long it will change the readings.

The grassy looking algae might be hair algae. Does it seem to look like hair too? That would indicate that your have high nitrates and you need to do some water changes. This could also be why you have the other type of algae.

I agree with RMPD on your filters as well.

I hope this helps!
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Old 03-27-2005, 10:18 PM   #7
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Brown dusty stuff sounds like diatoms. Reddish or brown sheety stuff cyano. Either case points to excess nutrients in your tank. Have you increased feedings or changed foods? Have you checked the TDS on your RO water recently? Have you replaced your bulbs (and when last)? What kind of salt are you using now and have you changed it "recently"? These are just some thoughts that come to mind. Nothing like a great looking tank going icky... Good luck finding the source.

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Old 04-03-2005, 03:07 PM   #8
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OK sorry it took a while to get back to you all with more info.
I use:
Tetra Marine Color Marine Flakes and Brine (frozen) once in a while
Instant Ocean salt
I just recently(after the post)
Cleaned the substrate, live rock, whole tank really.
Replaced about 50% of the water with some "Real Ocean Water from the Pacific Ocean"(bought it at the Pet store)
I am also feeding less to see if that is the cause.
less than a week later the Brownish stuff is coming back, it is dusty not slimy. it starts on the glass and sand, but quickly spreads all over.
OK, I guess I'm not a good tank keeper because I have always used filtered water from the tap and treat it with Kent ammonia detox or similar products for the tank. This has been the norm for 3 or more years without this problem, why would it happen after all this time?
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Old 04-03-2005, 03:43 PM   #9
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Dusty - not slimy is probably diatoms. If you have been thoroughly cleaning a small tank you might be resetting it each time and forcing it through another mini-cycle during which diatom blooms are quite common.

As hard as it is, I would stop the large changes, let the tank finish cycling, continue using Instant Ocean Salt with distilled water during small changes. I know - the brown stuff is ugly, but as long as it is not the slimey Cyano, it's a good thing. Mexican turbo snails will eat the diatoms. I would use distilled water rather than tap. As springtime is here, your local water supply may also change a bit. You have your mountain runoff as well as your agricultural runoff. The Agricultural runoff can be placing phosphates from fertilizer into the water supply and your mountain runoff can be placing extra nutrients into the water. I don't remember if Santa Fe's water supply is river water or not ( I used to live in Socorro and it was for us !) but if it is, that could be the source of some of your problems.

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Old 04-03-2005, 04:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dt509
This has been the norm for 3 or more years without this problem, why would it happen after all this time?
You say you keep going with larger and then larger tanks for 3 years. If you have been upgrading/changing the lighting each time, then you have avoided the old bulb syndrome which helps to fuel algae outbreaks. Depending on usage, your bulbs will/start lose their color spectrum after 7 - 9 months. This, in combination with your tap water usage, and maybe overfeeding have all finally snowballed into this drastic event.


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