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Supporting/importing biodiversity for the win. Well done.Hey all,
So I promised an update so here it is, I believe I'm still in the 'clear' from SCA and LCA so to speak. I've taken multiple samples regularly of anything that looks suspicious and while I can still find dinos if I look hard enough, they're rare and massively outnumbered by the other micro diversity I see under the scope.
So here's what I did:
I dosed NeoNitro and NeoPhos until my nutrients were at 10ppm and 0.1ppm NO3 and PO4 respectively. I tested daily with the Hanna HR Nitrate and LR Phosphate checkers. I upgraded to the ULR phosphate as I found the LR just not sensitive enough. When I had a full-on diatom bloom I had to dose quite heavily and daily to keep the levels up.
I stopped water changes.
I used this waterglass: inoxia UK waterglass and tested with the Columbo Marine silicate test kit. The Salifert test kit was useless.
I found to get things really going I had to dose 0.8-0.9ml of waterglass daily on my Reefer 250 (225L total volume). I would test every morning to check the level wasn't getting out of hand and dosed every day. The diatom bloom was heavy and relentless. In the evenings I could see the water actually looking sort of cloudy due to the amount of diatoms in the water.
I vacuumed the sandbed into a 5nm filter sock in the sump every so often for the first 4/5 weeks, and stopped doing so for the last few weeks.
I dosed MB7 every day or every other day, also added this product regularly as well and also added Aquaforest Life Source (Fiji Mud) every 2 weeks. I added two pieces of mature live rock from my LFS which had come from another long running tank. This brought coraline and other creatures with it, bristle worms, asterina starfish and spaghetti worms and the other really thin legged starfish and sponges. Some good, some bad but I'm sure lots of diversity nonetheless.
I also added a load of AF Life Source mud to the refugium area of my sump, I dont run macro algea, but it's full of Alfagrog media and now mud as well. So plenty of space for bacteria to multiply.
I dose 5 species phyoplankton every day, added loads of copepods and rotifers and their 'zooplankton' mix. I suspect my pods got annihilated by my captive bred mandarin, I'm sure she enjoyed the fun snack (she usually eats frozen and a mix of granules)
When I started, microscope samples were relatively void of life other than dinos and diatoms, now if I look at a sample under the scope there's a crazy diverse culture of all kinds of moving critters, little crabby things, long spindly things, nematodes, rotifers, amphipods etc. My diatom diversity is surprisingly pretty thin with just pennate diatoms and the odd pizza. I also found small patches of dark red cyano.
Since I stopped dosing silicates, everything cleared up on it's own. There has been some growth on the sandbed but this is green algae, not brown and microscope observation shows it's not dinos, although I check regularly.
I've started water changes again and have done two 10% changes since stopping silicate dosing. My alk and nutrients remain solid at 8.3 dkh, 10ppm NO3 and 0.1ppm PO4, I no longer have to dose nutrients. My corals are happier than ever and I have started tentitively and slowly dosing Red Sea Coral Nutrition amino acids and fatty acids. But I will be stopping that in a heartbeat if I see signs of dinos taking over again.
So far, signs are good. Thanks to everyone for their help. I'll edit this if I remember anything else that I've missed.