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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently upgraded my 26 bow front with a 65 watt UV light. I've got about 15 pounds of live rock in there, a bio wheel pump, and a small powerhead. In one week, my tank has exploded with dirty brown algae. At first I suspected the UV light and figured this was normal until the tank settles, but I also have 7 small/medium fish in there. Nitrates and ammonia levels aren't bad - around 25, but I'm concerned about my mushrooms, button polyps, and tulip anenomes. I was also thinking of adding some frogspawns and hammers this weekend, but am wondering if having a 26 reef without a protein skimmer or canister filter, and populated with 7 fish is even feasible.
 

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Welcome to TRT:wavey:

brown algae- probably diatoms, if they blow away easy then they are. THey are generally part of a new tank's cycle and generally go awasy if you are using good water.

7 fish in a 26 is going to be tough to handle... I would think about getting rif of half of them

how long is the tank set up? You should be seeing 0 ammonia and nitrite before adding fish and coral. 25 nitrates is actually on the high end for a reeftank. I would hold off on any more corals until you get things setteled out. Most people run nanos w/ a skimmer but with that bioload it would probably help. The biowheel is probably making your nitrate problems worse rather than better
 

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Bio-overload :(

I think you're right, that it is diatoms. Thanks! The tank has been set up for 9 months, but I've just added 3 small fish and the soft corals in the last week. Before that, the levels were at 0. I did expect a spike, and was prepared for water changes every 7-10 days at first. That sucks about the biowheel. I gathered that they were sort of ameteur though.

Bioload - something to be reckoned with. I take it that going reef with so many fish demands an upgrade - perhaps a canister filter is essential at this point? I'm hesitant with a skimmer as I've heard so many mixed thing about it.

As for live rock, I've got about 18 pounds in this 26g. I do have a 9 pound lace rock that is the canopy to the reef structure, and a few towers of tufa rock that support it, but I gather that these do little for cycling the tank. So all in all, I've got 30 pounds of rock in there. Should I get another 5-10 of live rock? 40 pounds rock and 20 pounds sand seems like an awful lot of water displacement for a 26g though...

Insights?
 

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Just my opinion and I am going through the same thing now with a 75 gallon tank with just 4 fish....and 100 pounds of live rock....no corals yet until this gets settled....doing water changes now with disstilled water.....the questions still need to be ansered are......what water do you use?.....any treatment to said water.....and your ammonia and nitrates levels in my opinion is off the chart....I do not think the cannister filter will help at all....lots of livestock, and your speaking of adding more.....protien skimmer in my opinion again is a good choice....but not with that much livestock in a 26 gal tank......
 

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26 gallon tank is going to be very limited in how much life it can support safely. Throwing more rock at it is not going to help things much as you will also be decreasing swimming room and most likely blocking flow. A skimmer would go a long way in helping pull nutrients from the system; however, you are probably still going to be over stocked.

At this point it may be time to make some tough choices and decide what you really want to keep in that tank and either sell or trade the rest of it. Of course, you could always look for a larger tank on Craig's List and then possibly be able to keep everything.

Situations like this are why I currently have 3 running systems and am about to set up another one this weekend.
 

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i also have a 26g bow front *upgradeing as we speak* but have about 45 to 50lbs of LR it all depends on the rock on its size and how dence it is. I havea couple corals and 3 fish. I do run a skimmer rated for 100g. It has been a good thing to have it pulls alot of stuff out I dont recogmend more then about 3 to 4 small fish depending on what they are if they will grow to big it wont be healthy for them. i have 2 clowns and a goby , a shrimp and an urchin, a couple hermits and snails for clean up but i run a k2 powerhead do water changes. When the 75 is ready the 26 will be a fowler. all corals will move and the 3 current fish will move along with the urchin and shrimp. I feel even with a little as i have its to much for the little tank. i agree that a skimmer is somthing you should invest in and what type of fish do u have.

EDIT lol aqua that is my situation i had to use my qt tank for a fish that was trying to eat my xenia so now it has sand and lr and im setting up my 3rd tank now its addicting.
 

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I want to touch on a couple things.

First I want to say that you have too many fish.

The bio wheel is prolly keeping everything from dying by processing the waste very quickly but slowly poisoning them with nitrates. In the end you'll want to get rid of it but you need to do it in tandem with something else. Like pull out 4 fish and the bio wheel at the same time. Doing this will allow the LR to support the new lower bio load. If you pull the bio wheel alone you will prolly kill everything in the tank. If you pull the fish but nothing else you will have a massive bacterial die off that will release ammonia into the tank. It would not be nearly as bad as pulling the bio wheel but still not good.

Canister filters are a PITA and are not cost effecient. You need to clean them multiple times per day for them to do anything. Then the filter its self needs to be replaced quite often. I would not run one. I would highly recommend running a good skimmer. I don't know what to recommend for a tank that small but I'm sure someone knows.

While it sounds like diatoms I can't see it being them. Diatoms eat silica and if you already had a diatom bloom then its not likely the they will come back unless you are using tap water with high levels of silicates. What I think they are is a dark strain of dinoflatulates or brown slime AKA cyanobacteria. Probably feeding on your rediculasly high nitrates. I would venture to bet that if it is dinos then the bulk of them would be growing in high light areas of the tulfa rock.

Tulfa rock is a detritus trap and a nitrate factory. I would never use it in a SW tank. I only use calcium carbonate rock either live or dead. Its better to use clean dead rock to add to an existing system than to place a piece of uncured or cured LR into it. The best thing would be to use a piece from a well maintained very established system.

I don't recommend doing everything at the same time. I would get rid of half the fish and the bio wheel at the same time then I would add a skimmer then I would wait about 2 weeks then try to find some LR out of a good system to replace the tulfa rock with. If I couldn't find it then I would get some dead rock place it in the tank for a week and remove 1/4 of the mass of it in tulfa rock per week for 4 weeks. I would do 20 percent water changes per week during the maintenance process.
 
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