Long time since last post, need some advice!

Discussion in 'General Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by silver97, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. silver97

    silver97 Active Member

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    It has been a while since my last post (August i think) and I just need a little advice moving forward right now.
    My tank has been having some issues as of late, (40g breeder w/10g sump) and its really been stressing me out. Hair algae has taken over, along with bubble algae. Almost all of the coral has been overtaken by it and not much is left. I didn't really have anything impressive, just a few softies.
    The tank has overflowed onto my floor twice with power outages (most recently Friday), and it's just due to the fact that I didn't have my return plumbing set up correctly, which it has now been.
    I am at the point where I almost want to get rid of my tank, which I consider to be the MOST DIY build in existence. But I still love the fish. I can't think of giving them up to an LFS or someone else even, I told myself I was going to take care of them until their natural death and I will still do that to the best of my abilities. I just don't want to be the one that brings them to their natural death because the tank keeps malfunctioning.
    All 4 are still alive and healthy. (2 clowns, 1 bicolor blenny and 1 six line wrasse).
    I am thinking of getting a new tank entirely and moving it out of my room. The noise of the current tank keeps me up at night and is really causing sleep issues sometimes.
    Instead of bigger like I have expressed interest in in the past, I am thinking of going a little smaller. The Biocube LED 32 looks to be a great candidate. I think the price is right, tons of good reviews about it, it comes with a stand (in some bundles) and I pretty much have all of the equipment I need extra already. I would be getting new live rock just because the ones I have in my current tank are beyond saving. I think I'd need to dump them in a bucket of bleach at this point and manually remove each 'hair' to start getting rid of it. So the cycling will take a while but with my current knowledge should go better than the first time by a long shot.
    My main concern is the fish, I want to get them established first and then work on coral after the fish are all safe.
    Do you think the tank is honestly too small for the 4 I listed above? I look at it like this: the only open swimmer is the wrasse (and he hides a lot of the day anyway), the blenny hides in his barnacles most of the day and the clowns stay in the same 10 inch area all day and night. So they're not all extremely active swimmers. I've seen a few videos on YouTube ( and I know to take these all with a grain of salt, I'm not SO naive that I think their tanks are the gold standard) and a few other forums of people who own this tank with very impressive coral displays and a lot more fish than me currently. I think one guy had 8 fish in one 32, they were similar/same species as mine and the same size as mine currently.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated, I really just wanted to get all this out there so I could get some feedback to make sure my way of thinking didn't sound crazy.
     
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  2. Uncle99

    Uncle99 Well-Known Member

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    IMO, too small for 6 line, these fish require lots of space, live rock, and are far to fast for the smaller tank.
    On the other hand, your clowns and Blen are fine.

    Algae takes over when there is too much nutrient in the water, nitrate and phosphate, too much or too intense lighting.

    We all go through this stuff, yup, it's disheartening, but the experience makes you stronger.

    Spend time getting perfect, consistent, water, on point to NSW parameters and once cycled, keep your water fresh with weekly changes.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. StirCrayzy

    StirCrayzy Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Lot going on here as usual, Patience will get you a long way. Thats my best advise. If you transfer everything to a 32 you might still have the same problems so dont think just starting over is the best option.
    In my experience if you slowly start chipping away at possibilities and solutions, you can eventually beat any type of algae.
    I am testament to that as about a year ago i won an "ugly tank" contest , and now i am back on top, with exception to some cyano.
    I dont think those 4 fish are a problem in a 32, but i wouldnt worry too much about them dealing with algae. Ive had clowns graze away on HA here and there, and it is great at cleaning the water. Very likely you have zero nitrates and the fish are very likely unaffected by any types of algae outbreak.

    If you really want to overhaul for your multitude of other reasons, feel free, but dont expect a new tank to be the miracle cure. Sometimes pushing past and fighting the ugly stage pays off.
     
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  4. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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    I have a bio cube 32 and I love it. It’s a very nice size. Looks great. It’s very well designed and very easy to operate.

    The only fish I wasn’t sure about was the wrasse and liveaquaria implies it would be fine. https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/375/?pcatid=375.

    So, I think your 4 fish would be OK.

    So, I think you’d be totally OK making this move...especially if your current tank is too noisy for you.

    That said, the move might solve some of your problems, but not others. So long as you don’t move over any live rock or coral with bubble algae on it, it should solve your bubble algae issue. It should also solve your tank spilling water on your floor issue and loud in your bedroom issue.

    Plus, there is a big biocube community so lots of free tips on maintaining the tank out there.

    The hair algae issue is another matter. It will solve it for a while, but ultimately that’s about keeping nutrients out of the tank through things like water changes, phosphate removers, etc. In other words, it does still take work to maintain the tank. On the plus side, it’s less water. Maybe 25 gallons after rock. So, the water changes are smaller and less work.

    I keep my biocube in my den and it’s a really great size. It’s very pretty while not having a gigantic footprint.

    I’m just running it as a FOWLR for now, but eventually it may become a Nemo tank with corals. The fish in it right now are going to get moved to a bigger tank in a couple months.

    I do think the smaller, more contained biocube would be easier to maintain than your current one, and therefore less stress.


    8364DA34-45B5-47DF-841B-8D520E5C4739.jpeg
     
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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
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  5. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    Here is the thing. Yes you could make the move to a BioCube 32. However, this is almost the same setup you have now. It's only a little smaller. Unless you completely change what your doing, the new tank will end up becoming another "algae farm" in a few months. In other words, you will have spent all that money and end up right back where you started.

    I think you would be much better off correcting the problems you have with your existing tank and then if you still want the BioCube, go for it. Most algae issues can be corrected, given time and effort.

    Here are a few questions I have about your system -
    What kind of filtration system and skimmer, if any, are you using?
    How much live rock do you have in the tank, and in the sump?
    What it the exact kind of lighting that your using, including bulbs and wattage if it's not LED?
    What and how much are you feeding?

    Here is something I have posted before on algae control. Go through this and see if any of thing applies to your system. It's very likely a lot does apply.

    DaveK's Standard Lecture #2 - Algae Control

    Algae control comes down to controlling nitrates and phosphates. If you have a problem with algae it is because these two nutrients are out of control. Do not think that just because your test kits read zero or low values that you do not have a problem. In many cases the algae is removing the nutrients and growing. This is why there is a problem.

    Here are possible sources of nitrates and phosphates -

    Feeding, especially flake food and not rinsing frozen foods before feeding.
    Using tap water to mix salt. Always use RO/DI water for this.
    "Dirt traps" and "nitrate factories" in the system.
    Low quality carbon can leach nutrients.
    Low quality salt can sometimes add nutrients. This is unusual today.
    Livestock load on the system

    Here are possible ways to remove nitrates and phosphates -

    Water changes. Change 1/2 the water and you reduce the nutrients by 1/2.
    Skimming. Remove the waste products before the biological filtration need to break then down.
    Nitrate and phosphate removal products.
    Deep sand beds.
    Refugiums.
    Algae Scrubbers.

    Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Most people that control algae will use many of the above methods.

    There are also other items that can effect algae growth rates.

    Good clean up crew.
    Other livestock that eats algae.
    Low general water quality, especially when the readings are off.
    Lighting, sometimes you can reduce it, especially in FO or FOWLR systems.
    Old light bulbs. Colors change as they age and this can be a factor.
    Water flow. More flow will often help keep algae down.
    Manual removal. Very important, especially when there is a big problem.
     
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  6. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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    One thing DaveK's post made me think of is you are saying that what you really care about is the fish. I'm not sure what you mean by that, but you could go FOWLR. That makes a lot of things easier. You don't have to transfer corals over, which may have bubble algae on them. You can go lights out (or at least greatly reduced) and make getting a handle on algae easier. You don't have to worry about water quality quite as much.

    You could just cycle a biocube with some new live rock (which sounds like your plan) and put the fish in it and while I don't think that makes everything carefree, it's sure a lot easier.
     
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  7. silver97

    silver97 Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Yeah I'm thinking FOWLR is the way to go for me right now.
    I know that I definitely need to upgrade my filter system, as I still don't have a skimmer (never had the room for it, even with the sump upgrade) and I think that is a big part of it. Other part is water changes, while I know I definitely don't do them enough, with school and work lately it has become more of a problem finding time to do the upkeep. During the summer when I don't have much going on I am on top of them, but when school starts back up its a little hard. We did just get a RO/DI water system in my house for filtering water, and I use that for top off and filling up the tank now.
    I know there are a lot of maintenance issues I have with the tank, not denying/hiding that fact, but there are a few things that really necessitate a move to a new tank. The current stand is dealing with a lot of water damage from the floods and is starting to destroy the legs. While it is right now in no structural danger of failing, I don't want to get to the point that will be. The floods destroyed the carpet in my room and I have a rectangle of it I cant get to because of the tank and stand being on top of it. I'm fearful that even with as much I am drying it out there will be mold eventually and that can lead to a whole host of health problems for me, especially being in my bedroom.
    I am still in need of a little money if I am going to get this started, and I have spring break in a few weeks where I will be working most of that time, which should give me more than enough. But until then I just need to hold out and hope for the best
    Thanks for the support everyone
     
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  8. DaveK

    DaveK Well-Known Member

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    I can see you want a new tank. That's all nice, but if you look at your post, there are currently maintenance issues and equipment upgrades that should be done. If your not able to keep up with the maintenance, you will be right back to having a very lush algae farm.

    Now consider that a biocube 32 costs about $300 and the Coralife stand another $160. I think you could upgrade your existing tank for a lot less, even if you had to replace your existing stand and do a move of your existing tank you should still save money.

    One final thought. It looks like your a full time student. how much longer are you going to be in school, and what are your plans after you graduate? Your best option might be to sell or five away the livestock and put the tank in storage for a few years. SW tanks do take up a lot of time and being a full time student is usually lots more work than actually holding down a job. Make sure your able to keep up with all this.
     
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  9. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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    I do think DaveK has a point of you may want to evaluate whether a tank is right for you at all right now. I can’t help with that.

    If you do keep a tank, I think a FOWLR is a lot easier. But, that’s all a personal call.
     
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  10. Oxylebius

    Oxylebius Well-Known Member

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    Oooo and then get the pretty algae, like this one:
    https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/3501/?pcatid=3501
    upload_2018-2-23_19-2-50.jpeg
     
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  11. Pat24601

    Pat24601 Well-Known Member

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  12. silver97

    silver97 Active Member

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    I've wanted Blue Hypnea for a while, that stuff is beautiful. Maybe it can crowd out the hair algae in my tank currently. Competition!
     
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