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bad water


Primeval

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my water keeps wanting to turn green on me. I am not sure if it is cyano or the green water is a result of the massive amounts of hair algae I have growing on my liverock and corals. I do know that my corals are dying. My calcium levels and other parameters are good for the corals to survive but it seems the algae is killing my corals. I have already lost a bali leather coral and its just a big ball of slime right now. My zooanthids havent opened in days and my cabbage leather looks like its shedding its skin.

 

help!

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I think your subject says volumes. What are you using for water (RO/DI, distilled, RO, tap)? How often do you do water changes? Parameters are good (what are you testing for and what levels are they)? What if anything are you dosing? What about feeding? What type of sand are you using?

 

Sounds like you removed the bio-wheel but are still using the mechanical filtration. How often do you clean or change the filter?

 

Without knowing more about things, here are some general recommendations:

• Use RO/DI water

• Use a good salt mix like Tropic Marin

• Perform a sequence of 25% water changes every other day for a week

• Afterward, do 15% water changes each week

• Reduce your sand bed to an inch by siphoning off the top layer

• Remove all biological filters (except LR and an inch of sand)

• Remove all mechanical filtration (including mesh in powerheads)

• Put some SeaGel in a media bag in place of the filter cartridge

• Stop dosing

• Consider adding a skimmer and/or refugium

• Reduce your photo period to 9 hours

• Reduce your feeding

• Remove anything that is dead or dying

• Add algae eating snails to your cleanup crew (like Trocus, Nerite, Strombus, or Astraea)

• You might also try using some Chemi-Clean

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I use distilled water since my tank size is so small and it is cheap. For a salt mix i use instant ocean from my LFS, is this an okay brand?

 

I did remove the biowheel since it gets really built up with salt. I do not have any other mech filtration other than the pad in the penguin which I clean everyday. the powerhead doesnt have any additional filters attached to it. currently I have no fish in there, just snails and hermits and soft corals. the snails are worthless, they only sit in the sand and on the rock during the day. they dont help my algae much. and my hermits can only do so much. and my light is only on for 8 hrs and has only been running that long for the last week when this green #### started. I only have about 5lbs of sand so 1 inch is about right for the tank.

 

the sand is some type of mexican live sand that i purchased online.

 

ph is 8.2-8.3

amonia is 0

nitrite is 0

nitrate is 0

 

phosohates is 0.1

calcium was real low at around 300. I dosed it with strontium,iodine and calcium to get the levels up.

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have you dosed any phytoplankton to the tank at any point? if you have that may be the issue i had a similar problem in my 90g, after installing a small turbo twist 3x UV sterilizer on the system the problem cleared up in a day, literally.

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You might be right pyrrhus. However, since I already typed a reply, I’ll post it anyway…

 

Distilled water is good unless they use copper tubing in the process (which would cause dangerous levels of copper in the water). Instant Ocean is totally OK.

 

I question the sand a little because it is an unknown (could be fine, could be full of silicates). I usually question people that say their parameters are fine because most of us do not test for everything (including things like copper, phosphates, and silicates).

 

It’s really hard to imagine that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all 0 when you describe so many dead and dying animals. 0 nitrates are a little unusual in any reef system.

 

I’m not opposed to dosing, but even if you are testing for the element that you are dosing, you might not be testing for other elements that are affected by dosing the first element. For example, dosing calcium can affect alkalinity, so be careful when you are trying to get calcium up with dosing. I assume that you are dosing a product like Reef Complete (calcium, strontium and magnesium) instead of dosing them separately.

 

Many products contain multiple elements due to how they impact the level of a particular element. Other products assume a general consumption rate for a typical reef and try to develop a supplement based upon that assumption. Again, most of us are not testing levels for all of these elements (like iodine and magnesium), or the elements that are affected by them. Over dosing something like iodine can be very dangerous to a reef. Nano tanks amplify the problem due to their small water volume.

 

Problems can come from improper levels of silicates, or any other number of elements; some are only rarely tested for in a reef aquarium (like boron). General test kits do not usually give us the ability to put unknowns into our systems (because we are not monitoring every element).

 

In general, the partial water change replenishes consumed elements (and buffers) and dilutes harmful or excess elements. This tends to work fairly well unless we are constantly adding something harmful or an excess of something otherwise beneficial. Water chemistry is also affected by our LR and sand beds as they release elements into the surrounding water.

 

Distilled water should be OK, but you might try RO/DI to see if it helps. I would still maintain a more aggressive water change routine for awhile and consider adding a skimmer and/or refugium. Also, add some algae eating snails.

 

What is your feeding schedule?

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all that seabass suggests is sound advice. i would also try running some carbon or a polyfilter in there to help remove some of the deleterious compounds.

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I assume your current snails are Queen Conchs.

marinedepotlive_1809_13832711

If so, you should only keep one of them. Trade all but one of them back for a Nassarius and a couple Cerith snails.

 

Can you give us an update please? What have you done so far, and what are you planning to do? We’ve given you a few suggestions:

• Use RO/DI water

• Perform a sequence of 25% water changes every other day for a week

• Afterward, do 15% water changes each week

• Remove all mechanical filtration (including mesh in powerheads)

• Put some SeaGel (carbon/phosphate remover) in a media bag in place of the filter cartridge

• Stop dosing

• Consider adding a skimmer and/or refugium

• Reduce your feeding

• Remove anything that is dead or dying

• Add algae eating snails to your cleanup crew (like Trocus, Nerite, Strombus, or Astraea)

• Stop dosing phytoplankton

• Try running some carbon or a polyfilter

• Reduce the photo period

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