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william holland
04-13-2005, 01:15 PM
Hello all, I am 8 months new to Marine keeping. Up untill about a month ago I've had FOWLR with acception to the Domino Damsel species (lost two, one to a Brittle star, the other to ? a week into its new home) have had great success.
About a month ago I got myself aquainted with a nieghbor (fellow reefkeeper) who will be dismantline his reef to upgrade to a wall tank. I have and will be aquiring some of his live stock but want to get my water in check beforehand (I have also developed a problem!).
My problem was brought to my attention about a month ago when I upgraded my lights from 1-24 inch aqualux standard flourecent to 4-36 inch coralife bulbs (2 10,000k and 2 actinics). Phosphates! This was brought to my attention via the Diatom Algae community now trying to reside on every visable surface in my used to be crystal clear tank, as well as a serious decline in coraline growth.
Upon researching ways to rid my tank of this I came accross the method of raising the ph to 8.5 to percipitate the phosphates using Lime water (aka Kalkwasser).
With my newley aquired test kits my calc and alk are:
Calc 400 ppm
Alk 9.8 dkh
Tested these this morning, had a water change yesterday.
I haven't checked my ph at night yet but during the day it is 8.0.
Along with the Kalkwasser what do I need to be dosing to get these numbers up or will it alone do it? I will also be using a Kent Phosphate sponge here very shortly if that makes a difference.
I will be adding some soft corals an anemone and possibly a clown.

Heres the perameters and current occupants


Ammonia =0
Nitrate =0
Nitrite =0
Ph =8.0
Alk = 9.8 dkh
Calcium =400 ppm
Phosphate =.4

tank:
29 gallon
20 gallon sump with built in twin tube protien skimmer (still tweeking, only getting white foam and green slime) installed two weeks ago
30 lbs live rock
40 lbs live sand
1200 gph powerhead feeding a manifold to get turbulant water
HOT Magnum filter supplying charcoal filteration
Lights on 12 hours

Inhibitants are:
2 Damsels
5 Blue legg Hermits
Small colony of mushrooms
small colony of Xenia

Thanks In advance
William

steve-s
04-13-2005, 06:25 PM
What color is the algae? Diatoms (being brown in color) are not a result of phosphates but silicates. Often a problem with new tanks but can also be a bother in established tanks if using tap water. Typically higher silicate levels are more common in warmer months though. Higher pH and the use of kalk will help with PO4 issues to a degree as it will with dinoflagellate blooms but your best solution with diatom algaes is to just stop feeding it.

The use of RO/DI (not just RO only) is your best solution. A few water changes later, the silicate levels will be reduced and the diatoms will abate from there.

Cheers
Steve

bradreef
04-13-2005, 07:16 PM
sounds like you have a good start but some work to level it out. I personally am running a low nutrient tank but that is not the only way. What you should want to achieve is a way to more efficiently process you nutrients such as phosphates. I would look into a rowaphos reactor or a refugium with cheato. also you probably want to look into a top of the line protien skimmer.

NaH2O
04-14-2005, 12:25 AM
Welcome to Reef Frontiers!!!

Are you using RO/DI water? As Steve-S indicated, it will help remove any silicates in the water, and may help out with the phosphates as well. Test your phosphates in your pre-mixed (24 hours) water next time you do a water change. There are many sources of phosphates, so if possible try to find where they are originating. By doing this, you will be getting at the root of the problem and not doing a band-aid with the phosphate remover or sponge. For sure, I think the removers have their place as a tool, but they aren't the cure-all. Hope this helps! Let's start with your water source first....

william holland
04-14-2005, 08:29 PM
Unfortunately until about a week ago I have been using tap. I have switched to RO/DI. Since I have switched I may have new algae growing, mixed with the diatom either it is turning lime green or I have new algae?
As for the PH, I checked last night about an hour after lights out and it was off the test scale in the low end (only goes down to 7.8). I mixed a two liter bottle of limewater at 1/2 tsp and for cautions sake only dripped 1-2 cups over night (150 ml per hour, about one drop per 3-4 seconds). My PH tonight is now at 8.2. A lot of people are dripping 1 drop per second and some are even dripping 24/7. Can I increase my drip or will this be detrimental? I don't know if it makes any diff but I am dripping into my sump at the return pump do to being unable to place the drip setup on top of my tank. Also, I read that some are adding Baking soda to the mix to raise alk at the same time, should I be doing this along with the kalk?
And one stupid question: Upon physically evicting todays new Diatom community I noticed that I put a rock in my tank early on that may have been made of silica sand, could this have contributed to the silicates in my tank? I have since discarded it but am now worried that I may have contaminated my tank?

I have installed Kents Phosphate Sponge into my hot magnum and running it since last night. It claims to remove both Phosphate as well as silicate (once the phosphate is removed). Is this claim valid?

Oh yes, the skimmer. Mine sucks (I think) it only produces foam with a couple of teaspoons of dark green liquid in a 2-3 day time. It does however gunk up the riser tube quite well though with a funky green slime that I have to wipe out every 3 days. It is a counter current type and I don't think I have enough air going into it and will change that this weekend. Till it works any better I will keep doing my 10 gal water changes.

william holland
04-14-2005, 08:35 PM
Oh yeah, phosphates match the tap at .4

steve-s
04-15-2005, 09:47 AM
Unfortunately until about a week ago I have been using tap. I have switched to RO/DI. Since I have switched I may have new algae growing, mixed with the diatom either it is turning lime green or I have new algae?
Prime canditate for phosphate and silicate introduction. It will take a bit of time and a few water changes before you see a difference. Top off water alone should see a reduction in increasing algaes. As I said though, phosphates are not the problem with diatoms, silicates are. Both should be eliminated though.


As for the PH, I checked last night about an hour after lights out and it was off the test scale in the low end (only goes down to 7.8). I mixed a two liter bottle of limewater at 1/2 tsp and for cautions sake only dripped 1-2 cups over night (150 ml per hour, about one drop per 3-4 seconds). My PH tonight is now at 8.2.
You may also need to look at how the tank is set up. In many cases, supressed pH is moreso the environment the tank is in and the way it functions. Chemical corrections are merely a bandaid if so. You need to look at the way the system is set up for possible contributors. Primarily: covered tanks, insufficient water flow, overstocking, overfeeding, poor room ventilation and with cycling tanks.


A lot of people are dripping 1 drop per second and some are even dripping 24/7. Can I increase my drip or will this be detrimental? I don't know if it makes any diff but I am dripping into my sump at the return pump do to being unable to place the drip setup on top of my tank. Also, I read that some are adding Baking soda to the mix to raise alk at the same time, should I be doing this along with the kalk?
Never mix anything with kalk directly except possibley vinegar. Given your current reading of 9.8 DKH, I would leave it be. The addition of the baking soda could actually decrease your pH if only temporarily but either way it's not going to be very useful here. For now at least you seem to need something to help with the pH until you figure out why it's supressed. The amount of kalk you can use will greatly depend on what's in the system using it up. Kalk adds both sides of the equation equally so you will soon reach a level of saturation and possibley cause precipitation. Be sure to test the numbers regularly if dripping daily in a low CaCO3 consuming system.


Upon physically evicting todays new Diatom community I noticed that I put a rock in my tank early on that may have been made of silica sand, could this have contributed to the silicates in my tank? I have since discarded it but am now worried that I may have contaminated my tank?
The new rock could be a source of silicates unto itself but silica does not cause silicates.


I have installed Kents Phosphate Sponge into my hot magnum and running it since last night. It claims to remove both Phosphate as well as silicate (once the phosphate is removed). Is this claim valid?
To a point yes but the media needs to be changed frequently. You also don't need that much for it to be effective either. Also ignore the claim that it can be recharged 'cause it can't. At least not in most homes, just toss what's been used. Be wary if you have any sessile inverts, do not use frequently or long term. Look for a ferric oxide product instead.


Till it works any better I will keep doing my 10 gal water changes.
You might find it a bit faster abating if the water changes where done more frequently, mabye twice a week for the next month. The adage, "the solution to polution is dilution" is a very good one.

Cheers
Steve

plack
04-16-2005, 01:56 AM
"I will also be using a Kent Phosphate sponge here very shortly if that makes a difference."
I tried it It made little to no difference Water changes and using a sump instead of a canister helped me > Try taking out that blue floss typically in a magnum filter . Clean any floss anywhere often every 2-3 day's .What is in your sump besides the skimmer the skimmer sounds ok maybe not wet enoughp try raising the bubbles up a bit and skim a bit more

william holland
04-16-2005, 09:38 PM
Nothing in the sump at the moment. It is actually a wet dry filter with intergrated twin counter current skimmers. I tossed the boi balls and will be adding live rock as soon as my buddy finishes dismantling his system. I have noticed the more light I give the more diatoms are produced, now questioning the age of these lights.
Did get a new air pump, drives twice the air as my old pump so we'll see what that does.
Question on phosphates percipitating at high ph, what exactly am I looking for? Today when I got home from work I had a film with what looked like mocro bubbles trapped on top of my water, manually skimmed the water with a jug, film is no longer.

steve-s
04-17-2005, 12:44 PM
I have noticed the more light I give the more diatoms are produced, now questioning the age of these lights.
Algaes definately need light to survive but in this case it's not the cause, simpley a needed element for growth. Silicates are your only concern with diatoms.


Did get a new air pump, drives twice the air as my old pump so we'll see what that does.
For the skimmer or the tank?


Question on phosphates percipitating at high ph, what exactly am I looking for?
Phosphates don't contribute to diatoms much but there is no real immediate visual indicator to look for. The lack of green and cyno type algaes, low/undetectable reading on the test kit and healthier coral growth are you main indicators.


Today when I got home from work I had a film with what looked like mocro bubbles trapped on top of my water, manually skimmed the water with a jug, film is no longer.
This would moreso indicate there is not enough water flow within the display tank or you need to readjust the flow directions some. If the water surface is not well aggitated, surface scum will build up. It prevents the skimmer from doing it's job properly and prevents proper gas exchange which will eventually hamper pH levels. Pointing a powerhead or sump return at the surface so it aggressively ripples the water will eliminate this. It forces the proteins and suspended detritus back into the water column where the skimmer and organisms can effective process or remove it.

How much water flow does the tank have not including the skimmer?

Cheers
Steve

william holland
04-17-2005, 08:20 PM
How do I remove silicates? Kents phosphate sponge claimes to pull them out but I'm getting mixed reviews so I stopped using it.



New air pump is for the skimmer, it's a counter current type. It has helped a little as tonight i pilled about 1/8 cup of green liquid out ( the most I've pulled so far.



I currently have Xenias that are flourishing (Noticably!) and for the test kit, I have to pick up a new one tomorrow, I accidently tossed half of it and didn't notice it till yesterday ... after the trash man came.


How much water flow does the tank have not including the skimmer?

I have a 1200 gph powerhead that feeds a manifold directing flow from one end twards both opposite corners. Had to do this as if I didn't split the flow it would relocate all of the sand from one end of the tank to the other. Even split two ways when the fish swim infront of it to catch a bite they get blown sideways across the entire leanth of the tank. I do however have some rocks stacked to block flow from the mushrooms but this only affects an area just under the overflow, here the water is relatively calm but not dead.
Think that is the problem?

The skimmer on the other hand I have running on another 1200 gph powerhead that is putting about 75 gph back into the tank (figured this out using the Clock vs 5 gallon bucket method) going to upgrade this to a 650 gph pump and control it with a gate valve.

steve-s
04-18-2005, 09:38 AM
How do I remove silicates? Kents phosphate sponge claimes to pull them out but I'm getting mixed reviews so I stopped using it.
Water changes with RO/DI water (not RO only) would be the simplest non chemical means. Rowaphos would be the next best suggestion, it should sorb silicates.


I currently have Xenias that are flourishing (Noticably!) and for the test kit, I have to pick up a new one tomorrow, I accidently tossed half of it and didn't notice it till yesterday ... after the trash man came.

Phosphates and silicates won't inhibit soft coral growth much if at all, it's primarily scleractinians that phosphates hinder. It interfers with their ability to deposit CaCO3.
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2002/chem.htm


I have a 1200 gph powerhead that feeds a manifold directing flow from one end twards both opposite corners. Had to do this as if I didn't split the flow it would relocate all of the sand from one end of the tank to the other. Even split two ways when the fish swim infront of it to catch a bite they get blown sideways across the entire leanth of the tank. I do however have some rocks stacked to block flow from the mushrooms but this only affects an area just under the overflow, here the water is relatively calm but not dead.
Think that is the problem?
LOL... you had this in the first thread and I missed that, sorry. :oops:
So a 1200 GPH powerhead or a MaxiJet 1200 powerhead (295 GPH)? The reason I ask is 1200 GPH in a small tank like a 29 gal seems rather high and the Maxi 1200 is one of the more commonly recommended by hobbyest?

Cheers
Steve

william holland
04-19-2005, 05:19 PM
the porwehead is a Maxi 1200. Quite powerfull indeed. I cut the flow down using 1/2" pvc with each both new openings being 3/8", that tamed it a little. I tested Phosphates today and they are unmeasurable on my test kit (aquarium Pharmaceuticals) I did find my source I believe, they measured 2.0 ppm (mg/L) from the tap. Now the question of how to rid of silicates, just keep doing water changes?

steve-s
04-19-2005, 05:45 PM
the porwehead is a Maxi 1200. Quite powerfull indeed. I cut the flow down using 1/2" pvc with each both new openings being 3/8", that tamed it a little.
Be sure if the single Maxijet is the only real water movement other than the skimmer, you have one branch of your split aimed towards the surface and the other into the middle of the tank. Water flow is quite important and lack of it will lead to many problems down the road. Quite honestly I would actually suggest you add another but you could get away with a MJ 900 quite easily if placed on the opposite side of the tank. Personally I would have gone with two MJ 900 placed on opposite sides if not using a sump.

What is your eventual goal animal/coral wise?


I tested Phosphates today and they are unmeasurable on my test kit (aquarium Pharmaceuticals) I did find my source I believe, they measured 2.0 ppm (mg/L) from the tap. Now the question of how to rid of silicates, just keep doing water changes?
Water changes will help immensely providing the source water has none. The only real way of that is to be sure you use RO/DI water. If so it will be gone in no time.

Cheers
Steve