Red Algae - sudden appearence....

mangups

I suddenly see red algae on the sand... It was just fine like 5 days back. Went on vacation and came back after 5 days and now suddenly have red algae (slimy stuff) like a coat on the sand.

I had changed water on the same day before I left - water parameters was in limits when I left. When I came back after 5days - water parameters obviously had changed but not for alarm. The temp was higher when I came back - it was at 84 F (the ice probe was not able to keep it cooler than that). I immediately used ice cubes in a zip lock to float on the water and bring the temp down slowly an steadily to 80 F where I usually keep.

Feeding during the vacation was using the same setting on the automatic feeder as I had always used.

I did scrap/pull the algae off by hand with the sand and did a water change (6th day - after I was back) .. seemed okay for 2-3 days and now it is back.. See picture..


Parsippany-Troy Hills-20130531-00127.jpg

Any advices.. how to get rid of it?


Water flow is good too... have 3 pumps ( 700 GPH and 1200 Gph) and a small pump (Flow Rate: 4.15 - 4.9 GPH) right under the rock to prevent dead space.

Details:
OTHERS:
specific gravity: 1.026
NO3: 5 PPM
pH: 81. ~8.2
Phosphates: 0.01~0.02 ppm.
Temp: 80~82F

Tank is a year old -
Other aquaria - 1 Oscellaris clown, 1 Atlantic condy anemone, 1 neon dotty back, 1 yellow wrasse, 1 royal gramma basslet, 1 coral beauty dwarf angel

Corals: 2 Zoas, 1 Kryptonite Candy Cane , 1 Teal blue Candy Cane and 1 Caulastrea

CUC:
1) 5~6 Red leg and 1~2 electric blue hermit crab
2) 1 Trubo Snail
3) 6 Super Tongan nassarius snail
4) 10~12 of Astraea turbo snail...
5) I Orange Sea Star



EQUIPMENT: Tank: 20 Gal Long, 40 LBS live rock, Aquafuge Hangon back Refigum (has sand , live rock rubble and chaeto), Running - Aquarclear 30 filter (with Chemipure Elite and carbon) Hydor Nano SlI'm skimmer, 2 power heads (700 GPH & 1200 Gph)on a Hydor smart wave controller, Odyessa 4 X 24 W (T5HO 10,000K, Actinic, Moonlight, 2x 10000K and 2x Actinic Blue ) light , 9W green killing UV Sterilizer, 1 Nova tech Ice probe chiller


Light timing: 8 am - Actinic On, 9:30 am 10,000k On, 7pm: 10,000k off, 9pm: Actinic off, 9pm Moonlight LED on, 7:30 am moonlight LED off.

Water used for Change is RO water bought from LFS...
 

ryanr

Cyanobacteria.

Very common in Saltwater - typically indicates a 'dead spot' in your tank, and really common in new setups.

Try repointing the powerheads to create more flow across the area of build up. Cyano is almost impossible to eradicate, but with good flow, it doesn't have a chance to really take hold.
 

crabbydan

Is thee such a thing as too much flow?
 

ryanr

Is thee such a thing as too much flow?

Not really. But there are some considerations, you don't want your sand getting blown all over the place. Secondly, you don't want 'violent turbulence' such that corals are getting smashed and fish can't swim.

I have read of SPS keepers with 50-60x turnover
 

mangups

Cyanobacteria.

Very common in Saltwater - typically indicates a 'dead spot' in your tank, and really common in new setups.

Try repointing the powerheads to create more flow across the area of build up. Cyano is almost impossible to eradicate, but with good flow, it doesn't have a chance to really take hold.

Thanks Rynar... I will adjust the flow and hopefully this cleans it up and prevents further buildup.
 

mangups

Rynar, I did remove it manually from the sand bed as much as I could and it is back. Now since Cyanobacteria is a problem to get rid. I also see bubble algae build up in my refugim.


bubble20130610-00003.jpg

I then did a complete test on water parameters and this is what they are:
ph: 8.2
phosphates: 0.02
NO3: 5~10 ppm
salinity : 1.025
Calacium: 450-490
Mg: 1240~1320
KH (alkalinity) : 6.6 ~6.4 -- seems to be low.

However, everything seems to be doing well - fishes, CUC, Zoas, LPS all..

I however don't understand ... why the refugI'm has bubble algae and the display has cyanobacteria..

I was looking around and I found this : Vodka dosing...:
a)
b)
c)
 

ryanr

How long are your lights on? Cyano is primarily photosyntetic.
NO3 is on the high side, you want it below 4ppm, ideally undetectable. How much are you feeding? What is in your fuge? Is your skimmer pulling much out?
Alkalinity - yeah, probably a little low. What salt mix are you using? (or natural sea water?), somewhere between 8 and 12 dKH is about right.
Mg - I'd work on bringing up to 1300+ constant (mine runs around 1380-1400)
Always dose Mg -> Alk -> Ca (allowing some time, about 10 mins between each) - You'll find that adjusting Mg and Alk will probably affect Ca.

Now, before you go getting excited about vodka, be sure you thoroughly understand how carbon dosing works. Get it wrong, or go too hard too early, and you can nuke your tank. Carbon dosing is a gradual process. Some have success with just Vodka, others need Vodka and Vinegar, others need Vodka, Sugar and Vinegar (VSV). I have used Red Sea's NO3O4-X with success, but switched to bio-pellets as they are easier to run (no daily dosing)

The hard part: You'll probably have to go backwards in order to go forward. Carbon dosing utilises a concept known as the Redfield Ratio, and requires a balance between Carbon, Nitrate and Phosphate. To get the ratio optimal, you will probably need to remove the Phosguard, let phosphates come up, and start dosing. You'll also want to make sure your skimmer is working at optimum to capture and extract the bacteria waste.
 

mangups

Rynar:

I can never get the NO3 below 5 ppm - no matter what I try. Water is RO/DI water bought from the LFS and they are spot on - (TDS always around 1)

Light timing: 8 am - Actinic On, 9:30 am 10,000k On, 7pm: 10,000k off, 9pm: Actinic off, 9pm Moonlight LED on, 7:30 am moonlight LED off.


How much are you feeding? : Feeding is flakes with garkic, brine shrimp, clams, algae wafers - they are varied on differnet days - feeding not more 1 pinch on a day - never excess. (food gets consumed in tank in less than 5 mins) -

What is in your fuge? - FUGE has 4 inch sand bed, live rock and Chaeto - and some CUC( 2-3 astrea, 1 emerald crab, 1 crab, 1 Nassirus)

Is your skimmer pulling much out? - I just added the sump so water volume is now 30+ gals ( 20 G display, 3.6 gal fuge, 10 gal sum - Net Volume will be 26~27 Gallon approx). Skimmer is rated for 35 gallon. However skimmer is not pulling much skimmate - very wet (see pic) since it has been 4 days since I set it up after I can came back from the vacation. It should be skimming as before in another 2~3 days.


What salt mix are you using? (or natural sea water?), - Salt used is Reef Crystals from Instant Ocean using RO/DI.Top off is also RO/DI water

I also dose: Kent Reef starter kit as recommended by Kent: (see link)

I do need to work on the DKH and the Mg as suggested.

I don't want to rush onto the Vodka dosing , as you said I need to take 2 steps back to go 3 steps forward. Vodka dosing seems tricky and can have adverse effects which am not sure I want to take that step now.. before I fully underastand it.

How about running the tank dark a few days - just Actinic and LED. ( not sure how the Zoa and LPS will react to this)
 

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ryanr

Ahhh, that explains the Ca being as high as it is (not bad high, just a bit out of whack with other parameters).

Are you testing for iodine and Sr/Mo? If not, it's best not to dose anything you can't test for.

FWIW - 1 TDS is not pure RO/DI, it should read 0 TDS consistently - sounds like the LFS needs to replace their DI resin

How's the chaeto growing? What light schedule is on the fuge? You can run the light 24 hours a day for best results.

IO Reef Crystals should mix a lot higher than what you're reporting. When I ran IORC, I consistently mixed at 1.025 (33ppt) with pH 8.2, Alk ~10, Mg ~1400, Ca ~440. You also shouldn't need trace elements with IORC - the mix should contain enough of everything.

Have you tested your mix before adding to the tank? Are you measuring SG with a hydrometer or refractometer? If hydrometer, I'd cross check it with a refractometer.

Oh - and remember that you need to replace the water the skimmer pulls out with SW, not RODI. Skimmers pull out the salt too, evaporation only takes the water.
 

mangups

Ahhh, that explains the Ca being as high as it is (not bad high, just a bit out of whack with other parameters).

Are you testing for iodine and Sr/Mo? If not, it's best not to dose anything you can't test for. .

Rynar..I have not tested for I or Sr or Mo. Don't have a test kit for it. I was looking for a single kit which would test for I, Sr and MO. There is not 1 which can do that -- I need to get separate kits for each so I kind of dropped the idea.

As suggested I will stop the dosing regime.

FWIW - 1 TDS is not pure RO/DI, it should read 0 TDS consistently - sounds like the LFS needs to replace their DI resin
.

I just got my Brand new RO/DI system : ( - first link on first post to the thread) - it has 5 micron first stage.. could not find any Ro/DI system in that size (read : potable) which has 1 micron or less ...

I need to hook up and let it run and then test to ensure TDS is 0. The tap water in the house is like 240~245.


How's the chaeto growing? What light schedule is on the fuge? You can run the light 24 hours a day for best results.
.

Chaeto is growing well - it has doubled in size in 2~3 months( I would say it is double the size of a tennis ball. Light schedule is for 10 hrs on a timer. Will now let it run for 24 hrs straight.

IO Reef Crystals should mix a lot higher than what you're reporting. When I ran IORC, I consistently mixed at 1.025 (33ppt) with pH 8.2, Alk ~10, Mg ~1400, Ca ~440. You also shouldn't need trace elements with IORC - the mix should contain enough of everything. .

IORC is supposedly the best thing around and also considered very consistent with all elements and across different batches....

Have you tested your mix before adding to the tank? Are you measuring SG with a hydrometer or refractometer? If hydrometer, I'd cross check it with a refractometer. .

I have not tested the mix before adding to tank. Will do so on next water mix I do. I also just got a new RO/DI system .. I need to set it up. Will go through a complete test - for TDS before salt and then parameters after salt. I will post the results on this thread this weekend. I am due changing this friday ..

I use a refractometer now..
Oh - and remember that you need to replace the water the skimmer pulls out with SW, not RODI. Skimmers pull out the salt too, evaporation only takes the water.

The skimmer cup is not very big so I don't repleace it's water at all. I only need to emply the cup every 2~3 days. I only replace evaporated water. My salinity however remains consistent or is so small that is it undetectable...
 

ryanr

Sounds like you've got it all under control.
You should find that your nitrates come down with the fuge light running 24 hours. Basically, while there is light, the algae will continue to grow, and continue to consume nutrients - but be ready to harvest some macro more frequently.

IORC is a very good salt, it's priced well and gives everything you need. I only switched (to AquaVitro Salinity) due to availability of IORC in my parts.
 

mangups

- but be ready to harvest some macro more frequently.

Rynar... did not understand the what 'macro' means in this statement. (still not fluent with the Aquarium lingo). I guess I expect to see the Chaeto to grow faster or did I misunderstand it


I also removed all restrictions on my power head. I had the 'Flo rotating water deflector' () adjusted the Hydor smart wave to create more turbulence in the water. I also now set the water pump in my sump on full capacity.

Basically, unleashed everything:
So turnover rate is = (1200 + 700 + 400)/30 --> 75X turn over so that the cynaobacteria has no place to settle down ( This does not account for the skimmer + the small pump for dead space + powerhead for the Fuge + the UV sterilizer pump)

Water is now turbulent but not blowing sand and also not making the fish difficult to swim.
 

ryanr

Macro = Macro algae
Chaeto is a macro
 

Mike

If you're considering vodka dosing I would recommend to research it thoroughly and to also look into biopellets. I've been running biopellets since I started my 120 gallon reef tank and no issues with either nitrates or phosphates. I also keep my powerheads (vortechs) dialed way up to keep everything in suspension so the skimmer gets a chance to remove everything it can.

In addition to all the previous good advice posted above, I would try to empty the skimmer at least once a day or more often if you have any algae or cyano issues.
 

mangups

If you're considering vodka dosing I would recommend to research it thoroughly and to also look into biopellets. I've been running biopellets since I started my 120 gallon reef tank and no issues with either nitrates or phosphates. I also keep my powerheads (vortechs) dialed way up to keep everything in suspension so the skimmer gets a chance to remove everything it can.

In addition to all the previous good advice posted above, I would try to empty the skimmer at least once a day or more often if you have any algae or cyano issues.

Thanks Mike.. I have decided against using Vodka dosing for now. Additionally the bio-pellets can be another route if things start looking bad again(Primarily not keen now because of the whole setup and cost associated to it)

By changing the 10,000K light schedule (4 hrs only )and turbulent flow -- I have kind of gotten rid of the cynobacteria in the display. I still see very dark algae on the sand in one spot on the refugium (light is 24 hrs in the refugium)

I am also using chemipure elite and plan to use Seachem's Purigen( ) - Once this is set up water in the sump will pass the chamber where I have Purigen and chemipure elite to the chamber where the skimmer is so that the skimmer gets a first shot at this..

Here is what it looks likes now on the spot in the refugium sand and the display..


DSC_0286.jpg



DSC_0287.jpg
 

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