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Enthrol

Struggles of a beginner

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Enthrol
2 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Everything but alk looks good to me.....but 6.6 is concerning (just realized I failed to notice that from the 3/12 post...sorry!!)....it's the reason for the corresponding drop in pH.  Might be contributing to the algae weirdness too.

 

Seems like a water change is going to be needed.....but maybe re-test to make sure of that number if it sounds low compared to what you expected from the last test.  Mg drops too slow to detect in tests right away, but calcium-usage might be detectable -- is calcium still testing at the proper level, or has it dropped as well?

 

If you can, I'd dose the water change water with 0.10 ppm PO4....that way you can pretty much do as big of a water change as you want.

 

What salt are you using BTW?   Wondering what your original alkalinity level was.

Before I started mixing my own water Alk was in the 6.1 range. Day after water change with Red Sea Coral Pro it was 6.9. It fluctuated down to 6.2 over last week and started climbed back up to the current level this week. Oddly enough ph stayed at 8.4 until this test, but I also topped off water a few days ago so maybe that caused the drop.

Anyway the 6.6 Alk is about what I expected.

 

I havent tested calcium and magnesium recently as the levels were stable the week I did test it. Been a week since my last test. I'll test when I get home though.

I dont have my parameter log in front of me but I think Calcium was 360, and Magnesium was 1280 if memory serves.

 

Would doing water changes weekly until parameters are in the correct range be advisable?

I'm fairly certain my mixed water was .10 phos when I made it, but will definitely run a full range of tests on it to see what I should be expecting from new water.

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Enthrol

My memory wasn't awful but not exact.

 

Last test:

Calcium: 390

Magnesium: 1290

 

No change in there parameters today

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Enthrol

So one thing that occurred to me that might be important is the last time I did a water change I vacuumed the bed. I was pretty aggressive with it and churned up more than just the top layer. 
 

Could that release more silica and fuel a diatom outbreak? Granted this was 2 weeks ago now but I've definitely seen pictures of supposed diatom outbreaks that look real similar to what I'm fighting.

 

Also need to talk to my lfs and find out if his F-aiptasia could have leached anything unwanted when I used it. No other users online mentioned problems but always good to follow up.

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Clown79
43 minutes ago, Enthrol said:

So one thing that occurred to me that might be important is the last time I did a water change I vacuumed the bed. I was pretty aggressive with it and churned up more than just the top layer. 
 

Could that release more silica and fuel a diatom outbreak? Granted this was 2 weeks ago now but I've definitely seen pictures of supposed diatom outbreaks that look real similar to what I'm fighting.

 

Also need to talk to my lfs and find out if his F-aiptasia could have leached anything unwanted when I used it. No other users online mentioned problems but always good to follow up.

In a new tank, ya you can get diatoms because it takes a while for the sand to stop releasing any dust if it wasn't washed(I've noticed it even when washed)

 

Diatoms aren't a huge issue though.

 

 

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Enthrol
10 hours ago, Clown79 said:

In a new tank, ya you can get diatoms because it takes a while for the sand to stop releasing any dust if it wasn't washed(I've noticed it even when washed)

 

Diatoms aren't a huge issue though.

 

 

Maybe I'll pick up a silica test if I can find one. I'm not worried about the growth so much as I just want to identify it so I can determine what to do about it.

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Clown79
1 hour ago, Enthrol said:

Maybe I'll pick up a silica test if I can find one. I'm not worried about the growth so much as I just want to identify it so I can determine what to do about it.

I wouldn't.

 

If you ever used tap water that could have added some. New sand is also a culprit.

 

With time it will just dwindle. Diatoms are normal and will go away with the loss of food source.

 

Just do your regular maintenance and have a decent cuc.

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Enthrol
7 hours ago, Clown79 said:

I wouldn't.

 

If you ever used tap water that could have added some. New sand is also a culprit.

 

With time it will just dwindle. Diatoms are normal and will go away with the loss of food source.

 

Just do your regular maintenance and have a decent cuc.

My lfs said the same thing. He'd sell it but really its a waste of money.

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Enthrol
On 3/14/2020 at 5:59 PM, mcarroll said:

What salt are you using BTW?   Wondering what your original alkalinity level was.

Did my water change tonight. Using Red Sea Coral Pro mixed to 1.025 salinty new water parameters were:

Alk: 11.6

Phos: 0.00

Ph: 8.4

Calcium: 490

Magnesium: 1390

 

I'll check my tank tomorrow but I might need to swap to the blue bucket to keep my alk from increasing too high on upcoming water changes. Also good to know that if I'm trying to maintain phosphates I need to dose the new water as it mixes to 0.

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Enthrol

3-16 parameters

ph: 8.0

phos: .16

Nitrate: 0

Alk: 7.6

Calcium: 430

Magnesium: 1350

salinity: 1.025

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billygoat
20 hours ago, Enthrol said:

I'll check my tank tomorrow but I might need to swap to the blue bucket to keep my alk from increasing too high on upcoming water changes. Also good to know that if I'm trying to maintain phosphates I need to dose the new water as it mixes to 0.

I used to use Coral Pro but swapped to blue bucket a few months ago and I have to say I like it a lot better. A target Alk of like 12 dKH seems pretty extreme for everything but frag tanks and other systems that want nothing more than rapid growth out of SPS corals. With blue bucket I am able to perform regular daily dosing without having to account for the minor Alk and Ca swings that accompany water changes.

 

That being said, my tank seemed fine during the year or so that I was using Coral Pro salt. I just had to account for the increased Alk and dose accordingly, which was sort of annoying. I wish I had started with blue bucket from the beginning, but that's how we learn. 🤷‍♂️

 

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Enthrol
3 hours ago, billygoat said:

I used to use Coral Pro but swapped to blue bucket a few months ago and I have to say I like it a lot better. A target Alk of like 12 dKH seems pretty extreme for everything but frag tanks and other systems that want nothing more than rapid growth out of SPS corals. With blue bucket I am able to perform regular daily dosing without having to account for the minor Alk and Ca swings that accompany water changes.

 

That being said, my tank seemed fine during the year or so that I was using Coral Pro salt. I just had to account for the increased Alk and dose accordingly, which was sort of annoying. I wish I had started with blue bucket from the beginning, but that's how we learn. 🤷‍♂️

 

Yeah that's why I'm considering grabbing the blue bucket. Coral Pro has definitely been nice to help me correct low numbers, but think blue bucket will be easier to control long term. I got lucky that I had low numbers to correct or else I'd be looking for advice for dropping them lol

 

If I've done my math right this upcoming water change with coral pro should put my numbers where I want then and then I need to swap before I start raising alk, calc, and/or mag higher than I'm shooting for.

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Enthrol

On a display update:

 

Started using the turkey baster (thank you for that suggestion to buy one @Clown79) to pull out the long slimy strands and deposit them in the filter pad for removal. I'm not sure how successful this will be but it's not growing like it was.

 

I was removing them through syphoning and scrubbing. They returned the next night. Didnt see any regrowth between last night and tonight. Did another pass tonight to grab what I missed before. Will leave it alone a couple days to see what comes back.

 

The GHA has started turning a dark green in more areas and my snails are getting more active. Think @mcarroll suggestion to raise phosphate and do a water change played a good part of that. Hermits are actually out and cleaning too which is a nice change.
 

The GHA has lost its white coloration so I'm assuming its more nutritious for my cuc, who have been mowing it down the last couple days. If this continues I might have to increase photoperiod a bit to keep up with demand. I'd like to be able to get my lights up to 12 hours again, but that might be a long process.

 

Not seeing any more strands with bubbles trapped. Since my phosphate started to trend up those started disappearing, and havent come back in the last 3 days.
 

So all in all I'm cautiously optimistic about the tank's recovery. Learned that a low nutrient system in the very beginning before you've hit that balance of production and consumption can go bad fast.

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Clown79
2 hours ago, Enthrol said:

On a display update:

 

Started using the turkey baster (thank you for that suggestion to buy one @Clown79) to pull out the long slimy strands and deposit them in the filter pad for removal. I'm not sure how successful this will be but it's not growing like it was.

 

I was removing them through syphoning and scrubbing. They returned the next night. Didnt see any regrowth between last night and tonight. Did another pass tonight to grab what I missed before. Will leave it alone a couple days to see what comes back.

 

The GHA has started turning a dark green in more areas and my snails are getting more active. Think @mcarroll suggestion to raise phosphate and do a water change played a good part of that. Hermits are actually out and cleaning too which is a nice change.
 

The GHA has lost its white coloration so I'm assuming its more nutritious for my cuc, who have been mowing it down the last couple days. If this continues I might have to increase photoperiod a bit to keep up with demand. I'd like to be able to get my lights up to 12 hours again, but that might be a long process.

 

Not seeing any more strands with bubbles trapped. Since my phosphate started to trend up those started disappearing, and havent come back in the last 3 days.
 

So all in all I'm cautiously optimistic about the tank's recovery. Learned that a low nutrient system in the very beginning before you've hit that balance of production and consumption can go bad fast.

The strands with bubbles, are they there as soon as lights on or develop and worsen the longer the lights are on?

 

When I had dino's, there was nothing upon lights going on and worsened the longer they were on(common).

 

Every night I took a dedicated container with a filter sock stuffed with floss, sucked up the dino's and ran it through the floss/sock, then returned the water to tank 

 

 I also seeded my tank with a lot of pods and rotifers, dosed phyto. This really helped bring up my phosphates which within a few days, I was sucking up less dino's. After seeding my tank and phyto dosing, a few days later I didn't need to suck out any strands.

 

They started going a white colour and dying off.

 

Did you ever do the jar test to see if it was dino's?

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mcarroll
On 3/15/2020 at 12:58 PM, Enthrol said:

Maybe I'll pick up a silica test if I can find one.

Better to pick up a microscope.  

 

Silica test will only tell you silica levels...which are actually pretty useless to know outside of general curiosity about this one thing.  

 

A microscope will have 100's of uses in and out of the tank...including showing you whether you have diatoms...and even showing you which ones, and which other incidentals your algae patch might be hosting.  You'll be able to see your tank's diversity....or lack of it.  👍

 

You don't need to spend more than $10-$15 to get started with one either -- a $12 eBay 1200x toy scope was my first scope.  But spending $50+ will get you a brand new base-level real scope.  

 

Checking second-hand stores and craigslist are great options too....I ended up getting a base-level scope (Lasko LM400) for $10 this way.

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Enthrol
15 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The strands with bubbles, are they there as soon as lights on or develop and worsen the longer the lights are on?

 

When I had dino's, there was nothing upon lights going on and worsened the longer they were on(common).

 

Every night I took a dedicated container with a filter sock stuffed with floss, sucked up the dino's and ran it through the floss/sock, then returned the water to tank 

 

 I also seeded my tank with a lot of pods and rotifers, dosed phyto. This really helped bring up my phosphates which within a few days, I was sucking up less dino's. After seeding my tank and phyto dosing, a few days later I didn't need to suck out any strands.

 

They started going a white colour and dying off.

 

Did you ever do the jar test to see if it was dino's?

I dont remember them changing based on lighting, but I didnt really check either. 

I didnt do a jar test and there's none left to test now, but I'll definitely keep that in mind if they come back.

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Enthrol
13 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Better to pick up a microscope.  

 

Silica test will only tell you silica levels...which are actually pretty useless to know outside of general curiosity about this one thing.  

 

A microscope will have 100's of uses in and out of the tank...including showing you whether you have diatoms...and even showing you which ones, and which other incidentals your algae patch might be hosting.  You'll be able to see your tank's diversity....or lack of it.  👍

 

You don't need to spend more than $10-$15 to get started with one either -- a $12 eBay 1200x toy scope was my first scope.  But spending $50+ will get you a brand new base-level real scope.  

 

Checking second-hand stores and craigslist are great options too....I ended up getting a base-level scope (Lasko LM400) for $10 this way.

I already passed on the silica test at Clown and my lfs' suggestion. I'm still looking for a microscope I want to spend the money on.

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Clown79
44 minutes ago, Enthrol said:

I dont remember them changing based on lighting, but I didnt really check either. 

I didnt do a jar test and there's none left to test now, but I'll definitely keep that in mind if they come back.

You can test the water. That's how you do it.

 

You filter water into a jar passing through paper towel, floss, or filter sock 

 

Close the jar, shake it, and leave it in ambient light.

 

There should be only water in the jar. If within 4-24hrs there are strands- its dino. Dino's can reform chains whereas other algaes don't

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Enthrol

New pictures:

 

AEE8AAF3-45F8-4DF0-811E-111E94407DB0.jpeg

C74FA40E-8CBA-4949-8668-0DB79B595601.jpeg

1DDE457D-5107-455E-A2E3-D94C1DB36236.jpeg

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Enthrol
3 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

You can test the water. That's how you do it.

 

You filter water into a jar passing through paper towel, floss, or filter sock 

 

Close the jar, shake it, and leave it in ambient light.

 

There should be only water in the jar. If within 4-24hrs there are strands- its dino. Dino's can reform chains whereas other algaes don't

Thanks for the run down! 

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Enthrol

3/18 check up:

 

Parameters are off compared to last check, some more than others:

ph: 8.0 (same)

Alk: 7.9 (.3 increase)

phos: .17 (.1 increase)

nitrate: 0 (but starting to get more yellow, I'd guess .5 if pressured)

Calcium: 430 (same)

Magnesium: 1350 (same)

 

Overall tank is looking better everyday. There are larger and larger patches of bare rock. Now I just have to get into the habit of blowing detritus off my rocks until I pick up something to clean it for me. The snails and hermits seem drawn more toward the algae than anything.

 

I've noticed some bubble algae starting up, so might need to grab an emerald crab to deal with that. I've heard that other than manually removing them emerald crab are the best way to deal with it, and I like the way emeralds look so win-win.

 

Now that my tank is looking cleaner I'm starting to look for my next addition. I'm thinking either pink streaked wrasse or tail spot blenny. I'm also considering a blue and gold blenny but undecided on which blenny I like more. Anyone have any suggestions/opinions on next occupant? 
 

I'm also playing with positions for my aquamai kps. I'm seeing some low flow points I didnt have before I changed my scape. Can't seem to find a good place for it. If I can fit it I'm going to see if placing it behind the rocks and blowing toward the front helps. If not I might need to looking into either using a different wavemaker or getting a lower turn over powerhead to work with it. 

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Enthrol

@mcarroll

 

Edit: Nevermind I'm just stupid. Obviously there's an internal temp sensor that turns it on and off. I happened to catch it at the right time. Just took forever to warm up originally.

 

A few weeks ago you mentioned I should consider running lower wattage heaters instead of my current set up.

 

Finances blah, blah, blah, I have 2 50 watts now.

 

I'm trying to ensure they are set correctly by heating a 5 gallon bucket of water. I have 1 running right now but wasnt seeing a change in temp over the course of an hour. Added a circ pump thinking that the water immediately around the heater was making it shut off without flow to push in cooler water.

 

I'm still only getting a temperature of 79.3. Circ pump is going, heater is set to 81, ambient temp is 72, and its been 3 hours. I'm aiming for 80 deg to combat temp swings in the tank due to outside temperature raising. Just turned the heater up more and its not hot to the touch.
 

Am I doing something wrong? I can't see even 2 50 watt heaters keeping my tank's 25 gallons of water heated otherwise.


Maybe I just caught it at the right time and the internal temp sensor had just turned it on?

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Enthrol

When its discussed about the turn over rate for a wavemaker needing to be between 10-20x, how is this figured in an aio? Total water volume or dt water volume?

 

Looking at my settings for the kps its set to 35% constant flow for the most part.

 

That'd give me 14.7x turnover on total water volume and 18.4x on dt, assuming constant flow uses the full 1050 gph to set that 35%. Both are in the 10-20x range but depending on how those turnover rate numbers are meant could change how much wiggle room I have.

 

Also is it even worth it to worry about turn over rate or just focus on whether or not my tank inhabitants are being pushed around while trying to eliminate dead spots?

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mcarroll

Phos and nitrates are good IMO.   

 

19 hours ago, Enthrol said:

I've noticed some bubble algae starting up, so might need to grab an emerald crab to deal with that. I've heard that other than manually removing them emerald crab are the best way to deal with it, and I like the way emeralds look so win-win.

I'd use your hands to carefully pinch it out unless there's A LOT of it.  In that case (still pinch out as much as you can, just as if it were hair algae in that video I linked) a Mithrax/Emerald may help.   (I try hard NOT to add crabs to a tank unless they're necessary.)

 

19 hours ago, Enthrol said:

Now that my tank is looking cleaner I'm starting to look for my next addition.

No suggestions on which fish (all the ones you named sound cool), but maybe give it a few more weeks to get algae control before adding any more bio-load.

 

19 hours ago, Enthrol said:

I'm also playing with positions for my aquamai kps.

Keep trying, but remember that it takes at least two pumps in almost every tank to get good flow.   One will inevitably leave dead spots.  Dead spots could more properly be thought of as "flow shadows"....every hard surface in the tank will create one.  

 

Two pumps will overlap in opposite directions (in most case) and will prevent any permanent dead spots.

 

19 hours ago, Enthrol said:

I'm trying to ensure they are set correctly by heating a 5 gallon bucket of water.

You'd have to install it at the bottom of the bucket so the warmer water around the heater would naturally be displaced by colder, denser water from above.  But then you still have an artificial test...you don't know it'll be the same in your tank.

 

Install in the tank somewhere.  Ideally in their final spaces.  Set the old heaters at least a couple degrees lower.  

 

If the new heaters are set up and working correctly, you shouldn't see the old ones turn on.  If you do, the new heaters need some help.....either more watts, different placement, something.

 

18 hours ago, Enthrol said:

When its discussed about the turn over rate for a wavemaker needing to be between 10-20x, how is this figured in an aio?

 

"Turnover" in tank flow correlates more with the type of pump you use than the size of tank.  Pumps with VERY weak flow (most "extra wide flow" pumps, e.g. EcoTech) will require a VERY high turnover rate compared with pumps that deliver stronger flow.

 

 

A different measurement for these pumps that isn't based on GPH would be very helpful.  (But doesn't exist as far as I know...there's no standard or tradition for measuring flow velocity of these pumps.  Akin to the pressure rating of a transfer pump/utility pump.)

 

18 hours ago, Enthrol said:

Also is it even worth it to worry about turn over rate or just focus on whether or not my tank inhabitants are being pushed around while trying to eliminate dead spots?

This.   Trust that instinct.  👍

 

Use a little flake food so you can visualize the flow around the tank.  (Take a move so you can re-watch it.)

 

Assuming you have a randomly-sized reef-sand substrate, I like for the flow to be able to tumble a few sand grains....but not enough to move around the sand bed.  You want it to be able to lift food and detritus particles to keep them afloat, not let them sink into the rocks and into the sand, after all.

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Clown79

Your temp at 79, is perfectly fine.

 

You're focusing more on certain numbers than stability.

 

If the kps is set at 35%, that would not be the full gph of the pump. 100% would be.

 

Overall water volume.

 

You return pump should be 7- 10x's turnover.

 

It's really just a guideline.

 

I have only 1 kps in my 25g plus my return pump and rfg nozzles. Believe me- its plenty of flow, if anything I have had to turn down things or my corals get really pissed.

 

In my 10g and 20g, I run no powerhead in the tank. Just the return and rfg nozzles.

 

The flow was perfect and plenty in the 10g and 20g.

 

Remember- there are many ways to run a reef tank.

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Enthrol
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

No suggestions on which fish (all the ones you named sound cool), but maybe give it a few more weeks to get algae control before adding any more bio-load.

When you say "algae control" what am I looking for?

 

Yeah the circ pump in the bucket helped and let the water warm to about where I want it. I'll install them during the next clean up when I'm due to clean all the equipment.

 

I'm going to try bumping up the power on my kps. I'm noticing that the areas with better flow are growing gha faster and thicker. Not sure if that's just confirmation bias though.

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