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Is my nano beyond repair?


darwin604

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Well, after about a year and a half of having my little 10 gal nano looking great and thriving without a hitch, it quickly has turned into a nightmare. It has been overgrown with hair algae. I have done everything in the book. RO/DI water, phosban, w/c's out the ying yang, reduced light periods, even a lawnmower blenny. I recently ripped the tank apart, scrubbed all my LR, vacuumed my sand and did a 50% w/c. . it looked great for about a week and now its totally overgrown again. I suspect theres just too many hair algae spores or something (im just guessing) in the system. What should I do?? Rip the whole thing apart and start over again (this time with a sump/fuge) or try to remedy the problem. Is there any kind of harsh radioactive death chemical I can add to whipe out the algae? I dont even care if my tank has to re-cycle - all living inhabitants are in my bro's tank at the moment. I'm still wondering what triggered this after such a long time of such a nice clean nano.

 

d.

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MrConclusion

It doesn't sound like you're doing anything seriously wrong, but there are two things that I would take a real hard look at, because of the age of your tank when the problem appeared:

 

1. Is the RO/DI water actually good? If this is your own unit, then the membrane might be damaged or worn out. You need a TDS tester (Total Dissolved Solids) to measure the quality of RO water, it should be less than 5 ppm. You can get one of these for about $30 from www.marinedepot.com If you're buying the water, test it anyway because a lot of bad RO/DI water is being sold!

 

2. Bulb lifetime. You don't notice the decrease in output and change in spectrum as the bulbs age because it happens so gradually. But, if you have PC bulbs that are over 5-8 months old, they are SIGNIFICANTLY different than new. On my 2 PC reefs, I change bulbs as soon as I see an increase in nuisance algae, usually about 6 months. I know that the bulb manufacturers claim longer life, but they have a reason to make them sound better than they are.

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I actually checked the water (I took a sample to my LFS and they checked it with a TDS meter thing and it was good). I never considered the PC bulb thing. Would an older bulb actually cause this?? (I think mines about a year old) . . how does an older bulb cause nuisance algae??

 

d.

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the spectrum of the bulb changes, downward, and becomes more favorable to algae growth.

 

does anyone know if this effect is less with actinic bulbs? as in, it takes longer for an actinic bulb to change spectrum enough to cause increased algae growth. seems to me it would be, but i don't know for sure.

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holyherbiness

Yes, as a bulb matures, more algae will grow, because the light emitted will be more towards the yellow spectrum side, and algae favors more light towards that end of the color spectrum.

 

That could be your problem, as it appears as if nothing else is way out of wack (especially since it was running great for such a long period of time)

 

Change the lights! Most people change PCS in 6 months or less

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It seems to me tho, regardless of what the spectrum of the bulb, if there's nothing there to fuel the algae growth, it won't grow.

 

How much live rock do you have in your tank? How much sand? What's your water parameters?

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Well I just lost it and turfed the whole tank - well - sort of. I tranferred my fish and remaining inhabitants to my brothers big reef tank until I get this sorted out. I'm planning on getting a new 10g (only cost 10 bucks at my LFS) and use my existing emptied one as a sump. That way I have the option of running a skimmer, or a fuge, or whatever I can think of. I think there was a natural buildup of waste (especially in the sand bed) and some parameter (maybe a phosphate spike??) set it off - not only did my tank look like a septic tank - but it really started to stink too. This time I'm going to do everything PROPERLY from the start, instead of making mistakes as I go. Plus I've always wanted a drilled/sumped tank so nows my chance.

 

Anyways, to change the subject a little . . the tank is emptied and my LR is just sitting outside in a bucket drying out (no room in my bros tank for that - not to mention its covered in unsightly algae). Can I re-use it in a couple weeks when I get my new tank set up or will all the die-off cause a problem with the new tank cycling? (since it will be bore like dead-with-dried-out-crap rock) :P

 

d.

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holyherbiness

it's a shame to have a system crash like that

at least you managed to keep your inhabitatnts.

Make sure you know what caused your problems this time, less they repeat themself.

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I'd put the liverock back in the tank, with no substrate. Put the rock in clean water after you've scrubbed and dunked and cleaned everything as best you can. After about a month, take it out, clean it off, scrub it, dunk it, swish it as best you can and put it in clean water again after you've cleaned the tank out. Keep doing that until there's virtually nothing on the bottom of the tank after it's sat for a few weeks.

 

Then set your tank back up again.

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Xx_de_xX:

 

Sounds like a plan . . although I think I'm gonna do that in a bucket or something so that I can get my new tank rolling ASAP. It's only been gone for a few hours and I already miss it! I think I'll go grab the new tank and get some live sand from my brothers tank to seed it.

 

Well before I get too off topic I've got one more question. Should I get the new 10g drilled and use my old one as a sump or should I just start my 10 up again as before and keep a closer eye on water params? I definitely want to add a skimmer after observing how much sludge was in my sand and how bad my tank stank near the end - but so far I havent found anything small enough (thats not some cheap air powered POS) that I could put on the back of my 10 without encroaching into the tank too much.

 

My brother uses TAP water in his 25gal and has a 250 mh and his tank is crystal clear - his skimmer HAS to be helping.

 

d.

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Undertheradar

I suspect the lights as well. Algae can thrive on the most obscure of nutrients...sometimes at very low levels...but not without the right lighting.

 

Also, the lighting is subject to yellowing by the water. Older water can tint the water and result in a yellower spectrum...so yes, a skimmer and carbon to remove these things can help...but I would suspect the light as the main source of the problem.

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Originally posted by Xx_de_xX

ditch the live sand idea, and you're good to go!

 

why no live sand??

 

 

On another note im gonna go grab another 10gal and get it drilled and plumbed for a sump (wait till the guys in my LFS see me drilling a 10g for a sump - they thought I was nuts having a 10g reef to begin with . . typical LFS employees that have never seen a nice nano ) :P

 

d.

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holyherbiness

Yes, as I've noticed around the forums, de is adamantly opposed to all forms of sand beds (look at avatar quote). I think it's largely due to the idea that gunk (detritus, uneaten food, etc etc) on the bottom can easily be removed, making water conditions more stable, less nutrients leeching out, algae blooms late in the life of a tank, among others.

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Hmm, no sand . . interesting idea, maybe I'll browse thru the galleries . . I have to say I still believe it was buildup in my sand bed that caused the crash since everything else was clean and in good shape.

 

d.

 

ps: de: got any pics of your sand-less setup??

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go to reef central and do a search on bare bottom. plenty of pics and information there. seriously, some of the arguments going on there about bare bottom tanks will make you want to gouge your eyes out with an acro.

 

it's a little different than taking care of a tank with a sand bed. from what i've been able to gather, you need a good skimmer, good water flow, and you have to be ready to get in there with a siphon and suck out that detritus weekly.

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trmiv is right

 

In my case though... I use water flow and a loose rock arrangment to keep the detritus suspended in the water. I had a 10 gallon refugium that had a sand bed in it for the algae to grow, but I ripped it out too. I now use the tank as a detritus settling trap. When I see detritus, I syphon it. (keeps my hands out of the main tank since I can close the refugium off from the rest of the system.)

 

You can check my tank out here http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/showthread...&threadid=36136

 

The faux sand bed I have sucks, and I'll be ripping it out this weekend.

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