Algae/Diatom Situation

Discussion in 'Algae' started by earman88, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. earman88

    earman88

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    Ok I thought I had my tank under control but maybe not. Last Sunday (the 29th) I moved my aquarium 2.5 hours away to a new location. Here's a timeline of what's happened:

    Sunday July29: Tank was very dirty due to my absence for a few months and lack of water changes. Lots of normal green colored algae, water was in great need of a water change. Fish are still fine, Xenia appears to have withered up and shrunk.

    I make the mistake of cleaning the tank and doing about a 70-80% water change. I also make the mistake of mixing the salt and dumping it in instantly without waiting 24 hours to dissolve properly.

    Monday: Everything seemed fine at the time so I purchased a few frags... zoas, colt, torch, birdsnest..

    Tuesday: Come home from work, tank has had an golden-brown algae bloom.. diatoms possibly? Glass is covered, when I clean the glass, it turns to a liquid and dissolves away.

    My firefish was on his side and disoriented.. Torch coral has retracted almost completely.

    Wednesday-Present time: I have been cleaning the tank and am now doing a proper 1 gallon water change (10g tank) daily starting today. I clean the tank in the evening, and 24 hours later the algae/diatoms are back. NONE of my zoas or corals will open up. I am worried that the algae is going to crust over them and kill them.

    See attached pictures.

    Note: My water parameters are ok, I went to my LFS and had it tested (salinity was just a bit high at 1.030)

    Should I just keep doing daily 1g water changes and ride this thing out? Another concern I have is that my torch coral is compeltely retracted in... I can't see any of the actual polyps. And I have a margarita snail (astaria snail?) that hasn't moved in days. If these things are dead I don't want them to contaminate my water even more.
     

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    earman88, Aug 8, 2012
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  2. earman88

    little_fish Moderator

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    Looks like dinos to me if they came on that fast. They are also poisonous to inverts, which could be why one of your snails is dead. Does it form snotty strings?

    This is one of the hardest pests out there to beat, you have to starve them out. I would keep up with the water changes and remove as much as you can by hand every time. I would also do several blackout and larger water changes when do you the black out. Suck out what you can (30% volume) before the lights out, do another 30% 3 days later, and then keep the lights out for a final 3 days (6 days total) and do a final big water change. Then do you gallon water changes every day for a while to keep the stuff beat.

    You will have to feed the very fish little as well, every uneaten particle will go to the algae.

    The corals will be fine without the light for that long, just make sure you reacclimate them to the light (this will also help with the algae).

    Also, 1.030 is pretty high for your salinity, but with all the water changes you should be able to get that back to normal.

    Good luck!
     
    little_fish, Aug 8, 2012
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  3. earman88

    earman88

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    Yes, I think it is Dino! Ok I will try a blackout. Some other message boards have mentioned that water changes and flow seem to fuel the dino.. can anyone confirm this?

    Also, I only have 1 fish atm - my oc. clown. Can I leave my lights off for good for 3 days?
     
    earman88, Aug 8, 2012
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  4. earman88

    earman88

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    I remove 30% of water at a time? Meaning I will pretty much be draining my tank? Or do you mean 2x 30% water changes?
     
    earman88, Aug 8, 2012
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  5. earman88

    little_fish Moderator

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    Change out 30% of your tank volume, so if you had a 100 gal tank, change out 30 gals, 50 gals, 15 gals etc

    some else brought this up about dinos some time ago and i think its total bullshit. if you search around the threads for dinos, im sure you will find the thread and my reasoning for this answer.
     
    little_fish, Aug 8, 2012
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  6. earman88

    earman88

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    Right, but do you mean to eventually have your tank at 60% empty?

     
    earman88, Aug 8, 2012
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  7. earman88

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Blackouts and raising alkalinity are the only tried and true methods of fixing dinos that I am aware of. Be careful if you try to raise your alkalinity though. I accidentally ODd my 90 gallon when I tried this and it was a disaster. It killed nearly everything. :(

    Doing a blackout is definitely the easier and safer way to go.
     
    Bifferwine, Aug 8, 2012
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  8. earman88

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    I think LF means to do a 30% water change (or 3g on your 10g tank) - take 30% out and add another 30% of clean water back in, then do the same thing 3 days later.
     
    FishyReef, Aug 8, 2012
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  9. earman88

    earman88

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    Thanks for everybody's help. Having a sick tank makes me appreciate a stable one. I'm ready to get this thing back on track. It sucks seeing it like this when it used to be crystal clear with healthy coral/fish..
     
    earman88, Aug 8, 2012
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  10. earman88

    earman88

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    Alright here we go..

    Last night I threw away my torch frag, colt frag, and a mushroom or two which were rotting. I relocated 2 zoa frags, xenia, and birdsnest coral frag to a 1g pitcher with an air stone and put my LED's over that for a makeshift refuge. Is this ok? It's obviously uncycled water, however this morning it appeared the zoas were trying to open a bit! That's gotta be better than leaving them in my main tank.

    Then I took my small (1/4") syphon tube and rubberbanded it to the back of a toothbrush. I scrubbed the dino/algae off while I changed out about 2 gallons of water. That worked like a champ.

    My tank has no lighting on it, and I took 3 black garbage bags and covered the outsides of the tank so no ambient light can get in. I have to go out of town this weekend so I won't get to do my next water change until Sunday. I'll post some pics Monday on what it's looking like.
     
    earman88, Aug 9, 2012
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  11. earman88

    little_fish Moderator

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    Good luck!
     
    little_fish, Aug 9, 2012
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  12. earman88

    earman88

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    earman88, Aug 9, 2012
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  13. earman88

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    I'd just be careful with the lights over the pitcher - that probably puts more light on your corals than they got in your tank, and LEDS are super strong so I'd just watch to make sure they aren't getting too much light and burning or melting! You might want to do a reduced photo period on them, and also watch to make sure there aren't any lingering algae spores on them that could be transported back in your tank when you're through with the black out.
     
    FishyReef, Aug 9, 2012
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  14. earman88

    little_fish Moderator

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    +1 to Fishy

    And adding the stuff couldnt hurt! I would go for it, just make sure you change it out regularly
     
    little_fish, Aug 9, 2012
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  15. earman88

    earman88

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    Ok, the lights aren't directly on the pitcher. I have them rigged up maybe 1 ft above. But I will just give them 5-6 hours of daylights and then moonlight after that.
     
    earman88, Aug 9, 2012
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  16. earman88

    earman88

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    Friday update

    A few interesting occurances from last night:

    I peeled back one of my black garbage bags to check on my clown and cleaner shrimp (the only major inhabitants now). At first glance, the cleaner shrimp was in the front of my tank just laying still. His tentacles weren't moving or anything. I was kinda worried about him.

    The clown also had fanned himself out a small burrow 'nest' and his colors were washed out (due to no light obviously).. he was kinda out of it but I think he had just gone to a sleep state for a long time.

    So an hour or two passes, and I come back to check on the cleaner shrimp again, and MY HERMIT CRAB IS EATING HIM. I knew I should have gotten rid of that damn crab a long time ago. He has been more of a nuisance than anything. He shows zero respect to anything. :frustrat:

    So in two weeks I've managed to lose the following:

    Mushroom coral
    Torch coral
    Colt coral
    Yellow goby
    Firefish
    Cleaner shrimp
    Damsel (gave away)

    Critical condition:
    Xenia


    BTW: I got my liquid test kit in last night, and if I recall (journal isn't with me atm) my parameters were:

    temp: 79f
    salinity 1.023
    Nitrates/Nitrites: 0
    Ammonia: 0.6
    pH: 7.5


    And last, my zoas in my makeshift refuge pitcher are starting to barely open up.
     
    earman88, Aug 10, 2012
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  17. earman88

    little_fish Moderator

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    Having any ammonia is a bad sign. I would do a water change right away. That is what more than likely killed your shrimp and the crab was just doing his job of cleaning up. A healthy shrimp wouldn't get eaten.
     
    little_fish, Aug 10, 2012
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  18. earman88

    earman88

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    Great. I don't understand why I all the sudden could have an ammonia problem... and this would happen as I go out of town for the weekend.

    The earliest I can do a water change is Sunday unless I get one in today after work.
     
    earman88, Aug 10, 2012
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  19. earman88

    earman88

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    Ok I was just informed that my clown fish has now died. How important is it that I do a water change to bring the ammonia level back down now? Is it ok to leave it till Sunday? Keeping the dino in mind..

    The only thing in my tank now are 2 nassarius snails (down in the sand somewhere), 3-4 tiny blue-legged crabs and 1 red leg hermit..
     
    earman88, Aug 10, 2012
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  20. earman88

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    At this point I'd pull your remaining inverts and put them in the pitcher with your corals. Don't worry about the xenia - you can get another - people will likely give you some for free when they weed out their tank. After you have no inhabitants in your tank, I'd pull your rocks, put them in a bucket of clean water and scrub the heck out of them to get as much of the algae off as you can, then continue with your black out until your algae is gone. Then I'd add in a piece of uncooked table shrimp to be sure that the tank isn't cycling (or to let it recycle) before adding your livestock back in or getting a new fish. I'm really sorry this happened and hope you can identify the source of the ammonia :(

    Edit: As long as you pull your inverts, I wouldn't worry about doing a water change now if you don't have time to - just deal with it all when you get back.
     
    FishyReef, Aug 10, 2012
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