View Full Version : HA's Revenge: Now growing out of the tank!

12/26/2010, 07:12 PM
Well, before we get to the HA, a brief description of the conditions before I left.

I refreshed the week old GFO (about 1 cup).

I setup an auto flake feeder and a very low setting for twice a day for 3 fish. I topped my sump up to the second float switch in case it used more than I thought while gone or in case I was gone longer than planned.

I filled my ATO bucket to the brim. And made sure my alk and CA were high before leaving since I wouldn't be dosing them outside my kalkwater top off. I tripled checked everything as I was paranoid about leaving it alone for the first time for 3 - 4 days.

I got home this evening and a few things to note: My ATO bucket was full just as I had left it. Sump still had water, but was very low.

I did some checking of things, and my second emergency float switch had stuck up (as in in the off position.)

So, the ATO didn't work at all while I was gone, no dosing of CA or alk. I didn't test how low they were, but, I assume the Ca for sure was low and Alk was probably dangerously low after 3 days as well.

Not to mention the salinity would have been higher. So, I fixed that and it's filling with kalkwater with a 1/4" hose, so it's just trickling in.

It filled about 3 gallons of kalkwater.. However, here's the weird thing. All the corals look great. They're all fully open and even the SPS corals look like they have polyps opening now. Something that hasn't happened for a while.

I don't know, go figure...

Well, Now to the HA condition. Yes, it's actually growing up out of the tank almost.. There's a piece on the glass growing up nearly out of the water...

Glas is covered in green algae, HA, has grown another 3 -5" in 3 days, covering almost half the 6 ft tank. Just imagine 3 feet of 5" long HA!

Algae bloom everywhere! :(

12/27/2010, 07:04 AM

You have had quite a bout with your hair algae problem. :(

Perhaps using a lights-out period will reduce the algae growth and allow you to get ahead of it. Scrubbing the rock if possible out of the tank will help a lot too.

12/27/2010, 10:40 AM
Yeah, I'm going to pull a lot this week if possible. Nothing I can do but export the crap out of the system. I'll probably pull and scrub down some of the rock. I don't want to cause any mini cycles in doing this though, so I'll only scrub down 20 - 30% of the rock and only the most with the most HA.

Changing lighting may help stunt it, but, it won't help with the xport of the nutrients it's using. Grr.. Strangely though, I have no cyano.. Not sure why that is.

12/27/2010, 10:55 AM
Here is what I would do to kill off the hair algae:
1. Stop the daily flake feeding. That flake food is loaded with phosphates. Feed a few times a week to start. Thats it!
2. Get the GFO in a reactor and run it that way. If the phosphates are that high, the GFO may already be exhausted.
3. Get a hanna phosphate meter. Check the levels coming out of the reactor vs. tank levels. This will let you know exactly whats going on .
You can then lower phosphates and the hair algae will die. It has too. I have done this helping friends tanks. In two weeks, the hair algae is gone........

12/27/2010, 02:08 PM
Mesh, I am running a BRS reactor. changing it weekly, but I need to switch to daily changes.... I need to do water changes, have a better CUC that will devour more HA. (thinking of ordering like a dozen spiny star astrea snails...), decrease lighting windows. decrease lighting period, raise mg to over 1300 maybe closer to 1400.

Keep alk at 3 or above.

I'm considering using rice in my reactor.. I have to get some rice though. Continue to manually pull HA. continue to stay on top of it.

It's a difficult task!

12/27/2010, 05:05 PM
I would stop feeding altogether for a week or so. The fish will be fine.

Personally, I would avoid trying rice in the reactor. The bio-pellets seem to be safer, and definitely have a more friendly nutritional profile. :)

12/28/2010, 09:08 AM
Thanks Jon. I suppose I could stop feeding for a few days. There should be some pods in the HA for my betta to scavenge. He doesn't go for imobile food that much, so, I'd be worried about him losing his taste for food altogether if I stop feeding.

The goby and clown, yeah they could go a month without food being added.. I think the clown just eats what the goby kicks up... I'm amazed the clown is still alive. It barely moves day to day, but he's breathing and will occasionally swim a little...

It's lost two partners, so, now, I'm going to go with I have a depressed clown that has taken to living in HA... :) Anyone know a clown fish whisperer?

More on topic. I've got the 400w halid set for 2 hours a day, 2 VHOs (Actinic) for 9 hours, and the 2 X 250 MHs not run at all.

How many days can the soft, LPS, and SPS corals survive on this schedule and be healthy?

It's not total lights out, and I don't know how much they can live off just actinics... with a 2 hour MH period.

12/28/2010, 04:47 PM
I have a question. My nitrate test kit always read zero on my QT tank, although, the algae growing under a basic hood light, grew rapidly the more I fed and the longer I had fish in there. Granted it could have been phosphates, I have to believe there were some nitrates in the QT.

I was wondering, if the tank runs fishless for like a month or more, with no fish, and only like 1 weekly feeding to keep the rock and stuff cycled and no water changes other than top off since the last time it housed fish, will the nitrates, have been processed bysome biological medium with no constant addition of nitrates? or would they still be at the same level they were at before the fish were removed from it?

A little off topic, but, I don't want to keep starting new threads! ;)

12/28/2010, 07:15 PM
That's an interesting question. I'd guess that the nitrate would be consumed slowly (or rise slowly) until it reached an equilibrium with the reduced food input and the new metabolic paths it's taking. If the system has some live rock, it's believable to me that the nitrate would be unmeasurable after a while. That might be true even with a small sponge filter or something similar.

12/28/2010, 09:31 PM
I ask because I introduced 3 fish to it today...

1. cleaner wrasse.

2. bristle tooth tang

3. my replacement clown.

I'm keeping them in the QT for 2 weeks for simple evaluation, feeding, etc.

I will move 1 fish at a time to the DT, evaluate for a week for any symptoms of parasites. If the first one goes o.k. I'll move the next one. They are all very small fish, so they should be a much smaller bioload than my betta and 2 clowns, I had in the 29 before for 2 months with no issues (I believe where the nitrates probably came from. :))

I'm hoping the tang will develop a taste for the HA. If not, I'm going to order a dozen ninja star astrea snails from my LFS. It's cheaper than me ordering and paying shipping.

Also, I've noticed 2 Asterina Starfish in my 125g now (should be good for starting to control algae). Will not be long until I have thousands of them. I don't know how they survived, but, where there's 2 there will be thousands. I sense a Harelquin shrimp in my distant future. lol.

12/29/2010, 12:28 AM

You've got a few threads running, took me a while to catch up with it all.

I think you're mainly on the right track attacking the hair algae. When you lost your previous tank, that was a lot of biomass that went into those rocks. All that ammonia you dealt with converted over to nitrates, which is fueling the algae still. It's going to be a long fight most likely, and it's going to be frustrating at times, but you've got the right methods going. I went through the same thing for a long time, which started when I got some established rock out of a few other local tanks. Keep at it with the manual removal, the water changes, etc...

Your tests may not show the nitrates or the phosphates, but they're in there. Likely bound up in the rock and the algae, at some point you're going to reach the bottom of that food supply and the algae will die off.

I did have a few questions pop up over the course of your thread, and I may have missed some stuff, so here's what I'm curious about.

1. Your skimmer. I haven't seen mention of it, which do you have? Is it pulling out a lot of stuff? Cleaning it daily?

2. Fish Food. You said flakes, correct? Which ones? Might not be a bad idea to change foods in addition to cutting back. Cyclopeeze may be work looking into, or perhaps one of the other guys can chime in with a good suggestion. Fish love the stuff, and it's great for corals as well.

3. I know you said your RO/DI is reading a TDS of 4. Sounds good, but I'd also test it for nitrates and phosphates in your change water, to make sure you don't have any sneaking in via that method.

Now, having family in the Dakotas, I assume that you have very hard water in your area? Running a softener? If so, make sure that you're feeding the softened water to your RO unit. Hard water is brutal on RO membranes.


12/29/2010, 10:04 AM
I'll start with 3 and work backwards because that's easiest to answer.
first though, threads, yes, sorry, there's a few, and I'm trying to stick with one, I'll stick with this one for the time being.

So, #3. Good idea to test RODI water for phosphates and nitrates. The softener has a supply line split off to the RODI unit. When we had our culligan RO unit installed, that's why we went with a softener. He said the non softened water would destroy the membrane in 1 - 2 years (if not sooner depending on usage.) with the softener they estimated it could last as long as 7 years. So, When I got the new RO and DI unit, I just tapped into the other RO unit supply line for it.

With that said, I do deplete DI resin rather rapidly. - 100- 150 gallons seems to be the max before it creeps up. This I am told by thefilterguyz is the result of low ph and high carbon content water. Water with low ph and high amounts of carbon will cause resin to deplete much faster than if it were just a high tds water. Not sure what affect if any high carbon, low ph water has on aquariums though? My ph in the aquarium runs on the high side at between 8.3 and 8.4. When kalkwater is dispending it'll climb up to 9 in my sump where the ph probe is.

2. The last flake I got was / is Ocean Nutrition Prime reef flakes. Protein: 55.4%, Fat 10.8%, moisture: 7.3%, Fiber: .6%, and Ash: 6.0%. Doesn't indicate phosphates, but, I'm sure they're there. I also have fed gel foods - Cyclopeze gel. I have mixed results of these. If my Betta grabs the food in the water column he eats it right up. If he misses it, it just sits in the tank and gets consumed by snails.. So, with more fish this would be a better option. The 3 in there though, gel is borderline useful. and I only feed like 1/4 to 1/2 the packet at a time. With the flake, I have it set to the lowest feed setting on the auto feeder, which isn't much. I have also fed brin mixed with mysis. though this is hard because again, mainly only the betta goes after it, so I can't feed much.. a squirt or two from a turkey baster and that's it.

My betta has been coming out a lot more, usually a sign he's hungry lol...

1. Lastly, the skimmer. this is the peace of equipment I know the least about. The skimmer fills almost the entire half of the 30 gallon Euro brace sump. I know it's a small sump, but with the Eurobracing, it takes a contortionist to get the skimmer in and out. It's an in sump skimmer.

I don't know what pump it has on it, but, it's a Marine Solutions Inc skimmer, at least that's the tag on the front of the skimmer. It says SWC on the lid. I just looked at their website, but I don't see any that look similar to what I have. I know the cup reeks, if I don't have the stand closed, the whole room stinks of the crap in the skimmer. I didn't have it going for a couple days and the whole tank started to look horrible. So, I know it's doing something! I have it wide open right now because it kept on starting to overflow at times. So, I just left it open, so It's probably skimming fairly dry or thick skimmate right now. I'll start to slowly close it again so it runs wetter, but not too wet.

Skimming dry, it usually fills the cup in under a week. or it gets full enough that I can't stand the smell any longer after a few days.

Lastly, I know this is bad, but I haven't done any water changes since setting up the 125. :( I purchased a 5g bucket of IO salt, and setup the 125g. After a couple weeks I was testing everything out to get alk, ca, and MG evened out, and I came to discover mg was at 480-500. I have contacted IO about this, and they requested I send a sample in, which I did. I'm still waiting on a replacement bucket. I'll have to buy a smaller amount of salt to do a waterchange with. I was hoping to have the replacement salt by now as I can't use that in a reef. I've spent close to $40.00 just on MG CL to to get it to 1200. That includes a free dose from the LFS that raised it about 80 or so.

I could have bought another bucket of salt for not much more than that. I've gone through 3 gallons of the BRS mix. And it's around 1300 now after doing all that with 3 separate test kits, two salifert, and one redsea mg test kits.

Anyways that's it in a nutshell. I talked to the LFS yesterday and they can order me in the ninja star snails. I'm planning to order around a dozen of them in a couple weeks.

Well, hope that helps. I think the algae already looks better just running one MH 2 hours a day for the a day and ahalf now. My one chalce though, looks pale in a couple spots. I hope it's just losing some color fromt he loss of light.

I think the betta is enjoying the dimmer light conditions. He comes out a lot more (either because he's hungry or because there's less light or both.)

Can't wait to get the tang in there and see if it will nip at some of the algae..
So far it's not eating any of the HA in the QT he's in. (I put a rock or two from the 125g into the 29 QT that had a huge amount of HA on it.)

12/29/2010, 01:10 PM
A quick update of stats (I did it, finally got MG up.. overshot a little, but actually got it high).

Alk: 2.5 meq/l
CA: 340-360 (a little low, dosing to adjust).
MG: 1530!!! w00t!

The last dose I mixed did it, raised it about 250-300 (did two separate doses about 12-15 hours a part.)

Yaay. I also got an email back from IO finally!! Asking for my phone number and address so they can look up the status of my stuff.. Probably take a week to get a response now... Maybe more. lol.

12/29/2010, 02:35 PM
A quick update of stats (I did it, finally got MG up.. overshot a little, but actually got it high).

Alk: 2.5 meq/l
CA: 340-360 (a little low, dosing to adjust).
MG: 1530!!! w00t!

The last dose I mixed did it, raised it about 250-300 (did two separate doses about 12-15 hours a part.)

Yaay. I also got an email back from IO finally!! Asking for my phone number and address so they can look up the status of my stuff.. Probably take a week to get a response now... Maybe more. lol.

In all honesty, I would have probably bought some fresh salt while waiting to hear from IO. Even if they do replace it for you, it's not like you won't go through the stuff. A bit more salt around the house is never a bad thing.

Glad to hear you got the mag sorted out, that should help with the algae too.


12/29/2010, 04:51 PM
I live in the middle of nowhere. The closest store that has anything even remotely close to decent salt is 150 miles roundtrip. I buy a lot of my needs online. And, I always buy extra. I know, the cost is a bit high, but it is better than losing the tank to something as small as a return pump impeller. My garage looks like a small LFS. I keep salt on hand and I even have two 200 gallon food grade mixing tanks. One holds RODI and the other I use to mix my salt. I get stares from some folks who come over and see the garage but then they see the tank in the living room and forget all about the crazy old man who lives up the road. They just think of the corals, the fish, and all the other things they see in the tank. I love this hobby. And yes, I have horror stories like yours. Get some extra salt. As mentioned by others, it is a good idea. And, if you live out a ways like myself, get yourself a generator. Nothing worse than watching your tank die because you can't keep it warm in the winter or cool in the summer. As for the hair algae, I doubt there is a hobbyist alive who hasn't experienced the JOYS of the stuff. Good maintenance is imperative. We all get lazy once in a while and it usually bites us in the butt when we do. Good maintenance when I first started keeping fish back in the early 1950's meant you changed at least 10% of your water once a week. You kept the substrate clean. You kept the glass clean. And you kept the lights running at a level that was beneficial to plants and animals. I don't see where any of that has changed to date. It takes practice and dedication. It seems you have both, so hang in and don't get discouraged. Hell, I am still learning and I have been keeping reef systems over 20 years now. The only time I gave up fresh water was when I served with Uncle Sam. It seems he did not want me humping an aquarium in the jungle. LMAO. Good luck to you.

12/29/2010, 07:27 PM
Salt is easy to get. I've been lazy about it. If an emergency came up, I have what's left of the low mg salt. I was wondering about a generator. Ugg. I think I might start with a battery backup power for air. The most I've ever been out of power is 8 hours. And the tank is in in a room with a gas fireplace. The fan wont' work, but, the fireplace has worked in the past to keep the room warm.

Anyways thanks for the advice. I have the dedication, just not sure about the patience part, but doesn't everyone have issues with the patience?? :)

12/29/2010, 08:54 PM
Just saw another thread here where somebody was suspecting their IO salt of having considerable amounts of phosphates in it. Add that to your already mag deficient batch, and mine missing the free t-shirt, I think it's getting close to time for torches and pitchforks.


12/30/2010, 09:03 AM
Well that wouldn't surprise me. I plan on actually TESTING the next mix I make. I was surprised after I moved my rock to a tube of heated saltwater after 1 week it tested .5 for phosphates. I didn't test when I mixed the sw, but, I'm not sure phosphates at those levels could leach that fast from the rock. It was fresh RODI water with brand new DI resin I used for that batch.

When I get some NEW salt, I'll perform an experiment of sorts, test the RODI water, test freshly made salt water, then test the tank water and compare the 3.

12/30/2010, 10:02 PM
Well, quick update. I got more Io salt and will try to do a WC this weekend.. I guess something to ring in the new year by.. lol

our blizzards today have caused us a 4 hour power outtage. Temp got down to 73. Ph never dropped below 8.3. So, I think things will be o.k. QT got down to 70. The fish seem to be o.k. though. *whew* dodged a bullet I think!

01/02/2011, 03:41 PM
Another update:

I didn't get to the water change, I did change my lighting schedule for 3 days to 1 400w MH for 2 hours. And the VHO actinics on for 9 hours. I also got the MG to 1530 as mentioned previously. Alk is hovering at around 2.5meq/l. Ph is hovering between 8.3 and 8.5. 8.3 during lights out and 8.5 during peak daytime lighting.

I have manually pulled lots of HA. Probably close to a net wt of half a pound or so. I cleaned my skimmer and turned it to skim wetter. And a lot of the HA has turned brown. Kinda rust colored. I assume this is a good sign! Since the lights were restored to a normal schedule, some new stuff has grown in green, but a lot of it is turning brown.

I also cut my cheato ball in half and I'm rotating it every couple of days.

I think it's going in the right direction. I'm going to get some ninja star snails ordered this week to see if they can help speed the process along.

01/05/2011, 06:23 PM
I wanted to give one more update on this thread. I need to know how to proceed next.

My new results, which I'm amazed by. However, I think I know why.... (It's an oops, sorta good, sorta bad oops.)

Phosophates: Test at 0!!!!

HA is turning brown and dieing and releasing. I had enough Chaeto to dispose of half the ball. In around a week's time it has doubled in size! The ATS, isn't taking off too well, it's got algae on it, but, My guess is the chaeto is out performing the ATS. I'll have to choose which to have eventually.

There's a few green patches of HA, but they are limited to one or two rocks, the rest of the rocks have brown dry / whithered up HA strands....

Quickly, here's part of the reason I think. The auto feeder I setup. I don't think I programmed it right. I noticed that when I was messing with it tonight that there was a way to tell it to rotate once or twice for each feeding time. I didn't set it to rotate at all. So here I was assuming my fish were being fed and they weren't (that's the bad part..)

They hadn't been fed much since before Christmas... (that's when I setup the auto feeder).

No wonder my sand is so clean, my goby had nothing to eat but what is in the sand! Oops!! Thankfully nothing died!! So, after two weeks of no feedings the HA must have exhausted what Phosphates and nutrients were in the sand and rock. Good on the HA battle, bad on the fish....

I have begun feeding small amounts of Mysis and brine mix.. I make a 2 cubes of mysis, and a few small pieces of brine shrimp with RODI water, and that will last about 2 weeks at the rate I'm feeding right now. So, not a lot going in the tank. And no flake evidently at the moment.

So, with all that said. I'm starting to win, but, I'm curious. Now what do I do? The rocks that have dead HA on them look extremely ugly.... I try pulling it by hand, some comes easily, some is too short to get a grasp of it. Will it eventually completely release or does it all require manual intervention?

I'm not sure what to do at this point as it dies? I don't want it's nutrients to go back in the water if possible. Any ideas? suggestions on how to stay in the right direction without hurting my fish?

01/05/2011, 07:06 PM
Fish generally do well enough with a lot less food than they get in most tanks. There's also live prey available in many systems, so I wouldn't worry too much about the fish.

The remnants of the hair algae will go away on their own, but pulling it off the rock and removing it from the tank should speed the process a bit.

01/05/2011, 07:16 PM
Thanks Bertoni. Weeks, Months?

01/05/2011, 07:27 PM
I have no idea, but I wouldn't expect it to take many months, depending on how alive the algae is. Brushing it lightly while in the tank might help a bit, too.

01/06/2011, 06:26 AM
I was thinking of scrubbing down some loose pieces of rock. Just don't want to end up reaquascaping everything. I just wanted to have some way to track or have concrete evidence that things are changing for the better. I wouldn't want to wait 3 months and find out evrything is still the same or similar. KWIM.

That said, I noticed my goby was picking at some HA. He may actually be trimming it some... Probably just picking off food or detritious that gets caught in it.

As far as eating, my betta is not an active eater. He maybe hunts pods here and there, but he's very lazy. I haven't seen my clown eat a thing yet, and it's been close to 2 months he's been in the tank. So, he must be eating something. I'll continue with light feedings of shrimp every 2or 3 days and I may go back to a reduced light schedule also for 2 or 3 days. that seemed to help too.

I have to put in an order for GFO also. Does BRS sell polyfilters? I was thinking of having one or two just in case type of thing. but, I can't seem to locate them anywhere?

01/10/2011, 07:34 AM
Well, things are continuing to improve ever so slowly.

The HA on the left side and the right side of the tank is all but dead. I have noticed my Goby sifting stuff off the dead HA and even sifting some of the HA itself through his body. I'm not sure how healthy it is, but I see the HA come out as he's sifting. So, this may be helping to reduce HA on the rock over time.

There are still some living patches in the middle 8 inches of the tank. They are a greenish brown in color, but fairly thick. I'm thinking if I replace my GFO one or two more times, this patch would also start to die this week. I haven't been feeding much at all.

I fed some gel cyclopeez and that was about it all weekend.

I noticed the skimmer is pulling out some really dark colored crap. It's almost black, but it's only 1/4 full in about a week's time. So, I must have it skimming fairly dry.

I did try the 45 ml of vinegar per gallon with 3 tspoon of kalk per gallon. I will retest Ca and alk tonight, as around 3 - 4 gallons of the new mix will have been used.

I noticed that my PH has dropped the last two days. It was running 8.36 or so at night and 8.48 during the day. I noticed today that it was down to under 8.25 and yesterday the high was around 8.33 or so.

Would the vinegar have a buffering or PH stabilizing effect? I was concerned about the PH ranges that I was running, I like this a lot better whatever changed it seems like a good change. :)

01/10/2011, 08:44 AM
Vinegar will drop the pH, and temporarily bind up some alkalinity. The vinegar in the lime might be responsible for the drop, at least in part. I would keep an eye out for bacterial blooms.

01/10/2011, 09:19 AM
I will keep an eye out for cyano etc.

01/10/2011, 06:01 PM
No signs of any bacterial outbreaks. The bucket of vinegar / lime water is about gone. I'm out of vinegar. LOL. Grr, mainly because it's fricken cold and I don't want to go out just for a jug of vinegar. LOL (I'm lazy o.k.)

I tested a few stats tonight:

Temp 79
PH (lights on): 8.36 (That's what it used to be lights off).

Alk: 3.20 meq/L
Ca: Between 490 and 500.

That's around exactly what i was keeping it at with doing supplemental manual dosing of Ca and alk in addition to limewater. I last tested on Friday. So, that's about 3 whole days without any supplemental dosing.

The vinegar seems to have done an excellent job!! I'm very appreciative of that type. Probably saved me $200.00. As I was very close to trying to figure out how to get a couple dosing pumps.

I like this much much much better!

01/11/2011, 11:44 AM
sounds like your kicking arse Travis. keep up on it and never give up.

01/11/2011, 12:06 PM
Nope, it's taking time, but I'm pleased with the results so far. I'm hoping to keep costs low, and results high.

I've taken to feeding gel cyclopeez. My betta loves it. He ate almost an entire package by himself yesterday. Never seen him eat that much.

I hope to post pics in a month or two when most of the HA is gone, and it finally starts to look like a nice purple reef. :)

01/11/2011, 05:36 PM
Got home today, Checked the tank, everything looked fine. cleaned some stuff, ate, and went back to check the sump and I notice something wrong immediately. The sump is full to the second float of my ATO. First thought, My ATO flooded my sump. I checked the ATO bucket and saw that it was 3/4 full yet, about where I left it this morning....

I'm like WTH? I check the tank and the returns and nothing's coming out... It hit me then... The return pump is not running.. AAARGG!! I'm going to try shutting off and restarting it, and a couple things, but, it's possible my return pump went out... My LFS doesn't sell dry return pumps. So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet.. I've got one I can throw in the sump, but, It'll probably suck in sand... Any ideas I can try to verify the pump is for sure bad?

01/11/2011, 09:11 PM
I'd open it up and see whether there are any calcium carbonate deposits on it. If not, I'd pitch it.

01/12/2011, 12:15 PM
Agreed on pitchingit. I have the submersable from my 55g up and running now to keep the sump going. With the DSB in the sump, I didn't want it to lose oxygen for a few days, plus my heaters are in the sump.

I figured out why my corals were POEd. I thought the temp looked fine. Then I remembered my temp probe is in the sump for my controller... My fans were running on the canopy, based on the temp of the sump!!! AAAARRGGG!!

So, the canopy was cooling the DT, which was probably already too cold... What was interesting is when I started running the sump and the overflows, the temp dropped from 76 to 74 in the sump. ... so the DT had to have hit between 70 and 72. Ambient room temp was kept at 70, with the halides and just the powerheads running, it may have hit down to 71 or 72.

Which, should be tolerable for all fish, inverts, and corals. However, I routinely keep it at 78-79. So, that's 10% drop. ANyways, the heaters kicked on and everything resumed normal operations with the submersable pump and single return line until I get the external pump replaced.

I ordered a pan world from BRS. I got the 590 GPH with 16.6 Max Head. That should work out to give me around 450-500 gph. A low flow return for my reef.

If I need more flow in the tank, I'll put more powerheads in. I've got 3 now, I was debating adding 2 more sometime. The powerheads are 1 1200gph, and 2 EVOS at 750 GPH each. for a total of around 2700GPH. I was thinking of adding two more 1000 GPH powerheads at some point. Especially not now though.

I got the return orderred and I reordered the GFO I was putting off. I'll start changing that out every 2 or 3 days once i get it around 2/3 cup at a time.

So, I can resume watching HA die once this is in place! YAAY!

01/12/2011, 05:24 PM
Hi travis, I hope things are getting better for you. I had a HA problem for abut 3 months before I got a hold of it.
1. Raising your mag is a good thing. try to keep it up there.
2. Manually pull out all that you can. Use a toothbrush for the small stuff.
3. Feed your tank something like rods food or something frozen, no pellets, no flake and definetly no gel based foods. The gel foods is what caused my HA I do believe. Only feed every 3rd day.
4.4 hours max for all of your lights until the problem goes away.
5. Your phosphate meter is incorrect. well not really but the phosphate is being bound by the HA and the GFO. There is a lot more phosphates in the tank right now than what the meter will show.

Part of the problem with correct HA is that phosphates will also be bound up by the rock and sand since it was so high to begin with. once you get the problem under control keep running that GFO and keep the feeding cutback. Your lights you can slowly bring back to a full cycle. As long as you maintain the same routine it shouldn't come back. Mine came back with a vengeance due to the phosphates being held withing the rocks and substrate. I did the same thing I just described to you the 2nd time around and everything is no clear as a bell. No HA at all.

Good luck.

01/13/2011, 06:21 AM
It's dieing quite nicely so far. How long can you run with lights on shortened schedules (e.g. 4 hours) before corals and anemones, etc, are affected?

I was thinking only a few days, but, I could be wrong. I went about a week on a shortened schedule, then went back to normal.

01/13/2011, 12:14 PM
The reduced lighting schedule had no ill effect on my corals at all. I'm sure it maybe stunted the growth a little durring that time but your trying to fix a problem so the corals will be better off once it is corrected. What do you think happens when it's cloudy above the reef? despite popular beliefe, reefs aren't always sunshine and rainbows :) I would go a couple of weeks on the reduced schedule personally. I run my lighting only 6.5hrs a day anyways and have no issues. I also run a reverse lighting schedule and the lights come on after sunset...since the tank gets a lot of light from the sun setting in the first place I chose to do it this way, plus I like to enjoy my tank when I get home vs. in the morning.

01/13/2011, 03:39 PM
Oh, yeah, I run my lights currently 1pm to 10 pm. I run the VHOs from noon to 11 pm. so they are kind of the dawn dusk simulation. I could cut back the MHs to 1 to 3 and 3 to 5.. (400W from 1-3, and 2 X 250W bulbs from 3 to 5.)

Save on the life of the bulbs and save me electricity. ;)

01/13/2011, 09:29 PM
Well, I know that this hobby is slow, and takes time to see the beauty in it. But, right now, it just seems like one battle after another. Perseverence is hard when it seems like there is no rewards in sight.

I got the new return pump in site. I couldn't find a stopper that would fight my return exactly, but, I got one that Sorta fit. I taped the new returns threads with pipe fitting tape and got everything ready for a fast swap... disconnected the old return and water came flowing through the stopper... Had a towel ready and it was real fast or anything, so I got the new pump attached.

Went to attach the T that sends water to the two overflows and find I don't have a way screwing that on without disconnecting the two hoses attached to it. So, I disconnect the whoses screw on the T hand tightening it, and Then hook the hoses back up.. I open the valves on the overflows, am ready to go.....

I unplug the temporary pump I was using and plug the new one in. Aside from nearly overflowing my tank, and draining 3-4 gallons into my tank that were in my sump.... The T connector fitting (PVC) leaks in 2 - 3 spots. A drip from each spot every 4 or 5 seconds. Which with at least 2 separate spots leaking that way, it's safe to say 1 drop every 2 seconds.

So, I got the silicone out, siliconed the crap out of the two places and some others That I could fathom it leaking. Almost coated the whole thing in silicone. put a towel under the pump and came back 3 hours later. The towel's soaked through and well, I have to most likely completely disconnect and redo the return plumbing...

This is so frustrating. Because, now my salinity is off from adding 3 gallons to the tank, (I haven't had time or bothered to check it). My dosing is going to be off because I didn't have time to retest everything. Now, with my old pump it will evaporate the water to lower the level in the sump before the top off kicks in, so, my salinity will be thrown off again, dosing will be thrown off again, and 1 coral that hadn't opened for a couple days opened today. The toad stool that opened like clockwork isn't opening at all now.

In the meantime the hair algae is making faces at me.

I know this will pass, but, errg. Very frustrating. Oh and the minor flood soaked my carpet. So, hopefully that dries out fairly fast, but, I didn't have time to do any testing tonight. I'm off work at noon or so tomorrow. So, I'll be spending the weekend redoing the plumbing of my return and hopefully *Fingers CROSSED* Leak free plumbing and easy disconnect!!!

01/14/2011, 09:48 AM
Have you thought of removing the rock from the tank and cooking it?? This works really well.

01/14/2011, 04:43 PM
I have thought about that, My rock work is a real PIA! I've got a lot of small pieces and only a couple larger pieces. So, It would be like playing dominoes to disassemble it.

I agree that cooking it is the best option. The worst of it is now directly under my 400w halide. It's strange, it must be the lighting. The rocks under the 2 X 250W lights, are full of white / clear dead hair algae. And there's less on those rocks everyday. There's brownish green HA on the middle section. I never even thought of the more powerful light being the culprit....hmm.

I'm wondering if just shutting down the 400 W and running the 2 X 250s for a few weeks or even a month, would stop feeding the stuff int he middle or if it would just cause more outbreaks on the other rocks?

I got a lot of GFO now, So, I'm going to start changing that out every 2-4 days for the next 2 -3 weeks. Then, I will trim it back to Weekly changing. I've taken to feeding every 3 days now. I'm amazed how much the skimmer is pulling out, even though I'm not feeding. Where's all the crap coming from? I'm using RODI top off. And have 3 fish in the tank...

Once I get my return plumbing fixed.. Crossing my fingers that my new PVC structure is water proof.. My gut tells me there's going to be issues, I don't know why though. Anyways, once it's fixed, I'll be back to testing everything else out again and inspecting the old pump.

01/15/2011, 08:26 AM
A couple quick updates! The return is working with no leaks! Whew! My gut was wrong and it was just me worried about something else going wrong. I have had papertowels around the return over night and let it run over night. Not a single damp spot located around the return.

So, I tested my SG this moring After having to add around 3 -4 gallons of fresh Rodi water to level my sump with the new pump (several times as I was doing this.) I first calibrated my refrac with the calibration water (0ppt with a error rate of +.- .001 according to the fluid).

The calibration was slightly off, was reading a little low. Check the tank and it's reading at 1.028sg. So, I'm thinking I need to lower the SG. That may explain why some my toad stool hasn't opened at all since these pump issues. With the backup pump, not much water was pumped, and the sump would fill up. water would evap, and it would raise the SG because it was above the fill level the whole time. So, the SG may have hit 1.029 or even 1.030. If the calibration fluid is accurate.

I'll need to figure that out. But, I'm going to reduce my lighting schedule now. I'm thinking 4 hours with the 2 X 250s, would be enough to keep the tank going for a couple weeks. I'll do that in the evenings. It'll give my lighting in the sump opportunity to outcompete the display.

My chaeto has been doing well, I actually created a small like "1" ball accidently last time I ripped it apart. Now, that ball is almost 3", and the other main ball is doubled in size. So, It's definately helping and I noticed a big difference when running with my smaller return pump. Less water from the sump was being processed. Guess what happened to the display? Yup, the glass filled in in a matter of hours with algae.

I wondered what the return pump would have to do with phosphates / algae on the glass. Then I realized something, The ATS I have started along with the Chaeto, skimmer, GFO, carbon, processing in the sump... The sump is doing some serious processing of the nutrients. With less flow, less clean water was getting into the tank. The phosphates / nutrients were outproducing the flow of the sump.....

That's my best guess anyways.. Which, tells me, I need to stay on top of this or it could get out of hand very quickly if phosphates are appearing that fast without me feeding more than once every 2 - 3 days and when I feed, it's to feed 1 fish, so, I'm not feeding much!!

I do need to start target feeding the corals, but, one thing at a time. First it's the HA so I can see the corals.

01/19/2011, 10:33 AM
Quick Question:
Most of my HA is dead (clear or white strands). The fish are yanking them off the rock for me, and a lot of it is dissappearing (slowly but steadily). There's one about half round spot that is green and growing in, but, the rest of the 6 ft tank is continuing to die off. (This is such an awesome feeling, I thought for sure I would lose this battle.)

So, as it's continuing to recede or disappear all together.

How often do I need to change out my GFO? I changed it on Friday for the first time in almost 3 weeks to a month. (just got some new stuff). I plan to change it out again today, From there, once every 2 weeks or so?

01/19/2011, 01:49 PM
I would replace the GFO every month, unless the phosphate level became measurable or there was some other sign that the nutrients are rising. After a while, you should be able to dial in the GFO changes.

After a month, the GFO likely is so fouled by bacteria that it should be changed, so that's why I'm not recommending a longer interval.

01/19/2011, 02:00 PM
When using GFO to drop the Po4 level, it needs to be changed frequently (every 1 or 2 days to once a week max.).
When using it to maintain Po4 at a low level, usually it can last three to four weeks. It may appear to last longer, but its effectiveness is questionable after a few weeks time becasuse bacteria have grown all over it limiting the effective surface area of the media.

It sounds like you've hit the point where the Po4 is the nutrient limiting factor for your HA. However, it also sounds like some HA is still releasing some Po4 back into the water column as it breaks down. For that reason, I'd keep changing your GFO out at the same frequuency you have been until all visual HA is gone from the tank, unless the corals start to pale out. If the corals start to pale out and/or if they cease growing, and/or if your calcareous algae growth ceases entirely, that is a sign that you've dropped the Po4 too low. In that case, I'd stop using GFO entirely for a while.

01/19/2011, 02:11 PM
I noticed last night that there was one SPS chalace type of coral that looks like it has bleached circular lines in the middle. Not sure what the bleach lines are.

My toad stool also stopped opening. It's flesh is fine, but it opened everyday like clockwork. Last night over 3 or 4 hours some of it's spines started to come out, it never fully opened nor spread out, they just started to push out a little. I'm going to blame it on it just being moody. not lack of PO4... ;)

The LPS, other SPS, and other soft corals are all doing great. I have a giant leather that opens fully everyday, my frogspawn all look great, growing new heads, Candycanes, are growing new heads. So, I don't know that I can blame anything on a change in PO4 levels, other than the loss of HA. ;)

I'll change the GFO out again today and test everything else again.