Michigan Reefers banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,003 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off this is something I would like to discuss, I am not sure if I am correct or not so please jump in.


I have a 29 bio cube, and this is my 3rd all in one type tank. I never had other ones really long enough to have major problems.

I don't use the filter cartridge that you can buy because it messes with the levels and I have an ATO, so a problem presents itself there. The problem at hand is I have always preached about using rock rubble in the chambers in the back, and I found out in my 29 bio it created a nitrate/phosphate bomb that went off in my tank. I battled red cyano for like 10 weeks with no let up until I had to transfer all of my corals to a hospital tank... It was REAL ugly. I finally got the idea to take out all the rock in the back and I siphoned/stirred up TONS of crap. I think maybe it was a combo of small/medium rubble trapping stuff and the lack of prefiltering.

I am just curious if anyone else has had a problem like this.
Eirik
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
Interesting...I think a recent experience of mine parallels yours quite well.

A few weeks ago I was going through my ususal December ritual of rapid 10% water changes (one every few days for a week or two). I do this for several reasons: 1) I'm on break from school 2) I usually have some minor nuisance algae issues (this year it was cyano) and 3) the corals seem to appreciate it. Well, this year I decided to siphon some of the detritus out a 9'X9' section of my sump/fuge that I use as a cryptic zone for sponges (as it turns out it is more of a detritus settling area than a sponge farm). I haven't touched this section of the fuge in a year or two, so there was a lot of detritus accumulated. Since that water change there has been a lot more cyano growth in the display and now dinoflagellates have popped up. Neither one is smothering corals (too badly yet) but the blooms appear to coincide with the cleaning of the cryptic area. My hypothesis is that disturbing the sediments allowed a lot of buond uo phosphate back into the water.

There is also some scientific basis to my conclusion as well. Mind you I'm not a chemist and my understanding of the phosphate cycle in saltwater is limited(I'm currently a Master's student @ MSU studying limnology-inland lakes specifically) but have a general knowledge of the phosphorous cycle in freshwater, and I'm making the assumption that it is similar in the two systems. In freshwater lakes phoshpate is bound to the sediments (under anoxic conditions) and can/will remain there. However, if oxygen is introduced (sediments are stirred up) then the phoshpates can be released back into the water. An additional fact about cyanobacteria, it is able to fix it's own nitorgen source. Therefore, cyano has an advantage in that it can bloom when P is high and N is low, while hair algae needs both N and P to bloom.

I think this is likely what happen to our tanks. But as a disclaimer I don't test my water for phosphates and therefore do not have any data to back up my theory. So, if there is someone out there that knows the marine phosphorous cycle and can say whether or not my assumptions are correct I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.

To remedy the situation I've taken action on several fronts:

1) increaed flow in the display. I replaced a MJ600 with a Nanostream 6045 (I'm hoping that this will help with the cyano). I think now no one can say I need more flow in the display...1-MJ1200, 1-Korallia 2, 1-nanostream 6045 and a Mag 18 return pump...on a 50 breeder!

2) I started using carbon

3) I just bought some Rowaphos (I plan on putting in the tank tonite).

I should also include that the cryptic area is also filled with live rock rubble...and I don't use any mechanical filtration in my tank either.

So, ereefer my question to you is: Did you somehow disturb your rubble area prior to the "bomb going off"?

Tom
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
I don't know Erik, I use reef rubble in the bio ball chamber of my filter. I don't have a nitrate problem like I used to with the bio balls. There is not much in there maybe a layer 2 inches thick but the water does "rain" down on it. I don't think it was your rubble, really just LR but you do not want it trapping stuff either. I would go with the did you disturb anything question?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,003 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't disturb anything, but when I went digging, there was small crushed LR in the very bottom, at the area where water travels into the next chamber and I am curious to that trapping excess food and decaying etc. Also not turning my main pump off when I feed is another issue all together:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
Weird I view, right or wrong, rubble as LR. Really the same except I guess not as deep for denitafication. Anything missing or dead? Instead of moving all your stuff (I know too late) just use some Marcyn and do several large percentage water changes after 7 days. That method has always worked for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,003 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
slapshot said:
Weird I view, right or wrong, rubble as LR. Really the same except I guess not as deep for denitafication. Anything missing or dead? Instead of moving all your stuff (I know too late) just use some Marcyn and do several large percentage water changes after 7 days. That method has always worked for me.
I did marcyn, in my tank w/o most of my corals first.... just wanted to be sure that much $$$$ in zoas & rico's didn't go... but you were right, I should have listened the first 5 times you told me that-devil . Now we will see if it comes back, I put the band aid on, let's see if I fixed the REAL problem...that is the question. I need to find someone near me with a phos test kit to check my source.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,607 Posts
Make sure you leave it in there for 7 days. Then do two or three 25 percent water changes. It should take care of it. I personally don't think phosphates have anything to do with that stuff. It is bacterial and seems to grow in any system. My fuge is full of it but there is none in the display. My phosphates are very low, at least that can be measured. It only grows on the sides. I think it just gets out of control sometimes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,003 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
slapshot said:
Make sure you leave it in there for 7 days. Then do two or three 25 percent water changes. It should take care of it. I personally don't think phosphates have anything to do with that stuff. It is bacterial and seems to grow in any system. My fuge is full of it but there is none in the display. My phosphates are very low, at least that can be measured. It only grows on the sides. I think it just gets out of control sometimes.
I was under the impression that it used phosphate, naturally exporting it... hence your low reading? guess I was wrong. I dosed 1 10g package per day in my 29 for 5 days, I am not changing water till day 11(tomorrow) and adding carbon. Hope it keeps it gone for awhile.
Thanks for the Advice!
Eirik
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,970 Posts
I never really understood the reason for using rock rubble in the chambers. You replace one medium for another to work in a wet/dry environment so its going to become a nitrate factory. The rubble isnt going to be porous enough to have areas of anerobic bacteria to breakdown nitrates so the majority of the bacteria will be breaking down nitrite to nitrates. Also the rubble will create more detritus. I would just gut the back of those nanos and run carbon and phosphate remover and rely on the live rock in the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,288 Posts
I agree with Jason. The small benefits one might achieve are outweighed by its downsides. The LR rubble prohibits maintenance of the detritus accumulating in the back compartment (and there isn’t the necessary components to process the detritus effectively in a small compartment). I also agree that the addition of carbon and ferrous oxide is a better route. This will allow easy removal of the media and siphoning of the back compartment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,003 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for weighing in on that guys. I guess in some respects I was right to gut that sucker!-devil
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top