What is this???

Alyssac1985

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This is our first experience with a saltwater tank(my 6yr old wanted a Nemo‍♀️). The tank has been up and running since April, all of our levels(pH, ammonia, nitrates/nitrites) are all within recommended limits. We currently have one clownfish in there, a couple of snails, and a few hermit crabs. This lovely(yucky) display seems to have just exploded itself into existence while we were away over the weekend. What is it?? Is it normal? Should I clean it?? What should I do???

DBC15758-7BC6-4318-B8B1-FAEC8851EE21.jpeg
 
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Sharkbait19

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All a part of early tanks. It is ugly but will go away after a while, then come and go in blooms based on nutrient availability.
As others have said, expanding the cleanup crew with more snails of varying species (turbo for glass, astrea for rock, nassarius for sand), as well as hermit and emerald crabs for extra cleanup (especially when hair algae comes) will help to keep algae at a minimum.
Also, since there are no corals currently, a blackout can help to starve the algae though it isn’t necessary.
 
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Sharkbait19

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Does this phase last long? Will it harm the fish?
Duration all depends on the tank, it’s params; stocking, maintenance schedule, etc.
The diatoms shouldn’t last more than a few days-weeks before they are replaced by hair algae. Then a few months later coralline comes along (which is a sign of a healthy system).
These algaes are not harmful, many are ugly though.
The only common, horrible ones are cyano and dinos, which can overrun a tank and harm corals.
 

ScottB

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Likely diatoms; possibly dinos. In either case in a system this new just keep doing your basic husbandry and water changes. It will get replaced by something else.

Once the tank gets old enough (>1yr) you can add a diamond goby to help keep the sand white.

You ARE using RO/DI water, correct?
 
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Alyssac1985

Alyssac1985

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Likely diatoms; possibly dinos. In either case in a system this new just keep doing your basic husbandry and water changes. It will get replaced by something else.

Once the tank gets old enough (>1yr) you can add a diamond goby to help keep the sand white.

You ARE using RO/DI water, correct?
Yes
 

Sharkbait19

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Likely diatoms; possibly dinos. In either case in a system this new just keep doing your basic husbandry and water changes. It will get replaced by something else.

Once the tank gets old enough (>1yr) you can add a diamond goby to help keep the sand white.

You ARE using RO/DI water, correct?
Diamond do get big, so that is tank size dependent.
Yellow watchman + pistol shrimp would do a similar job in less than 30 gallons. If o had to guess I’d say this is a top fin 36 bow front, which is technically enough for a diamond, though I would be more comfortable with that in a 50 or larger.
 

Cell

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YWG goby do not sift sand like a DWG. They are not an apt substitute in my opinion. Pistol shrimp will be hit or miss depending on how often they switch dens.

For now, just manual clean, blow off rocks, scrape glass, vacuum sandbed during weekly water change, consider cutting white light a bit and/or feedings.
 
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Alyssac1985

Alyssac1985

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Diamond do get big, so that is tank size dependent.
Yellow watchman + pistol shrimp would do a similar job in less than 30 gallons. If o had to guess I’d say this is a top fin 36 bow front, which is technically enough for a diamond, though I would be more comfortable with that in a 50 or larger.
Yes, that's the size, that's why I want to make sure we don't overcrowd or put something in that wouldn't have adequate room. Eventually we plan to upgrade in size, this was just to get him started in the hobby!
 

Sharkbait19

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Yes, that's the size, that's why I want to make sure we don't overcrowd or put something in that wouldn't have adequate room. Eventually we plan to upgrade in size, this was just to get him started in the hobby!
Lots of good fish for that tank size. Even if it doesn’t sift sand as well, the watchman goby and shrimp dup is fun to watch. Basslets, firefish, gobies, and blennies all make fun beginner salt fish.
 
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