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Old 03-22-2011, 11:43 PM   #1
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One week w/o fish and still...

...my sand is red.
I have a 180gal with a 40gal sump. Super Skimmer rated for up to 200gal, 2 Fluval 405s with no sponge, just carbon and a basketball size ball of chaeto. I forget the brand of return pump, but it is supposed to be rated at 1800gal per hour. My phosphates and ammonia read zero and nitrates are between 10 and 20ppm. I have had the tank for over three years and the sand has been turning red since about four months in. I was doing a 30gal water change every week, and changed the carbon once a month like clockwork. I have no idea anymore how much (in lbs) live rock I have but it covers most of the back of the tank. I have removed all of the fish and all that remains are a few turbos and a long spined urchin.
Did i forget anything?
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
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You need some powerheads to circulate the water more to avoid dead spots,whats your lighting schedule,how old are the bulbs.You should turn your lights off for at least a week ,that should get rid of it,but Your trates should be 0 if you have no fish in there,has anything died,sand or CC,RO/DI?
When was the last time you trimmed the chaeto?
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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I have enough current to blow the sand around. That didn't help. When I got rid of the fish, I turned off the lights. As soon as I turned them on, it started to show up again. The bulbs are less than 3 months old.
I have tested my source water several times and it always comes up 0ppm across the board.
I haven't trimmed the chaeto. What does that do?
I know my nitrates should be zero with no fish. That's why I am asking for other ideas. I am giving the tank until Monday, if it isn't better by then, we are going to take it down and sell it off. I have been doing an aquarium in some form for almost 10 years and have never had this problem until we set up this tank. It's very frustrating.
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Old 03-24-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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if you dont trim the chaeto it will leach the trates back into the tank,trim it or squeeze it like a sponge elsewhere then put it back.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:13 PM   #5
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Well, I tried to squeeze it out, but it didn't feel like I got anything out of it. What do you mean by trimming? Like my hedges? Do I put the trimmings back in the sump? How much should I have for my tank?
My nitrates have dropped to between 5 and 10ppm since I posted this, but I am concerned that once I start adding fish again that it will go back up.
Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:38 PM   #6
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trimming,pull off about 25% and give it to someone else or trade it with your lfs,is your skimmer actually working,whats it pulling out,are you running it wet or dry?Also whats your phosphates level?
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:03 PM   #7
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I will try trimming it tomorrow.
Skimmer has slowed down in the last few days, not getting much out of it now. The super Skimmer runs pretty wet. It's very finicky, but for $100 it's a lot easier to deal with than parting with over $400 for a new one.
Phosphates have been zero for at least a year now.
Again, thanks for the help. I think I am going to get a few damsels tomorrow and see what happens.
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:56 AM   #8
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good luck,remember damsels are hard to get out and are aggressive fish.Why not a couple of clowns.Leave the lights out for a week to help with the cyano
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:03 AM   #9
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I got a few green chromis. When the lights came on today for the first time in over a week, the sand started to go red almost immediately. I haven't checked the nitrates, but at this point, I don't think it matters.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:49 PM   #10
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The only thing I can suggest is to keep the lights off for longer to try to kill it off,cyano is a bacteria rather than an algae so maybe theres something you can add to the tank?.When I had an outbreak i just syphoned it all out,did a pwc and kept the lights off for a week,and its never come back!!
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