Tank down the tubes in a few days. Cyano, dead inverts, coral closed. What did I do?

Discussion in 'Tank Emergency' started by tablesalt, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. tablesalt

    tablesalt Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    For the past few days, my zoanthids have been all closed up, my leathers have shrunk up, and I have been getting more and more cyano (presumably) over the past few days. My crabs and snails have mostly stopped moving over the past week (but the shrimp are fine). I am trying to narrow down what exactly I have done wrong.


    If this is not red cyano bacteria, please let me know.


    Water paramaters are as follows

    Temperature-78.5 (stable)

    Salinity 1.025 (recalibrated to make sure)

    DKH-9 (usually about 7)

    PH- 8.2

    Nitrates (undetectable)

    Nitrites (undetectable)

    Ammonia (undetectable)


    Basic tank setup Max-E170 (40 gallon tank) with aquafuge 2 refugium, carbon, skimmer, ATO, and IceCap1k gyre (running at 10%). I dose Iodine 1x per week and put in 1 teaspoon of Kalk per 5 gallons of ATO.


    Tank is 4 months old with 5 months old live rock (dead shrimp method).

    Up until 2 weeks ago, the tank was stable. 2 weeks ago I bought a toadstool leather and a sebae anemone. I had difficulty getting the anemone to mount and drastically reduced the flow by turning off the Icecap 1k gyre. After a week of difficulties trying to get the anemone to mount, I took it back to the store so I didn't kill it. I tried to feed it a few times during this time. I exchanged it and paid a little extra for a finger leather coral, 2 feather duster worms, 2 scarlet leg hermits, and a bottle of Strontium & Molybdenum. My troubles started (I think) when I put my new goodies in and dosed Strontium & Molybdenum (1 cap full) and turned my gyre back on. I have also had an inconsistent experience with the brightness of the light in my fuge. Fish seem to be happy.


    I am thinking hard and can only come up with a few possible issues that may be nuking my tank.


    1. Strontium & Molybdenum overdose?

    2. Too much flow?

    3. Something unseen came in on the new acquisitions?

    4. DKh is slightly higher than normal at 9 vs 7.

    5. Fuge light being inconsistent could cause issues?

    6. Corals unleashing chemical warfare on tank contents?


    The only thing I can think of to do now is to do a 5 gallon water change every day for the next few days until things calm down. I would appreciate any thoughts you may have.


    20180421_123500 (1).jpg 20180421_120715.jpg 20180421_094217.jpg
     
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  2. amazongb

    amazongb Active Member

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    My guess would be that because it's a new tank, it's not quite stable yet.

    Check params a couple of times a week and focus on keeping things stable.

    That said, nitrates 0 is an issue as you want some detectable. What are your phosphates? by the looks of the algae, they may be high..

    You were smart to remove the nem, they need a mature, stable tank to thrive... I'd wait until the tank is a year old and stable.

    Also, what test kits are you using?
     
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  3. Muttley000

    Muttley000 Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    What led you to dose the strontium and molybdenum? Generally you don't want to dose what you can't test for. I would guess #6 could be a possibility. A water change won't hurt anything at this point, and running some fresh carbon may be a good idea too.
     
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  4. Kali

    Kali Active Member

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    I would take airline tubing and siphon out the "yuck" that's on your rocks, and do the water change(s) that way.
    I'd also change the carbon in case #6 is the culprit.
    In similar situations, just to cover all my bases I've added 100ml of cuprisorb, because this size comes prepackaged in a bag and is usually available at the LFS.

    What test kits are you using? Do you have a phosphate number? True zero Nitrates is unusual.
     
  5. Coralfuture

    Coralfuture Active Member

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    I'd say its a mix of things but the #1 & #4 are my top concern points. Why are you dosing to a new tank the Strontium & Molybdenum? I've had a successful reef for years and never dosed it. #4 is where I point my finger of blame to however. What happened to get the alk at 9 and how fast did it swing? The corals can bounce back fast enough but those softies like some dirtier water like 25ppm nitrates in my experience is where they thrive. Let the tank do a few more of these minor cycles and yeah the water change thing is fine not many experiences where water changes went badly for the tank. Just remember nothing good happens fast in this hobby. Any and all updates will help us though to give us a better understanding of what's going on.
     
  6. anit77

    anit77 Active Member

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    I would say 1 & 4 too, but also 6. On 1, I use the same Kent product one cap full treats 50 gallons but if you weren't low to begin with your high now. I always dose at half the recommended rate. My system is around 320 total volume and I dose 3 caps once a month or so. I also confirm where I am with Triton tests.

    With number 4 If the alk jumped up quick it will most definitely cause problems. Your system is new enough you shouldn't be dosing anything unless through testing you see your off. Water changes will take care of most everything you need.

    All coral need some NO3 and softies like a little dirtier water, shoot for 3 to 5 to start. What test kits are you using? That leather can also release toxins and will use up a good bit of nitrate, this is wher 6 come in. It will also get very large in a years time. In a 40 it will chew up a good bit of space if its happy. Returning it too would be a good idea. A nice Duncan, frogspawn or hammer would be a good choice.

    If you take the leather back and do a good size water change, put in some fresh carbon, don't dose anything and work on getting the NO3 up a little things well settle out and slowly return to normal. And as amazongb said check your PO4, if high work to get it down slowly. Coral don't like a quick drop with that either. Siphoning the algae as part of the water change is a good idea too.

    Good luck resetting your tank.
     
  7. tablesalt

    tablesalt Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Cyano Update: Day 2


    Thank you everyone for your advice. I did a 5 gallon water change yesterday and a 5 gallon water change today using an airline hose to spot pull the cyano. After yesterday’s water change, my toadstool leather puffed back up and about ¼ of the Zoanthids popped open. I did the same thing today and we will see how things are doing in the morning.


    I am using a Red Sea test kit, checked 3 times, and bought some of the junky test strips just to check and came up with the same 0/0/0 Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrites. My Fuge grows Chaeto like crazy, so I think that is where the nutrients had been going. I have the lights on 24/7 but am debating changing the lighting schedule so they are just on at night. I havn’t had any nuisance algae (other than the Cyano) in the DT since the first few weeks of setup.


    As a process of troubleshooting I pulled and cleaned my sponges. I’m pretty sure that the sponges were full of pure toilet water as they were disgusting and were likely a contributing factor to my issues. I also changed the carbon.


    I ordered some “Cuprisorb” on the groups advice just in case which I’ll drop in later this week.


    All in all the fish seem happy but the corals are obviously irritated where the Cyano hits the tank. I am going to wait another day or two before performing another water change/cyano-vac, and next time I do it I am going to leave the DT lights off for 2 Days.


    I have some chemiclean but would prefer to treat the cause not the symptoms and will only treat once the problem is pretty much gone.


    As to why I treated Strontium//Molydendum, I was going off of 15 year old rule of thumb from when I worked in an aquarium store. Which was once you have 2+ leathers you dose for it weekly. The new adage is not to dose anything you can’t test for, although I am going to keep dosing iodine.


    I don’t have a phosphate test. Do I really need to be testing for this//would it cause Cyano?


    Thank you all for your advice and I will keep you posted on progress. Any and all tips are greatly appreciated.




    20180422_174104.jpg
     
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  8. saltyfilmfolks

    saltyfilmfolks Lights! Camera! Reef! R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader Photo of the Month Award R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Personally I’d go back to the kiss method. Just go with water changes.
    All the stuff you’re trying to dose is in the mix. Plus it makes to hard to trouble shoot.

    If it was a Cham warfare thing , running carbon or purigen is what you want. And yea , the coral closing. Could have been chem.
    If that’s the suspect , run it in a reactor or Higest flow spot you have , like in the return pump.

    In ten years I haven’t run chemiclean.

    I wouldn’t run the cuprisorb. Gfo works the same way and it seems like a shot in the dark.


    For cyano to bloom like that you need a large amount of either a carbon source or a dump of nutrients. Not sure where yours came from. Not the coral most likely , but If the additives did it , you’ll want carbon and water changes. Mostly the water changes.
     
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  9. anit77

    anit77 Active Member

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    I agree with the kiss method.

    Imho the cyano and the corals closing up are unrelated. I haven't seen cyano cause corals to close up. And lord knows I've have my share of cyano.

    Google "leather coral toxins"
    Leathers like more nutrients in the water colum too. There's nothing measurable in your system and the leather was unhappy with the move from the lfs and your tank.

    With your fuge, you should cut the light down to 6-8 hours and watch your levels and find a balance.
     
  10. Scubabeth

    Scubabeth Active Member

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    @tablesalt, the deaths/slow movement of your crabs and snails, no detectable nutrients in the tank (nitrate is 0, as probably is phosphate, though you did not mention this), and the stringy brown look to the algae in your tank points more to dinoflagellates than cyano. It also loves to cling to corals. I would check out this thread: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/dinoflagellates-–-are-you-tired-of-battling-altogether.293318/

    We also had these issues and thought it was cyano. It would be helpful to purchase a cheap microscope, or perform one of the tests in the link above to see for sure if you have dinos, probably Ostreopsis species, based on the looks of the snotty, stringy algae. Once you know what it is, it will be easier to start treating.

    Best of luck!
     
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  11. 40B Knasty

    40B Knasty Valuable Member

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    1) test to see if it is cyanobacteria or a spirulina bacteria. Take a cup. Put in about 4oz of tank water. 1oz of 3% of Hydrogen Peroxide. Pull the bacteria out and place in cup. Let it sit for 24hrs. If the water turns reddish tint and the bacteria turns green. You have a spirulina bacteria. If it stays the same. You have cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is not a nuisance algae. It is a bacteria.
    2) Keep up with the water changes ever 2-3 days.
    3) Invest in BRS ROX.08. It is the best carbon on the market hands down. This will help with cleaning the water in about a day or 2. Where others take a lot longer. This will help with chemical warfare.
    4) Is a few questions.
    1 - What kind of salt are you using?
    2 - If you are not mixing your own salt. Where are you getting it from and what salt do they use?
    5) Corals do close up from cyanobacteria. I am currently having that issue.
    6) Dirtier water is not a healthy tank. You can have 0ppm of nitrates which is best, but you must feed. A high ppm of nitrates to me is 5ppm. 10ppm is danger zone for your fish. Remember it is still a toxic form of nitrogen. Just a less toxic form. With your tank being young. Your anaerobic bacteria is not established yet. So you have nothing but your filtration to save your tank from ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. All toxic forms of nitrogen.
    7) Your Struntium might be above 15ppm to begin with pending on the salt. Randy Holmes Farley tested his and it was above 15ppm because of the use of Instant Ocean salt that has elevated levels already in it.
    Read this article. This will help you with any questions of levels, dosing, does, and don'ts. Which should get you back to stable conditions. Best of luck.

    http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/index.php
     
  12. RtomKinMad

    RtomKinMad Active Member Partner Member 2019

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    Yes check phosphorus. Any time my phosphorus was high I would get a large bloom of Cyanobacteria. Cyno went away on its own with good water quality, daily changes for a few days and new carbon. Sorry to hear about your trouble. When invertebrates die in the tank can also release toxins/wastes extra phosphorous so the water changes will help. Fish will do ok with higher phosphorus levels and waste but coral will not. Good luck hope it all turns out ok. We been there too.
     
  13. SteadyC

    SteadyC Active Member

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    I don’t dose Mo, but mine is 20 ug/l, set point is 12 ug/l, so mine is high, again I don’t dose it. This is from my Triton test:
    Your Molybdenum levels are slightly elevated. This can lead to severe bacterial growth (Cyano, etc.).

    I’d be careful and not dose Mo any further. I’d say this is part of your problem, if yours was high already like mine (from salts, trace elements), and then dosed more. Triton says, to do,water changes to reduce Mo especially if you are having a bacterial bloom.

    I have 3 leathers, I don’t dose either Mo or Sr.
     
  14. vector824

    vector824 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Man I'm kind of having the same problem! I left for a week with my neighbors feeding (didn't overfeed), skimmer went crazy though spewing saltwater everywhere and Salinity dropped from 1.025 to 1.021-22, No3/Phos were zero, cyano was rampant, zoas/palys all closed, foxface went off the rails crazy (put him in QT to calm him down), and hair algae everywhere (even with robust CUC). I started dosing RedSea Nopox two weeks ago and that fixed my cyano and algae problem mostly, kept doing regular water changes too. All my other livestock are fine but that poor foxface got a sore on his nose from smashing into the tank walls freaking out so badly. I dipped my zoas/palys just in case they had some parasite. My LFS guy is stumped too. Guess we live and learn!

    Anyway to be constructive maybe look into dosing Nopox, seemed to help me so far.
     
  15. drblakjak55

    drblakjak55 Active Member

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    You’re recreating an infinite ocean. Anything sitting around will allow overgrowth of something else. I removed all sponges. Just filter socks for mechanical filtration and rinsed every four days. Skimmer and chaeto help the sand and rocks do the biologic filtration. I’m also a big believer in lots of flow.
    My tank is only two years up but around six months did the cyano, green hairy algae, and bryopsis dance. That’s when I started gfo.
    And most important was manual scrubbing off the gha and bryopsis followed by aggressive turkey basting the rocks. The stuff that collects in the cracks becomes the soil for growth. Every two or three days. Or just before a water change. All gone in 3 months.
    Other comments; I’ve had nitrates well into the forties without ill affect on fish or lps. My phosphates average 0.2. I dose nothing but a half shot vodka every other day. Run gfo and hang a bag of carbon over the return pump. No iodine. No strontium. No kalk. 20% water change q 2 wks with instant ocean reef salt but changing to Red Sea pro for higher Mg and kh.
    Just keep things moving.
     
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  16. kecked

    kecked Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Pretty sure from the photos you got dinos.
     
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  17. WVNed

    WVNed The fish are staring at me with hungry eyes. R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Icecap gyre 1k
    Suitable for aquarium 21 - 26.4 Gallons (80 - 200L)
    in a 40 gallon tank?
    running 10%?
    951 gal/hr max
    Turn it all the way up. Add some flow. You need more. Lots more.
     
  18. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    Those stats are incorrect.

    I have a 1k in my 50g cube and can't go past 60% or it throws water out of the tank. I have two in there but only use one at a time actually.

    One 1k can handle a 50g 24*24 tank no problem. I agree 10% is low but 100% will be way too much
     
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  19. WVNed

    WVNed The fish are staring at me with hungry eyes. R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I have 2 MP-10s and a PP-15 in a 50. More flow will solve a lot of problems I see on this forum.
    The PP-15 is 3900 gal/hr and it doesn't throw water out of my tank.
    In any case a 1000 gal per hour pump at 10 % will not handle a 40 gallon tank.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  20. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    I had 2 MP10s for 6 months on my tank. I love Vortech pumps but they don't come close to moving the same amount of water as the Gyre pumps I have now. Totally different technology.
     
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