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Old 07-21-2011, 01:35 AM   #1
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that darn pesky cyano!

Hey guys, I've tried a lot of stuff to keep my cyano at bay. I'll tell you what I'm currently doing and maybe you can suggest a few things to help me further.

Firstly, I do 25-30% PWC's religiously every week. I never skip one! Have been on this schedule for about 5 months now. Before my PWC's I wipe down the glass on the inside with an algae scrubber and blast my rocks with a powerhead (i do this a few times a week to get the cyano off!). I let a lot go through the overflow box and into my filter sock. Then I shut everything down. Drain some water, clean the filter sock, and refill.

I shortened my lighting cycle. But, it's still 12 hours (i know, but hear me). The actinics are on from 9am-9pm. Whites are on 11am-7pm. So that's 8 hours of the bright light. Moonlight leds (8x1watt blue leds) are on 9pm-9am.

In the nighttime while the moonlights are on, the fuge in my sump has the 6500k 10 watt light on from 9pm till 9am. This fuge houses some macro algae I'm growing (I think it's chaeto but I am not sure, it looks like a big ball of grass).

I got a skimmer. It's not the best one, but it is skimming and pulling some DARK junk out of the water. I have a sand bed in the fuge (not deep, really, about 2-3").

I use a filter sock. I understand this could be harboring some nitrates that feed cyano, but, without it I won't have any mechanical filtration.

I got rid of the decor in the tank, so now it's only rocks.

I just threw a mesh bag of carbon in the sump today to maybe pull out something that's in the tank that I'm not aware of.

I have high flow! No dead spots that I'm aware of (since the cyano seems to be everywhere, and the stringy stuff seems to flow in every which direction). I have a koralia 750 and a koralia 240 and 300gph flow from my sump return lines. So that's 1290gph in a 55g.

I've cut my feeding down to once per day, and I make sure the fishies eat it all.

Anyways, I did some research, and I know that cyano feeds off of nitrates and phosphates.

So, what in the good name can I further do to keep my nitrates low (they're at 10 right now, 0 would be good!)? I don't have anything to measure phosphates.

A few things I feel may be contributing, but am not sure of:

The tank receives what I perceive to be a negligible amount of sunlight. It's not direct, but there is a window 10 feet from it. While the sunlight could possibly get to the tank though the bright white lights are on. And this is probably only an hour or two a day when the sun is setting in the evening.

I buy Instant Ocean Reef Crystals salt mix. Are there extra nutrients in there that could cause the cyano to keep coming back since I'm running a FOWLR at the moment.

I never bought live rock. I bought all dry rock and it became live during the process of my cycling. This is no different, right? Is there something magical about buying live rock rather than making live base rock?

Clean up crew. Right now I only have 5 astrea snails and a large hermit crab. Should I buy more? I don't really know what to get, maybe some sand sifters?



I know I've given a lot of information and asked a ton of questions. Addressing any of it or adding any of your own input would really be appreciated.

p.l.e.a.s.e.h.e.l.p
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:45 AM   #2
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I may have missed it, but do you use RO/DI water for water changes and top offs?

How often do you clean the filter sock and how do you clean it?

Reef Crystals contains vitamins (no one knows what they are or what good they do) and some people have reported getting cyano blooms from Reef Crystals.

Live rock has a diverse population of microscopic critters that won't just appear without actually being introduced into the tank. Dry rock has nothing, but I doubt that has anything to do with your cyano issue.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
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I'd try a different salt to start use it for a month and see how things are going Do you keep a journal? it really helps Im leaning towards your water same question as above What kind of water are you using Tap, RODI, Well? Cut back the light cycle to 6 hrs a day R-C has a lot of stuff added to it I use it on my reef tanks only CUC i'd add some (5) Nass snails and a few red and blue legged hermits
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:29 PM   #4
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Ah, yes. I tried to mention everything but I forgot that part. Yes, I have an RO/DI unit under the sink. I use RO/DI water for everything including the auto-topoff.

I recently bought a TDS meter and it's reading 0ppm so it's clean water.

I recently bought a pH meter too and my pH fluctuation has ranged from 7.9 to 8.2 during the days (if that would matter towards my cyano issue, but I know you've helped me with that ccCapt).

I clean the filter sock once per week. I rinse it in tank water, rub it off with my fingers, wring it out, turn it inside out and do the same.

I have been using reef crystals because eventually I want to run a reef tank. What is a good salt to use and should I switch back to reef crystals when I start getting corals?

The 6 hour light cycle - is that all lights or just the whites?

Also a few other things that might be causing it.. when I blast the cyano off of the rocks and glass, inevetibly some goes down to the sand and I can't get it off. Should I turkey baster that out because it's rotting and dying and causing nitrates? (I have yet to get a turkey baster).

Also, when I do the PWC's I do stir up the sand quite a bit trying to get stuff out of it... mostly dead cyano mats. Should I avoid stirring up the sand?
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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It is possible to buy a GFO reactor or phosban reactor, although that will probably not solve the overall issue. I don't completely agree on cutting the light cycle in half, but definately reducing it would help. I heard that stirring up the sand is not good for the settled life that lives there, but then again, I don't really know.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:44 PM   #6
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Try washing the filter sock out in the sink with cold tap water. Don't just rinse it, wash/scrub it heavily (just no detergent). Do it every 3-4 days.

Try another salt that you get easily get. Regular Instant Ocean is perfectly fine. I've been using regular Red Sea salt for well over 15 yrs and when I go to get it, if they have none in stock I get Instant Ocean. It's my 2nd choice for salt.

6 hrs of light is plenty. It won't hurt to cut it back, but I doubt thats a cause of your cyano.

DO NOT sir up the sand bed. Suck the cyano out. You can just suck out with an airline into a gal milk jug and replace it with new saltwater. It would be like doing a mini water change. Blowing it off the rocks just spreads it around. Try to remove it instead.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:15 PM   #7
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OK, thanks, I will try that. I'm going to remove all of the cyano in the sand with a turkey baster, or try the airline and milk jug.

Then, I'll do the filter sock rinsing as you described (will this hurt my beneficial bacteria?).

I'll change salts when I run out of this bucket. Stuff is too expensive to be wasting
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:41 PM   #8
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if you can, try rinsing the filter sock in RO/DI water or distilled, just not tap as that can cause higher phosphates and possibly a little algae bloom in the long run.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:46 PM   #9
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What are your nitrate and phosphate levels?
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Old 07-22-2011, 02:10 AM   #10
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I don't have a phosphate test kit as of yet. My nitrate is at 10ppm. I'll try to do a 50% pwc on sunday. Should bring that down to 5. Then I might do another one a day or two after.
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