Tank has gotten a little strange suddenly

JNalley

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Well really many different algae can produce bubbles even diatoms can. My chaeto has yearling bubbles all the time.
All Algae can create bubbles, they need a way to expel the oxygen, and sometimes that causes bubbles... But, given the givens, where and how everything is located in the tank, my money is on either Dino's or Cyano bubbles...
 

Dan_P

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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
I agree the new light, is the likely culprit.

The bubbles are oxygen bubbles from the increased algae activity and growth. The red slime is cyanobacteria. We will have to guess that the lights directly or indirectly stimulated its growth.

The direct effect on cyanobacteria growth is brighter light means more photosynthesis and faster growth. The indirect effect which I prefer is that the increased cyanobacteria growth means more nutrients are available in addition to more light. The increased nutrients are being generated by increased photosynthesis by all the other micro algae and subsequent increased bacteria growth. Bacteria also release organic matter that cyanobacteria might consume. The increased light might also be stressing some micro algae which kills them or causes them to exude organic matter which the cyanobacteria can use.

If this was my system, I would vacuum out the cyanobacteria, blow off the rocks and other surfaces to remove organic matter such as dead and dying micro algae, and let it run its course for now.
 
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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...
When I blow them with a turkey baster, they just blow up and rise to the surface, although when I do it on my liverock, I notice chunks of the liverock just fall off along with it
 
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AmberOwl145

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Do these bubbles dislodge when blown with a tool such as turkey baster?
When I blow them with a turkey baster, they just blow up and rise to the surface, although when I do it on my liverock, I notice chunks of the liverock just fall off along with it.

After aggressively blowing off all the bubbles, things seem fine, and then it comes back.

After a good water change, cleaning everything, all is clear and clean for a few days and then kinda slowly comes back. I notice right as I'm 1-2 days before a water change now it's worst, and I take my heater out of my tank and it has a small coating in parts of a red slimy substance
 

vetteguy53081

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When I blow them with a turkey baster, they just blow up and rise to the surface, although when I do it on my liverock, I notice chunks of the liverock just fall off along with it.

After aggressively blowing off all the bubbles, things seem fine, and then it comes back.

After a good water change, cleaning everything, all is clear and clean for a few days and then kinda slowly comes back. I notice right as I'm 1-2 days before a water change now it's worst, and I take my heater out of my tank and it has a small coating in parts of a red slimy substance
As others state, appears it may be cyano with gas bubbles that become entrapped
 
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AmberOwl145

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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?
Yes, can confirm inches between the bubbles for sure. And as I've been doing more reading, I don't think it's bubble algae at all; definitely resembles cyano if I could guess. Coupled with the tons of blue/green kinda growth on my sand (but oddly enough only on my sand), and the redish algae build-up on my back wall near my heater, I wonder if this really is Cyano?
 
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AmberOwl145

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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.
Hmm I can take a shot, the lights just went out lol so I'll do tomorrow but I have the lights automatically "sunrise" around 8:30AM, and then "sunset" around 8:30PM, where total lights out around 10:00. Is that ok?
 

Dom

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Hmm I can take a shot, the lights just went out lol so I'll do tomorrow but I have the lights automatically "sunrise" around 8:30AM, and then "sunset" around 8:30PM, where total lights out around 10:00. Is that ok?

That is 12 hours of lighting at full intensity. I would reduce the lighting cycle to 8 hours. If it continues, keep the 8 hour cycle but reduce the intensity.
 
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AmberOwl145

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air bubbles like that usually = algae/cyan and/or dinos.
Whats your nitrate/phos readings?
Hi I asked my whole family, none of us can seem to agree on the exact color lol. What would you say it is?
2/4 said 0.25, I think somewhere between 0.50 and 1.0, and someone else thought 0.25 and 0.5

It's a tad lighter in person.

Ideally I guess I should have 0? BTW this was literally 2 hours after a water change (a bit over 5 gallon change for 30 gallon tank)
IMG_0199.jpg
 

Dom

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Hi I asked my whole family, none of us can seem to agree on the exact color lol. What would you say it is?
2/4 said 0.25, I think somewhere between 0.50 and 1.0, and someone else thought 0.25 and 0.5

It's a tad lighter in person.

Ideally I guess I should have 0? BTW this was literally 2 hours after a water change (a bit over 5 gallon change for 30 gallon tank.

Color charts can be difficult to match with results. There are many variables; the kind of lighting under which it is observed is an example. Also, people don't see color the same way. I once looked at gray wall panels in an office which another person saw as brown.

Whatever color that is, it certainly seems too high to me.

Water changes need to be faithful, weekly, and 20% of the tank's total capacity.

5 gallons is a tad lite of 20%, but if you are faithful and doing 5 gallons weekly, that should be adequate.
 

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