1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.


Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by d0lph1n, Jan 24, 2017.

Welcome to Algae Scrubbing Join our community today
  1. I've been having issues maintaining an ATS and also getting rid of brown algae from sand. The photos were taken 1 week apart, after scraping the algae. The brown slime comes back. Otherwise, the corals & fish seem to be very happy. What could be the problem?

    IMG_7839.jpg IMG_7841.jpg
    Turbo likes this.
  2. TbyZ

    TbyZ Member

    You'll need to post some specs

    eg; screen size, cubes fed to tank, flow over screen, illumination type, wattage & duration, alkalinity level
    Turbo likes this.
  3. Screen size: 7x10 inch (1 side)
    Cubes fed: 1-2 cubes
    Flow: aprox 400-500gal/h
    Illumination: LED 9 x 3W Deep-Red Luxeon ES (minimum-medium intensity)
    Distance: 3 inch from the ATS net
    Duration: 18h
    Alkalinity: 3.8 meq

    Other filtration:
    - 1x 8” x 8” x 4” Marine Pure block
    - 50 x 2" Marine Pure cubes (cryptic zone) to compensate for the lack of live rock
    - Skimmer (12h/day)
    - 1/2 -1" sand

    - 5 x Gorgonians
    - 1 small LPS
    - pipe organ
    - a bunch of Clove polyps

    2 x Banggai Cardinal
    1 x Citron Clown Goby

    Maintaning Alkalinity & calcium by dosing: Kalkwasser + Vinegar ( 1gal water + 2 tsp Kalk + 50ml vinegar). I started dosing it 2-3 months ago. Nothing changed much on the ATS side or maybe a slightly small ATS algae production. In the tank, the brown algae is less and less visible but it's still everywhere on the sand, it grows back in a matter of hours. Not sure if it's diatom or dyno. The snails (conch & ninja star) are eating it.

    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  4. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

  5. Attached Files:

  6. The brown algae and the lack of proper ATS algae production is driving me crazy. Last weekend i did a 20% water change and I vacuumed the sump, the sand and cleaned the cubes with seawater. I also started removing the top part of sand covered with a dark brown algae mat as soon as possible. As you can see in the last photo, the brown algae shows everywhere on the sand but not as aggressive as before the water change and brown algae & sand removal.
  7. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    You're feeding 1-2 cubes/day for 3 fish?
    Are they veracious eaters? Because that's a lot....not that this is the cause of the issue, but just checking!

    I feed between 2 and 3 cubes/day with a yellow tang, 5 PJ cards, 3 clowns, an angel, a wrasse, 4 chromis, 3 anthias and a clown goby and I consider that over feeding lol

    Anyways, the brown stringy slime: no smell when running, smells awful when no water flows, right? Like anthelia out of the water.

    It is not enough to block light but I believe it does have a bit of an inhibitory affect on growth. It takes time to get past it, but it's usually a phase

    Also your tank is barely a year old, right?
    Read: Mything the Point, Part Three: Conclusion - Reefkeeping.com

    Could still be a phase, lots of things that happen in the first year (or longer) are due to the true "reef cycle"

    Offhand I would say 7" wide and 400 GPH is way too much flow, but your screen is growing in, so it's probably not harmful. But I have seen examples of too much flow causing growth issues. Not sure you can change this, is your pump fed?

    Going by the color and consistency, it looks like a case of too much light and not enough nutrients - growth is light, thin, looks like you're getting spongey yellowing growth in some places too.

    The dark stringy stuff is **not** due to high nutrients. I'm not 100% sure what causes it but it is not uncommon. Just had a discussion about this exact same stuff on facebook

    ^ if you can't see it, you have to join the group https://www.facebook.com/groups/862888547138238/
  8. I appreciate your reply. To answer your questions:
    - I feed the corals too, not only the fish. I said 1-2 cubes but it's a rough estimate. You are probably right about not feeding enough for the ATS size.
    - the tank is less than 1y old
    - the brown slime on ATS doesn't smell bad..ocean like..
    - the brown algae from sand smells like rust
    - I could slow down the flow if I adjust the pump inlet. What's your suggestion of gal/h for my filter size?
    - For the light, I'll dim it as much as possible. I've also turned off the blue leds bcz I thought it's too much light.

    I forgot to mention that my sump and recently the tank's backwall is growing a lot of filter feeders like Spirorbid Worms. I'm not sure if the vinegar+kalk dosing has anything do to with it, but after I've started dosing it, the Spirorbid Worms exploded all over the sump. Also, also the filter feeders (sponges) I got from Steve Tyree few months ago seem to be doing fine in my sump.

    Also I saw a bunch of baby stomatella snails and during the sump cleaning the Bristleworms and micro brittle stars seemed very healthy.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  9. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    I've also recently heard that Kalk can inhibit algae growth - this is a relatively new thing I read about, it's on a R2R thread I think...
  10. TbyZ

    TbyZ Member

    Hi d0lph1n.

    For what it’s worth, this is my opinion-

    (What is your NO3 & PO4 reading on average?)

    I don’t know if your screen is 7 or 10 inches wide, but in any case the water flow seems likely too high.

    Aim for 35gal / inch of screen width / hour. Maybe you could fit a T piece into the pump plumbing, with a tap, to divert off some flow prior to entering your scrubber?

    Your illuminating only one side, correct? So that would potentially be about a 3 cube scrubber.

    In regards to illumination, going by the usual calculations, you should have between 0.67 to 1 LED (660nm) per 4 square inches of screen (you have 17.5 times 4 square inches of screen), & so you should have 12 to 17 LEDs per side, running at 600 to 700mA. (That’s what I run).

    I’d question both the carbon dosing & the marine pure block/s. They are competition for the scrubber in regards to nitrogen.

    Apparently, algae assimilates the nitrogen from ammonium (the ammonium/ammonia ratio is about 90% / 10% in a reef aquarium at typical pH levels) more easily than it does from ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. The marine-pure blocks are very effective at sucking up ammonium/ammonia. After I removed mine from my tank, the nitrates fell from around 8 ppm to zero in one week, using a redsea testkit. My scrubber was better off without the block, which seemed to act as a nitrate factory.

    Carbon dosing is effective at decreasing the nitrogen in the system by excessively increasing the denitrifying bacteria population; again sucking up ammonium.

    I’d give up the carbon dosing for sure if I were you.

  11. TbyZ

    TbyZ Member

    also consider - "Do not drip limewater (kalkwasser) into or upstream of a lit macroalgae refugium (or algae scrubber), because it limits availability of CO2."
    "limewater consumes carbon dioxide."

    from Photosynthesis and the Reef Aquarium,
    Part I: Carbon Sources
  12. Could you tell me please:
    - how much flow do you recommend for my ATS
    - if the kalk is inhibiting the algae..what about kalk & vinegar..as far as I understand some reactions take place...and it's a little different, less aggressive (pH), than dosing pure kalk.
    - what other methods of maintaining Alk&Ca do you recommend?
  13. A very interesting opinion, thanks. I'll let you know my NO3 & PO4 readings soon.

    Re: number of LEDs
    I do have 4 more royal blue LEDs that are currently turned off..bcz I though they are too strong even on the lowest settings..and I thought the deep red ones are too strong. What should I do? in an earlier post, Turbo advise me to replace the royal blues with purple ones..I think..I have to check.

    Re: MarinePure
    - My initial goal was to use them to compensate for the lack of live rock in my main tank.
    - Since I don't have or use a filter sock, my 2nd goal was to increase the surface area and build a cryptic area. To be honest, it's very hard for me to remove the Marinepure cubes...since I seeded the sump with a bunch of cryptic creatures. I can see Spirorbid Worms multiplying "over night". Is it possible to run the cryptic zone & the ATS in the same time? The healthy cryptic zone cold also help me remove the skimmer, I thought. Right now, the skimmer is running for 14h/day, off during the night.

    How do you explain the brown algae on my sand?
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  14. TbyZ

    TbyZ Member

    Don’t bother with the blue. Turbo would have to elaborate on the purples & their exact purpose (I would be interested). I myself only use red & the results tell me - why bother with any other color at all?

    RE; the growth on your screen. On the first down-flow scrubber I built I used one LED unit, on each side of the screen that was a bit below the correct wattage & the light output was concentrated predominantly on the centre of the screen. The algae on the centre of the screen was nice & green, but the perimeter of the screen looked like yours.

    Yes the critters certainly colonise the M Pure blocks, & that’s very important, so leave it. Just remember they suck up the ammonium/ammonia. But stop the carbon dosing. I don’t use a skimmer, for many reasons. They remove the copepods the scrubber produces.

    How do I explain the brown algae on your sand? That’s difficult from a distance. NO3 – PO4 values? Tap water or RODI? Type of salt mix? Too much light. Strength of bacteria & critter populations in the sand? The depth of sand? The food you feed?

    The brown may be diatoms. Could be caused by silicates in you top up or salt water mix?

    The algae doesn’t grow on your rock, right? Why?

    At night, a couple of hours after the tank lights are off, shine a torch on the sand bed. You should see plenty of critters running around.
  15. To answer your questions:

    - I had two extra deep red LEDs and I replaced 2 of the royal blue LEDs for a total of 11x deep reds and 2 x royal blue. When I have a chance I'll replace those 2 as well.
    - I'll stop the carbon dosing gradually. RE: skimmer, everytime I try to eliminate the skimmer, the water turns yellowish. That's why it was running it only for half a day.
    - For light I use 4 x 24w T5 ATI (2 x ATI Blue Plus for 10h, 1 x Coral Plus + 1 x Purple Plus for 5h)
    I'm blaming the brown algae on the silicates of the RODI system. Since my TDS meters can't detect the silicate level., I have to buy a test kit or replace the silicate filter.
    - the brown algae was everywhere in the main tank, now it's located only on sand
    - I see the pods on the sand and glass...and I see the mini stars and bristle worms when I feed the corals

    I feed the following food:
    - 1/2 cube of frozen mysis (1/4 twice a day)
    - I feed my gorgonians the recommended quantity of Tropic Marin Pro-Coral Reef snow & Tropic Marin Pro-Coral Zooton

    Every other day
    I feed small amounts of Fauna Marins LPS to my Hammer Coral and small amounts of Ultra Ricordea Zoanthus to the Pipe Organ coral
  16. TbyZ

    TbyZ Member

    Sounds like a plan;)
  17. Since I increased the number of red LEDs, an interesting phenomenon is happening.

    So I made small changes:
    - Increased the number of LEDs: 11 x Deep Red & 2 x Royal Blue
    - increased to maximum LED intensity
    - cleaned the ATS
    - I dialed down the skimmer...just to oxygenate the water 14h/day...no skim or very little...
    - stopped disturbing the substrate, no vacuuming, left the brown algae to invade the sand.

    Same KALK + vinegar dosing. The calcium level was lower than I expected. I had to slowly increase the calcium level with daily dose of ESV Calcium Chloride and Seachem Reef Advantage Calcium.

    Same feeding habits.

    The results:
    - The ATS only produces a very light brow stuff....nearly visible..smells fishy. I've cleaned it every 3 days.
    - the brown algae that invaded my substrate is slowly but surely disappearing. It's changing color and dies off...AMAZING

    Today I added some carbon because the water had a yellow tint.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
    Turbo likes this.
  18. trivodi

    trivodi Member

    I have the best growth with red and purple, the 410. The blue ones are just a waste in my opinion. I would go only red or red and one of two purple. Also I never had much luck with one sided scrubber. I tryed it there times and it never did much. If you can make it double sided.
  19. trivodi

    trivodi Member

    I forgot to say cree makes nice purples they are a bit pricey but work real nice. Mine are all free at 750 ma I'm a double sided scrubber. 5 red 1 purple pet side. Screen is 6x5

Share This Page