Long time issues...

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    Hello everyone,

    It's been awhile since I've been on here but it's great to be back. I am here because I am just desperate for any new ideas on the long term issues I've been having. I've been doing saltwater for 8 years, so I am no newbie however apparently theres still something about water chemistry i just dont get.

    If you name it, I've probably tried it...so I will lay it all out for you in detail and please read it thoroughly before throwing out ideas.

    Specs: 29 gal reef (soft corals, 1 fish), RO/DI water, 54W blue/white LED lighting on for 6 hours a day, 18W royal blue/magenta LED lighting on for 3 hours a day, temp 78-80, powerheads: one at top, 1 maxijet1200 pumping water though a grid i have going all over my tank, 1 maxijet 400 pointed at the sand, reef octopus BH-100 protein skimmer, hang on tank aquaclear50 filter w carbon, phosphate reactor w/ ferric acid, water changes consistent every other week about 4 gallons. Feed fish every other day with rinsed frozen cubed food. Currently dosing: KENT calcium buffer system TECH CB parts A & B, KENT TECH M magnesium about every other day, trace elements, iodide, stronium and molybdenum once a week. Full of live rock and been set up for 1 1/2 years. Last time I checked my calcium is was 430. Cleanup crew: (i know i need to replenish, many have died since my last purchase) 1 turbo snail, 4 scarlett reef hermits, 1 electric blue hermit, 3 sand snails, 1 peppermint shrimp.

    Here's my ongoing problems:
    1) I have never, ever, in the history of my tanks in 8 years been able to get my PH above 8.0. In this small tank, it has been nearly impossible to get coraline algae growing, especially on the rocks. In my old 90 gal, which i had set up for 4 years, i eventually got lots of coraline growing (but then again i had a more powerful lighting system too). I just can't seem to get my PH up or coraline....

    2) Cyanobacteria that just wont go away. I have used the chemicals (it barely clear it out and as soon as I stop the chemicals it comes back). I have tested my phosphates the test kids read 0. I have tested my RO/DI water for phosphates, they read 0. I have tried new test kits...they all say 0. I have tried increasing my water flow (hence the maxijet with grid system). I have noticed the cyano seems worse when i dose the magnesium (maybe I'm wrong) but ive been going easy on dosing that. It's ugly, just make it go away.

    With all that said, please pose your questions and suggestions. On the brightside my soft corals are growing beautifully! My one hard coral, a bubble, was shipped to me and nearly died in shipping. It is fighting back fabulously which is another reason I am trying to keep the calcium levels up! Now lets just get that PH up and cyano gone!!
    THank you all!!
     
    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  2. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    Disregard my signature...i havent updated it in awhile...
     
    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  3. mmfrock

    charlieB

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    what does your alkalinity test at?
     
    charlieB, Mar 18, 2013
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  4. mmfrock

    reefnoob

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    Maybe you can try upping your water changes. And a PH of 8.0 isn't really that bad. It can range from 7.8-8.4.
     
    reefnoob, Mar 18, 2013
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  5. mmfrock

    FishyReef Broke Reefer!

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    Okay, here are my (minimal) thoughts:

    pH

    (1) Open a window - fresh air does wonders for increasing pH
    (2) Do you measure it at the same time very day? If so, what time? Do you run a sump? If so, do you have a light over the sump running on an opposite light cycle as your DT?

    cyano

    (1) Are you sure its cyano and not red turf or another red variant algae?
    (2) What chemicals have you been using for it? (sometimes algae can develop a resistance to chemicals and then come back even stronger)
     
    FishyReef, Mar 18, 2013
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  6. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    I do not have an alk test kit but i guess i can put that on my list as a next step. I have tried testing my PH at different times, i know theres a lower PH at night. I usually test during the day when the lights are on. I do not have a sump. I have tried an algae scrubber, i will never do that again i had no luck with it and it was too much of an inconvience for me. I am not positive it's cyano, but thats what I think. It's a browish/redish slime on the sand and mostly on the lower rocks. I have used "red slime remover" which requires water changes during dosing and ive tried another brand (i cannot remember the name) that doesnt require water changes while dosing. I've attached a picture...
     

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    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  7. mmfrock

    BL1 ............. Moderator

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    A stable pH is better then always trying to raise it, the pH in my tank was always 7.8 and it never posed any problems. Also, I'm not sure but your sand looks more like Dinos then cyano to me. (Hard to tell on my phone tho)
     
    BL1, Mar 18, 2013
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  8. mmfrock

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    If those are dinos like Brian suggests, you're in for a tough fight. If it's snotty, it's possible it's dinos.

    If it's not dinos, how long since you've changed your RODI cartridges? How old are the lights?
     
    wontonflip, Mar 18, 2013
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  9. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    What the heck are Dinos? I have never heard of that. My RO/DI cartridges are about 3 months old. The lights are actually brand new and theyre LED's so I shouldnt have to replace them for a long time anyways.
     
    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  10. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    I just looked up info on Dinos and some things seem consistent with my problem...like one: my clean up crews keep dying fairly quickly. And what I read it says that raising PH can help Dinos go away. So...if anyone else could help suggest what to do, plus how to get my PH up b/c i have had no luck in doing that. I've tried Seachem's reef 8.3 buffer and that never worked, and trying to dose it to get it up killed one of my poor looking tree corals (but it that one was on its last leg anyways). And the KENT calcium supplements arent helping the PH much either. I can atleast get you all some better pics tomorrow if you stay tuned... what to do?
     
    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  11. mmfrock

    noy

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    You should post your water params (ph, temp, salinity, nitrate/phosphate/mag).

    As long as your ph is not below 7.8 you should ok. My system is at 7.9-8.0 from day 1 and hasn't changed since. Like BL1 says stability is better. One suggestion is - i think all the reef octupus skimmers have a outlet in the air intake valve that lets you run tubing to draw air from a different part of the house. You may want to do that and get fresh air (less CO2) into the skimmer air intake - this will help with ph - at best 0.1-0.2 though.

    You are dosing a whole lot of stuff into your system. Can you tell us what livestock you have (corals/macroalgae specfiically). Magnesium every other day sounds like a lot (usually 2x a week is enough). The Kent marine 2 part system - part A already has magnesium and all the other trace elements in it. I would recomend you only use the 2 part system and not dose all that other stuff. Get a test kit to see what levels you are running at and whether you really need to supplement the 2 part system. You never know whether you are feeding into whatever you have with all the extra trace elements. If you think there is a co-relationship between mag and whatever ails you, you may want to just stop dosing period for a while. Magnesium is only required for calcification (and mangroves) so unless you have a lot of sps - its not that important. its required primarily for growth not maintenance.

    Cyanobacteria forms like sheets and "flakes" or lifts off the substrate. I just can't see from the picture what it is. Looks like diatoms to me (but thats a wild guess from the picture). Do you get air bubbles on your substrate? Can't say i ever dealt with dino's before so i'm not much help there.
     
    noy, Mar 18, 2013
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  12. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    My water parameters are: PH 8.0, temp 78-80, sal 1.024, nitrate/phos 0, rite/amm 0. I'll look into the reef ocotpus intake value...i dont know much about it. Yea I can def back off on dosing the mag, the only reason i was is b/c i am trying to make sure my calcium is good b/c im trying to get my bubble coral to grow back strong. Yes I have had bubbles form on top of the red slime. Sometimes it;s really red sometimes its more brownish. I will post a better pic when i get home today. Thank you all and please stay tuned!
     
    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  13. mmfrock

    wontonflip I failed Kobayashi Maru

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    wontonflip, Mar 18, 2013
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  14. mmfrock

    Northstar24 The Tang Herder

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    That looks like Dino's to me. I had them at the 6 month mark in my 180, and getting rid of them almost got me out of the hobby. You'll need to do water changes, almost as often as you can make the water. You'll want to suck out as much of the dinos as you can every day.

    It sucks, it really, really does. It took me over two months of daily water changes and blackouts to get rid of them in my system

    Also, it looks like you are dosing a ton of stuff. Is it really needed? I find it hard to believe that one bubble coral and a few soft corals would use more than what a stable, regular water change would provide. Honestly, if it were me, at this point I would stop dosing everything until you get the dino's under control and you are absolutely sure that you need to be dosing.

    Also, don't get hung up on the PH. A stable PH of 8.0 is perfectly fine for a marine tank. I'd be more worried about the dino's
     
    Northstar24, Mar 18, 2013
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  15. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    Well I have some more pics for you today. I am only dosing b/c i have noticed its making my corals really grow, everything has been growing wonderfully. In the pics you can see the bubble coral on the right trying to work it's way back from the shipping trauma. Recently i have not noticed bubbles on the red slime, but i have seen it in the past.
     

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    mmfrock, Mar 18, 2013
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  16. mmfrock

    Ulta REEFER

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    I think "noy" has come closest to how I feel.

    I wouldnt jump right to conclusions of dino's personally. 1 thing that leads me away from dino's is i see no "snot bubbles" like wonton said are pretty much signurature of dino's. especilly if you say you have had them awhile you should see the bubbling characteristics of dinos.

    fix your dosing, with as little coral as you have you shoul only dose alk/calcium water changes will do the rest. dont dose trace elements and only test alk/cal imo.

    1 last important thing I have that no1 else mentioned. Do a close investigation of what type of rocks you have in there. make sure there are no rocking leeching into the water. I would expect similar experiences you have to people who have had probs with rocks leeching into their water. Lava Rocks are a very common example of this.
     
    Ulta, Mar 20, 2013
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  17. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    Well, I ahree with Ulta, I really dont think it's Dinos. I think it's just cyano. However, I have blacked out my tank for 2 days, did a water change and am going to repeat this again for two more days. Also I have been dosing red slime remover.

    My rocks could be in suspicion but not for the reasons Ulta mentioned. They are the appropriate rocks, they were live rock when bought and were not lava rocks. However, when i had my 90 gal set up, coraline was growing beautifully after 4 years of hard work i decided to take the tank down. I let the LR dry out and I cleaned it and cleaned it in scorching hot water to get all the dead critters out of the holes. When i set my 29 gal back up i used the same rocks. So maybe theres some potential for the rocks to still be leeching something into the water. And at this point, i cannot fix that.
     
    mmfrock, Mar 21, 2013
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  18. mmfrock

    AmberSunrise

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    Constantly trying to raise your PH can be harmful to the CUC and corals. Mine is always 7.8 and everything grows great. I also would say you should stop dosing all those chemicals, if you are using a quality salt you dont need all that stuff I have never used any chemicals ever in my tank.

    I dont know any advice about dinos but I had a cyano problem for a few months and found that it went away when I removed the carbon/phosphate reactor I was using and pointed my water flow directly to the sand beds.
     
    AmberSunrise, Mar 21, 2013
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  19. mmfrock

    noy

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    You should follow the directions for the red slimer removers as suggested by the manufacturer. Most of these are "treatment" oriented. The meds i believe are antibiotics and require a certain concentration to be build up to kill the cyano bacteria. If you are "dosing it" - i'm not sure thats that great of an idea as you may never get to the concentration required especially if you are running your skimmer.

    You can repeat the treatments as required but i think the whole idea is to get the concentration up as quickly as possible and then you need to do a water change (to restore ORP).
     
    noy, Mar 21, 2013
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  20. mmfrock

    mmfrock

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    Noy,

    I misspoke...i'm not "dosing" i am following the directions on the red slime remover packet. Thank you.
     
    mmfrock, Mar 22, 2013
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