Clueless new tank have brown algae everywhere what to do
Okay I am new to all of this. This is my first tank and I am lost already have done a little reserch but not alot. I started the tank about a week ago. It is a 55 gal and I put maybe 40 lbs of live rock( well at least that is what the guy said but not to sure did not get it from a store) 30 lbs of dead rock, 40 lbs of dead sand and then 40lbs of the salt and pepper live sand on top. I have a 350 Magnum Bio Wheel filter, a Red Sea Prizm protein skimmer and two power heads( no clue what kind). I have an in-line heater set at 75. I have a 48 inch compact flourcent light and a 175 w metal halide. I belive that is all the stuff I have. Like i said I started about a week ago and I am starting to get this dark brown algae growing on all my rock, I am just wondering if that is normal if not what do I do to get rid of it? I would greatly appreciate any help like I said I am clueless and i would really like to make this work.
Sounds like a diatom bloom to me. Are they also in your substrate. Dont worry, If its diatom bloom it will go off within a couple of weeks.
More senior guys can help you with this problem.
Test Calcium, Alkalinity, pH, Nitrate, Nitrite, ammonia and salinity. Post your results. And that Bio-Wheel filter will become a problem in the near future. You have more than enough filtration with the Live Rock and Live Sand you have in your tank. How deep is that sand bed? You are looking for 4-6" deep.
Welcome to the Forum, and good luck. There are a lot of experienced fishkeepers on here that can help you if you listen...
Yes it is in the substrate as well. It also has tiny air bubbles all over it as well.
Do not have a calcium or alkalinty test kit yet I take it that I need those. My PH is 8.4, Nitrate is between 5 and 10 ppm, Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0 and my salinity is 1.022. My salinity keeps going up and down and I have not done any water changes just add some distilled water to replace the evaporation. Why are the Bio Wheels going to be a problem thought they were good to have. My sand bed is about 3, 3 and a half inchs right now do I need to get more?
From what I have gathered so far by reading is that the sand bed needs to be 1" or between 4-6", I believe 4-6" is more widely recommended and produces better results. The bio-wheel may become an issue because unlike in freshwater setups, mechanical filtration in a saltwater tank does the opposite of what needs to be accomplished, and that is keep the nitrates at a bare minimum. Since the point of mechanical filtration is to convert ammonia/nitrites into nitrates, this appears to be the opposite of what we are trying to do.
The calcium and alkalinity tests, you will be told they are the two most important tests that you need.
Unfotrunately I cant comment on the salinity issue... All that I have read is that adding more water to supplement for evaporation should NOT have an impact on salinity since the salt does not evaporate w/ the water.
Lets talk for a minute about filtration concepts. In saltwater aquarium our long term success depends on 2 important features. We need to keep alkalinity stable and keep Nitrate at or near zero. These topics are discussed very frequently here, and I just posted two very detailed threads on these topics. I will post the links for you at the end of my post, but this is the basic idea: Marine aquariums are most efficient when set up using live rock, a deep sand bed, and a protein skimmer as the only methods of filtration. The moment you add the biowheels, everything changes.
The Magnum and biowheel filter unit INTENTIONALLY introduces Nitrate into the aquarium, and INTENTIONALLY traps organic acids which are responsibly from the depletion of carbonate buffers from the water, lowering alkalinity. Your Magnum filter and biowheel are extremely efficient units, and will very effectively lower the water quality in this marine aquarium. They are fabulous on freshwater, but on saltwater we have better options. Fortunately, you already have all the equipment you need. You don't have to spend a dime. In fact, you have to much equipment. You need to remove the biowheel unit and you will be improving the long term odds of success of your system when you do so.
Here are the links:
The other subject to discuss here is the depth of your sand bed. The standard recommendation is 4'' to 6'' of depth for effective denitrification. Denitrification refers to the biological process of Nitrate conversion into Nitrogen Gas, "natural nitrate reduction" it is sometimes called. Looking at the pictures of your tank, combined with the structure of your live rock bed and excellent water movement, I think your sand bed is currently acceptable. If I were doing it from scratch, I would add a little more sand, but at this point I would not disturb the situation. I think you will be fine and should see denitrification benefits.
Finally, to answer your question. The brown algae you see is a diatom bloom. This happens on all new tanks during the first month or so. You do not need to do anything about it. It will go away naturally, assuming you get rid of those nasty biowheels. ;-) I personally use the diatom bloom as an indicator that the aquarium is progressing normally. In fact, at this time is when I normally begin testing for alkalinity and calcium, attempting to gain comfort with these test results and adjustments. If you do so, coraline algae growth will being to appear in the very near future.
By the way, do you intend this to be a fish only, fish with invert, or reef system?
Great question on the canister. I would personally remove the filter pads and activated carbon, and only run the canister as a water pump for additional flow. This will also allow you to spot treat with the tank with filter material to catch large particulates, especially after scrapping algae or doing other aquascapping projects that cause debris to become suspended. The key is to not allow the filter pads to run for longer than 24 hours without being rinsed, replaced, or removed.
This leaves the question of how to use activated carbon. I believe carbon has great benefits, especially in a reef setting. Carbon removes tainted acids from the water, allowing for greater light penetration. I personally have a bag of carbon just laying in my sump. This passive absorption carbon provides appears to be enough to keep the water crystal clear.
In your situation, using carbon in the canister filter would likely cause organic waste to get caught in the carbon granules, because the water is being forced to flow through the carbon. This makes the organic absorption more effective, but the risk of nitrate introduction becomes high. For this reason, I would also not use carbon in the canister filter. I would just run the canister empty and find another place to put a carbon bag. (Perhaps use the Prism media tray option)
Now, lets talk livestock. You have a lofty goal for a first time (I think?) marine hobbyist. Keeping corals and invests, especially an anemone, is going to require pristine water quality. You need to keep Nitrates at or near zero, phosphate introduction at minimum, calcium at adequate levels for the corals to spread and grow, and alkalinity in check so that calcium can be properly utilized by the corals.
The biggest challenge you will face is the quality of your protein skimmer. The Prism is a low end model, and is not a unit that I would have suggested for the price you pay. However, you already have the Prism, so lets give it a chance to perform and see how it works out. A 55 gallon tank is not large by any stretch, so hopefully this skimmer will get the job done. You will need to stick with soft corals, preferably easy to keep species such as mushrooms, leathers, polyps, and the like. Do not attempt any advanced species, such as acropora colonies, clams, etc. I would suggest that you purchase Eric Borneman's book on coral care and selection. It is a wonderful guide for beginners and something you can carry with you to the LFS.
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Calcium: 400 ppm
Like I said i bought most of my setup from a guy well when I bought it he gave me some other stuff just wondering if I should use any of it or is it useless.
Kent Marine Coral-Vite
DT's Pure Magnesium part 3
DT's Pure Calcium part 1
DT's Pure Alkalinty part 2
Kent Marine PhytoPlex
Kent Marine Concentrated Liquid Calcium
Kent Marine Garlic Xtreme
Dont want to keep it lying around if I have no use for it. I will also post my alkalinty tomorrow night.
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