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Fluval Evo 13.5- EWWWW! Black mold!? Bleaching? All of the questions....

CeeCee

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Hey everyone, I have several questions currently about my tank. I'll post specs first before my questions/issues...
Tank: Fluval Evo 13.5
Lighting: stock light- 11000K LED. Very Very white light :(. I try to run my blue light from 0700-0-1000, and then full lights from 1000-1900 and then back to blue from 1900-2200. One of the things that I am bummed about this light is the inability to run a timer, I work nights as a nurse so I always have to make sure i turn it on/off manually to try to maintain some semblance of a schedule..

Pump: Ehein Compact ON 1000- can move up to 220 G/hour. I have mine turned probably 75% up and it seems like the fish enjoy the flow.
I was running a skimmer but recently as my tank has been more established I am not removing anything from the skimmer. I shut it off on Tuesday. It is still in compartment 2 but not running. I have chemipure in my first compartment with filter floss and I plan to add filter rings to the second compartment once I remove the skimmer.... I do 3 gallon water changes occasionally. but I will not lie and say it is consistent. I truly believe my tank has been more stable/happy since i just replace as needed. I do a water change if I notice a lot of debris on the sandbad (1 inch deep). I dose Dr. Tim's one and only every month or so just for a boost.
I use Instant Ocean salt and keep my salinity pretty stinking level at 1.025. I test once a week with ATI unless something looks off. ( I will be upgrading tests once I am out of these)
-pH runs consistently at 8.0. I tried everything to raise it to 8.2 or so but finally gave up. I started using Seachem Reef Builder and that seems to keep me at 8.0-8.1 compared to 7.8 when I do not use it.
-Ammonia is always 0-0.25. I use the ATI kits and it always seems hard to tell if it is at zero, or the 0.25. so I count it higher to make sure I am adressing it properly.
-Nitrite and Nitrate are always zero. I was always under the impression that my nitrate neeeded to at least be present in order to prove the biological filter is working properly. But I am at zero and it seems like the tank if happy and stable. I have a lot of pods present as well.
-Alk ise 10,
-Ca is usually 380-400.
- Mg is 1275.
I use Seachem to replace..

Stock:
-2 snowflake clownfish
-tailspot blenny,
-1 cleaner shrimp
-2 blue legged hermit crabs,
-1 nessarius snail
-2 nerite snails
-1 Astrea snail
-mushrooms
-feather duster
-GSP (rehoming to my mothers tank VERY soon, he loves my tank too much and I don't want to be overrun)
-Xenia tree (also rehoming to my mom, its MASSIVE and is turning into a forest from a frag plug the size of a quarter)
-1 emerald green crab, I do give him little pieces of shrimp 1-2 times a week( so far has been peaceful, I think he used to be better at eating algae? Or maybe the algae I have now he does not approve of? Maybe it is too tough now?)
I JUST added a dolabella sea hare and 1 tiger conch on wednesday for the algae and sand cleaning respectively. The conch seems very happy, and the sea hare seems to munch slowly away. He does sleep a lot but no signs of illness and I acclimated both very slowly.
I typically feed 1/3 cube of brine every day approximately 5-6 days/week. I tried to mix up and do blood worms or mysis for variety but NO ONE will touch it. 2 times a week i dose 5 mL zooplankton and 5 mL phytoplankton target fed to my mushrooms, xenia and GSP. My mushrooms started as 1 and I now have over 9 mushrooms and I am always finding more...

So, I delt with red cyano several months ago and just let it run its course and one day it cleared up on its own. after that I started getting more green algae that my emerald crab just is not able to keep up on. So I let it get pretty bad and then ordered a sea hare from my LFS. (they accept trade-ins so I plan to bring him back after the job is done). That brings us current to today, I noticed 2 patched of weird black/gray slime (?) or algae near my sandbed. The one in the picture is about the size of a quarter, the other one is smaller-dime size. I cannot find any pictures that look like what I have, so I am posting here, is this anything to be concerned about? Is it toxic or will it kill my sea hare if he eats it? If so, how do I deal with it....

My other question that I wanted to ask is regarding a light. I am currently eyeballing the AI prime HD- is that too much light for mushrooms and zoas? I think primarily that will be what I run in this tank, and likely one hammer/torch/frogspawn. The reason I ask is sometimes it appears my mushrooms look light at the tips, almost as if they are bleaching. also the "bubbles" on the mushrooms are massive from what they were when I purchased it... Is it getting to much light? Has anyone else had mushrooms that changed like this? I really do not like the look of the white light and I want to get the more "blue" feel with the upgrade, but it would feel bad if an upgradeed light kills my mushrooms.... I did just purchase several Zoas from aquarium depot before this gray/black algae came out. I truly thought my tank was stable and happy. Naturally now I am stressed that I just added new coral and my tank is going to poison itself.
I guess one last question- if I get the AI prime light then I need to go to a screen cover which means my evaporation will be severe....... Reviews on ATO are so mixed but I feel like If i get the light i should get the ATO with it, what does everyone run for their nano tanks that is consistent and also not huge. Of course I do not have a sump or anything so It would be hanging on the tank..
So to recap my questions:
1. Black/gray algae slime, what is it? and will it kill my tank?
2. AI prime- too much light for a small tank with mushrooms and zoas?
3. are my mushrooms bleaching from too much light?
4. ATO: Should I deal with manually topping it off, or can I trust one?

Thanks everyone for reading, this is my first post here so I apoligize if it is not formatted correctly or I am missing information. I have been a lurker for months but I need help now!

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BloopFish

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The bubbles are actually often desired, they are called "bounced" mushrooms by the hobby... or at least something similar to that is happening. There are some theories on why this happens, but mostly to do with the fact that the hobby uses artificial lights.
I have a fluval evo 13.5 myself, and I also have upgraded to the AI Prime HD. Do not worry about the lights being too strong for the tank, as you can always adjust the intensity with the AI Prime HD. I personally have zoas and mushrooms at the bottom of my tank with the AI Prime running on full power and they're not disagreeing to it at all.
Additionally, I think what might be causing your algae problem is a combination of light and stock issues. You do have two clownfishes and a blenny, which is plenty for a 13.5 gallon depending on the size of those clownfish. I'm not saying you need to rehome them,just saying that they will produce quite a bit of waste in the tank once they get even larger.
The stock lights are capable of growing most corals the typical hobbyist would want, I've even grown pocillopora and other hobbyists have grown birdsnest, etc with them. However, when I had the lights I noticed that it does encourage algae growth a lot and I've even heard some people state that the lights are especially good at growing algae lol. The slime algae looking thing - I'm not sure what it is but I think you may have a flow issue in the tank. The stock pump isn't actually that strong. I've personally added two powerheads for growing acropora, but I find that even one is enough for the tank.
I personally have not used an ATO in my system but I am looking to buy one this month.
 
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CeeCee

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oh great. Thank you for the response! What powerheads would you reccomend I add for increased flow?
Should I re-home the blenny to reduce the waste? do enjoy my clownfish a lot....
How much evaporation do you deal with having the AI prime? I imagine you have an open top?
 

BloopFish

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oh great. Thank you for the response! What powerheads would you reccomend I add for increased flow?
Should I re-home the blenny to reduce the waste? do enjoy my clownfish a lot....
How much evaporation do you deal with having the AI prime? I imagine you have an open top?
I personally use the Hydor Koralia 240 gph, you might be able to purchase something better than that during the black friday sales. The only annoying thing about it is that I can't seem to properly make minor adjustment to the direction of the powerhead (like make it point as high or low as I want) and also that the wire goes inside the tank instead of outside the tank (which is personal preference and you'd have to pay a bit more for a pump that does that anyways).
I have a mesh screen top on my tank, I'd say the level of evaporation has gone up substantially compared to the stock hood. Hence why I've been looking to get an ATO. I do try to keep my salinity to 35 ppt, but I do struggle to keep it that low when I only want to manually add small amounts of freshwater/kalkwasser solution at a time.
I wouldn't say you need to rehome your blenny. I think your algae problem has gotten so bad that the nutrients in the water gets immediately utilized by the algae and removing the blenny will only do so much (especially since he eats it, I'd assume). Let's see what others think about it.
 
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NanoDJS

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I use an aquamai KPS in my daughters 13.5 evo , wow its friggen awesome I mount it with the coated magnet inside the overflow section so its like half way down the tank on the same wall as the supply nozzle but the other side where the overflow weir is . and back reef lagoon 50 setting . Also I upgraded the return pump to a hydor 300 gph ish pump with the dual nozzles. That slime yeah , those stock lights seem to bring it out, I have also noticed alot of "dry rock" goes through that phase also , pukani was notorious for it , and leeching lol
 

BloopFish

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I forgot to address your test kit readings. I highly doubt that you have even close to 0.25 ammonia, those test kits you're talking about is notoriously difficult to read and also not too reliable. It would make more sense to be around 0.
 

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Welcome to R2R!

I agree with @BloopFish on all points, but removing the lid will increase evaporation. You are right to be concerned as stable salinity is important. I will let others speak as to ATO reliability; I have APEX controllers to alarm me if my floats stick open/closed.

As to the gray stuff, my guess is it is dead decaying algae & detritus and should be vacuumed out.

As to nitrate, you are testing 0 because the algae is consuming it before you can measure it. Same true of phosphate measures I would imagine. API kits are also low resolution, high range kits.

I would recommend gradually stepping up your tank husbandry given the algae growth in the pics and the bioload. Don't take any drastic cleanup steps, but gradually vacuuming the sand bed, and gradually increasing your WC frequency.

If you go too fast, you can quickly get into other troubles you don't want. That nutrient gradually accumulated and the ecosystem adjusted to it. You need to go equally slow in reducing the organic waste to avoid upset.

Lastly about brine shrimp... those are considered fairly empty calories. Like having potato chips for dinner. When the fish get hungry, they will eat the mysis.
 
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CeeCee

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I wouldn't say you need to rehome your blenny. I think your algae problem has gotten so bad that the nutrients in the water gets immediately utilized by the algae and removing the blenny will only do so much (especially since he eats it, I'd assume). Let's see what others think about it.
So i purchased a sea hair to help with the algae issue, however he doesn't seem to be eating much? He is pooping occasionally so he is finding enough to eat at least for now, but am I better off at this point to remove every rock and manually scrub it off to get control of this issue? I just turned up the pump all of the way, at least I can do that for now. And I will get another pump for flow too.
 
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CeeCee

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I would recommend gradually stepping up your tank husbandry given the algae growth in the pics and the bioload. Don't take any drastic cleanup steps, but gradually vacuuming the sand bed, and gradually increasing your WC frequency.
I had purchased a seahare to help with algae, but he doesnt seem to be eating this type of hair alge. he is still pooping for now and i am watching him closely.
I was thinking that if I manually remove algae I wuold remove all of the rocks and scrub the entire tank, but i guess that is a bad idea? I am afraid that just removing one rock at a time won't allow me to completely obliterate the algae, it will just be cyclical and a revolving cycle of forever scrubbing rocks as it will just pass back onto the newly cleaned rocks.... Thoughts?
Should I not feed everyday tot decrease nutrient load? I will definitely feed mysis more often... I was worried about starving fish *facepalm*
 

ScottB

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So i purchased a sea hair to help with the algae issue, however he doesn't seem to be eating much? He is pooping occasionally so he is finding enough to eat at least for now, but am I better off at this point to remove every rock and manually scrub it off to get control of this issue? I just turned up the pump all of the way, at least I can do that for now. And I will get another pump for flow too.
Under the "go slow" approach how about this:
At your next WC, prepare an extra bucket of salt mix
Siphon on stir one small section of sand bed. like 1/4 of the exposed sand is plenty.
Remove ONE rock and scrub the devil out of it. Hard bristle brush.
Swish it around in the bucket of water you removed.
If you have a particularly thick patch of algae, you can carefully drip some 3% H2O2 on that spot.
Briskly swish that scrubbed rock in the extra, clean salt mix bucket and pop it back in the tank.

Repeat next week.
 
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CeeCee

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Perfect! That makes perfect sense. I wont have any issues doing this slowly. My only questions is, one of my rocks has a single mushroom on it. I imagine just scrub carefully around him and he will be ok? IS that ok? or is there a better way to do this.
 

BloopFish

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Perfect! That makes perfect sense. I wont have any issues doing this slowly. My only questions is, one of my rocks has a single mushroom on it. I imagine just scrub carefully around him and he will be ok? IS that ok? or is there a better way to do this.
Corals can survive outside of water for short periods of time, just scrub around him and be careful not to damage him and he should be fine. I do agree with the previous poster, if you are going to scrub down the tank, do it in small increments and not all at once, especially since its a nano tank.

Another important question, how old is your tank? A brief history would be useful.
 
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CeeCee

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Another important question, how old is your tank? A brief history would be useful.
Tank was started in March of 2019. I thought i had posted that, I apologize for not including that! The fish that are in it now are the original fish. The only other fish I had was a firefish before I picked up the blenny. Unfortunately the firefish found his way out of the feeding hole in the lid...:eek:
Should I start feeding every other day as well? My clowns are such pigs....
 

BloopFish

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Tank was started in March of 2019. I thought i had posted that, I apologize for not including that! The fish that are in it now are the original fish. The only other fish I had was a firefish before I picked up the blenny. Unfortunately the firefish found his way out of the feeding hole in the lid...:eek:
Should I start feeding every other day as well? My clowns are such pigs....
I suspect the firefish jumped out due to the clownfish being bullies. You could perhaps cut down to 1/4 of a cube everyday and see how it goes from there, observe how much the fishes actually end up eating and see if you are putting food thats being uneaten.
 
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ScottB

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Perfect! That makes perfect sense. I wont have any issues doing this slowly. My only questions is, one of my rocks has a single mushroom on it. I imagine just scrub carefully around him and he will be ok? IS that ok? or is there a better way to do this.
Yeah it'll be fine out of water for the time it takes you. Keep the peroxide off it of course. There is a small chance that the mushroom will "let go" of the rock during the swishing but once back in the tank it should re-attach easily.
 

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