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Algae Problems; battling phosphates

Discussion in 'Marine Fish Only (FO) / Fish Only With Live Rock (' started by SuperScro, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. SuperScro

    SuperScro AC Members

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    So my tank has been having algae problems for quite some time now.

    Here is some info about my tank
    36 gallons
    45 pounds LR
    BAKPAK 2 Skimmer
    Flow 25X hour (approximate)
    Tank is about 4 and a half years old
    Inhabitants: Clownfish and Coral Beauty angel (been in tank for 3 and a half years)

    So because I go away to school, I don't really get to maintain the tank very often. I'll make it home maybe once a month and get a good water change and clean up the tank but that is it. Nitrates according to my test kit are undetectable. The fish get fed once to twice a day by my family members.

    Phosphates are pretty much the problem here. Since there has been a problem for so long, im pretty much prepared for a long battle.

    The thing is I don't know where to start to combat it. I run the skimmer 24/7 now and do weekly water changes but its not going to be enough. The type of algae that grows is green hair algae and what I believe to be cyano (its long, thin and red looking. it will disappear after cleaning but it will come back in a few days).

    I am going to try and add filter media into my bak pak skimmer since it has a return chamber I can place it in. Also I need a new clean-up crew, most of the snails I had have died so once I feel i can safely add them again i will. So I could really use any tips, advice or guidance to help solve my problem.

    Thanks
     
  2. OldManOfTheSea

    OldManOfTheSea AC Members

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    This is your first problem, you need to maintain your tank if it is to do well

    I would do a weekly water change as you see that your tank is in need of it, for during my years in this hobby, I done weekly water changes at all times. And depending on the gals in your water changes, you would see that you would require more often water changes, rather then just once a month. I a long time ago done a once a month water changes, and if you see that your tank is not doing as best as it should, you should had stepped up your water changes then.

    In frozen foods from your lfs, it releases Phosphates into your tank.

    Skimmer should been running at all times, other then when you do a water change
    and cup cleaning and as well, use only RO water, not water from the tab.

    There is definitely over feeding going on here and you no fish in this small tank that requires twice feeding a day. If you are going to get this in check, you need to do a few times 50% water change and control you food amounts that it wouldn't become wasted and poison your system. Your no corals? If your just some mushrooms and such, and you got the lights on 10-12 hours a day, cut it to 6-7 hours.
    Always adjust whatever you do for any tank system, if you see that what you are doing isn`t correcting your problem, you need to step up to ;larger water changes and cut back on your feeding and lighting.

    Buddy
     
  3. SuperScro

    SuperScro AC Members

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    Thanks for you response.

    Since I am home for the summer I can do weekly water changes and have been. I have only been taking out about 15% so I will move to bigger changes. How often should I do the 50% water change?

    As far as feeding goes, when I feed my fish it is a very small amount. 95% of it gets consumed in a couple minutes. When I use frozen food I end up throwing away more than half of it because it will be a lot of waste. I don't know what my family feeds them but I don't think it is way too much, they probably even forget sometimes...

    I use only RO water, haven't used tap ever. There could be a problem with the unit though, the filter cartridges are almost bad after 15 gallons of water. I probably have to order a new membrane. The Skimmer wouldn't be on 24/7 normally because when the water level in the tank gets low it won't function and since i'm not home it won't be used again until I get home.

    I don't think I am overfeeding them at all. Like I said I feed them very little and usually only once a day. Unless my family would overfeed them but I'm pretty sure they only feed them a small pinch of dry food once a day when I'm not around.

    Also no corals in the tank, so I will reduce the lighting.

    Thanks
     
  4. greech

    greech AC Moderators

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    Water changes are going to be the biggest help as long as you are using good quality, zero TDS RO/DI.

    Make sure the family knows how much to feed so that doesn't build up when your gone. Also, maybe teach someone in your family how to do water changes? I assume they are alos topping the tank off when you are away?

    If your bulbs are old replace them. Won't do anything for phosphates but will prevent alage growth.

    Lastly, use a quality GFO like Rowaphos of the GFO Bulk Reef Supply sells. This should only need to be changed monthy once you get phosphates down to respectable levels/zero.
     
  5. OldManOfTheSea

    OldManOfTheSea AC Members

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    Thanks greech, due to the greech response, it leaves me with one other statement to tell you off, and that is due to this line you (SuperScro) had also said.

    So it means that your using a RO unit, now I will tell you something now and that is not just anyone could think about this, and that is that through your RO unit, either your cartridges or the membrane need to be changed sooner then you think, but also you need to know that counties water supply , its conditions can differ from one county to the next, for the last house I was staying at, I was adding little amounts of phosphates to my eel tanks, it was a two tank system running on one sump and euroreef skimmer. Also, I never had algae showing itself in those tanks for as well, I feed only once a week and done without fail for a 260 gal system a 30 gal water change each and every week.
    Now what im looking to say is, you need to test your RO water before adding the salt, both a phosphate test and Ph. Your Ph should be extremely low and you can figure for yourself what the Phosphates should be. I during the years at that house, the location in Hillsborough NC had to attach another
     
    I had a four stage kent marine, Deluxe Maxxima unit Maxxima Hi-S model which also include a liquid filled pressure gauge electronic TDS meter and on this unit, I had I taking notice right away in the first few months living at my new location that low levels of phosphates were getting through for the first time, and after I test the RO unit water and changed all cartridges, and seen that still phosphates were still getting through, I called kent marine and decided to add two additional stages, a second carbon stage, and a second Hi-S DI cartridge and soon after there were no traces of phosphates to be seen, So I was then running a six stage unit with the additional cost of a second Hi-S DI cartridge of $45 each.

    http://www.kentmarine.com/products/ro/
     
    It was all due to the counties water supply, it was the worst water I had ever seen. So test your RO water and if its not that your family is over feeding while your not there, then this could be possibly your problem. I say this cause if you are doing everything the best for your tank, it might be that the problem lies in your RO water.

    Due to the water amounts I used, I changed my RO/DI unit membrane each year, it was a expensive hobby, IT WAS :perv:

    Buddy
     

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