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keeldog

Please Help The New Guy!

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keeldog

Hi everyone

So I have recently set up a saltwater tank and have a few beginners guestions regarding phosphate. 

 

I have a Fluval Evo 13.5 with the PS2 mini skimmer. There's roughly 5kg of live rock in it and quite a deep aragonite sand bed. It's been established for 3 months now with no fish or coral and all my paramteres seem good except my phosphate. It's roughly 0.25 ppm according to two different tests (API and Salifert). I do roughly 25% water exchanges each week using RO/DI water.  

 

Whilst setting up my tank I made the rookie error of rinsing the sand with tap water and initially filling it up with tap water. 

 

Has the sand and rock absorbed the phosphate from the tap water and is now leeching into my tank and if so what are some steps to help reduce the level of PO4 in my tank

 

I have quite a bit of algae growing in my tank which I clean every week and I'm assuming it's the phosphate that's causing it. Nitrate is undetectable.

 

Thanks in advance

 

Rob

 

The picture is my tank when I first set it up ?

IMAG0588.jpg

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Clown79

What is in the tank livestock wise? Are you planning on adding anything soon? 

 

If the sand bed is 2" Or less it should be vacuumed weekly and the rocks should be blasted with a turkey baster to remove trapped detritus.

 

Are you using the stock media sponge, if so ditch it and start using filter floss. Buy it in bulk, cut to size, and switch out 2 times a week.

 

Phosguard will help reduce phosphates. Use it in small qty  and test every 4 days with salifert.

Api doesn't register low range results 

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ParticipationTrophyWife

Growing and harvesting macroalgae is one of the best ways to reduce phos levels.  This way you are exporting the phosphate to the macroalgae.  Ask your LFS for a handful of chaetomorpha.  I'd throw some in and give it a few weeks.  

 

What kind of salt mix do you use?  

 

It's hard to tell the source of phosphate; phosphate is also hard to test for.  The tap water is a possibility, as is the salt mix.  The sand and rock can absorb phosphate from the seawater and can act as a reservoir for phosphate.  

 

Clown79's suggestions are good, as is the adage "The solution to pollution is dilution".  Do some water changes and use RO water to mix your salt.  I've had good luck and fewer algae outbreaks after switching to Reef Crystals, but my experience might be anecdotal.  

 

Lastly, when you get fish, limit the amount of flake food you put in the tank.

 

 

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Nidilsky

Phosphates will be a problem if you don't plan on incorporating macroalgae in your tank(i strongly recommend at the very least adding some chaeto in one of your back chambers). 

By using tapwater, you will most likely see a diatom bloom. Worry not, most invertebrates like snails and crabs love the stuff. And it will clear up by replacing the water with some RODI water or distilled water water changes.

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Clown79
1 hour ago, Nidilsky said:

Phosphates will be a problem if you don't plan on incorporating macroalgae in your tank(i strongly recommend at the very least adding some chaeto in one of your back chambers). 

By using tapwater, you will most likely see a diatom bloom. Worry not, most invertebrates like snails and crabs love the stuff. And it will clear up by replacing the water with some RODI water or distilled water water changes.

That's not necessarily true. Many don't have macros and have no phos issues.

Simple maintenance, no overstocking, no over feeding, can maintain low phos.

 

If the op  used tap water to begin it may just be the culprit and some media will reduce it. The rocks used may be leaching phos.

It's a fairly new tank and new tanks often suffer from phos and nitrate issues.

It could be as simple as not blasting rocks, not vacuuming sand, and use filter sponges that could be an issue.

 

I have very low phos and 0 macros.

 

Macros like chaeto will help but chaeto is best used in a refugium not in the display tank.

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ParticipationTrophyWife

It doesn't matter where you put the macro- its location is purely aesthetic.

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Clown79
4 hours ago, tashayar said:

It doesn't matter where you put the macro- its location is purely aesthetic.

Yes but some macro groes very quickly and can easily take over.

 

Chaeto breaks apart and makes a mess in the tank

 

So macros like that are better in a refugium.

 

Dragons breath is beautiful and looks very nice in a dt.

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keeldog

Thanks for the replies guys. I am planning to have only two clown fish and an anemone so really a very low stocking density. I want to add these to the tank when my phosphate is at the right level (< 0.03 ???) There is nothing in it atm. I do siphon my sand and have been removing the top rock (with 95% of the algae growth) and scrubbing in an attempt to remove the phosphate trapped in the algae out the system. This is on a weekly basis. I only use RO/DI water for top ups and water exchange. 

 

I'll give the turkey baster a go and also replace the stock sponge with something better. Can I remove the bio balls !? And use the space to fit phosguard and more activated carbon. I'm making the assumption that my live rock and sand bed will provide dough biological filtration or is "the more the better" the case here?

cheers 

Rob

 

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Clown79

Bioballs can cause nutrient issues and the area they are in will collect detritus which needs syphoning out.

 

Remove 1/3 of the bioballs at a time, not all at once. 

 

Adding more carbon won't do anything for phos and over using can have negative effects. It polishes the water and removes toxins.

 

 

You can diy a media basket, very easy out of egg crate(light diffuser)

 

Buy small media bags.

Use one for carbon, one for phosguard.

 

Place a media bags in the media basket and a piece of filter floss with it.

 

-filter floss, change twice a week

- carbon, rinse bag weekly change carbon every 3 weeks

- phosguard, use small qty and test every 4 days. When phos results increase, change the media.

- you can also use purigen which a lot of ppl like.

 

 

Every 2-3 weeks, scrub back chambers with a baby bottle brush and syphon out(pump off).

 

With every water change, blast the rocks with a turkey baster, vacuum up the detritus while vacuuming sand.

 

 

What kind of algae is on the rocks? Diatoms, turf, gha?

 

 

Here are some diy baskets. Not mine but found them online

imageproxy.jpg

44-April102008DIYMediaBasket.jpg

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keeldog

Thanks for all the great info clown79.

 

I'll have a look into making my own media basket over the next few weeks. In the mean time I'll continue to a good cleaning regime whilst slowly removing the bio balls and adding some phosguard.  

 

I know the lights that came with the tank are very basic and I plan on upgrading them in the future but in your own opinion are they adequate to support an anemone in the interim or should I just add the clowns and wait till I have better lighting. The last thing I want to do is have an anemone that's barely holding on in there. 

Cheers

Rob

 

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keeldog

Also, I'm getting your standard green/brown algae on the glass and sediment and what I think is hair algae on the rocks?? It's a green colour and very hair like but also quite slimy. I've never left it long enough to take over the tank but I feel if I did it would. I'm quite particular and love the look of crystal clean tanks with no algae so hopefully I'll achieve this with enough persistence 

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Clown79

Having no algae is pretty impossible. There is normal algae that most get on the glass which is common.

 

Hair algae can be aggressive. Getting a clean up crew helps, reducing phos helps. It needs manual removal as well.

Getting some snails and even an emerald crab or a blenny would help.

 

Depending on how bad it is depends on the action taken. If it's a small tuff or 2 I pull it out with my tank tweezers and then do a peroxide treatment with a syringe.

 

If it's all over the rocks, taking them out, scrubbing them with a toothbrush then doing a peroxide dip, then a good rinse in saltwater before replacing them. 

 

As for the anemone, I'm not 100% certain on the lighting. I have no anemones.

Your tank is fairly young at this point and they should be added to a stable and mature tank. 6 months plus. 

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ninjamyst

The stock light can not support a bubble tip but will be sufficient for a rock flower anemone or maxi mini.  11 hours is too long for the stock light since it doesn't ramp up and down.  Try to reduce it to 9 hours or less.  

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keeldog

Hi Ninjamyst; is there a certain amount of time lights should be on in a tank or is it different dependent of your situation? I have mine on for only 6 hrs to reduce algae growth. I struggle the most with the concept of lighting. Is there a thread you can point me towards or offer some insight into the basics? What's a good quality light for the evo 13?

 

Clown79; I read in another post you were going to attempt to put some filter floss in your siphon to try and prevent sucking up all your sand. How did this go? I too have the same problem and it means I'm less thorough when siphoning ?

 

Cheers guys 

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Clown79
5 hours ago, keeldog said:

Hi Ninjamyst; is there a certain amount of time lights should be on in a tank or is it different dependent of your situation? I have mine on for only 6 hrs to reduce algae growth. I struggle the most with the concept of lighting. Is there a thread you can point me towards or offer some insight into the basics? What's a good quality light for the evo 13?

 

Clown79; I read in another post you were going to attempt to put some filter floss in your siphon to try and prevent sucking up all your sand. How did this go? I too have the same problem and it means I'm less thorough when siphoning ?

 

Cheers guys 

That wasn't me.

 

I use my vacuum on an angle and slowly  vacuum. If I suck up too much sand I put my finger on the end of hose to drop the sand back.

 

Lighting. Corals need 8-12 hrs of light. If there is no ramp up its best to stick to 8-9hrs.

 

With ramping  your light gradually  gets to maximum light (peak) and gradually lowers, ramping is sunrise and sunset. without the ramp option, it's at peak setting all day. 

 

 

Here's a link with info on lighting. 

 

http://successfulreefkeeping.com/learn/reef-tank-101/lighting-101/

 

 

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