First year of reefing can be frustrating!

Chrille26

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Hi! Guess I just need to reflect on my first few months of reefing.
I chose to start my tank the "old fashioned" way with live rock and live sand, and right now I am paying the price. :) I have been removing Aiptasia and bubble algae which was spreading around the tank.
I reduced my nutrients by adding a Chaeto refugium, and it worked to slow the spread of algae. But ended up zeroing my no3 and po4 to the point I am now batteling dinos.
After adding a UV filter and increasing nutrients by lowering light hours on fuge and feeding a little heavier, the dinos appear to be receding, but now my bubble algae is starting to spread again along with some Aiptasias.
So now I need to address those issues again while trying to eradicate the dinos. :D
On top of that I also have GHA and what I believe is bryopsis on some of the rocks, so now I am planning a Fluconazole treatment as soon as the dinos are gone, to avoid a takeover by those algaes.

I know the first year before the tank stabilizes and matures can be turbulent with ugly phases and especially with liverock that adds alot of diversity to the mix. But when everything attacks from several directions at the same time it gets frustrating.
I wont give up and I am sure in another year the tank will look awesome and I will have gained a ton of knowledge and experience, but right now its intense. :)

Anyone else just get that feeling that everything just keeps piling up and the fix for one issue creates a new thing to deal with? :)
 

Keen4

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Omg yes. I under stand the frustration. Thy algae though! Hmgrrrr- I understand its great to h e an algae issue because the tank is finished cycling but in a 20 gallon already being tough to handle, it’s like I don’t want to squeeze all of the machines in my tiny sump like adding a gfo. I barely have enough room for the protein skimmer. I really wish I had started with the 75gal or bigger and just sucked it up and learned more about sumps. I’m upgrading soon but nano tanks are really tough. It’s true dedication.
 

robbyg

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I know exactly how it feels. That period after the first year is when the herd gets thinned! It separates those who are just in the hobby because they wanted a great looking tank from the guys who are fully committed and are willing to learn and be patient.

Those who cannot fully commit often exit the hobby.
BTW go easy on the additives. I have yet to find a magic GHA potions. Most create a whole new set of ptoblems
 

deividas

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this, exactly this! i also started out roughly 6-8 months ago, and my tank looks awful... GHA, dino, aiptasia (Luckily no bubble algea..) started and still trying to kill GHA got some fluco, first dose looks promising, but now i got a massive case of dino, so im thinking of breaking everything down over the weekend and just scrubbing and cleaning everytihng.. but yes i do feel that if you dont start treating the first probelm as soon as you see it, another one will come at you pretty fast. still love the hobby (though my wife doesn't like the cost side of things :))
 

Keen4

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this, exactly this! i also started out roughly 6-8 months ago, and my tank looks awful... GHA, dino, aiptasia (Luckily no bubble algea..) started and still trying to kill GHA got some fluco, first dose looks promising, but now i got a massive case of dino, so im thinking of breaking everything down over the weekend and just scrubbing and cleaning everytihng.. but yes i do feel that if you dont start treating the first probelm as soon as you see it, another one will come at you pretty fast. still love the hobby (though my wife doesn't like the cost side of things :))
Are you using any kind of GFO? Maybe start a refugium to eat up all that nitrate and phosphate thats feeding the algae in your tank- u got a protein skimmer? Over feeding or not rinsing out and thawing the frozen food will add unnecessary nutrients and cloudy junk to the tank and create so much phosphates and nitrates that will get past the protein skimmer and go back into your tank- that will ultimately just feed the algae. What kind of sump do you have?

here's video that educated me a ton
 
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deividas

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its a 20 gallon tank, no sump, have a skimmer, uv, and also using a HOB as a fuge, have carbon and phosphate remover running in it, thawing the food and removing water from the food so its all good, didn't do half of it from the start so now im paying the price
 

MysticSea

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I do know about algae issues for saltwater tanks it honestly can be a mess at first. What I have done at least since I am limited on money and space is in my display tank of 24 gallons is implement macro-algae in with the corals. I find it more natural in display tanks but like plants the macro-algae can over take an area easily like Caulerpa sp. So once I did that my nitrates are zero or at least undetectable and my corals and fish are happy. With the occasion of biweekly trimming of the macro-algae.
 

ReefGrammie

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This absolutely strikes a cord with me!!! Even if you've been in the hobby for 12 YEARS, bad things can happen. Long story short, we were planning to take the tank down and I had neglected it for several years other than basically feeding...my fault...I totally blame myself for what happened when I "rebooted" the tank about 6 months ago. Just take it slow and tackle one problem at a time. You'll find all kinds of great threads on here. Try not to get overwhelmed. Yes, this can be a very frustrating hobby, but then also a very rewarding hobby! Hang in there! ;Joyful

This was then (UGH):
Ugly algae resized.jpg


This was about a month ago...I need to update my pictures again because it looks even better now!
IMG_2227 resize.jpg
 

Nano sapiens

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Hi! Guess I just need to reflect on my first few months of reefing.
I chose to start my tank the "old fashioned" way with live rock and live sand, and right now I am paying the price. :)
Congrats on still being in the hobby as many exit when having to deal with all the 1st year challenges.

While true live rock (either ocean sourced or from a healthy mature aquarium) typically has it's 'good, bad and ugly', many of the less desirable organisms eventually find their way into reef aquariums started with dry rock, too, via coral additions. The overall benefits of introducing a diverse microbial community via true live rock and/or live sand is what makes it so valuable to the system's long term success.

One advantage that nano tanks have over large systems is that one can see the pests much more easily and removal of rock for treatment (where necessary) is much easier. In a small system, most of these pests can be beaten fairly easily and without chemicals (IMO, important not to use chemicals whenever possible to preserve the microbial biodiversity), especially so if removal is done as soon as they are noticed. In 12 years of running my 12g, I've had red bugs, aiptasia, 2 kinds of bubble algae, bryopsis, cladophoropsis, various turf and hair algae, diatom blooms, areola flatworms, colonial hydroids, zoanthid eating amphipods, coralline algae eating micro starfish...and possibly a few I can't remember (none of these got to plague proportions because they were dealt with in a timely manner, which is key, IME). The only ones that are still in my system are a small colony of cladophoropsis, a few small colonies of colonial hydroids and an occasional bubble algae.

Keep at it and you'll find that it get's easier as the system stabilizes and matures.
 
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Chrille26

Chrille26

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Appreciate all the comments and tips! I guess almost all of us go through similar periods of algae and other nuisance that test our patience and willpower!
I dont mind a sertain amount of algae or even think that its obtainable to have a 100% clean tank, but I am looking forward to a time when its not a constant stuggle to keep things in check and having to worry about whats to come. :)
 
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92Miata

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While true live rock (either ocean sourced or from a healthy mature aquarium) typically has it's 'good, bad and ugly', many of the less desirable organisms eventually find their way into reef aquariums started with dry rock, too, via coral additions. The overall benefits of introducing a diverse microbial community via true live rock and/or live sand is what makes it so valuable to the system's long term success.
I think one of the tough things with real live rock tanks is that they're less predictable early on, because you really don't know what you have (unless you buy wet shipped aquacultured rock).

With dry rock, you know you've got months before it starts to purple up, and you're going to go through a bunch of ugly periods where each nutrient imbalance sorts itself out. (or you manually fix it).

With live rock - especially fish store/craigslist/etc live rock - you don't really have much idea of what you're working with. It could be 6 month old dry rock that the store threw in a bin, it could be rock that someone just traded in a week ago from a tank with a huge algae issue that has had a week in the dark to kill off the visual algae, but its still leaking phosphate and spores - or, it could be good stuff - and the tank can be ready quickly.

Often people don't test enough, and jump to conclusions about what the actual problem is and make things worse.
 

Nano sapiens

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I think one of the tough things with real live rock tanks is that they're less predictable early on, because you really don't know what you have (unless you buy wet shipped aquacultured rock).
Agreed, knowing the source of your rock (both 'live' and 'dry') is really important. As an analogy buying a house that might look good, but you don't know who built it is a gamble. A good looking house built by a reputable builder that you know only uses top quality materials is much closer to a sure bet.
 

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