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Algae problem, Missing fish, Scary worm ID

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I got back into the hobby after being out for a couple years, and god this tank has been a shit show. Originally had it in a different 12g long rimless tank that leaked after all my work into making it look seamless and getting it stocked, so I did an emergency move to an extra rimless one and I'm feeling uninspired and beat. It's overrun by algae, coral is always pissy, and the fish I buy just constantly dissapear. I've never had this much trouble with a nano in my life. Plus there's creepy worms. I've been doing water changes every week and a half with distilled gallons of water and H2)cean pro formula salt.

RIP: panda goby, yellow goby, green striped goby, red striped goby, ruby dragonet RIP: my wallet



It's a 9 gal or something aquatop rimless

current usa orbit light

aquaclear 10g w a sponge and carbon

hydor nano 425

some random heater 


water quality:

salinity .027

nitrate 0

nitrite 0

ph (always been low idk why, I've even tried using a buffer) 8

kh 80

gh 180

ammonia 0

phosphate 0


I dont know what the problem is, more flow needed, the light is too much? It's about 20 feet away from a window letting in weak Portland light. I definitely don't over feed. Some zoas are getting overwhelmed by algae, the hammer coral is never really open, and the palys are so confused. The only thing that looks healthy are mushies of course and my death proof sexy shrimp








The worms I found can swim freely through the water in this weird squiggling ripple motion, and are totally terrifying and squirmy, parasitic? SOS

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope I don't get eaten alive for forgetting how to post of forums properly, much less use aquarium slang





IMG_0289 (1).jpg





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quick summary, but this thread covers all possible questions:


-when you have the tank taken apart for cleaning the sand, just scrape off the algae with a knife tip and rinse off the frag with saltwater to be algae free. rocks too. then when this is done, lightly apply peroxide to the cleaned areas as cellular burn, working around corals, then rinse off. its not a big deal, work it just like that, peroxide is not that big of a deal. that handles all possible rock and frag and algae issues, no testing or params needed to know.


run this thread to change your sandbed around to brand new, then last as final step with clean rocks and clean sand re assemble all with 100% new water, the reef is now clean. re acclimate fish, put back done.


we have maybe 15+ examples of your exact procedure linked here





when the clean correct condition has been willed to the tank, then test and adjust any way you want. Its neat that in the entire sand rinse thread we never used any test kits/what a neat free way to reef. the sole thing we do in that thread is take your kind of before pics and crank out totally opposite after pics of the same tanks.

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The algae is using up any available nutrients so tests aren't accurate.

The api phos test is not good for sw. It's high range, you will need a low range kit.


The sponge in the filter is a nitrate factory. Using floss baught in bulk, cut to size is best. Replace it twice a week to prevent issues.

Change carbon every 2-3 weeks. Bag your own, it's cheaper and more control if it 


Doing weekly waterchanges and vacuuming sand while doing it, is best for small tanks. This will get rid of the algae and keep the bed clean.


Flow might be an issue. You want your powerhead and hob flow crossing into each other. It creates turbulent flow.


The salinity is high. It should be 1.025 or 1.026. Top it up daily to keep it stable.


Don't stress on the ph.


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