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ReeferND

30l Build

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DreC80

I'm still following along and made the exact same upgrade you are planning on doing.  I've had my XL425 up and running since Sept or so.  I am currently running 2 Nero 5s and 2 Icecap Gyre 4Ks.  The gyres are recent additions but my tank is pretty much all SPS so I wanted a lot of flow.  

2 MP40s would be good, but as stated above, they are pricey.  

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ReeferND

Hello everyone! So, I have made some purchases for my tank given the downtime with the virus and my boredom, I purchased 2 kessil a360x with mounting arms, the spectral controller x, k link cable, and 2 AI nero 5s with guards provided by a fantastic gentleman on R2R whom designed them. I will post picture once I get it all (should be next week Wednesday given the delay in shipping at BRS due to the virus). Obviously, I will be running the kessils pretty low on intensity but I am super excited to finally have a light I don't have to question regarding spectrum. I have had alot of coralline die in the middle of my tank and my thoughts, given my params are perfect via ICP testing, it must be too intense light. I have tinkered with the AI primes a couple of times, allowing about a month in between adjustments and I don't see any improvement. At this point, the AI primes are just frustrating me and to be honest, I hate the disco effect in the tank. I am going to be completely honest here: I have not had much success with this tank. Yes, it is doing wwwaaayyy better than the last try but it still isn't great. I find myself in the neighborhood of "my corals are surviving but not thriving". Which to me means slowly dying. I did lose some to the aiptasia but now I have a serous hair algae problem. My nitrate and phos levels are ok, but they are probably much higher in reality than what I measuring given the amount of algae in the tank.......I am super excited to move to a larger tank that will allow easier cleaning of sandbed, etc. Tis the reason I bought the kessil and nero, they can be used on my next tank. However, I am not willing to give up and upgrade until I get this tank on track again. I do not feed much, but perhaps it is too much for this small of a tank????? I feed one time every 3 days and it includes a cube of mysis and about 30-50 pellets of RN TDO. From what I can see, all of the TDO is eaten and some of the mysis floats around but I need that for my serpent star. This just doesn't seem like a food to me but maybe it is too much??? Thoughts??? Pegasis (my aiptasia eating filefish) has been fairly lethargic the last couple days but has also been eating my duncan coral.....I cannot decide which I like more. I would almost like a small explosion of aiptasia to make him happy again. But he eats every time I feed the tank and gets excited when I come close to the tank, so he is probably ok. 

 

So, does anyone have a method to combat hair algae? I am very skeptical about using GFO as it is impacts my corals every time I use it. I have been dosing Vibrant for over 3 months and it has not helped. I suction out all that I can during my weekly water changes but it just comes back......and it might be responsible for some of my coralline die off. I am thinking of slowly removing the sandbed and really blasting the rock with the turkey baster every other day to clear the detritus but again, to me, there isn't much nutrient input to that tank, Thoughts??

 

Thanks everyone. I am super excited for the next lighting and flow. I think it might help me out with this tank. If not, I will be moving on to the 425xl.......can I still be apart of NanoReef is I have a 120 gallon? I would miss you all if I couldn't!!

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DreC80

Ive had similar experiences in my 18g tank.  Used vibrant and it didn't work for me.  Did have a nice cyano explosion after I quit dosing though.  I would ditch the sand bed slowly.  There must be a lot of nutrients locked up in it.  In my opinion, there is no way you are over feeding by only feeding once every three days.

 

Are you sure you have hair algae and not bryopsis?  They can look similar from far away.  Up close bryopsis has a feathery appearance.  If it is bryopsis fluconazole will easily take care of it (personal experience).

 

I would try to solve your issues prior to upgrading.  I have the XL425 and it is much harder to reach into, do maintenance on, etc.  I would hate for you to transfer everything over and then have an explosion of hair algae or something similar...it would be harder to manually remove.

 

Can you post up your parameters?  Is your RO/DI water still reading zero TDS?  Have you tried measuring no3/po4 of your new saltwater prior to a water change?

 

It almost sounds like your corals are starving...I'm wondering if the hair algae is depleting the no3/po4 so fast that the corals aren't able to use them.

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ReeferND

It is definitely GHA, it is not feathery and it just turns to slime when removed from the water. I agree, there must be a ton of nutrients locked up somewhere in the tank......with the sandbed being the first place I would expect. Yes, my RO/DI is a 7 stage system and reads 0 TDS before even entering the 7th stage of filtration....so it should be ultra 0TDS. I have not tests the RODI product water for no3/po4.....I will do that tomorrow (what a great idea). 

 

This is my major concern, how can we maintain levels large enough for corals to survive, yet won't allow an algae to live? That seems like a oxymoron. Do I just need to increase my clean up crew?

 

 

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ReeferND

Shoot, params are as follows:

 

Alk = 8.9 (try to keep at 9.0)

Calc = 440 (try to keep at 450)

Mag = 1400 (try to keep anywhere between 1350-1500)

Salinity = 1.026-1.025 (try to keep 1.026 but during filter changes the ATO runs and causes this to decrease a bit over the course of a week)

Nitrate = 0 (but I know it is more than this)

Phos = 0 (but I know it is more than this)

Temp = 77.9-78.4 (I let this fluctuate a bit over the course of the day to save the outlet on the Apex)

pH = 7.9-8.2 (depends on the number of people in the house and if windows are open. typically runs right around 8.0)

 

 

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mitten_reef
11 minutes ago, ReeferND said:

It is definitely GHA, it is not feathery and it just turns to slime when removed from the water. I agree, there must be a ton of nutrients locked up somewhere in the tank......with the sandbed being the first place I would expect. Yes, my RO/DI is a 7 stage system and reads 0 TDS before even entering the 7th stage of filtration....so it should be ultra 0TDS. I have not tests the RODI product water for no3/po4.....I will do that tomorrow (what a great idea). 

 

This is my major concern, how can we maintain levels large enough for corals to survive, yet won't allow an algae to live? That seems like a oxymoron. Do I just need to increase my clean up crew?

 

 

You have to have nutrient in the water column to keep corals thriving. This, in turn, manifests into some green film algae and other small green algae. Yes, you have to have appropriate amount of CUC to take care of that for you. Most tanks have nice photos because owners scrape the glass prior to photo shoot, my tank looks like shit most days of the week, at least from looking through the glass perspective. 

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DreC80
2 minutes ago, ReeferND said:

It is definitely GHA, it is not feathery and it just turns to slime when removed from the water. I agree, there must be a ton of nutrients locked up somewhere in the tank......with the sandbed being the first place I would expect. Yes, my RO/DI is a 7 stage system and reads 0 TDS before even entering the 7th stage of filtration....so it should be ultra 0TDS. I have not tests the RODI product water for no3/po4.....I will do that tomorrow (what a great idea). 

 

This is my major concern, how can we maintain levels large enough for corals to survive, yet won't allow an algae to live? That seems like a oxymoron. Do I just need to increase my clean up crew?

 

 

Darn, I almost wish it was bryopsis because that would be easier to eliminate.  It sounds like your RO/DI unit is fine.  I would test no3/po4 in your new batch of saltwater...just to make sure your salt mix isn't adding any...worth a shot.

 

On the algae front...it's a balancing act.  You have to balance your import and export methods.  If you put too much food in the tank or have too high of a bioload and don't have good export methods, it results in too many nutrients in the tank and if the corals can't use it all, algae will.

 

If you don't put enough food in, but export aggressively you end up with starving corals as there isn't enough nutrients in the tank.  Some also end up with dinos when their nutrients bottom out.

 

I think the most successful reefers feed heavy and export heavy...that way there is a constant food supply...but it's not just sitting there waiting to be absorbed by algae.

 

 

My tank runs 20-25 ppm no3 (I wish it was lower, but have stayed away from chasing numbers) and anywhere from .03 to .08 po4.  I have zero hair algae in the tank.  I feed the fish every day to include nori for the tang and rabbitfish.  I have a slightly oversized skimmer, filter socks and do 20% water changes every two weeks.  I think increased po4 can actually be more problematic for algae than no3.

 

What is your po4 reading?  I'd love to be able to help you figure this out.  I admire your persistance as you've definitely had some setbacks.

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DreC80
10 minutes ago, ReeferND said:

Shoot, params are as follows:

 

Alk = 8.9 (try to keep at 9.0)

Calc = 440 (try to keep at 450)

Mag = 1400 (try to keep anywhere between 1350-1500)

Salinity = 1.026-1.025 (try to keep 1.026 but during filter changes the ATO runs and causes this to decrease a bit over the course of a week)

Nitrate = 0 (but I know it is more than this)

Phos = 0 (but I know it is more than this)

Temp = 77.9-78.4 (I let this fluctuate a bit over the course of the day to save the outlet on the Apex)

pH = 7.9-8.2 (depends on the number of people in the house and if windows are open. typically runs right around 8.0)

 

 

What kits are you using for no3 and po4?

 

You are correct, they are higher than zero.  The algae is just consuming it.  I think the algae is getting it before your corals can.

 

Manual removal is the best method for gha.  Once you've remove the long strands, the cuc should be able to help keep it trimmed.

 

I really think you will experience more success once you have detectable readings of no3 and po4 again.

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ReeferND

Thanks everyone, for the replies. About 2 to 3 months ago, I was actually dosing nitrate and phos to the tank in order to fight my dinos (those were confirmed with a microscope) and your right, the tank was doing better then. So here is my plan, everyday for the next couple of weeks, I am going to manually scrape off as much of the gha as I can and do small water changes during the process. I am also going to do 2 weekly water changes of 20% but I will siphon from the sump area....which I hardly ever do (there isn't must back there in terms of detritus) and the other I will move my rocks and really siphon the sandbed. I typically do 20% weekly water changes by siphoning the easy to get to sand areas but this time I will actually move things to really get at those hard to reach areas. I will check my mixed saltwater for any no3 or po4 in the water after mixing just to make sure. I use HW reefer salt in the tank because it usually produces params that are close to what I am shooting for but I have seen some people just don't have good luck with this salt. I also, always, let my saltwater mix for more than 24hrs before using it and everytime there is a brown film on everything.....maybe this stuff is bad. Once I have removed as much of the gha as I possibly can, I will order some more CUC. I have a lot of trochus snails as they breed in the tank but perhaps I need more variety. I also have a pencil urchin that does a decent job but doesn't move around a lot and is a bulldozer for the corals.....but I like him. I will also continue to dose Vibrant because I just don't see the harm in doing so and maybe when the gha is beaten back a bit, the Vibrant will help. I do expect a setback once I change lights and flow in the tank but I think in the long run I will more successful. @DreC80 I really appreciate the admiration, it certainly hasn't been easy. But, I won't give up. I love these animals, the systems, the community, the difficulty, and the fun too much to ever stop. I will be reefing for the rest of my life even if it means struggling all along the way. One day, I will have a tank people think is amazing. Like those on see your guys threads.....so jealous. My biggest concern is the losses, I hate to see animals die because they met me that day. This is the reason I have NEVER purchases an SPS, I know if someone else gets it, it will have a better chance of survival than with me. Maybe one day, I will figure out a formula that works for me and this tank. But yes, I will not be upgrading (I might purchase the tank anyway, just because) until I get this figured out. 

 

Thanks again everyone for helping me out on my journey. I wish we could all just sit down somewhere and have beer together to discuss this stuff. I will keep everyone posted as I make my through my process outlined above. Wish me luck my friends.

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DreC80
15 minutes ago, ReeferND said:

Thanks everyone, for the replies. About 2 to 3 months ago, I was actually dosing nitrate and phos to the tank in order to fight my dinos (those were confirmed with a microscope) and your right, the tank was doing better then. So here is my plan, everyday for the next couple of weeks, I am going to manually scrape off as much of the gha as I can and do small water changes during the process. I am also going to do 2 weekly water changes of 20% but I will siphon from the sump area....which I hardly ever do (there isn't must back there in terms of detritus) and the other I will move my rocks and really siphon the sandbed. I typically do 20% weekly water changes by siphoning the easy to get to sand areas but this time I will actually move things to really get at those hard to reach areas. I will check my mixed saltwater for any no3 or po4 in the water after mixing just to make sure. I use HW reefer salt in the tank because it usually produces params that are close to what I am shooting for but I have seen some people just don't have good luck with this salt. I also, always, let my saltwater mix for more than 24hrs before using it and everytime there is a brown film on everything.....maybe this stuff is bad. Once I have removed as much of the gha as I possibly can, I will order some more CUC. I have a lot of trochus snails as they breed in the tank but perhaps I need more variety. I also have a pencil urchin that does a decent job but doesn't move around a lot and is a bulldozer for the corals.....but I like him. I will also continue to dose Vibrant because I just don't see the harm in doing so and maybe when the gha is beaten back a bit, the Vibrant will help. I do expect a setback once I change lights and flow in the tank but I think in the long run I will more successful. @DreC80 I really appreciate the admiration, it certainly hasn't been easy. But, I won't give up. I love these animals, the systems, the community, the difficulty, and the fun too much to ever stop. I will be reefing for the rest of my life even if it means struggling all along the way. One day, I will have a tank people think is amazing. Like those on see your guys threads.....so jealous. My biggest concern is the losses, I hate to see animals die because they met me that day. This is the reason I have NEVER purchases an SPS, I know if someone else gets it, it will have a better chance of survival than with me. Maybe one day, I will figure out a formula that works for me and this tank. But yes, I will not be upgrading (I might purchase the tank anyway, just because) until I get this figured out. 

 

Thanks again everyone for helping me out on my journey. I wish we could all just sit down somewhere and have beer together to discuss this stuff. I will keep everyone posted as I make my through my process outlined above. Wish me luck my friends.

All good stuff.  Just be careful with too many water changes as you'll really bottom the nutrients out and your corals will suffer.  How about just your normal water changes?  Maybe 20% every 2 weeks.  The big key here is manual removal of the algae and bolstering/diversifying the cuc.

 

Not too worried about the brown film in your water mixing bucket.  I got it as well with reef crystals and red sea blue bucket.  Even get it a little bit with Fritz.

 

Careful stirring up the sandbed too much.  You'll get a bacterial bloom....but siphoning the rear chambers is a good idea.

 

You'll get there with persistance and learning.  We are trying to replicate nature and that's really hard.

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ReeferND

@DreC80  I hear that about nature. I am never one to drop an education bomb (and I only do now because I think it will help any one reading this thread as to the difficulty with this hobby) but I do have a PhD in ecology and I think that is what keeps me going. This struggle should happen because replicating a reef ecosystem in a box of water that is 19 gallons is a really silly idea, one that should never actually happen. But our strive and your help make this all possible. It really is an amazing thing when you sit back and think about how reefers even 15 years ago were able to have a system.....it is truly amazing and a marvel. My hat really goes out to those guys and gals that pioneered this awesome hobby. 

 

The only reason I said water changes daily after scraping algae is my system is only 19 gallons and therefore taking anything will cause my ATO to kick on. I could siphon out the gha into a filter sock and just put that water back in the tank.....is that a better idea here? I totally get the dropping nutrient levels, maybe putting the water back and only collecting the undesirables in the filter sock is the best path for the daily removal? Now that I write that out, that does seem like a good path. 

 

I am looking at the tank now and thanks @mitten_reef for saying it like it is. My glass looks like sh*t!!! Its got green and brown everywhere; coralline growing on it and not a snail in sight 😄 I really should spend more time cleaning the tank.....and maybe that is me biggest mistake, I need to spend more time keeping it maintained. I spend about 1 hour everyday, checking params, changing filter pads, emptying skimmer, etc. Maybe I need to be spending more time with it. I have a 2 and 5 year old and they keep me busy so finding time can be difficult. Of course, it is 10:30pm right now and I could be doing maintenance instead of writing.....but this is fun too.

 

Thanks again everyone. I hope to have some awesome pictures coming at you soon with the new lights and pumps in the tank! Eye candy is the reason for the hobby. My tank does, truly, look ok but when I compare it to the pictures I see on here and such, I just feel like I am not good enough to compete. Perhaps, this will be the last struggle I have in the reefing hobby......yeah right 😅

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DreC80

Here's something I've done before.  When you do a water change, keep the old tank water in a 5 gallon bucket and if you can take a rock out of your tank (turn off ato first) and scrub the rock with a toothbrush.  Once it's nice and clean, put it back in the tank (turn ato back on 😉) and discard the water.  This ensures none of the strands of algae make it back into your tank.

 

If you can't remove rocks or they are covered in corals, than just manually remove as much as you can...possibly siphoning the water back in the tank through a filter sock.  I've done this before for some simple detritus removal.

 

How is your coraline algae coverage?  Reason I ask is because once rocks are really covered in coralline (and corals) it's harder for gha and other nuisance algae to take hold.

 

An hour a day maintaining your tank is plenty...basic maintenance tasks should really only take 15 to 30 min....then spend another 30 min observing/enjoying everything.  I learn a lot by just watching the fish and especially the corals.  Outside of that spend time with the kiddos...that's wayyyy more important.  Being on this forum is good for interacting and the social aspect, but I'd consider it more like part of your maintenance routine.  Learn here and then take action on the tank.  

 

Lastly, this is the problem with social media in general.  Everyone's lives are perfect, everyone's reef tanks are beautiful, etc.  This just simply isn't true.  People only post what they want others to see and it's usually the good stuff.  Everyone struggles whether they want to admit it or not.  Just build a reef tank that you and your family enjoy.  That's all that matters at the end of the day.

 

 

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ReeferND

Thanks for the replies. It is nice to know that I am not alone in the tank struggles. But hey, here is some good news: I got my merch from BRS today. It is going to be a fun day!

20200528_102543.jpg

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Littlest Reef

Update on this? I followed from the beginning and have a 30l inbound. Wondering how you like the A360s because I am looking at those specifically. @ReeferND

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ReeferND

@Littlest Reef the lights are amazing! I am so happy I went with them instead of the radions. Not that the radions are a bad light or anything like that but the shimmer from these is just amazing. I have them mounted about 10 inches above water. You won't regret the purchase!

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ReeferND

Hey everyone! Wanted to give a quick update. Tank is doing OK, Covid has hit my family and my father that has COPD so I have been absent for a while. Tanks needed some help after neglect for a while. Here is some awesome news, when I got back to taking care of the tank, I had a crazy amount of hair algae. Guys and gals, when I say crazy amount, it was so think only a couple xenia heads were visible, everything else was covered by at least 3" of hair algae. Obviously, that is not the good news.....I read online about potential treatments, hand pulling, etc. Well, I am currently getting a 120 gallon going, so I thought lets try fluconazole and see what happens. I removed absolutely no algae by hand and dosed the recommended amount. About 2 weeks later I dosed another 1/2 dose. I really wish I would've taken before and after pics but I just wasn't thinking of this thread at the time. Let me say, this stuff has absolutely killed the hair algae. I am probably somewhere around day 20 with no water changes and all that is left is 1 small patch. Another 2 days and it will be gone. I know this stuff is not marketed as treating hair algae but let me tell you....holy cow. Just thought I would share with everyone. 

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