Extreme Water Clarity and Cyano Eradication, Made Easy!

BRS

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Hello all!

I have been reefing now for about 25 years, and over those many years I have picked up many tips, tricks, and best habits/practices. From a hobbyist and even a coral vendors perspective, I have gained quite a bit of valuable information. Many of you likely even have a coral that came from company, Pro Corals. The most popular of which being the PC Rainbow Acro.,

Over those years I attempted to pass on as much information and knowledge as possible. Now, I am compiling all the knowledge into one area and will be releasing articles and likely some YouTube guides on a weekly basis.

This is a great hobby and what makes it great is the wonderful community of reefers. Almost all are extremely helpful and it is our duty to aid one another and when we can, impart the little knowledge that we pickup along the way to aid others in their journey. We, and myself included, can easily forget what it was like entering the hobby. Its a minefield and much livestock and funds can be wasted. For someone like myself, books and online forums were my only sanctuary as I did not have any local hobbyist to gather knowledge from. There were many issues, losses and way too much money needlessly spent. Hopefully this series of guides will help those just entering the hobby and perhaps even help some reefing veterans to polish up their game.

The articles will be posted on my blog and right here on Reef2Reef. I am slowly building up my online presence through FB, Instagram and YouTube. If you'd like to follow along and receive the most up to date information please feel free to follow. I will try and keep the articles and video brief. We all have busy lives so I will attempt to post only the cliff notes.

www.ReefSite.com
Instagram: @Reefsite
Fb: @ReefSites
Twitter: @RimlessReef
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SonnyM63



Now, enough yammering. Onto the article!


Extreme Water Clarity and Cyano Eradication, Made Easy!

One of the most frequent questions I receive is how do I have such amazing water clarity and an overall clean looking setup. Well, it quite simple and you can easily do the same while also helping rid yourself of cyano or and the very least not allowing it to gain a foothold in your system. While this is not a cure-all, it will help you achieve your goals and help maintain a healthy aquarium.


For a number of years I had purchased branded products of Coral Snow to help achieve water clarity. That is, until I asked around and found that you can simply make you own Coral Snow solution, saving you hundreds of dollars.

What is Coral Snow?

At its simplest, Coral Snow is a Flocculant.

Flocculant’s work by binding small particles together into a larger mass that can be easily removed via filter socks or a proteins skimmer. The Coral Snow can also help to removal yellowing compounds such as phenols while at the same time helping neutralizes some undesirable chemicals in the system.

Personally, I use this powder Calcium Powder and one jar should last you years. Creating the solution couldn't be any simpler.

  • Select a clean container, one that is resealable and able to be shaken. I use an old creatine bottle.(Yes, I am on the GAIN TRAIN)
  • For 500ML of solution, add 10 level tablespoons of powder to roughly 425-450ML of RO/DI water.
  • Shake the bottle up, and let it sit for two hours. After which, it will be ready to use.
  • Now, I don’t believe that you can overdose with this product, but a good recommended dose is 5ml per 50gl of aquarium volume.
  • Be sure to shake up the bottle prior to each use as the powder can settle.
The best time to add the solution to you aquarium is after conducting maintenance such as blowing off the rocks, cleaning the glass, siphoning the sand or conducting a water change. Ideally, you should be doing all of the aforementioned maintenance items during a water change, but that discussion is for another time.

Now, on to my personal favorite use of the product: preventing and getting rid of Cyano!

Cyano Solution

Cyano, in all its forms, has been the bane of many a reefers existence. Nothing can upset or ruin the appearance of an aquarium display like that nasty, slimy cyano! The algae is present in all systems, and dates back to the dawn of planet but you can keep it from taking over your aquarium and causing you heartache.

Ideally, you want to be taking preventative measures to ensure that cyano does not gain any real estate in your reef. Prevention is always easier than treatment, but if you can always treat it too.

To amplify the Coral Snow, you will need a bacterial solution. Most will do, but I like Microbacter7 by Brightwell Aquatics. What we are doing here is mixing the bacteria with the Coral Snow, allowing it to bond and adhere to the surface of sand and rock. Basically, we’re trying to eliminate land for the cyano to stake its claim. While most of the Coral Snow will be removed via filtration, there will be a bit that coats you aquariums surfaces, in this case with bacteria that will out compete algae.

The Mix

Take your measured solution of Coral Snow and add it to a small container.

  • A plastic or glass cup will suffice.
  • Next, add 10 drops of Microbacter7 per 5ML of Coral Snow.
  • Allow 5 minutes for the solution to sit and then dose into your aquarium.
Note that Coral Snow will cloud your aquarium for at least two hours. Filter socks and Protein Skimmer(s) should be left on.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you find this Coral Snow solution to be advantageous. I have used it for years with great results. My aquariums are devoid of cyano and nuisance algae. The fish look like their floating in mid air and the true colors of the corals are allowed to shine through.

I dose once a week but there is no issue dosing it daily if you are dealing with a particularly bad breakout of cyano. For best results, siphon out as much cyano as possible before dosing Coral Snow.

Good luck and if you need any additional help please feel free to reach out.

Sonny [email protected]

 
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MooreReefing

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Thanks for this! I’ve always wondered how people made their tanks so clear when mine always seem to have a little bit of a tint! I have one question and I might just be not understanding but this section.

“Per 500ML, add 10 level tablespoons of powder to roughly 425-450ML of RO/DI water.”

per 500ml of what? Is that container volume or something else?
 
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Thanks for this! I’ve always wondered how people made their tanks so clear when mine always seem to have a little bit of a tint! I have one question and I might just be not understanding but this section.

“Per 500ML, add 10 level tablespoons of powder to roughly 425-450ML of RO/DI water.”

per 500ml of what? Is that container volume or something else?

Hello,

I have updated the initial posting. It should read for 500ml of solution.

-Sonny
 
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thanks for the information!
Without filter socks do you think this solution would cause any harm to the fish ? I only run filter floss and a large skimmer and was wondering if it would be safe

Yes, you will be fine. Filter floss will aid in capturing the snow but the skimmer is the real workhorse here.

The fish will freak out on the initial dose, but if they’re anything like my own they will get used to it. The solution is perfectly safe for all aquarium creatures. If you are being cautious then simply start out with a much smaller dosage of say 1ml per 50gl and adjust from there.

-Sonny
 
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I made a couple edits after some suggestions and feedback.

For those who have reached out, you do not need to use the bacterial mix if you’re simply looking for water clarity. The bacterial mix is to help combat cyano.


-Sonny
 
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Your tank looks amazingly clean. Really to clean almost. Do you have coraline algae or does your process eliminate that? What brand of coral snow were you using before DIY?

Beautiful tank...

Believe it or not, I have never had much luck growing coraline and am thankful for that fact. Some have it go so thick that they have to constantly change metal blades on their scrappers to keep things clean.

As you can see below, coralline does not like my setup yet corals grow like mad.


5474129_orig.jpg


3476729_orig.jpg


6111587_orig.jpg



6553092_orig.jpg



DSC_0120big2-e1419992789454-1024x681.jpg


7040434_orig.jpg



654079_orig.jpg


142.jpg
 

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Believe it or not, I have never had much luck growing coraline and am thankful for that fact. Some have it go so thick that they have to constantly change metal blades on their scrappers to keep things clean.

As you can see below, coralline does not like my setup yet corals grow like mad.


5474129_orig.jpg


3476729_orig.jpg


6111587_orig.jpg



6553092_orig.jpg



DSC_0120big2-e1419992789454-1024x681.jpg


7040434_orig.jpg



654079_orig.jpg


142.jpg
Those look like pictures in an actual reef. I would know I’ve seen one!! This is so amazing. The entire idea of reefing is to create your slice of the ocean and Sonny you sir have done this in a breath taking fashion. I will be following all of the channels you have listed, you have a new member of the fan club
 
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Believe it or not, I have never had much luck growing coraline and am thankful for that fact. Some have it go so thick that they have to constantly change metal blades on their scrappers to keep things clean.

As you can see below, coralline does not like my setup yet corals grow like mad.


5474129_orig.jpg


3476729_orig.jpg


6111587_orig.jpg



6553092_orig.jpg



DSC_0120big2-e1419992789454-1024x681.jpg


7040434_orig.jpg



654079_orig.jpg


142.jpg
Completely spectacular...well done Sir
 
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Is it just in photographs, or did the lack of a background (and spotless glass) really make for the most natural looking reef possible?

Great info too

Yes, a bit of all of the above. I do not like to use backgrounds and will place peninsula aquariums against the wall so that there is no overflow behind the aquarium, distracting the viewer from the reef. I also place my power heads on the sides and run them as low of a profile as possible.

The animals are the star of the show here and I need to make the system look as natural as possible. Hiding equipment, or at least keeping it off to the side helps in that regard.

The rock and coral placement also plays a key roll. If you’ve ever dived over a reef you will see that in most cases there is a lot of negative space. Be it sand or or the surround empty spaces, it gives the reef a much more open look. While it’s not as abundant today, there was a time when people would create setups that resembled a fruit stand, giving no thought to athetics and potential coral growth.

Fish also play an important role in the overall look and energy in the reef. For that very purpose I love to stock Anthias. These fish swim mid level, rarely hide and help to bring out shyer fish into the ocean. I also like to sprinkle in a school of Chromis and then some other large fish such as angels and tangs. The size of the fish also helps to give things a sense of scale.

Lastly, great care must be taken when placing corals next to each other. The corals colors and growth patterns, when employed correctly, can help to maximize their impact on the viewer. For that reason, I like to place purple next to green, blue next to red, yellow next to blue, and so forth. Concerning the shapes, I will place stays next to tables and montiporias, perhaps even throwing in some Zoas. I will also selectively place corals closer or further away from the viewing pame to create a sense of depth.

As time goes on I will post out some information on design philosophy and how to better setup a display. I will discuss things such as the golden ration and rule of thirds.

From time to time I still see setups as such, and it has me scratching my head as to why they would like their setup to look like an LFS stock tank, but to each their own. Each of us is in the hobby for our own reasons. Some are happy enough simply stocking the tank and keeping things happy, others use the aquarium as a canvas to display their art and creativity. I happen to be in the later group as this hobby aids in my creative expression, allowing me to channel my energy in a positive manner.

Reguardless, we’re all here for the enrichment that the reefs provide us, and are each students of nature and constantly looking to improve and grow.

Nature has patterns but is also random at the same time. I probably spent 30 minutes placing the rocks and corals into my latest setup and that was by design. I knew the structure I was looking for, and I let the shape of the rocks and corals guide me to the final product shown.

-Sonny
 
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So essentially a cheaper version of Aquaforest Pure Food.

Hello,

I am not too familiar with Pure food, but the mix I posted is not coral food. It is specially designed to clean your aquarium and help bacteria adhere to surfaces. the closet thing to what I posted is KZ Coral Snow.
 

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Yes, a bit of all of the above. I do not like to use backgrounds and will place peninsula aquariums against the wall so that there is no overflow behind the aquarium, distracting the viewer from the reef. I also place my power heads on the sides and run them as low of a profile as possible.

The animals are the star of the show here and I need to make the system look as natural as possible. Hiding equipment, or at least keeping it off to the side helps in that regard.

The rock and coral placement also plays a key roll. If you’ve ever dived over a reef you will see that in most cases there is a lot of negative space. Be it sand or or the surround empty spaces, it gives the reef a much more open look. While it’s not as abundant today, there was a time when people would create setups that resembled a fruit stand, giving no thought to athetics and potential coral growth.

Fish also play an important role in the overall look and energy in the reef. For that very purpose I love to stock Anthias. These fish swim mid level, rarely hide and help to bring out shyer fish into the ocean. I also like to sprinkle in a school of Chromis and then some other large fish such as angels and tangs. The size of the fish also helps to give things a sense of scale.

Lastly, great care must be taken when placing corals next to each other. The corals colors and growth patterns, when employed correctly, can help to maximize their impact on the viewer. For that reason, I like to place purple next to green, blue next to red, yellow next to blue, and so forth. Concerning the shapes, I will place stays next to tables and montiporias, perhaps even throwing in some Zoas. I will also selectively place corals closer or further away from the viewing pame to create a sense of depth.

As time goes on I will post out some information on design philosophy and how to better setup a display. I will discuss things such as the golden ration and rule of thirds.

From time to time I still see setups as such, and it has me scratching my head as to why they would like their setup to look like an LFS stock tank, but to each their own. Each of us is in the hobby for our own reasons. Some are happy enough simply stocking the tank and keeping things happy, others use the aquarium as a canvas to display their art and creativity. I happen to be in the later group as this hobby aids in my creative expression, allowing me to channel my energy in a positive manner.

Reguardless, we’re all here for the enrichment that the reefs provide us, and are each students of nature and constantly looking to improve and grow.

Nature has patterns but is also random at the same time. I probably spent 30 minutes placing the rocks and corals into my latest setup and that was by design. I knew the structure I was looking for, and I let the shape of the rocks and corals guide me to the final product shown.

-Sonny

Super informative post, thank you.

Yes, I remember all too well. It still seems prevalent to me, unnatural elements for the sake of coral display. The aesthetic of the overall assembly has always been a top priority to me, having the tank fit in with the rest of our house.

I've long employed many of the things you discuss, your tanks have been an inspiration for 10+ years now. Hiding/minimizing equipment, rock structure and coral placement forethought, large anthias groups are all similar. I've never been happy with the black/blue backgrounds though, they distract from the scene.

A peninsula tank makes alot of sense. Did you clearly see the wall texturing through the glass? My walls are a good color for a background, the texturing is weird though.
 
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Hello,

I am not too familiar with Pure food, but the mix I posted is not coral food. It is specially designed to clean your aquarium and help bacteria adhere to surfaces. the closet thing to what I posted is KZ Coral Snow.

They call it "food," but from what I gather they ground up coral and dehydrate it. So it's mostly calcium carbonate.
 
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Super informative post, thank you.

Yes, I remember all too well. It still seems prevalent to me, unnatural elements for the sake of coral display. The aesthetic of the overall assembly has always been a top priority to me, having the tank fit in with the rest of our house.

I've long employed many of the things you discuss, your tanks have been an inspiration for 10+ years now. Hiding/minimizing equipment, rock structure and coral placement forethought, large anthias groups are all similar. I've never been happy with the black/blue backgrounds though, they distract from the scene.

A peninsula tank makes alot of sense. Did you clearly see the wall texturing through the glass? My walls are a good color for a background, the texturing is weird though.

I have drywall behind my setup, so I can’t comment on the texture aspect. Depending on how the light hits the way, you likely would see some shadowing and textures. Best bet would be to shine a light over said was with a flashlight and see how it reacts to the lighting.
 
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