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red slime will not go away no matter what!

This is a discussion on red slime will not go away no matter what! within the Saltwater Fish Diseases forums, part of the Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks category; --> I am familiar with maracyn, though I have never used it to cure cyano before, I can see how it would work. Be warned ...

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red slime will not go away no matter what!
Old 04-08-2008, 05:46 PM   #11
 
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I am familiar with maracyn, though I have never used it to cure cyano before, I can see how it would work. Be warned in the future that if you get more coral, maracyn is considered reefsafe, but I personally don't trust it in a heavily stocked reef tank. As far as maracyn itself causing algae, it is possible that the treatment has somewhat depleated the nitrifying bacteria in your tank allowing for more phosphate build up which combined with the die off of the cyano could contribute to algae growth. I would recommend cutting your lights down to about 8 hrs a day, (your polyps should be fine), and do another water change. Keep me posted : )
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:04 PM   #12
 
Thanks for your help! I am going to only keep my light on for 8 hours now and do another 3 gallon water change tomorrow. I also went to the pet store and got a poly filter to put in my filter, they said that might also help.

Thank you sooo much for all your help!!! I will let you know how its doing.

and so far I dont see any more red slime so thats good, thanks for your help with that also!
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:04 PM   #13
 
ok so I did a 5 gallon water change on tuesday night with RO water. and then I only had my lights on for about 7 hours. the water really didnt seem to be clearing up at all, it actually looked like it was getting worse. then yesterday I changed about 8 gallons of water with RO water again. and I sat cardboard between the light and the tank so that light will only shine on the yellow polyps and its still getting greener and greener. it stays clear for an hour or two but then just turns green again :/

so at this point I have changed a total of 13 gallons of water within 2 days of each other and I have gotten the poly filter and put that in and used the lights a lot less and it doesnt seem that anything is helping :(

again there is not any algae growing on the glass and I have noticed now that there was a small amount of hair algae growing on rock but I cleaned that off on my last water change and sucked all the parts out of the tank.

now my polyps are only coming out when they have light on them, they used to stay out weather the light was on or not. Im really afraid of loosing them. today even with the light on they are not coming all the was out. I did have my water tested after the first water change and it was, nitrate 0, nitrite 0, total hardness 425, alkalinity 240, and PH was right between 8.0 and 8.4 he said and they were out of ammonia tests.

Im feeling like Im fighting a loosing battle at this point :(
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:38 PM   #14
 
the only other thing I could think of was leaving my lights off for a few days in a row. that could kill my polyps though :( as of right now it doesnt look like the water has gotten any greener during today, so maybe something is working lol.
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:36 AM   #15
 
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Wow. This is not a pretty situation.

I think treating with maracyn caused a drop in hardness, and possibly pH. In an environment with cyno, one could assume certain conditions exist. These conditions combined with a lowering of hardness would create a favorable environment for a dinoflagellate outbreak, which often presents itself as green water.

Here is a good article on the subject: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2006-11/rhf/index.php
When you read this article, please keep in mind that dinoflagellates do not always present themselves as pictured in this article. Very often they simply look like green water, exactly as you describe. Your entire situation points at dinoflagellates as being the cause. Ineffective water changes as especially pointed, because dinoflagellates spread so rapidly that water changes are not an effective cure.

I recognize the problem, but do not have an effective recommendation of treatment. Dosing with Kalkwasser is the only solution i have seen work for hobbyists, and i am not an expert on the subject. You need to elevate the DKH to a level that will kill the outbreak. I suggest you turn to google for references.

I am rather confident my post on this. This is uncommon, so you have probably never heard of it. Anyone wishing to help this situation, please familiarize yourself with dinoflagellates prior to posting. Continuing to treat for an algae outbreak will be a waste of time and effort.
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Old 04-12-2008, 11:16 AM   #16
 
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in the past i've had to introduce a refugium to systems overrun with dinoflagellates to get rid of them, because you have a small tank, you might look into the addition of some calurpa algae as an alternative.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:11 PM   #17
 
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Hi everyone. I was asked to consult on this thread in hopes that I could support what has been said thus far. Unfortunately, I can't do that, but I can offer some help.

The first thing I am disappointed to see here is the lack of anyone asking for useful information to help determine the cause of the problem.

I am guessing this is a new tank? With the mention that the lights/bulbs are only 1 month old, and the time line in which this has happened, my first determination is that this is a new tank and was still cycling when the animals were put in. Cyano blooms in a new and uncycled tank are common and should be expected. This is the reason why we don't suggest adding animals to an uncycled saltwater tank, especially corals.
The first thing to pick apart at this point is, what exactly is cyano aka red slime. Cyano is a combination of bacteria and algae, which is why it is referred to as cyano bacteria. The treatment of Maracyn, which is an antibiotic medication, would have destroyed the bacterial part of cyano, but it will do nothing for the algae. My first determination here is that the remaining algae contributed to the current status of green water, as did the changing water paramaters as this tank continued to cycle.

When a saltwater tank is set up, it is suggested to add at least 1lb of live rock per gallon of the tank, or as much rock as you can tactfully fit into the tank (which this one doesn't have) along with live sand. These 2 things, along with proper filtration and circulation will take care of the cycling phase alone, without animals. Live rock and the organisms that live on and in it do not handle change in water quality well. For this reason when new live rock is added to the tank, we should always expect a period of some die off from the rock and sand. The remaining organisms and bacteria found in them will then begin working to break down the waste from the dying organisms, and thus begins the nitrogen cycle.

Tracking these changes in your water quality during cycling is extremely important, and the reason you should own test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, dkh, and calcium. This would have been the first information that should have been requested when you came here for help.

Adding animals to a tank that is cycling will only increase the waste levels from the beginning, which means more ammonia for that bacteria to break down to nitrite, and more nitrite for the bacteria to break down to nitrate. This causes the cycle to become more difficult, and will usually prolong the process. Adding animals also adds more organics to the new tank. Waste from fish, food, die off from the rock and sand, and dying cyano iteself will contribute to the added organic level. This is not considered safe conditions for any animals at this point.

I am now going to ask you if you can please post current readings (before any water changes) for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, dkh, and calcium. Please obtain these results using a liquid test kit or the digital electronic meters only. I have to assume that the lfs used test strips based on the range recorded in pH, and also the limited number of tests it actually covered. A pH range of 8.0 to 8.4 is huge, and tells us nothing accurate about the pH level in this tank. No nitrates and no nitrites with animals in this tank, food going into this tank, tells me that there is ammonia.
Lack of enough live rock will mean less places for the nitrifying bacteria and denitrifying bacteria to culture, and cleaning out the filter media on a daily basis will further deplete the bacteria culture. Depleting the bacteria culture will prolong the cycle further. I have to guess that those test results were inaccurate, so it's probably best for us to assume nothing in your water quality other than the fact that it is somewhere in the process of cycling, and that the actions taken thus far have served to prolong the process. Once we have new and full accurate test results, we can determine where exactly it is in the cycle, and how to speed it up to at least a more normal rate.

I noticed you mentioned the use of RO water... where are you obtaining it? You will need to find out the tds readings of the RO water. (tds = total dissolved solids) There is a meter available for sale for an average of about $35, and if you ask, you may find that your store has one they can use to test it for you. If you go to them for testing, please have them write down the exact results, and have them test the water once it has gone into your container. A high tds reading can contribute immensely to a cyano problem, and also to algae problems. If your lfs water tests out with a high tds, it might be a good idea to find a new source for your water, which by itself could mostly correct your problem with the green water and cyano blooms.

I do not believe the green water is dinoflaggelate, but there is only one real way to be sure... run a water sample under the microscope. I can offer to do this for you if you like. The scope work wouldn't take more than about 30 - 60 minutes, and because of the severity of your problem, I will offer to do this for free if you can pay for the shipping, and I can talk you through how to ship it to me in a pm.

I am also wondering if you have a quarantine tank? If not I will strongly suggest you invest in one. The simplest solution here would have been to move the polyps to a quarantine tank with your light fixture, and to then resolve the problem in the main tank. Quarantine with saltwater is a must, especially when dealing with a reef situation. Adding any animals directly to a main tank will bring 2 things... addition of waste both from the animal and the food, and a risk of bringing undesirables into your main tank, having been transported by the animal itself or the rock on which is attached. All animals going into a saltwater aquarium should spend 3 - 6 wks in a quarantine tank before moving to the main tank. Another reason for this is because of medications that may be needed to treat any problem the animals bring. Most medications are not going to be safe for corals, and quite often 1 medication needed to treat 1 fish is not going to be safe for all fish in the tank. Inverts in general are very sensitive to everything. Medications like maracyn, which will destroy beneficial bacteria should also be used only in quarantine tanks... or in your case, the coral should have gone into quarantine while treating the main tank. Had I gotten here sooner, I would have suggested using a chemical called ChemiClean instead of Maracyn. ChemiClean is safe for all reef animals, (as long as instructions are followed exactly) and won't deplete beneficial bacteria. It is designed to specifically treat cyano bacteria blooms. Maracyn is not reef safe, and I'm not sure where that information came from, but it can cause a lot of damage and/or death to reef animals.. not just corals, but shrimps, crabs, snails, etc. (inverts in general) It would still be a good idea to set up a quarantine tank right now, move the coral with light to it, keep it safe, until the main tank is healthy.

Now, with that all said, there are a number of questions I still would like to ask, to further help in determining exactly where your problems are and to help make sure it doesn't happen again. I know I have asked some of these during the course of my post, but I will list all of the questions here to make it easier for you to follow just what information is needed at this point.

1. Recent water params, before water change, for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, dkh, and calcium. (obtained with a liquid test kit or electronic meter)

2. Spg/salinity?

3. How long has this tank been set up for sure, and how soon after setting it up were the first animals put into it?

4. Water temp?

5. What lighting are you using? What type and what bulbs? Please include wattage

6. TDS reading of the RO water you are using for this tank?

7. What types of media are currently in your filter?

8. When was the last water change performed and how much water?

9. What foods are you feeding to your animals? How much and how often?

10. Is the tank receiving any direct sunlight during the day? If so, for how long in a day?

11. Are you adding any type of chemicals or other additives to your water? (examples would be things like purple up, essential elements, liquid calcium, coral foods, vitamins, etc.)

12. Can you please post some pictures of your tank? The more pictures you can provide the better, but one good full tank shot and one closer up of the tank would be the most useful.

If you wish for me to scope your water, please pm me asap. I will talk you through the process of collecting a sample and sending it to me safely. I can't imagine the shipping charges would amount to much, and that alone could resolve your green water issues. Once we can properly identify the specific species of algae(s), we then will know what to do to get rid of them, and to prevent them from returning.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:12 AM   #18
 
THANK YOU ALL SOO MUCH!!!!! I really needed this help! I have to run to work but will be back at 6:30PM eastern time and I will post the answers to your questions! again thanks sooo much for your help!!!!!
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:39 PM   #19
 
1. Recent water params, before water change, for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, dkh, and calcium. (obtained with a liquid test kit or electronic meter)
The only tests that I have are from the local pet store and they use strip tests :/ the last test by them before I had this issue and also before I used the maracyn was Ammonia 0.25, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, alkalinity 300, PH 8.0. also they did tell me my cycle was done before I added anything other than my live sand and live rock.

2. Spg/salinity? 1.021

3. How long has this tank been set up for sure, and how soon after setting it up were the first animals put into it?

the tank has had saltwater running in it for about a month and a half, I added the live rock and live sand on march 6th and added one clown about 2 weeks later along with 2 cleaner crabs. I have only had the polyps for a little over a week or so now.

4. Water temp? 78

5. What lighting are you using? What type and what bulbs? Please include wattage

I am using a Current Dual Satellite 24 inch, 2X65W here is a link to the lights that I have also http://www.amazon.com/Current-Dual-S...850278&sr=8-23

6. TDS reading of the RO water you are using for this tank? I do not know this info but can ask them next time I go to test it, it will prob be tuesday before I can make it back up to the store.

7. What types of media are currently in your filter? I am using 2 marineland bio wheel 150 I am using 2 filters in each one and in one I am also using a poly filter pushed between the 2 filters so the water is going through it, not around it.

8. When was the last water change performed and how much water? about

I did a 5 gallon water change about 5 days ago and did not see any change so 3 days ago I did a 8 gallon water change.

9. What foods are you feeding to your animals? How much and how often?

I am using Ocean Nutrition, brine shrimp plus. and I am feeding once in the morning and once at night only a pinch full and i sort of grind it up so my clown will eat it.

10. Is the tank receiving any direct sunlight during the day? If so, for how long in a day? no, its not getting any direct sun.

11. Are you adding any type of chemicals or other additives to your water? (examples would be things like purple up, essential elements, liquid calcium, coral foods, vitamins, etc.)

no, when I first started I got some stuff called bio-boost and used it once when I first added water to the tank. other than that and the maracyn I have not used anything else.

12. Can you please post some pictures of your tank? The more pictures you can provide the better, but one good full tank shot and one closer up of the tank would be the most useful.

Yes I can. if you need more pics please let me know! and just to let you know it was sooo green at one point I could not see my live rocks from the front of my tank. I could see the outline of them but you could not make out and details. and I also put a pic of what it used to look like, crystal clear! the green really doesnt show up that well but what you see in the pics that looks "dirty" I guess is really all green!

Alos I want to say thank you very much for offering to look at my water under a microscope!! if you really think it should be looked at after reading this and seeing pics I will send some to you, I would be willing to pay you also, just let me know what you normally would charge someone to do the same test.

and I have been only keeping my lights on for about 8 hours and I put some cardboard between the light and the tank and only have a spot above where my polyps are where light can come through, that along with my 8 gallon water change the other day it seems to be holding steady where its at. the water isnt getting any greener but its not really getting any clearer either. there isnt any new algae growing on the rocks or the glass, its just green water.

Thanks soo much for all your help! I didnt know what to do!


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Old 04-13-2008, 08:31 PM   #20
 
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In the interest of saving Dawn time, i will talk a bit about your filtration. Your Penguin filters are very effective biological filters. As organic waste breaks down in your aquarium, the biowheels will convert Ammonia to Nitrite and Nitrite to Nitrate. Nitrate, which is also toxic to fish, will remain in the aquarium until removed by a water change. In saltwater systems you want your Nitrate readings to remain under 20ppm for fish, and undetectable for invertebrates. Because of this, testing for Nitrate is not optional. You must purchase this test kit.

Additionally, as the biofilter breaks down waste, your buffer system is depleted. Your alkalinity slowly drops and your pH begins to swing. The low point of this pH swing will begin to drop. This occurs until you replenish the buffer system artificially, or will water changes. Either way, testing Alkalinity and pH are both extremely important.

I am of the school of thought that man made biological filters have no place in a properly set up saltwater aquarium. In your setup, the live rock and sand will serve as an effective biofilter. In fact, the live rock and sand are more efficient at metabolizing organic waste, because Nitrate will be broken down into a gas form (?) and efffectively removed from the system. This process can not take place if you are using a biofilter to pump Nitrates into the aquarium.

To make this entire process reliable you need to invest in a protein skimmer. For your size aquarium this should not be an overly expensive task, but it will be the most expensive piece of equipment you own. The protein skimmer is also the most important piece of equipment in the saltwater hobby. In a nutshell, the protein skimmer removes organic waste directly from the aquarium. Instead of breaking waste down and ultimately producing Nitrates, the protein skimmer actually removes the waste from the aquarium. Side benefits are a most stable pH, a more reliable buffering system, and better CO2 exchange at the water surface. I would never consider a marine system without a protein skimmer. The benefits can not be overstated. I would rather set up a marine system without water than without a skimmer.-)

As you can see, i think your choice in filtration helped to contribute to your problem. I will stop here and let Dawn elaborate on the more complicated topics.

Don't worry. We will get you thru this and you will have a beautiful marine aquarium!
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