View Full Version : Help! Went on business trip for 6 months and come back to this.

09/23/2017, 07:32 PM
Long story short I was paying a friend of mine to watch over my tank and house while I was gone for business. I come back home to half of my corals dead and major algae. I've tried 3 day lights out. Which made most of it disappear but right after I turn the lights on for less then 4 hours it comes back full blast. Can anyone help me out. It's a 20 gallon long 30 gallon sump. I have a skimmer but no cheato in my fuge.https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170924/d99fbaae947ef4412462d78437bdd15d.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170924/b718f6c8537af19beab4464ab61c01e6.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20170924/64692646b21372615e63c1b922aea6c1.jpg

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09/23/2017, 07:39 PM
chaeto cant hurt. what are your nitrate and phosphate? if phos is through the roof you might want to consider GFO to bring it down

09/23/2017, 07:39 PM
Ouch. Sorry.

Iíve had a lot of luck with phosphate sponge to get the phosphate knocked down quickly. Careful to pull it at less than 48hrs.

I also like to run a continuous siphon from DT to the sump which I have filter through a filter sock. I use this to suck up the algae as I brush it off rocks.

Youíll probably want to do a lot of water changes too. Like 10-15% every few days for a while if you can.

Now reading this. I would first scrub rock with continuous siphon. Then do a large ~50% water change. Then drop phosphate sponge in a reactor or in a mess bag somewhere like the filter sock.

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09/23/2017, 07:48 PM
My nitrates are under 5ppm. Phosphates are around 1.0

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09/23/2017, 07:48 PM
Sounds and looks like dinos :(

I would add a low flow UV
Measure N and P to see if you have an imbalance
Add an algae scrubber

Check out the big dino thread in the chemistry forum

09/23/2017, 07:49 PM
Do you think it can be my rodi unit

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09/23/2017, 07:51 PM

09/23/2017, 07:54 PM
How much were you paying him to watch the tank ?

09/23/2017, 07:55 PM
200 a month. He's a family friend

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09/23/2017, 07:57 PM
Oof, that's rough. Keep us posted on what works.

09/23/2017, 08:02 PM
What's your filtration? Do you C dose? Do you use chemicals?

09/23/2017, 08:11 PM
I don't dose at all. I currently have a bubble magus nac 6 and that's about it

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09/23/2017, 08:37 PM
No more family friend!

09/23/2017, 08:39 PM
Yea I got pretty angry with him I mean it's not that hard to maintain the tank. I'll see what I can do I heard Dino was a pain to get rid of.

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09/23/2017, 08:42 PM
Google "dinoflagellate test paper filter"

09/23/2017, 08:46 PM
After you get your money back...

You need to get as much of that stuff syphoned out as possible. Then get phosphates near zero, with water changes and gfo.

If it's dinoflagellates, you are in for a battle. Maybe start over. Hope it doesn't come to that.

09/24/2017, 12:52 AM
prob easier if u re-started your tank? maybe have a friend house whatever corals you have left... if not.. lots of small water changes, test your parameters.. i'm guessing ur nitrates and phosphates are through the roof.. small water changes over time should take care of it..

09/24/2017, 06:37 AM
I don't see anything in the pics but rock and algae.
I'd just restart the tank.

09/24/2017, 06:49 AM
I don't see anything in the pics but rock and algae.
I'd just restart the tank.

I'm generally not a big fan of this approach, but it will be the easiest solution, especially in such a small tank.

Remove whatever corals you might have to a bucket with freshly made saltwater. Ditto with fish. Using a new stiff scrub brush, clean every rock in the tank then remove them to another bucket full of water. Turn off all pumps and allow the gunk to settle, then use a python siphon or similar and clean that tank like never before. When you run low on water in the tank, add more saltwater and continue until the sand is free of funk. Fill it back up, put the rocks, fish, and coral back in and enjoy your "new" tank. Because you will not have really bothered the denitrifying bacteria that lives in/on the rocks and sand, you shouldn't have any cycle to speak of.

For a 20g tank, you are looking at 2-3 hours, tops, start to finish.

You may still need to run some GFO and carbon in reactors to play catch up with any PO4 that could leech from the rocks, but that's really not that big a deal.

Good luck, and post some pics of the "new" tank!!!

09/24/2017, 06:55 AM
Exactly @billdogg... I mean I restarted my 120g! And so glad I did. New rock and sand was worth it to know that I was completely rid of that nasty stuff. Cost me a lot more money than a 20g would.

He could try to clean everything off, the sand especially, but I'd be afraid that over the past 6 months the rock has soaked up way too many nutrients. I wouldn't want to put it all back together and then still spend the next 6 months dealing with HA or something due to all that stuff leaching out of the rocks.

IMHO, better safe (and poor) than sorry. ;)

09/24/2017, 07:14 AM
I am guessing it was over feeding. But 6 month is a long time anything could have happened. Two out three big water changes 30 to 40% each and try to vacuum out everything you can from the bottom to get detritus out. Again water changes are a wonderful thing.

09/24/2017, 02:49 PM
200 a month. He's a family friend

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Wow, not a small amount of money.

Did this friend have experience with tanks before yours?

I most likely would have required him to take pictures weekly and send them to me, I'm sorry your tank looks the way it is, hopefully you can salvage what is still alive and get it cleaned up.

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09/24/2017, 10:02 PM
I. Looks like it's covered in hair algea which is covered with Dino. I would restart if it was mine. It doesn't look like u have many corals left to worry about

09/25/2017, 09:48 AM
What "maintenance" did he even do with your tank that was worth $200 a month? Top off once a week? Yikes. Considering he killed everything in your entire tank and its overrun with algae/dinos, id also recommend restarting the tank and having a talk with your friend

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09/25/2017, 11:36 AM
It's a small tank. Restart it.

09/25/2017, 12:57 PM
If you decide not to restart, then I would recommend doing some lanthanum chloride dosing. What you most likely will notice that phosphate has saturated your rock and substrate, so it will take a few months to get it under control, but absolutely possible.

09/25/2017, 01:19 PM
As others have suggested, I'd start over. It doesn't look like they're are a ton of things to save and the tank is pretty small.

I wouldn't put too much blame on the house sitter necessarily. 6 months is a long time to put a tank in someone else's hands, particularly in they're not into the hobby. Even if they are, from my limited experience, different tanks may behave very differently and smaller tanks are tougher than bigger tanks. Now, why he didn't alert you things were going south, that's another question.

Good luck. Use it as an excuse to try something new/different. Then, you might actually enjoy the process.


09/25/2017, 01:41 PM
Don't use chemicals. Get a scrubber. Get UV. Turn light off and let the scrubber clean things up.

09/25/2017, 09:19 PM
+1 on the reboot.

09/26/2017, 08:45 AM
Yikes, you paid him $1200 for that? Rough. I would get the money back and start over!

09/26/2017, 11:39 AM
I agree, with such a small tank I would just start over.