Long time coming

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by Tango2, May 22, 2017.

  1. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    So I've been battling an outbreak of bubble algae for quite some time now, and have tried all of the natural methods of removal (manual, emeralds). Unfortunately, my tank is too small for me to introduce some of the more aggressive bubble algae eating fish. I'm trying to weigh my options at this point. Tank has been setup since Nov 2013.

    My rockwork is built with rods going through it and it is pretty well attached, so dismantling it one piece at a time will be difficult. I have very few corals that remain attached to the rockwork. I have 3 fish (2 anemones and a diamond goby), a cleaner shrimp and a handful of zoas in the tank currently. Most are on frag plugs, as I didn't want them to be overrun by bubble algae.

    Options:
    1. Get rid of LR altogether, add fresh LR
    2. Get rid of LR and sand, add fresh LR and sand
    3. Cook LR and reintroduce back into the tank
    4. Cook LR and reintroduce back into the tank, replace sand.

    I'd love to hear inputs on other options as well as the option you would recommend. I want to get to the root of the problem, which I believe was several things. Obviously, phosphates are likely the culprit along with BA getting introduced to the tank at some point. Any inputs would be welcomed, as I really don't look forward to doing anything with my tank these days, as it seems any time I've put into it over the past year + has been a waste of time.

    Travis
     

  2. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Look into VIbrant. It kills algae. Theees a few nutrint related side effects as will bottom them out. But it def kills algae.
     
  3. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    That's a though, but when I say I have a bubble algae problem, I mean I can't see the rock anymore. Maybe "epidemic" or "plague" would be a better word for it...

    I'll still check into it, but I'm thinking it may be too far gone for that.
     
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  4. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    It becomes a personal choice really.

    Were I to rebuild and clean my big tank (just a 55) it would take me a day and a lot of buckets. Then I'd likey do VIbrant to insure no nasties came back. Keeping viable spores is tough but I'd prefer to keep the rock and coral live.

    I've taken apart my 30 in under three hours.

    The chem method comes with a small but annoying price imo. Scrubbing I belive can mitigate that. I even less to kill less junk left to clean up later (high nutrints)
     
  5. BlueCursor

    BlueCursor Well-Known Member

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    Never cook LR. It can explode!

    Even if you kill all the BA on your rocks, it will come back. Even if you eradicate it completely it could easily come back with the next addition to your tank. You need to manage the high nutrient content. This is how we keep our tanks algae free.

    Since you have a plague, take out what rocks you can and scrub them with a stiff brush. Run them under some RO rinse. Then put them back in the tank. BA are single cell plants. Each bubble is a single cell. You pop it you kill the cell. And no, they DO NOT reproduce by spores. So popping them does not spread spores. They reproduce by cell division. BA is the most studied marine plant because of the fact that each bubble is huge single cell. Botanists love the stuff for studying cell activity. But you don't want to pop and leave the stuff to rot in your tank. It puts more nutrients back into the water column.

    Next, start lowering nutrients in your tank. Vibrant can help with this if you have a skimmer. If not, forget Vibrant. Just do water changes and stop feeding so much. Or get a skimmer.

    Finally, consider emerald crabs. They eat BA.

    This is the most important thing. You need to dramatically improve your husbandry skills and practices. You have a plague because you did not. We all have some algae issues, and we have all had some BA. Right now I have two in my tank I can see. But to have a plague means you were extremely loose with feeding, not keeping nutrients low.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to give the vibrant a try. I'm running a skimmer now, although the first year I did run skimmerless. Hopefully things will improve.
     
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  7. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    I got my vibrant in on Friday and started with my first dose then. I went with the 1ml/10 gallon dose, and I estimate I have about 70 gallons. I also took some measurements today:

    Alk: 6.88 dKH
    Ca: 440
    Mg: 1245
    Po4: 0.03
    No3: 0
    pH: 8.03
    Salinity 1.021

    Aside from my alk and salinity being a bit lower than normal, all of my parameters seem to be in check. Not sure what's feeding my algae, but hopefully the vibrant will help.
     
  8. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday, I did a bunch of manual pruning and siphoned up almost 2 filter socks worth of bubble algae. (Frags anyone?)

    I'm up to 2 doses of vibrant at 1 ml/10 gallons of tank water (7 ml) and Friday makes one week since the first dose. Honestly, I don't see any results from the vibrant yet, but I'm hoping I will soon. My plan is to continue the single dose 2x per week until everything is cleared up and then scale back to 1/wk or 1 every other week. I'll post some pictures up on the one week anniversary.
     
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  9. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    Just in case folks are following this adventure, I added my third dose of Vibrant today. Still don't see much change other than what is visible from the manual removal, but I'm remaining hopeful. As promised, evidence:

    Before:
    IMG_9400.JPG

    Week 1:
    IMG_9407.JPG

    Before:
    IMG_9402.JPG

    Week 1:
    IMG_9409.JPG

    Before:
    IMG_9403.JPG

    Week 1:
    IMG_9410.JPG

    Before:
    IMG_9404.JPG

    Week 1:
    IMG_9411.JPG

    Before:
    IMG_9406.JPG

    Week 1:
    IMG_9413.JPG

    I want to stress that while there is a significant difference in the before and week 1 pictures, most (if not all) was due to manual removal. The last two pictures may show this more clearly than any. This show the overflow on the back wall of the tank, which was not cleaned during the manual removal. I don't see any die off or difference so far in this portion of the tank. At the beginning of the week, it seemed like the glass was staying a bit cleaner than usual, but by today it had gotten pretty dirty, so I'm not sure anything has really changed with that either. Time will tell.

    So... how about a worst tank award???
     
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  10. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Go check out that thread.
    Sorry you got nutin in them.
     
  11. Lisa Maxwell

    Lisa Maxwell Active Member

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    Hi,
    I was wondering how things were going with the BA & HA outbreak? Have you seen any improvement yet?
     
  12. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lisa,

    No significant improvements, however I'm still following my above maintenance routine. The one main thing I have not checked yet is my topoff water parameters. I know my TDS out of my RODI unit are 0, but I haven't checked for other impurities (i.e. phosphates). I plan to do that this weekend. I also need to get my auto water change back up and running, but my biggest focus is on figuring out where the fuel is coming from that is growing the algae in the first place.

    I'll try to post an update over the weekend. Thanks for following along.
     
  13. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    As promised (although late), an update.

    I ran out of RODI in my large holding tank, so I figured it was time for a couple long awaited maintenance updates. First, my RODI top off container had a 1/4" line running through the partially open top into the container. Because this line partially floats, I was worried that it would suck some air when pumping into the tank. This wasn't as much an issue with the ATO (no harm in sucking air/water mix other than taking longer to refill the evaporated water). I hesitated to drill holes below the waterline only for the fact that I didn't want them to leak. I had the uni-seals on hand, and went ahead and installed it with the 1/4" line under my low-level float switch.

    End tangent.

    I filled up my RODI container and monitored TDS both before and after my DI cartridge. Going in was steady at 1 and DI output was 0... perfect. I tested TDS after a day in the container and it measured between 0 and 1 with a handheld TDS meter (other readings were taken in-line). I call this good, as the container likely ingested some dust from being cracked open for some time with the line running through the top. Then I checked the phosphate with my Hanna Phosphorus tester. I'm thinking this reading is inaccurate on RODI water, because it was very cloudy and read 200 o_O. I'm hoping this is wrong.

    What is an effective way to measure any impurities in my RODI topoff water that would not be included in the TDS measurement? Something is fueling my algae outbreak in the tank, and if it isn't my RODI water, I'm not sure what it could be.
     
  14. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    According to Mr Randy Farley. Zero is zero on the tds.

    If you'd like we can work on the other possible causes.
     
  15. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to hear any ideas you have. The Vibrant doesn't seem to be working, but I'm definitely interested in trying to figure out what is fueling the algae in my tank.
     
  16. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Let's see a few pictures. What lights are you running and for how long.
    Parameters ph nitrate phosphate

    On the ph you kinda want to test at the end of the day and first thing in the morning. Figure out the swing and if a co2 issue.
     
  17. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    My pH ranges from a low of 7.79 and a high of 8.14 from 6/14 to 6/21. The average is 8.01.

    Most recent nitrate and phosphate readings are:

    NO3: 0 (Red Sea)
    Phosphate: .09 (Hanna ULR Phosphorus)

    I always question the phosphate readings as they seem to fluctuate a lot from test to test. My average recorded phosphate is .06 and the results range from .03 to .09, but that's only taking into account 5 readings over almost a year. Previous to the .09 reading, the readings were .04 then .03 in that order. I'm thinking the .09 may have been a bad reading, but I didn't retest either.

    I'm running a Kessil 360 with the following light period:
    Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 9.59.26 PM.png

    And here's my color profile:
    Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 10.01.59 PM.png
     
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  18. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Cool. Keep it coming.
    Also what snails and clean up crew do you have in there.
    IMO most folks are skimping on the snails now a days.
     
  19. Tango2

    Tango2 Well-Known Member

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    Lol, that is definitely the case with my tank. My snail population has dwindled to almost nothing. I also had very little algae other than BA which may explain the slow loss of my snail population. I suppose it's time to slowly repopulate...
     
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  20. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Photo of the Month Award

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    Yea I'm kinda seeing a trend now on CUC.
    So many folks with Dino's to Gha have little to minimum.
     
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