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NanoReefer2025

Emergency (?): Persistent Issues with Nano Tank

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NanoReefer2025

So, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted, and a lot has happened, most prominently, a persistent outbreak of hair algae and what I believe is Cyanobacteria (red-ish looking slime on a small part of my sand bed). I was informed that this was still part of the “ugly stage”, since my tank really isn’t that old quite yet. However, it has lasted since late March and I am noticing increasing problems arising with the outbreak, not all of them directly related to the algae, so I might need to make more posts to cover them all.

 

The hair algae is the worst part- it’s unsightly and impossible to remove from the rock and it grew on the glass in a place that is also impossible to scrape off.

 

I have also noticed some sort of strange creature that I may need to make another post on once I get good pictures. In short, all I can really see of it are these very long stringy tentacles that retract when disturbed. It doesn’t look like any pictures I have seen of anemones, but I can’t be sure.

 

My trochus snails are dying. Just last weekend, I noticed that both of them were flipping over regularly, something that they never did before. They seem weak and their foot is irritated.

 

This may be unrelated but I also have a large ricordea Florida in the tank that looks very bright and healthy accept for some weird white protrusions of tissue on its foot ending in little bristles.

 

So what is your input? Are all these issues somehow connected?

 

I have thought about some possible issues: bad source water, high nitrates, low calcium, problems with flow/light, dirty filtration, over feeding 

 

Here are the steps I have taken:

water changes, parameter testing (as far as I can tell, everything is fine), bacteria dosing, Vibrant Aquarium Cleaner, lawnmower blenny, new filtration media, decrease lighting 

 

What I want to do:

Replace carbon and evaluate filtration conditions, purchase new test kits, and I don’t know what I would do when all that fails


Let me know if you need pictures or if you think I should create separate posts for some of the specific issues I have mentioned.

 

That was a lot, but I have avoided posting about this for too long and need some solutions. Although I have a lot of problems with my tank, I don’t really fear a total collapse, but the little things can contribute to disaster in the future, so I was just concerned.

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Clown79

I would post pictures. Its always helpful.

 

 

Parameters of alk, phos, nitrates would be helpful.

 

Some other details we need to help. 

 

Tank size, filter method, equipment,and livestock

 

Waterchange frequency and size, do you vacuum sand?

 

Media used in filter/how often its changed

 

 

Water source: rodi, distilled, etc.

 

We can better help with this info

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banasophia

Agree with Clown, pictures are really helpful for us to see what’s going on and how bad it is. 🤗

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NanoReefer2025

Ok, I’ll post a few pictures later.

 

pH is about 8.0, which is lower than I would like, but it has always been like that.

salinity is right around 1.025.

nitrates are right around 0 to 5

ammonia is pretty much undetectable 

 

Tank size: 25 gallon 

 

Filtration: in tank sump with foam, filter sock, chemipure, and carbon


Livestock: pair of clownfish, royal gramma, lawnmower blenny, scarlet hermit, some blue leg hermits, pair of trochus snails, pair of nassarius snails, BTA, a few soft corals, a blood shrimp, some macro algae

 

Waterchange: 20-25% every two weeks using water from my LFS 

 

Equipment: Hydor Koralia power head, Ehiem Jager heater, AI Prime HD, stock pump, Caribsea life rock and Fiji pink sand

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M. Tournesol
15 minutes ago, NanoReefer2025 said:

pH is about 8.0, which is lower than I would like, but it has always been like that.

Ph should varies with the time of the day. CO2 level change as algae/coral start and stop photosynthesis.

More CO2 = More acide (Hence the acidification of the oceans).

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NanoReefer2025

Interesting. I knew that CO2 causes ocean acidification, but I somehow never came to the realization that it applies in aquariums too.

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NanoReefer2025

Here are some pictures:

 

Algae:

5547B8C9-B939-42C8-A146-ACE301510437.thumb.jpeg.1e70310dfffbc568ff5a4b3e84f06924.jpeg6EE89917-0918-41B8-B74C-F82BD37A14D1.thumb.jpeg.92c27e038db9e6ab18e8e247091ed36e.jpegA8CE8ADA-3D42-49AE-B525-8B991BD46DD1.thumb.jpeg.b2bbd9d8bdf8802bd815ba4bedfc536c.jpeg

 

Snails:

1F7711A2-7648-4003-854D-DFB03879B44E.thumb.jpeg.ce33903d22d75db95469f0fd86cfb758.jpegD6EE7D3B-13B3-400A-8913-51620FF96D25.thumb.jpeg.0c8ab78e3e179867464fc4f7cceaf6ac.jpegF06652E8-84B8-459B-96A2-AB4BB38793B7.thumb.jpeg.da979b4c2d87d3b21daa3640ee23d77e.jpeg
 

Ricordea (I found out the protrusions were actually pineapple sponges. I will remove them as soon as I can)

8CC97E35-4D03-48CD-9D5C-20101E5104CE.thumb.jpeg.150c952b3e6f6fd22059d088d6ceec71.jpegB2422B4A-77BD-4C95-B993-039C2F42349E.thumb.jpeg.f7734957a14bdd5085e05ce2f25f1de1.jpeg
 

 

I couldn’t get a good pic of the tentacled creature, but I believe it is a spaghetti worm.

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Clown79
7 minutes ago, NanoReefer2025 said:

Here are some pictures:

 

Algae:

5547B8C9-B939-42C8-A146-ACE301510437.thumb.jpeg.1e70310dfffbc568ff5a4b3e84f06924.jpeg6EE89917-0918-41B8-B74C-F82BD37A14D1.thumb.jpeg.92c27e038db9e6ab18e8e247091ed36e.jpegA8CE8ADA-3D42-49AE-B525-8B991BD46DD1.thumb.jpeg.b2bbd9d8bdf8802bd815ba4bedfc536c.jpeg

 

Snails:

1F7711A2-7648-4003-854D-DFB03879B44E.thumb.jpeg.ce33903d22d75db95469f0fd86cfb758.jpegD6EE7D3B-13B3-400A-8913-51620FF96D25.thumb.jpeg.0c8ab78e3e179867464fc4f7cceaf6ac.jpegF06652E8-84B8-459B-96A2-AB4BB38793B7.thumb.jpeg.da979b4c2d87d3b21daa3640ee23d77e.jpeg
 

Ricordea (I found out the protrusions were actually pineapple sponges. I will remove them as soon as I can)

8CC97E35-4D03-48CD-9D5C-20101E5104CE.thumb.jpeg.150c952b3e6f6fd22059d088d6ceec71.jpegB2422B4A-77BD-4C95-B993-039C2F42349E.thumb.jpeg.f7734957a14bdd5085e05ce2f25f1de1.jpeg
 

 

I couldn’t get a good pic of the tentacled creature, but I believe it is a spaghetti worm.

Under the mushroom is pineapple sponges

 

 

The algae,on the sand bed, that could be dino's or cyano. Hard to tell in that pic.

 

Lack of nutrients and biodiversity cause dino.

 

I wouldn't worry about ph. It fluctuates all day long and 8 isn't low.

 

Have you tested your lfs water for phos, nitrates, and tds levels.

 

Nitrates and phos is really important to have, when they bottom out, it leadsto nuisance algae

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paulsz

Snails dying kind of tells me that brown stuff on the sandbed is dinos. Some strains are pretty toxic to snails. My first tank had a type of dinos that killed all of my snails.

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NanoReefer2025

I hope it isn’t dinos. If it was, would you think that my nassarius snails would also be affected, or does it only affect snails that actually eat the stuff? My nitrates are fine (0-5), but I do hate to admit that I haven’t tested for phosphates. The only ones I have are nitrates, nitrites, pH, and ammonia. They were fine to start with but now that I am adding more livestock, I see now that I need to order a test kit ASAP for other parameters like magnesium, calcium, carbonate hardness, and yes, phosphate. 
 

Could I just pull the sponges out with something like tweezers? I heard some were toxic, but I am no sponge expert.

 

When you say dinos are caused by a lack of biodiversity and nutrients, what would be the recommended way to fix these? Are there any chemicals in the market that could solve this?

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SaltyGallon
10 hours ago, Clown79 said:

Have you tested your lfs water for phos, nitrates, and tds levels.

This was going to be my first question... Knowing this may or may not make a significant difference in your struggle. I very quickly stopped using LFS water in my first tank when I tested the nitrates at 20ppm - in fact the water coming out of my tank after a water change was actually "cleaner" than the stuff going in!

 

It sounds like your other parameters are fine and you're being diligent. Your nitrates are in check but I would aim to keep them away from zero - at 5-10 is perfect in this instance. A Salifert test kit will likely tell you you don't have a phosphate issue but the fact you have the algae indicates that perhaps you do, even more so as you've got it growing alongside macro in the display too. A Hanna ULR phosphate checker will be more accurate for phosphate measurements but more costly. What food are you feeding, and how often? Some foods can be more phosphate polluting than others. If it were me I'd be tempted to cut back on feeding, start a treatment with Vibrant, and continue to dose nitrate as needed to avoid dino issues.

 

Leave the sponges - they'll go on their own in time, and they won't harm anything. I've had those little guys in all of my tanks during the first couple of months and they all burn out in a couple of weeks.

 

Algae struggles are very common in new tanks (I've been there many times) and they take a while to get on top of - but they are beatable if you stick at it. Make sure to keep replenishing your CUC too and picking (not scrubbing) big chunks of algae off the rockwork regularly, to help your grazers get on top of it. If you only have 2 trochus/turbo snails in a 25G tank I'd recommend bumping that up to at least 10 good sized ones - or consider an urchin. The lawnmower is cool but in my experience they don't eat quite as much algae as you'd like and still contribute to the overall bioload of the tank (i.e. making the algae issue worse). I keep 10 small trochus snails in a 2 gallon pico, so my advice would be to level up your CUC for a start.

 

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NanoReefer2025

Thanks for your long response! I will go to my LFS sometime this week and pick up some more CUC members. However, I am still concerned about the snails that are currently ill in my tank, and would feel bad if I added more of them, and they too became sick. Especially since mine seem to be so close to death (they don’t move or eat much).

I guess I can get an urchin. The only thing I would be hesitant about would be their “bulldozing” behavior and eating the coralline algae on my rocks.

 

I regret purchasing a lawnmower blenny. He’s cool, but not much of a help, and picks at the glass and power head more than the rock, where the hair algae is at its worse.

 

I am already dosing Vibrant and was wondering if it is safe to dose more than once a week, as bad as my algae is.

 

I am thinking my phosphates are probably higher than what I would like. I would like to get some Hanna checkers eventually, but as you pointed out, they are pretty expensive for a budget reefer like myself. 
 

As for picking algae of the rock, I can’t say this is possible. The hair algae is super stubborn and won’t come off with manual removal.

 

Should I try anything else, like shutting the lights off for a few days, dosing hydrogen peroxide, decreasing water changes, or anything else?

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NanoReefer2025

I forgot to mention that I feed mysis shrimp once a day. I don’t usually feed a lot per feeding,  since the individual cubes last for a while (I don’t know the exact number of days), but I guess I could still potentially be over feeding.

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