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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some help. For the past few years i have been constantly battling diatom in my tank. I cant figure out where the silicates are coming from or what I am doing so wrong :(

The diatom are easily cleaned off the rock and tank but they show up next day or so.

Tank info:
160g tank been running over 15 years.
Was DSB but have been running BB last few years.
75g sump with live rock and skimmer
No mechanical filtration used
Run BRS GFO (BRS GFO high capacity) and Carbon have change weekly to monthly does not seem to make a difference.
10g fresh water top-off

saltwater: I make my own , was using Red Sea Pro but switched Tropic Marin Pro Reef Salt few years back

for the freshwater past year been using Apex RO unit with a BRS Triple DI saver kit - all TDS are 0. Water stored in 40g Rubbermaid trash cans container

Feeding: once a day to every other day, 1 cube frozen brine shrimp, 1/2 cube of mysis shrimp, soaked in a cup of tank water and then strained in net before adding to tank.

Flow
Blueline pump closed loop recirculating with a SCWD 1inch wave maker

Lighting:
2 t5 run at 20% on for 12 hours
3 Kessil 360 at 50% on for 8 hours

Live stock:
1 foxface
2 clowns
1 tang
1 Ras
1 dragonet
2 gammas
3 peppermint shrimp
2 rose anemones

Levels
ALK 6.5
CAL 450
MAG 1420
Phosphate .004

dont have silicates test but pretty sure i have high level of silicate based on the blooms.

here are a few photos of a few days after cleaning:

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When clean
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All suggestions welcome.
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will look at the photo on my computer later. Are you sure it isn’t cyano?
Hi Jerry,

thanks for helping out. looking forward to hearing from you once you see the photos.

Could be but cyano i have had in the past (in my DSB days) and is more like a slime that comes off in layers. This is more of a dust and comes off in clouds if you wave you hand at the rock work. i might have some chemclean i could try.

I have also tried a few things to eliminate it but with no luck. huge (40g) water changes weekly for a few months, not feeding for days, reducing light cycle, reducing light intensity, leaving lights off for 3-5 days, daily syphoning it off rocks and tank. GFO.

Leaving lights off is the best, it completely go way in about 4 days but once i start turning the lights on it starts coming back.
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
also, want to add that my pH has been very low for years. 7.6-7.8 Started around the time i removed the sandbed. only time i can raise it using Kalk but it make the boom worse.
 

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Shark..but a friendly one
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15,381 Posts
Started a 'few years ago'......what's changed a few years ago? Certainly no diatom guru, but hate seeing a long time reefer getting to his wits end. We do love our 'detective stories' on occasion, so I sure hope we can get to the bottom of this for you.

Yes, the 'powdery' description makes it sound like diatoms as opposed to a 'film algae'. I don't know if the 'web' is getting confused, but it had always been a fresh source of silicates was the cause......and when depleated, the diatoms died off.....new rocks, new sand BOOM! BUT they die off. But a quick search on the web tonight is also now throwing 'too much lighting', and NO3 into the mix as well.....NEVER HEARD OF THAT! THAT sounds more like they're getting things mixed up with 'brown algae'.

You seem to be doing everything right....0 TDS, brute trash cans....most often suggested.

Just for giggles, did you get new lighting about the time this started? And just for another giggle.....what is your NO3 readings like recently?

Pulling for Ya,
Hack
 

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I looked at the first photo as large as I can get it.
Are the bubbles attached to the red substance, it appears so?
the stuff on the top of the rock on the right hand side does look like DINO
kind of stringy with bubbles.
Might try bumping up the phosphates a hair.
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Started a 'few years ago'......what's changed a few years ago? Certainly no diatom guru, but hate seeing a long time reefer getting to his wits end. We do love our 'detective stories' on occasion, so I sure hope we can get to the bottom of this for you.

Yes, the 'powdery' description makes it sound like diatoms as opposed to a 'film algae'. I don't know if the 'web' is getting confused, but it had always been a fresh source of silicates was the cause......and when depleated, the diatoms died off.....new rocks, new sand BOOM! BUT they die off. But a quick search on the web tonight is also now throwing 'too much lighting', and NO3 into the mix as well.....NEVER HEARD OF THAT! THAT sounds more like they're getting things mixed up with 'brown algae'.

You seem to be doing everything right....0 TDS, brute trash cans....most often suggested.

Just for giggles, did you get new lighting about the time this started? And just for another giggle.....what is your NO3 readings like recently?

Pulling for Ya,
Hack
A lot has changed from when I first noticed it. I would say it started after the cyano battle which lead me to remove the DSB around 4 year ago. lights did change to LEDs but i feel it started before that. Its been a while since i tested NO3, let me pull out the test kit.
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I looked at the first photo as large as I can get it.
Are the bubbles attached to the red substance, it appears so?
the stuff on the top of the rock on the right hand side does look like DINO
kind of stringy with bubbles.
Might try bumping up the phosphates a hair.
I am starting to think it DINOs too. it would seem everything I been doing (trying to be crazy clean) is feeding them. I have been getting so frustrated that right after a water change they would come back hard. I was thinking i had high silicates and or phosphate in my source water. Now I am thinking i have been too clean...

what is the best way to raise No3?
Q:thinking i should remove my GFO?

I am running a Brightwell No3 brick and Xport po4 brick
Q: I am thinking I should remove the bricks?

Q: should i order a UV sterilizer?

Here are some additional photos and a video

Photo and video folder - Public

Link to video - https://1drv.ms/u/s!AnxBIHSbVS3Zou5pczeUCoZKq-e_wA?e=T88l5u

Photos:

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241268
 

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What I am basing the thoughts of Dino on is the first photo you posted.
In the upper right hand corner of the photo the rock comes from the side of the photo and curves up.
After a bit it makes a sharper climb toward the top of the photo. Just to the right of where the rock sharply curves up there appears to be bubbles attached to stringy appendages of the red stuff. Is this correct?
If it is dino you may just need to raise your phosphate a little.
The phosphate will allow the algae to out compete the Dino.
So I would remove any phosphate control you have, leave in any nitrate reduction that you want to.
If the phosphate gets too high then you can judiciously re-intoduce phosphate control.
 

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The only way you could have recurring diatoms if you are not adding silicates to the system is if some how the diatom shells were being broken down in the system and returning to the water column.
Doesn't happen often but I seem to remember an occurrence of this. Don't remember the cause though.
If I am correct about the stringy stuff with bubbles I would still think Dino.
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What I am basing the thoughts of Dino on is the first photo you posted.
In the upper right hand corner of the photo the rock comes from the side of the photo and curves up.
After a bit it makes a sharper climb toward the top of the photo. Just to the right of where the rock sharply curves up there appears to be bubbles attached to stringy appendages of the red stuff. Is this correct?
incorrect, the photo is a little miss leading, the bubbles in that photo are on the glass and not in stringy appendages of red stuff.

However, if i let it build up long enough or when i cleaning it does get stringy and bubbles attached.
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
its acts like Dino.

characteristics:
color is brown to red
all over rock and all sides of tank
gets lighter after lights out
goes crazy after water change
gets stringy and bubbly
lower PO4 has not helped
full blackout for 5 days reduces it but does not eliminate

will try and go slow but here the current plan of attack:
Increase feeding and do not strain frozen food
Remove GFO
Continue to use Carbon
Reduce light cycle from 12h to 6h
Reduce white light and increase blue in LEDs
Increase T5 intensity
Raise temp
Raise pH to 8.4
No water change
continue to manually remove
stop dusting off rockwork and siphon instead
siphon to waste bucket (instead of siphon through filter sock to sump)

looking into UV Sterilizer

any thoughts on uv sterilizer vs algae scrubber for the fight?
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
one almost instate change i noticed with the change in lighting and removal of GFO is there are a lot more bubbles
241271
 

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I have never used uv but it can be very beneficial. I just never had the extra cash.
I don’t know if uv will help a lot with dino an algal turf scrubber might help more giving algae a place to colonize.
I know matt and I believe hack went through dino.
 

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Shark..but a friendly one
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Yeah, good ole dinos.......I still have a smidge on our reef......been there for several years now. Mine occurred when I upgraded my lighting to these new t5's, and got my tank all BB'd and near on 'ultra clean'......zeros everywhere, and 3 + years of vodka dosing. Let my NO3 drift up from 0 to >0<5 ppm. Helped a lot, but never got rid of it.......bubbles appear late afternoon, and hang around till lights go out. Most of the day the tank looks good. Above all else, I'm lazy, and they don't unduly bother me.
Hack
 

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Old man with an aquarium
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Frist off, big Thanks to Jerryclunsford and Hackshobby for helping me zero in on the problem algae. Knowing what you are dealing with make a huge difference. So thanks again guys!

Quick update: Look like good news, Dino's seem to be on holiday and have not moved back in with a vengeance as of yet.

So far here is what's been done:
Removed GFO
Increased flow through active carbon
Raised temp from 78 to 80
Raised pH (via kalk) from 7.6-7.8 to 7.9 - 8.1 - targeting 8.4 but going slow
lights change from 12 hours to 6 hours
  • LEDs from 50% color to 25% color towards the blue side
  • T5 from 25% to 100% intensity
Syphoned problem algae from rock and tank walls right before lights out
No longer rinsing frozen food

Also, as a bug plus the corals and nems are enjoying the extra blue light..

Battle log photo folder share - Battle

Day 2 photos:

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Just keep an eye on your nutrients, don't let them get too high.
I think your livestock will like the increased nutrients and have better color.
 

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Stop your water changes as that feds them I would syphon as much out out and then go for a 3-5 day black out once all signs of-it have gone give 1 more day of black out then slowly lift light level up to normal..
 
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