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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
RE: ugly, ugly diatoms

It seems that after I did my water change yesterday, the sandbed looks a little better. Also, I looked at my LR when my lights came on about 10 minutes ago, and it looks like the coraline is taking over the nasty, brown algae. I'm assuming this is good?

The on-line catalogs sell those tiny HOB refugiums for about $20 or so ....... I thought of maybe buying one of those and buying some calupera ......... Would that be a good idea or a waste of money?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Quck question!
I was just reading on Reefs.org. I also have 2 Emperor 400's running in conjuntion with my Fluval 404. I have the bio-wheels on my Emperors. I read that biowheels in a salt tank are a no-no because it can be a nitrate problem. Is it true? I want to take the "guts" (foam pads, and those little porcelain things that came with the canister) out of my fluval, and if the biowheels on my emerors are a problem, I'll take those out, too. I'm just afraid of killing my biological filtration

My heads gonna start spinning if I keep reading all of this stuff:funny:
 

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First of all do you have live rock and sand in the tank and how much?
You need omethin to assume the bioduty to remove the mechanical filtration
 

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Doug1 said:
First of all do you have live rock and sand in the tank and how much? You need omethin to assume the bioduty to remove the mechanical filtration
"Bioduty"?????:funny:

Doug is suggesting that you make sure that you have an adequate biofiltration system established before you pull your current biofiltration. The presence of high levels of nitrate would tell you that you have adequate biofiltration established with your mechanical devices. In lieu of the presence of ammonia, you will need to have in place an established deep sandbed and cured live rock to be able to remove your mechanical filtration devices that are currently performing the mineralization of ammonia to nitrate for you (i.e., the biofiltration in which the mechanical filtration media is acting as your biological media substrate). If you have these requirements in place, removing approximately 1/3 of your filtration each weel for the next few weeks will allow the systems you want to perform to pick up the slack without making large increases in undesirable parameters.

Wow, what a mouthful, I liked it better with "Bioduty"... ... Is that really a word???:rolleyes:
 

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OK my precoffee vocabulary is largly random thoughts that make sense to me, tho the thought may get lost by the time my fingers hit the keyboard ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I like "bioduty!":funny: Hey, nothing wrong with making up our own words, right?:funny:

I only have a 2 1/2 inch sand bed, and only 20 lbs. of liverock ..... So, I will wait ti I get more LR.

Oh, and as far as nirates go .... I have tested for them, and I don't have any. I use the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit.
 

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Freckles said:
...Also, I looked at my LR when my lights came on about 10 minutes ago, and it looks like the coraline is taking over the nasty, brown algae... ...Oh, and as far as nirates go .... I have tested for them, and I don't have any. I use the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit...
If you have nasty brown algae, then you have nitrates. The nitrates are locked up in the biomass partly, and as far as good test kits go, you've prolly not gotten quite the most accurate nor reliable. Might suggest investing in a Salifert-type titration test kit, much more reliable, especially when trying to match colors on the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Try and physically remove as much of the algae as possible, as this will remove the nitrates from you tank. If you have access to a skimmer, crank it up and run it 24/7. Establishing a sump with Macroalgae will help out-compete the nuisance algae in the tank. Increasing your depth of the sandbed is in order, as when it is 2 to 3 inches deep, it is still mostly aerobic, and does nothing but process carbon and convert ammonia to nitrate (aerobically). The whole idea of using a deep sand bed is to make it deep enough to cultivate anaerobic bacteria in the lower depths. These bacteria are responsible for the conversion of nitrate to nitrogen gas, which will bubble out of the system and remove the nitrogen (and it's source nitrate) from you water column. Once these bacteria are established, they will do best if the sandbed is left undisturbed, as reintroduction of oxygen via stirring will extend the amount of time needed for the sandbed to mature. Might as well bite the bullet and introduce the extra sand now while your tank is still cycling.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
adding sand

How would I go about adding extra sand? do I take the fish out, or can I use a PVC pipe and slowly add it to the tank? I've read using pvc pipe works good, and I've also heard of people adding the sand to little sandwich baggies and emptying it at the bottom of the tank......
Would adding another 2 inches help out a lot?

And, thanks for the suggestion on a new kit! I will take up that suggestion......
 

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Re: adding sand

Freckles said:
How would I go about adding extra sand? do I take the fish out... ...Would adding another 2 inches help out a lot?
Assuming that 2 inches more sand would take you to 12 to 15 cm of sand depth, yes, absolutely. Remember that adding new sand is often adding new real estate for the benthic infauna and flora to colonize, so that you will probably see blooms of cyanobacter on the surface of the sand as the sand develops it's new populations of algae and microbes (as well as the macrofauna) as time goes on. Ultimately, with good husbandry practices, your deep sand bed will efficiently process both carbon and nitrogen to completion (i.e., removal from the food chain as either gas or desirable biomass). Personally, I have added sugar grade aragonite without rinsing (to keep the silts and fine particles as well as the sugar-sized particles), usually all at once, and never had problems with the fishes nor with the corals. As an added benefit, by the 3rd day when your water column finally clears, your calcium will be in the 450 to 550 ppm range, and your alkalinity will be around 12 to 14dKH. If you feel it is necessary (and the appearance of a tank full of milk disturbs you :D ), you can use the PVC tube method, or baggies, or plate sifting, or any number of "tricks" to try and prevent the cloudiness that occurs when adding new aragonite, but it will clear in 3 to 5 days regardless, and even faster in tanks that have good sandbeds already established. Fishes in the wild are exposed to much worse conditions after storms, especially in lagoonal areas and shallow bays. They have adapted to these temporary conditions through evolutionary selection, and although I am sure there are exceptions, for the most part the marine fishes we keep in our biomes will survive the addition of fine sands (muds and nonsilicate organic silts on the other hand, are a completely different story, especially for corals and related families).

Usually best to remove crushed coral substrates, especially if the tank is young to start with. They do not provide the surface area that sugar-sized aragonite (or even silica sand) provide. Think of it this way: look at the surface area of an orange. Imagine a cup that would just fit the orange. Now fill that cup with marbles, and think of the surface area increase provided by this equal volume of marbles compared to the orang's surface area ( for the math, the formula for the surfacde area of a sphere is 4(pi) r squared, hard to write mathematics with the puter...). The analogy holds true when considering 3mm to 5mm diameter granules of crushed coral to 0.5 to 1.0mm sand granules (the infamous sugar-sized granules). The key to providing adequate biofiltration from sandbeds is to find the best fit between granule size that will not compact and form one mass of silt, but still provide a huge amount of surface area for the bacteria to colonize. Multiple studies (references? ask the Linkmaster (Fishdaddy) :D ) have demonstrated that the best balance between these two factors is in the 0.5 to 1.5mm granule size, or about the consistency of granular sugar. Any finer, the surface area becomes fantastic, but the granules then compact to prevent free circulation of nutrients and percolation of nitrogen. Any more coarse, and the surface area drops dramatically, and the population of bacteria becomes inadequate to handle the bioload. Larger size granules also allow for increased water circulation that prevents the establishment of the oxygen gradient in a 15 cm sandbed, so that the sandbed becomes an aerobic nitrate factory, removing/mineralizing ammonia, but producing large amounts of nitrates, allowing them to accumulate in the water column (usually seen in the 5 to 15 ppm range). Check Sam Gamble's or Ron Shimek's articles on sandbeds (some good ones by Eric Borneman and Rob Toonen as well).

Hope this is what you wanted.
 
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