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trouble with growth

Discussion in 'Customer Support' started by dan, Jan 26, 2014.

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  1. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    So I have a L3 rev 2 (I think).
    I have had trouble getting the bright green algae to grow.

    So after consulting with Bud I have tried some different things to try to get the proper growth.

    Rinsing the screen with tank water.
    I upgraded the flow from a mag 3 to a mag 9.
    This has caused water to flow down the emergency drain. So I think I'm going to get the high flow upgrade kit.
    I changed the lighting schedule.
    First I did a 4hrs on 2 hrs off. I did this this for a week.
    The next week I kept the same schedule but I removed the diffuser on one side.
    The side without the diffuser seemed to me that I got better growth. Not green but more growth.
    The week after that I went to 8 hrs on 4hrs off, with the diffuser removed on both sides.
    This seemed Increase the growth, but still no green growth.
    Now that I seem to have good growth (still not green)I'm increasing the photo period to 12 hrs on 12 off.
    I will see what happens with this light period.
    Bud had mentioned that I should go to 18 hrs on 8 off. If I get yellow algae back off the photo period a half hour to hour.
    At this point I'm not sure if I'm going slow increase the photo period from 12 to 18 hrs or just jump to 18 hrs and watch for the yellow gtowth
    Any tips would be appreciated on how to get the green algae growth.
  2. Turbo

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

    So for clarification, your "8 on 4 off" was repeated twice per day for a sum total of 16 hour on and 8 hours off for each 24 hours period, correct?

    If so, then I would combine the 2 photoperiods, so 16 on (one block of time) and 8 off, reverse of tank photo cycle.
  3. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    yes that's correct
    so do 18 hrs on 8 hrs off and watch for yellow algae.
    with the diffuser removed ?
  4. Turbo

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

    dan likes this.
  5. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    i will increase the photo period and re-post in a week or so with the results.
  6. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    So I increased the photo period to 14 hrs. I now have black growth.
    I have cleaned the screen, and I have less algae harvested as compared to when I had 8 hrs on 8 off and 8 hrs on.
    Should I increase the photo period to 16hrs on 8 off?
  7. Turbo

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

    I don't want to jump to a conclusion here - need more info.

    The "black" growth that has been talked about in relation to a high-nutrient tank is a thin, almost oily looking growth that coats the screen and flakes off when you scrub it, and is sometimes hard to remove - and the screen material is bare white under it. It has almost no volume, it's like a sheet growing on the screen material. Is that what you are getting?

    Or are you getting at least some mass of growth, but it has almost a slime layer over it that is rather dark and gooey, and smelly (like dinos or cyano)?
  8. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    Here's a pic of the screen before I cleaned it. 14hr photo period

    Attached Files:

    • 1ats.jpg
      File size:
      189.4 KB
  9. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    Black gooey oil algae. The screen is definitely not white underneath.
    There was some mass to it and it took a little effort to remove
  10. Turbo

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

    I've seen this stuff before. It almost looks shiny or glossy, and stays that way when you remove the screen from the water flow. If you "swipe" your palm across it, or if you swipe a scraper or credit card across it, it comes off. Beneath it is usually hair algae.

    Is this what you are seeing?
  11. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    It was still shinny and black after I removed it from the scrubber.
    When I cleaned the screen it had brown algae underneath the black growth.
    The black growth had a oil texture .
  12. Turbo

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

    I'm just making sure that you understand the difference between the black-oil algae that has been historically tied with high-nutrient tanks. That stuff looks like this

    and when you clean it off, it looks like this:

    So you don't have the black oil growth. You have dinoflagellates and/or diatoms growing over the top of the algae mat. Light does get through this kind of growth so it is not something you need to scrub 100% clean every 3 days like the black stuff (which I should note that I have never seen personally).

    What I would do in this case is leave the photoperiod as is. Check the screen at about the 4 day point. Remove the screen and give it a swipe to rid the dinos and a swish in water to release loose growth, but don't scrape. Try to promote hair algae growth and deter the slime growth by rinsing it away. You might let the screen grow a bit longer before doing a full cleaning while doing this procedure.

    I'm wondering if there is some parameter that is off in your tank. Have you ran a full battery of tests lately?
  13. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    I haven't tested my parameters in awhile.
    I use RO/DI water so I can't imagine that it's Dino or diatoms. However I will test this week.
    So leave the photo period at 14hr .
    Rinse the screen at 3 to 4 day mark.
    Let the screen grow a little longer than 7 days.
    It seems weird that once I want to 14 hrs photo period is when all of this black growth occurred.
    Thanks for the info
  14. Turbo

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

    It has nothing to do with your RODI. It may not be dinos or diatoms but it is something along those lines that grows well in the scrubber conditions. I do believe it is dinos because if you have ever had them in your tank and sucked them out with an airline hose, then you know exactly what they smell like, and the smell is the same. I get this type of growth over the algae mat on a regular basis. Sometimes worse than others, but it is dark brown to black goo and it easily disintegrates when disturbed.
  15. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    14hrs sound ok for now?
    based on what your saying , it seems more like dinos. I did not smell it but it did disintegrate
  16. Turbo

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

    It has a pretty distinct smell, pretty strong, but dissipates rather quickly.

    I think 14 hours should be OK.

    The only other thing to note is that when I first starting my UAS test unit, and I was playing with the photoperiod, I found that I would get a lot of this 'dino' type of growth when I was running a photoperiod that was too long. At that time, I was getting very little green growth, and remember this is a UAS and the screen was pretty much bare (and we didn't know what kind of result to expect).

    I don't see that anymore, hardly at all, on my UAS which now will grow a consistent green mat of algae.

    On waterfall units, I will also see this dino-type growth and it is usually over the top of the green growth, a thin layer, and the growth under it is not inhibited.

    Diatoms do grow long and stringy also, and they are probably one of the most basic forms of life on earth, and grow quickly in the right conditions. So it could be either one (it actually probably is diatom).

    Anyways, my theory is that if you give it the right conditions, it will grow, and the scrubber provides those - for diatoms, dinos, GHA, turf, etc. From what I have seen on many different units I have ran, growth and nutrients available are strongly tied, as well as some water parameters like alk and potassium. When you run the lights too long given a certain condition set, you can get an over-abundance of one type of growth.

    So it's hard to diagnose what could be going on without knowing your water parameters. Since you've been having trouble getting green for so long, I think we need to back up the bus and know where we are starting from.

    Test N & P, Alk, Cal & Mag, and K (potassium) if you can.

    I recommend Salifert for N, Cal, Mag, and K (only Salifert for K)
    For Alk, Salifert is very good, Hanna Checker is best
    For P, Hanna Checker Phosphate or Phosphorus is the only one I would use
    Can use API for N, it will tell you if you have a problem or if it's really low, Salifert for very low range resolution though.
  17. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    So my tank chemistry was way off.

    It looks like my dosing pumps were left on for several days and that caused perception in my tank.

    I had to go buy some test kits as mine were out of reagents.

    At the beginning of last week I tested calcium and alkalinity using my Hannah checkers.

    I had 200 ppm of calcium and 184 ppm caco3.

    I slowly started raising my calcium throughout the week. It's at 380 now and the alk is 170.

    I got a magnesium potassium and nitrate test kit on yesterday, all salifert kits.

    Mag was 330 ppm potassium was 4 10 ppm and nitrate was 0(I detected no colour change).

    I have begun increasing my magnesium.

    My phosphate Hannah checker is being used by a friend so I have not checked phosphate.

    I was shocked at my parameters as all of my corals look fine.

    It's amazing to me how quickly these parameters were skued. I had my tank water analyzed by aquarium water testing company not that long ago and all of my parameters were spot on.

    I'm not sure if any of these skued parameters have anything to do with the poor growth.

    As for my scrubber I reduced the light period to 12 hrs. I took the screen out at the 3 day mark and rinsed the brown loose growth off. At day 7 which is shown in the pictures I rinsed the screen again but did not scrape.

    I did see some greener growth.

    I will repost when I get my parameters be in spec
  18. dan

    dan New Member Customer

    Pic of 7 days growth

    Attached Files:

  19. Turbo

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

    I keep track of Alk in dKH. From RHF off RC

    ...or multiplying by 0.056 (which is what I do to convert my Hanna meter reading)

    So you were at about 10.3 dKH, not bad, within spec

    Calcium and Mag, wow those are low. Are you sure on that mag reading? I'm not sure that mag that low is even possible, especially if it was recently spot on from AWT. Remember the Cal and Mag kits are sort of reverse logic, the more drops you add, the higher the level is, the chart is based on what is left in the titration syringe not what was used. That would have had the color change happen within the first few drops of titration - crazy low. Just checking, I've consulted with a few people who read it the other way.
  20. Turbo

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

    Oh wait I just recalled that you said you had precipitation in the tank - that might explain low cal and mag. What doser was stuck on??

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