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2clownfish

Lots of questions on Tank TakeOver

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2clownfish

Hi- I'm new to this forum.  I had a nano reef tank 20 years ago and it flourished - we were constantly having to sell frags because they grew so fast!

I just bought a set-up from someone that was moving.  Things have changed so much in 20 yrs in the hobby!  I have 3 questions I'm hoping to get answers about so I don't mess anything up.  I got the tank in January and the coral are growing / spreading and the 2 clowns haven't died.  It is a 10 gal fusion nano with nemo light and chaeto for filtration with powerhead and barebottom- no substrate.  I add BRS 2 part everyday and weekly water change 25%.  Parameters are all right on (from what I can tell).  Cleaning crew are various snails (don't know what kind), blue leg crab and 2 red legs, tiny red brittle star.   The photo is from Feb.  My camera doesn't take very good photos - the tank has much more color than it shows.

 

The previous owner did not do much to the tank- He said it was maintenance free - he let the chaeto do the work.  I like doing the weekly water changes.  Will this be okay with the chaeto? I'm leaving the chaeto light on about 15 hrs/day.   I've had some brown filmy type algae with some string algae that I've been trying to get rid of.  I started using a bit of the chemi-pure elite in back filter and it has helped a little - it's not getting any worse, but some of it just does not seem to want to go away. The coralline now seems like it is growing at a faster rate than the algae.   I also probably feed corals and fish more frequently than the previous owner did.

 

My next question is about the bb -  I've tried to read online to see what is recommended and it seems to be split.  He has a white board on the bottom that has some coralline and some of the brown fuzzy algae.  I'm thinking of removing the board and adding in a Carib Sea aragonite crushed coral/sand substrate.  I think it is what we used 20 yrs ago.  The tank is tight with not lots of vacuuming room around the rocks.  Do you think adding the sand will be a problem, keeping the detritus out and able to keep it clean?  or will it help if the beneficial bacteria can grow in it?

 

Last is about dividing up some of my coral that are getting really big.  I have some Trumpet/candy cane and a Duncan that are outgrowing their space.  Can I cut them in the tank or do I need to remove the rock from the tank - maybe use my bucket of saltwater from the water change and place rock in bucket to divide.  I've divided the stylos, and the leather corals and polyps, but I've never divided these other 2.  

 

any info on these 3 questions would be greatly appreciated.  

 

 

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Clown79

Hello and welcome.

 

For the algae, it's hard to determine what it is with just description. 

 

What are your nitrates and phosphates at?

 

As for waterchanges, depends on the need of the tank. I no longer do weekly waterchanges on mine because my nutrient levels run far too low or none existant(not beneficial) so everyones tanks needs are different.

 

Chaeto needs nutrients to keep growing and so do corals. So waterchange schedule will be dependent on need, same as dosing.

 

 

Crushed coral is no longer advised to use as it traps detritus. Most use a sand that they can keep clean with snails and vacuuming but barebottom is just as fine but still needs snails and vacuuming to remove detritus

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Tired

Water changes are to remove excess nitrates/phosphates, and to replace calcium, magnesium, and so on. If all the levels are good, don't change the water. If you really want to do weekly water changes, you could always feed a bit more. 

 

Dividing soft corals is best done outside the tank, as they can release various unpleasant things when stressed.

 

Detritus on the sand is generally handled by good flow, cleanup crew, and maybe some squirting with a turkey baster during water changes. It's not really any different than detritus on the bottom. 

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NoOneLikesADryTang

Both Trumpets and Duncans have a hard skeleton. It'll be easier for you to frag them, if you remove them from the tank, and get them to close up, so you can really see their skeleton to decide where the best place to frag is at. 

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2clownfish

Thanks for all the input!  

From all the research I've done - I think the algae is dinoflagellates.  Every time I've tested the water - Nitrates =0 & Phosphates= 0 - .2 (very minimal).

It makes sense about the water change needs varying for each tank.   I should probably continue though until I get the algae under control.  I guess I am not sure if the algae I have is normal or not.  Just about everyday I have to wipe the glass because there are reddish-brown long strings that are coming from little dots of algae on the glass - they're not everywhere, but I'd prefer them not to be in the tank.  

 

I'm leaning towards keeping the barebottom, instead of replacing with the sand.  I forgot to ask this question - if I do switch to a sand substrate, will it cause an ammonia spike as it cycles?  or even switching out one of my live rocks to a new piece of rock- does it cause parameter changes that I'd need to watch out for?

 

I was hoping to not have to remove the rock with the duncan and trumpet - it's a large rock and on the bottom. But, I'd rather do it the right way and I don't want to risk the corals releasing toxins into the tank.

 

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Clown79
6 minutes ago, 2clownfish said:

Thanks for all the input!  

From all the research I've done - I think the algae is dinoflagellates.  Every time I've tested the water - Nitrates =0 & Phosphates= 0 - .2 (very minimal).

It makes sense about the water change needs varying for each tank.   I should probably continue though until I get the algae under control.  I guess I am not sure if the algae I have is normal or not.  Just about everyday I have to wipe the glass because there are reddish-brown long strings that are coming from little dots of algae on the glass - they're not everywhere, but I'd prefer them not to be in the tank.  

 

I'm leaning towards keeping the barebottom, instead of replacing with the sand.  I forgot to ask this question - if I do switch to a sand substrate, will it cause an ammonia spike as it cycles?  or even switching out one of my live rocks to a new piece of rock- does it cause parameter changes that I'd need to watch out for?

 

I was hoping to not have to remove the rock with the duncan and trumpet - it's a large rock and on the bottom. But, I'd rather do it the right way and I don't want to risk the corals releasing toxins into the tank.

 

If its dino's, the last thing you want to do is waterchanges, it just makes them worse.

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2clownfish

How would I know for sure if it is?  I do know my cleanup crew doesn't seem interested in it at all.  It won't harm the corals or fish, right?

Do you know best way to get rid of it?   Why would water changes make it worse?  sorry for all the questions :mellow:

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Clown79
30 minutes ago, 2clownfish said:

How would I know for sure if it is?  I do know my cleanup crew doesn't seem interested in it at all.  It won't harm the corals or fish, right?

Do you know best way to get rid of it?   Why would water changes make it worse?  sorry for all the questions :mellow:

Proper dino confirmation requires a microscope, the jar test can tell you its dino's but not the strain.

 

Dino's thrive in low to no nutrients and low biodiversity environments. They love new water, vitamins, and the lack of competition, it their perfect environment.

 

Doing waterchanges makes them multiply as you are further cleaning an already sterile environment. Dino's aren't caused from high nutrients so waterchanges just help encourage their growth.

 

 

 

I detailed my full process in my lagoon journal on what I did after weeks of researching

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2clownfish

Ok- great info.  I'm going to do the jar test to see.  I did have some red slime(what I thought as being cyano) right away when I took over the tank, and  before this reddish/brown film started taking over.  

I've added a photo and you can see some of the brown spots on the rocks-this was taken a month ago and has gotten worse since.  Photo was at night with the flash on,so it's not the best. 

IMG_2950.JPG

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Clown79

I don't really see any algae.

 

Have you tested nitrate and phos?

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2clownfish

Yes,  just tested nitrates and phosphates = both 0.  I added 2 pics - in the first one you can see the strings forming from the dots of algae on the glass.(towards left side).

 

This is very interesting info.  At night, bubbles have been forming on the rocks or wherever the algae appears and they start rising to the surface.  Then along the edge at the top I can wipe the residue from the collected bubbles off.  Another strange thing that never occurred when I had my tank 20 yrs ago...   So, I am making my batches of saltwater up in a 5 gallon bucket and it will last me about 2 water changes.  I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals (this is the brand I had used before).  I use Aquatic Life RODI system to filter our well water.   The first batch of saltwater I use seems clear and clean when I go to use it, but then by the second water change with that same batch there is brown stuff at the bottom and sort of a film on the bottom of the bucket.  Do you think the dinos are coming from the bucket?  I rinse the bucket out between batches, but maybe it's still not completely coming off.   I don't remember our saltmixing bucket ever getting brown stuff or orangey-brown film on the bottom,  It would develop a salt-like crust on the bottom- nothing like this.  It's very, very strange.

 

I'm doing the jar test now.  I may try to locate a microscope too.  I really want to know what this is.

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Clown79
15 minutes ago, 2clownfish said:

Yes,  just tested nitrates and phosphates = both 0.  I added 2 pics - in the first one you can see the strings forming from the dots of algae on the glass.(towards left side).

 

This is very interesting info.  At night, bubbles have been forming on the rocks or wherever the algae appears and they start rising to the surface.  Then along the edge at the top I can wipe the residue from the collected bubbles off.  Another strange thing that never occurred when I had my tank 20 yrs ago...   So, I am making my batches of saltwater up in a 5 gallon bucket and it will last me about 2 water changes.  I use Instant Ocean Reef Crystals (this is the brand I had used before).  I use Aquatic Life RODI system to filter our well water.   The first batch of saltwater I use seems clear and clean when I go to use it, but then by the second water change with that same batch there is brown stuff at the bottom and sort of a film on the bottom of the bucket.  Do you think the dinos are coming from the bucket?  I rinse the bucket out between batches, but maybe it's still not completely coming off.   I don't remember our saltmixing bucket ever getting brown stuff or orangey-brown film on the bottom,  It would develop a salt-like crust on the bottom- nothing like this.  It's very, very strange.

 

I'm doing the jar test now.  I may try to locate a microscope too.  I really want to know what this is.

IMG_3324.JPG

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That residue on the bucket is common, it's from the binders used in the salt.

 

 

The dino's are from the lack of nutrients in the tank. That is the main cause of dino's coming out of dormancy. Dino's are always in your tank and ocean, part of the natural ecosystem.

 

They become a problem when the system provides the conditions they flourish in- low to no nutrient systems(sterile)

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2clownfish

Thank you Clown79 for all of your input on this!   A little more background info-  when I picked up the tank from the previous owner - a lot of the coralline had died or something because the photos he showed in the listing had shown much more.  Also, there was definitely green hairy algae covering much of the open rock areas.  So, I was trying to remove as much of that as I could in the beginning.  As soon as that started getting under control, it was a problem with the red slime attaching to rock and coral (stylos and digitata), almost a maroon/purple color (cyano I think).  That's when I added the chemipure elite in a small bag in back - only about 2 tablespoons and have changed it out twice.  From the beginning though I have had 0 nitrates or phosphates and all the other parameters seem to be right where they should be.  calcium (380) Magnesium(1360)- these 2 are the only ones that seem a bit low.  

 

 

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Clown79
12 minutes ago, 2clownfish said:

Thank you Clown79 for all of your input on this!   A little more background info-  when I picked up the tank from the previous owner - a lot of the coralline had died or something because the photos he showed in the listing had shown much more.  Also, there was definitely green hairy algae covering much of the open rock areas.  So, I was trying to remove as much of that as I could in the beginning.  As soon as that started getting under control, it was a problem with the red slime attaching to rock and coral (stylos and digitata), almost a maroon/purple color (cyano I think).  That's when I added the chemipure elite in a small bag in back - only about 2 tablespoons and have changed it out twice.  From the beginning though I have had 0 nitrates or phosphates and all the other parameters seem to be right where they should be.  calcium (380) Magnesium(1360)- these 2 are the only ones that seem a bit low.  

 

 

Chemipure has a phosphate reducer in it so that can easily strip any available phos.

 

 

If you have chaeto, that uses both nitrates and phos so will also reduce both.

 

If you have dino's, you need to get a plan going to increase nutrient levels and biodiversity.

 

Some strains of dino can effect both corals and fish, even humans.

 

Are you testing alk? That's super important.

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Tired

Start feeding more. You need to get nitrates and phosphates up, and the best way to do that is to remove whatever's consuming it, reduce water changes, and feed more. You might see other algae start growing- if so, add more snails, and keep going. You want to have biodiversity, and that includes an assortment of algaes, which will outcompete each other (preventing an infestation of any 1 type) and feed the biodiversity. 

 

Go up to the tank at night with a flashlight, preferably a red lens light. See what's crawling around in there. Hopefully you'll see lots of bugs. 

 

Remove most of the chaeto. Keep a smidge of it- pods will grow in it, and that way you'll have some for if you ever need chaeto again. But right now, it's mostly sucking up the nutrients that the rest of the tank needs.

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2clownfish

My alk has been testing between 7-8  (depending on what time of day I test)  I usually add the 2 part alk/ calcium at night ( I don't have an auto doser).  Is adding at night okay or should I be doing this in the morning?

Did the jar test and right away some  reconfigured.  I attached a pic taken from after 1 hour.  So, is it def dinos?  

I removed my bag of carbon/chemipure from back.  I will take out more of the chaeto.  Do you think to leave just about the size of a large egg?

I will begin feeding more - the clowns and crabs will be happy about this!

Anything else you might recommend me to do?

 

IMG_3339.JPG

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Clown79
1 hour ago, 2clownfish said:

My alk has been testing between 7-8  (depending on what time of day I test)  I usually add the 2 part alk/ calcium at night ( I don't have an auto doser).  Is adding at night okay or should I be doing this in the morning?

Did the jar test and right away some  reconfigured.  I attached a pic taken from after 1 hour.  So, is it def dinos?  

I removed my bag of carbon/chemipure from back.  I will take out more of the chaeto.  Do you think to leave just about the size of a large egg?

I will begin feeding more - the clowns and crabs will be happy about this!

Anything else you might recommend me to do?

 

IMG_3339.JPG

Dino's are the only algae that regroup so by this I would say its dino's.

 

You need to run regular carbon to reduce any toxins from the dino and it needs changing weekly.

 

Take a look at my lagoon journal, I documented the steps I took to get rid of dino's- it's far too detailed to rewrite

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2clownfish

Ok- I finally found your lagoon journal where you described the steps you used for getting rid of dino's.  I'm glad to hear that you were able to fix yours with minimal loss. I know any loss is hard though.  I guess I've only lost 2 crabs, but they actually may have been fighting over shells or possibly for food.  I really don't think the dino's in my tank are the super dangerous/fatal ones because I haven't lost any corals or snails and the corals are actually doing great right now and spreading / growing very quickly.  So I started feeding more and I removed gfo.  I also took out about 1/2 my chaeto.   I'll check my nitrate and phosphates every couple days to see if any improvements.  I'll hold off on water changes till levels are more detectable.  I'm also going to look into getting some copepods/biodiversity.

I'll post updates. 

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Clown79
1 hour ago, 2clownfish said:

Ok- I finally found your lagoon journal where you described the steps you used for getting rid of dino's.  I'm glad to hear that you were able to fix yours with minimal loss. I know any loss is hard though.  I guess I've only lost 2 crabs, but they actually may have been fighting over shells or possibly for food.  I really don't think the dino's in my tank are the super dangerous/fatal ones because I haven't lost any corals or snails and the corals are actually doing great right now and spreading / growing very quickly.  So I started feeding more and I removed gfo.  I also took out about 1/2 my chaeto.   I'll check my nitrate and phosphates every couple days to see if any improvements.  I'll hold off on water changes till levels are more detectable.  I'm also going to look into getting some copepods/biodiversity.

I'll post updates. 

I never lost any snails, fish, or crabs but I did have osteo dino's which is the worst dino's(the only way to confirm what dino's you have is with microscope)

 

The corals I lost weren't from dino's but from another parasite. 

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