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Old 01/25/2017, 03:17 PM   #1
92reefer
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Help/Advice on better mechanical filtration

Hello All. I've been struggling trying to eradicate a nasty slimy brown type of growth that keeps coming back. This stuff starts as small almost translucent, very slimy little whisps which are strink like. They attach to sand rock tank, everything except the fish. They eventually grow and smother the rock work and completely cover the back of the tank.

I've already done a complete tank teardown, washed the everything, set it back up with new substrate rock etc. and eventually it returned as seen in the photo (below).

Completely frustrated.

So my sump only has 1 type of mechanical filtration and I've been using a mesh 200 micron filter sock. So I notice that after about 5-6 days the outside of the filter sock accumulates this light brown absolutely slimy gunk. Now I'm wondering if the slimy sludge that's been accumulating over time (4-5 months) is actually just fish detritus etc. that has not been removed by means of mechanical filtration and just circulates in the tank and binds itself to rock, sand, and tank walls.

1) Anyone else have this happen using mesh socks?

2) Does anyone have any suggestions for adding better mechanical filtration to my sump? Advice/suggestions greatly appreciated.

3) I'm wondering if the mesh socks are the culprit and if switching to felt lined 200 micron filter socks will fix this?

Sorry in advance for the "sideways" iPhone pics. I hate when it does that..


Attached Images
File Type: jpg 60G Cube Nasty Stuff.jpg (45.1 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg Slimy Filter Sock.jpg (56.8 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg Mesh filter sock.jpg (52.6 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg Sump Pic 1.jpg (93.4 KB, 51 views)

Last edited by 92reefer; 01/25/2017 at 03:18 PM. Reason: add to post
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Old 01/26/2017, 02:14 PM   #2
92reefer
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bumpety...


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Old 01/26/2017, 02:30 PM   #3
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I'm not seeing clear enough pictures but it could be dinoflagellates from your description.. (search for tons of "potential" remedies/treatment,etc.."..
NONE of them will have anything to do with mechanical filtration..

I'd start with a 3 day blackout (no lights.. very little of any ambient light..) and then siphon out as much as possible.. And see how that works.. or search for what others are doing..).. From the overflow pic I don't think thats it though..

I really don't see any problems except for whats growing on the overflow wall..

Frankly ditch the socks.. Its just another maintenance item that really is not needed and not that beneficial (IMO).. You can use them when doing water changes after you turkey baster the rocks to stir up detritus,etc.. then promptly remove and clean for next time..

and do you measure phosphates/nitrates? if so what are they?


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Old 01/26/2017, 02:50 PM   #4
92reefer
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Thanks for responding Mcgyvr!

I have tested 0 phosphates (salifert) and Nitrates are close to zero.

I had taken out all my rock (bleached) and sand and siphoned out almost all of the nasty stuff: I've done that twice, basically resetting the tank. Fish were fine and all and the cycle repeated itself again!

I did some googling on DINO and notice that everything I read said DINO has tiny bubble within or on top of the algae. I have 0 bubbles, nothing at all on top or in the brown slime itself.

Also, the weird thing is it would accumulate on the outside of my 200 micron mesh sock, how that is even possible I haven't a clue. I would then witness it detach and then move through my sump only to get pumped back into the aquarium.

It'd be nice to know what I'm dealing with and if it absolutely is DINO but I'm not sure due to the lack of bubbles?


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Old 01/26/2017, 05:03 PM   #5
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Is that stuff all over the outside of the overflow box what we are talking about here?
Your sock just looks like a dirty sock and I'm really not seeing anything there to be concerned about..Certainly not to keep restarting a tank over..

If its the overflow scrap some off throw it on a paper towel and snap a pic..
Right after that just scrape it out/siphon.. It looks dirty man.. fix that

Oh and woot woot to Crystal Lake.. I'm a LZ native stuck down with all these rednecks


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Old 01/26/2017, 06:27 PM   #6
92reefer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgyvr View Post
Is that stuff all over the outside of the overflow box what we are talking about here?
Your sock just looks like a dirty sock and I'm really not seeing anything there to be concerned about..Certainly not to keep restarting a tank over..

If its the overflow scrap some off throw it on a paper towel and snap a pic..
Right after that just scrape it out/siphon.. It looks dirty man.. fix that

Oh and woot woot to Crystal Lake.. I'm a LZ native stuck down with all these rednecks
HA! Too funny mcgyvr, what a small world, LZ shore is nearby!

So hell yeah that stuff gets everywhere and coats everything! It was on the overflow, rocks, sand you name it. It covers EVERYTHING although you can't really see it in that pic because it was from my crappy iPhone.

I just changed out the Marco Rock as it was completely covered in this stuff again and vacuumed out the remaining (tiny amounts) of white sand (aragonite based) that was left in the tank. I have another thread going about my endless fight with clumping/hardening sand:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=2619376

I scraped and siphoned as much as I could out of the tank while doing a 20g water change.

I also added NON-ARAGONITE Tahitian Moon Sand (other active thread about my fight with clumping/hardening sand) and everything looks clean again. But I've been here 3 times before and the stuff just keeps coming back. It takes about 4-5 months but it will eventually cover everything. I'm hoping finally identify and eradicate it's return this time. At least that's what I'm hoping for if I don't lose my sanity in the mean time.

So this time I'm starting with the lights out for 3 days in an attempt to kill off what still might be in the tank/system.

I also added bottle a bottle of Bio Spira to help bio seed the new Marco Rock and TMS sand added to the tank. you can see there is still a small amount of the stuff on the back overflow that I couldn't completely scrape off and the tank is still a bit cloudy from adding the Bio Spira.

So, any other suggestions/advice at this point? I sooo want to be able to just enjoy looking at a clean un-crap infested fish only SW tank...


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File Type: jpg TANK RESET 1.jpg (76.8 KB, 34 views)
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Old 01/26/2017, 11:01 PM   #7
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I've used those socks for 5 years, wouldn't really like to do without them. I'd leave them on unless you like to clean your sump every week or two. I leave them off when I go on vacation and when I get back usually I'm too lazy to put them back on and a few weeks/months later my sump is absolutely disgusting. Feather dusters and detrius everywhere even covering the inside of the skimmer.


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Old 01/27/2017, 07:25 AM   #8
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Yeah, I run socks too, but mine are the heavier felt socks. They sure catch a lot of 'stuff' in my tank... or used to. My new tank seems to run much cleaner than my old tank did.

I assume you don't have a refugium? Do you run a sump? Even though your nitrates and phosphates are very low, running GFO and a phosphate remover might prove helpful. I pretty much gave up testing for nitrates or phosphates as the algae can pull it out of the water almost as fast as it's introduced if things are running smoothly. For me that's algae in my refugium, but it seems that for you it's algae in the tank.


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Old 01/27/2017, 01:40 PM   #9
92reefer
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Originally Posted by Ron Reefman View Post
Yeah, I run socks too, but mine are the heavier felt socks. They sure catch a lot of 'stuff' in my tank... or used to. My new tank seems to run much cleaner than my old tank did.

I assume you don't have a refugium? Do you run a sump? Even though your nitrates and phosphates are very low, running GFO and a phosphate remover might prove helpful. I pretty much gave up testing for nitrates or phosphates as the algae can pull it out of the water almost as fast as it's introduced if things are running smoothly. For me that's algae in my refugium, but it seems that for you it's algae in the tank.
I don't have room for a refugium in my sump so I haven't been running one, although I run a TLF GFO reactor and I run BRS carbon in a nylon bag.


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Old 02/09/2017, 12:45 PM   #10
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Just wanted to report back that I tried Vibrant Aquarium cleaner (states gets rid of algae etc) in my tank just after the most recent tank reset.

So far the grayish light brownish crap that was on the backwall of the tank and has been growing for almost 2 years is on the retreat. After the initial dose about a week ago I'd say that it has receded by almost 75% and is very close to being totally gone. I just applied the 2nd dose today and I'm very optimistic that this product will finally be just what I was looking for as a solution.

Very excited about the thoughts of a perpetually clean tank: so will post back in another week or so....


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Old 03/08/2017, 06:10 PM   #11
bgoldb21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92reefer View Post
Just wanted to report back that I tried Vibrant Aquarium cleaner (states gets rid of algae etc) in my tank just after the most recent tank reset.

So far the grayish light brownish crap that was on the backwall of the tank and has been growing for almost 2 years is on the retreat. After the initial dose about a week ago I'd say that it has receded by almost 75% and is very close to being totally gone. I just applied the 2nd dose today and I'm very optimistic that this product will finally be just what I was looking for as a solution.

Very excited about the thoughts of a perpetually clean tank: so will post back in another week or so....
Any updates on how Vibrant worked out for you?


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Old 03/08/2017, 06:20 PM   #12
92reefer
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Any updates on how Vibrant worked out for you?
Yes. UPDATE:

Whatever I have/had (had not been identified under microscope) is still on the backwall in the same 3 spots but it has slowly shrank the over the past 3 weeks and GREAT NEWS is that it hasn't started re-attaching to my clean rock work or sand! That in itself is a declared victory as this stuff would immediately start attaching and growing on both rockwork and substrate after the tank resets.

Soooo Vibrant is working and doing a great job. I believe what is happening has been stated earlier: the bacteria in Vibrant is out competing the nasty stuff, thus the reason for it's slow decline. Vibrant is also keeping that stuff in check so it can't grow and attach to the other "clean" areas of the tank.

I started with 1 dose a week and I'm still using that dosing approach. I'm hoping that it will eventually starve it out completely and erradicate it 100% but that is my approach and will provide feedback again as more time goes by.

So far LOVE that stuff!


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Old 04/02/2017, 01:40 PM   #13
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UPDATE:

Still dosing Vibrant once a week and seems to be holding off the few small patches of grey ugly stuff. I'm getting a bit of green algae growing on the back overflow and a few spots on the rock work. Other than that tank looks really clean.

So onto a potential problem: I lost my cleaner shrimp (about 1.5yr old) about 3 weeks ago. He ate the night before and then 1 morning, dead.

So I replaced him with a new albeit smaller shrimp. Drip acclimated him about 25 mins, ate for 3 days and day 4 dead. WTH I'm thinking as cleaners are usually pretty hardy.

So did a few tests on tank water.

Using salifert for both tests, Ph (which sucks!) tested about 7.9 as best as I can tell since the color hues in the test vial just don't match to the color card bit I think 7.9 is fairly accurate.

So onto the the ALK, which was done twice and measured 3.2 dkH! WTH?? Isn't that extremely low? I'm wondering if this is why I lost 2 cleaners in a short period. This was measured at 11:30am with lights off: running 1 Radion Pro (natural mode at 40% intensity) and photo period on at 3pm, off at 11pm (7 hour daylight photo period to limit algae growth).

Tank is using an auto-top off feeding water from BRS 4 stage Dual-DI RO unit reading 0 TDS on the meter. Tank temp 78 degrees.

Advice, opinions, suggestions on my ALK reading?


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Old 04/05/2017, 04:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92reefer View Post
UPDATE:

Still dosing Vibrant once a week and seems to be holding off the few small patches of grey ugly stuff. I'm getting a bit of green algae growing on the back overflow and a few spots on the rock work. Other than that tank looks really clean.

So onto a potential problem: I lost my cleaner shrimp (about 1.5yr old) about 3 weeks ago. He ate the night before and then 1 morning, dead.

So I replaced him with a new albeit smaller shrimp. Drip acclimated him about 25 mins, ate for 3 days and day 4 dead. WTH I'm thinking as cleaners are usually pretty hardy.

So did a few tests on tank water.

Using salifert for both tests, Ph (which sucks!) tested about 7.9 as best as I can tell since the color hues in the test vial just don't match to the color card bit I think 7.9 is fairly accurate.

So onto the the ALK, which was done twice and measured 3.2 dkH! WTH?? Isn't that extremely low? I'm wondering if this is why I lost 2 cleaners in a short period. This was measured at 11:30am with lights off: running 1 Radion Pro (natural mode at 40% intensity) and photo period on at 3pm, off at 11pm (7 hour daylight photo period to limit algae growth).

Tank is using an auto-top off feeding water from BRS 4 stage Dual-DI RO unit reading 0 TDS on the meter. Tank temp 78 degrees.

Advice, opinions, suggestions on my ALK reading?
Hello,

Sad to hear about the shrimps... anyway, low alkalinity shouldn't be a problem in itself but it makes the water more prone to quick changes in PH which in turn could stress the animals. And since shrimps are a bit less hardy than fish, it could potentially be the source of your problems. Alkalinity also effects how well corals can make use of calcium and magnesium. I would suggest slowly, and i can't stress this enough, sloooooooowly raising your alkalinity to between 8 and 9. As long as it's in within that range and stable, you will have less potential PH swings.

Mix some salt in RO/DI water and see what alkalinity you get. If needed, buffer that fresh mix with PH/KH buffer and do a water change... Wait a day and measure your display tank. The next day you repeat the water change with ph/kh buffer. Keep doing this until you get in the 8-9 range in the display tank.

Next step is to figure out how much alkalinity your tank consumes on a daily/weekly basis and figure out a way to compensate for this loss (balling light, kalkwasser etc).

Good luck!
//N


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