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Old 03-11-2005, 05:31 PM   #1
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Maybe our filter broke?

We had a brown algae problem a while back, but thought we had handled it. We bought tests for phosphates and silicates and found out the store bought salt water we were buying from the LFS was full of both. After many, many water changes, and a few phosphate pads in the filter, we finally got both levels back to undetectable. We also siphoned out a good part of our dirty sand, purchased a goby to keep the sand clean. The tank was looking good finally. And then it came back.. with a vengeance!! Sand is all brown, glass is all brown… .not hairy, just looks like brown dirt - diatoms. Today water is green as can be. All the livestock is living right through this undisturbed, but what the heck can it be? Checked Phosphates and Silicates and both are undetectable. All other test are good with Nitrates and Nitrites at zero, temp 78, salinity 1.024. Is it possible our filter is not functioning?

We do weekly 10% water changes with Wal-Mart Distilled and Instant Ocean. We mix for 24 hours with a PH and a heater in that mix. We feed fish once a day, sparingly. We run lights for approx 10-12 hours, with moonlights the rest of the time. The only thing different we have done lately is feed the 2 chocolate chip stars a small, very small piece of table shrimp when the come to the edge of the water.. not too often. Could this have done anything? If so, I would have thought we'd see an ammonia/nitrite spike, which has not happened.

We’re desperate.. what to do?

TIA
DJ
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54G AGA Corner Tank
Eheim 2215 Canister Filter (w/ live rock rubble in it)
3 Maxijet 1200 Power Heads
Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer
Acqua C Remora Pre-Skimmer
75 pounds Live Rock
30" 2x65w Coralife Lunar Aqualights
Diatom Filter
Turbo Twist UV

2 Percula Clowns, Diamond Golby, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, PPmint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs and a huge cleaning crew (snails and crabs)
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Old 03-11-2005, 08:48 PM   #2
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Sounds like you have all the bases covered, answered all my questions and all looks good???????
How old are the test kits for Nitrate..... Can you have a friend or LFS test them? Have you tested your top off water from walmart?
I don't see any corals can you cut back on the lighting for a week or 2 and see if that helps.
Green water is not good, sounds like a algae bloom of some kind. Any caluerpa/micro algae in the tank?

I would have someone test the water and make sure you kits are good.... No3
Any chance of running another filter with floss and carbon to help clear the tank up?
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:47 PM   #3
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It doesn't seem possible that your nitrates could be 0. I agree with seaham358 that you should have them retested at the LFS. There has to be a nutrient base which is fueling your algae bloom (green water). Cutting back on lighting and feeding could help, but another large potential problem is your filter. It may be possible that your filter is working TOO well, that is, it is a major nitrate source. What do you have in it? If it's bioballs, you may have found a problem. Replacing bioballs with LR rubble can help. Also, you could use more LR. General rule is 1-1/2 to 2 lb per gallon. (Easy for me to say, I don't have to spend the money! 8O )

Oh, and the water....

On a more political note, perhaps: yet another reason not to shop at Walmart!!
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 03-12-2005, 12:13 PM   #4
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Our filter is a canister layered with gravel and sponges, which came with it when we bought it. On the return bar that hangs in the tank, you can hardly feel any water pressure coming back into the tank.

Our test kits are all pretty new. The tank has only been up since December. I will try to get the water sample to the LFS today to double check our results.

We have tested the walmart distilled before using it for top off and also after making our salt water with it and all was fine.

I don't know what caluerpa/micro algae is but I will look it up on the internet and see if it looks like what we have.

TIA
DJ
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54G AGA Corner Tank
Eheim 2215 Canister Filter (w/ live rock rubble in it)
3 Maxijet 1200 Power Heads
Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer
Acqua C Remora Pre-Skimmer
75 pounds Live Rock
30" 2x65w Coralife Lunar Aqualights
Diatom Filter
Turbo Twist UV

2 Percula Clowns, Diamond Golby, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, PPmint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs and a huge cleaning crew (snails and crabs)
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Old 03-14-2005, 10:39 AM   #5
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I had our water re-tested at LFS and all our results are the same. The LFS thinks we need to cut back our lighting to 6 hours a day for a week or two and see if that helps. I sure hope so, because we don't know what else to try. The tank is not in sun light.

On a side note, I did attach the Acqua C Remora Pre-Skimmer about 2 weeks ago. I've been reading on this board that some people think it hampers the Protein Skimmer's ability to perform at capacity. Could that be what's wrong with my tank?

TIA
DJ
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54G AGA Corner Tank
Eheim 2215 Canister Filter (w/ live rock rubble in it)
3 Maxijet 1200 Power Heads
Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer
Acqua C Remora Pre-Skimmer
75 pounds Live Rock
30" 2x65w Coralife Lunar Aqualights
Diatom Filter
Turbo Twist UV

2 Percula Clowns, Diamond Golby, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, PPmint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs and a huge cleaning crew (snails and crabs)
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Old 03-15-2005, 12:47 PM   #6
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Have been running lights on for only 6 hrs a day since Saturday and nothing looks any better! The water if foggy and green. Has anyone ever seen this before? We are at our wits end. My DH thinks it is because we removed a Phosphate sponge we had running in the filter (we actually ran a few back to back till we got the phosphates out). But now our phosphate level is undetectable.. so I don't think that should be the issue. HELP!

TIA
DJ
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54G AGA Corner Tank
Eheim 2215 Canister Filter (w/ live rock rubble in it)
3 Maxijet 1200 Power Heads
Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer
Acqua C Remora Pre-Skimmer
75 pounds Live Rock
30" 2x65w Coralife Lunar Aqualights
Diatom Filter
Turbo Twist UV

2 Percula Clowns, Diamond Golby, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, PPmint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs and a huge cleaning crew (snails and crabs)
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:47 PM   #7
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Just because your PO4 isn't detectable doesn't mean that you have none. The algae could be consuming it as fast as it is available. What and how often are you feeding the tank? Could it be phytoplankton (are you adding any of this into your tank)?

I ran a pond for a number of years and we kept the water clear with a UV filter. Worked wonders for the pond.

Just a couple of random thought that I had bouncing around my head. Hopefully something will click and you'll get to the bottom of the green tank!
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Old 03-15-2005, 02:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Our filter is a canister layered with gravel and sponges, which came with it when we bought it. On the return bar that hangs in the tank, you can hardly feel any water pressure coming back into the tank.
Anyway to substitute LR rubble for the gravel? Many many people have posted about the merits of doing that on this board and others.
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:25 PM   #9
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We are not adding phytoplankton (whatever that is )

We are thinking of placing an order on liverocks.com when our tax check comes in. Do you think he will include live rock rubble if we ask? If so, what do we take out of the canister filter to replace with the live rock rubble?

We feed the fish once daily and very sparingly. We feed them mysis one day and brine the next. We also feed the chocolate chip star fish little bits on raw cocktail shrimp. We put it right on them when they hang over the edge of the water and they always move it to their "mouth" and eat it. This is probably about 2x a week.

I purchased the Seachem test kit and it just came today. Prior to that I was using test strips which I heard were unreliable. Here are the results with the new test kit:

Free Ammonia - 0
Total ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - .1
Ph - 8.1
Alkalinity - 1.5

I am confused by the Alkalinity. Is that result OK? What does it do anyway?

TIA
DJ
__________________
54G AGA Corner Tank
Eheim 2215 Canister Filter (w/ live rock rubble in it)
3 Maxijet 1200 Power Heads
Aqua C Remora Protein Skimmer
Acqua C Remora Pre-Skimmer
75 pounds Live Rock
30" 2x65w Coralife Lunar Aqualights
Diatom Filter
Turbo Twist UV

2 Percula Clowns, Diamond Golby, Flame Angel, Royal Gramma, Lawnmower Blenny, PPmint shrimp, 3 emerald crabs and a huge cleaning crew (snails and crabs)
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Old 03-15-2005, 10:20 PM   #10
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The folks at LR.com are very accomodating. Don't place the order online, call them and talk to them and explain what you want to do, and they'll be very helpful.

LR rubble is going to replace the gravel/chips, or whatever you are using now in your filter. The problem with biomedia in filters is that they end up producing nitrates, which are unpleasant for inverts. The nature of LR allows it to harbor bacteria which are able to convert nitrate to nitrogen gas, which is harmless.

Also, an alkalinity of 1.5 meq/l is low. It should be 3.5 (some say 3) to perhaps 4. (Others may quibble about the range).

(Very) simply put, alkalinity is a measure of how well your system is able to maintain a stable pH .. which is very important for the health and stability of your system.
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30 gal standard 55 lbs LR, 60 lb live sand, 10 gal sump/refugium. Urchin skimmer, mag7 pump, 3 x 96W PC combination 10,000K/actinic bulb, 2 blue LED moonlights
SG 1.024, temp 79.5, pH 8.4

Livestock I added:

1 skunk cleaner. 12 hermits: red, scarlet, blue. 15 or so assorted snails. Discosomas, Ricordia, Rhodactis mushroom corals, chaetomorpha (sump), 1 feather duster, Montipora digitata, Montipora capricornis, Montipora hispids. assorted zoos, Xenia, Kenya tree coral, green Sinularia, green star polyps, branching hammer coral, bubble coral, Devil's hand leather. Yellow chromis, purple firefish.

Hitchhikers: the usual suspects :crabs, bristles, urchin, mantis shrimp (now in exile in mantis tank)

List of possible/likely newcomers:

Feather duster. PJ cardinal, Bangghai cardinal, Firefish goby, Clownfish, Neon goby, Yellow watchman goby, Orchid dottyback. Various corals.
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