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Out of Balance


MReef20
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Hi all, I'm struggling a bit with my tank being out of balance, and I think that it has lead to a case of dinos¬†ūüė≠¬†I pretty much test weekly, and until lately all parameters (except for phosphate) were pretty stable and in normal ranges.¬† This included nitrates, which had been running about 1-1.5 ppm.¬† Since the phosphate had been running really high (about .5ppm), so I started dosing Tropic Marin Elmi-Phos to help, and it worked like a champ.¬† I had originally bought NoPox, but didn't end up dosing it as I wasn't having both a nitrate and phosphate issue.¬†

Some additional background/equipment can be found in a previous thread: https://www.pnwmas.org/forums/topic/48280-a-few-general-parameter-questions/?tab=comments#comment-469896

I've managed to keep my phosphate levels to about .19 or lower, dosing the TM about once a week.  However, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I started getting algae film on the glass quicker, and started seeing what looked like turf algae on the rocks and a few areas of cyano.  Around the same time, I noticed the nitrates tanked - I figured that the algae was using up all of the nitrates as fuel.  Since then, I've taken a fairly "aggressive" approach regarding manual removal, including scrubbing rocks (outside of the tank if I could, and others in the tank).  I even turned off the skimmer for a few days, wondering if the skimmer was removing too many nutrients and started adding some microbacter 7 at the same time.

Well, I'm starting the think that I've transitioned from the algae/cyano phase to potentially the algae/dinos phase.  Whatever the case - it's not pretty!  Here are the most recent test results from Sunday:

Ammonia: 0

Nitrate: less than .1 ppm

Phosphate: 19 ppm (Hanna)

Alk: 7.7 (8.5 is the target)

Calc: 435

Mag: 1320

pH: 7.96

Here's what's strange, but also probably not - just related to the lack of nitrates.  Some corals (stylo, birdsnest, anacropora, montis, etc.) and my clam look absolutely fine/happy.  However, all of my Milli's are extremely washed out, and my RBTA has been ticked off as well.  Ricordea and hairy mushroom (and really zoas for that matter) don't look great.  Like I said, I think this is directly attributable to lack of nitrates, but what surprises me is that the Milli's are so mad.  Inverts all seem ok.

I have chaeto, but it's struggled since day 1, probably being out-competed for nutrients.  I mostly feed frozen food or freeze dried shirmp fortified with vitamins, selcon, and garlic, and occasionally feed some reef chili (with a touch of reef roids).

Thoughts on my best course of action?  Start dosing nitrates?  How do I make sure that the nitrates don't just add more fuel to the algae fire?

 

Thanks!

 

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What worked for me was...

I didn’t fed any coral foods what so ever. Did not dose anything, only Alk and Cal. Phyto daily as well as Snow...as well as Cyano Clean. It was a slow slow process about 2 1/2 months. 
 

I had Dinos , Cyano and GHA and now nothing.  
 

Pics for Reference...before and after. Could not find GHA pics. During the outbreak all my corals hated life and now are big and FAT! 

20C28BCF-FC4B-44C5-8283-25201B7F0938.jpeg

5863B3BC-2459-4B3A-9C7B-A1FA2ABAED51.jpeg

AA125E69-4029-4908-83F0-4E385D53DDC8.jpeg

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I also had some imbalance with my tank due to lack of nutrients. 0 Po4 and No3.
It started with cyano and chemi clean did wonders only to make room for the dinos. Luckily now I’m Dino free. I used phytoplankton and also dosed some Microbacter 7. A cheap Jebao 36w UV also helped. I stirred the dinos from the sand at night and let the UV do it’s thing. 
 

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Here is my formula for the stump removal. I used this calculator. 
http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/calculator.htm

Nitrate dosing 

12grams of stump remover to exactly one liter of rodi. 

1 ml of nitrate solution to 2 gallons of water = 1ppm nitrates. I tested 1mil solution to a gallon of saltwater and I get exactly 2 ppm nitrate with this formula. 
Test is for yourself to make sure.

 

Hope this helps. 

Edited by titus'reef
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Great suggestions - no ill effects then from raising it up to say 82?

Been dosing nitrates, numbers have come up to about .75 ppm, so that's good, but no slowing yet in the dinos and the ticked-off corals still look ticked off.

Has anyone tried Dino-X and/or a 3-5 day black out?

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If the dinos are not too much to handle for a while I would try higher temp 82-83 and dose phytoplankton. You can reduce the light schedule to about 6 hours and dial the whites down if you have leds.  I wouldn’t do a blockout yet because your corals are already not too happy. That will probably make it worse.  I’m no expert but that’s what I did with mine and it worked. 
 

Edited by titus'reef
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Dino X I have a full bottle if you wanna give it a try.  I would not use it again!  I would not try and rush things...it’s a slow process and sucks! 
I agree with the light schedule. I Turned whites way way down and only run my T5s for 3-4 hours a day now.  
 

Phyto! 

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On 12/9/2020 at 8:46 PM, titus'reef said:

I also had some imbalance with my tank due to lack of nutrients. 0 Po4 and No3.
It started with cyano and chemi clean did wonders only to make room for the dinos. Luckily now I’m Dino free. I used phytoplankton and also dosed some Microbacter 7. A cheap Jebao 36w UV also helped. I stirred the dinos from the sand at night and let the UV do it’s thing. 
 

It makes sense to run the UV at night - any adverse effects?  Assuming it would kill the phyto too, but I guess that's not an issue as long as the critters still eat it?  Here's what I think I'm planning to do:

1. Dose nitrates to maintain at least 1-2 ppm

2. Increase temp to 82

3. Turn white lights way down and run on a reduced (6-8) hour schedule

4. Dose phyto daily (does time of day matter?)

5. Run UV at night 

 

Thoughts?

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Slowly raise your nitrates to about 10. 
I run my UV 24/7 

Turn off your skimmer and UV for at least a couple of hours when dosing the phytoplankton. 
I would run the lights for 6 hours max but you have to judge by how your corals are doing. 
Also you should change your filter socks/floss or whatever you’re using every morning. 
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update - things seem to be continuing to slowly improve overall.  Two interesting (and not super encouraging) observations:

- Milli's have not been doing well, I think I'm losing a couple of frags (other stony corals seem ok)

- I noticed today that I seem to be having a "spike" in snail deaths (mostly seems to be Turbos) with two or three dying over the past week or so.  Smaller snails seem fine, and hermit crabs are definitely fine.  Thoughts on what could be attributing to recent snail deaths?

Nitrates have been hanging at about 20 ppm and phos at .35 ppm.  Are they up too high at this point?

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