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Having some issues with macros


Chris's Fishes

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Chris's Fishes

Hello!

 

I recently set up a 5.5 gallon, using some salvaged equipment and livestock from a 10 gallon I found on Craigslist. It was in rough shape - it hadn't been taken care of in a few months, and had crashed quite a long time ago. All that was salvageable was some snails, a hermit crab, a small piece of Codium, a small piece of Dragon's Breath, and a 1" piece long of Caulerpa Prolifera. Not a ton to work with.

 

The macros were in super rough shape, initially. The dragon's breath had to be cut back a ton to get rid of the dead bits, the codium had to be trimmed, and the caulerpa was pretty much completely white. I put the codium and dragon's breath frags directly into the tank to see if they'd make it, while I put the caulerpa into it's own container of saltwater to see if it'd green back up. Eventually, the caulerpa was put into the tank, after it had come back from the brink.

 

Fast forward to today, about two weeks after everything was added to the tank, and I'm still having some issues. The Caulerpa is bouncing back (somehow), and has started growing pretty quickly in the past few days. 

 

I had the Codium sitting on the sandbed, in low-mid light and moderate flow. It's begun fraying... almost like there's an inner skeleton, and the fleshy algae part is becoming hair and flaying off on a few tips. I read online that it enjoys moderate-high flow, with few lighting requirements, so I moved it onto the rock in a high flow area, to see if that improves things. I have no idea what's causing it, what it is, or how to treat it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. You can see the "hair" best on the bottom branch that's sticking out toward the camera. The branch second from the right is the worst "fraying" spot. Some of it is a bit brown, as well, while some of it green.

Codium.thumb.jpg.b6654a33295a42e3bece0800e7cf1f9a.jpg

 

I had the dragon's breath sitting on the sandbed in moderate flow and relatively high light - just about 1' away from an ABI PAR38. While it's been growing some, the past day or so the tips have become ever so slightly pale. It's noticeable, and has been getting progressively worse since yesterday. I read that sometimes, in high light, dragon's breath can begin to bleach like a coral will. I doubt I have that much light, but better safe than sorry. I moved it to the opposite of the tank, which is most definitely lower light. You can see the red fade out just a bit at the tips in the picture. I color adjusted this one a bit to get the most color possible, but it's still a bit hard to see on camera. Sorry 😞

2024888457_DragonsBreath.thumb.jpg.d14774dc6ec99f9b32f64daf0d1680d0.jpg

 

Tank parameters:

 

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: 5 PPM

Phosphate: 0.1 PPM

SG: 1.025

Temperature: 76-77F

 

Thanks for any help! 

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I can't help with the one macro but dragons breath does go a bright orangy colour on the tips when it's in high light, this is normal. It's not a problem.

 

If macro is melting, going white, falling apart it could be due to lack of nutrients

 

 

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Chris's Fishes

It's not really getting brighter - it's simply turning a bit pale. The red is less intense, It's more than just the very tips of the algae, like you'll see with orange tips, too. It's about 3/4" cm on the edge of some of the branches.

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Your Caulerpa may be sucking out what the other macro's need. As your system ages the other macro's shouldn't struggle. Nitrates and phosphates are the main nutrients needed. But as your system is newer, even though you get a reading of each, the rate of increase may not be enough for the rate of uptake. Also, I suggest using string or a rubber band to attach macro to rock. Superglue tends to damage or kill the part of that macro from my experience. 

 

I had troubles with Codium and Red Macro's when my tank was newer. Chaeto and Blue Ochtodes didn't seem to struggle though. Now that my tank is aged and nutrient rich as I do not do water changes much. They grow like crazy. So i'm just basing things off of my personal observation. Hopefully someone else chimes in with something more concrete. 

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Chris's Fishes
On 11/18/2018 at 12:41 AM, Muraki said:

Your Caulerpa may be sucking out what the other macro's need. As your system ages the other macro's shouldn't struggle. Nitrates and phosphates are the main nutrients needed. But as your system is newer, even though you get a reading of each, the rate of increase may not be enough for the rate of uptake. Also, I suggest using string or a rubber band to attach macro to rock. Superglue tends to damage or kill the part of that macro from my experience. 

 

I had troubles with Codium and Red Macro's when my tank was newer. Chaeto and Blue Ochtodes didn't seem to struggle though. Now that my tank is aged and nutrient rich as I do not do water changes much. They grow like crazy. So i'm just basing things off of my personal observation. Hopefully someone else chimes in with something more concrete. 

So, would you recommend cutting back a bit on water changes? I had the tank set up as a 5.5, and I just moved it into a 10 gallon last weekend so the clown would have more space for... activities. I had planned on 20% weekly, once the tank was more established - but since I don't really think we'll be doing very many SPS in here, will that be necessary?

 

The Codium is looking a bit better, but still not great. That hairy stuff (maybe it IS hair algae) is well attached to the macro. I've blown it off with a turkey baster, and even tried rubbing it off with a soft toothbrush. Some of it comes off, but no luck with other stuff. This is ONLY growing on this particular macro frag, so I'm a bit confused as to what to do about it.

 

The Dragon's Breath is looking about the same, or maybe a bit worse. Seems to overall be a bit less vibrant. The Caulerpa is growing a bit, though.

 

Do you think these macros will make it long enough for the nutrients in the tank to catch up? Should I overfeed a little once or twice to try and jumpstart them? 

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If you have a fish in there and no hard corals at the moment, just decrease the size or frequency of the water changes for now. As there is still beneficial elements in the water change for the Macro's. You will still want to keep the nutrients in the water low since you don't have that many macro's to out compete pest algae. So I don't suggest over feeding, rarely if ever would you want to over feed. Be better to feed less at a time, just a couple times thru the day. My clowns prefer it. Once your rocks begin to darken and coralline algae begins to grow, will know the tank is aged.

 

Macro's are tough and you would be shocked as to how easily they can come back. If you haven't stocked the tank, and you want to start with macro's hold of on LPS and SPS corals until the tank has settled in and stabilized. Shouldn't take long at all i'd say 3 months or so. Caulerpa alone will take off and should hold down the Nitrates. How old is your tank now? Looks to be around a week or so if I go by your 10G thread? I would hold off on increasing your clean up crew as well. Most won't have enough to eat at the start of a new tank. 

 

Side note, how did you mount your macro algae? Specifically the dragons breath and codium?

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Chris's Fishes

Yeah, just got a tiny clown in there for a moment. I'll start feeding a bit in the morning, and then a bit at night, as suggested. I'll hold off on the CUC, as well.

 

The 10 gallon has only been set up since Saturday - but everything currently in the 10 gallon was in a 5.5 gallon for about two weeks. Definitely still settling in.

 

Both macros were glued down, as I was told that'd be okay before I did it - and I didn't think anything of it, since that's always been alright with corals. Tomorrow, I'll be zip-tying the Codium down, and I might do the same with the Dragon's Breath.

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I've never had luck with super gluing macro's. They have always died for me when I have. I started strapping them to rock, or wedging them into crevices, and they just start attaching on their own and growing. That would be my go to as to why they are struggling. Any recent picture of how the Dragons breath is looking? Keep us posted! 

 

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Chris's Fishes

Here's a picture of it as of yesterday - the tips are just losing their color. I'm not sure if you can even tell in the picture, but the color fades as you move towards the outskirts of the algae.

 

632283091_DB20.thumb.jpg.e02072c1d4e4a9f6b1c5e9df212f13a4.jpg

 

So, I decided to test my water again, to make sure I was providing up-to-date info on nitrate and phosphate readings. I tested my betta tank too, to make sure my tests were accurate (no false negatives).

 

As it turns out, there ISN'T any detectable nitrate in the 10 gallon right now. It's gone down since the last test, I assume from the macros sucking up whatever was there.

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Since it is a new tank. Just feed your clown smaller meals more often during the day. Last thing you want to do is have an ammonia spike from extra food.

Monitor: Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrates closely as your tank is probably still cycling which could be dangerous for the clown fish. 

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Chris's Fishes

Nope, the rock is 100% cycled. It cycled 2 months in a rubbermaid tub with 100% ammonia. No problems as far as the actual nitrogen cycle goes.

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Chris's Fishes

Okay, so after discussing with a few friends and researching a bit, I've decided to tackle the nitrate problem head-on instead of waiting or overfeeding. Patience does great things, but I've made the mistake of waiting too long with stuff like this before - I don't want to make that mistake again, especially when the potential solution is nearly risk-free.

 

I'm using stump remover (AKA 61.4% powdered (potassium?) nitrate) to directly increase nitrates. More or less, this stuff is completely environmentally friendly, and as far as I can tell doesn't actually contain anything dangerous to life. It's just a bunch of nitrate, that I assume would encourage bacteria and other detritavores to grow on stumps and get rid of them naturally. I think, anyway.

I took 10 grams of stump remover, and crushed them up into a fine, white power. It looked pretty bad in the process, but luckily, no one walked in on me. I then dissolved that 10 grams into 1 liter of freshwater, and the resulting solution contained around 6.14 grams of nitrate, or 6,140 PPM of nitrate. By adding 1 ML of that solution per 2 gallons of tank volume, you can raise nitrates in your tank by 0.8 PPM. 

I dosed the 10 gallon with 10 ML of that solution, and theoretically raised my nitrates by 1.6 PPM. I added 5 ML to my 5 gallon betta tank as well, to see how the shrimp and plants in that tank react. I'll test in about an hour to see how much I actually raised things by, and I'd say we'll see results within a week as far as how well this is working.

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