Brown Fuzz on Rock - Seeking Advice

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GotCrabs

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Hope some can help guide me in this challenge. Thanks in advance.

Background/Problem: My tank was running for 7+ years. It had a brown fuzz on the rock that I was never able to remove from the system. Vacuum it off and it came right back. It is easily brushed off into the water column...but then just accumulates again on the rock. I've since removed and scrubbed the rock clean and done a complete reset/deep clean of the system including automated 2 part, etc.. For a few months all looked good as I've slowly gotten my parameters under control. The brown fuzz is back. That's frustrating.

I'll see about attaching a picture but it's hard to describe and even see well in a photo.

FOWLR. I have 3 large fish and a clown. Planning to get more. Not much in the way of a clean up crew except a cucumber and two hermit crabs for a lot of rock. 150 ish total gallons. Large sump in the basement with a large Chaeto ball and skimmer. Not overly feeding but the plan is definitely not to under feed them so I need a strategy that works with a solid feeding plan.

Question: What is it? Where does it come from? What am I missing that makes it keep coming back?

My gut tells me it's from suspended solids in the water column. Eventually there's too much and it just starts accumulating on rock. But I really don't know.

Actions I've Taken:
As a part of the system reset, I have power heads at the bottom of the tank to create a circular current so nothing can settle. Seems effective. I also installed WAV powerheads with an aggressive profile to add variety to the water flow in hopes of keeping the rock clean. That doesn't appear to have worked as planned.

I regularly stir the sand bed to keep it fresh. I thinned it out compared to the past so it's only for looks now. I also take a power head to blow off the rocks every 1.5 weeks to put everything back into the water column...but that doesn't seem to be working.

I'm also working on getting coralline to grow all over the rock but that's likely to take 6-12 months. I'm assuming this will make it harder for the fuzz to stick.

Changed to a higher grade pellet just in case the old one has some odd "solids" or something, but I don't think this is it.

Protein skimmer appears to be working well. I run it mostly dry skim and it builds up a nice goo I can scrape off. It's an old ASM that has been very reliable.

I have not been doing water changes and have no plans too.

Ideas:
Would carbon dosing help consume what the skimmer and other creatures are not able to consume? Assuming my idea of suspended solids is correct. Or dose this cover only on the rock surfaces, not in the water column?

I've heard differing opinions on clean up crew. Is it simply I need a ton more?

I can't help wonder what Microbacter7 or Vibrant might do to help the situation. Is there a simple strategy of regularly or periodically dosing one of these to keep the column clean and therefore the rock clean? (And ideally, the front glass clean...which is a huge goal of mine.)

Appreciate any insights. I want to get ahead of this before the tank slowly becomes fowled with "crud" again.
 
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SPR1968

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We really need some clear pictures and also confirmation of your nitrate and phosphate levels and details of any methods used for nutrient export from the system.
 
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GotCrabs

GotCrabs

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We really need some clear pictures and also confirmation of your nitrate and phosphate levels and details of any methods used for nutrient export from the system.
Nitrates around 20. Not that worried about this number...unless I'm missing something. Chaeto will continue to grow and scrub this down.

Phosphates around .50 currently but using Lanthanum Chloride to get it under control using dosing pump. Had it under .2 recently but back up. Still working out the daily maintenance dose.

The fuzz as I call it...waves with the water flow. Pictures attached. Note that it's on the power heads also. I can take a soft brush and just brush it into the water column. Again, that worked but it just seems to be a losing battle that I know all too well.

I just have this idea that my tank is not "clean". Excess detritus some how but I don't know what else to do. Hoping someone has insight.
 

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SPR1968

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The problems and ‘not clean look’ is probably caused by the raised phosphate level which is very high and should be around 0.03 so very low

I use a rowaphos in a reactor 24/7 to keep it locked down but there are other ways including what your doing.

You will need to keep at it, because there will likely be more phosphate tied up in the rocks which will start to leach out as the levels in the water drops.
 

Screwgunner

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I personally think not doing water changes is wrong . At least a gallon a day . But to each his own. Nitrates are way to high so are your phosphates . My system has been up for 2.5 months . 0 nitrates .05 phosphates with algea scrubber. But I do 5 gallon water changes every week religiously.
 
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