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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok my father has a problem and we can not figure out the cause. He is having severe, I guess I would classify it as green algae, where it is covering rocks in a thick layer that you can peel off, similar to cyno. Now he says it is green, not the typical blue/red/green color of cyno. He checked water parameters and said Nitrites and Nitrates are zero (A bit hard to believe the Nitrates are zero, but I can't check it myself), ammonia the lowest range measurable, and Phosphates are also allegidly zero (this I think is an older test kit, not ancient, but he just bought the other test kits, and this one was already owned). pH and Alk were all normal.

He has a 90 gal fish only w/ LR. He was running just one CPR Backpak, but I gave him a second one that I was no longer using, each of these are actively skimming. He has been doing water changes weekly of about 10-20%.

While he says this is simply a "green" algae, my guess is that it is cyno. I remember back when I had cyno, it was caused by phosphates in the RO water (he uses RO water from an undersink system). This is why the water changes would not be helping him any. Again, none of his test kits are showing Nitrate or Phosphate, so I'm not sure what course of action to take, other than buying a new phosphate test kit and testing again. Any ideas what else he could do? Thanks.
 

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Probably won't find phosphates since the alge is sucking it up so fast.

How old are the filters in the RO unit? Is it being run at the correct pressure when making water?
How old is the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tank has been going for a while (1yr). The RO filters are probably 2-3yrs old. If your theory is correct, he should check the RO for phosphates then and it should show something.
 

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/nod

And change those filters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I have had the filters on my RO unit for quite a while longer (4 years). I also had him check his TDS levels, and the membrane is rejecting 99%. So I question if changing the filters would help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I should say one more thing, he also has a 75 gal reef that has no problems at all with algae or cyno. Same water source.
 

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Adding anything new, iodine maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I remember him saying something about that, I need to check with him again. Thing is, there really isnt much of a reason he should be. Will iodine cause cyno/algae blooms?
 

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Hold on there.

There's detectable ammonia?
There normally shouldn't be any, if you're using a hobbyist-grade kit. the fact that you're pinging even a trace on a hobby testkit suggests you have an internal case of the rots.


The green biofilm is almost certainly dominated by cyanobacteria, and it may be sourcing its nutrient needs from just below itself. How new is the substrate? If the rock is going through a cycle, then there's your fuel source.

Even with cycled rock, stress episodes can kill off cryptics in the rock, which then fuel biofilm growth. The biofilms choke off even more rock, killing more residents, and the film grows even more...

Dead cryptics aside, excess food scrap can migrate to where the sun don't shine and rot there. Same issue.

So...
You want to limit nutrient import: ease way off on feedings, so-called supplements and replenishments of trace elements, etc..

And...
You want to tease off as much of that film and siphon it out. You can filter the effluent through a plastic funnel lined with floss and laced with kalk powder (the high pH tends to nuke anything living in the fluid). The filtrate can be bottled and stored for gradual reunion with the display volume (used gradually, it will boost calcium, used too quickly, it willl spike your tank pH unforgivably)


One last thing to look at is your bioload. If you have too many animals for your size of tank and of waste management systems, then you will always have a nutrient surplus.



hth

horge




PS: Iodine shouldn't lead directly to biofilm blooms, as it is a prophylactic. However, the fact that it can kill a lot of microorganisms means it can upset your microfauna, possibly afecting the way your 'bio-filter' performs. If you upset your bio-filter, then in the time it takes to recover, all manner of nitrogenous waste goes underprocessed, and all manner of opportunists like biofilms cash in on the waste bonanza.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Again since I am personally not doing the test, I can't say for sure what the ammonia came in at, he just went with what the instructions told him. Substrate/rock is 1 year old. Long story longer. He started this with wanting to put some softies into the tank with the "non-reef safe fish". All started out well, but I think about 6 months ago, he notice the zoos, mushrooms, and xenia slowly wasting away. He thought it was due to the lighting (2-55W PCs on the 90gal). In May, we upgraded his lights to 4-110W VHOs, which in the end did not help the coral situation. Through this time, he has always had problems with your typical brown algae on the glass and stuff. Nothing as mat-like as cyno, but obvious none the less. Due to the fact that one of the fish is a small huma trigger, no cleanup crew could be added. To try and fix this problem, he did water changes of 10-20% every 1-2 weeks with no results. Again, the skimmer he had on there was a CPR-Backpak, which I thought might be a bit too little, so I gave him a second Backpak just recently. Around the time of the second skimmer addition, the cyno started (I know no idea how this would correlate). I ordered him up a multi-purpose test kit from Premium Aquatics and had him check for Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia. I listed those results above. The bioload consists of one of the large angels, a coral beauty, a small huma trigger, and a maroon clown. He has cut WAY back on the feedings, as you suggested. He said he was going to be more aggressive on the water changes.

I guess here is my question. Is there any reason for him to have the sand bed? I'm wondering if this is somehow screwing with his water chemistry. Again his reef is having no problems at all, so I'm not sure if the corals are just sucking up nutrients coming in with the makeup water or if it is just the husbandry of the fish only. I'll try to get more details on things today.
 
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