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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am very new to this. We are having a problem with diatoms and now red bubble algea on the substrate.
Here are some of my parameters:
Water used is tap....no RO/DI
SG 1.025
Amm 0
Nitrite0
'trate0
Alk 3.2
Calcium 430
Temp 76-79*
We have every bottle of Kent product available. What do we need to do/not do to rid diatoms and red bubble algae?
No fish currently in tank(in QT...ich)
Also, white flatworms are multiplying too rapidly...
Any advice greatly appreciated.
 

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Get ro/di filter us that for water increase water movement where the cyano red algae is.Diatoms are just part of new tank syndrome we all go through it what else can you tell me about your tank? How long set up? etc
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the quick reply.

OK, here goes:
72 g bowfront set up in May 14.
100+lbs LR
100lbs.LS
UVsterilizer
protein skimmer
sump
2 power heads alternate current
hmmmm...what else????
2 anenomes...one currently rolling around tank since I changed water flow last night to help with red algea
asst.crabs,snails,cleaner and peppermint shrimp(6, one is pregnant...I guess I'll have to post another thread on how to deal with that)
Fish in QT's...20g Yellow Tang, Coral Beauty,green chromis and blue damsel
10g... 2 clowns, royal gramma and a green chromis ( I know this isnt the best setup for these fish but 2 got ich so they all had to come out and the 2 tanks were the best I could do in the emergency)
Since the fish came out 10 days ago, the pods,flatworms and algea are running rampant. The tank is looking like cr_p!!!
I'll attach a pic.
What all do I need to do now????
 

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you can cut down on your light photo period to help with the algae temporarily since you have anenomes,seriously think about an ro filter the pods are fine,do a search on here about flatworms you should find lots of info,I know some people on here have dealt with them before.What are you feeding the tank?
 

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your numbers look pretty good. do you have bio-balls running around somewhere? what kind of gunk are you getting out of your skimmer? it should be brown and nasty.

7 fish in a 72 is a little much, but not sure that is the problem, but a concern.

if the flatworms are white, then they are usually not a bad thing. it is the red little buggers that everyone fears.

what is your total flow in the aquarium? including the PH and the return pump.

G~
 

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Ok.....slow down and take a deep breath. You have every bottle of Kent available. Why not just stick with a two part solution IMO that is all you will need. I have a 72 and use only ESV b-ionic two part solution. You mentioned 7 fish....this tank has only been set up 6 weeks? Why so many fish so soon? Two anemones? Corals? . Only bad things happen fast in this hobby....nothing good. Try to siphon up as much of that red algae as you can...it should come off fairly easily w/a toothbrush. . I don't know what to tell you to do since you have all those fish in Q-tank. I wouldn't add them for quite some time till the tank establishes itself. If you add too many too fast you will have nothing but frustration. Do you have any books you can read? If not, you are welcome to borrow some of mine. I have lots. Are you using RO....if not you really need to. What type of snails do you have?
 

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I thought UV was supposed to eliminate the threat of ich? I little off topic but isn't that its purpose, to kill parasites?

Algae blooms are natural in young systems. Sounds like your tank wasn't ready to handle the bioload (too much too soon). I think you have too many fish, especially for such a young tank. Between the feeding and pooping of that many fish in a young system of that size, I think you will be fighting algea blooms and stress related disease (ich) for quite a while. I would consider reducing your fish population for at least a few months.

What type of skimmer are you using? I dont mean to keep harping on your bio-load but being what it is I would think you would need somrthing rated for 150-200 gallons.

Refugiums are another good way to control nutrients and may be something you want to research.

What type of lighting do you have? How many watts? Photoperiod?

Make sure you have enough flow in the tank and no dead-spots. Cyno loves dead-spots.

Also test your source water for nitrates, phosphates and such. If the quality of your tap water isn't up to par you may want to look into a RO/DI filter.

$0.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...a little more info. and history....

We set up the tank and used Turbo start. Our LFS said that all the LR and LS and turbo start would cycle the tank in a day. LR was aquacultured and already had macros and other visibly living"things". We started with a damsel. In a few days, as parameters were fine we added 2 clowns. Waited a week, added another fish. NEVER had any stress on the bio load while the fish were in there. Keep in mind the fish are small, all less than 3". We have, as best as I can tell you, these dry goods:260 watts of lighting,2 are white and 2 are blue(Idont remember the tech. names)on a 12 hour timer...blues come on an hour early and stay on an hour later. Water flows out at the two alternating heads at 800+gph. Protein skimmer(Red Sea Berlin) is cleaned daily....nasty job IMO. UV Sterilizer runs at about 70 gph(I think) and may get lowered to keep parasites exposed a tad longer. My refugium will be ready to attach to system on Sat. My LFS store was suprised I was having Ich prob's.,not because of stress or lack of QT, but because we have a UV. They are pos. this would keep Ich in check. In fact, can I, should I, mention that my LFS is a sponser to this site?? I have bio balls down in the sump as well. I have them there mainly as surface area to catch air bubble before they shoot through the pump.

Trying to remember Q's from above???
Snails: 3 turbos(added yesterday), 10 ?(I havent finished my first cup o' coffee...oh yeah,Astria) and 4 margaritas(OK, I can remember those :))

Books: The Concientious Marine Aquarium by Fenner
The New Marine Aquarium by Paletta

We read and raed and read and then we go to the bookstore and read somemore. We read threads here and at SWF.com. There are soooo many extremely experienced people out there offering advice which is GREAT! But what is a newbie to do when advice from one contradicts the advice from another??? Its almost like you have to stick with only one "expert" and only use their suggestions instead of a piece from here, something from there....

We admit wholly that we are learning as we go and have made some mistakes. Our only fatality was a clown with Brook that I over medicated.

We only seemed to have an obvious imbalance when the fish were removed two weeks ago. White flatworms are on the glass, red slime algea started showing up(although the turbos plowed through lots of it last night). I think, perhaps, that some of this will return to "normal" in a few more weeks when fish are added back...slowly.

Im not sure about the water in GA, whether or not we need an RO/DI???Anyone south of Atlanta had their H2O tested???

As far as our "rush" adding life to our tank, we put our trust in our LFS and the guy who set up our system. We have been extremely pleased so far.

What we have found, though, is fixing one prob. often causes another i.e. changed water flow direction to help with algea and now anenome is not happy.....

We are grateful for this site and those of you who are taking us under their wing to help. We will, no doubt, have a ton more questions and maybe 1 or 2 more probs. along the way.
Sally, I'll look into your 2 step system...thanks.
Sorry to be so long winded....this site is much more enjoyable than my 3 little urchins that are chasing each other around at a deafening level :mad:

Nicole
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh, and feeding the tank...

We use Kents: ChromaPlex , Iodine, Tech-M,Liquid Reactor and Strontium&Molybdenum.
Thanks,
Nicole
 

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Too many fish to soon. New tank syndrome. I think 7 fish are ok for a 72 bow front provided you have a considerable volume of water passing through the sump. My thought's are that with such a heavy bioload so soon, you are perpetuating the red slime. I would siphon out as much of the slime as possible and for crying out loud please use RO/DI water. That's probably your biggest problem!
 

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mapster said:
I thought UV was supposed to eliminate the threat of ich? I little off topic but isn't that its purpose, to kill parasites?
Well, yes and no. UV will kill or sterilize Ich if the Ich runs through the unit and the dosage is high enough. In practice, there are two problems with that. One is the tomites (the swimming stage) start out life near at bottom of the tank, typically at night when the fish are also at the bottom. So they have an opportunity to infect the fish without exposure to the UV.

The second problem is Ich is a very large protozoan. The required dosage is proportional to size. Typical UV setups are designed to kill bacteria and algae spores, which are much smaller. To sterilize Ich in one pass you need a dosage of about 100,000 micro-Watts/square cm. To kill it outright you need about 4X that value. Typical UV sterilizers are rated at 15,000 or 30,000 uW/cm2. That means the Ich has to pass through the unit 3+ times without first encountering a fish.

There are other virtues to UV (notably keeping the bacteria count down and slowing the spread of algae) but it's only marginally effective for Ich. FWIW, I don't use UV in my setup.
 

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wwow...


...a lot to ask...


Stop all the additives except some type of balanced Ca and alk additive (I would suggeset Kalkwasser instead of the 2 part additives, but that is another story). When you use tap water (source of phosphate and in Atlanta, nitrate to some extent, and some organosilicates as well) in combination with trace substance additives, algal growth is abplified tremendously. Those growths that are not removed nightly release their own nitrate and phosphate into the water column to fuel the next day's growth of these same algae.

GET A RO/DI FILTER. More later, got to go to Lowe's for some more PVC. Lots of good advice so far, but there are a multitude of problems with your system at this point, many sources of nitrates for the algal blooms, problems with tank and sand bed immaturity, and although the bacterial starters are a good idea for systems to be able to introduce fish so that the ammonia doesnt kill them, these additives do nothing to inprove the biodiversity needed to push the resulting njitrates down the food chain in a controlled and non-nuisance manner. Much of what you need requires time and patience: I will post more later tonight or tomorrow, I am sure others will harp in in the meantime.

Good luck, think food chains.
 

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after 6 weeks of cycling in my tank i still had the brown algae going like mad. this eventually went away. i think this will also with you once your system matures just a little more. to have a cyano problem that big this soon is a little strange to me. i am wondering if the jump start bacteria starter may have messed up the ballance of the different bacterias a little.

i really think you just need to be in a patient holding pattern for a couple of more weeks. keep up the water changes. i would also suggest an RO/DI filter if you can. you can also purchase filtered water from some LFS's.

it really tough when you are starting out to weed through all of the different advice. it takes a while to get a feel for what may work for you. this hobby is full of inconsistancies. if you keep asking Q and reading, you will get a better feel for what will work for you.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tom, Geoff, Stuart....anyone else I missed....,
Thankyou all so much. YES, will get an RO/DI. Refugium comes tomorrow and I'll get that set up. Next will be the RO. All in all, I think we've done a pretty good job so far considering some of the disasters I've read about. We just want to PREVENT anything else from going terribly wrong. Hopefully, the algea will take care of itself...if not with time than with RO H2O. My next thread will be how to catch my peppermint shrimp to go int o Ref????
Nicole
 

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cyanobacteria

9fishers said:
...Since the fish came out 10 days ago, the pods,flatworms and algea are running rampant. The tank is looking like cr_p!!! ...What all do I need to do now????
As I realize there are some issues that will resolve on their own with time, I will address the cyanobacterial blooms, as this is the area that most often frustrates new folks in the hobby the most.

As far as the Cyanobacter goes, there is almost always more than one factor that is encouraging the bloom. Aquaria that have problems with cyanobacter species usually have a combination of not only chemical/nutrient problems, but also physical and biological problems varying from lack of competition for nutrients to too long a photoperiod. This is especially true when using the rapid start bacterial cultures, especially those that supply some type of food to "kick start" the bacterial cultures. Usually all the factors that influence cyanobacter spp. growth are present to some extent in closed systems, but some increase in one factor may be the key to producing the bloom.

The chemical factors for cyanobacter can have many sources, but usually center around the availability of nitrates or a nitrogen source (usually nitrate and/or DOM in stable systems, but may include ammonia as well) and phosphates. There are many sources of phosphate that are readily available from inputs to the tank: feeding (especially flake and/or heavy protein prepared foods), carbon from coconut shells or those carbons treated with phosphoric acid, untreated top off water (many areas have high phosphates and nitrates in the mains water), and occasionally the salts for synthetic seawater mixes, although that practice has pretty much fallen by the wayside now. You mentioned that you are using tap water. Many municipalities use phosphate additives to reduce the possibility of lead in drinking water. Older systems use polyphosphate resins to soften the water in areas where the raw water has large amounts of calcium present. Although I don't think hard water is the issue in Atlanta, phosphates, nitrates and silicates are all big problems there.

It would be very important that you use some type of water purifier to remove these sources of phosphate and the other nutrients. Please note that although many of the RO units have a rejection factor of 99%, that often does not mean that it is removing 99% of the phosphate! Phosphate is a small enough molecule that the RO membrane cannot efficiently remove much of the substance. In many cases, you will find that the companies (check Spectrapure's web site for an example) cannot guarantee that they will be able to reduce the phosphate level at all unless the water is further processed by a deionization resin column (i.e., RO/DI water), and even then, the level may be reduced by only 50 to 70% based on the input-water concentration of this ion.

I would try to limit the input of phosphates and nitrates, but don't be so concerned with this that you feel the need to stop feeding your fish, rather, find a way to export the phosphate. I don't think that it is necessary to completely remove the fish from your main system unless you plan to use copper on them. The sudden increase of the metabolic wastes, along with scraps of uneaten food are driving a good bit of the phosphate and nitrate in your system. You may not see any of this in the water column, especially if you test in the evening, as the algal biomass takes up most of these substances in the water column each day. There are many ways to remove or reduce the levels of these nutrients, my personal preference is to use a refugium and grow macroalgae (this removes nitrates and ammonia as well). This removes the excess nutrients as you harvest (and discard) the calerpa/halamida/whatever you grow to take up the phosphate. Algal turf scrubbers do the same, although I am not a big fan of these systems.

The use of a good skimmer is another way of removing these compounds, especially in conjunction with kalkwasser additions. It will also reduce the levels of Dissolved Organic Materials (DOM), preventing increases in nitrate down the road, but skimmers will remove any phytoplankton and other particulate materials that are food sources for many of the tanks inhabitants as a disadvantage. On this you need to make a decision on whether you want to develop competition for the resources or eliminate some of the overall problem by skimming. I personally have pushed my skimming to running only if the cyano gets out of hand, and I have not been skimming for quite some time now with little or no cyano in the display tank (DSB, 6 years old, 6" no plenum). I do not recommend this for young tanks (less than 15 months old) in which I would suggest only strong and vigerous skimming for the set of circumstances listed here.

If you are testing for nutrients and show little or none in the water column, keep in mind that if you have an established cyano growth, as soon as nutrients are added to the system, the cyano will be taking them up and locking them in the cyano-biomass, where they will be undetectable to water testing kits. For this reason, a great means of removing these nutrients would be to siphon up the cyano and discard it as part of your water changes. This not only removes the Cyanobacterial mat itself, but exports the nutrients that the organism has locked up as well along with a partial water change.

As far as the aluminum oxide compounds go (phosphate sponges), I don't like them, although I have used them in the past. They have their own impact on the water column. Sarcophyton spp. will usually let you know that they don't like them by either shriveling up and shedding a coat of mucous or dying, not what I would consider a good exchange for getting rid of the cyanobacteria.

There are physical parameters that affect the growth of Cyanobacter as well, long photoperiods and (s)low water circulation. Good water circulation inhibits the growth of cyanobacteria mats. These organisms are neither plant nor animal, but have characteristics of both. They contain a red chlorophyll-like substance that allows them to photosynthesize carbohydrates in the presence of CO2 and light, but they also have the ability to capture substances for growth through a diffusion process (active transport for this organism is fairly slow, but does play a role in its growth). Slow water movement increases the likelihood that the organism will be able to capture foods, as well as the likelihood that the concentration of nutrients will be higher in still water (diffusion, remember?). With this in mind, cyano should be easily outcompeted for limited resources in a well-diversified system.

Long photoperiods of intense light will encourage blooms as well, especially with bulbs that have red-shifted at the end of their useful life. Some systems may be able to stave off blooms either through superior food chain competition for nutrients or through consumption of the growths by higher organisms in spite of poor water conditions, only to develop Cyanobacterial mats when the bulbs reach a certain age. Reducing the photoperiod and replacing old bulbs can often reduce or eliminate cyano mat blooms.

Biological competition in a well established DSB system will control most of the cyano problems listed above, as well as the removal of cyanobacteria itself, as there are many organisms that live in a diverse sandbed infauna system that consume cyanobacter spp. as part of their diet. Many arthors have written articles about this subject, should be able to do a few google serches to find the articles. Peter Wilkens spoke on the subject at MACNA in 2000 and suggested that one way of solving cyano problems in tanks that continue to have problems when other issues have been resolved is to find someone who's tanks do NOT have cyano problems, and get some of their sand to introduce cyano-consumers to problematic systems.

As far as ornamental fish consumers of cyanobacter spp., there is the striped Bristle-toothed tang (Ctenochaetus striatus, see pp 734-35 in Baensch Marine Atlas). Under the feeding aspects, Baensch lists "...C. striatus sucks the thin covering of diatoms AND poisonous blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) from the bottom, making it one of the few herbivorous spp. that can be poisonous (ciguatera)..." . The Queen and Fighting Conchs (Strombus gigas and related spp.) will specifically dine on cyanobacterial mats as well. One spp. of the red hermits (the Mexican Chibanarius digueti will graze on cyano as well, although identifying them can be a chore at times (they have little expaded blue chromatophores on their legs and claws)

Keep in mind that problems with cyanobacter blooms are usually multifaceted, and having the cyano consumed by a top-of-the-chain organism generally does not remove the root causes of the bloom from the microcosm. You need to consider putting in place some method of export of the nutrients and a limit to the import of them to deal with the problem more thoroughly. Water changes, removal of the bacterial mats at the end of the photoperiod, and controlling water quality/husbandry issues will resolve most blooms. I absolutely discourage the use of antibiotic cures in closed marine systems. Too late to go into that tonight!

Your system will pass this set of obstacles with time, think of each specie of alga that blooms as a different type of grass in a meadow full of creatures that graze on grass. You need this primiary production to be able to feed many of the other creatures up your food chain in order to manage your sand bed.

Lots to read up on, this should give you a start. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OMG!!!! Tom,
You wrote all that for me????? Wow...it went down great with my first cup of coffee this a.m. while family of urchins slept.
OK....here's what I got from it in a snail shell.....
I will deff. get RO/DI. That should help with incoming phosphates.
My refugium will arrive today....that will help with "outgoing" phosphates. I will continue to run skimmer 24/7.
Siphon substrate or where algea is at H2O change. One question on that though....
Doesn't siphoning the sand bed suck out a ton of good bios??? Pods and worms would have to sacrificed....I think.
I have one fighting conch but he's only 1 1/2" or so....doesn't make too much headway.
You mentioned Kalkwasser.....I have some of that but have only used it in high concentration to inject aptasia. I was told it was a good (but messy) way to keep up calcium levels. So,instead, to keep up calcium,(mines is at 430), I've been using Kent Liquid Reactor. Would that have the same affect on the phosphates that the Kalkwasser does???
Still another 2 weeks before I consider putting fish back in. I have a tiny bit of time to try to get system a little better balanced. Tom, if its OK with you, I'd like to send you some close up pics of my system. Could you,then, tell me the good and bad growth that you see?
Your input and time has been very much appreciated.
Highest regards,
Nicole
 

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WOW Tom, I was just reading your post on Cyno and I must say its one of the most complete posts that I have seen. I have an ongoing cyno problem that I have been fighting for a long time. I have 2 tanks (a 90g corner unit for Hard corals and a 50g rectangular for Soft corals both on a central sump (90g 1/3 full) plumbed throughout the house. The 50 has a wet/dry pre sump with black diamond carbon and I know- boo hiss- some Phos Guard.. all goes to the big sump ) (yeah it was a bear to install considering the sump is on the lowest level of a split level house ie 3 floorswith the 50 on the top floor) the whole setup is 24 months old. I have read much about cyno problems and most of what you mentioned is known to me. I unfortunately have an issue with overfeeding and I need to break my hands and the habit. I also have a water flow issue in the 90 and there are some dead spots in back. However, I have many of the "normal curatives" in place IE: great downdraft skimmer, macro aglae in slow flow refugium, new good lights MH's & PC's w/max photo period of 11 hrs intense light and a 1.5 hrs sunrise/sunset on each end of that. I use RO/DI only and Reefcrystal salt (could be better but not terrible IMHO) I also have a very good dual stage CA reactor with Koralinth and Sea Flor in the 1st and 2nd chambers respectively and keep the following parms:

Temp 81
PH 8.2
ALK 3.4
CA 400-430
PHOS .07
NITRA 0
NITRI 0
Specific Gravity 1.025
EFF rate about 85 ml/min
Co2 Bubbles about 60-70/min
EFF PH 6.9 on 2nd chamber
EFF PH 6.6 on 1st chamber

ok.. bio load:

50:
2 clowns (they mate every 2 weeks) and a bubble anemone
a serpent star
a lawnmower blenny
2 colonies of zooanthids
various mushroom- hairy. striped, brown etc
3 soft corals medium size-leather family
assorted crabs/snails

90:
a rusty angel
a solar wrasse
a kole tang
a manderan goby
2 anthias
2 brittle stars
a sand sifter star
a cleaner shrimp
3 maximas clams, 1 large 2 small
assorted red & blue etc hermit crabs/snails turbos, bumble bees and astrias
about 8-9 varieties of hard corals (I wont list them for the sake of getting to the point)

All animals are in very good health and are growing very fast.

a few anomalies, every nite a hoard of tiny snails come out in the tanks from their hiding places and migrate all over the tank.. they seem harmless but you never see them in the daytime... when they are out, they are all over everything.. again SEEM harmless. I think they may be baby astrias but not sure. They are rounded spiral shaped shells.

OK FINALLY to the point (sorry) I think my cyano problems stems from a lack of a good sandbeds and all the factors that it can help with nutrient export. The sandbed is a DSB of Caribsea argonite about 4-5 inches with a plenum in each tank. The reason I say that its not a good sandbed is because I have a MAJOR issue with argonite clumping... I mean serious.. over a couple of months the entire front of the 90 about 4" wide and 3 " deep (which is where the water flows the most coming back into the tank from the sump) will turn into solid chucks of argonite.. I have to literally go in the and break it up or I end up with a giant "bioblock" not funny :confused: .. so I think the sandbed is not exporting the nutrients and the bacteria bed is not able to form to perform that function well enough thoughout the tank.. mind you its not the entire tank that does this clumping.. just in high flow areas where the water is bouncing off the front of the tank..

I have been told its an ION imbalance and to do massive water changes.. then swapped out the RO/DI stages just to make sure that the DI stage is working... same thing happens again. .. hmm
:(

I am now about to bring a 180g tank in and have a massive reorg.. the 50 will go and the 90 will replace it & the 180 will replace the 90. I am also doing away with the plenums and have not decided on the depth of the sandbed..nor the type. I'd get the most milage from using what I have since its at least "partly" established.. I say that since when it turns into blocks its kinda lifeless I think. I was thinking of using Southdown sand since its so natural looking and fine.. maybe 3-4 inches.. again no plenum.

Do you think going to that substrate will help with my Bio Block issue? Do you have any ideas in why the problems exists and how I can avoid it? Will it happen with the southdown? I think it would help my cyno issue a lot if I could dispense with the clumping and let the layer of bacteria form correctly throughout the tank vs part of it.

sorry for the looooong reply

all comments are more than welcome from anyone!

thnx

jp
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Woooo Hooooo! Got my refugium up and going today. Looks great! Now to catch my prego peppermint shrimp to go in it!!!
Next on my list...an RO/DI. Hoping to find a small, reasonably priced used one.
Thanks again,Tom!

Nicole
 

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Doesn't siphoning the sand bed suck out a ton of good bios??? Pods and worms would have to sacrificed....I think.
For this reason, a great means of removing these nutrients would be to siphon up the cyano and discard it as part of your water changes. This not only removes the Cyanobacterial mat itself, but exports the nutrients that the organism has locked up as well along with a partial water change.
I think Tom was saying to just remove the mat not vaccum the substrate. That's how I read it anyway. just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hmmmm.......

But my algea is not in a mat per se. Its a film over my sandbed....on each grain. So just vacuum the very, very top layer of sand??? I'll try that.
Thanks.
 
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