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View Full Version : What is it I see floating in my water? The tank just isn't "crystal clear."


RussC
10/02/2017, 03:02 PM
I recently had a serious brown algae outbreak. New tank. Expected it, tackled it with GFO. Algae relatively gone. But tank is not crystal clear now. I bet no one would notice it but me. Its like its cloudy but not. Make any sense? And when I get close I can see what I can only describe is very small particles/bubbles suspended in the water. I've also noticed an accumulation of something on the bottom of my sump. My socks have been filling up very quickly with brown. I'm assuming that's dead algae? I would think whatever it is on the bottom of my sump is what made it through the socks and was suspended in the water and eventually just settled. Could the cloudiness in the tank be algae floating in the tank? What's the stuff on the bottom of my sump? Its not brown like the brown algae I had. But this may be the color of dead brown algae. I have no idea. And its under my return pump which means it could easily be picked up and blown back into my tank causing my initial "cloudy problem." Would this be where I add carbon to get me the "crystal clean" look?

RussC
10/02/2017, 03:18 PM
http://s38.photobucket.com/user/Daybreaker28/media/IMG_1231_zpshcc26ejx.jpg.html%5D%5BIMG%5Dhttp://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e103/Daybreaker28/IMG_1231_zpshcc26ejx.jpg%5B/IMG%5D%5B/URL%5D

RussC
10/02/2017, 03:19 PM
%5BURL=http://s38.photobucket.com/user/Daybreaker28/media/IMG_1231_zpshcc26ejx.jpg.html%5D%5BIMG%5Dhttp://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e103/Daybreaker28/IMG_1231_zpshcc26ejx.jpg%5B/IMG%5D%5B/URL%5D

mako61
10/02/2017, 03:22 PM
my sock turns brown also. Pretty sure diatoms are free floating, so they get into socks. I take great pleasure in washing them down the drain :thumbsup:

RussC
10/02/2017, 03:24 PM
Whatcha think this is? How its getting to my return pump chamber is a mystery to me. It must be incredibly fine material.

rkpetersen
10/02/2017, 03:24 PM
Could be a bacterial bloom. Are you carbon dosing? If so, are you skimming effectively?

The other thing would be increased dissolved organics. Take a sheet of high quality white printer paper, tape it to the glass on one end of your tank, and look at it from the other end. If it's yellowish, anything but white white, you may have excess gelbstoff. Water changes and fresh carbon are due.

What kind of filter socks are you using? If you want the water polished of particulate matter, you could try the Red Sea 100 micron felt socks if you haven't already and see if that helps, although you will have to change them very frequently.

The other thing I'd personally do is put some of that stuff in your sump under a microscope and see what's what. :)

rkpetersen
10/02/2017, 03:34 PM
Whatcha think this is? How its getting to my return pump chamber is a mystery to me. It must be incredibly fine material.

That looks like pretty ordinary organic detritus to me. Dead algae, fish feces, bacteria, protozoa, microscopic worms, with the non-living components partially mineralized. If you vacuum the sand in your DT, it's basically the same stuff. Do you ever let for filter socks overflow for any period of time before cleaning/changing them? That would be the most likely reason for seeing it in the return chamber, imo; it is fine, the baffle sponge certainly wouldn't stop it.

RussC
10/02/2017, 03:39 PM
Could be a bacterial bloom. I cut back to half on the light cycle when I was fighting algae. Once that war was visually under control I bumped up the cycle back to 12 hours. Granted, that's not full intensity for 12 hours. But its a 12 hour cycle, the cycle I will plan to run to grow a reef tank. After all, I am trying to grow some corals here.

What in the world are increased dissolved organics? Just did the white paper test. Still white at the other end.

I use mesh, not felt, filter socks. Tried the felt. Yes, those jokers need changing every other day. But if that's what it takes to clear this "DUST" up, then that may be just what I do.

No microscope, so gonna have to do my best with my eyes. Its gray. It looks like I haven't dusted in a while. And that could go for the description of what's in the tank as well. Its dusty.

As for skimming correctly...yes, I believe so. Such a minor bio load at the moment there is little skim mate. Its looks like dirty water, really. Not dark. Yellow-brown like. I do not carbon dose. But am and will always be chasing the "crystal clear" tank. So carbon dosing is only a matter of time.

rkpetersen
10/02/2017, 03:55 PM
What in the world are increased dissolved organics? Just did the white paper test. Still white at the other end.

Probably not your issue, then. It didn't really sound like you were describing the yellowing of water that comes with increased dissolved organics, but I threw it out there anyway.

With some tanks, particularly as they age and if the keeper doesn't use carbon, proteins and other organic substances can build up in the water, and they're completely dissolved so your filter socks won't touch them. (Socks actually add to dissolved organic load as the stuff that they did catch starts to decay and leak out.) This has been known about forever, and the Germans called it gelbstoff. Here's a bit more from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colored_dissolved_organic_matter

And the reason it's important is that it can substantially decrease your light penetration and available PAR, gradually so you don't even notice it happening, especially in deeper tanks. :)

RussC
10/02/2017, 04:20 PM
My filter socks haven't overflowed. But I've been changing them regularly. They are 225 micron mesh socks. So if that is detritus and it is as fine as you say, then it is likely just passing through my socks, passing through the baffle sponge and getting sucked up and redistributed into the tank. Thus....Dusty tank. Now how the heck do I get the dust out?

I'm guessing felt socks? Other suggestions from folks?

mcgyvr
10/02/2017, 04:31 PM
Its detritus.. Its totally normal and you can just siphon it out during regular water changes if you want or put a powerhead down there to blow it back into the water..
New tanks can just go through periods of cloudy water too..

and boo..hiss for using GFO so early.. It was probably just diatoms too which just went away on their own as any available silicates were consumed

Let mother nature do her thing or risk getting her wrath in return...
Stop trying to fight/fix it all now.
Tanks need to go through these "ugly" stages to grow up big and strong and detritus will always be part of a tank..

RussC
10/02/2017, 05:12 PM
What took you so long McG? You're losing a step in your old age!

Kinda reminds me of my teenage years...going through those "ugly" stages so I can grow up big and strong!

Thanks for the feedback.

RussC
10/02/2017, 05:14 PM
Detritus can wait. Just heard Tom Petty died! I'm officially in mourning. #Legend.

mcgyvr
10/02/2017, 05:37 PM
Detritus can wait. Just heard Tom Petty died! I'm officially in mourning. #Legend.

The waiting is the hardest part... :thumbsup:

Scurvy Dawg
10/07/2017, 07:31 PM
My filter socks haven't overflowed. But I've been changing them regularly. They are 225 micron mesh socks. So if that is detritus and it is as fine as you say, then it is likely just passing through my socks, passing through the baffle sponge and getting sucked up and redistributed into the tank. Thus....Dusty tank. Now how the heck do I get the dust out?

I'm guessing felt socks? Other suggestions from folks?

100% sure it is detritus and its common in sumps. I have it and am willing to bet everyone else with a sump has it. About once every few months I vacuum it out of my sump. Go to home depot and get yourself a buckethead wet/dry vac. Its about 20 bucks and it fits on your standard 5 gal bucket.