Saltwater Newbie With Some Question [emoji5]

xhimbica88

Member
Hey everyone !

So I’ll start off by saying hello !

I have a 55G , Fluval G6 with two small live rocks, two mated pair clown fish (approx 4years of age) one cleaner shrimp and an anemone. Fluval lighting (forgot the name but I know it’s a proper one because I went to a salt water speciality store to purchase it)

I rescued these clown fish over a year ago when a friends neighbor was down on his luck and being evicted and couldn’t take them with him. So I did !

My clowns ( Coral & Marlin ) have been thriving ever since.

I unfortunately had to go to Puerto Rico for work for two months, just got back this week.

My mother has been feeding, water changing, filter clean out etc the best she could for me.

Came home. Fish are happy (they eat from my hand)

Got them a new rock set and a cleaner shrimp (already they let him clean them!!)

BUT !! A brownish GROWTH is all over my sand.....I cleaned the filter (G6) and did a 15% water change.

Also! I have a saltwater book — says that topping off when water evaporates , that the salt doesn’t evaporate which makes sense because my PSU reading is 35 and my filter would notify me. So the book says to top off with freshwater (I would prefer RO water but I live up in the mountains and the closest place is 3hrs away) thoughts ??


Any chance someone could guide me ? Thanks!!!!!!
 

PoorBigBlue

Member
Well, can we get some water parameters? Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate would be a great place to start. Phosphate, too.

More than likely, your mother fed a bit too much and didn't change enough water to make up for it. That caused your nitrates and phosphates to shoot up, which in turn, causes algae blooms. Which is what you probably have on your sand. They should go away with good tank husbandry - I'd siphon them up with every water change, and up your water change schedule by 10% weekly.

As for using none-RO water, it highly depends on your source water. For a lot of people, using tap/well water for saltwater is out of the question due to a high TDS. My tap comes out pretty clean, around 20-25 TDS, so I've always been able to get away without using any RO, and just topping of with Distilled. In short, using RO, RO/DI, or even distilled is 1000x better than tap, just for the security. It'll pay for itself for your peace of mind. Using tap could also be adding to your algae problems.
 
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xhimbica88

Member
Wow ! Thanks for the help! Yes I’ll do a water test right now and post for you ! Thanks again
 
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xhimbica88

Member

PoorBigBlue

Member
It's very difficult to read the test tubes accurately in those pictures. Can you post what you saw in real life? I'm seeing between 0-0.25 PPM of ammonia, 0 PPM Nitrite, and high nitrates. Though, the picture could be discolored. I wouldn't worry about PH.

46 mS (or, about 1.0225 PPM) is a bit low in my opinion, but shouldn't cause problems. I think shooting for 50 mS would serve you better long-term.

The answer really stands the same, regardless of your water conditions - clean water, water changes, and maybe some RO/DI. Turning your lights off for longer everyday will help, too.
 
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xhimbica88

Member
PoorBigBlue said:
It's very difficult to read the test tubes accurately in those pictures. Can you post what you saw in real life? I'm seeing between 0-0.25 PPM of ammonia, 0 PPM Nitrite, and high nitrates. Though, the picture could be discolored. I wouldn't worry about PH.

46 mS (or, about 1.0225 PPM) is a bit low in my opinion, but shouldn't cause problems. I think shooting for 50 mS would serve you better long-term.

The answer really stands the same, regardless of your water conditions - clean water, water changes, and maybe some RO/DI. Turning your lights off for longer everyday will help, too.
0-.25 ammonia
8.2-8.4 PH
0 nitrite
20-40 nitrate

Yes 50 was where it was for the past week. The 5G top off today lowered it to 46, should I wait 24hrs and see where I am, and I’ll adjust with water change

how long should I keep my lights on? I leave for work around 8:30/9am so I could set a timer

I’ll do a water change tomorrow (I have the day off )

Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH !!
 

PoorBigBlue

Member
Ammonia should be at 0 at all times, with no exceptions (except for cycling). It's probably pretty close to 0, with just a bit of ammonia from the overfeeding. Nitrates should be as close to 0 as possible. 20 is the max I'd allow for a saltwater tank, with 10 being preferred. I'd recommend a large WC tomorrow, and then retest to see if it changes.

12 hours a day is a good normal photoperiod. Since you're having algae issues, try turning it down to 6-8 hours a day, and then slowly increasing to back to 10-12.
 

coralbandit

Member
Diatoms .Theywill eat themselves out of house and home and be gone all on their own in time .
Most get them with new tanks but that is not always the way.
How is your circulation in the tank?
 

stella1979

Member
Agreed that it's diatoms, which could be from excess nutrients, (i.e. nitrates and phosphates), but I can tell you that I've got zero nitrates and very low phosphates, and am dealing with diatoms on the sand myself. This would indicate diatoms can feed off something else. Pretty sure silicates are a good food source and that can often come with new sand... so why not new rocks? I'm unsure where mine are coming from, but as coralbandit said, they'll exhaust themselves in time. I do vac out as much as I can during weekly water changes so it doesn't look too bad in between.
 
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xhimbica88

Member
PoorBigBlue said:
Ammonia should be at 0 at all times, with no exceptions (except for cycling). It's probably pretty close to 0, with just a bit of ammonia from the overfeeding. Nitrates should be as close to 0 as possible. 20 is the max I'd allow for a saltwater tank, with 10 being preferred. I'd recommend a large WC tomorrow, and then retest to see if it changes.

12 hours a day is a good normal photoperiod. Since you're having algae issues, try turning it down to 6-8 hours a day, and then slowly increasing to back to 10-12.
BIG WC tomorrow thank you!!!!!!!!
 
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xhimbica88

Member
coralbandit said:
Diatoms .Theywill eat themselves out of house and home and be gone all on their own in time .
Most get them with new tanks but that is not always the way.
How is your circulation in the tank?
Awesome circulation , love my new Fluval G6 filter ️
 

coralbandit

Member
I have had my eye on the G6 or G4 for one of my tanks[ not marine] .
I 'll be watching to see how you do with it .
 
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xhimbica88

Member
PoorBigBlue said:
Ammonia should be at 0 at all times, with no exceptions (except for cycling). It's probably pretty close to 0, with just a bit of ammonia from the overfeeding. Nitrates should be as close to 0 as possible. 20 is the max I'd allow for a saltwater tank, with 10 being preferred. I'd recommend a large WC tomorrow, and then retest to see if it changes.

12 hours a day is a good normal photoperiod. Since you're having algae issues, try turning it down to 6-8 hours a day, and then slowly increasing to back to 10-12.
WOHHHH woke up this morning , getting ready for my WC, and ummm the algae is all gone ?!?!? I mean I’m still doing the WC, but where did it go? Was there for over a week, I start talking about it and it’s gone ?!?

Only thing I did yesterday was top off the 5 gallon water + Prime. My salinity went down from 35 PSU to 30 PSU but I was going to correct that with my WC today.

Hmmm check out this pic
 
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xhimbica88

Member
coralbandit said:
I have had my eye on the G6 or G4 for one of my tanks[ not marine] .
I 'll be watching to see how you do with it .
I really love it.

See my post above : I woke up this morning and ummm the algae is all gone on it’s own ?!? Am I hallucinating spooky Halloween stuff ?
 

coralbandit

Member
You did nothing is the likely answer.
Many speculate that silicates are the cause yet many with sand claI'm it is inert ?
They ate themselves out of the food they need.It is the one good thing about this pest.It multiplies so fast the tank that generated them often can not support them for long !
 

coralbandit

Member
xhimbica88 said:
I really love it.

See my post above : I woke up this morning and ummm the algae is all gone on it’s own ?!? Am I hallucinating spooky Halloween stuff ?
Do you use some type of surface extraction with it ?
I personally with the best professional model would be more then nervous using any canister filter on a reef tank. Maybe FO would calm me but I am not a real canister fan.
I just really like the features of the G series but not the cost of replacement media and parts … I am considering a G4 on a 29 gallon freshwater tank. It has been in my plans for a long time but I have not had the opportunity to talk with or see anyone who actually runs one .
You have my interest..
 
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xhimbica88

Member
coralbandit said:
You did nothing is the likely answer.
Many speculate that silicates are the cause yet many with sand claI'm it is inert ?
They ate themselves out of the food they need.It is the one good thing about this pest.It multiplies so fast the tank that generated them often can not support them for long !
Hahaha so funny. My mom thinks it’s the filter, I did a full clean out of it as well. She thinks the filter is now working better ‍♀
 

coralbandit

Member
xhimbica88 said:
Hahaha so funny. My mom thinks it’s the filter, I did a full clean out of it as well. She thinks the filter is now working better ‍♀
Possible as it plays into the 'high nitrAte' idea , but more often my explanation is just how it comes and goes for most.
I don't know a lot IMO but have kept reefs since the late 1980's and still today make my own sumps and set equipment up as I have learned.
 
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xhimbica88

Member
coralbandit said:
Do you use some type of surface extraction with it ?
I personally with the best professional model would be more then nervous using any canister filter on a reef tank. Maybe FO would calm me but I am not a real canister fan.
I just really like the features of the G series but not the cost of replacement media and parts … I am considering a G4 on a 29 gallon freshwater tank. It has been in my plans for a long time but I have not had the opportunity to talk with or see anyone who actually runs one .
You have my interest..
So I am learning slowly about Saltwater tanks; as ThaI is my very first (about over a 1 year now)

My filter came with the whole set up, I rescued my fish.

A lot of LFS say the same thing about the canister filter but my friend who works a a specialty store says she loves it so I kept it.

Over one year later and wow what an easy way to enjoy your fish.

The clean up of the filter, the intelligence of it too. So precise and has warnings / alerts for maintenance.

The filters cartridges are pricey but I clean mine really well and lasts me a big longer, I got mine over in china town NYC where they sell wholesale.

I don’t have any skimmers as I can afford it right now, I purchased a proper lighting system and I only have the two clowns and anemone for now.

But yes a skimmer is on the XMAS list

But I literally have NO complaints.

My Freshwater tank (also from the rescue) is 125G with a FX6 and everyone is super happy and the tank is always sparkly clean. 2 plecos. 4 discus. Few driftwoods.
 
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xhimbica88

Member
coralbandit said:
Possible as it plays into the 'high nitrAte' idea , but more often my explanation is just how it comes and goes for most.
I don't know a lot IMO but have kept reefs since the late 1980's and still today make my own sumps and set equipment up as I have learned.
Yeah it’s so nuts but still doing the WC to correct my salinity back to 35 PSU

WC: how many gallons you suggest for my 55G ?

Ohh and how long should I leave the salt in the new batch of water before adding ? My book says 1hr but online has so many diff suggestions. Was curious what works best for you!

Love this community. I feel like so far I’m not doing as bad as I thought I was on my tanks ‍♀ I am glad I was able to take them in and save them ! #RescueIsTheBestFeeling
 

coralbandit

Member
If you are doing weekly then most reefers do 10% I think ?
Keeping marine fish is pretty easy IMO ,it is the keeping of corals[for more then one year] I still find challenging.
I mix my salt up the day before in a barrel with bubbles,heater and a powerhead . I have used 2-3 week old new water before without issue .Again not a real coral nut .I find mushrooms and leathers [softies] to last years so that is all I keep now ..
 
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xhimbica88

Member
coralbandit said:
If you are doing weekly then most reefers do 10% I think ?
Keeping marine fish is pretty easy IMO ,it is the keeping of corals[for more then one year] I still find challenging.
I mix my salt up the day before in a barrel with bubbles,heater and a powerhead . I have used 2-3 week old new water before without issue .Again not a real coral nut .I find mushrooms and leathers [softies] to last years so that is all I keep now ..
Ohhh gotcha ! Well I think that algae is light reactive. Cause after 40 mins with light back on, it’s ALL back
 

Jesterrace

Member
Yup, algae is definitely dependent on light and it will come back after lights are reintroduced. BTW I would definitely be suspect of that Ammonia test given that it's API. API is known for giving false positives in marine applications (not to mention that it's nitrate test is a joke). If your fish, inverts and corals don't appear to be stressed and there is algae growing I find it highly unlikely that there is Ammonia present. I would recommend switching over to Red Sea or Salifert tests as they are more accurate.
 

Jesterrace

Member
coralbandit said:
Do you use some type of surface extraction with it ?
I personally with the best professional model would be more then nervous using any canister filter on a reef tank. Maybe FO would calm me but I am not a real canister fan.
I just really like the features of the G series but not the cost of replacement media and parts … I am considering a G4 on a 29 gallon freshwater tank. It has been in my plans for a long time but I have not had the opportunity to talk with or see anyone who actually runs one .
You have my interest..
Agreed. Canister Filters are arguably the most expensive and problematic filtration method in a marine tank. Just too easy for nasties to become trapped in them and can be a pain to clean out properly.
 

Francine

Member
Maybe I missed it but do you have any snails at all? Even just adding a couple (don’t go crazy because the food will run out lol) but looks for a few that eat some different types of algae can really help... so when you have a mess like this they can help clean it up but also if you get some other type of algae down the road (because you will most likely get some other types lol) they will eat that too... when I choose my snails or CUC I try to pick ones that will eat a variety of different algae’s lol just a thought and I didn’t remember reading (but there were a lot of comments) that you had any at all
Plus they won’t break the bank!
 
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xhimbica88

Member
Francine said:
Maybe I missed it but do you have any snails at all? Even just adding a couple (don’t go crazy because the food will run out lol) but looks for a few that eat some different types of algae can really help... so when you have a mess like this they can help clean it up but also if you get some other type of algae down the road (because you will most likely get some other types lol) they will eat that too... when I choose my snails or CUC I try to pick ones that will eat a variety of different algae’s lol just a thought and I didn’t remember reading (but there were a lot of comments) that you had any at all
Plus they won’t break the bank!
Oh wow ! Yeah I’ll buy some today! Going into town .. what do you suggest ?
 
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xhimbica88

Member
Jesterrace said:
Yup, algae is definitely dependent on light and it will come back after lights are reintroduced. BTW I would definitely be suspect of that Ammonia test given that it's API. API is known for giving false positives in marine applications (not to mention that it's nitrate test is a joke). If your fish, inverts and corals don't appear to be stressed and there is algae growing I find it highly unlikely that there is Ammonia present. I would recommend switching over to Red Sea or Salifert tests as they are more accurate.
My anemone is 3x the size today and my clown are super happy. My tank looks happy but wow the anemone did a 180 and she is legit 3x the size
 

Francine

Member
xhimbica88 said:
Oh wow ! Yeah I’ll buy some today! Going into town .. what do you suggest ?
I keep Trochus (will clean your glass and rock)

And Nessarius snails are good at stirring your sand bed and eating any left over food ect...

And I keep some Cerith snails- they have dwarf and regular sizes... my tank isn’t as big as yours so you should be safe with a few of each


And some Bumblebees- becareful- not sure how they would go with your anemone - some say reef safe others don’t (I haven’t had any issues with my other corals)

Those are my favorites and the easiest... you could also get some Astrea, Turbo, Nerites...

But for your diatoms or detritus (Trochus, and Nassarius I would suggest for sure)
 

Jesterrace

Member
I personally find conch far more useful than nassarius. One will do the work of 10 nassarius and my 5 conch snails keep my sand bed in my 90 gallon looking pretty clean.
 

Francine

Member
Ya see it’s harder for me to advise that way when it comes to bigger tanks mine are all 32’s lol I would get some Trochus anyway lol I love them!!
It’s good to have a variety without over doing it anyway lol plus I’d tou run out of algae you can feed them (some just let them die off and replace as needed but I give my Trochus for example a small piece of seaweed on my clip... and then just put them on it for a bit near the sand bed... a tiny piece of algae wafer works too but I find you have to help them too it sometimes or else the piggy clowns will just pick at it until it’s gone and then well They will be overfed lol)
So I let the snails snack for a bit and remove any left overs after a couple hours depending on what I added.... (norI seaweed can sit for like 24hours).... if you add their food at nighttime for snails it helps... they are usually more active depending on the type...

But it looks like you have enough to last a bit lol
Question though?
You said it was gone... then you turned on your lights and it came back? What type of light schedule do you have? And why were they out before? Just for night time?
 

Francine

Member
On a completely off topic side note (sort of) since you are away... you should look into the AutoAqua AWC...... it’s does your top offs AND changes your water for you... best. Invention. Ever! Lol
 

Nart

Member
That brown algae you see actually resembles more to dinoflagelates algae.
Difference between dino algae and a regular diatom bloom, is that dino algae will have pockets of air bubbles in em and you will see it throughout the tank.

Dino can grow on pretty much anything, even smother your corals.
To combat dinos it's actually quite the opposite of water changes. Typically you should do a 2-5 day black out on the entire tank and increase the flow and limit feeding.
You should then manually remove as much of the dino algae as possible, via turkey baster, gravel vac, etc...
Whatever your mechanical filtration is, filter floss or filter sock, you should change it out 2-3 times during this 2-5 day blackout period.

Afterwards, run you lighting schedule no more than 4 hours a day for 5 days and slowly bump it up by an hour till you reach 7-9 hours of lighting a day.
Hope this helps.
 
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xhimbica88

Member
Francine said:
Ya see it’s harder for me to advise that way when it comes to bigger tanks mine are all 32’s lol I would get some Trochus anyway lol I love them!!
It’s good to have a variety without over doing it anyway lol plus I’d tou run out of algae you can feed them (some just let them die off and replace as needed but I give my Trochus for example a small piece of seaweed on my clip... and then just put them on it for a bit near the sand bed... a tiny piece of algae wafer works too but I find you have to help them too it sometimes or else the piggy clowns will just pick at it until it’s gone and then well They will be overfed lol)
So I let the snails snack for a bit and remove any left overs after a couple hours depending on what I added.... (norI seaweed can sit for like 24hours).... if you add their food at nighttime for snails it helps... they are usually more active depending on the type...

But it looks like you have enough to last a bit lol
Question though?
You said it was gone... then you turned on your lights and it came back? What type of light schedule do you have? And why were they out before? Just for night time?
I have this really expensive FLUVAL SEA light, I forgot the exact name but I can find out , I was 8-10hrs. It now I’m at 6hrs to help with the algae removal. Yeah it was night time. Light was off. Woke up. Natural sunlight fills that room so much, I saw the sand bed : NO ALGAE. Was insane! Light came on, went to let my horses out, 40 mins later full algae bloom

But I did a 7G WC (55G tank) and removed a lot. So that helped. Next water change remove some more + get some snails

Thank you so much for ALL your advice ️
 
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xhimbica88

Member
Francine said:
On a completely off topic side note (sort of) since you are away... you should look into the AutoAqua AWC...... it’s does your top offs AND changes your water for you... best. Invention. Ever! Lol
Oh wow! Googling N O W !!
 
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xhimbica88

Member
Nart said:
That brown algae you see actually resembles more to dinoflagelates algae.
Difference between dino algae and a regular diatom bloom, is that dino algae will have pockets of air bubbles in em and you will see it throughout the tank.

Dino can grow on pretty much anything, even smother your corals.
To combat dinos it's actually quite the opposite of water changes. Typically you should do a 2-5 day black out on the entire tank and increase the flow and limit feeding.
You should then manually remove as much of the dino algae as possible, via turkey baster, gravel vac, etc...
Whatever your mechanical filtration is, filter floss or filter sock, you should change it out 2-3 times during this 2-5 day blackout period.

Afterwards, run you lighting schedule no more than 4 hours a day for 5 days and slowly bump it up by an hour till you reach 7-9 hours of lighting a day.
Hope this helps.
Yeah I don’t see those air bubble pockets like the pictures on google , this is more “hairy” and stringy
 

Francine

Member
xhimbica88 said:
Oh wow! Googling N O W !!
I’m telling you it’s AMAZING! Save so much work lol and you can read online about how people have put the waste water line right outside and people have really customized them
 

GWillings

Member
Not all Dino's have air bubbles. There are 4 main strains of Dino's that you could see in a reef tank. I have dealt with Ostreopsis in the past on a biocube. Water changes will aggrevate the situation with Ostreopsis. To be sure it is Dino's, get a microscope and compare it to photos of Dino's under a scope. It does not have to be an expensive scope either, a $10 scope off of Amazon will do the job. Once you ID it then you can look for the proper way to combat the particular strain you have. With Ostreopsis, raise phos and nitrate, and use a UV Sterilizer. Change filter sock daily.
 

Francine

Member
The microscope is a great idea... as they can REALLY help with differentiating between algae’s... there are also some tests you can do when you do a water change or just scoop some up to tell the difference between if it’s dinos, diatoms... etc.... and they are very easy (and cheap) to do... just need a glass jar... your sample and a coffee filter or similar....

I don’t think the post was on here but it Was on another reef forum...

Again I can’t remember but if your tank is under a year old it will go through all sorts of phases... most are harmless.... and just your tank maturing but I hope you got some snails (cuc should really be added before anything right after the cycle IMO... but again don’t go crazy... start smaller and work your way up as you will have to feed them once the algae is gone- depending on what you choose)

Also I’m not sure if you have tried a 72 hr black out yet but it can help certain algae’s (not sure how it would affect your anemone (because I don’t have any) but it has never affected any of my photosynthetic corals (zoas etc) And has cleaned things right up! Again it really just depends on what you are dealing with at that time (I say this because you mentioned a lot of light in your tank and it disappearing and reappearing when the lights come back on)
 

GWillings

Member
The anemone will absolutely hate it as they require a decent amount of lighting. Which reminds me, I need to feed mine.
 

Francine

Member
GWillings said:
The anemone will absolutely hate it as they require a decent amount of lighting. Which reminds me, I need to feed mine.
Ya wasn’t sure if it would make it 72 hours or not because I don’t deal with them.... but all my photosynthetic corals were absolutely fine....and I actually did a 7 day one once and still were all fine... just brought the light back gradually over a couple days and it was no different... some of them never even closed at all... and I had not a single light on... pitch black room and black blanket wrapped around the tank...

But again it may do nothing depending on what exact algae it is...

Have you tried anything like dr Tim’s stuff? It’s pretty good and wipes out a lot of ****... just watch your skimmer after (and turn it off right after adding)
 

GWillings

Member
Dr Times won't touch Dino's , if he does have Dino's. DinoX sometimes works on 1 strain of Dino's, I don't remember which one, but is irrelevant because there are other measures that works overwhelmingly well on Dino's.
 

Francine

Member
No sorry not the waste away stuff... that will just help get rid of the organic and therefore help with other algae’s

I should have been more specific... a lot of people have had success with his refresh stuff (DO NOT use it at the same time as waste away- read the instruction on his page if you have other algae issues also)

Also, I did a bit of research (just because I was curious) and apparently people that have tanks FILLED with nems have done 3 (or more) day black outs... without any issues... most of them claI'm their nems never even moved but that was the ONLY thing anyone said... is that “a couple of their anemones moved maybe an inch or less”

A black out (again depending on the type of Dino) can completely clear them up.... I have done them and they never come back... I do a decent water change after the black out (vacuum substrate- unless you have a DSB) and they haven’t come back... they key is that it must be a TOTAL black out... like I mentioned before you will likely even have to wrap the tank in a blanket or sheet of some sort as any light can just defeat the purpose... it also helped because once I had a touch of some other algae (nothing major) but because it was dark my “nighttime cuc members” were out in full force most of the time because of the darkness....

I would say it’s worth a try before adding this or that to my tank....
 

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