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Unread 06/26/2010, 12:47 AM   #1
AaronM
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Cut back/stop vodka? White film + start of cyano

I'm in up to my eyeballs! Very new to the hobby - 3months. My bro gave me his tank and went overseas. Here, deal with this problem. No past experience. It was in a right state, not that i really understood that at first. It was his first tank. No sps, just lps.

Tank history/problems semi solved:
-55 g. All in one tank ! - not much i can do
-No proper sump
-No skimmer - bought a little one, can't do much more with my setup.
-overstocked - big cutback
-nitrates over 80, phos who knows, now approx 0.5 - exhuasting w/c routine of 50% per w.
-overfed - big reduction
-no light scheduele- timer
-improper setup of the stupid trickle filter or whatever it is - introducing LR rubble, plus increased the LR in the tank...

Nitrates from consistent 80ish down to 20 with w/cs, then pre vodka 10 rising to 20 over a week. Fish seem more relaxed than at 80!

Vodka:
Becoming tired of the this maintenance i started dosing vodka.
0.1ml per day for the first week. Good results, nitrates at 5ish rising to just over 5 over a week.
0.2ml per day week 2. Still 5 to 5 over week. Postive vibe from tank, but at the end of the week notice a subtle white film on glass. Ask the guy at fish store, he says thats fine, thats what i want, keep going to 0.3ml.
0.3ml, day 2, nitrate still 5, + notice 2 small patches (1cmx1cm) of whispy white mucas stuff or rock + a slight cyano outbreak on rocks (speed of onset has me worried).

What do i do?
Do i stop vodka dosing? Feeding cyano too now? I was having such good results. My nitrate isn't 0 yet.

Do i push on to cut it and phos to 0, which will starve the cyano?

Cut back? Don't really want to stop...it was working well

Keep going with a few days of lights off?

Going to 25% w/c right now...

Advice on how to proceed re. vodka and cyano problem needed. Seeing conflicting vodka advice in other posts...

Thanks

oh...and i think i'm a little hooked on this hobby!!


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Unread 06/26/2010, 12:53 AM   #2
tmz
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Without a good skimmer and the use of granulated activated carbon, I'd worry about organic carbon buildup when dosing and organic carbon source like vodka.


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Current Tank Info: Tank of the Month , November 2011 : 600gal integrated system: 3 display tanks (120 g, 90g, 89g),several frag/grow out tanks, macroalgae refugia, cryptic zones. 40+ fish, seahorses, sps,lps,leathers, zoanthidae and non photosynthetic corals.
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Unread 06/26/2010, 01:03 AM   #3
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What would be the result of organic carbon buildup? Quick reply, cheerz, haven't even had time to finsh w/c


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Unread 06/26/2010, 01:07 AM   #4
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Rise in N and p? Too much bacteria? So would u advise cutting back or stopping? Won't the low dose balance with the low export?



Last edited by AaronM; 06/26/2010 at 01:18 AM.
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Unread 06/26/2010, 06:40 AM   #5
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Don't care about sounding silly, would rather help than not. The way i understand it is i've increased the food source, i.e organic carbon for bacteria. As the bacteria multiply they consume more of the nutrients in the tank. No sump or fuge, so no place for algae to do the same job. Knowing my skimmer isn't great, i've started the dose low. I now intend on buying a better skimmer, an intermediate one until i move and buy another tank with proper equip.

So the problem is the skimmer it seems. Not removing enough of the bacteria, so its building up and becoming unsightly, correct?

If i cut the vodka back to 0.1ml, even 0.05ml, do you think the bacteria mass would decrease to a level my skimmer could manage, keeping nutes low but not eliminating? Better than before for me. If i stop dosing vodka, how much of the bacteria will remain and for how long? Would they just die and release the nutes? Cyano would die? It wasn't thriving pre vodka...even pre 0.3ml

Assuming i buy a better skimmer later this week, do you think dosing with the lights of for a few days would give other bacteria the upper hand enough so theres not much food left for cyano?

lot's of Qs... i could be way off the mark with all of this.

I won't dose vodka today.

If anyone could help steer me...opinions
Thanks


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Unread 06/26/2010, 06:59 AM   #6
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Bacteria average around 1 - 10 microns in size. Running a filter bag will help remove the bacteria from your water column when your skimmer is lacking. These filter bags are cheap and range from 1 micron - over 100 micron pore size. The problem in picking the pore size is that if you used a 1 micron bag, it would clog to quickly. Generally a 60-75 micron pore size seems to work best, since the bacteria collected will quickly reduce the total pore size of the bag. The flow through the filter bag can have a big impact on how quickly the bag will clog and what pore size you select. Cleaning the filter bag frequently will help remove more bacteria.


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Unread 06/26/2010, 09:50 AM   #7
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Thanks for replying.
o.k i assume i'm putting activated carbon in an appropriate filter bag. A better skimmer should arrive mid/late next week. The best option then is to run both forms of removal?

In the meantime, should i cut down or stop dosing? Didn't dose today...

What should i do about this red slime bacteria? Firstly, how should i attack it now? Lights off for some period makes the most sense to me as its photosynthetic. Second, won't i run into the same problem when i resume dosing with better equip., esp if its not retreating by then?

I guess its possible i won't even need to dose with a better skimmer and GAC, but i doubt it as i think my bio filter is inadequate atm.

Cheerz, Aaron


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Unread 06/26/2010, 02:19 PM   #8
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A phosphate level of 0.5 is still quite high. I would run GFO in a filter bag as well to get your phosphate level below 0.03, especially when fighting cyano and/or algal problems. AT a phosphate level of 0.5, your GFO will become saturated quickly, perhaps within 24 hrs. I would change out your GFO at least once per week until your phosphate level drops to 0.03 ppm. Make sure you have good flow through the GFO in a filter bag.

I would hold off on dosing vodka again until your get your new skimmer. Running a filter bag like I mentioned above in addition to your skimmer will help. I would also run GAC and change it out at least once per month, perhaps every two weeks with cyano problems. Resuming vodka once you get your skimmer will help to keep your nitrates down.

If you add too much vodka, you will see bacterial blooms either in your water column turning it a whitish color or you will see slimy whitish bacterial masses form on your rock, sand....etc. If you see this you will need to cut back on the amount of vodka you dose.

If you have not read this article, then I think you will find it helpful:

Vodka Dosing...Distilled!
http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/20...nftt/index.php


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Unread 06/26/2010, 05:24 PM   #9
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I agree that a GFO might be useful if algal growth is a problem.

Personally, I would cut back on (or stop) the vodka dose so that I didn't see a film on the tank walls. Bacterial blooms can cause a lot of problems, especially in a tank with a poor skimmer. Given that the tank has had a high phosphate level for a long time, getting rid of it might be difficult, because it can adsorb onto the rock and then be released when the phosphate level drop.


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Unread 06/27/2010, 01:34 AM   #10
AaronM
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O.k i will reserach then order GFO, GAC, bags, and skimmer today.

I've stopped dosing until the upgrades arrive.

I'll look into cyano reduction. Pre research i'm thinking less light + a few more little hermits. I wondered why you guys weren't calling it bacteria or algae, one or the other, but maybe its not clear cut...more research.

Re. the bagged media, where should it be put?
The all in one tank is an AR-980. It has a trickle filter in the hood. Currently, under the larger particle filters, mine contains bio balls (ammonia and nirtite), some LR rubble and a purigen saddy. I should replace the bio balls (at least most of) + purigen with these new bags?

Btw highlandreefer, i did skim the article, but after rereading i notice a possible mistake, apart from misjudging skimmer. Dosing instructions point 6. I noticed a reduction, or at least a reduced rate of increase, almost immediately with my lower dosing schedule. Perhaps i should have maintained 0.1ml until 0. For some reason i came away from research thinking increase until nitrate = 0, then cut back and maintain. Damn...

Bertoni, re. LR. Thankfully i replaced alot of liverock as well as increasing, so i hope this won't be a worry.

Thanks for shortcutting me.
Aaron


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Unread 06/27/2010, 07:07 AM   #11
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I'll look into cyano reduction. Pre research i'm thinking less light + a few more little hermits. I wondered why you guys weren't calling it bacteria or algae, one or the other, but maybe its not clear cut...more research.

Cyanobacteria are in a group by themselves. They are basically a bacteria which also contain chlorophyll like algae, which allows them to gain food (starches) through the use of light (photosynthesis). In essence, cyanobacteria are like half bacteria and half algae, which gives them benefits of both bacteria and algae in acquiring food. This makes them a tough critter to control.

This is a list of control methods recommend by Boomer for helping to control cyanobacteria in a reef tank:

"Some added thoughts from over the years from many

The only known fish to eat Cyano is Amblygobius stethophthalmus and it needs to be the real one not its close relative that is often Mis-ID with it.

A 2- 3 month scheme

1. Water changes. 25% weekly.

2. Bare bottom refugium only for cheato nutrient export and not for critters.

3. Siphon, sump, refugium, etc. every week during water change and clean all filter you have.

4. Blow off all the Cyano and settled stuff you can so it can be siphoned off.

5. Clean out skimmer and cup every week.

6. Carbon, 1 cup per 50 gallons / 2 wks. Try to use ROX

7. GFO -HC , change every month.

8. Purigen, every month

9. Soak frozen food in RO/DI and discard water before use. This is especially true for brine shrimp. Matter of fact I use to pour off the water, and then fill it back up, to repeat it until there was only whole brine shrimp in the container.

10. Read what is in the food and look for things low in phosphates.

11. Keep the pH in the very low 8's or very high 7's, as Cyano will out compete other algae's in higher pH water.

12. The # 1 limiting nutrient for Cyano is N, not P based on studies in various microbiology texts.

13. During these water changes and blowing stuff off and siphoning it up run a Diatom filter with a second cake of PAC (Powdered activated carbon).

14. Increase water flow where Cyano are growing, as they do not like high currents.

15. Shutting of all lights, almost total darkness for 48 hr. every few days.

Last resort is Chemi-Clean by Boyd.

99.9 % of the time if nothing eats it and it looks like yours it is Cyano."


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Unread 06/27/2010, 07:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronM View Post
Btw highlandreefer, i did skim the article, but after rereading i notice a possible mistake, apart from misjudging skimmer. Dosing instructions point 6. I noticed a reduction, or at least a reduced rate of increase, almost immediately with my lower dosing schedule. Perhaps i should have maintained 0.1ml until 0. For some reason i came away from research thinking increase until nitrate = 0, then cut back and maintain.

Aaron
Once you see your nitrate is dropping at a good rate, then I would stop increasing the vodka dose further and continue at that dosage rate until your nitrate hits zero. Then you will most likely need to cut that dose say by about 1/2 to maintain your nitrate level.


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Unread 06/27/2010, 07:44 AM   #13
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I agree with Highlander, for a quick fix do the water changes to get you parameters back in place. Get the water moving in the aquarium to get the cyano eliminated. But this part is only a fix of the problem. Your going to have to get the Po4 under control.


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Unread 06/27/2010, 08:10 AM   #14
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It's so one way atm. Thanks for the list highlandreefer.

I will do an approx of 1, 3, 5-10, 12 = research, 15.
4: I don't think i can blast off the cyano. Its only on the rocks. I think i could scrub it off with like a tooth brush. Would this spread it, or once in the water = skimmer removes? Second thought, scrub then spot syphon when w/c.

I will follow the reefkeeping schedule except lower...

Late in Aus. Must sleep. Been up late on reefcentral for the last few nights.

I will post all progress.

Thanks again
Aaron



Last edited by AaronM; 06/27/2010 at 08:50 AM.
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Unread 06/27/2010, 08:24 AM   #15
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Wilson, i've ordered GFO. I'll do what i can untill it arrives. I have 50 ltrs/13 gal on the stand-by.

Thanks and gn. Aaron


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Unread 07/01/2010, 05:30 AM   #16
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Udpate:
Nitrate still around 0.4, phos. around 0.05.

The new equipment has arrived. I'll install the skimmer on the w/e as i'll have to mod it and tank hood slightly. Not as much as i thought . I'll post on this once it's complete. I couldn't find as much guidance on retrofitting an ar-980 as i would've liked, so i'll contribute.

I intend on replacing most of the bio balls in the hood filter with GFO and GAC, placed under the wool type filter pads. I'll continue moving LR rubble up there though.

To combat the cyano bloom resulting from vodka dosing, i turned the lights off for 3 days/4 nights and cut back feeding. The cyano noticably decreased! Its now about 20% what it was at peak. No noticable harm to anything else. I pulled the plug on the last hr of lights today, and will prob. do this for the next few days. I have noticed a fine white powder covering the rocks now, but i guess if there was enough bacteria to white film and enough cyano to p*ss me off, then after stopped vodka and cutting the lights, there'd be enough dead material to see.

Vodka questions:
I'm struggling to understand whether or not i'll battle cyano again once i resume vodka dosing. I didn't notice a major problem with vodka dosing apart from the cyano. I think the film on the glass was a sign of progress re. increasing bacteria. Having a better skimmer with vodka dosing will allow for a higher rate of generation and export of bacteria which contains NO3 and PO4. Doesn't this include cyano? As cyano seems to favor surfaces rather than water, won't i be increasing generation of cyano whitout export? GFO and GAC will allow for better removal of both NO3 and PO4 again, so is this what will hurt cyano?

Was all the bacteria, including cyano, limited by C? Is cyano more limited by N and P than the bacteria i'm prefering to increase, so that at a certain point when dosing vodka there'll be a shift in euib. whereby the cyano will be starved out by the other bacteria?

Again i could be way off the mark...and making up a little story for myself. Definately confused. I reckon carbon dosing and bacteria are the key to this 'fuge, sump and algae lacking system...

Any guidance appreciated. Thanks, Aaron.
w/c time + beer dosing time



Last edited by AaronM; 07/01/2010 at 06:04 AM.
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Unread 07/01/2010, 06:35 AM   #17
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Some hobbyists report cyano problems while dosing vodka. Randy reports less cyano problems when dosing vinegar as compared to when he doses vinegar. Who knows? You could try substituting vinegar for vodka if you like and see what happens. Vodka is 8X stronger as a carbon source then vinegar, so you would have to dose 8X as much vinegar to get the same results as using Vodka regarding reducing nitrate.


For some additional thoughts regarding switching an algae or cyano based system to a bacterial based system see this thread:
(Using a carbon source with appropriate bacterial dosing may possibly help to push your system to where you want it although this is controversial.)

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh....php?t=1781320


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Unread 07/01/2010, 09:36 AM   #18
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Aaron, I didn't see the type of skimmer you are using previously and now. When looking at the skimmer previously did you notice an increase in skimmate when dosing vodka? Second, your phosphate were rather high and nitrates were low. Some species of cyano bacteria have the ability to fix nitrogen. As what this means in our hobby I don't know but theoretically if you have a large source of phosphates but nitrates are lacking, cyano has the ability to grow while other bacteria cannot compete as well.

Cutting your lights will starve the cyano of a food source but will come back as a problem later when you resume a normal schedule. Since you are on very large water changes currently, I would suggest syphoning as much cyano as possible from the tank.

With GFO and GAC, it is sometimes easier to run a reactor. This way you can control the flow through the canister so you do not create a large fluctuation in water quality when changing the media. Also, it is easier to remove when you need to change the media out.

What type of aquarium are you running? Is this a fish only? What made you want to start vodka dosing in the first place? Was it a hair algae issue? Nitrates in a fish only tank are not usually a concern unless you have algae. If you are thinking about adding corals then nitrates below 10ppm and phosphates below 0.05ppm are good goals.

Edit: Also, for the time being I would stop with the vodka. You need to establish a baseline with your aquarium. How its doing with the new skimmer. How fast are nitrates and phosphates rising. Vinegar is a useful alternative especially in tanks where cyano is an issue with vodka. However, I would not add this at the moment.

Yes, this hobby is addictive!!! However, the perpetual massive water changes some people undergo drive them out of the hobby!


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Unread 07/02/2010, 03:49 PM   #19
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hanging around............cyno sucks!


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Unread 07/02/2010, 08:36 PM   #20
AaronM
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"Abstract
Previous studies in fringing reefs of the Northern Red Sea demonstrated that the in-situ competition of corals and algae in natural assemblages is highly variable between seasons displaying fast overgrowth of corals by benthic reef algae in fall that follows close to equilibrium between both groups of organisms in summer. This may be caused by up to 5-fold higher inorganic nutrient and 6-fold higher organic nutrient concentrations in fall and winter, thereby potentially promoting algae and cyanobacteria growth with concomitant phase shift. A long term mesocosm experiment (duration: 90 days) was conducted in order to study the effect of dissolved inorganic (ammonium, phosphate, nitrate, and mix of all three) and organic (glucose) nutrient addition onto the competitive process in the dominant coral-algae assemblages of the Northern Red Sea involving branching corals of the genus Acropora and a typical consortium of benthic turf algae. Nutrients were added in 3-fold higher concentrations compared to the annual averages, and the parameters algal growth, extension of bleached area on corals, tissue colour change and chlorophyll a concentrations were monitored at regular intervals over experimental duration. This revealed that elevated ammonium concentrations and elevated organic nutrient concentrations stimulate algal growth, while coral tissue pigmentation and chlorophyll a content were significantly decreased. But only in the elevated organic nutrient treatment all effects on corals were significantly pronounced when assembled with benthic turf algae. Supplementary logger measurements revealed that O2 water concentrations were significantly lower in the elevated organic nutrient mesocosm compared to all other treatments, confirming side-effects on microbial activity. These findings indicate that organic nutrient input into coral reefs can affect physiology and metabolism of both corals and benthic turf algae. Reinforcing interaction between both groups of organisms along with involvement of microbes may facilitate phase shifts in coral reef ecosystems."

Going through rest of that thread.

Genetics: Yes...well...my old skimmer = aquarworld wg-310. Wheres the smiley face for embarressed? Some is better than none. New = deltec mce 300.

Cutting the lights certainly helped. If anything i'd say the cyano is still very very slowly decreasing after 2 days of lights back on. If after the new equip has settled in the cyano is still hanging around, i'll hit it with another lights off period. Easy for me with no expensive SPS.

One thing at a time (HA!). I'll see how the GFO and GAC goes up the top first.

Mostly live rock (replete with all kinds of hitchhikers), 5 fish, some LPS and BTAs and lots of crabs, reef safe and not, including a 2" purple one of these http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/reefs/guami...es/Image2.html I find the crabds interesting! I want to turn this into a crab focused tank. Less upgrading involved, as i don't think crabs mind the lack of lighting. A bigger reef and fish tank to follow.

I never had an algae problem. I started vodka dosing because i wanted my nute levels low. Basically i figured more food for the bacteria = bacteria multiply, taking up more nutes, then export. Small dose = small increase = skimmer not so important. I didn't think about buildup though. Oxygen was never going to be a problem because of the return from the hood filter.

After w/cs the tank seemed happier. Sailfin more vibrant, LPS swollen, crabs alot more active. I wanted this all the time minus the chore of 50% w/c each week. Ultimately i want what i think we all want with our tanks: as true a replication/simulation of the natural environment as posible(if not re. diversity then at least water conditions). Also, i think i read that crustaceans are particularly sensitive to NO3 and PO4.

"Also, for the time being I would stop with the vodka. You need to establish a baseline with your aquarium. How its doing with the new skimmer. How fast are nitrates and phosphates rising. Vinegar is a useful alternative especially in tanks where cyano is an issue with vodka. However, I would not add this at the moment."

Thats what i'm thinking.

Yeah, when i tell people i have a tank they say "ohhh alot of work!" so i say "not if you do it right!" But i'm not at that place yet.

Interestingly NO3 is still at 0.5 a week after stopping dosing vodka. So i have achieved some of my goal - less maitanence....atm...we'll see.


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