Brown/rusty deposits and light fluff on top

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Acalin

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Hello, all,

I am trying to figure out what I am dealing with here so that I can take the best course of action to fight it.

My tank is about 9 months old. Started it with using dry rock.
After waiting about 3 months for it to cycle, I turned on the lights. Why? I wanted to make sure that by the time I add corals I won't have nasty stuff growing.
Few days later, some stuff started to appear everywhere so thinking it is the algae stage, I turned off the lights.
Waited then for everything to clear and in about 3 days my tank was looking like new again.
A few weeks ago I decided to turn lights on again, because I want to eventually be able to add corals.
Once again stuff started to form everywhere in my tank, on the surfaces that are hit by the lights. Underneath the rocks, this doesn't happen, so it is some sort of photosynthetic thing.
Slowly, this thing started to cover all my back wall of the tank, power heads casing, rocks,etc.
I waited it out, hoping it'll go away, but doesn't seem lime it wants to go anywhere.
As it spreads and gets "older" it started growing some white fluff on top too. Further more, the fluff as it grows, it seems to form some thicker body. (See pictures below)
I am trying to attach some pictures and a video so that you can have an idea. Unfortunately, the brown deposit stuff is not visible in the pictures due to light. But that brown stuff tends to form some bubbles (not air bubbles) as it ages. Doesn't seem lime those bubbles have anything inside and I am inclined to think they form when this thing gets too thick and tends to come off the glass, but it's too sticky and would only bubble instead of coming off. (I have a bare bottom tank).
I am saying sticky becaus it does not come off if you try to blow it with turkeu baster or even with a power head.
You have to actually scrape it but when you do, it comes off like a piece of skin.
I am quite sure this is not an algae because I did have a tuxedo urchin in the tank which unfortunately passed. I got it thinking that he would eat this stuff, but he didn't really touch it. Thinking that he has enough in the tank to feed on, I didn't suplementally fed him and he died of starvation most likely. I am saying "most likely" because the water parameters have not changed and I did had him for about 2 weeks in the tank.
Now, for livestock, I have 2 clownfish, a royal grama and a cleaner wrasse, a red fire shrimp, couple of hermits and maybe 2-3 snails.
I don't feed much, just once a day and am trying to feed only what they can eat. (Combination of pellets and mysis shrimp and shrimp I feed very little - one of those small frozen cubes is enough for me to feed 5-6 times - and kind of targeted only for the wrasse).
There is pretty much nothing left when they finish eating.
I also have some cheto algae in my sump thinking the stuff I am dealing with is micro algae and hoping the chaeto would eat its food.
Sump also has matrix, filter sock and a skimmer running.
I wanted to mention the sump as well, because this stuff is only present in the DT, but no signs in the sump.
I do have a light there as well for the chaeto, so I am not sure if it has something to do with light spectrum.
Anyway, between the low population, light feeding and chaeto, it's no surprise my phosphates are reading zero.
I used the API kit to measure phosphates for a while and recently got a Hanna tester which also confirmed phosphate reading was zero.
Nitrate reads the same - zero, with both API and Hanna.
Could this bloom be because of the phosphates and nitrate being 0? Slica in the rock? Combination of these 2? Or something else I am doing wrong?
2 days ago I started dosing neo phos and neo nitrate to increase the readings a bit so I will see if that makes any difference, but other than that I have no idea where to go from here.
Other parameters:
Salinity: 1.023
PH: 8.2 - 8.3
Alkalinity: 8-9 dk
Temp: 77 - 79F

Thank you for taking the time and having the patience to read this post!

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Acalin

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This is interesting, following. I suggest you post a few pics/vids with white light as it will help with clarity.
Attached are a few more pictures taken with white light only.
On the first picture with the whole tank, you can see the water heater in the right of the return column, covered in this stuff.
Imagine my rear wall of the tank was all covered like that.
Interesting though, under white light it seems like there is quite a bit of green, instead of brown. But I still can't believe this is algae since my phosphates are zero and my poor urchin starved to death?
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vetteguy53081

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Looks like callothrix grown over diatoms. Best bet is to blow loose with a turkey baster and siphon the stuff up, and clean filters.
IF it does not blow off, you will have to resort to scrubbing the rock OUTSIDE the tank with a toothbrush and peroxide. Rinse/agitate the rock after cleaning in a bucket of tank water and return it to tank
Also reduce white light intensity a little at least for a couple of weeks
 

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Looks like callothrix grown over diatoms. Best bet is to blow loose with a turkey baster and siphon the stuff up, and clean filters.
IF it does not blow off, you will have to resort to scrubbing the rock OUTSIDE the tank with a toothbrush and peroxide. Rinse/agitate the rock after cleaning in a bucket of tank water and return it to tank
Also reduce white light intensity a little at least for a couple of weeks
What causes this?
 
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vetteguy53081

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What causes this?
mainly- phosphates and inadequate water flow. These are a type of bacteria similar in behavior to Dino.
Once cleaned up, nerite, margarita and nerite snails will assist with contro
 
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Acalin

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mainly- phosphates and inadequate water flow. These are a type of bacteria similar in behavior to Dino.
Once cleaned up, nerite, margarita and nerite snails will assist with contro
When you say phosphates, are you refering to the lack of them or being too high?
Mine kept measuring zero.
As for flow, this thing built up even in areas with high flow.
For a lomg time I had a power head at the bottom for the pirpose of lifting all the dirt from the bottom of the tank, yet this thing foemed right in front of the powerhead too.
 

vetteguy53081

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When you say phosphates, are you refering to the lack of them or being too high?
Mine kept measuring zero.
As for flow, this thing built up even in areas with high flow.
For a lomg time I had a power head at the bottom for the pirpose of lifting all the dirt from the bottom of the tank, yet this thing foemed right in front of the powerhead too.
problem is - Bacterial. Flow helps to deter but in some cases will not prevent it
PO4- generally too low. Best range is .02-.04
 

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