View Full Version : How can I address my tank problems or is it time to restart?

09/17/2017, 11:14 AM
Hello everyone. My tank is a 45 gallon JBJ AIO system. The tank has been setup since April. The bio load is very low with only one small damsel, several soft corals and a small cleanup crew. I feed a small amount once every other day and I use a Kessil A360, but only light the tank for 6 hours every day.

I'm very unhappy with this tank and haven't progressed it further due to a brown algae I just can't get rid of. Most people say they always do their water changes, but I literally always do my water changes. Sometimes 1-2 times per week trying to combat this stuff. It grows on my rock, my sandbed, and the glass. It drives me wild and I can't stand the stuff. I can't understand why it keeps coming back. I have done huge water changes and cleaned the sandbed, I have replaced the rock with cured new rock, I have stopped feeding as much, and I have reduced my lighting. I introduced some Chaeto from my other tank into the back of the sump with Innovative Marine's refuge light to try and outcompete the brown algae, but that seems to be turning brown and not growing.

I'm almost to the point of restarting the tank. At least this would allow me to do a 100% cleaning, change the sandbed, etc, but I'm sure I'd lose a lot of my snails and hermits. Especially the ones buried in the sand bed not to mention I'd have to cycle again. Are there any other solutions? I have tried GFO with no success.

Any help would be great.


on the spot
09/17/2017, 11:57 AM
The tank has been setup since April.

I'm very unhappy with this tank...due to a brown algae I just can't get rid of.

I have...cleaned the sandbed, I have replaced the rock,..I have stopped feeding as much.

I'm almost to the point of restarting the tank...

you have restarted the tank a number of times already.
I'd suggest some google shopping for diatom cleanup crew, and a new or renewed interest in something to take your mind off this tank.

It needs some time to mature. It "should" grow out of this phase. Like teenagers and pimples.

deep breaths. chanting. maybe yoga.


P.S. I'd ditch the crabs. but that's me.

09/17/2017, 12:11 PM
I agree- your tank is still very new, and you have replaced a bunch of things that essentially reset your tank.

You have to give it time. All tanks go through the uglies. It has to run it's course and then it gets better.

09/17/2017, 12:38 PM
Thanks. Its been a journey so I'll keep at it. Any idea why the chaeto isn't growing?

on the spot
09/17/2017, 01:09 PM
Any idea why the chaeto isn't growing?

likely a lack of nutrients.

which will seem counter intuitive given your diatom issue.

09/17/2017, 01:18 PM
What are your
nitrate readings?
phosphate readings?

Are you using RO/DI water? Have you always used it?

define small CUC?
What are your light settings?

Post a picture so we can identify if its diatoms or algae or what..

09/17/2017, 03:46 PM
I have never used anything other than RO/DI water. I test it using two separate TDS meters. One is the one on the BRS 6 stage RO/DI system and the other is hand held to test each batch of water I make to ensure it is at 0 ppm. Nitrate readings are hard to tell because all I have on hand is a stupid API test kit where everything looks the same. I refer to that stupid orange color that isn't 0 ppm but could be anything between 5 and 30 ppm. Phosphate was at 0 last time I checked and that was with the Hanna checker. By small cleanup crew I mean: 1 emerald crab, 4 hermit crabs, and around 10 snails. Light setting is on the lowest setting the light will go and is 8 inches above the water. I can post a picture later this evening when I get home if that helps.

09/17/2017, 03:53 PM
I can post a picture later this evening when I get home if that helps.

It does so we know if its diatoms or dinos or cyano or something else..

The diatom stage should have come and go already (brownish red dust like growth)

09/17/2017, 03:56 PM
Yeah I would think so too. I'll send an image here when I get home around 7:30 (central time). Thanks again for the help mcgyvr.

09/17/2017, 06:40 PM
Not sure how accurate the Hannah checkers are, but my API (Junk) and my RedSea (newest) kits all showed 0 for nitrates and phosphates - however, I had green hair algae popping up throughout the tank for a few months. I purchased the RedSea Algae control test kit - it does fine testing of the Phosphates and Nitrates and sure enough, it was showing .14 on my phosphates and 1-2 on my Nitrates. I have since set up my auto dose to run NoPox and both of my Nitrate/Phosphates show 0.00. Green hair hasn't come back.

Anyway, I'd suggest trying a more accurate test on the levels - you may be surprised.

09/18/2017, 08:05 AM
Diatoms grow for three reasons. Silicates, nitrates, and poor lighting. I think running your lights on low for only 6 hours is not helping. Neither is the constant starting over.

To be on the safe side I would test your rodi for silicates. Also try a better nitrate kit. And ramp your lights up to normal at 8-10 hours a day. Then, add a little patience.

Small Heavens
09/18/2017, 10:34 AM
Do you give your tank Aquarium Vodka ?
I mean, do you dose any carbon sources?

If you haven't tried it, I can recommend the Red Sea carbon cocktail, it got all carbons in the known universe or something.

You can also just use Vodka but personally I prefer to use products made directly for use in aquariums, so I have never tried the pure vodka method myself.

It looks terrible with the red slime destroying you marine setup, try the carbon dosing if you haven't tried it.
You just need to dose right and never do it if you don't have a skimmer in the set up, because the carbon will feed bacteria that gets rid of the last nutrients that the red slime lives by and the water will get cloudy if the bacteria can't be skimmed out.

Don't give up if you love it, I hope it clears up soon.

09/18/2017, 07:57 PM
My Chaeto wouldn't grow until I started using GFO. I think it needs a lot of iron.

09/19/2017, 12:15 AM
Keep in mind the chaeto could be competing with the fast growing algae in the display, which may be why your phosphates are low. It's being used up and growing faster than your chaeto can use.

09/19/2017, 10:19 AM
What type/brand of sand did you use? Considering all you have gone through I suspect silicates in the sand.

Small Heavens
09/20/2017, 10:26 AM
Even with silicates in the water, they still need phosphates and nitrates. I would strongly suggest trying out Carbon Dosing to get rid of trace nutrients for the unwanted growth, before giving up on this setup.

09/20/2017, 02:05 PM
My fighting conch loves diatoms