Biocube 8 starter tank

Nanoduder

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Just started my first reef tank and added two clowns and three frags yesterday. Enjoying it so far - hopefully they survive. Trying to keep things as simple as possible.

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Nanoduder

Nanoduder

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Thanks Trig. Well . . . I understand this wasn't the best way but I used tap water with Red Sea Salt and added Microbacter daily for two weeks. The only thing I tested was salinity. When everything looked good, I added the fish and corals. I realize there are probably a lot of other things I should have done but my plight is simplicity. . . hopefully not at the expense of the clowns and corals but all is well so far.
 
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Nanoduder

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I'm starting to get algae growth on the top of my rocks closest to the lighting and my coral in the lower right corner of the pic has stayed closed for the last 24 hours. The clowns and other corals seem to be fine. I keep my blue light on about 12 hrs a day and turn the white light on around 6 hrs a day. I also keep the tank covered during daylight hours. Do I have a problem that should be addressed asap? Suggestions welcomed! Thanks!
 

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LegendaryCG

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Unlike freshwater tanks where you might be able to get by on tap water you really don’t want to use it for a reef tank. It has things in it that feed the stuff you don’t want like diatoms, hair algae, etc. Not to mention metals can be present that will kill the majority of the tank, which unfortunately can trigger a cascading die off.
 

TriggersAmuck

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Two high level approaches: Identify the cause, or simply address the symptoms.

Identify and address cause:
  • Test newly made saltwater for Phosphate and Nitrate. (Nitrate shouldn't be an issue, but PO4 may be, given you are using straight tap).
  • Test tank water for Nitrate and Phosphate.
  • Assuming tank levels are high for either:
    • If newly made water does not have Phosphate in it (but tank levels are "high"), then either your rock or your food are imparting that to the water. Feed less. If it is the rock, that is a larger problem.
    • If newly made water has PO4 in it, you need to be using an RO/DI filter, end of story. Or deal with perpetual high PO4 and thus algae. :)
    • If Nitrate is getting high in the tank water, either the bio load or feeding is too high for your export mechanisms.
      • Export mechanisms:
        • Refugium with macro or turf algae
        • GFO/Phosban for Phosphate
        • Nitrate removal media
        • Carbon dosing options
        • Aggressive water changes (>50%) to maintain lower nutrient levels as well as promote physical removal of the algae at time of water change (not practical over a certain size tank).
      • Balance:
        • Keep bio load really really low via less stocking and less feeding (i.e. 2 to 3 times a week for very light feeding)
    • Manual removal of as much detritus/cr*p as possible.
      • Daily rinsing of any sponge material which traps physical matter.
      • Daily wiping of film from the protein skimmer neck which is in constant contact with the water column (not the cup necessarily).
Attack the symptoms:
  • Add cleanup crew (turbo snails or urchins to eat the long hair algae). Other species can reduce other detritus, but this sort of addressing cause rather than symptom. Some would argue that not having a clean up crew is a cause in itself (for those that believe that algae creation is just a fact of life and must be physically removed).
  • Manual removal of long hair by hand and rinsing your hands in fresh water as you go.

I'll add that in mature systems, the secret is to having a sufficiently high, diverse bio load which consumes a lot of the nutrients and which demands a fairly high input of food/nutrients, but which through all mechanisms maintains water parameters that are "decent", not necessarily ultra low nutrient, but low enough that the habitants win over the algae. So high input in (nutrient/food wise), high export of nutrients out (though whatever means).
 
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Nanoduder

Nanoduder

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Thanks Triggs. I think I'm feeding too much as you suggest. I also decreased my dosing with Microbacter per the instructions. It was due for a dosing today. Hopefully food reduction will help. I had been feeding the clowns daily. I didn't realize I could only feed them 2-3 times a week.
 
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Nanoduder

Nanoduder

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Strange . . . the brown growth (assuming algae) has disappeared. I cut back the lighting and changed my filter cartridge just a few days ago. The Zoa coral remains closed. May try a water change if it doesn't open in the next few days.
 

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Tanks go through phases that are just out of our control. We can do all the things to reduce it, but let it just run it’s course.

Give it a day or so, if it’s not opening up, try placing the frag elsewhere. Maybe not so much flow
 
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Nanoduder

Nanoduder

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Tanks go through phases that are just out of our control. We can do all the things to reduce it, but let it just run it’s course.

Give it a day or so, if it’s not opening up, try placing the frag elsewhere. Maybe not so much flow
Thanks Spec. I appreciate the advice as I am all about keeping things simple. The more hands off the better as far as I am concerned. Funny - your suggestion makes me think the nano tank (or any tank) is a little like life. You can get consumed trying to control matters to achieve desired outcomes, but at the end of the day, very little is within our control. Thanks.
 

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