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Algae and cycling


tlong3234

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Hi! This is my first post here, but I have been lurking and learning. Thanks.

We set up a 29g about 2 weeks ago. It has 26lbs of live base rock, 2 bags of aragonite substrate, a skilter 250, heater, and a cap 400 powerhead.

Please try not to get mad at us...we thought the only way to cycle the tank was to add some damsels. The lfs told us it didn't start to cycle until we added them. We have since read otherwise. As it stands, however, we have 2 blue damsels, a humbug, and a domino damsel.

We have kept the temp at 74 F and the SG at 1.021. We have consistently shown no nitrites or ammonia, but the nitrates have crept to between 0 and 20 on the test strip.

My two questions are:

1) How will we know when the tank has cycled?

2) How do we get rid of the orand=ge algae that is covering the live rock and aragonite and get the purple kind?

 

We just have a regular fluorescent light (though I have bought a 50/50 bulb). It stays on from 8:30am-1pm and 4pm-9pm. I have been adding 1/4 tsp of coral vital daily and 5 tsp of stress zyme twice a week.

 

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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Originally posted by tlong3234

1) How will we know when the tank has cycled?  

 

We have consistently shown no nitrites or ammonia, but the nitrates have crept to between 0 and 20 on the test strip.  

 

 

 

 

2)  How do we get rid of the orand=ge algae that is covering the live rock and aragonite and get the purple kind?

We just have a regular fluorescent light (though I have bought a 50/50 bulb).  It stays on from 8:30am-1pm and 4pm-9pm.  I have been adding 1/4 tsp of coral vital daily and 5 tsp of stress zyme twice a week.

 

 

 

 

Thanks in advance for your advice!

 

You answered your first question yourself ;)

Your readings of ammonia and nitrite have fallen off, your LR is now doing it's job. The nitrates are a little tougher. WC's are the best way to combat those. Also try not to over feed.

 

You gave me part of the reason for your second answer.

Change that NO flourescent to a PC or VHO bulb. This will encourage coralline to grow. Also dosing with a 2 part calcium and alkalinity buffer will assist in the growth of coralline. Dump the stress zyme... and the coral vital. they may be adding nutrients assisting you "orange" algae issue. Is it soft? can you siphon it out when you WC?

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And raise the temp and specific gravity while you're at it....try 80 degrees and 1.025 or 1.026.

 

 

Cheers,

Fred

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Thanks for the help. What is a pc light? Will the 50/50 light I bought work? We only have one place for a bulb. How many hours per day should the light be on?

Should the water temp really be that high? Should I do it gradually? Also, I read somewhere that since fish are cold blooded if you keep the temp low their metabolism is lower which helps slow down problems when they occur. Do you agree with this? Why or why not? I'm not questioning you, I'm just trying to understand everything.

I'll see if I can get some of those buffers tomorrow. I have something called pH 8.3 or something like that. Is that the pH buffer you are talking about?

As far as raising the SG, how should I go about doing that. They told us at the lfs not to do water changes until the tank is cycled, but we need to add about 2-3g to make up for evaporation. Do you have any suggestions for the specific gravity of that batch to help increase it overall? Also, what do you think about the water changes during cycling?

Finally, I'm not convinced we have the best live rock. The only thing we have found on it so far is a little purple bristle worm, but I'm not even sure it is alive. If we add some more, does that start the cycling process over again? Also, I'm not really sure I understand what the nitrate level should be.

Thanks for all the help. I've done a lot of reading, but it only seems to raise more questions. We really want to do this right. I'd eventually like to have 3-4 fish and some corals. Don't worry...I know we have a long way to go before we get to that!

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www.nano-reef.com/info

 

I keep my temps at 78 if I can, they allow for a greater margin of error, like you said about the fish, same goes for the corals. These temps tend to be difficult with most reef lighting without use of a chiller.

PC = Power Compact. it is a good lighting system for many of the poplular corals well suited to new aquarists. www.hellolights.com or www.marinedepot.com can help with lights.

 

You can slowly raise the salinity over time, or using water at 1.025 - 1.026 for your water changes. I always change water during the cycle. It assists those bristleworms and other animals and bacteria into a better environment. Some say that allowing the water to get stagnant and build up bacteria levels to handle that amount of pollution, will only create more dieoff of the bacteria due to the lack of nutrients.

Reef nitrate levels are undetectable, but in our nano aquaria, that is hard to maintain. Shoot for 5 - 10 PPM nitrate, 20 is acceptable, but try to find the source of the excess, be it overfeeding, or lack of water changes.

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