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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so this is exactly what it sounds like. I thought maybe this was diatoms but when I went back over to the tank it's much redder than I thought. this is only on the sand, which is pool filter sand. I used the same sand in my 20 and 5 gallon tanks out of the same bag and no red spots have occured. The only thing I put in there were root tabs. I'm sure the brand was API because I bought them at petco. I've used them in my 29 but that has black sand so I've never noticed this before. Maybe it's the iron in the tabs? Some of the spots aren't where I put the tabs though. There's no metal decorations in the tank at all. I notice here and there 1 red speck of sand about every inch covering the tank.

Here are some pictures. Sorry they're cell phone pictures.


I know I put a root tab beside this plant




On right side of tank wall



If one of my rocks is to blame, here's a picture of them. The first is a fossil. Not sure the rock type.


This one I've seen online as "Texas Holey Rock" .. Both of these purchased on the same day at the same store. The holey rock has a shell hiding down in one of the holes. Not sure if this is a marine rock



Maybe this will clear up on it's own? I have 11 rasboras in the tank at the moment and it's 90% complete on it's cycle. It's seeded with an established Eheim 2215 filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hikari mini pellets mostly. These don't just show up in a spot shape. I've seen them show up in a line where light and shadow meet under a piece of driftwood. And this isn't brown its red. I am hoping its algae or the root tabs. I am using a 2x39w coralife ho fixture with dwarf water lettuce to reduce light. 1 color ax and 1 6700 bulb.

Oh I am the 3rd owner of this tank. The guy before me was freshwater but I know the first guy was salt due to coraline algae etching on the versa top. Its the only mention of rust sand I can find is in salt aquariums b:t this tank is like 4+ years old and the guy before me had it for like 2 of those so if its something left over from salt water I'll be mad. I scrubbed this tank with vinegar and razor when I first bought it.

The driftwood was boiled for 2 weeks in the tank with the heaters on max at 100+ degree water changed every day
 

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Try just rubbing it away for a while and see what happens. It kind of sounds like a red algae, although I've heard of strange things like bad smell and cloudy water occurring with the API root tabs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The water smells fine. Not Like Cyrano or anything. Wednesday is my water change day. Might up it to tonight if I have time. Tomorrow definitely. I am all excited because this tank is finally showing nitrates! I didn't want to break everything down :(
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Just a thought but how far down did you push the root tabs into the sand? It could be the root tabs breaking down and showing up if they are close to the surface of the sand.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
down to the glass bottom but its too inches of pool filter sand
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Hmmm well that should be deep enough not to be a problem. I would try to siphon the sand in those areas the next time you do a water change and see if it is just the surface or if it goes deeper. Just be careful not to disturb the API root tabs as they can make a mess once they are in the substrate.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is just in the surface. I over turned the tip .5in of sand and its not there. Just mixed it in. I did that in the light shadow line by driftwood and it hasn't returned. Just popped up in new spots
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I'm thinking of two possibilities:
1) Red algae of some sort.
2) Iron leakage from the root tabs. I do not know what the API root tabs have in them, but it is likely that they contain iron as it is an essential nutrient for plants.

I highly doubt that either of your rocks are to blame. Neither of them look particularly iron rich. Additionally, if they are iron rich and oxidizing, the first place the red spots would appear would be on the surface of the rocks. After the oxidization appeared on the surface, any flaking off iron would probably be localized around the rocks rather than spread seemingly randomly throughout the tank.

Something that concerns me regarding your rocks though; they are both fossiliferous, meaning, containing fossils. Fossils of bivalves (clam like creatures) and gastropods (snail like creatures) are commonly found in rocks from a marine source. Most shells of bivalves and gastropods are constructed out of calcium carbonate. While the host-rocks themselves do not appear to be calcitic, the calcium carbonate in the fossils may increase the hardness of the water in your tank. I would suggest removing the rocks and testing them using vinegar. If they fizz, they will affect your hardness. If your intent is to have a higher KH in your tank, then leave them in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I'm thinking of two possibilities:
1) Red algae of some sort.
2) Iron leakage from the root tabs. I do not know what the API root tabs have in them, but it is likely that they contain iron as it is an essential nutrient for plants.

I am thinking one of these 2 things as well. I have never heard of a red algae in fresh water, only salt but it doesn't mean it's unheard of


Oh and on the rocks, I don't have a KH test (picking one up this weekend) but I did test my ph last night after doing some research on the rocks. No they don't fizz with vinegar. I took both out and dried off best I could with a paper towel and dropped vinegar on it and nothing. The big one with the shell shape doesn't have the shell itself, just the shape of the shell. Someone probably removed it. The second is Texas Holey Rock which I was told was limestone but a friend from texas commented that it's not always limestone. It just happens to have a shell down in one of the holes and I can't get it out. Something was small, crawled in, grew, died, and now the shell is too big to pop out.

My ph is still 6 :evil: I wish it was higher. I know some people who would KILL for low PH.. Mine is low and I want to do Co2 but I don't dare yet. Maybe some oyster shells. Those I can get very easily and probably free. I'd just need to dump the oyster out first LOL. I don't like seafood.


BTW Today the tank is 2 weeks old and the rocks have been in there since day 1. The root tabs were added probably a week ago. I can't remember if it was red before the root tabs. I've seen this red pop up in lines and spots.
 

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On second glance at the photos, it appears that the majority of the original fossil material has been replaced by other material. Some of the original appears to be remaining. It's likely that the new material that has replaced the original material is of similar composition to the host rock. This, and knowing that it does not fizz when exposed to vinegar, means that it is most likely one of three rock types: dolomite, sandstone, or mudstone. Try scratching the rock in a small area and then putting vinegar on it. the scratching dramatically increases surface area so if you put vinegar on it and it fizzes, it is probably dolomite. If not it is either sandstone or mudstone depending on grain size. It is hard for me to tell from the picture.

Regardless of which of these it is, it will probably not increase your pH and KH by a significant amount, especially if your water is already somewhat hard. If you are set on increasing your pH and KH, I would recommend using a substrate of crushed coral, limestone, or aragonite. All of these are primarily CaCO3. They will slowly dissolve and increase the pH and KH of your water.

In regards to the red spots on the sand: I reread one of your posts that said that the red areas were just on the surface and did not extend deeper into the substrate. If it is not algae, the only thing I can think of that may be a possibility is iron in the water. This is probably a pretty remote possibility though. I doubt your water is so high in iron that it would come out of solution on the surface of the sand. It may be worthwhile to get an iron test kit and measure the amount of iron in the water. What kind of water are you using? Well, tap, R/O? If you are using well water, it may have a high iron content. I remember staying on a friend's property for a week and the only water source was from a well drilled on the property. I could taste the iron in the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am thinking sandstone myself. I am in Portland Oregon and we have super soft tap water. I empty and fill all my tanks the same day so if this was in the tap it'd be in all 4 of my tanks. I am leaning either towards root tabs which do have iron or some sort of red algae. Small possibility its diatoms that look red under the colormax bulb. I can't run just daylight bulb in my fixture. Usually diatoms look dusty and this doesn't. It looks like when you have green algae on your sand from too many nitrates but its red not green
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