Tank has gotten a little strange suddenly

AmberOwl145

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Hi all,

Could use some help/advice or maybe I shouldn't be worried. Here is my setup
  • 33 gallon salt-water tank, had it about 9-10 months, and the fish in the tank have been in about that long (~7 months)
  • parameters normal, 1.025sg, things basically haven't changed in terms of water
  • 2 seahorses
  • 1 Banngai Cardinalfish
  • 1 Royal Gramma
  • 1 small hermit grab as part of cleanup crew

I made several recent changes to my tank ~1 month ago (listed below), and now I'm seeing some strange things going on in the tank.

Changes
  • Added two elephant ear sponges, which are in the shade under my liverock
  • Added a red finger tree sponge, which started to die, but may be coming back now that I introduced phytoplankton
  • Am putting 2x doses of phytoplankton a week as per specifications on the bottle (this is to help the sponges, which may be working it seems)
  • Added a lot of various macroalgae, hoping for decoration. I am not using Caulerpa, which I understand goes "sexual"
  • I finally added a real light, which is probably the most significant change.


So here's what's going on!
  • After some time, one of my macros started to turn white and then die. I just threw it out. I haven't trimmed the rest of the macro yet, but it seems to be ok.
  • Strange red almost slimy stuff on the back walls of the tank; it's not much, but when I scrape it off, it comes back. I seem to notice it with the lights on/off, so doesn't make a difference
  • Strange air bubbles that form all over my live rock; what makes them strange is that they almost look like eggs in the way they're shaped; the bubbles are kinda bulging up and in weird ovular shapes in some instances, and appear almost plastic and unwilling to just float up
  • The air bubbles are everywhere, and gathered on the sides of the glass, too. They seem almost alien-like and weird for sure lol
  • Occasionally air bubbles just come up from all over; the rock, even from under the sand
  • Strange leefy stuff like pieces of macroalgae on the walls
  • Lots of green algae forming on the sand that normally wasn't there
  • Changing water and cleaning everything/turning over the substrate seems to have helped, but it comes back about mid-week
Anything to worry about? Anything I can do to troubleshoot further?

Pictures:
IMG_0166.jpg

(see those air bubbles? they're so odd)


IMG_0167.jpg



IMG_0168.jpg
 

Dom

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I've seen bubbles like that when there is a Cyanobacteria outbreak.

Is the reddish-purple on the rock Coraline algae? If not, it could be Cyanobacteria.
 

JNalley

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bubble algae, its normal, just the tank cycling, recommend doing a water change, getting it out, blah
This is Bubble Algae
1712794289056.png


What the OP has is actual Bubbles created by either Algae, Dino's, or Cyano... The fact that there are airbubbles on rocks or attached to Algae does NOT make it bubble algae, it's two completely different things, and improper diagnosis can set the OP down the wrong path. Treating for Bubble Algae is simple, get CUC that eats it, treating for Dino's or Cyano is much more difficult as most things that attempt to eat it, die...
 

vetteguy53081

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Hi all,

Could use some help/advice or maybe I shouldn't be worried. Here is my setup
  • 33 gallon salt-water tank, had it about 9-10 months, and the fish in the tank have been in about that long (~7 months)
  • parameters normal, 1.025sg, things basically haven't changed in terms of water
  • 2 seahorses
  • 1 Banngai Cardinalfish
  • 1 Royal Gramma
  • 1 small hermit grab as part of cleanup crew

I made several recent changes to my tank ~1 month ago (listed below), and now I'm seeing some strange things going on in the tank.

Changes
  • Added two elephant ear sponges, which are in the shade under my liverock
  • Added a red finger tree sponge, which started to die, but may be coming back now that I introduced phytoplankton
  • Am putting 2x doses of phytoplankton a week as per specifications on the bottle (this is to help the sponges, which may be working it seems)
  • Added a lot of various macroalgae, hoping for decoration. I am not using Caulerpa, which I understand goes "sexual"
  • I finally added a real light, which is probably the most significant change.


So here's what's going on!
  • After some time, one of my macros started to turn white and then die. I just threw it out. I haven't trimmed the rest of the macro yet, but it seems to be ok.
  • Strange red almost slimy stuff on the back walls of the tank; it's not much, but when I scrape it off, it comes back. I seem to notice it with the lights on/off, so doesn't make a difference
  • Strange air bubbles that form all over my live rock; what makes them strange is that they almost look like eggs in the way they're shaped; the bubbles are kinda bulging up and in weird ovular shapes in some instances, and appear almost plastic and unwilling to just float up
  • The air bubbles are everywhere, and gathered on the sides of the glass, too. They seem almost alien-like and weird for sure lol
  • Occasionally air bubbles just come up from all over; the rock, even from under the sand
  • Strange leefy stuff like pieces of macroalgae on the walls
  • Lots of green algae forming on the sand that normally wasn't there
  • Changing water and cleaning everything/turning over the substrate seems to have helped, but it comes back about mid-week
Anything to worry about? Anything I can do to troubleshoot further?

Pictures:
IMG_0166.jpg

(see those air bubbles? they're so odd)


IMG_0167.jpg



IMG_0168.jpg
This may be a low flow issue, elevated phosphates and quite a bit of Velonia AKA Bubble algae which slowly spreads and supported by light and organics and feeds off nitrates and phosphates. They often start as a hitchhiker and then spread across rocks.
Take a small needle and have 3/8 tubing ready and attach to end of tubing with rubber band and pop each one and siphon at same time- You will have removed all spores and foreign material in area.
I Had to do this in the past with birdsnest coral and was gone 100%.
Other option is to add pitho crabs or emerald crabs (which I do not trust) which will eat them
 

JNalley

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Velonia AKA Bubble algae which slowly spreads and supported by light and organics. They often start as a hitchhiker and then spread across rocks.

Those bubbles on the rocks look too small, not green enough, and far too spread out to be a Velonia outbreak IMO... definitely looks more like bubbles commonly associated with Dino's if you ask me...
 

Dom

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Those bubbles on the rocks look too small, not green enough, and far too spread out to be a Velonia outbreak IMO... definitely looks more like bubbles commonly associated with Dino's if you ask me...

I agree... I've seen these bubbles on Cyanobacteria.
 
OP
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A

AmberOwl145

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air bubbles like that usually = algae/cyan and/or dinos.
Whats your nitrate/phos readings?

I don't have anything sophisticated - I just use that little strip with the colors that measures pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, and chlorine. I don't have a way to detect phosphate perhaps I should buy something?

The nitrate is basically nothing, which is what it's always been (the strip colors haven't changed and have been consistent every time I check both before and after I introduced new stuff.

What else should I be doing?
 
OP
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AmberOwl145

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Those bubbles on the rocks look too small, not green enough, and far too spread out to be a Velonia outbreak IMO... definitely looks more like bubbles commonly associated with Dino's if you ask me...
ok thanks, is there anything I should do to address this?
 

vetteguy53081

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Hi all,

Could use some help/advice or maybe I shouldn't be worried. Here is my setup
  • 33 gallon salt-water tank, had it about 9-10 months, and the fish in the tank have been in about that long (~7 months)
  • parameters normal, 1.025sg, things basically haven't changed in terms of water
  • 2 seahorses
  • 1 Banngai Cardinalfish
  • 1 Royal Gramma
  • 1 small hermit grab as part of cleanup crew

I made several recent changes to my tank ~1 month ago (listed below), and now I'm seeing some strange things going on in the tank.

Changes
  • Added two elephant ear sponges, which are in the shade under my liverock
  • Added a red finger tree sponge, which started to die, but may be coming back now that I introduced phytoplankton
  • Am putting 2x doses of phytoplankton a week as per specifications on the bottle (this is to help the sponges, which may be working it seems)
  • Added a lot of various macroalgae, hoping for decoration. I am not using Caulerpa, which I understand goes "sexual"
  • I finally added a real light, which is probably the most significant change.


So here's what's going on!
  • After some time, one of my macros started to turn white and then die. I just threw it out. I haven't trimmed the rest of the macro yet, but it seems to be ok.
  • Strange red almost slimy stuff on the back walls of the tank; it's not much, but when I scrape it off, it comes back. I seem to notice it with the lights on/off, so doesn't make a difference
  • Strange air bubbles that form all over my live rock; what makes them strange is that they almost look like eggs in the way they're shaped; the bubbles are kinda bulging up and in weird ovular shapes in some instances, and appear almost plastic and unwilling to just float up
  • The air bubbles are everywhere, and gathered on the sides of the glass, too. They seem almost alien-like and weird for sure lol
  • Occasionally air bubbles just come up from all over; the rock, even from under the sand
  • Strange leefy stuff like pieces of macroalgae on the walls
  • Lots of green algae forming on the sand that normally wasn't there
  • Changing water and cleaning everything/turning over the substrate seems to have helped, but it comes back about mid-week
Anything to worry about? Anything I can do to troubleshoot further?

Pictures:
IMG_0166.jpg

(see those air bubbles? they're so odd)


IMG_0167.jpg



IMG_0168.jpg
Do these bubbles dislodge when blown with a tool such as turkey baster?
 

vetteguy53081

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Those bubbles on the rocks look too small, not green enough, and far too spread out to be a Velonia outbreak IMO... definitely looks more like bubbles commonly associated with Dino's if you ask me...
Your very pic of bubble algae confused me thinking it was the OP.
 

FUNGI

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I don't have anything sophisticated - I just use that little strip with the colors that measures pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, and chlorine. I don't have a way to detect phosphate perhaps I should buy something?

The nitrate is basically nothing, which is what it's always been (the strip colors haven't changed and have been consistent every time I check both before and after I introduced new stuff.

What else should I be doing?
I would at the very least, get a LFS to test the water for you....you need a somewhat accurate base line to start.
You can also find Henna Test kits (used for sale) on forums....usually $20 bucks or so...dont need them all, just Nitrate & Phosphates to start with.... (others might disagree)
 

JNalley

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I don't have anything sophisticated - I just use that little strip with the colors that measures pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, hardness, and chlorine. I don't have a way to detect phosphate perhaps I should buy something?

The nitrate is basically nothing, which is what it's always been (the strip colors haven't changed and have been consistent every time I check both before and after I introduced new stuff.

What else should I be doing?
ok thanks, is there anything I should do to address this?
Thanks so much. What should I do in this case? Is this something that goes away on its own or should I take action?


First things first, ditch the strips, or only use them when you're running short on time. Get actual test kits from Red Sea or Salifert, I wouldn't get the API's but nearly everything else for the hobby you can get your hands on is ok.

If your nitrates have been next to nothing, it's very likely that your macro algae bottomed them out (along with phosphate I would imagine) which may indicate that it's a Dino/Cyano outbreak. The only way to know for sure is to take a sample and get it under a microscope. Once you've determined which it is, if any, you proceed down the correct path of treatment.

The only reason I say it's probably not bubble algae is because of the way bubble-algae tends to look, which is the picture I shared above, it grows with almost no space between the "bubbles" and in your images, it looks as if there are centimeters and sometimes even inches between the bubbles in most cases... Can you confirm if that's true or not?
 

FUNGI

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First things first, ditch the strips, or only use them when you're running short on time. Get actual test kits from Red Sea or Salifert, I wouldn't get the API's but nearly everything else for the hobby you can get your hands on is ok.

If your nitrates have been next to nothing, it's very likely that your macro algae bottomed them out (along with phosphate I would imagine) which may indicate that it's a Dino/Cyano outbreak. The only way to know for sure is to take a sample and get it under a microscope. Once you've determined which it is, if any, you proceed down the correct path of treatment.

The only reason I say it's probably not bubble algae is because of the way bubble-algae tends to look, which is the picture I shared above, it grows with almost no space between the "bubbles" and in your images, it looks as if there are centimeters and sometimes even inches between the bubbles in most cases... Can you confirm if that's true or not?
100% For sure not Bubble Algae.....
 

Dom

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Thanks so much. What should I do in this case? Is this something that goes away on its own or should I take action?

Can you provide a full tank shot? Seeing your tank in its entirety is helpful.

How many hours are your lights on each day? Try reducing the number of hours the light is on. For example, reducing the light intensity to about 50% for a week.
 

Lavey29

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Those bubbles on the rocks look too small, not green enough, and far too spread out to be a Velonia outbreak IMO... definitely looks more like bubbles commonly associated with Dino's if you ask me...
Well really many different algae can produce bubbles even diatoms can. My chaeto has yearling bubbles all the time.
 

Ingenuity against algae: Do you use DIY methods for controlling nuisance algae?

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