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Chris O

Want to Upgrade but need to solve issues

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Chris O

Hi All,


I may be criticized for my methods here but I really need some help.


I came over from freshwater tanks in the fall to start my first 10g nanoreef (approx. 9 months ago). It's had it's ups and downs, but I really like it and want to upgrade. My current setup is:


10g aqeon tank

HOB Seachem Tidal 55 (with sponge, matrix, and phosguard pad)

AI Prime

50w heater

Hydor Koralia powehead (240gph)

Cobalt Micro UV sterlilizer


I want to upgrade to an IM 20 Fusion Pro but I have yet to master the 10g tank. I seem to have a constant battle with algae that never ends. Once a week a spend 1-2 hours with a turkey baster blowing off purple algae (cyano?) and sucking it off the sand bed (with some sand too) during my 30% water changes. I also have to constantly blow off my GSP (which is recovering from a temperature/equipment failure) maybe twice a week. I'm learning a lot as I go and it's been a little rocky since I jumped head first but 4 weeks ago I switched to RODI but no improvements, it still seems to be the same issue. My current parameters are:

PH: 8.4

0 Nitrite

0 Nitrate

.25 Ammonia

420 Calc

6 Alk (low, I know. I can't get it to stay higher for some reason)

Phosphates: 0

1.027 salinity

77 degree water

AI Prime running for approx. 11 hours. 3 of which are at its max for the day. Posting pic of schedule below. The levels are what it looks like during peak hours.


High Range PH, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia all measured using API Freshwater Master Kit. Other measurements are using API kits as well.

If I move to the 20g I would think about seeding dry rock with the rock I have now, but I don't want to "infect" the new tank with the algae and problems I have now. Any advice? I'm thinking the HOB filter is causing issues with the sponge catching detritus but nitrates are reading 0 so I'm not entirely sure that's the issue. I completely washout the sponge and filter every 3 weeks or so (future tank I plan on filter floss so I can just replace easily every week). Thanks in advanced.




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Algae issues can be caused by  too much nutrients to even a lack of nutrients.


a lack of flow can cause issues. Try increasing the flow. 


There is nothing wrong with the set up, there are hobbyists with wonderful tanks that are run with filters, the filter is really just a place to run water through media.


The 2 things I would change is the sponge, these are traps, even when washed regularly. My very first tank I used a sponge in my filter and once I moved to filter floss(changed twice a week), things improved greatly.


Sponges are great for FW tanks because they are used for biological filtration, SW has liverock for that.


Floss simply traps large particles and replaced regularly with a new piece, prevents any issues. You can cut this to size it place it in the filter.


I wouldn't use phosphate reducers when your readings are 0.


When I used an hob, during every water change I used my Turkey baster to remove detritus from the hob.


Reducing your white led will help reduce the algae.


I would suck out the cyano with a Turkey baster, don't blast it, this will further help spread the cyano.


If you were using tap water, it will take time to recover from the effects it has had.

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Cyano is almost always a problem with excessive organics (usually trapped in the substrate).  Maintenance is often the solution.  As Clown79 suggested, more flow might help keep detritus in suspension longer so that it can be removed by filter floss.  Activated carbon can also help adsorb dissolved organics in the water.


This might even help with your hair algae.  However, I'd manually remove as much as I could, then I'd probably add more herbivorous snails.

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Here's my thoughts and recommendations...


You need more water flow. Either replace your Hydor Koralia 240 with something that moves more water or add a second wavemaker to compensate. 


Your phosphates are likely not zero. The cyanobacteria and other algae are absorbing all of it from the water column. The API phosphate kit is a great kit for freshwater, not so much for saltwater. It simply doesn't read low enough to be an effective tool. Your phosphate ideally should be between 0.07 - 0.15. 


Manually siphon every bit of cyano that you can during a water change. You can also siphon it into a filter sock in a bucket and pour the water back into your tank. 


If you're not afraid to use chemicals, Chemiclean is very effective. You will need an air pump to provide oxygen to the tank while treating. If you increase flow, manually siphon, and keep your phosphates low (not zero), it should subside on its own without the need for chemicals. 


Here's a good article on how to determine if what you have is actually cyano or red spirulina. https://octoaquatics.com/red-slime-how-to-identify-and-treat/

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Chris O

Thank you all for the advice. I will make the noted changes and keep you all posted on how things turn out!

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I'd also turn down your red and green on your prime as well as the whites. I was constantly battling algae problems on my 29g and turning down green/red/white channels really helped. Get your flow up as others have mentioned. 

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