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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to get to the bottom of why I have such a large bloom of diatoms right now. The bloom is so bad that the tank gets a thin brown film in a day and in a few days I get long strings coming off of everything. I've tested my water and the parameters are:
Calcium: 440 mg/L
Copper: 0 ppm
Phosphate: 0.0 ppm (mg/L) (I thought this was my problem, but I don't have any phosphates??)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
KH: 142.2 ppm
My pH this morning at 11:00 was 7.4, and every time I had tested it, it had been 8.4. I tested twice to confirm that it was real. Then this afternoon around 7:30 I tested it again and it was at 8.8 and I'm not sure why it has fluxuated this much.
Any suggestions on things I should be doing for my tank?
I am looking into getting an RO-DI unit as I currently use tap water.... I know slap on the wrist....
Tank is 4 months old and I've already gone through one diatom bloom that was nothing like this intensity.
Thanks to any responses
 

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Google "dinoflagellate algae" or "reef dinos" and see if that's what you're seeing. Diatoms will be like a dust. Dinos will be snotty in consistency w/ stringy bubbles. Diatoms are easy, Dinos are a pain. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Google "dinoflagellate algae" or "reef dinos" and see if that's what you're seeing. Diatoms will be like a dust. Dinos will be snotty in consistency w/ stringy bubbles. Diatoms are easy, Dinos are a pain. :(
It's slimy and tends to have bubbles.... and is stringy.... looks like I have dinos. So... how can I get rid of it and what caused it?
 

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I would definitely ditch the tap water first off. Your nitrates and phosphates are probably reading 0 because the dinos are eating them up. I only had dinos once and caught it early. I just did a whole lot of water changes (like daily or every other day) with pure water. I've heard a three day black out works as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If I did a thee day blackout, I'm worried that I might mill my corals. I will work on the pure water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update: Using distilled water now, did a water change. 10% ish because I was afraid of shocking the system.
 

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Are you physically removing the dinoflagellates when you do your water changes? That will remove some of the excess nutrients from your system. If not, the nutrients are bound in them and will never go away. Also, the three day blackout will not hurt your corals. Tropical storms regularly block most of the sunlight for days in the wild and the corals are fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay, will do a three day blackout. Just got a new clownfish which died and I can't figure out why, the other is perfectly fine. I will take out the live rock on Wednesday and scrub and rinse it, then try to get as much of the dinoflagellates from the sand as possible. Any recomendations to cleaning the sand? I've stirred it up when moving around rocks so I think the dinoflagellates are all in the sand bed instead of just on top. Also, will zoanthids not open up if there is too much light? Got new lights and they all closed up
 

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If you put more intense light than they are used to, they will close. Zoanthids are very, very hardy. They are hard to kill. They will be fine. What size is your tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you put more intense light than they are used to, they will close. Zoanthids are very, very hardy. They are hard to kill. They will be fine. What size is your tank?
Tank is 10 gallons. Working on a sump that will be added in July.
KH: 8
Phosphate: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Calcium: 420 ppm
Magnesium: 1200 ish. I know it's low. Any recommendations for suppliments?
Copper: 0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
pH: has gone to 7.8 and seems to be sitting here.
I will be adding a protein skimmer also.
 

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Your magnesium isn't all that low. As a rule of thumb, your magnesium should be about three times your calcium level. Although a three day blackout may be your only option, it will only exacerbate your pH problem. When the algae performs photosynthesis, it removes CO2 from the water column to reduce it into glucose. This removal of CO2 raises the pH in your water. With no photosynthesis taking place, the CO2 can accumulate in your system. My recommendation would be to increase surface movement and/or aerate your water while doing the three day blackout to facilitate gas exchange to try to keep your pH from plummeting, especially if you are already having a problem with it.
 

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Also, with regards to cleaning the sand, sometimes, it just needs replaced. It acts as a sponge and soaks up nutrients. Once saturated, it starts to leach out, fueling algal growth. I siphon some out with every water change and replace it when it is getting sparse. I wouldn't recommend cleaning sand. If you have enough live rock and still have live sand in your system, it shouldn't cause a cycle.
 
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