View Full Version : Repetitive bacterial blooms

10/12/2016, 07:38 AM
I am having a series issue that is putting my on the brink of turning my system off and taking a break.

I currently have a 90 gallon reef tank. I started it back in April with all dry rock and sand. Natural cycle using mysis cubes. Started collected corals and I now have month after month had bacterial blooms. My fish were never bothered but my corals are taking the hit. I lost a few sps, the rest of them are holding on.

2 of my lps took a hit. But the rest are fine and my zoas close but recover shortly after.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what is going on. Currently there are no fish as I got ich so I had to pull all my fish to treat in QT. One fish I had for awhile stressed out, broek out in ick and died.

I also have been fighting a form of dinoflagettes during all this. I did lights out for 3 days. and been peroxide dosing since. Shortened the photoperiods to 5 hours a day to battle them. I stopped doing water changes as recommended.

Parameters have been consistent

Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all zero
Mag 1350
Calcium 500
pH 8.1
Alk 8.1
Phos .07

Running a 40 breeder sump with RO XS160 Skimmer.

So any suggestions are welcome. Before I decide to just shut down, I thought Id give it one more shot

10/12/2016, 08:02 AM
Maybe you feed too much.Ussually bacterial blooms happen right after you feed too much or if you dose vodka,nopox sometimes.

10/12/2016, 08:03 AM
Not feeding currently and it broke out again in a bloom with no fish in it. And I really dont feed alot. Enough to be gone in a minute or less

10/12/2016, 08:11 AM
All reef aquariums go from bacterial filtration then move to cyano then to green hair algae.If the dynoflagelates you sayd you had were actually cyano and you killed them with peroxide then you stopped the natural process of filtration evolution by letting all the work to be done by bacteria.Dont give up and have patience.This is a beautifull hobby.I had to quit my reef aquarium to make room for the deep sea aquarium but i feel like something is missing.

10/12/2016, 08:13 AM
Its definately not cyano. Im not new to this rodeo

10/12/2016, 01:13 PM
What's your skimmer like? Maybe not enough skimmer?
I also just had a nasty incident with a filter sock---should have washed it first, but it came from an aquarium supply mfg, so I thought, emergency, it's clean---and I used it. IM-MED-I-ATE massive foam. Talk to a guy who worked in city aquaria and he thinks it was short-chain oily contamination, something foodgrade, but hard to get out, because it won't form the sort of bubbles (he lost me somewhere around short-chain vs long-chain molecules) that let the skimmer get it out. I made up more salt water, then began letting the skimmer run, and literally standing there and dumping the cup repeatedly, replacing lost water with an equivalent amount of new salt water, so the ATO wouldn't flood it. It helped. MAYBE what you've got going is something coming in with food or some product, hand cream, even a small pump oil leak---back in the day there was a brand that used to do that.

10/12/2016, 01:17 PM
Skimmer is still functioning properly. Even without any fish in the tank. Its quiet and no weird skimmate of foam in the tank being produced.

I dont use very many products as far on my hands. Pretty basic hand soap ive always used with SW tanks. But Ive never experienced anything like this with any other tank. And I tend to try to keep my hands out of the tank as much as possible

10/13/2016, 10:02 AM
Anyone else on possible input?

10/13/2016, 05:58 PM
Sorry sponger0, not sure if this will help. I had something recently as well where my tank was cloudy for months with a water column bacterial bloom. I cleared it slightly with a diatom filter, but it just came back. I finally set up an old UV sterilizer that I've had for decades and the tank is clearer than it's ever been. I lost several fish in the cloudy water and now everything is really flourishing. I won't be taking the sterilizer offline anytime soon.


10/21/2016, 10:25 AM
Do you think it might be a algae bloom instead of bacteria?

10/22/2016, 12:52 PM
I donít have a skimmer. My old tank used an algae scrubber and nothing else. I experimented with a very little bit of vodka and got a bacterial bloom that wouldnít go away because there was nothing to export it. After I got rid of it the first time, I had a few out brakes and I did the same thing to fix it.

My new tank is in start-up mode now. It has dried dead rock, live sand but no fish and no corals. It has nothing on it but lights and two circulation pumps. Öno filtration at all.

Without feeding anything, I had a big outbreak here as well. I fixed the problem once again in this new tank. What is it that I used?
This is purely anecdotal but I dosed live phytoplankton. In less than a week, I could see improvement and it was always gone in less than two. Since I have only done it three or four times, I canít say exactly how much I used. I just put in enough to cloud the water.

This time, I bought a bottle of local phyto water and dumped half of it in one day and the other half the next in a few days. I saw improvement so I bought some Reed Nutrition Phyto Feast LIVE because it is more concentrated. I didnít go through more than a third of a 15 dollar bottle of paste this time.

Now this could have been just a coincidence and I donít know what the logic would be for this to happen but that is what I have observed.

elegance coral
10/23/2016, 08:30 AM
My opinion.....
Stop doing things like running without lights and dosing peroxide. All this does is kill organisms, but does not remove them. This leads to blooms of other organisms later on. Lights out kills photosynthetic organisms. They die, decompose, and the nutrients released can then fuel bacterial blooms. Dose peroxide, and you kill microbes. The microbes decompose, and the nutrients released can fuel algae, or other bacterial blooms.

You need to fix the problem and not look for quick fixes that only treat the symptom of the problem you're having right now. Which leads to different problems down the road.

The problem is that your system has more nutrients than it can process in ways that you would prefer, so you get algae and microbial blooms. The key is to reduce overall nutrients and give your system the ability to process nutrients in a more favorable manner.

Adding more organisms that the system can not maintain, like phyto, is counter productive to this goal. Phyto will simply die off and add unwanted nutrients. Nutrients that can then lead to further blooms of unwanted organisms.

There are many photosynthetic, and non-photosynthetic, organisms that can live in/on the substrate. Both sand and rocks. These organisms utilize and concentrate nutrients within the sediments. This robs nutrients from unwanted organisms like open water bacterial blooms and diatoms. Periodically gravel vacuuming the sand and siphoning detritus from rocks, can remove excess nutrients from these areas. Running without lights and peroxide dosing kills these organisms in/on the sediments, making more nutrients available for unwanted organisms in the open water.

So, IMHO, stop running lights out and dosing peroxide. Give the organisms within the substrate time to get established. Keep up with water changes, gravel vacuuming, and detritus siphoning. If you stop killing the organisms living in/on the substrate, you'll have fewer nutrients available to open water blooms of unwanted organisms.


Green Chromis
11/01/2016, 05:54 AM
:fish1: Hi, I noticed that both the aquarists with the bacterial blooms were using dry rock, could this be a cause of the problem? I have always used a very high quality live rock, for all my many systems, over the many years I have been in this hobby, and never experienced an algae or bacterial bloom, maybe it's something in or on the live rock that would help to prevent it, that is not present, on the dead, or dry rock . I also use live sand that I collect from the outer reefs in the area, where I live. :fish1: