My tank got hit by the ugly stick

Discussion in 'The Reef Tank' started by clsanchez77, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    It's been a few weeks since I was able to get my hands in the tank with the new puppy and all. This year in all, I have been having some serious macro algae outbreaks in the DT. So monthly I would go in and remove the various macros and thin them down. Coralline grows on the glass and I have a little cyanno on the substrate. Chaeto is thick and healthy in the sump.

    Well, this time was different. I removed a lot (about 1/2 gallons worth) of macro algae from the DT and I am finding a lot of this dark green and slimy hair algae. I have never had this one before. It resembles hair algae in texture, is very dark green, but very difficult to remove, like a turn algae. The worst part is it seems to dissolve in your fingers if you squeeze to hard. It has started at the bottom and rear of the tank.

    I fault myself for this as I have gotten lax on changing out filter socks and cleaning the substrate (sand and rock).

    So my corrective action plan:
    1. No food for 3 days. I feed my tank heavy. LPS and gorgonia corals have graced me with great growth as a result. I provide about 40-ml of liquid food, which has about twice as much water as frozen food...so about 7 cubes of food per day equivalent. I feed 1-ml every 36 minutes 24/7, which feeds the fish by day and the coral by night. I will stop this for 3 days and then slowly ramp this back up, probably 1 ml per day.
    2. Lights out for 5 days. No lights at all in the DT. I am now running my refugium back at 24/7 to try and get the nutrients to migrate to the sump instead of binding up in the DT. Ambient sunlight may still be an issue. I may actually black the tank out with some tarp for 3 days next week if I don't like what I am seeing.
    3. Nitrates and Phosphates are 0.0. A common theme so I am not surprised. I decided not to change out the GFO right now as I want the chaeto in my fuge to take care of this. But now that I have aggressively thinned out the DT, I will watch phosphates for any increase and will change out the GFO if needed.
    4. Skimmer on 24/7. I only run my skimmer for 6 hours a day. I have temporarily switched to 24/7. My tank has a ton of micro-fauna so I will go back to part-time once I get the feedings going again.
    5. Substrate replacement. Self explanatory. My tank is going on 3 years this summer. Back in the old days, we used to call this Old Tank Syndrome. These days, I don't know too many people who keep a tank that long anymore. I will do this over the next few months and will slowly remove and replace substrate in the main tank as well as the Miracle Mud in the refugium. I may do a 1/3 each month or something.
    6. Rock blasting. As a regular chore, I run a power head over my rocks to blow loose any detritus. I may hook up a Mag 7 to some tubing and give everything a really good blast from hell. The maxijet cleans the surface, but just does not get into the pores.
    7. Last but no least is get back to changing those socks!

    Not my proudest photo:
    Display Tank Algae Mar 2018.jpg

    Note all my corals are closed up because I just finished cleaning. This was around 6 pm and normally everyone would be fully extended about this time. Note all the algae parts floating in the water column. I changed out the filter socks to capture all of this.

    I will provide a weekly update so we can watch how this progresses (or crashes lol).

    I also have 3 coral frags to remount currently in the sand and four large calaustrea heads I may sell once I get this cleaned up.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2018
  2. reefMD

    reefMD Neon Goby

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    Time to add a grazer?
     
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  3. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Perhaps. I have plenty of snails and hermit crabs...they even have the slimy hair algae on their shells. I passed my urchins on as they were eating coralline and bulldozing frags...even the glued ones. I also have plenty of brittle starfish, large and small.
     
  4. ihigh

    ihigh Toadstool Leather Coral

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    Foxface/rabbitfish have been my go to with overload of algae. I haven't had a rogue one yet.
     
  5. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    I recently added a molly miller blenny but he has little interest. Makes me wonder if its really a molly miller. These seem to be hard to ID.
     
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  6. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    I forgot to mention, this photo was taken with HO's on and LED's off, so it washes the colors a bit. This is my standard practice when working on the tank as I like to view the tank with LED's but I prefer to work on it in HO's.
     
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  7. CenlaReefer

    CenlaReefer Ko-Ko Worm LARC Supporter

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    These fish have a tremendous appetite. They will usually eat algae that most other creatures will not tolerate. Still, some risk is involved. It should be worth it. I vote for a magnificent fox face fish.
     
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  8. GPReefer

    GPReefer Let the Fin Begin! Administrator LARC Supporter POTM Winner

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    I don't envy you having to clear that up. My 140 got like that too. PITA, for sure. I wish you luck.
     
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  9. reefMD

    reefMD Neon Goby

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    Yup yellow tang or foxface will strip that tank of anything green.
     
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  10. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Hard to tell from the picture you posted Chris but the description does sound a lot like a form of bryopsis Sp.
    If its fleshy soft like you describe then a tang would devour it even if its bryopsis Sp. (note I am not talking about the common type )
    Having seen your tank in person I think a convict tang would look good in there and they are not all that common anymore in folks tanks.
    Another tang that is fitting for your tank would be a mimic tang.

    If you have a mollie miller it is defective LOL, Mine will all but rip my tangs a new one to eat algae before they can.
     
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  11. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Stupid Fish -bonk-
     
  12. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Here is my week 1 update:

    Been a week since I tackled this issue. Filter socks have been changed every third night. Skimmer is set to wet and I have been draining it nightly. Yesterday, I went ahead and removed my bio-media from the sump. I have the Trigger Systems Emerald system, which includes a refugium and 3" space between the fuge and return areas with egg crate shelves. I run Fluval Ceramic Media in here. Over 2 years, it has really funked up!

    IMG_3981.jpg

    The crud settles fast, so I did three rinses with water siphoned from the system. Here was the first rinse:

    IMG_3982.jpg

    Since going lights out in my display and 24/7 in the refugium, I am already noticing some significant improvement. Algae growth in the DT has been limited and the dark green sludge algae is just about gone. Chaeto growth appears to have been 50% just this week and is now a nice dark green color. I suspect I had too much in the DT competing but also (again) I believe chaeto just performs better under 24/7 conditions than diurnal conditions. Feeding was cut out for the who week, however I have been giving a few ml at breakfast and dinner when I feed my QT.

    IMG_3984.jpg

    I still have to get into the substrate some more and remount 5 corals. Feeding will resume this week at 10%.
     
  13. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Looking better for sure.
    Boy that media gets nasty and forgotten about easily huh LOL.
    I would suspect that you are getting better results with the 27/7 light over the cheato because of the competition of the macro in your display tank far out competes the fuge.
    Without the display macro you would likely still benefit from longer photo periods with your fuge because of the sheer amount you feed the tank on a daily basis, More food in ='s more nutrient for the cheato and more light required to process it all.

    I will still opine in a ''more normal'' setting folks would see better health and growth with running fuge light opposite of the display lights.
    And Yes, I like to pop in and ruffle your feathers still :D:p
     
  14. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Thanks! Yea media needs to be cleaned regularly and it is easy to over look when it is not one of the regular chores. I will add that to my Apex calendar as an annual event I guess.

    If you recall, I always ran the chaeto 24/7 but I have come across a loud chorus of zealots who believe chaeto requires a down time to grow at 100%. I finally gave in to experiment and set it to 18 on/6 off and all other parameters remained the same. I have been measuring chaeto and charting it in my Apex Fusion dashboard. Since going 18/6 on the fuge, chaeto growth has nearly flat-lined. Now that I am back to 24/7, I can visually confirm growth over a period of a week...no need to even break out the scale.

    And what can I say, I like to feed my tank like I feed myself :D. On week two of the diet. Our camping trip this weekend is being cancelled due to weather, so I will finally have a chance to start some substreate replacement.
     
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  15. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    Well today I finally got around to changing out my Miracle Mud. I did 10 pounds out of the 15 in the fuge. See for yourself. The two zip lock bag was what I removed, I removed 5 pounds from each side and left 5 pounds in the center. Nasty ****! New bag is ready to go in. Last photo is with the new mud in place. No issues refilling the water, but I did put some filter socks on my returns just in case. Not much grit made it through.

    IMG_4074.jpg IMG_4075.jpg IMG_4076.jpg IMG_4077.jpg


    I have ordered a new refugium kit from algae-barn. They were out of chaeto, but I still had some anyway. I got two packs of pods and some phyto and picked up a few other macro algae.

    Not related to the algae, but I did also order today a new UV bulb and sleeve. Was on my list of things to do back in January. Better late than never I guess.

    Phosphates tested at 0 again, but I replaced the GFO anyway as its been a few weeks.

    I am wondering if I should run carbon. I normally don't but I have the reactor plumbed in for when I need it.
     
  16. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    FWIW, I found my magnesium to be way deficient. I should have known better, but I had not checked it since December. Stupid job and family always in the way LOL. Mag was down to 900 ppm. I will raise it 50 ppm a day. I should hit 1250 on Saturday assuming I did the math right and something else does not mess up the chemistry.
     
  17. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    Yikes that is low for magnesium.
    You were not having a time getting coraline to grow or have your Cal / DKH get a bit erratic on you ??
     
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  18. BluewaterLa

    BluewaterLa LARC Boil Master Administrator LARC Supporter

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    I would double check with a second test kit to make sure yours is reading close to correct.
    I've had Mag test kits reading 1300 and ICP testing came back at 1670 ish.
    Also had Mag as well as nitrate test kits read either normal or bottomed out and were wrong due to the age of the kit.
    Just to be sure / safe before raising it too much, double check.
     
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  19. Redfish Postasaurus Rex

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    I would have put the carbon reactor online ,, with everything you have going on ,,, but thats just me :)

    I felt the same way you do about growing chaeto 24 / 7 ,, and its what I did when I had it growing in a tray in the sump ,, since getting the chaeto reactor,, I have went to running it only 12 hours a day ,, I have read the light in the reactor is pretty powerful and will fry the chaeto ,,, guess we will find out in another 3 weeks when I open the reactor up. I can see chaeto in the reactor ,, right up against the top ,,, does that mean its growing or does that mean I have to much flow in the reactor and its just pushed up to the top of the reactor :)
     
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  20. clsanchez77

    clsanchez77 Reefkeeping Extremist Global Moderator

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    So I liked your post but never had tome to respond. Last few days have been draining and baseball is just about to start!

    Yea, so Magnesium caught me off guard. Here is the thing, almost ALL of my alkalinity and calcium demand is satisfied by kalkwasser and going back through my records, I had not tested or balanced Magnesium since December. I have not worked out the numbers, but I think the loss is reasonable for 4 months.

    The test kit does come with a reference test that I ran out of time to check against. Having said that, calcium was only at 365, I increased it by 50 and ended up with only 375. So I lost 40 to precipitation (or unlikely instantaneous coral growth). Magnesium is the only likely candidate here. Similarly, alkalinity was lower than I like.

    Since Im only raising the magnesium by 25 ppm per night, Im not too concerned about the test kit accuracy. I will not have a chance again until Thursday night to run the test again, so worst case I will increase it by 100 ppm by then. Even if the test kit is wrong, this is not really an issue.

    But otherwise good cautionary tale and I do have a short list of test kits to be replenished...alkalinity, nitrates, calcium and magnesium.
     
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