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Major Cyano Problem


jsrtist

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Reef man, I am directing this one to you since your tank is beautiful and you really know your stuff. Help me out here! LOL

Since I moved this summer my 30 gallon tank has had horrible cyanobacteria problems. I recently added a Seio to one side bringing my number of powerheads to 3. I have two filters and a HOB refugium on the back of the tank, and it has plenty of circulation. I change out about 25% every week and a half to two weeks and use RO water for changes and top off.

This tank has been established for just about a year and took some time to balance out, and when I moved it all went to heck. I have changed the light bulbs, increased water changes, done everything I can think of! My phosphate level when tested was very very low.

This tank is essentially set up as a 30 gallon refugium as it is designed for my mandarinfish. It has probably 50 lbs of LR. I also have a firefish, chocolate chip star, 3 bumblebee gobies and one small hermit. Very low bioload. I feed lightly and have the tank packed with macroalgae (caleurpa and chaetomorpha) and move it into another tank regularly as it grows.

I am stuck and about ready to tear the darn thing down. I siphon off all the cyano every time I do a water change and in about two days its back. The tank gets a little bit of late afternoon sun for a few minutes but other than that only has a 48" shoplight for light. Its on for about 10 hours a day.

So help, anyone, with any suggestions. This tank just looks awful and I really love it and dont want to take it down!

Here is a pic I took the other night after a big water change: 30g4mp.jpg

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hey there here are a few ideas you might want to try

# Protein skimming

# Maintenance animals

# Increased flow with 3 power heads you should be fine

# Feed lightly

# Vacuum substrate or bottom

# Harvest algae razor blade small shipon

# Stop adding supplements

# Use RO/DI water have you always used ro water i've read that Lr can leech out

# Top-off with Kalkwasser

# Regular bulb changes try cutting back hours light on

well it looks like you have all of these things so have you tried RC and asked there. if all else fail buy a bigger tank

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monkeyknukles has covered all the basics for sure there....but there may be one significant problem...and that is the light you are using.... The shop light spectrum is a great light to grow algae....all kinds of it...including cyno...

If I may ask just a couple questions...Do you have a protein skimmer???

What kind of test kits are you using???

And what is the Nitrate and Phosphate reading????

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Sorry its taken so long for me to get back to this. I had my water tested today and ammonia, nitrite and nitrate were 0, pH was about 8.4, where it always is, and phosphate was about 0.02 ppm. The test kits are FasTest by Aquarium Systems.

Yes, I have always used buffered RO water and add no supplements. I have tons of macroalgae that I harvest out regularly to my separate pod tank.

I dont have a protein skimmer because I have such a low bioload and compensate by doing regular water changes. The only livestock in my tank are a firefish, mandarinfish, 3 small bumblebee gobies, a chocolate chip star and a scarlet hermit.

My friend at the store suggested that the cyano may just be using up all available phosphate and binding it, which may be why I never get a reading. I have tested the RO though and it has little to no phosphate in it, either.

So I am cutting back on the length of time I run my lights and my friend is giving me a power compact to try out and see if the light spectrum may make a difference.

Monkeyknukles in response to some of your questions?when I do water changes I siphon off all algae/cyano that I can. I am unable to have maintenance animals (snails and such) as the star will eat them. He is one of my favorite pets so I have no plans to get rid of him! :)

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I will say that the shop lights do have a lower spectrum that can cause diatom blooms....and if you are feeding flake foods...they have phosphates in them.... If you would use some phosphate absorbers etc?you may get past this...

Even with a low bio-load you would benefit from a protein skimmer...It will remove a lot of the dissolved organics that feed this stuff.... You will be surprised at what one would pull out of your system even with a low bio load....

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Hi RM, thanks for the tips. I didnt realize the flake foods have phosphates in them! Thats good to know. I mostly feed pellet and frozen but do use flake from time to time.

I think you are right about the shoplights; they have to go! I am hoping the power compact will make a difference. For the time being I am cutting the hours back that my lights are on.

Do you have any idea about the minimum hours of light the macroalgaes would need to survive? I have them in the main tank and also my separate pod tank and they are on the same timer.

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Here are some things that makes diatoms grow and solutions for eliminating this problem....quoting from another sorce...

I would suggest that you don't try to put all of these solutions into action at one time, because if you do, when to problem subsides you'll never really know "exactly" where the problem was coming from and which solution worked to fix it. Start with one solution and see what results you get, and if that one doesn't work, try another one, and so on, until the problem is resolved. Now, in order for all forms of algae to grow, they require only two things; light and nutrients.

Lighting: The use of improper bulbs, lack of maintenance, and extended lighting hours are contributors that can lead to all sorts of algae problems.

Solutions: Only use bulbs that are designed for aquarium use, paying close attention to their spectral output; don't bombard the tank with an over abundance of light, follow the basic wattage rule of thumb; run the lights 8 to 9 hours a day.

Nutrients: Diatoms are most responsive to silca/silicates, but DOCs (Dissolved Organic Compounds), nitrates, and phosphates are food sources as well.

Silicates are most often introduced into aquariums by means of using unfiltered fresh tap water, the wrong kind of sand or substrate material, and through sea salt mixes that contain a higher than normal concentration of this element.

Solutions: Use RO/DI filtered make-up water, an aragonite type sand or substrate source, and a high quality sea salt mix.

Phosphates (PO4) are commonly introduced into aquariums by means of using unfiltered fresh tap water, and through many aquarium products that may contain higher than normal concentrations of this element, such as sea salt mixes, activated carbon, KH buffers, foods, and many other sources. Also, for established reef tanks the long-term use of Kalkwasser precipitates phosphates out of the water, and these phosphate based compounds can settle on and in the live rock and substrate.

Solutions: Use RO/DI filtered make-up water, a high quality sea salt mix, and be aware of the elements contained in other common aquarium products you may be using.

Edited by Reef Man
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