Need help positively identifying this growth

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Nick_Turbo

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So, no matter what I do, I keep having this reddish/brown coating come back again and again. The system itself has been up and running for 16 months, and I transferred it from a 60-gallon tank to a WaterBox Marine X 110.4 in August of this year. I've tried vacuuming the film off of the sand, it's back 2 days later. I have 2 dozen Nassarius Vibex snails to stir the sandbed, one 4-inch wide Spider Conch, one 2-inch Tiger Conch, three Turbo snails, and various other smaller snails along with 10 blue-legged hermit crabs. Yet, no matter what, this film on my sandbed persists. I would be forever grateful if anyone out there could help me identify this growth and assist me in a plan to eliminate this ugliness.

All requisite tank information is listed below:

I run three AI Prime HDs on the Pennywise Deadlights schedule over a WaterBox Marine X 110.4. The tank is lightly stocked with a couple of leathers, seven Duncans, a medium zoa colony, a small Acan frag, a few blastos, a large wall hammer colony, a branching hammer colony, and a decent-sized Green Digi Montipora. As for fish, it is stocked with three Regal Damselfish, a Foxface Rabbitfish, a Longnose Butterflyfish, a Coral Beauty, a Bartlett's Anthia, and two clownfish. Two 1500gph gyres provide flow positioned five inches down from the waterline on each side wall running a sine wave mode, an AI Nero 5 on the far back wall running on a random mode, and a Sicce Syncra 6.0 return pump. I am running a Nyos Quantum 160 skimmer and two Lifegard Aquatics Medium Side Flow Turbo Reactors (one running BRS Carbon ROX and the other running SeaChem Phosgaurd for filtration.

Current Tank Values are as follows:
  • Temperature: 78.5 F
  • pH: 8.32
  • Salinity: 1.0262sg (53.7mS)
  • ORP: 296mV
  • Alk: 8.2dkh
  • Calcium: 460ppm
  • Magnesium: 1600ppm
  • Nitrate: 22ppm (range from 8-25ppm)
  • Phosphate: 0.01ppm

9C355BA1-FE61-4DF4-851A-103D3CFABB4F.jpeg D7E0464F-2ADB-4E7F-A3A9-A10DA922972A.jpeg ED2FD6CD-B7DE-4F2A-843A-FF199ABE1D6F.jpeg
 
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Nick_Turbo

Nick_Turbo

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Looks to be cyano, but with .01 phosphates it very well could be the start of dinoflagelletes(aka Dino's).
Help me understand, what makes this look or sound like cyano?

(To be clear, I am in no way doubting your assessment, only trying to learn what to look for and how you see. Thanks!)
 
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Nick_Turbo

Nick_Turbo

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Do you have a microscope? Only need a low end school type scope - very helpful if or identifying algae/dinos/bugs....
Currently, I don't have a microscope. It's on my list of needs, I'm guessing still 2 months out.
 
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TheBear78

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It look exactly like what I had early on. I assumed it was dinos and now they're gone I have no reason to assume otherwise. Even the clear tracks around the glass are similar where my hermits patrol and stir up enough to remove them.
My key was flow on the sand/substrate as well as the better known method of ensuring PO4 and NO3 do not bottom out.
Long after I had sorted the nutrients I still had a regular patch in a dead area which persisted until I modified my outlet nozzles to cover that area.
I am only at the 8 month mark versus 16 but I would still go with that assessment.
 
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Does the dark patch recede at night (much less pronounced in the morning when lights come on). And then darken throughout the day? If so it's likely the start of dinos. I'd try to nudge those phosphates up a bit. Nothing good comes from zero phos
 

homer1475

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Help me understand, what makes this look or sound like cyano?

(To be clear, I am in no way doubting your assessment, only trying to learn what to look for and how you see. Thanks!)


Depending on color really. Red, green, or a velvet color in mats is typically cyano. Also being just on the sandbed, and not present anywhere else. also leads me to believe it's cyano. Cyano loves rotting debris, and our sandbeds are nutrient sinks.

A rust or brown snotty looking appearance typically means dino's. Also low nutrients(.01 phosphates could be 0 with out hobby grade test kits) leads to dino's.

More description or closer pics would help positively ID it.
 
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Nick_Turbo

Nick_Turbo

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It look exactly like what I had early on. I assumed it was dinos and now they're gone I have no reason to assume otherwise. Even the clear tracks around the glass are similar where my hermits patrol and stir up enough to remove them.
My key was flow on the sand/substrate as well as the better known method of ensuring PO4 and NO3 do not bottom out.
Long after I had sorted the nutrients I still had a regular patch in a dead area which persisted until I modified my outlet nozzles to cover that area.
I am only at the 8 month mark versus 16 but I would still go with that assessment.
Thank you for the shared knowledge! I really appreciate it.
 
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