View Full Version : Nutrient problem from Live Rock

Bill Nye
07/20/2017, 09:04 AM
My 50 gallon breeder is about 2 years old. About 8 months ago my tank crashed and I lost all my sps. Frustrated I lost interest in the tank and really was only feeding the fish and keeping the auto top off full.

Two months ago I decided to take the tank down and set it back up again so I could fully clean it and get it going again. I tested the water before I started and nitrates were at 50 and phosphate at .3. I removed all the sand and went barebottom and added some more rock and got GFO running again. Now my nutrients are low according to my test kits (~2 nitrate, <.03 phosphate) but I still have a persistent cyano/brown algae problem on my rock. The cyano is your run of the mill red type but the brown algae covers the rock like a mat and is difficult to remove even with a tooth brush.

I have been doing daily maintenance blowing off the rock and scrubbing it with a tooth brush then changing my filter sock daily. I am at a stalemate with the algae problem now. The areas I scrub typically remain algae free if I can remove it and I can actually see the light colored rock underneath but it remains in many areas and creates ugly brown rocks.

Should I begin dosing carbon? I started dosing Biomate to see if it would deal with the issue but its too soon to tell. I was thinking about maybe starting zeovit or aquaforest would this help solve my problem? I have some sps frags which some have good color others are dull. I'm assuming this is from leaching nitrates and phosphates?

07/20/2017, 11:13 AM
Sounds just like normal new tank "ugly" stages...
They pass with time (tank maturity)...
I personally find at about the 6-8 month mark tanks just get much easier to maintain/keep nutrients low,etc...

Rocks do not store/leach nitrates like they can phosphates..

Some pictures might help give some more information..

Bill Nye
07/20/2017, 12:13 PM
Thank you for the reply.

Most of the rock in the tank has been cycled for almost two y ears. I added some more dry rock when I re did the tank.

As far the nitrate is concerned I assumed it was being absorbed but my nitrate test always comes back "clear" using salifert. My phosphates I'm not sure what the number would be without GFO but I'm assuming higher than .03.

As for algae, I never get any green algae at all and my tank has always had a hard time growing coraline algae. I think it was because of low pH since the tank is in the basement so I've been using kalk and I think it's been helping.

My flow is two mp10 at 100% but I could add an mp40 and then use 1 mp10 on back wall to help with flow but I dont think its a flow issue.

Here is a pick of my tank as it is now. I apologize for the ugliness, trying to get it stabilized before adding more coral.

At this point I'm thinking of trying zeovit or AF just to try something new and see if it works out. I calculated the cost of start up for zeovit around ~200-250 for a fish street reactor, 2 bags of stones, sponge power, zeostart and zeobak. Things are a little more confusing when deciding what you need for AF but it seems like it would be a lot cheaper. Not a lot of info or users out there it seems though.




For some reason the pictures arent showing up.



07/20/2017, 01:04 PM
I would stop brushing the rock and definitely I'd leave it in the tank. Taking it out of the water might kill off a lot of organisms. Blowing the film off the rock and removing it from the tank might help some, although it's more work than I'd care to do. You could try a bit of carbon dosing or GFO if you'd like, but I agree that the bloom might fade on its own. It's still effectively a new system, so waiting a bit is a fine idea.

Bill Nye
07/20/2017, 01:12 PM
Thanks for the reply.

I don't actually take the rock out when I scrub instead I just use the toothbrush in the tank and scrub what I can get to.

Usually what I do is blow and scrub the rock and any detritus I can find into my filter sock. I keep my mp10s on NTM so it all gets blown into my overflow.

I have some Red Sea NoPox should I begin dosing this even though my nutrients are near zero?

To be clear when I took down the tank I just kept my live stock and rock in a brute container then put everything back.

07/20/2017, 01:32 PM
Can you take closer pictures and please turn the blue channel off?

I so far don't see anything wrong.. other than normal new tank stuff (uglies)..

Bill Nye
07/20/2017, 01:41 PM
Can you take closer pictures and please turn the blue channel off?

I so far don't see anything wrong.. other than normal new tank stuff (uglies)..

Unfortunately I don't really have a white or blue channel since its an ATI sunpower with 3 blue+, 1 Coral + 1 Purple +, 1 Actinic.

It really isn't the worse cyano problem but I think there is something underlying with my tank that may be pH related. I can't grow any coralline algae even when my tank was doing well before the crash and SPS were growing. I also never get any green algae only brown slimy stuff.

Here is a FTS so you can see the overall tank.