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Old 06/02/2018, 06:45 PM   #1
Newms118
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Issue with Dirty Macroalgae

So I have a problem with my macros in my main tank. They keep getting really dirty, like with detritus or something all over them. Its white, stringy, and almost reminds me of cotton or dust.

Here are some examples, you can see that the stringy dirty parts are on the stems and leafs.











In some cases, the macros are also getting other algae on them. Here you can see some Bryothamnion have green tips because algae and other detritus has gotten stuck in them.



Here is some codium with the branches having some other green algae on them. Also, some of the branches become thin and have the stringy detritus on them as well.





So in terms of flow, I have an MP40 and MP10 in a 65 gallon tank. These plants are either near or under the flow of these powerheads so they are getting hit with lots of flow. I just dont know how to get these guys clean unless I take the plants out and scrub them with a toothbrush. And its definitely my tank because when I get the plants from GCE, they are clean and bright red/green, healthy. My Alk/Calcium/Mg level are normal to high. Nitrate is between 4 - 8 ppm. Phosphate is between 0.06 and 0.15 ppm. I have snails and shrimp but they dont seem to clean the macro algae as well.

I did a full 24 days of fluconazole treatment already, so that got rid of the bryopsis and GHA, with only a little of the GHA coming back, dramatically slower. So what are people's suggestions? Because other people's tanks look really good and their plants look happy.


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Old 06/02/2018, 10:08 PM   #2
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Yes, not only have I seen that, I am dealing with some of that in my 25 yr old 75G Jaubert Plenum display tank. In my case, most of the organics on the macro is detritus from what was a 6” dsb that lost its detrivore crew due to a Malanarius Wrasse. However, it can also be some of the leakage from differrent macro algae. A large part of the complication is that DOC is a by product of photosynthesis. In our glass tanks, when DOC from macro lowers the redox of the water, this favors a reducing environment which is not what you want in your reef tank. Use GAC to remove DOC. As much as possible, promote good gas exchange
in as many places as possible. I use bio ball’s in the first chamber of my mud cryptic zone refugiums

Let’s assume you implement using GAC. There will be a time delay on the removal of DOC. DOC is continually being leaked into the water. Once the nutrient source is reduced you need to do a major clean up of your macro. I would pull macro out and do a major vacuum of substrate & rock. With two open buckets of water, clean macro in one bucket and put cleaned macro in second bucket. Inspect macro to see if further cleaning is necessary.


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Old 06/02/2018, 11:50 PM   #3
Newms118
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Yes, not only have I seen that, I am dealing with some of that in my 25 yr old 75G Jaubert Plenum display tank. In my case, most of the organics on the macro is detritus from what was a 6” dsb that lost its detrivore crew due to a Malanarius Wrasse. However, it can also be some of the leakage from differrent macro algae. A large part of the complication is that DOC is a by product of photosynthesis. In our glass tanks, when DOC from macro lowers the redox of the water, this favors a reducing environment which is not what you want in your reef tank. Use GAC to remove DOC. As much as possible, promote good gas exchange
in as many places as possible. I use bio ball’s in the first chamber of my mud cryptic zone refugiums

Let’s assume you implement using GAC. There will be a time delay on the removal of DOC. DOC is continually being leaked into the water. Once the nutrient source is reduced you need to do a major clean up of your macro. I would pull macro out and do a major vacuum of substrate & rock. With two open buckets of water, clean macro in one bucket and put cleaned macro in second bucket. Inspect macro to see if further cleaning is necessary.
GAC is granulated activated carbon right? I have been using chemipure blue to pull out some phosphate etc but I didnt want the water to be that clean. I have a TUNZE 9011 on the tank and it does pull out gunk, but I guess not enough? I guess im a little confused on the difference between DOC and the nitrate/phosphate. If I remove more nitrate/phosphate, the plant will die and then just release that into the water. If i add more nitrate/phosphate, I get cyanobacteria and this Orangish bacteria that grows on the sandbed. You recommend just basically stripping the water of more nutrients and giving the algae a good cleaning in a fresh bucket of saltwater?


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Old 06/02/2018, 11:52 PM   #4
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Yes, not only have I seen that, I am dealing with some of that in my 25 yr old 75G Jaubert Plenum display tank. In my case, most of the organics on the macro is detritus from what was a 6” dsb that lost its detrivore crew due to a Malanarius Wrasse. However, it can also be some of the leakage from differrent macro algae. A large part of the complication is that DOC is a by product of photosynthesis. In our glass tanks, when DOC from macro lowers the redox of the water, this favors a reducing environment which is not what you want in your reef tank. Use GAC to remove DOC. As much as possible, promote good gas exchange
in as many places as possible. I use bio ball’s in the first chamber of my mud cryptic zone refugiums

Let’s assume you implement using GAC. There will be a time delay on the removal of DOC. DOC is continually being leaked into the water. Once the nutrient source is reduced you need to do a major clean up of your macro. I would pull macro out and do a major vacuum of substrate & rock. With two open buckets of water, clean macro in one bucket and put cleaned macro in second bucket. Inspect macro to see if further cleaning is necessary.
Other thing I forgot to mention is that its imposible for me to really clean my sandbed. I have my rockwork sitting on egg crate and it prevents me from really sifting the sand around. I know my next tank I will never use the damn egg crate again, I dont know how people keep their sandbed clean with using that stuff. As it stands now, I just dont have the time to basically deconstruct the entire tank to clean out the sand, and I dont know how else to get it out.

If anyone has any suggestions on that, Id love to hear it.


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Old 06/03/2018, 07:54 AM   #5
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Gravel vac the surface. Get appropriate sandbed detrivores that eat detritus not other detrivores. Cerith Snails, micro starfish and bristle worms will keep your sand bed functioning with your help as the Master Gardner.. I did not say clean. For long term success (10+ yrs) recycling sandbed nutrients thru complex food webs to produce live food for corals and fish.

GAC is granulated activated carbon. I would discontinue chemipure as it is much more than just GAC. Amongst other things, chemipure has ion exchange resins that are claimed to remove nitrate & phosphate. Your macro and coral both require nitrate and phosphate to exist. All organic organisms require nitrate and phosphate to exist.

Nutrients is too general of a word to use at this point in the conversation. Phosphate and nitrate are specific minerals that are fertilizer. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a by product of photosynthesis and is not one compound. It is a mixture of many differrent organic biochemical processes that will fuel nuisance algae. Leave the nitrogen & phosphate in the water for macro and corals to uptake. Both macro and coral produce DOC during photosynthesis. If left unattend, DOC often gives water a yellow tint.

I could not find a tank thread to better understand your system. I think your should discontinue the use of your protein skimmer as it is very ineffective at removing DOC. Ken Feldman has peer reviewed articles on Advanced Aquaria about the long term effects of protein skimmers contributing to “Old tank syndrome”.

Using DOC as control parameter data showed:
Protein skimmers removed at best 35% of DOC
GAC removed 75% of DOC
Biofilter removed 50% of DOC


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Old 06/03/2018, 09:58 AM   #6
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Good pics, Newms118. In eight pics I saw zero snails. Consider visiting Indo Pacific Sea Farms' Facebook page, and purchasing some of their Mini Strombus snails. They reproduce in your tank, so you get lots of tiny ones that can keep your macros clean. Ceriths reproduce as well, but I don't find them on my macros near as much. Also, mollies are an economical, algae eating option. Don't feed them and they will go after cyano even.


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Old 06/03/2018, 01:40 PM   #7
Newms118
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Originally Posted by Subsea View Post
Gravel vac the surface. Get appropriate sandbed detrivores that eat detritus not other detrivores. Cerith Snails, micro starfish and bristle worms will keep your sand bed functioning with your help as the Master Gardner.. I did not say clean. For long term success (10+ yrs) recycling sandbed nutrients thru complex food webs to produce live food for corals and fish.

GAC is granulated activated carbon. I would discontinue chemipure as it is much more than just GAC. Amongst other things, chemipure has ion exchange resins that are claimed to remove nitrate & phosphate. Your macro and coral both require nitrate and phosphate to exist. All organic organisms require nitrate and phosphate to exist.

Nutrients is too general of a word to use at this point in the conversation. Phosphate and nitrate are specific minerals that are fertilizer. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a by product of photosynthesis and is not one compound. It is a mixture of many differrent organic biochemical processes that will fuel nuisance algae. Leave the nitrogen & phosphate in the water for macro and corals to uptake. Both macro and coral produce DOC during photosynthesis. If left unattend, DOC often gives water a yellow tint.

I could not find a tank thread to better understand your system. I think your should discontinue the use of your protein skimmer as it is very ineffective at removing DOC. Ken Feldman has peer reviewed articles on Advanced Aquaria about the long term effects of protein skimmers contributing to “Old tank syndrome”.

Using DOC as control parameter data showed:
Protein skimmers removed at best 35% of DOC
GAC removed 75% of DOC
Biofilter removed 50% of DOC
For the Sand bed I have two giant brittle stars (diameter bigger than my hand), which have spawned and created tons of tiny brittle stars. Those are all over the place, and Ive even brought some down to clean up the sump that has my other plants in them. Ill include a picture of the refugium so you can see what that looks like:



With both refugium lights on (the other one is full spectrum: TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow Light)



Also got a mangrove growing in there:



Heres some other pics, one with snails in the refugium, the full tank.





And here is this weird orange bacteria growing on the bottom of the tank. Its different from cyanobacteria bc I have a little bit of that growing and its the normal red color.




For snails, I have bought at least 3 orders from GCE. At least close to 60 small virgin nerite snails, 20 nerite snails, 10 astrea snails, 40 dwarf cerith snails, 10 cerith snails. So far I'm down to like 3 or 4 astrea snails (I watch huge bristle worms I have in the tank go into there shells and kill them if they got on the rocks), maybe 10 virgin nerites, one or two nerites, and two or so cerith snails in the main tank. The rest all end up disappearing or dying off. So I don't know if its the say that they are added or what but they just don't last in my tank, and you know I have plenty of algae and junk for them to eat. I read the best way to put them all in is to just temp aclimate them for 15 minutes and dump them in, so thats what I do. And if you think the bristle worms don't kill the snails, the ones in the refugium don't seem to disappear, its only in the main tank.

So for GAC and a gravel bed cleaner, can you recommend any brands or the ones you use so that I don't just go buy some junk? Ive had to add more nitrate and phosphate into the tank bc I've been detecting low levels, either from some cyano thats coming back (despite me using chemiclean to get rid of it), or from the GHA slowly creeping back. I really hope I can out compete the GHA with the other macros bc the 24 day flucanozole treatment does end up hurting some of the macros (codium started to deteriorate and the red grape plant died completely).


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Old 06/03/2018, 01:41 PM   #8
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Good pics, Newms118. In eight pics I saw zero snails. Consider visiting Indo Pacific Sea Farms' Facebook page, and purchasing some of their Mini Strombus snails. They reproduce in your tank, so you get lots of tiny ones that can keep your macros clean. Ceriths reproduce as well, but I don't find them on my macros near as much. Also, mollies are an economical, algae eating option. Don't feed them and they will go after cyano even.
Please see my other recent post on the snails, I've tried having them put back in but they just don't last. I've never seen mini strobes snails so maybe Ill give that a try.


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Old 06/03/2018, 04:27 PM   #9
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Snails are VERY sensitive at acclimation. I do a hour + drip acclimation for all snails. A piece of airline tubing tied in a knot and a bucket. Also, if you want to keep snails you need to get rid of any hermit crabs you have. They kill snails and they are inferior algae eaters, once they get a taste of fish food. There are fish that eat bristle worms, if they're getting out of hand. Melanurus (Tail-spot) wrasse is one, I think. Some shrimp go after snails too.

From your pics, things don't look too bad. Hang in there and find a crew that works for you.


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Old 06/03/2018, 04:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Newms118 View Post
For the Sand bed I have two giant brittle stars (diameter bigger than my hand), which have spawned and created tons of tiny brittle stars. Those are all over the place, and Ive even brought some down to clean up the sump that has my other plants in them. Ill include a picture of the refugium so you can see what that looks like:



With both refugium lights on (the other one is full spectrum: TaoTronics Full Spectrum Grow Light)



Also got a mangrove growing in there:




Heres some other pics, one with snails in the refugium, the full tank.





And here is this weird orange bacteria growing on the bottom of the tank. Its different from cyanobacteria bc I have a little bit of that growing and its the normal red color.




For snails, I have bought at least 3 orders from GCE. At least close to 60 small virgin nerite snails, 20 nerite snails, 10 astrea snails, 40 dwarf cerith snails, 10 cerith snails. So far I'm down to like 3 or 4 astrea snails (I watch huge bristle worms I have in the tank go into there shells and kill them if they got on the rocks), maybe 10 virgin nerites, one or two nerites, and two or so cerith snails in the main tank. The rest all end up disappearing or dying off. So I don't know if its the say that they are added or what but they just don't last in my tank, and you know I have plenty of algae and junk for them to eat. I read the best way to put them all in is to just temp aclimate them for 15 minutes and dump them in, so thats what I do. And if you think the bristle worms don't kill the snails, the ones in the refugium don't seem to disappear, its only in the main tank.

So for GAC and a gravel bed cleaner, can you recommend any brands or the ones you use so that I don't just go buy some junk? Ive had to add more nitrate and phosphate into the tank bc I've been detecting low levels, either from some cyano thats coming back (despite me using chemiclean to get rid of it), or from the GHA slowly creeping back. I really hope I can out compete the GHA with the other macros bc the 24 day flucanozole treatment does end up hurting some of the macros (codium started to deteriorate and the red grape plant died completely).
https://www.reefcleaners.org/nuisance-algae-id-guide
Check out diatoms for what’s growing on your substrate.

https://www.amazon.com/Marineland-Di...70_&dpSrc=srch


https://www.amazon.com/Python-Pro-Cl...70_&dpSrc=srch


PSS: Kudos to you on spawning brittle stars.


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Old 06/03/2018, 05:38 PM   #11
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I thought about diatoms but bc the tank is so old (about 5 years) I figured that wouldnt come back. I have been dosing this though, which makes me thing perhaps it contributes to the diatoms:

https://www.amazon.com/Vibrant-Liqui...PB4ARR7D0PGTKP

As for the brittle stars, my wife hates them. Actually have had nightmares about climbing out the tank and attacking us lol.


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Old 06/03/2018, 05:53 PM   #12
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Snails are VERY sensitive at acclimation. I do a hour + drip acclimation for all snails. A piece of airline tubing tied in a knot and a bucket. Also, if you want to keep snails you need to get rid of any hermit crabs you have. They kill snails and they are inferior algae eaters, once they get a taste of fish food. There are fish that eat bristle worms, if they're getting out of hand. Melanurus (Tail-spot) wrasse is one, I think. Some shrimp go after snails too.

From your pics, things don't look too bad. Hang in there and find a crew that works for you.
So strange because I've read to not do a slow drip acclimation for snails because they will be just sitting in a bag with ammonia build up from the shipping. Even reef cleaners talks about how to not drip acclimate snails:

https://www.reefcleaners.org/acclimation

I have one or two hermit crabs, I've never seen them go after a snail, but thats something to think about. For shrimp, I have a cleaner shrimp and a banded coral shrimp, dont know if they will go after the snails.


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Old 06/03/2018, 09:22 PM   #13
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The shrimps you mentioned should not be a problem for snails. Hermit crabs will always be a problem for snails. Hermit crabs are omnivores that lean heavy on carnivore. I consider them inferior algae eater. You already have good scavengers of uneaten food with both bristle worms and your brittle starfish. Yes, I have had one come out of the tank and fall on the floor. I do not think that bristle worms would go after a healthy snail. However in one of the King Kong movies, I saw a giant bristle worms eat a man.


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Old 06/03/2018, 09:24 PM   #14
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I've heard of using that method before, especially for situations where newly arrived fish are in obvious distress. Pretty hard to tell with snails. I would certainly do the recommended acclimation your vender suggests/warranties. I was suggesting what I have read, and has worked for me.

Coral banded shrimp will kill snails.


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Old 06/03/2018, 09:47 PM   #15
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I've heard of using that method before, especially for situations where newly arrived fish are in obvious distress. Pretty hard to tell with snails. I would certainly do the recommended acclimation your vender suggests/warranties. I was suggesting what I have read, and has worked for me.

Coral banded shrimp will kill snails.
Mmm well maybe next time Ill drip acclimate the snails and see how that goes. Ive never seen the banded shrimp attack a snail but who knows what happens at night.

Btw I went to that indo pacific website and I dont see mini strombus snails. Any idea where else I can get these?


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Old 06/03/2018, 11:20 PM   #16
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Check their Facebook page.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Lagoon in the works
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Old 06/04/2018, 05:44 AM   #17
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Mmm well maybe next time Ill drip acclimate the snails and see how that goes. Ive never seen the banded shrimp attack a snail but who knows what happens at night.

Btw I went to that indo pacific website and I dont see mini strombus snails. Any idea where else I can get these?

With respect to IPSF, if you get their live mud, you will get many juveniles & larvae of snails.

PSS: email Gerald Hesslinger at IPSF. Mini strombus used to be listed. I suspect that the labor to identify all species became prohibitive. From your list of detrivores, you shouldn’t need more diversity. Because I have so many tanks, it is easy to buy 200 snails and move them as they catch up. Because detrivores multiply to food supply, it requires very little light vacuuming on my part to maintain tanks.


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Old 06/04/2018, 05:59 PM   #18
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By the way, I think your refugium is the bomb. It looks like a jungle of vines of different colors and texture. The Damsel and the Royal Grammy rock. Do you feed them? Perhapes they are living on pods?

From what I see here, you feed heavy and have a nutrient rich system. Keep your redox up to encourage healthy macro and discourage nuisance macro. Provide good circulation at water air interface to decrease surface tension to allow good gas exchange. If you have a sump, a surface skimmer that removes scum and dust will assist with good air exchange. Allow water to cascade down into sump.

I am not going to comment on your use of an algecide. It will be some time before your system stabilizes. You should implement the things I mentioned. They will help no matter what route you go. I would use much GAC and change it frequently.

PSS: In my 30G EcoSystem mud/macro refugium, I used rock rubble in the first chamber to provide good gas exchange.


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Old 06/12/2018, 07:29 PM   #19
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By the way, I think your refugium is the bomb. It looks like a jungle of vines of different colors and texture. The Damsel and the Royal Grammy rock. Do you feed them? Perhapes they are living on pods?

From what I see here, you feed heavy and have a nutrient rich system. Keep your redox up to encourage healthy macro and discourage nuisance macro. Provide good circulation at water air interface to decrease surface tension to allow good gas exchange. If you have a sump, a surface skimmer that removes scum and dust will assist with good air exchange. Allow water to cascade down into sump.

I am not going to comment on your use of an algecide. It will be some time before your system stabilizes. You should implement the things I mentioned. They will help no matter what route you go. I would use much GAC and change it frequently.

PSS: In my 30G EcoSystem mud/macro refugium, I used rock rubble in the first chamber to provide good gas exchange.
Thanks, the bottom seems to have no issue with growing macros, I swear by that taotronic full spectrum grow light. The grama and damsel get fed very rarely so they definitely eating pods or something. They got put down there bc they just loved harassing other fish.

Ive added the GAC (two big bags of it), so I'm wondering how often you change it?


I took out the algae and scrubbed them to get them clean again, and vacuumed the sand as best I could, so far the GHA is only slightly coming back, but definitely on the return. The cyano is maybe only barely around. I'm really suspecting that there is something wrong with my main display lights. They are strong enough to beat down a red grape plant at the bottom of the tank, but the plants dont seem to thrive in the DT, only really in the sump. Can LED lights go bad after a while and just not put out the right wavelengths after years of use?


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Old 06/13/2018, 02:48 AM   #20
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LED's do go bad after a long time, but I'm not sure they go bad in the same way that say T5 bulbs or halides do, but I'm definitely no expert on that regard. My understanding with LED's was that they just sort of lose power.

The fact that plants are good in one tank, but bad in another, when its all part of the same system pretty much rules our water being the culprit. The variables left are whatever is different between the 2 tanks that doesn't pass through water. So light, pests, livestock, IMO.


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