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Old 10/06/2016, 03:23 AM   #3993
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 118
Great Post guys, amazing information about dinos, thanks to all of you for your contribution about your findings and experiences with this pest now I'm gonna tell you my story.

I began at august 2015, I got my nano 20 AIO gallon tank with live rock and live sand from my LFS, the sand and the rock were wet and previously cycled.

Then after 3 days I added my first fish and a couple margarita snails.

One month later I got a few new fishes, 2 chromies, 1 royal gramma, 1 damsel and 3 mollies and I think a couple snails. Since the first day I didn't have either chaeto or skimmer just pure live sand and live rock with filtration sponges as filtration.

In the next couple of months some of my fishes and snails started to die for different reasons, my royal gramma got stuck in the sump with the sponges, one of my chromies killed the other chromie and my damsel, my snails died I think because of no algae at that moment.

By october/november I only have one ocellaris, one chromie and 3 mollies in my tank, so I checked my phosphates and they were pretty hight, about 0.20 with my hanna phosphates checker so I went to my LFS and got some GFO for reducing my phosphates, then I also got an azoo algae away filter to reduce my phosphates.

In the next days I was checking my phosphates about 2 to 3 times per week and I noticed that my GFO was exausted almost daily so I went to my LFS and I asked the manager for a tiny ball of chaeto so I get like 90% chaeto and 10% of culerpa macroalgae and from this day I got rid of my GFO for all.

Now with my macroalgae as phosphate remover I decided to check my phosphates and I noticed that the phosphates were a litle bit better now but still hight, specially after turning off my pumps when feeding, at that time I checked the phosphates befoe and after feeding and I got readings of 0.10 and 0.20 after 5 minutes of feeding so I thought the food was pretty high of phosphates so I started to reducing my feedings at the point that my mollies began to die one my one in the next months.

Nowing that I had a phosphate issue I dediced to wait until my chaeto grew slowly by consuming the phosphates instead of using any sort of GFO.

Now with my chaeto consuming my phosphates I decided to get rid of the azoo Algae Away and I got my first corals, I know I know it was too soon but I couldn't resist so I went with a guy that has a few tanks and two huge 400 gallon tanks or so and I bought him a couple montiporas capricornis, one rodactis, one green mushroom, a tiny piece of green star polyp and one pulsing xenia and as a gift he gave me a green polyp (I don't know that much about it because I don't like polyps).

With my corals I got the feeling I had when I was 7 years old and I was openining my christmast pressents, those days I was very happy with my corals, the firsts days they were doing pretty good, specially the soft corals, a few days later I was starting to see something that I was never able to see, my first pests, this pests were a tiny aiptasia, for my luck I knew the existence of this pests so I boiled it and the problem was gone, now after a few more days I also saw a tiny little brittle star, I didn't like those dust like stars so I started to do a research over internet and most people said that those stars were not an issue so I let them to grow in my tank without killing them. So with this two pests I think this guy gave me somethink that I didn't know was going to gimme the headeaches in a few months from now.

After about two weeks of getting my corals, my montiporas started to STN at some points, the green one was getting bleach/ totally RTN and the red one RTNing on different parts so checking my phosphates I knew that my PO4 was not the issue so I knew that I was going to need a skimmer soon, I didn't got one yet because christmas was around the corner and I also coundn't afford it so I was trying to reduce my nitrates with just water changes and small feeding my fishes.

Now with my rock and sand leaching phosphates (at this point I didn't know this was happining) but also with my high nitrates (I couldn't check them because I didn't know that I had nitrates problems) so with low feeing em my mollies started to die one by one and cyano started to appear to my tank.

In the next weeks I wanted to get rid of the cyano so I bought some lights for my sump, one led light at top, one light at the back and one light in the water, the next weeks the cyano was spreading specially the sump but after a few weeks my chaeto with good lighting was able to consume the nutrients to make the cyano to go away.

After beggining to get rid of the cyano I got another issue, this time algae began to appear in all the tank, I thought with the chaeto I was going to get rid of the algae but I was not the case so now with no cyano I got a huge infestation of thread algae, now instead of getting a reef tank I got an algarium tank, algae was everywere covering all the rocks and plastics of the tank.

At this point I knew that a skimmer was necesary, I didn't had the money and I know that buying a cheap one was going to be a waste of money so I got a loan and bought a remora aqua c, with my skimmer running, in just a couple days I saw a huge difference, now my montiporas were starting to un RTN and get the colors they were supposed to get, also slowly the algae began to slowly fade, I had to do lots of cleaning of the filter sponges but after a few weeks all the algae was gone, now I got a perfect tank, no cyano and barelly seen algae.

Now with everything in check I decided to get a few more corals so I got some SPS from the guy that sold me the first corals and some other people.

I coulnd't believe I was very happy now my corals were growing, getting back to their colors and slowly recovering the ones that were RTN before.

But this was about to change, in may/june 2016 the perfect storm came to my tank. Now with everythink working as expected I dediced to do a further step, so I got a few more animals for my tank, I got a couple nasarious snails, a couple mexican turbos, some astreas and a lawnmover blennie and a MANDARIN DRAGONET, I know that creature in a small tank wont survive but trust me I was doing lots of readings and I found a way to keep that mandarin in a small tank.

So knowing that my mandarin was going to need lots of feedings I bought one of those packs that includes 2 phytoplanktons, and copepods it was pretty expensive to import to my country, but I had no choice because of my mandarin so I bought them because I though I was going to be able to harvest them but after lots intents it just failed, I know you in the states can harvest this pretty easily but in my case it was a failure, I also posted about it here and I was doing the right thing, but just didn't work, so now I had to find a way to feed my mandarin fish so I found that the cheapest and easiest way was harvesting brine shrimp, this eggs are easy to find and harvest so I started my brine shrimp harvesting, so to harvest I was using the water from my tank so with this I was doing lots of water changes, with the increase of the water changes I saw a huge improvement on my corals so I was pretty happy so I decided to go a step further, now I was decided to get a couple of acroporas but I knew my current lights were not going to be enought so I got a radion and also since I knew I was going to need more chaeto for my mandarin I algo got more lights for my refugium and I also was having problems with temperature, at 4 PM I was getting about 84 degres and at 7 AM I was getting 78 so I knew that my skimmer was warming up the water so I got a Reef Octopus HOB 90 that has an external pump so it doesn't warms the water.

Now with my new gadgets, I was getting out of salt mix, at that time I was using fluval salt but my LFS stoped importing that salt and I had no choice to get another salt so I got a bag or Red Sea Coral Pro salt.

After a few days with my new gadgets, my nightmare was beggining to appear, first my corals were slowly bleaching so I red over internet that aminoacids could prevent bleaching so I got a Seachem Reef Plus, after adding it, instead of getting rid of the bleaching my corals were starting to bleach even further, it took me a few weeks to figure out that Reef Plus was the cause so I email Seachem about my issue and he asked me lots of questions, he asked me about my tank parameters, at this point the only two parameters I knew about my tank were temperature and phosphates, alkalinity, nitrates, calcum and magnesium were unknown to me. So as a good customer I got some tests kits and I began to test my parameters, most of them were in check with the exception of alkalinity that even with my almost daily water changes I got pretty low, about 6dKH, I couldn't believe it because the alkalinity of the Red Sea Pro salt is about 10 at 1.025 of salt, so the other parameters I checked were calcum at about 400 and magnesium about 1400 and nitrates 0 with salifert kit, not a single change or color, the color was as if I didn't added the 4 drops and the dust.

So now I started to check my parameters about once or twice a week from this point, now I started of add alkalinity and calcum daily, and I was trying to get the supposed values of the alkalinity and calcium that the Red Sea Salt mix is supposed to have. In about a week or so I slowly rised my alkalinity to 10dkh and the calcium was about 420 but now the unaffected SPS were starting to get bleached so I did another research and I found that when you have 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates you have to keep your alkalinity at 7-8dKH so I waited until the alkalinity was back to those values, now after a couple weeks with an alkalinity between 7.5dKH and 8dKH my SPS were not recovering at all so I thought what else can be wrong, I also reduced the lights of my radeons but still the problem was there.

This time I came with another idea, so I started to add food at night when the chaeto lights were off, so after a few days now my acros started to RTN so I stopped doing it, now no more night feeding, with my acros now RTN I was really afraid, I didn't know what else to do so I got and idea, I thought what if I rise the phosphates and nitrates a little bit, for phosphates was easy, just a little bit of food and that's it, but for nitrates I got recommended to use KNO3 but since my acros were RTNning I thought were can I get nitrates and phosphates at 11PM so I thought (what if I use some whater of my planted tank), it has nitrates and phosphates, I know it also has iron but I also had chaeto so I knew iron was not going to be an issue so I added about 500 ml of water from my planted tank.

When I wake up the next day ..... BLOOOOOM, all my tank was covered with this bastards, I was finally able to see why I my corals were slowly dying.

Now nowing that I had dinos I found this amazing thread and I started to read it all, I red every single page from this thread and I just have to say thank you guys I learn a lot about microbiology with this thread, and of course now I had some theories and weapons to use against this bastards.

To Be Continue...

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