After 6 years, still having problems. Desperately Need Help!

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CanuckReefer

Simple...Salt, Water, LR, Lighting and Flow.
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Id be using nopox at half the recommend amount on a dosing pump. Especially for the phosphate high phosphate will turn coral brown and lead to tissue necrosis imo even cause brown jelly disease. Idk how cheato dies but id give it a couple attempts you can even leave the light on 24/7 its pretty simple. Id also recommend giving a deep clean to the sand bed or removing it. Also filter socks are a big help or I used to put my drain right up to the skimmer intake and it worked out decently. Really seems like old tank syndrome, and I also struggle with coral either being stagnant for years or just growing to a doom. Seems like its either one or the other. I dont think a cleanup crew is really going to do much unless you get the right animals. Big Mexican turbo snails, sand shifting conch, sea hair could be used if its alot of hair algea. And a some tangs to keep everything in check ones your algae free. You might even benefit from a rip clean and just starting over however annoying it is. Hope some of this is helpful! Happy reefing.
I feel some of this has quite a bit of merit. It was at the time for myself, 'old tank syndrome ' then I decided to make some rather major changes years back, then 5-10 years later I made some more. It wasn't working for me in the way I envisioned it. I think this is quite a few here, at that point. I will go to bat constant for a solid CUC however. It is massive toward having a thriving system. No not sea hare, sea cucumber yes! Brittle Star? Well heck yes....sand sifting is a part of the hobby, the Conch and Cucumber do it for me, the less my hands in tank the better....
 
Maxout

Calm Blue Ocean

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As per your request @Jmunk ....it's no great shakes here, but it's my slice after a bunch of years.... it grounds me now. I know my wheelhouse, and try my best to keep it this way. Yellow Tang, Ocellaris, and Three Stripe are all 18 years +. My corals are various age, I'm always looking to try something new, some succeed and some fail. My inverts are some well over 20 years.
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My number one goal is to provide a good home for all of my creatures and it sounds like this is exactly what you're doing for your guys. Wonderful tank!
 

MaxTremors

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Appears to be bacterial - cyano likely. Is tank at or near a window?
Are you using RODI water or tap water from the faucet?
Cyano blooms typically start when water nutrient concentrations go haywire. Just like when you eat too much sugar and your waistline starts to bloom, the same happens in your tank when concentrations of phosphate, nitrate and other organic compounds are too high.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Protein skimmer which fills water with tiny air bubbles. As bubbles form from the reaction chamber, dissolved organic compound molecules stick to them. Foam forms at the surface of the water and is then transferred to a collection cup, where it rests as skimmate
- Overstocking / overfeeding, your aquarium with nutrients is often the culprit of a cyano bloom
- Adding live rock that isn’t completely cured which acts like a breeding ground for red slime algae
- If you don’t change your water with enough frequency, you’ll soon have a brightly colored red slime algae bloom. Regular water changes dilute nutrients that feed cyanobacteria and keeps your tank beautifully clear
- Using a water source with nitrates or phosphates is like rolling out the welcome mat for cyano. Tap water is an example
- Inadequate water flow, or movement, is a leading cause of cyano blooms. Slow moving water combined with excess dissolved nutrients is a recipe for pervasive red slime algae development
I recommend to reduce white light intensity or even turn them off for 5-7 days. Add liquid bacteria daily for a week during the day at 1.5ml per 10 gallons. Add Hydrogen peroxide at night at 1ml per 10 gallons. Add a pouch of chemipure Elite which will balance phos and nitrate and keep them in check.

After the week, add a few snails such as cerith, margarita, astrea and nassarius plus 6-8 blue leg hermits to take control.
Wait, are you saying that having a protein skimmer leads to having cyano? I’ve seen you post this a few times, and that part has always stuck out.
 
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Dan_P

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So my tank is over 6 years old now. All the fish are the same core, and they're all doing well. But even after 6 years, there is just something about algae and even coral that I just can't ever get down in this hobby. Here's the tank today. Mind you, I moved tanks about 4-5 months ago after buying my first house. Used the same rock and didn't really see a cycle, though I suspect those diatoms? on the sand might be caused by the move.

Coral eventually almost always die in this tank. They'll survive for a while, some even flourish and grow rapidly (even some lower level SPS and plating SPS), but eventually they will brown out, algae takes them over, or they'll otherwise stop all polyp extension and wither away.

Alk: 8.6
Calc: 430
Mag: ~1300
Nitrate: 25
PO4: ~1 (I know, this is probably the "red flag", but I'll speak about this later).

I have always battled with high phosphate. At it's best, it hovers around a .30 - .50. At its worst, like now, it's around 1. I feed everyday, between 1-2 times a day, sometimes once a day. I'll feed around a half a cube of frozen brine/mysis and hikari pellets each feeding. So everyday is about a cube of frozen and pellets. I have 6 fish. I really don't think that's to much food. I see people on these forums feeding CONSIDERABLY more and not having problems. I also see beautiful tanks in the 1 PO4 range, filled with colorful SPS. I've never been one to hunt down a number, but at this point, I feel like I have to do something and that might include a change of mindset. Thing is, even if it was the food, I attribute my success keeping fish fat, healthy, and alive for years is also the food, and how much I feed them - so do I really want that to change?

Now you know how much I put in, here's what I do to take the nutrients out. I admittedly don't do enough water changes. I might do one every 2 months or so. I have a Reef Octopus Classic 200 INT skimmer that oddly fills up the skimmate cup extremely slowly (I can go months without emptying it). As of the move 4 months ago, I now have a refugium (in which I can't get chaeto to grow, as it'll turn white and wither away too). I don't use filter socks.

It seems like I can just never do anything right, except for keeping the fish nice and healthy. Any advice would be appreciated.

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When you moved the aquarium did you add new sand or rinse the old sand? You essentially have a new aquarium now.
 

vetteguy53081

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Wait, are you saying that having a protein skimmer leads to having cyano? I’ve seen you post this a few times, and that part has always stuck out.
It can strip the tank of nutrients which often leads to it but not a cause in whole.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Can you answer Dans question about rinsing sand or transferring old sand without a rinse, I collect eutrophication examples and need to know this detail. If the system was moved without sand rinsing this will be an excellent example to study for old tank syndrome and eventual systemic eutrophication/compared to clean tank transfer move examples.


your details on the way the sand was moved can really help others decide best relocation practices / can‘t wait for updates
 
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Calm Blue Ocean

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When you moved the aquarium did you add new sand or rinse the old sand? You essentially have a new aquarium now.

This from earlier:
Thanks for the suggestions. Sand bed is completely new from when I moved into the new house 4 months ago. Only thing I took from the old house/tank was all the rock and bio-blocks in the sump.
 

Blumy

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I like it! The one MP40 is brand new, but the left one is actually original, so about 6 years ago. I haven't checked the magnets, don't really even know what I'd be looking for or what the complications would be with the tank if there was a problem with them.
Shake it. If it’s rattling the magnet may have got wet and is rusting releasing all kinds of metals into the water. Not mine but I’ve heard of it. LFS advised me against buying a used one to save a few bucks.
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Frostblitz20

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I feel some of this has quite a bit of merit. It was at the time for myself, 'old tank syndrome ' then I decided to make some rather major changes years back, then 5-10 years later I made some more. It wasn't working for me in the way I envisioned it. I think this is quite a few here, at that point. I will go to bat constant for a solid CUC however. It is massive toward having a thriving system. No not sea hare, sea cucumber yes! Brittle Star? Well heck yes....sand sifting is a part of the hobby, the Conch and Cucumber do it for me, the less my hands in tank the better....
would have to agree more times hands in the tank more worse it seems to make everything. sometimes doing minor fixes and letting it fix itself is better then stressing out the corals/fish.

i try to plan my week out on what im doing to my tanks so im only in them once every 3-4 days at a max messing around feel like anymore then that is a constant state of stress for everything.

CUC is a natural way of keeping control on your tank. something dies your CUC will start to clean it up till you find it. You will lose hermit crabs more often then anything else i have to rotate out my stock about every 6 months or so or add to it but it wont crash your tank as a small hermit dying once every 3-5 weeks wont hurt your tank badly plus before you find the body most of it will be cleaned up long before then.

Cucumbers are something i dont really touch i know they are like sand renewers but if one dies then it can release a bio bomb in the tank if left unchecked on they are great for people who watch their tank daily IMO though.
 
RAP

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So my tank is over 6 years old now. All the fish are the same core, and they're all doing well. But even after 6 years, there is just something about algae and even coral that I just can't ever get down in this hobby. Here's the tank today. Mind you, I moved tanks about 4-5 months ago after buying my first house. Used the same rock and didn't really see a cycle, though I suspect those diatoms? on the sand might be caused by the move.

Coral eventually almost always die in this tank. They'll survive for a while, some even flourish and grow rapidly (even some lower level SPS and plating SPS), but eventually they will brown out, algae takes them over, or they'll otherwise stop all polyp extension and wither away.

Alk: 8.6
Calc: 430
Mag: ~1300
Nitrate: 25
PO4: ~1 (I know, this is probably the "red flag", but I'll speak about this later).

I have always battled with high phosphate. At it's best, it hovers around a .30 - .50. At its worst, like now, it's around 1. I feed everyday, between 1-2 times a day, sometimes once a day. I'll feed around a half a cube of frozen brine/mysis and hikari pellets each feeding. So everyday is about a cube of frozen and pellets. I have 6 fish. I really don't think that's to much food. I see people on these forums feeding CONSIDERABLY more and not having problems. I also see beautiful tanks in the 1 PO4 range, filled with colorful SPS. I've never been one to hunt down a number, but at this point, I feel like I have to do something and that might include a change of mindset. Thing is, even if it was the food, I attribute my success keeping fish fat, healthy, and alive for years is also the food, and how much I feed them - so do I really want that to change?

Now you know how much I put in, here's what I do to take the nutrients out. I admittedly don't do enough water changes. I might do one every 2 months or so. I have a Reef Octopus Classic 200 INT skimmer that oddly fills up the skimmate cup extremely slowly (I can go months without emptying it). As of the move 4 months ago, I now have a refugium (in which I can't get chaeto to grow, as it'll turn white and wither away too). I don't use filter socks.

It seems like I can just never do anything right, except for keeping the fish nice and healthy. Any advice would be appreciated.

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg
Have you had high phosphates from day one of this tank....6 years ago? Did it get progressively worse over time?

I'm wondering if your 6 year old rock might be leaching phosphates back into the new system. I'd really try chaeto again if your levels of nitrate are around 25 and phos is high that should get it to grow. Start with a small piece like fist sized and get the light as close as you can to it. This worked for me, as well as a new CUC or get a long tube and suck that cyano out of there. Also maybe direct flow closer to the sand bed.
 

Biokabe

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So I'll echo the sentiments of everyone who is advocating for a larger CUC. They're a major benefit, and it's only really a problem if you massively overstock them, especially the larger-bodied CUC members. However, it needs to be said: In a situation like yours, the CUC will not likely be the solution to your problem; they will be what prevents your problem from recurring further down the road.

One thing that no one else has mentioned is lanthanum chloride, available in several different commercial formulations. It's probably the most effective means of quickly lowering phosphate (which I think pretty much everyone would agree is the root of your problems), but it does have some drawbacks to use. Notably, it can lower your alkalinity, and it can cause breathing problems for certain fish (I think Zebrasoma tangs primarily). Basically, what it does is react with the phosphate to form a salt, which then precipitates out of your water. Simply filtering the precipitate out of the water (done with a 5-micron filter sock) will then remove the phosphates from your water. It's this precipitate that can cause issues with fish, as the salt is fine enough that it can get caught in their gills.

If you decide to go that route, make sure you have the filter set up ahead of time, and be aware that socks that fine clog pretty quickly. Slow drips are best with it to minimize issues. Technically your skimmer can also remove the particulate from the water, but I'm not sure that I'd chance it without the filter sock.

There's a dosing calculator I use for lanthanum chloride, I'll dig up the link for you if you're interested when I get home tonight.
 
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Jmunk

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Have you had high phosphates from day one of this tank....6 years ago? Did it get progressively worse over time?

I'm wondering if your 6 year old rock might be leaching phosphates back into the new system. I'd really try chaeto again if your levels of nitrate are around 25 and phos is high that should get it to grow. Start with a small piece like fist sized and get the light as close as you can to it. This worked for me, as well as a new CUC or get a long tube and suck that cyano out of there. Also maybe direct flow closer to the sand bed.
Yes, absolutely. I've always struggled with high phosphates, it's not just a recent thing. I wouldn't say it even has gotten progressively WORSE, just remained constantly a problem. I just ordered some CUC from liveaquaria, they come in about a week.
 
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Jmunk

Jmunk

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Can you answer Dans question about rinsing sand or transferring old sand without a rinse, I collect eutrophication examples and need to know this detail. If the system was moved without sand rinsing this will be an excellent example to study for old tank syndrome and eventual systemic eutrophication/compared to clean tank transfer move examples.


your details on the way the sand was moved can really help others decide best relocation practices / can‘t wait for updates
Sand was all completely new with the tank transfer. Not only was it all new, it was thoroughly rinsed before adding it to the new tank. Only the rocks and media were transferred over. Not to mention, this coral death/ongoing algae has been a problem since this tank started, not just after this move.
 
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