Is a protein skimmer the best way to rid myself of the brown stuff on the sand between weekly water changes?

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mistergray

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I didn't think I was going to get a protein skimmer at first, but I'm wondering if I need one. Googling has let me know that what I'm seeing is natural after your first tank cycling. I don't mind cleaning the sand, but I typically do that once a week when doing my water change. The brown algae (i'm assuming that's what it is according to google) is already showing back up on my sand 2 days after my water change. My question is, is this something simply resolved by getting a skimmer or should I tackle this another way? Cleaning the sand every 2 days doesn't seem like an ideal solution. I'm open to any suggestions.

Side note: How in the world did people survive without the internet (this forum) and successfully run a saltwater tank!? Lol! I couldn't imagine doing this without you all. I don't know a single person around me that owns a saltwater tank.

brown algae.PNG
 

Tamberav

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I know this is going to sound silly but is there some special technique to stirring the sand?

Everyone probably has their own methods. I just blast mine good with a turkey baster and let the filter sock or floss take care of it. Some people use one of those python vaccume type things.
 
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mistergray

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I meant freshwater, rodi, tap, etc...? I would also switch to another saltwater mix than the current one you use, it could be introducing the diatoms along with your freshwater source.
I do plan on changing this weekend. What I currently use is premixed by the company. I’ll start mixing on my own for the first time this weekend. I’ve attached what I was using up to this point.

D0DD2B65-FFCD-4FD2-BDBB-2357621D98C7.jpeg
 
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HB AL

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I do plan on changing this weekend. What I currently use is premixed by the company. I’ll start mixing on my own for the first time this weekend. I’ve attached what I was using up to this point.

D0DD2B65-FFCD-4FD2-BDBB-2357621D98C7.jpeg
Ok, but what is your source for freshwater when topping off the tank?
 
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mistergray

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What are you using for top offs (shouldn’t be using salt water for top offs).
I haven’t had to top off because I haven’t really had any evaporation due to the fact that I have a well sealed top. I’ve done 1 water change so far and planned on doing that weekly.
 
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mistergray

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Ok, but what is your source for freshwater when topping off the tank?
I haven’t had to top off because I haven’t really had any evaporation due to the fact that I have a well sealed top. I’ve done 1 water change so far and planned on doing that weekly.
 
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Suohhen

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In 3 weeks you haven't topped off 1 time? If it is that well sealed I would worry about aeration. I'm guessing your running the floss and media in a canister filter? but regardless, I doubt you have that little evap. It's very hard to notice significant change in water level based on the water line and an auto correcting refractometer is an essential piece of equipment in this hobby so I suggest you start using one to figure out your evap rate.
As you noted in your op this is a great community and we are blessed to have it but there are certainly guidelines as to what works and what doesn't. Algae is a stigmatized thing in this hobby so discussions often involve more emotion than logic. Forums have been around for a long time, much longer than myself, but I can honestly say the basics are what make for a successful hobby. The internet has many great sources of information on the tried and true basics, the sticky posts on this forum as one example.
 
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In 3 weeks you haven't topped off 1 time? If it is that well sealed I would worry about aeration. I'm guessing your running the floss and media in a canister filter? but regardless, I doubt you have that little evap. It's very hard to notice significant change in water level based on the water line and an auto correcting refractometer is an essential piece of equipment in this hobby so I suggest you start using one to figure out your evap rate.
As you noted in your op this is a great community and we are blessed to have it but there are certainly guidelines as to what works and what doesn't. Algae is a stigmatized thing in this hobby so discussions often involve more emotion than logic. Forums have been around for a long time, much longer than myself, but I can honestly say the basics are what make for a successful hobby. The internet has many great sources of information on the tried and true basics, the sticky posts on this forum as one example.
On the biocube there’s a line in the back that says “minimum”, basically letting you know the water shouldn’t go below that line. The water has gone down but it’s not near the line yet. I was going to top off when it was near the line or should I top off every week regardless of how close to the “minimum” line I am?

In the back I have an InTank media basket with filter floss, chemi pure elite and matrix.

Not sure what the “sticky posts” are but I’ll snoop around for them and check them out.

After all the feedback I received in this thread, I did lightly stir my sand, clean the glass and replace my filter floss. Tank is looking much better now. Outside of that, I’m still trying to piece together all the suggestions and pick out what sounds the best. As you stated, there’s a ton of resources and information out there. There’s so much information that it can be very difficult to figure out what to do at times. I end up reading for hours on end and find so much info I’m not always sure whether to go left or right. I think there’s more than way to skin a cat in this hobby and I need to get better at figuring out what information is best.

This is fun but tough!
 
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Suohhen

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On the biocube there’s a line in the back that says “minimum”, basically letting you know the water shouldn’t go below that line. The water has gone down but it’s not near the line yet. I was going to top off when it was near the line or should I top off every week regardless of how close to the “minimum” line I am?

In the back I have an InTank media basket with filter floss, chemi pure elite and matrix.

Not sure what the “sticky posts” are but I’ll snoop around for them and check them out.

After all the feedback I received in this thread, I did lightly stir my sand, clean the glass and replace my filter floss. Tank is looking much better now. Outside of that, I’m still trying to piece together all the suggestions and pick out what sounds the best. As you stated, there’s a ton of resources and information out there. There’s so much information that it can be very difficult to figure out what to do at times. I end up reading for hours on end and find so much info I’m not always sure whether to go left or right. I think there’s more than way to skin a cat in this hobby and I need to get better at figuring out what information is best.

This is fun but tough!
It has been years since I have run a biocube and certainly one of the least fun things about a nano tank is top-off so it seems like they have managed to tighten down that issue a bit eh? But this kinda illustrates my point even to my own advice that it is highly subjective and general, we can't see your tank so we make generalizations based on common practices. But please do get a refractometer, it is essential.
Each forum has threads at the top that are 'sticky' as in always kept at that top. These threads give detailed information about the most important things to know for that topic. So for fish health they have disease diagnosis, and for invertebrate there is a post on choosing a clean up crew. There are many other great websites such as reefs.com, reefkeeping.com, reefcentral.net, and the list goes on.
I can certainly understand your feeling overwhelmed. I personally spent years trying to derive meaning from what I read on forums but all it really taught me is that every method works, nothing is essential, and doom is always just around the corner. The experience has gotten much better especially with the great migration from reefcentral to this fine forum but I am a firm believer that starting with the basics is the way to go. Also if you are into books there are many great reads. One of my favorites is 'The Reef Aquarium' by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung.
 
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mistergray

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It has been years since I have run a biocube and certainly one of the least fun things about a nano tank is top-off so it seems like they have managed to tighten down that issue a bit eh? But this kinda illustrates my point even to my own advice that it is highly subjective and general, we can't see your tank so we make generalizations based on common practices. But please do get a refractometer, it is essential.
Each forum has threads at the top that are 'sticky' as in always kept at that top. These threads give detailed information about the most important things to know for that topic. So for fish health they have disease diagnosis, and for invertebrate there is a post on choosing a clean up crew. There are many other great websites such as reefs.com, reefkeeping.com, reefcentral.net, and the list goes on.
I can certainly understand your feeling overwhelmed. I personally spent years trying to derive meaning from what I read on forums but all it really taught me is that every method works, nothing is essential, and doom is always just around the corner. The experience has gotten much better especially with the great migration from reefcentral to this fine forum but I am a firm believer that starting with the basics is the way to go. Also if you are into books there are many great reads. One of my favorites is 'The Reef Aquarium' by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung.
Thanks for this wealth of information!
It has been years since I have run a biocube and certainly one of the least fun things about a nano tank is top-off so it seems like they have managed to tighten down that issue a bit eh? But this kinda illustrates my point even to my own advice that it is highly subjective and general, we can't see your tank so we make generalizations based on common practices. But please do get a refractometer, it is essential.
Each forum has threads at the top that are 'sticky' as in always kept at that top. These threads give detailed information about the most important things to know for that topic. So for fish health they have disease diagnosis, and for invertebrate there is a post on choosing a clean up crew. There are many other great websites such as reefs.com, reefkeeping.com, reefcentral.net, and the list goes on.
I can certainly understand your feeling overwhelmed. I personally spent years trying to derive meaning from what I read on forums but all it really taught me is that every method works, nothing is essential, and doom is always just around the corner. The experience has gotten much better especially with the great migration from reefcentral to this fine forum but I am a firm believer that starting with the basics is the way to go. Also if you are into books there are many great reads. One of my favorites is 'The Reef Aquarium' by Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung.
All great information and thanks! I never noticed the 'sticky' articles but I'm now looking forward to reading them. I admit, even though I've learned a lot....I have a LOT more to learn and I'm excited about the journey.

Extra thx for the book reference and the websites!!!
 
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Wannabereefvet

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Eh. I don’t agree with that. You don’t HAVE to have an ugly stage. It’s just expected and common. Jake Adams has a video on it where he talks about how tanks they set up as mixed reefs from day one don’t go through that phase.
It’s because they use live rock and corals from all over, the dinos and other things we don’t want taking over the tank don’t stand a chance at the level of biodiversity the tank starts with
 
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