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Llorgon

Not having success

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Llorgon

As the title says, I am relatively new to reefing, but I have not been having much success with corals or my tanks in general. Fish I can keep alive, but corals seem to do well for a few months then slowly die off.

 

Looking for some advice on how to get my tank back on track.

 

I have been reefing for 3 years.
 
First tank(10 gal)
Had some success for a few months corals were growing, minimal algae. Then corals started going downhill and algae took over. I later learned that I had to be dosing alk, cal and mag.
 
Second tank(75 gal)
Had some success for a few months, good coral growth. Then a power head melted in the tank and killed everything. All fish, snails, corals everything.
 
Second tank.2 
Restart of the 75 gallon started well. Corals were doing well. I was seeing growth with lps and sps. Then slowly all the growth stopped and corals would go downhill even with parameters in check. I ended up with dinos then gha after getting past dinos. Tank was shut down when I moved.
 
Current tank(IM 25)
I'm seeing the same problems with my current tank. Gha is taking over and corals are not as happy as they once were. All growth of the corals seems to have stopped.
 
A little about the tank
  • IM 25
  • 4 fish
  • A few snails and about 3 hermits. I need more cuc, but it's been tough to get some here.
  • Sicce 1.5 return pump
  • Ghost protein skimmer
  • Mp10 - 80% max reef crest mode
  • Radio xr 30 - on 9am off 9pm, 30% intensity LPS mode. I think I need to bump the intensity. I bought a seneye with par meter and some of the readings were pretty low. Not sure what I should be aiming for in a lps tank.
  • 15lbs rock
 
Tank params are:
Salinity: 1.025
Temp: 79
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 0.012
Alkalinity: 8.4
Calcium: 450
Magnesium: 1350
 
Dosing/husbandry
  • Not dosing any elements. Params stay in check with water changes
  • 5 gal weekly water changes
  • Remove rocks and scrub in removed tank water during water change
 
Feeding
  • 1/4 cube various frozen foods every other day.
  • Sometimes flake/pellets instead of frozen
  • Occasionally feed corals, but a lot of it gets eaten by the fish before the corals finish.

 

I seem to be able to keep fish alive no problem, but corals do well for the first few months and then just start to fade away. For example, Got my duncan in Jan as a one head frag, grew to 6 heads, but has been closed up since march. Just up and closed up one day and no matter what I have tried it doesn't open back up.

Things I am trying/considering/have tried

Tank is near a window, got extra dark limo tint to block more light than the blinds block. That was about a month and a half ago, no change to algae.
Cut down on feeding from 1/4 cube frozen every day to every other day. Did that about 4 months ago.
Tried Vibrant with no change in algae or coral health
Tried vodka dosing - got nutrients down, but no change in algae or coral health
Tried waste away - same thing
Made a DIY algae scrubber that hangs on the side of the tank. Only up and running last night, but hoping that helps at least with the algae.
Looking into adding an external refugium and adding some live rock from an established tank and seeding it with pods.
Might just seed the tank with pods from Copepods Canada without the refugium. I don't have any fish that will specifically target pods.

 

If someone could help me have a tank to be proud of. I would be so happy!

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sublunary

The first thing that jumps out at me is your removing the rocks to scrub with every water change.  That's typically something people will do once or twice to deal with a persistent algae, but not all the time .  It would upset any corals on that rock.  I didn't seeention of a sandbed, but moving the rocks could also kick up nastiness in the sand. 

 

What kind of fish do you have? What kind of snails?

 

Are you doing manual removal of the algae?  The snails can't eat long strands of GHA, but can usually handle new growth if you pull out as much as you can. 

 

What is your water source? Did you start with dry or live rock?

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Clown79

The first thing i see is the repeated removal of rocks for scrubbing. This is generally done only with a major algae outbreak where rocks are extremely covered in gha.

 

Otherwise removing all the rocks every waterchange could be causing issues because you are disturbing the sand under/around them which can lead to the release of many nasty things.

 

Second thing, lack of nutrients. 0 nitrates is not optimal and phos at 0.012 is pretty low.

 

Your corals need both nitrates and phos.

 

With your alk, have you tested it daily or every other day to see daily consumption? When alk starts getting used daily, especially significant amounts and not replenished daily this will lead to problems.

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paulsz

From what others have preached in the past (based off what I've read because I have a similar problem as you), Nitrates and phosphates shouldn't be 0. You can can up your nitrates to 5, even 10. Phosphates to 0.03, up to 0.1. 

 

How old is the tank? And roughly how many snails?

 

edit: Also, did you use live rock or dry rock?

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Quins

What kind of fish do you have? What kind of snails?

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Llorgon
16 hours ago, sublunary said:

The first thing that jumps out at me is your removing the rocks to scrub with every water change.  That's typically something people will do once or twice to deal with a persistent algae, but not all the time .  It would upset any corals on that rock.  I didn't seeention of a sandbed, but moving the rocks could also kick up nastiness in the sand. 

 

What kind of fish do you have? What kind of snails?

 

Are you doing manual removal of the algae?  The snails can't eat long strands of GHA, but can usually handle new growth if you pull out as much as you can. 

 

What is your water source? Did you start with dry or live rock?

There is a sandbed.

Fish are 2 clowns
1 royal gramma
1 juvie yellow tang(my stand for my 75 gallon broke in my move in dec. Been making a new one so this is a temp tank for the tang)

CUC
3 hermits
1 or 2 cerith
1 or 2 astrea.
I have been trying to get more for months, but with covid places aren't shipping livestock. And the only stores near me are almost always out of stock.

I am doing manual removal, but so far I'm not making much of a dent. I am hoping the algae scrubber + manual removal will help me get on top of it.

Water source is RO/DI, started with dry rock.

15 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The first thing i see is the repeated removal of rocks for scrubbing. This is generally done only with a major algae outbreak where rocks are extremely covered in gha.

 

Otherwise removing all the rocks every waterchange could be causing issues because you are disturbing the sand under/around them which can lead to the release of many nasty things.

 

Second thing, lack of nutrients. 0 nitrates is not optimal and phos at 0.012 is pretty low.

 

Your corals need both nitrates and phos.

 

With your alk, have you tested it daily or every other day to see daily consumption? When alk starts getting used daily, especially significant amounts and not replenished daily this will lead to problems.

The scrubbing the rocks was suggested to me in another forum when I was asking about the algae problem. I don't do all the rocks at once. Some one week the others the next. They get pretty covered in gha...

I don't think the nutrients are actually that low since gha is growing pretty well. But I agree when they were higher the corals looked better, but I couldn't(still can't) control the algae growth.

I have not tested daily. I actually just switched from reef crystals to fritz RPM. With the reef crystals it always stayed high just with water changes. When I tested the water it was before my weekly water change. I will do another test and see what it's at.

14 hours ago, paulsz said:

From what others have preached in the past (based off what I've read because I have a similar problem as you), Nitrates and phosphates shouldn't be 0. You can can up your nitrates to 5, even 10. Phosphates to 0.03, up to 0.1. 

 

How old is the tank? And roughly how many snails?

 

edit: Also, did you use live rock or dry rock?

I find it hard to keep nutrients at those levels and not have crazy algae issues. Any tips on keeping that in check. I know I need more CUC.

 

Tank was started in December with dry rock.

3 hours ago, Quins said:

What kind of fish do you have? What kind of snails?

Fish are 2 clowns
1 royal gramma
1 juvie yellow tang(my stand for my 75 gallon broke in my move in dec. Been making a new one so this is a temp tank for the tang)

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paulsz
7 minutes ago, Llorgon said:

Tank was started in December with dry rock.

 

This could impact it a bit. Dry rock takes some time to develop the bacteria. You just gotta give it time.  Raising nitrates and phopshates will cause some algae to grow, but that's what the snails are for. Eventually as the tank matures, you'll notice less algae growing overall. I'm guessing the microorganisms do their part, and the snails eat their share as well. 

 

edit: I started a tank with live rock in April. Was nice and "established" live rock from some guy's tank. Even then I had a GHA bloom that lasted a good two months. And it was quite a bloom. Huge strands all over. Only a  couple of weeks ago did things settle, even though my phosphates are still high (0.2ppm or so) and nitrates between 10ppm.  

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Tamberav

Can we get a photo of the problem? 

 

Do you clean the sand bed? Do you use a turkey baster to free the rock from debris?

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Llorgon

Turkey baste the rocks every so often, but not on a regular basis.

 

Was cleaning the sand weekly, but it was suggested in another forum to just leave it be.

DSC_0210.JPG

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Tamberav

If you leave the sand alone, it will be a problem. All the debris settles there and is a ticking time bomb. I have found debris to be the cause of algae more so than nutrients. Tangs are big poopers and will likely leave lots of fertilizer in you sand that needs to be attended to. 

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Clown79
2 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

If you leave the sand alone, it will be a problem. All the debris settles there and is a ticking time bomb. I have found debris to be the cause of algae more so than nutrients. Tangs are big poopers and will likely leave lots of fertilizer in you sand that needs to be attended to. 

This is so very true!

 

28 minutes ago, Llorgon said:

Turkey baste the rocks every so often, but not on a regular basis.

 

Was cleaning the sand weekly, but it was suggested in another forum to just leave it be.

DSC_0210.JPG

Low to no nutrients can actually cause pest algaes.

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Llorgon
16 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

If you leave the sand alone, it will be a problem. All the debris settles there and is a ticking time bomb. I have found debris to be the cause of algae more so than nutrients. Tangs are big poopers and will likely leave lots of fertilizer in you sand that needs to be attended to. 

Gah! so many conflicting things. Vacuum sand, don't vacuum sand.

Honestly I have always vacuumed my sand. So I have no problem starting again.

13 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

This is so very true!

 

Low to no nutrients can actually cause pest algaes.

So nitrate was at 20ppm and phosphate was 0.264 when the algae started. So I had been trying to lower nutrients. Which are now reading lower, but the algae still grows. So probably still high.

Sometimes it feels like everything will cause pest algae.

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5*Chris

Algae reactor will definitely help, but will do a lot better if you can get most of the gha out. Give the sand bed a good cleaning. Manually remove the gha and use a tooth brush to get the small leftover pieces off. Maybe look into peroxide dosing, but instead of dosing the tank, squirt it into the patches. Maybe do a patch every couple days. If you go that route please research it first lol.

 

Algae reactor kept my tank algae free. The same week I took it offline, gha started growing. So it will work, just need to get most of the stuff out of the tank so the reactor can help keep it out. 

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Clown79
34 minutes ago, Llorgon said:

Gah! so many conflicting things. Vacuum sand, don't vacuum sand.

Honestly I have always vacuumed my sand. So I have no problem starting again.

So nitrate was at 20ppm and phosphate was 0.264 when the algae started. So I had been trying to lower nutrients. Which are now reading lower, but the algae still grows. So probably still high.

Sometimes it feels like everything will cause pest algae.

The algae may be using some of the nutrients but so are corals.

 

I had less algae in my tanks when my phos was 0.25 than now at 0.03. 

 

Organic cause algae and it trapped in sand will cause problems.

So vacuuming the sand bed regularly is very helpful. 

 

The conflicting info comes from older methods and beliefs vs new methods. 

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Llorgon
1 hour ago, 5*Chris said:

Algae reactor will definitely help, but will do a lot better if you can get most of the gha out. Give the sand bed a good cleaning. Manually remove the gha and use a tooth brush to get the small leftover pieces off. Maybe look into peroxide dosing, but instead of dosing the tank, squirt it into the patches. Maybe do a patch every couple days. If you go that route please research it first lol.

 

Algae reactor kept my tank algae free. The same week I took it offline, gha started growing. So it will work, just need to get most of the stuff out of the tank so the reactor can help keep it out. 

I'm hoping the algae scrubber will help me make a dent in the manual removal. I will do a big clean during my water change this weekend.

 

I have tried the spot treating with peroxide. Works well, but there just got to be so many spots I couldn't keep up. Boiling RO/DI water also works great. Turns the algae white/light green colour and snails/hermits go nuts for it. But again, just became too much for those methods.

28 minutes ago, Clown79 said:

The algae may be using some of the nutrients but so are corals.

 

I had less algae in my tanks when my phos was 0.25 than now at 0.03. 

 

Organic cause algae and it trapped in sand will cause problems.

So vacuuming the sand bed regularly is very helpful. 

 

The conflicting info comes from older methods and beliefs vs new methods. 

Makes sense. I will do a sand vacuum this weekend while doing my water change.

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Clown79
1 hour ago, Llorgon said:

I'm hoping the algae scrubber will help me make a dent in the manual removal. I will do a big clean during my water change this weekend.

 

I have tried the spot treating with peroxide. Works well, but there just got to be so many spots I couldn't keep up. Boiling RO/DI water also works great. Turns the algae white/light green colour and snails/hermits go nuts for it. But again, just became too much for those methods.

Makes sense. I will do a sand vacuum this weekend while doing my water change.

If you haven't vacummed the sand in a while, start by doing small sections each week until it becomes a regular routine

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Nano sapiens

The confusion around vacuuming, or not, is persistent and unfortunate, but understandable once you know why (whenever you seek advice on this matter, always ask the reef keeper how large is their system and how long has it been running).

 

In a nut shell, large tanks can go years (some really large ones even a decade or more) without sand bed vacuuming due to factors such as lower biomass to water ratio, the ability to house different and larger sand sifting creatures, more infauna (worms, pods, etc.) that can turn the sand bed over, choice of more types of effective methods to automatically remove detritus from the system (more efficient skimmers, roller mats, etc.).  Small tanks have to rely more on direct maintenance by the reef keeper.

 

Clown79's advice to start with small sections when starting to vacuum is good.  Once you have vacuumed all visible areas of the sand bed, then start to consider the same approach for cleaning out what's under your rock structure (you'll amazed at how much gunk is hidden under there!).  In a really small system, a base rock can be temporarily removed and the vacuum employed before the rock is returned.  In larger systems, or where the base rock is more inaccessible, injecting water underneath the rock will work (turkey baster and/or small pump).  I currently use a turkey baster for my small 12g and collect the detritus in a filter sock, which I temporarily attach to my return pump's outflow when I do a weekly water change).

 

Hope that helps :smilie:

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Llorgon
1 hour ago, Nano sapiens said:

The confusion around vacuuming, or not, is persistent and unfortunate, but understandable once you know why (whenever you seek advice on this matter, always ask the reef keeper how large is their system and how long has it been running).

 

In a nut shell, large tanks can go years (some really large ones even a decade or more) without sand bed vacuuming due to factors such as lower biomass to water ratio, the ability to house different and larger sand sifting creatures, more infauna (worms, pods, etc.) that can turn the sand bed over, choice of more types of effective methods to automatically remove detritus from the system (more efficient skimmers, roller mats, etc.).  Small tanks have to rely more on direct maintenance by the reef keeper.

 

Clown79's advice to start with small sections when starting to vacuum is good.  Once you have vacuumed all visible areas of the sand bed, then start to consider the same approach for cleaning out what's under your rock structure (you'll amazed at how much gunk is hidden under there!).  In a really small system, a base rock can be temporarily removed and the vacuum employed before the rock is returned.  In larger systems, or where the base rock is more inaccessible, injecting water underneath the rock will work (turkey baster and/or small pump).  I currently use a turkey baster for my small 12g and collect the detritus in a filter sock, which I temporarily attach to my return pump's outflow when I do a weekly water change).

 

Hope that helps :smilie:

Thanks for that. Ya that makes sense. Looking back at the people who were giving the advice not to vacuum the sand all seem to have larger more established tanks.

 

I will vacuum part of the sand on the weekend with my water change.

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Llorgon

Did a good water change on the weekend. And vacuumed maybe 1/4 of the sand. Also scrubbed the rocks. There is more algae coming off each time I scrub.

 

Been having some issues with my diy algae scrubber. At first the air stone worked fine, now I struggle to get any bubbles out of it. So I will have to look into that.

 

Corals are still not super happy.

 

Found some nudibranch looking things on the glass yesterday. Bright orange. Anyone know if they are friend or for?

DSC_0218.JPG

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Ratvan
10 hours ago, Llorgon said:

Did a good water change on the weekend. And vacuumed maybe 1/4 of the sand. Also scrubbed the rocks. There is more algae coming off each time I scrub.

 

Been having some issues with my diy algae scrubber. At first the air stone worked fine, now I struggle to get any bubbles out of it. So I will have to look into that.

 

Corals are still not super happy.

 

Found some nudibranch looking things on the glass yesterday. Bright orange. Anyone know if they are friend or for?

DSC_0218.JPG

Do you have any corals the same, or similar to the colour of the Nudi branch? Typically they take on the colours of the corals that they eat, I had a lovely white and pale green that ate my toadstool

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Clown79

There is one i had that looks similar to that which only eat algae

 

Does it look like this

20171206_213045.jpg.ed1728ee83369916cc824ed293134992.jpg

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Llorgon
6 hours ago, Ratvan said:

Do you have any corals the same, or similar to the colour of the Nudi branch? Typically they take on the colours of the corals that they eat, I had a lovely white and pale green that ate my toadstool

The closest coral I have to orange is a acan, but it's more of a pink colour. This thing is like bright orange. They have a bit of a glow under the blue lights.

3 hours ago, Clown79 said:

There is one i had that looks similar to that which only eat algae

 

Does it look like this

20171206_213045.jpg.ed1728ee83369916cc824ed293134992.jpg

Sorta similar to that. More wavy body though. If I could be so lucky to have something that eats algae...

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Llorgon

Got a couple more pictures of the mystery nudibranch thing. There are a bunch in the tank.

DSC_0221.JPG

DSC_0220.JPG

DSC_0219.JPG

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Llorgon

Picked up 1 turbo and 5 nassarius snails. Not much, but it was literally all the snails the lfs had in stock.

 

I got a bigger air pump. So now my algae scrubber has a nice stream of bubbles going through it.

 

I also picked up some N03:P04-x. Not sure if I should use it or not. Obviously my nutrients are higher than test kits indicate or I wouldn't be having all the algae growth. 

 

Maybe my best bet is to address the algae then work on corals?

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Clown79
15 minutes ago, Llorgon said:

Picked up 1 turbo and 5 nassarius snails. Not much, but it was literally all the snails the lfs had in stock.

 

I got a bigger air pump. So now my algae scrubber has a nice stream of bubbles going through it.

 

I also picked up some N03:P04-x. Not sure if I should use it or not. Obviously my nutrients are higher than test kits indicate or I wouldn't be having all the algae growth. 

 

Maybe my best bet is to address the algae then work on corals?

Algae outbreaks are normal in a new tank. Even mature tanks have algae. A sterile tank doesn't mean its a healthy environment. Algae is completely normal

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