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  #1  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:08 AM
dmack dmack is offline
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Think twice before adding fish to correct a tank problem!!

My tank has been running smoothly for 1 1/2 years. Recently my entire tank was overrun by hair algae. I've been trying unsuccessfully to correct the problem:

-raised my mag
-removed my sandbed
-3 day periods of lights out (so far this is the most effective method)
-dramatically reduced feedings
-running tons of GFO

The hair algae kept spreading! I believe the real problem was the fact that I overstocked my tank. Out of frustration, I impulsively bought a foxface and put him right into the tank. BIG MISTAKE! Apparently he was diseased and died within 2 days. Since then, most of my fish have died also. I have learned some obvious lessons.

But one point I would like to make is that I often read suggestions on reefcentral to add certain fish to correct a tank problem. I think this is a mistake. Adding fish to correct an algae problem, aptasia problem, snail problem..... seems to be the wrong way to approach the issue. In other words, at best it is a band aid on the problem. When people buy fish to "fix a problem", more times than not, that fish is going straight into the display tank, because like me, others are desperate to correct whatever issue they are having. If you buy a foxface to help with a serious algae bloom, are you going to quarantine that foxface for 8 weeks? Not likely.

So...I have learned some important lessons. Now that most of my fish are wiped out, I believe the algae will finally go away. Don't make the same mistakes as me!
  #2  
Old 01/08/2008, 02:49 PM
MSU Fan MSU Fan is offline
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Well, there are really 2 lessons from your experience:
1) don't band aid fix the problem. Find the source and correct it there.
2) Quarantine your livestock purchases! I got ich in september, and it nearly wiped out my livestock. My only survivor is the tang that got it first...

So what is your plan now?
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Craig & Holly

1-75g FW Planted
1-55g African Cichlid
1-125g w/ 4 turts
1-75g RR Reef
1-12g NC Mantis, 1-12g AP Brittle Star
2-cats
2-dogs (1 Catahoula Leopard Mix & 1 Shepherd Mix)
  #3  
Old 01/08/2008, 04:20 PM
siropa siropa is offline
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Using fish and/or inverts to address problems isn't bad. Tossing a fish in without a proper QT procedure is. I agree that you need to address the root cause of a problem instead of trying a band-aid solution generally, but doing that isn't what caused your fish loss.

As for your original problem, the fish load may or may not have been the cause. What were your water parms before you tried adding the new fish? What is the source of your water? Are you adding nitrates and phosphates with each WC and topoff?
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  #4  
Old 01/08/2008, 04:31 PM
atvdave atvdave is offline
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I have to agree with siropa. Sounds to me like your system was about ready to crash even before you added the foxface.

Overstocked with a high bio-load. I also get algae blooms from time to time and I have learned just to go the slow approach. Water changes, and more water changes.

I also have a Foxface that helps dearly.
  #5  
Old 01/08/2008, 05:08 PM
Sk8r Sk8r is offline
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I do have a suggestion I think will fix your algae problem. You've got a lot of phosphate in there, fueling this. Establish a 30g fuge lit 24/7 with cheato and a DSB, and THEN do your 3 day lights-out. Over the next few months you'll find your algae going away, you'll be able to sell off your old phosphate as cheato, and you won't even have much film algae on your glass. You'll have pods, you'll have a 30 lb reserve sandbed that will augment your main tank processing power, and life, in general will be a lot easier than algae-battles.
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"Make haste slowly." ---Augustus.

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  #6  
Old 01/08/2008, 05:36 PM
Swanwillow Swanwillow is offline
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Re: Think twice before adding fish to correct a tank problem!!

Quote:
Originally posted by dmack
I believe the real problem was the fact that I overstocked my tank.
well

the solution for the problem would have been removing a few fish. Posting your fish list, saying 'I'm overstocked, what should I sell?' may have helped. Maybe even make room for the fish that did you over.
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my advice:walk away. do nothing.
til tomorrow.
if its still alive, it will hopefully be fine. If you do not see it, do not try to find it. it may be hiding. just LEAVE it alone
  #7  
Old 01/08/2008, 06:31 PM
dmack dmack is offline
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I don't think its bad to use fish to help control algae. But I'd bet people are more likely to skip the quarantine when they purchase an animal to help control an algae problem, as I did.
Siropa: I suspected my parameters were off, but I couldn't determine where, so I sent a sample to AWT:
Ammonia .004
Nitrite .008
Nitrate .7
Phosphate .02
Silica 2.4
Potassium 462
Calcium 343 (my Salifert test was reading around 420)
Boron 3.5
Molybdenum 0
Strontium 6.5
Mag 1334
Iodine .01
Copper .003
Alk 4.01

I use RODI water. However, until recently I didn't have a TDS meter to determine when I needed to change my resin.

Sk8r: I thought if I ran GFO it isn't helpful to have a fuge for phosphate reduction. Am I wrong? If I should do both, I will have to try to find room for a fuge!

Currently, my plan is to cut back my lighting a lot, blow my rocks off daily, and pick out as much algae as I can.

I mentioned that I tried to raise my mag, but the level was only 1334. I think that might be because I have been doing large water changes using IO, and my mag additions did not keep up. I was using mag flakes. Do I need to use the Kent product? If so what is the difference?

Any suggestions are welcome.
  #8  
Old 01/08/2008, 06:38 PM
Craig Lambert Craig Lambert is offline
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dmack,

Do you suppliment Potassium? Reason I ask is that most salts are below 300 ppm. 462 is above natural seawater (390). I'm suspect of that test if you're not supplimenting.
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  #9  
Old 01/08/2008, 06:42 PM
dmack dmack is offline
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Craig - nothing more than limewater for topoff.
  #10  
Old 01/08/2008, 06:44 PM
dmack dmack is offline
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Now I am curious why my potassium is so high.
  #11  
Old 01/08/2008, 06:45 PM
Craig Lambert Craig Lambert is offline
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Not a big deal, but I do question the test results.
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  #12  
Old 01/08/2008, 06:56 PM
Sk8r Sk8r is offline
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GFO?
Wasn't sure, ferrous oxide: but I found this quote from our own Randy online during research of GFO:
"Phosphate bound to GFO surfaces is still available to the water column by exchange, so the sequestering is temporary rather than permanent."
Ask Randy, but it seems as if the stuff can be drawn back out by something that 'wants' it, be it water or algae.

I'm no expert in GFO media: I've tried it, had no success. I did set up a 20g fuge for my 54, and had great success. I had abundant phosphate: had cheato rooted in my tank rock, had tried tang, urchin, rabbit, GFO, no joy. And the stuff survived rock cooking: the roots were still in there and sprang right back to life...along with one aiptasia. I set up my fuge and within a matter of two weeks, the caulerpa was fading to transparent and then dying: the fuge cheato had increased 4x or more, and film algae on the glass has practically gone. I did do the lights-out method to help it along---did that 3x, so 3 months; and now there is no more algae problem, period. I still have some bad habits: got a critter that loves pellet, so I feed it now and again and get a very light film algae that whisks right off with a mag float. Nothing more stubborn except valonia [bubble,] which you may know is a very persistent algae.
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"If anything CAN go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible moment."---St. Murphy.
  #13  
Old 01/08/2008, 07:01 PM
dmack dmack is offline
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Sk8r - I look into the fuge idea some more. I have plenty of bubble algae too. I thought it was a problem until the hair algae came along. I dont even care about the bubble algae problem anymore.
  #14  
Old 01/08/2008, 07:05 PM
Sk8r Sk8r is offline
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You could, if you could guarantee no clogs in the downflow, even put it up OVER your tank on a shelf, if you are running out of room: [tie shelf to studs!]: pump water up to it by small pump which could actually be in the fuge, let it gravity-drain down to tank, light it 24/7 with about 13w HO, dsb, live rock, cheato ball.
Easiest, of course, to make it part of sump, to use return pump: I lifted my EV 120 out on eggcrate grid to give myself room; works great.

Bubble---lol! I agree with Bertoni: it's not an algae, it's a rock texture.
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"Make haste slowly." ---Augustus.

"If anything CAN go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible moment."---St. Murphy.
  #15  
Old 01/08/2008, 09:46 PM
siropa siropa is offline
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I have a huge fuge and also sometimes use phosban or one of the phosphate products. My cheato has always grown very well. if I had to pick only one of the two things, it would be the fuge. I know on tanks that I used to run that never had fuges i'd have reoccurring algae problems. never have them since I started with a fuge for a year or so.
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  #16  
Old 01/08/2008, 10:20 PM
ManotheSea ManotheSea is offline
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Great pointers. Always work on water quality to reduce algae.
  #17  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:00 PM
dmack dmack is offline
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I'll do some research on running a fuge. Realistically, I would probably need to move my sump/equipment to the basement as I am out of places to hide this stuff & I don't like to see the tank equipment scattered about.
  #18  
Old 01/08/2008, 11:04 PM
dmack dmack is offline
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To reduce phosphates, could I just place some Chaeto and a light in my sump and call it a day?
 

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