Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/)
-   Saltwater Fish Diseases (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/saltwater-fish-diseases/)
-   -   Is this Algae Good or Bad? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/saltwater-fish-diseases/algae-good-bad-11587/)

nathan_wv 02-05-2008 09:05 PM

Is this Algae Good or Bad?
 
I've got a 30 gallon saltwater tank up and running. It came with a little water (less than half full), live rock, and live sand (the tank was purchased used). When I got it seemed that the sand and rock were dead, both were bleached white and showed no signs of growth over the course of a few weeks.

A couple weeks ago I bought a "live" rock from a local pet store to help get the tank cycled up. There are currently no fish or animals (past what was on the live rock) in the tank. The rock I bought has been in the tank for about 2-3 weeks. There is red algae taking over the tank at an alarming rate. There are also some bright green spots of algae mixed in. What should I do?

Also, why can't I upload JPEGs of the algae? It tells me jpegs aren't allowed.

bettababy 02-05-2008 10:44 PM

Re: Is this Algae Good or Bad?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by nathan_wv
I've got a 30 gallon saltwater tank up and running. It came with a little water (less than half full), live rock, and live sand (the tank was purchased used). When I got it seemed that the sand and rock were dead, both were bleached white and showed no signs of growth over the course of a few weeks.

A couple weeks ago I bought a "live" rock from a local pet store to help get the tank cycled up. There are currently no fish or animals (past what was on the live rock) in the tank. The rock I bought has been in the tank for about 2-3 weeks. There is red algae taking over the tank at an alarming rate. There are also some bright green spots of algae mixed in. What should I do?

Also, why can't I upload JPEGs of the algae? It tells me jpegs aren't allowed.

Ok, for starters, how much circulation is in the tank? How many powerheads, what kind of filter, etc...? It sounds like a cyano bacteria bloom, and quite often that is most severe where there is lack of enough circulation. Can you post water params for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, calcium, and phosphate please? These numbers will tell us a lot!

It is possible that your pictures are too large, there is a size limit to post them here. Try resizing it, make it a bit smaller, and attempt to upload again. Jpg should post just fine if they are not oversized. If you need help with resizing, pm me and we'll work on it in email. I can resize them and post them for you, or send them back for you to post again.

Cassie_KY 02-05-2008 11:02 PM

(I am the other half of the tank's "owner")
I am not there to check parameters. For circulation, there are two powerheads and a Hang on the Back Power Filter. It is a Marineland (3000 if my memory is correct). Temperature is at 78 degrees and the lights are on twelve hours a day.

I had read that to help control nitrates, use distilled water when water top-offs are needed. We did not know that until recently and have adopted that as a practive. We have not done any waterchanges at this time as the tank is still cycling (I had read to not do waterchanges until cycling was finished?). It had been sitting in this persons home for some time before we got it (not plugged in, water running, anything) and we have had it up and running since before New Years. No hurry on progressing to live critters (that would be cruel). Just want to know what we need to do to help get this tank back on the straight and narrow.

Thank you all so much for your help. Water params will come soon.

bettababy 02-06-2008 01:23 PM

The water params are going to tell us a lot. There are usually only a handful of causes for cyano blooms, and sometimes this shows up in the water params. Please remember that calcium and phosphate will be just as important as the others, and it is also a matter of balance between water params we are looking for.

Most times I've found cyano blooms in any tank it had a lot to do with solid organic waste and/or lack of circulation. Sometimes just the way powerheads are positioned makes all the difference in the world. Once I can see pics of your tank I can help you much better.

As for the distilled water helping to remove nitrates during top off... I don't know where you heard that but that is not an accurate statement.
Topping off a tank with distilled water will help to keep spg/salinity more stable, as salt does not evaporate, but nitrates and other waste don't evaporate either, just the water. What happens with nitrates when water evaporates is that it concentrates. Adding water will not get rid of nitrates, just thin them out, which can make a problem much worse very fast. For this reason water testing on a regular basis even on an established tank is very important, and testing before doing water changes or adding water is also very important to find true readings.
Think about it in terms of a can of frozen orange juice. You start out with a concentrated form of juice in a small amount. This, if not added with water is extremely strong. Once you add water, you thin it out, you increase the volume, but you still have the same amount of orange juice in there. Same concept, and better to know this before you start adding animals and before issues can start.

I'll wait for water params and pics... we can go from there.

nathan_wv 02-06-2008 07:20 PM

Here is a picture of the tank. I should have test results from water posted shortly.

Actually....the forum still tells me I can't post a JPEG attachment. Also, under the "Allowed Extensions and Sizes" link, JPEGs aren't list. Anyhow, you can find the pic at:

http://img86.imageshack.us/my.php?image=10000951hy8.jpg

Please let me know what you think, and thanks so much for the help.

bettababy 02-06-2008 08:34 PM

What I see in the picture is a rust colored algae that is normal for a new tank. I would guess already that the tank is going through a normal cycling phase, and the best thing to do is wait it out. The water params will tell if a water change (or series of small ones) will be needed, but patience is ultimately your answer here.

I'll have to refer you to the mods to help with the photo uploading, as I'm not sure what exactly the problem is. If you like, I can copy the pic from the link you listed and post it here for you until the problem is resolved..?? Just let me know, but I think it would help others reading this thread if it were here for easy reference.

nathan_wv 02-06-2008 09:18 PM

OK.

Ammonia is .25
Nitrite is 0
Nitrate is 80
and PH is 8.3

It would appear that it is time for a water change (going by the Nitrate reading). Or is it normal to have a big spike in Nitrate while cycling a salt tank and I've just checked it at a bad time?

Also, it would appear that the test kit that came with my tank doesn't measure calcium or phosphate. So I'll have to look into getting a test kit for that.

But it sounds like what I have is normal for a cycling salt tank. I was worried that something was seriously wrong. As Cassie stated, the tank wasn't in the greatest of shape when we bought it. If the rust algae is OK, how about the green spots of algae you see in the picture? Is that OK too?

What about replacing the filter medium? I know how it applies to a cycling freshwater, is it the same for a salt?

And lastly, should a separate siphon hose be used for fresh and salt water tanks? It seems to me that you wouldn't want to mix marine salt and bacteria in with your freshwater tanks.......

Thanks for all of your help. I really appreciate it.

bettababy 02-07-2008 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nathan_wv
OK.

Ammonia is .25
nitrite is 0
nitrate is 80
and PH is 8.3

It would appear that it is time for a water change (going by the nitrate reading). Or is it normal to have a big spike in nitrate while cycling a salt tank and I've just checked it at a bad time?

Also, it would appear that the test kit that came with my tank doesn't measure calcium or phosphate. So I'll have to look into getting a test kit for that.

But it sounds like what I have is normal for a cycling salt tank. I was worried that something was seriously wrong. As Cassie stated, the tank wasn't in the greatest of shape when we bought it. If the rust algae is OK, how about the green spots of algae you see in the picture? Is that OK too?

Both forms of algae in your photo are normal and will progress to others as the tank cycles. For nitrates to spike that means ammonia and nitrite have been broken down, but its important to know if any ammonia or nitrite are still present. Considering the tank is "used" its also a good idea to find out where the other levels balance... pH, calcium, phosphate. These will all be imporant to have stable before you add fish.
What kind of test kits came with the tank? If it's strip tests, they are worthless, you're going to need a liquid kit for accurate results. API puts out good and accurate tests. Strip tests are so inaccurate they are dangerous to rely on, I've seen tanks crash due to the results of a strip test reading way off.


What about replacing the filter medium? I know how it applies to a cycling freshwater, is it the same for a salt?
similar, but not the same. Because you don't have fish in the tank, it's a used tank, it may not be a bad idea to change out filter media, just not all at once, if possible. Sponge materials can be rinsed in some dirty tank water and replaced in the filter to help preserve bacteria culture, but in saltwater the majority of your bacteria culture will thrive in your sand bed and rock. Just watch water params for a wk or 2 after changing media, be aware of any spikes that may happen.

And lastly, should a separate siphon hose be used for fresh and salt water tanks? It seems to me that you wouldn't want to mix marine salt and bacteria in with your freshwater tanks.......
I have been using the same sipon hoses for fresh and saltwater for many years without problems. Most illnesses that you'll see in saltwater won't survive in freshwater, and vice versa. Salt is quite often used for medicinal purposes in freshwater, and equipment for freshwater is also often sterilized by using saltwater. I see no reason why you would need more than one hose provided it is rinsed after each use.

Thanks for all of your help. I really appreciate it.



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