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String Mucus on Frogspawn

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Hottsauce23 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2016 at 8:57pm
It's all good it wasn't the best picture now that I look at it. It kinda has a glare on it. I don't have a way to test all those. I will have to take it down to Petco in the next couple days and see what readings I can get from them. I'll get back to you with that in a couple days thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bstuver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 09 2016 at 11:41pm
Originally posted by Hottsauce23 Hottsauce23 wrote:


It's all good it wasn't the best picture now that I look at it. It kinda has a glare on it. I don't have a way to test all those. I will have to take it down to Petco in the next couple days and see what readings I can get from them. I'll get back to you with that in a couple days thanks.


You will want to invest in at the very least an alk, cal and mag kit those are crucial to know to keep coral.
Jackie Stuver

"wait these aren't the happy Hawaiians oompa doompa godly heaven on your face zoas?   I dont want them then. lol!" Ksmart
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2016 at 9:34am
I agree completely with Jackie.
The Red Sea test kits are some of the best and most economical. The Red Sea Reef Foundation test kit is about $50 online. It tests the major three.

What is the Nitrate level that you are worried about? is it over 20 ppm?

I'm not sure Petco is the place I would go. I don't buy any live stuff there. They don't know what they are doing. I'd first ask here on the forum for someone nearby that may be willing to do those all those tests this week. LFS like Bird World may do the tests but for sure Aquatic Dreams does them. Be sure to ask for the actual numbers. I'm not nearby but I'm willing. I need to come visit a friend in NSL if you want to meet me there and see his awesome tank, just give me a call. You have my number.

Aloha,
Mark  Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bstuver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2016 at 5:11pm
Originally posted by Mark Peterson Mark Peterson wrote:

I agree completely with Jackie.


This statement right here never happens
Jackie Stuver

"wait these aren't the happy Hawaiians oompa doompa godly heaven on your face zoas?   I dont want them then. lol!" Ksmart
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 10 2016 at 9:02pm
Get used to it. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 12 2016 at 4:21pm
Okay so I took my water down to petco. There is a lady there April who knows her stuff. The following are what we found out. Did not have a test for magnesium however.
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 80-100 unsafe
Po4:.25-.5
Alkalinity: 150ish just under ideal
Calcium: 400
Amonia 1.0 stress level
PH: 7.8
Salinity: 1.026
So as far as I can tell Amonia and nitrates are the biggest problem which should just mean more water changes correct?
Look forward to your interpretation of the readings. Thanks

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bstuver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 12 2016 at 5:04pm
Alk is good I think that converts to about 8.4dkh, calcium is good I keep mine a bit higher around 420-430ish. Ammonia is way bad. Po4 is not good either along with nitrate. You have 3 things that need correcting before your corals will thrive:(
How often do you feed and how much of what type of food?

Edited by bstuver - April 12 2016 at 5:05pm
Jackie Stuver

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 12 2016 at 8:36pm
Should water changes and possible feeding changes fix those levels or are there other things I should do to lower those levels?

I feed mysis shrimp just once in the afternoon. I feed a piece probably the size of a penny when I do. I currently have 5 fish (2 medium, 3 small) and also a brittle star. Not to mention many crabs and snails. What suggestions do you have about that? Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 13 2016 at 4:02pm
Okay, here we go. Sorry this post ended up kinda long. It just seemed appropriate to give the information, kind of a reefkeeping review.

At this point, I believe that the Alk and Ca need no attention. They are within range. Nitrite at zero? I don't believe it. It cannot be zero when Ammonia and Nitrate are so high.

The reason Nitrogen pollution(Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate) is that high is because more food is going into the tank than the biofiltration can process/decompose. Biofiltration is not only bacteria living in and on rock and sand, but includes tiny animals that have not yet reached their full potential in this reef aquarium. Tiny bugs and worms are essential to a properly functioning reef. The high pollution has reduced the population of bacteria, bugs and worms and the high salinity along with elevated temp, though temporary, have not helped. FYI, overfeeding is the most common cause of problems for new hobbyists.

In order for this tank to recover and to be in good shape from here on, there are several things that should be done now and some things that should be conscientiously watched in the future.

WHAT TO DO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

1. Stop feeding the tank for a week. That means no food at all for at least 5 days, 7 days if you can handle it. The fish will be fine. Fasting is a healthy thing to do. If you are concerned about them, throw a tiny amount of food in the tank at day 5, but believe me they can go a long time without supplemental food. They find stuff to eat in the tank.

2. Leave the Refugium light on continuously for a week.

3. Put some Macroalgae in the display and extend the photoperiod to 18 hours

4. Consider a larger than usual water change (not necessary, but it can help).

5. Place 1/2 cup of Activated Alumina(AA) in a media bag next to the intake screen of the return pump. I have high quality AA and will give you a cup of it for free. Otherwise buy a small bottle of Kent Phosguard or SeaChem Phosphate Sponge at the LFS.


Why is Macroalgae my #2 and #3 recommendation? Because as it grows, algae eats Nitrogen pollution very fast, very effectively and with no effort on your part. A good amount of algae, illuminated 24/7 can cut N pollution by about 30% every day, so long as no food is going into the tank. This high N situation was going on for a long time. It does not need to be corrected all in one moment. Gradual changes are better for our tanks anyway.

Water changes can only dilute the N pollution by the percentage of the water change. A 30% water change will dilute the Nitrates by 30% (from 100 down to 70 ppm), a subsequent 30% WC will bring it down by 30% again (from 70 ppm down to 50 ppm). A decent goal is <20 ppm Nitrate. Multiple water changes are not only a lot of salt and water, they are a lot of hassle. In my book that is a less efficient way of fixing the problem than simply growing algae


WHAT TO DO LONG TERM

1. Watch the condition of coral for the signs that you now have learned are due to high N pollution, using the points above to bring N pollution down if necessary. The coral will tell you, by how good they look, whether N pollution is acceptable or whether it's gone out of whack.

2. Watch the temperature every day and if it rises, take action to correct it ASAP

3. Watch salinity at every water change, always check the salinity of the water change salt water and try to add only RO water for top-off.

4. After the 7 days of no or little food, feed half as much as has been fed prior to the fast and don't increase the amount of food until another fish goes into the tank that needs it. (Yes, a penny size piece of food (is that 1 or 2 cubes?) every day is too much for 5 fish)

5. Test Alk and Ca at every water change. Eventually, a need to supplement Alk, Ca and Mg will arise, especially as all the stony coral(frogspawn, Candy Cane, Moon Coral, etc.)  and Snails start to thrive. See the Reefkeeping Tips, linked below in my signature line, for information and methods.

6. Watch the bag of AA, flip it over every so often, mixing up the media to extend it's usefulness and change it out when it loses it's bright white color, when it's looking more of a tan color.

Feel free to come back here with questions.

Speaking of questions, there is one unanswered question that's got me curious. Is the Skimmer working better now, after making the recommended changes? A skimmer isn't really needed for this tank so don't worry if it takes a while to get it set up right.

Aloha,

Mark  Hug



Edited by Mark Peterson - April 13 2016 at 4:26pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 13 2016 at 6:18pm
Okay sounds great on the suggestions. I am excited to start making the changes so my tank can thrive. Just a couple of follow up questions. In the past when I have put macroalgae in my tank it seemed to always end up finding its way getting caught in the powerhead. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep it in one place in the tank? What I had done in the past is try and bury one end in the sand a little ways down and also put a couple shells on it. (didn't work somehow)
Next questions is does leaving the lights on the display tank for 18 hours risk bleaching anything? Or should it be fine? How many days do you suggest keeping it on for 18 hours?

Lastly is I am not sure if I will be out that way anytime soon to get a cup of AA. What kind of brand would you suggest getting if I were to buy some? 

Thanks again for all the help I'll definitely find a way to repay you for your help. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 13 2016 at 8:02pm

What is it hanging on to in the Refugium? I always put sand in the Refugium for more biofiltration and for Caulerpa to use. Rubble rock in the Refugium is okay, and useful to an extent, but LS can harbor a much larger population of bacteria, perhaps as much as 100 times larger than LR, depending on the sand grain size.

Rubble Rock is great for holding down Caulerpa. Every tank needs to have some rubble rock, small pieces of LR (marble to ping pong ball size), because it not only makes for more natural looking aquascaping to have a zone of rubble, but it's a place where bugs can live in the display, protected from predators. Take a larger piece of LR and/or dead coral skeleton and break it up with a hammer and chisel or flat screwdriver. Dump all the pieces (and calcium carbonate dust) back into an area on the sand.

Another way to stabilize Caulerpa is to use an elastic to hold it to a rock outcropping or to hold it to a dead coral skeleton, or even bury the rhizome in a couple spots in the sand, deeper than before if necessary. As it grows, it will start attaching itself to the sand. For some reason I love pulling up Caulerpa that has sent it's "roots" deep into the sand bed.

Speaking of sand, what kind of sand is it and how deep is the sand bed? A deeper sand bed, or a less deep bed of Oolitic sand harbors more bacteria for biofiltration. I have a ton of excellent Oolitic Sand for $0.50/lb.

Like the Refugium light, leave the display light on the extended photoperiod for a week, or as long as you think is needed.

Look again. I wrote two brand and product names in that post. I doubt Petco has it, but your nearest "real" LFS, Bird World, should carry it.

Aloha,

Mark  Hug

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 14 2016 at 2:05pm
Sand bed is probably like 3 inches deep. I will use rubble rock to put the macro in the display tank. Right now it just floats in my sump. 
I bought the seachem phosphate sponge and also an ammonia and activated carbon sponge. They are both in high water flow areas.

Also curious about getting an accurate salinity reading. I have used 3 different brand hydrometers to test my water and they all fluxuate. Also on monday the day after I did my last water change the salinity dropped to 1.026 now a couple days later I am getting 1.022. Is it normal for it to take this long to stabalize? 
Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 14 2016 at 3:48pm

And what type of sand? Do you have a close-up pic?

Is the Ammonia and Activated Carbon Sponge a filter pad or a granular media? Typically we don't mix carbon and ammonia media for use in reef aquariums(they are more for freshwater aquaria). In fact, after this pollution issue is resolved you will probably never need to worry about ammonia ever again.

Hydrometers are good devices but really ought to be calibrated before use(or after cleaning as described below), otherwise they may be off by as much as 0.003. It's okay, fish and coral can live okay in anything from 1.020 to 1.030, but it's better to be more exact than 0.003. Calibration is easy. Compare the reading to the same salt water measured by a Refractometer. All LFS should have a refractometer and be willing to test a sample of their salt water with both devices. Simply note how far off it reads and mark that + or - value on the hydrometer with a permanent marker.

A temporary high reading comes about when a tiny bubble sticks to the needle. A re-dip in the water is the quickest way to resolve this. Microscopic bubbles will have a tiny but insignificant influence. If exactness were really that important I would be using the more expensive and delicate Refractometer myself. Tongue

A longer term issue develops over time if the hydrometer has not been periodically cleaned by soaking in white vinegar for 10 minutes. The Calcium Carbonate that forms on the needle makes it heavier so that it reads lower than the actual specific gravity(SG, salinity).

Regarding the readings changing, salt dissolves quickly enough for water changes, but salinity does not change without an outside influence, such as evaporation or RO top-off. In my experience different readings usually occur because salinity was not double checked by the hobbyist. If in doubt, I check the tank water before the water change, check the water change water and then check the tank water after the water change.

When checking salinity with my Hydrometers, I typically measure twice to be sure I'm getting the same reading, or three times if the first two readings didn't match.

Hope this helps.

Aloha,

Mark  Hug



Edited by Mark Peterson - April 14 2016 at 3:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 14 2016 at 10:16pm
I'm not sure on the sand it came already in the tank. I'll attach a pic though. The ammonia activated carbon is granular media. Luckily it was only a few bucks if it is for freshwater tanks haha. I will have to see if birdworld will test my salinity if they have a refractometer. I guess for now though is just wait a few days and see :)


Edited by Hottsauce23 - April 14 2016 at 10:43pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 15 2016 at 8:08am
The sand looks good. It looks like the common CaribSea Special Reef Grade sand. And there is plenty of it. It's whiter than I expected. That makes me think it's being vacuumed at each water change. Is that the case? 

I'm sorry. I should have said that the Ammonia/Carbon combo media is actually a good thing to use right now. It will get saturated quickly. I'd probably change it out every 2 days for a week and then just use Activated Carbon from then on.

Also, I should say that even as the N pollution drops to acceptable levels, some of the coral and anemones will look better. Over the coming weeks some of the coral will continue healing from the pollution burn and look more normal as they recover.

Has the Hydrometer been soaked in vinegar and cleaned and would you mind telling us what it's reading now? 

What can you say about the skimmer?

Checking back over the history of posts, your concern about the 18 hours of light is valid. If the lights over the display have been on that schedule for a couple days now, check the Nitrate level. Hopefully it has dropped significantly. If so, the algae has been given a jump start for increased growth so go ahead and change the photoperiod back to 10-14 hours/day. Leave the Refugium illuminated 24 hrs/day.

What is the Nitrate reading now?

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - April 15 2016 at 8:10am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2016 at 12:35pm
I don't vacuum it that much when i do a water change I think it is mostly because of my diamond goby that the sand is white. 

I soaked my two different hydrometers in vinegar and they are both reading 1.021 right now. I just added a little salt to my top off water. Like 1/4th cup. 

I just tested ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate with my API test kit and the results are confusing. Ammonia was less than .25, nitrite was very close to 0 but yet my nitrate showed more than 80 ppm. I haven't fed for 3 days now, have macro in display and sump and also have increased photoperiod in display to about 17 hours and left sump light on 24/7 and added the phosphate sponge, ammonia activated carbon granular media and some of my own activated carbon in the sump. I think I probably should get a water change ready for tomorrow.

As for the skimmer I haven't done anything with that yet. With that not being vital right now I am putting it off til i am done with my schooling in a couple weeks. 

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2016 at 12:19am
Because the hydrometer needed cleaning when used for the first reported reading of 1.030, the actual salinity was probably closer to 1.033, right?

Well, unless the sand bed is packed with detritus, the sand should not be vacuumed at all. I can tell by the whiteness that this sand is not packed with detritus. It's important to understand that vacuuming LS disturbs the bacteria, worms and bugs. When they get messed up they can't do their job until they get resettled which can take 4 weeks or more. During this time, the biofiltration is not able to do it's job and pollution levels stay higher than desired. 

Nitrate reducing bacteria live in the deeper depths of the sand, like below an inch and deeper in that kind of sand. The deeper a sand bed is disturbed the more damage is caused to the tanks overall Nitrate reducing ability.  I'd say that the sand disturbance caused by vacuuming and by the Diamond Goby are each additional significant reasons for high pollution levels.



You probably know this but a review might be helpful at this point. Through bacterial action fish waste and excess food are converted into Ammonia then further converted to Nitrite, which in turn is converted to Nitrate, and then as shown above, Nitrate is eaten by algae. As mentioned earlier, Nitrate is also broken up by deeper living bacteria into Nitrogen gas and water. Along with bacteria, I believe that algae also consumes Ammonia and Nitrite, though I don't know the proportion/percentage.

Your test results show that uneaten food and fish waste, though becoming less (Ammonia dropped from 1.0 to .25) is still present. Ammonia is being converted to Nitrite and the Nitrite is being quickly changed to Nitrate. Unfortunately, Nitrate is not dropping as fast as expected or it may even be at the same level as before (previously reported as 80-100, now reported as 80). Time will tell, but we should probably check to make sure there is not a place in the system that we call a "Nitrate Factory." This is typically a place where well aerated water is falling/trickling/splashing/flowing over some kind of media exposed to air. Is there a place like this in your aquarium system? Is there a HOB filter, a canister filter, or is there an exposed filter pad or bioballs in the Refugium?

If there is a "Nitrate Factory" in this system, then doing a water change will be helpful, for a day or two, by which time the "factory" will have already produced enough Nitrate to replace that removed by the water change. Ouch

Aloha.
Mark  Hug


Edited by Mark Peterson - April 17 2016 at 12:31am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2016 at 3:20pm
With the original salinity that is a good question because I had added .007 to the reading since I had thought i figured out by comparing it with other hydrometers that it was off by that much. But after cleaning it and comparing it with my brand new one they both read 1.021. I think I should probably get it tested by a refractor asap though.
I haven't really ever vacummed the sand all that much it was more just pushing it around since it used to get unevenly distributed by the fans. But in the new position of them this isn't much of a problem anymore. 
The only potential nitrate factory locations that I can think of would be the hob overflow box or the filter sock in the sump. I cleaned the filter sock a few days ago and cleaned the sponge in the overflow box maybe about a moth ago. Do you think that could be the problem?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2016 at 5:09pm
The sponge, yes it's a Nitrate Factory. Because there is a filter sock, I would remove the sponge. I know how interesting a "sand throwing goby" can be. They do have personality, but IMO they are murder on the sand bed. They eat all the bugs and worms that should make up a good part of the biofiltration. I would not have one of those unless there was enough sand area to feed one and still do needed biofiltration, like a sand bed of 16 square feet or more. There are many smaller tanks that house them but who knows how much better the biofiltration and tank health would be without?

There are many other fish that have cool personality but are a help rather than a hindrance. For example, Blennies eat algae and have a lot of personality.

Aloha,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 17 2016 at 5:31pm
I have now removed the sponge. So with the goby he may not even be alive. I only end up seeing him once every few days before he darts back under a rock if I approach the tank. I also have a brittle starfish which may have got him. So if the goby is still alive any suggestions on how to catch it? He doesn't even come out when the food goes in the tank. 
Also if I were to invest in a blenny I would think the brittle starfish would have to go too. Correct?
Another thought about nitrates is over the past few months I have had some fish completely disappear not even able to find any carcasses of them. Maybe the crabs ate it all up? 
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