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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Long time lurker, first time poster here.

I've had my tank running for about 6 months (converted to SW from FW after my 4 year old pumped a few squirts of hand soap into my tank :rolleyes:) and I've got some questions...but I guess I'll start with some basic info...

55 gallons
ph 8.2
amonia 0
nitrites 0
nitrates 10? My 2 types of test give me wildly different results on this one
temp 79.5
sg 1.023 (hydrometer)
no corals or plants
2.5 lbs of fiji live rock (you read that right, I couldn't afford much of that)
The rest is base rock that is slowly starting to look just like the LR
Aragonite sand, less than 1 inch deep
eheim classic...I forget the model but it's a bit underpowered for my tank
Penguin power filter that I use partly for the carbon but mostly for the flow
1 power head

Stocking list - it's a bit overstocked

2 false percula clowns
1 royal gramma
1 coral beauty angel
1 sailfin tang (wants a bigger tank, I know :cool:)
1 burrfish who will also get a too big for a 55 gallon tank
1 cleaner shrimp and 1 camel shrimp, who are hiding from the puffer

Everyone is really healthy and happy. There are no fights, everyone is eating and doing great even though the bio load is heavy, and my levels are good.

Over the last couple of months I've been having problems with red slime, and now it seems to have progressed to green slime. I did a water change this morning of 20% and tried to get as much of it out as possible but the other thing about it is it stinks to high heaven. I thought live rock smelled bad...omg when I disturb the sand in my tank I have to clear the area for an hour, it's soooo gross.

Clearly I have nutrients building up that I am not testing for. Phosphates probably. I've been extremely naughty and using tap water. I'm moving in a couple of weeks so this is the perfect time for me to make some changes. Here is my plan so far:

1. Get rid of all the sand and replace with live sand
2. Plan on saving about 15 gallons of the current water when I move and replace the rest with RO...actually I might start with the RO now so the tank water I save will be better...
3. Get more LR
4. Get a higher capacity filter
5. Get a protien skimmer

Any recommendations on the above? I don't have the $ really for a sump, maybe when I move up to a larger tank.

Also, is that smell the slime, or something else? It doesn't appear until I disturb the sand and then...wow.

Alright....I think that's enough for now, feel free to chide me about my overstocking and under filtering, I'm aware of that already but it's naughty so go ahead ;).

Also any tips on moving this thing would be helpful.
 

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Reef Nut
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Welcome to TRT! The smell is probably the crud you disturbed in the sand bed. If your sg really is 1.035 you need to get that down, but do it very slowly, take a week or more, it should only be about 1.025. You definately need to switch to RO/DI water, you won't be able to get rid of the algae w/o it. You may want to look at 'cooking' the rocks if they have a lot of algae. Since you are moving you may be able to do half starting when you move and then the other half in 3 or 4 months when the first batch is done. You probably don't need any live sand. The bacteria from your rock will make the sand live pretty quickly after you put it in. You might also want to consider bare-bottom instead of sand - look at the 'Substrate free' section here on TRT. And yes, you defianately want to get a skimmer, very important!
 

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Welcome to TRT !
1.035 is very high salinity I'd slowly bring that down to 1.022-1.026 (if you plan on corals )

The red slime is a build up of nutients from your large bio-load and lack of filtration
 

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1. Get rid of all the sand and replace with live sand
2. Plan on saving about 15 gallons of the current water when I move and replace the rest with RO...actually I might start with the RO now so the tank water I save will be better...
3. Get more LR
4. Get a higher capacity filter
5. Get a protien skimmer

Any recommendations on the above? I don't have the $ really for a sump, maybe when I move up to a larger tank.

Also, is that smell the slime, or something else? It doesn't appear until I disturb the sand and then...wow.
Welcome to TRT!

Does it smell like rotten eggs when you disturb the sand bed? If so, it's toxic (to the tank, not you) sulfur gas from anaerobic bacteria. As afar as recommendations, the puffer will eventually eat the shrimp (just a matter of time before it happens). Your tank suffers from too many nutrients going in and not enough going out. How much and how often do you feed your fish? You may want to cut back to every other day feedings for now. Big water changes are your best option in the short run and replacing the sand bed is a good idea. I would not waste my money with live sand though since any dry sand you put in there will be "live" within a couple of weeks. A protein skimmer will be the single biggest improvement you can have for your tank, so that would priority purchase number one. If you do not have a sump or cannot get one, a hang on back model would be your only choice. I would recommend one from Octopus or a Remora. You also need much more flow in the tank. I would recommend getting one or two of the Koralias. You also need to clean that filter more often, about once a week would be ideal, every other week if ou can't get to it. More live rock will not help your situation. As stated, drop your salinity down slowly, for a fish only tank, most people run their salinity on the low side like around 1.022 to help improve oxygen saturation and save money on salt. Lower salinities also help prevent infections like Ich. HTH
 

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Just some guy, you know?
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Welcome to TRT! I agree that 1.035 is very high,.. Bringing that down to 1.025 would help you out quite a bit :)

For dealing with Cyano issues I think your best move would be to ditch the filters, get a sump and a huge protien skimmer,.. it is your best defence agenst nusace algae IMHO.

Whiskey
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Whoops, typo in my first post, I will go back and fix it but my sg is 1.023 lol.

My plan for my shrimps is that, since I don't think I can catch them right now, I will take them out when I move and get rid of them then by trading them back to the LFS or just trying to sell them outright. I have a smaller tank that I can put them in while I decide what to do with them.

The smell is not like rotten eggs...it's kind of a sharp smell...hard to put into words but nothing like sulfur.

By "clean the filter" which one are you talking about (or both perhaps?) and what kind of cleaning? What I've been doing with the eheim is just pulling out the floss and replacing that...am I supposed to do something else? I can get to it easily and pull it out for cleaning.

As far as feeding, I am feeding Omega 1 flake once a day with some frozen foods substituted for that a couple of times a week (squid, marine cuisine, etc) and I keep algea clipped to the side for the angel and the tang. The puffer eats some of the frozen foods and it also gets freeze dried krill (soaked) every day.

Starting this morning with my water change, I am leaving the lights off and not feeding today, I'm switching to every other day feedings...and I have made the mistake of not rinsing my frozen food....oopsie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One more thing and then I will shut up and listen ;).

Sumps. I am scared of them. I totally understand how great they are but I can't seem to get my head around how to set one up and how this is not going to cause a major flood. Maybe I don't fully understand how they work, even though I've read quite a few articles...maybe I need to see one in action. I'd like to have one but I'm scared if that makes any sense...
 

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Yes, change the filter floss. I don't know how often you're doing it now, but try to do it once a week. Same thing is true with the Penguin filter, but that gets real expensive to replace (one reason I rarely ever recommend a power filter). The smell is probably the slime or algae itself. Get the ro/di water going, get a skimmer, and feed less. Eventually, you wil need to replace the sand bed, since it is likely saturated with waste already. On a side note, even though puffers are super cool, I find them to be some of the messiest fish out there. Tanks with puffers really need some heavy duty filtration and skimming to get all of the junk out of there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, they are really messy! I do want to upgrade my filtration, I'm looking at doing that when I move.

I'll start changing the floss weekly, I have been slacking off on that because of the whole house selling thing...stress city. Also I have 3 kids 4 years and under so...yeah.
 

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Stinky Slimey FEESH
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Welcome to TRT! I agree with all the suggestions on here so far - - and also that skimming will help the smell a LOT. Right now your tank has a lot of waste and it will smell more than normal. If you lower your SG to 1.025 you'll notice the sharp salt smell will subside a little too.

GOOD LUCK
HHC
 

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get a skimmer and do water changes!

Maximize your exports, minimize your inputs, this will stop the nuisnce algal bloom and the smell as well.

Start a bag of carbon near the intake for your circulation pump. A sump would be a really good thing for you at this point.

HTH
 

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Wow,
All I have to say is ditto, ditto, ditto...
Get a GOOD protein skimmer and more water circulation.
I know your bioload is heavy... however I don't recall seeing anything there about a CC?
Do you have any snails? We have 4 Astera and 4 sand sifting with a small sandsifting starfish. It is amazing how much that helps.
One of 'my' other thoughts as well, that temp. seems a little high.
We have had issues with calorea as well, as yes, we were using tap water. Unfortunately, until that is not used there really isn't going to be a whole lot that will get rid of it. I've scrubbed my rocks in saltwater, and rinsed them in fresh salt water after, however it grows back.
You can use a turkey baster to help clean off some of the rocks then sift the sand as if some of the algea gets in the sand it will grow there too.
Just syphon of the top section of it to ensure all that comes up.
You have been given alot of good advice about, and seeing how you are moving, heed the advice and get that tank clean. Everyone will love you for it! It will also be alot nicer to look at.
Good Luck.
 

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My 02

A few things that will help and not cost much.

Clean your filter media on a regular basis .. couple times a week. You clean it by rinsing it in a bucket of SW (not FW) and you don't have to change it or toss it.

Start a regiment of regular good sized water changes (20%+).

Keep some activated carbon or something similar in your canister. Since you have cyano issues you should also consider adding some phosban or similar phosphate reducing agent to your canister.

Also .. take a look around for any "dead" snails ... in mature tanks they are quickly consumed by the infauna but in new tanks they tend to create a real stench.

Hope this helps.
 
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