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Old 01/04/2008, 07:00 PM   #1
Dustin_p
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A BIG!! newbie mistake

A little back ground.

With alot of reseach and my LFS for advice, I started my first reef 11 months ago... Everything was well for the first six months but now I have ran into a HUGE problem. ALGAE!!! and along with that I just found out I have a massive flat worn issue.

First the hair algae, I have been fighting this problem for months. My first thought was phos. but after three test kits all reading less than .05 it wasn't the issue. My next thought was silicate, so I sent a sample out, came back .1 . Now during the past three months I have been doing more water changes than normal 20% every other week. Using what I THOUGHT to be good water. I have been using water from one of those machines at the grocery store. It said it was ro/di and along with that it had a maintenance card on it stating the last service date, TDS reading and other various check offs. I thought It was a no brainer so I used that water... Now after using that water for 11 months for startup, water changes and topoff I found out today the actual TDS of the water is 32ppm!!!!!! So I have found the problem, now what do I do??? Of course the first thing will be buy a RO/DI unit (any body buy one from Melve??? he sells them for 169.00 awsome price! Just looking for suggestions)... But after that.?????

I have a 55g I have been thinking about setting up and "starting over".

The other problem is flat worms they started out as a little brown patch and now cover my whole tank. In between the algae and the flat worms you can't see any of my nice purple LR.

I hear there is no way to get ride of flat worms besides a fresh water dip. Is this true?? If it is maybe the best thing would be to start my 55g and transfer everything to that one, doing a fresh water dip between.

So much is going bad right now I don't know what to do.

All my tank parameters test good so I don't think the corals or fish are at risk yet.

I hope people read this at realize how important ro/di water is

Thanks


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Old 01/04/2008, 07:17 PM   #2
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Flat worm exit will kill the flatworms but you should siphon as many out as you can before using it to mitigate the toxin release. Also run carbon to capture any toxin the dead and dying flatworms will exude. you will also have to do a massive water change because of the toxins from the dying and dead flatworms will kill everything if not removed via carbon and water change. Also there is a Nudi branch that only eats flatworms it might be called a berghia nudibranch but i'm not 100% sure. As for the hair algae from what i've read increasing magnesium is supposed to kill it. how high to raise it i'm not sure.

good luck
Harry


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Old 01/04/2008, 07:17 PM   #3
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If the flatworms are Convolutriloba retrogemma, Flatworm Exit has worked for me, although the treatment is risky. Google should turn up some images.

A TDS of 32 ppm might not be very bad at all. Once water is purified by RO/DI, the TDS will rise over time as carbon dioxide enters the water. In addition, some compounds might leach out of the storage container. That's not necessarily an issue.

Still, I think that getting a RO/DI system is a good idea, if only for cost and peace of mind. A system with a good 75 gpd membrane is a place to start.

Phosphate at 0.05 ppm is enough to be a problem for stony corals, and indicates that the tank has a nutrient problem.


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Old 01/04/2008, 07:21 PM   #4
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Well we need info And you can add most of these in your profile for faster more accurate help.
Ill bet my tank that you have low flow.
You say readings are fine but what are tested and the results?
Amount of LS and LS?
amount of stock and type?
List all equipment?
Whene you test TDS is it from the source or the tank?


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Old 01/04/2008, 07:24 PM   #5
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You were right the first time.
The very fact you have algae means you have phosphate. It's bound in the tissue of the algae, so the tests will always read 0.
There is something very specific you can do about the flatworms. Are they the red or the brown?
Do you have a strong skimmer?
Your fuge is way small for your tank. Right idea, but way not enough. Get a 30 g cheap tank or bin, [food grade]. Pipe that as a fuge. Put 4" sandbed, live rock, big lot of cheato, and a 24/7 light on it.

Get hermits and snails to work on that algae: they will poo the phosphate into the water and the fuge will grab it, starving out the algae. BUT DO THIS AFTER DEALING WITH THE FLATWORMS.

FIRST< -----The flatworms...
There is stuff called Flatworm Exit. It is hugely dangerous, mostly because it kills them all and your tank can crash from the sudden bioload and the toxins they release. You HAVE to have or make a skimmer up to this job and stand by with multiple ro/di water changes and then a heavy load of charcoal.

You might send everything to qt for the duration---but the problem is---flatworms will go to qt with it and come right back to your tank if you don't choreograph this correctly. You have got, as you know, one heck of a mess...and my best theory of how to deal with it is to kill the flatworms first.
Flatworm Exit is safe for fish and inverts...BUT---big but---it will overload your sandbed with the equivalent of a 20 pound highly poisonous fish not only dying in your tank, but being pureed into rotting soup. This means you have to have a lot of activated carbon ready. Go get a box of Flatworm Exit, read the instructions three times until you have no doubt at all what your risks are and what to do about them.
Lay a plan of attack.
If your skimmer is way weak, there is one thing you can do to moderate the effects of this stuff, and that is to MAKE a temporary skimmer: borrow a potent pump and hose from your lfs [I'm talking really forceful] and use it to jet water from your tank hard into a bucket. It will froth. Bigtime. Skim off the froth as best you can, discard it, return non-foam water to your tank, and keep doing this like mad until the froth gets much, much less on top of the water. You may have to do this for hours. This is in effect a makeshift skimmer. It will both oxygenate and clear out the amino acids of the flatworm dieoff as you throw away that foam.
Because this is so chancy, I would, early on in the process, lift fish and corals out of here and into clean quarantine---I'd delay it just long enough to hope it killed all the flatworms infesting your corals.

For the rest, just skim and follow directions.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/04/2008, 07:36 PM   #6
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An alternative, if you haven't got help...
I've been racking my brain to figure how to get you out of this double mess alive.

If the flatworms are really, really thick, the algae is beyond belief, and you want to redo your tank---
You could pull all fish and corals to quarantine. Flatworms will come with them. BUT I recall a 6 line wrasse will eat them. Get said wrasse and put him in with the corals and don't feed him. Lunch.

Meanwhile, clean out your tank as you need to, wash your rock in saltwater; possibly discard your sand, at least wash it in saltwater, and set back up, laying down eggcrate first; then your rock, then the washed sand. You will have a little cycle, probably about a week or two.

You will use only ro/di-based seawater for this set up and forever and ever, check?

Meanwhile you test, test, test, and when your tank is ready [and starting to blossom again with algae, let loose a good cleanup crew] AND hook in that fuge I was talking about. As soon as the tank is ready, algae-free, etc., put your fish and corals, including one FAT 6line wrasse, back into the tank. And sin no more with non-ro/di.
That might be a little less risky. It all hinges on the 6-line's appetite for a reduced number of those flatworms, but I think it might work. If any get through the process he should be able to get them.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/04/2008, 07:58 PM   #7
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Six-line wrasses generally don't eat the red plague. I don't know of a reliable, useful predator. There's a nudibranch that will eat them, but they die of starvation before all the flatworms are gone.


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Old 01/04/2008, 08:21 PM   #8
Dustin_p
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Quote:
Originally posted by demonsp
Well we need info And you can add most of these in your profile for faster more accurate help.
Ill bet my tank that you have low flow.
You say readings are fine but what are tested and the results?
Amount of LS and LS?
amount of stock and type?
List all equipment?
Whene you test TDS is it from the source or the tank?
I have two Koralia's one-3 and one-4

PH 8.4
phos .05
rate .2
rite .0
ammonia 0.0
calcium 450
temp 79.4
salinity 1.0245
alk 10

Stock:
1-fake clown
1-blue damsel
1-yellow tank

a couple of zoos
toadstool leather
Brain
shrooms

TDS is from the source water


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Old 01/04/2008, 08:28 PM   #9
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That's plenty of flow. The phosphate could be from a number of source, but most likely, the issue is the food or perhaps the water source. You could try a phosphate test on the RO/DI water, most likely, or on some freshly-mixed saltwater. Most phosphate test kits will work on freshwater, I think.


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Old 01/04/2008, 08:46 PM   #10
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All the phosphate tests I've used show close to zero readings. I think I agree with Sk8r in that all the phos is being used up by the hair and the chateo.

Moving everything to the QT tank might also be the way to go.
The only problem with that is I will more than likely add the flat worms to it also.

I goggled "flat worm exit" and read alot of bad things... not sure thats a good alternative.

The real kicker is that the old timer at the LFS told me to use the water from the store and that flatworms are "normal".

I will now be traveling 150miles to the next closes LFS, since they one closes to me knows absolutly nothing!!


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Old 01/04/2008, 08:51 PM   #11
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OW.
Can you determine whether you have brown or red flatworms? THat makes a difference re whether the 6 line or the spotted mandarin will eat them, apparently.
Ergo in strategy.

With your store's attitude I have NO doubt where you got the flatworms.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/04/2008, 08:55 PM   #12
Dustin_p
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sk8r
OW.
Can you determine whether you have brown or red flatworms? THat makes a difference re whether the 6 line will eat them, apparently.
Ergo in strategy.
I think there brown???? Kinda red rust maybe??


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Old 01/04/2008, 09:00 PM   #13
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If this worthless fish store happens to have a 6 line wrasse that isn't already glutted on these creatures, you might try it---I hate to say it---you need an extensive 4 week quarantine re ich, importing the wrasse.
A mandarin [spotted, not psychedelic] is also said to eat them, and a mandy is a fish I do not quarantine, because it eats only live prey. If they have one, you might try it and see if it will eat flatworms off corals set into quarantine with it. If it will, you have a means of ridding yourself of the flatworms, but your fuge is too small to support the mandy longterm without them...

All of which means you are in a many-cornered box, with pitfalls in every end.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/04/2008, 09:09 PM   #14
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My fangtooth blenny eats flatworms. Just an observation.


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Old 01/04/2008, 09:10 PM   #15
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Species? And type of flatworm? Red or brown? [or rusty?]
Blennies and mandys have an incredible appetite. They can't cope with a living tide [as the flatworms can be] but they are good at picking off random items. Mandys and blennies are compatible, and might be a good team.

I'm somewhat working in the dark here---if there were a powerful enough skimmer, if the infestation hadn't reached the living tide stage, if they're the sort the fish could eat, one might even try relying on the fish FIRST and seeing if they could eat their way through the plague, then attack the algae problem via larger fuge and 3-day darks. But I haven't enough information to do more than suggest this and that fix.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/04/2008, 09:11 PM   #16
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How big of a fuge is recomended??? With the 20g long in the bottom of my stand I don't have much room for anything else.
I made the 6g fug just temporary for the chateo i got. I could maybe drill the of a 29g i have and place it next to my 75g tank... not sure how that would look. Might not go over well with mama either.... If thats what it takes it might be worth it.


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Old 01/04/2008, 09:23 PM   #17
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A big fuge can be temporary: just set a 20g beside the main tank on a table: set up, and connect with a U-tube siphon. Set a pump to suck a little water from your main tank to the fuge once or twice a day...all sorts of ways to plumb it so it won't flood. A pump on a topoff float, etc.

If you want a permanent fix, talk your way into a side cabinet, or a shelf above the tank, where you can put a 'show fuge' into operation, a planted tank that looks pretty darned good, lighted 24/7 and rife with plants. Vase set beside it. Nice flowers. Etc. Another fix is an adjacent doored armoire, holding both stereo equipment and tank stuff.

But one way to do it with no mega-fuge is by the 3-day dark method: after the flatworm solution, after the tank is stable again, start turning the lights out on your tank 3 solid days every month---while running a Phosban reactor 24/7. It chemically sops up phosphates released by the dieoff--also by the action of algae-eating inverts. Takes longer than a fuge, but it will get it sooner or later.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, tailspot blenny, ocellaris clown, yellow watchman, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 01/04/2008, 09:26 PM   #18
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I agree that many fish will eat flatworms, other than C. retrogemma. Every once in a while, someone will have a fish that eats C. retrogemma, too.

0.05 ppm is actually high for a phosphate reading, although I agree that algae can clear the water.


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Old 01/04/2008, 09:41 PM   #19
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How much LR and LS and type and amount of fish and coral ? A full tank pic would help.

Also cant believe im doing this but i disagree with bertoni and enough flow ( i say with great hasitation). The amount of rock and placement of this rock have alot to do with water movement.

This is a very commen thread though worded sifferant everytime. Lack of flow doesnt show its ill affects for months or yrs. Your LR will convert nitrate and ammonia into harmless nitrogen but not if there isnt enough or the flow is low.As well as LS, it will convert nitrate into nitrogen but not if CUC is low or lacking sand sifters to keep it cleaned and turned over.

Also low flow help fish and coral waste , uneatin food , and other debris to collect on , in ,around and under the rock work where after time reachs noticeable readings anf much harder to control.
Proper flow prevents all this from settling.Then theres overfeeding , overstocking , water change scedule and type of fish to name the most commen.

You really need to look at this from a new setup's point of view. See if you have the basics , LR , LS , FLOW , skimmer , test kit. If all is there then go to next step. Amount of CUC and how much to add as you go. Then water changes , then your water readings. This is fixable but will take time and patiants.



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Old 01/04/2008, 09:44 PM   #20
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I have been running phosban for the past couple of months with no improvement.

To note also I have 10-15 mexican turbos, 20 astrias, a dozen red / blue legged crabs along with a sand sifting and serpent star.


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Old 01/04/2008, 09:46 PM   #21
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I can only get 56k internet were I live so I'll try posting picks at work monday.


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Old 01/04/2008, 09:48 PM   #22
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I think that means there's not enough media being used, or the test kit isn't working. 0.05 ppm is well into the problem level, and PhosBan should be able to do better than that. Another media, like RowaPhos, might be useful to try.


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Old 01/04/2008, 10:14 PM   #23
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dustin you have a pm


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Old 01/04/2008, 10:25 PM   #24
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I still wonder amount of LR and LS?

Besides the phoban reactor is just another tool we use in what all reefers would like achieve.Total Systems Control. There is no one tool for elimating any water issue you may have.You should be able to drop and controll it ,then add addition tools for safe gaurding. It best to eliminate or bring it to its minimum before trying to add a piece of equipment in hopes of never worry again. And in your case it may have kept it from rising but still unable to control.
And water quality issues would be noticed from coral health way before 2 fish dyeing from it.



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Old 01/04/2008, 11:44 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by demonsp
I still wonder amount of LR and LS?

Besides the phoban reactor is just another tool we use in what all reefers would like achieve.Total Systems Control. There is no one tool for elimating any water issue you may have.You should be able to drop and controll it ,then add addition tools for safe gaurding. It best to eliminate or bring it to its minimum before trying to add a piece of equipment in hopes of never worry again. And in your case it may have kept it from rising but still unable to control.
And water quality issues would be noticed from coral health way before 2 fish dyeing from it.
I have 100lbs LR and 50lbs of LS

Not to sure what you mean by the "2 fish dying from it"

Also with my two koralia's and my return from the sump I have plenty of flow....

I have two small nested dead spots and thats were my shrooms like to hide. Other than that it has nice flow


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