First time doing WC in nearly 3 years

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DracoKat

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My 75g tank has been pretty self-sustaining for a few years and I haven't done a water change at all for nearly 3 years (could be over, I forget), no vac or anything. Just ATO top-off and dose as needed.

Now recently my PH and Nitrites has spiked (and no idea why, I'm not doing anything different nor added anything; nothing died) and I am covered in green turf algae, and I figured instead of simply relying on chemicals to try to bring the levels down, I'll do a hefty WC. probably close to 50%.

Now considering it's been years since I did a WC on this particular tank.. I am concerned about messing it all up and destroying the tank in the end. I plan on using a shop vac to pull water and clean out the sump and most of its gunk and not even touch the main DT, not even its sand.

Anything I should watch out for or advice? I am probably just being too paranoid- but better to be safe!

Oh, looks like I need more salt. my salt had turned hard as a rock and I don't want to risk using it. Do'h.
 

Jay Hemdal

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My 75g tank has been pretty self-sustaining for a few years and I haven't done a water change at all for nearly 3 years (could be over, I forget), no vac or anything. Just ATO top-off and dose as needed.

Now recently my PH and Nitrites has spiked (and no idea why, I'm not doing anything different nor added anything; nothing died) and I am covered in green turf algae, and I figured instead of simply relying on chemicals to try to bring the levels down, I'll do a hefty WC. probably close to 50%.

Now considering it's been years since I did a WC on this particular tank.. I am concerned about messing it all up and destroying the tank in the end. I plan on using a shop vac to pull water and clean out the sump and most of its gunk and not even touch the main DT, not even its sand.

Anything I should watch out for or advice? I am probably just being too paranoid- but better to be safe!

Oh, looks like I need more salt. my salt had turned hard as a rock and I don't want to risk using it. Do'h.

Your pH and nitrite are going up?

The pH is probably rising during the day due to the algae pulling the CO2 from the water, try testing it again before the lights come on in the morning. You shouldn't see anything for nitrites - could your test reagents be expired?

IMO - while large water changes themselves, if done properly are not an issue (I routinely change 50% + on tanks) combining a big water change with lots of cleaning can be an issue. Your plan of just cleaning the sump should help avoid that,

Unless you have a really sturdy model, saltwater tends to ruin shop vacs. Can you just pump water out of the sump?

Jay
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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When you pour water back across nutrient stores in the sand and rocks it up wells waste and can feed invasions

in some tanks it can be lethal I have a few examples on file of waste mixing when doing partial cleaning.

post a full tank shot you may need a rip clean. We can tell by the pics, readings from non digital test kits won’t help any

we are looking for signs of systemic eutrophication in the pics, it has telltale markers when present

post pics first, your current plan can kill the reef, it is a partial cleaning action.
 

ScottB

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I'll give it a test now with the lights off, good thinking. I didn't even consider the lighting difference.

I can pump water from the sump, yes. I just thought the vac would help get the gunk out. I have the bucket head vac
The bucket head Vac will work fine for the sump.
 
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DracoKat

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When you pour water back across nutrient stores in the sand and rocks it up wells waste and can feed invasions

in some tanks it can be lethal I have a few examples on file of waste mixing when doing partial cleaning.

post a full tank shot you may need a rip clean. We can tell by the pics, readings from non digital test kits won’t help any

we are looking for signs of systemic eutrophication in the pics, it has telltale markers when present

post pics first, your current plan can kill the reef, it is a partial cleaning action.
I'm planning on doing everything from the sump. There will be no water poured into the DT which would not mix up the sand bed or anything else. I hope to get a lot of the waste from the sump through the vac .
 

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You have some great answers so far. I would add to take it slow. Keeping the tank as stable as possible is key.

I would do a routine more like this:

1. Change out 5-10 gallons, ~10%. Do not disturb rocks or sand. Just a simple water change.

2. 3-7 days later, do another 10% change. Again water only.

3. If things are still good with tank, clean out sump and refill.

4. If you want to do your sand bed, divide it into 4-8 sections. Each week do a water change and only vacuum that section. Repeat until each section has been done.

5. Start a normal water maintenance cycle that includes regular sand vacuuming, doing no more that 1/4 of sand at a time. Preferably this should be weekly or bi-weekly.

6. Re-clean sump as needed. Probably no more than once a quarter.

Hope this helps.

TCoach
 

Pistondog

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My 75g tank has been pretty self-sustaining for a few years and I haven't done a water change at all for nearly 3 years (could be over, I forget), no vac or anything. Just ATO top-off and dose as needed.

Now recently my PH and Nitrites has spiked (and no idea why, I'm not doing anything different nor added anything; nothing died) and I am covered in green turf algae, and I figured instead of simply relying on chemicals to try to bring the levels down, I'll do a hefty WC. probably close to 50%.

Now considering it's been years since I did a WC on this particular tank.. I am concerned about messing it all up and destroying the tank in the end. I plan on using a shop vac to pull water and clean out the sump and most of its gunk and not even touch the main DT, not even its sand.

Anything I should watch out for or advice? I am probably just being too paranoid- but better to be safe!

Oh, looks like I need more salt. my salt had turned hard as a rock and I don't want to risk using it. Do'h.
I like your plan. Use the water change to clean the sump by removing all water and built up detritus. I did this recently, removing all sump live rock, chaeto, skimmer, water and wiping sump clean. Clean in-sump equipment. Good opportunity to scrape coralline if desired.
 

TCoach

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I tested while lights were out. PH is at 5. Nitrate is 0

It is possible that my API regent is old, i'll be getting a new one today. Still, there's a reason why turf algae suddenly bloomed after years. I am leaning to high pH anyway
If possible, avoid API. They are known to have consistency issues. A marine pH of 5 is a clear bad test. Your tank would be nuked.

I love Hanna Checkers since I don’t have to read colors. A little more expensive, but the digital read out is awesome.

Otherwise Salifert, Red Sea, and Aqua Forest have good kits.

I would get the pH (or buy a ph pen or probe), Alk, and Nitrate at a minimum. Get the HR Nitrate if going Hanna. For an established marine tank, no need to test ammonia or nitrite.

Personally, I monitor pH, Temp, and Salinity via my GHL controller. I test with Hanna Checkers for Alk, Ca, HR Nitrate, and ULR Phosphate. I use the Aquaforest Mg.

Before my GHL purchase, I used a PinPoint pH monitor.
 
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DracoKat

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I couldn't justify the cost of getting another brand test kit at this time, when I had a bunch of other things to get. So I did get another API test and the PH is still really high with that kit.

Doesn't hurt (hopefully) to do a water change anyway since it's been a long time.

Still weird how it's up (if both testing is true, or close to true) after years of no changes. of course, my corals aren't the happiest, which is why I think it'll benefit from a good WC
 

thatmanMIKEson

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Your pH and nitrite are going up?

The pH is probably rising during the day due to the algae pulling the CO2 from the water, try testing it again before the lights come on in the morning. You shouldn't see anything for nitrites - could your test reagents be expired?

IMO - while large water changes themselves, if done properly are not an issue (I routinely change 50% + on tanks) combining a big water change with lots of cleaning can be an issue. Your plan of just cleaning the sump should help avoid that,

Unless you have a really sturdy model, saltwater tends to ruin shop vacs. Can you just pump water out of the sump?

Jay
i use the home depot bucket head with any 5 gallon bucket its cheap and works good...
 
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DracoKat

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Test the pH of your new saltwater before you do a water change and let us know what it is. 99% sure you test is a bad test, but we need to be sure.

what salt mix are you using?

Yea I feel like the new API PH test is fault too, it's really dark blue. My tank would be dead at that hight of a PH, but everything is doing well minus turf aglae, which tells me there's SOME PH

I might just bite the bullet and get a more reliable test kit

years ago I used IO reef Crystals. This time I opted for Red Sea Pro- mainly because IO Crystals at the store in bags were also hard and decided to try something else
 
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