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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a fish only 100 gal tank with 90 lbs of live sand wet/dry w bio balls, fluval 405 and protein skimmer run by a rio 600 venturi power head. It all works fine. I had it set up for 15 years without the sludge build up caused by the protein skimmer. The tank was broken down for years. It's been set up for about 11 mos now and it has the issue of very quickly building up a dusty brown sludge in about a day. The nitrate level never gets above 40. I have tried all the traditional fixes. Large water changes. several consecutive small water changes sucking out all the feces on top of the sand. cleaning the fluval every two weeks instead of once a month. I put filter pad at the return side of the skimmer which goes directly back into the tank which helped a little. I changed to a 50 micron polishing pad that I have to clean daily because it is filthy. The problem still exists. The build up on the rocks and sand is just slightly slower. when the tank set up before I didn't have this problem. all the equipment is the same. The only difference is the live sand. Caribsea original, oolite, ocean direct, fiji pink. I have now tried turning off the skimmer and the problem has really slowed down. Could the problem be using Zoe marine to help heal injuries on my Niger?
 

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Welcome to TRT.


From reading your post, is the skimmer neck building up a nasty brown slime?


Did the problem start when you when you started using Zoe marine? I'm not sure what the product is. Did it start after you started using it?



I really don't see how a skimmer would be the issue. We need more info on size of tank. Livestock. feeding habits and what you test for and the results . A picture of the brown sludge. The more information the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sludge

Tank is 100 gal like I said. Fish are 2 pygmy angels, lunar wrasse, spotted hawk, niger trigger, huma trigger, cinnamon clown, and a saddle back puffer. All are still fairly small. The algae was there pretty much from the start. It dissipated a bit for a while then came back. I have hose off the the decor rocks every couple days. I was thinking the Zoe marine might supply the food source for the diatoms. It has a lot of added algae in it along with a B complex. Ive' had the skimmer off for over 24 hrs and the dust has stopped being laid down so far. The tank is very high flow. The return pump from the sump puts out 1400 gal/hr which does help the rate at which it is put down on the rocks in the tank. i feed once a day, usual OSI spiralina flakes and brine. sometimes frozen mysis shrimp and/or squid.
 

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Even though they are small that is a lot of fish and it sounds like a lot of your foods are alot of filler and empty calories. I would rinse the hang on filter more frequently more frequently, like every other day. Anything that is trapped in media with water flowing through is breaking down and releasing N and P. As those fish get bigger it will probably become more of a struggle. No idea which skimmer you have but with that fish load I personally would do a serious upgrade on the skimmer and ditch the hang on filter. Given the choice of a big hang on filter or a canister, I would go canister and run it once a week while blowing off the rock and sandbed to remove as much detritous as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
brown slime

I have brown slime and red hair algae in the tank. red is pretty sparse. the brown builds up on every surface. All the sand is new caribsea. I did add sand several times as i replaced the crushed coral from last set up. I thought adding sand would over power the brown algae. Which it did, but the brown came back. As of a couple days ago nitrate is at 15. I have been doing a lot of water changes the past few months while dealing with this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
other issues

I suspected I had at least one too many, but now they have grown since first putting them in the tank. I have a total of 8 fish measuring a total of 27.5 in of fish in 100 gal tank plus all the water in the 20 gal sump, overflow box, fluval 405 and skimmer rated for 75gal. I was told 2 in of fish per gal in salt setups for fish only. My wet/dry setup is 5 gal bucket of bio balls, 90lbs live sand, and ceramic beads in the fluval. Nitrate even after 30 days has never gotten above 40. Still a brown slime problem. Is the addition of live sand at different times causing the tank to cycle again keeping the brown algae coming back?
 

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adding sand is not really going to solve you cyano/diatom problem. if the slime comes back within a day or two, than it is bacteria and not algae.

getting more flow to the areas where the bacteria are growing will help. setting you skimmer up to run more wet will also help. look for a light tea colored skimmate. you may need to clean the cup out a couple of times a day.

when doing water changes are you just changing the water, or are you going after the detritus/bacteria? just changing the water will do little to solve any problems. nutrient problems are solved by removing the source of the nutrients. the detritus.

how deep is the substrate? if an inch or less, you are always going to be battling cyano unless you siphon it clean during every water change.

your Fluval 405 and your wet/dry filter can also be leading to your nutrient problem. they are great for converting ammonia to nitrate, but not for converting nitrate to nitrogen. they are also great at breaking down detritus in to more nitrate and inorganic phosphates that the cyano and other algae love.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
waste

My main focus is always to get the waste when cleaning. the water just comes with it. The skimmer is operating as it always has. Dry foam with a greyish sludge in the cone. usually clean it every couple days so it works at its best all the time. I use tap water and always have. Technically it is well water treated by the city and it very hard. Didn't live here during previous setup though. So the water could be the issue as well. Nitrates have always been fine. I don't have a phosphate test kit so i don't know what the level is. That's usually a reefer issue though. nitrate is at 15 on an API test
 

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tap water could easily be an issue.

nitrates are very seldom a problem. it is the P that is the problem. nitrates have just been giving the bad rap for decades because it was easier to test for.

P is a SW problem, not just a reef problem. P just becomes more a problem sooner for reefs than it would be for a fish only tank. inorganic P can actually be toxic for some types of corals, but not as much for other types. the only problem P has for fish only tanks is the amount of bacteria/algae that it can fuel. P is not toxic to fish, so the levels can be very high. the amount of algae will be the only indicator.

i clean my glass once a month. those with higher P may need to clean the class once a week.

the wetter you run the skimmer the more N and P that it will remove. my 300g is still in the transitioning phase of getting out of the uglies, so i have not dialed my skimmer in yet, but when i do, i expect to remove a couple of liters of skimmate a day, maybe even up to a gallon. i have it dumping into a 5g bucket.

my 30g which is mature, i remove about a liter a week.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I only have one adjustment on my skimmer which changes the water level in the cone and the exit into the tank. it sounds like phosphate sponge is the only way to get rid of excess P.
 

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what kind of skimmer do you have?

maybe going to a better skimmer would be a good thing.

most skimmers just have a valve on the outlet. that controls the water height in the skimmer. some have air controls, but most do not adjust that at all since the more air the better.

G~
 

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haven't seen one of those in a while. those HOB skimmers are a bear. the pumps on those tend to not be strong enough to really create a good foam.

really, the air flow controls the water level. :( the more air the higher the water level, or the opposite?

you want more air.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It's sort odd really I'm using a valve that didn't come with the rio 600 to control the water level. The amount of air doesn't really change. With that valve completely open the water level is to low to push the foam out of the cone. If you close it a bit the water level rises which makes it work effectively. It works as well as any i have seen on fish store systems.
 
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