Very confused Tank Owner...

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by belindamotion, 8 Oct 2011.

  1. belindamotion

    belindamotion Google Master

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    I don't know how to lay-out this Thread, I only know that I'm, to a degree, not happy with my Tank..I've so many questions and to little knowledge to understand properly the "insides" of my Tank...I'll be the 1st to admitt that I don't always read thru all the Threads as most are "hard-core" Reefers with contraptions on their Tanks that makes me think of a man on life support..:p..with the result that I don't think it will have any bearing on my situation..:(..hmmm maybe that could be one of my problems..:blush:

    As some know...I have a small TL450..with a LOUSY Skimmer..I do believe that was the beginning of my downfall...anyway, here goes all the confusing questions and contradictory questions...

    I wanted my Tank to be "natural"...but Skimmer was a headache..it really wasn't pulling out anything and I see the "food" just drop to the sand..hardly any suction from the Skimmer regarding flow in my Tank..with the result:

    1..... that I had high Nitrates.. 10mg/L-25mg/L..might I add towards the end of the week, day or two before water change...could I not have kept that in check with having two water changes, instead of one 20%..and fed less..? Instead I was told to add Ammonia Absorbing Stones and then later...PhosGuard..as you can never go wrong with a Phosphate Media...so slowly but surely my Tank started going the "Chemical Route" something that I didn't want happening..:(..

    2....Filter got less as I had no space for them...then I had a bad RO batch which turned my water green and no matter how many water changes I did, I couldn't get rid of it...hardly had flow and almost no real Filter...that's when I got the Canister Filter...WOW that turned out to be the best purchase EVER..:thumbup:..water
    was clean within 10min and the flow was awesome..;)..but downside to that was the accidental "over dosing" of Activated Carbon...lost my Zoas and my Tank got flooded with Cyano...do I really need AC...? Can I go less "chemical" if I remove them..or do I REALLY need AC...does Ceramic Rings also fall under "chemical"...?

    3.....I now find myself having to add bacteria, as I now, apparently, have non...probably trace elements also.. and started with my 1st BioDigest last week...but if I'm going to do the Probidio route...I'm I not the owner of a ULNS...?
    I don't want Ultra Low Nutrient System...but how else can I get Bacteria back into my Tank...I wanted my Tank to produce bacteria naturally, but do understand that I won't be able to introduce different strands..and diversity is obviously a better balanced Tank...so how do I add bacteria without going ULNS..or IS adding bacteria going ULNS..? Sorry...that's were I'm still a bit confused...:blush:

    All I know is that my Zoas has all but disintegrated before my eyes since my AC episode and the one that is open..isn't really growing at all now...BUT since the Filter and Carbon came, my Torch Coral has grown from 5 heads to 10 heads in about 2 months I think...he came the same time as the Filter so I can't really say for sure if it's the Filter polishing my water...:blush:

    How can I get my Tank back to being less "chemical"...I was thinking of taking out Ceramic Rings, Activated Carbon...that would then just leave me with Stones and PhosGuard...but if I leave those two Media's in, won't that then throw something else out...? I have to add that I do have LR in my Chamber next to my Skimmer...it use to house the original Bio Balls and Ceramic Rings(3rd Chamber)..

    Sorry if it's all muddled up but I actually don't know how to go about getting my Tank a bit more "natural" without repecussions...
     
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  3. Submariner

    Submariner

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    Hi Belinda

    All the above problems can be sorted out.

    Smaller tank like the boyus can be a challenge even for professional reefkeepers.

    I found doing larger water changes to be the best way to keep a boyu tank running smoothly.

    With larger waterchanges you can get rid of all the other products including phosphate remover.

    You can run a small amount of carbon and liverock rubble in the rear.

    Lastly dosing bacteria isnt running a ulns.

    Dose the bacteria once a week after you do your waterchange.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. JsPLAYn

    JsPLAYn

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    @belindamotion ..... Hi, trust you well .... Did u try a skimmer upgrade? .... Canisters are lovely but adds to maintanace as they tend to become nitrate factories,as @Submariner said, lotsa peeps venture into small tanks,not realisin they are more dificult, dificult bein that the less water,the easier it is for pars to jump, and even more difcult for a reefer to keep uping an downing adjustments .... So my solution to your problem is BIGGER tank, trust me,u'll enjoy it...good luck in finding the solutions an proper understandings to your questions above
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  5. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I agree with Submariner here, in small tanks waterchanges are the Key, and all dependant on your bioload, ie the greater the bioload the larger more regular your water changes are.

    Dosing the bacteria once a week after a waterchange, I find help keep everything in check.

    Both water changes and the bacteria are the most natural ways of keeping a small marine tank.

    Personally i only run AC if i see a problem like the water needs to be polished or i know there is some kind of chemical warfare going on, but once that is sorted i remove it from my tank.
     
  6. belindamotion

    belindamotion Thread Starter Google Master

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    @Submariner I do a 20% once a week... should I change to 2 a week or is that to much per week...I use too, but somehow there was disadvantages to doing to many big water changes...

    got the Carbon in the Canister Filter and LR at the rear...so that can stay as is...

    When you say "dosing bacteria"..would that also include the fuel source..? So if I carry on using Prodibio I then gather I'm not ULNS..:blush:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  7. belindamotion

    belindamotion Thread Starter Google Master

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    @DJ pauly D ..I tried every Skimmer under the sun...trust me, I think the whole of MASA knows...:lol:...I love my little Tank and wouldn't trade it for the world..I honestly don't see the small Tanks as being harder to maintain than bigger Tanks..well not in my case anyway...when you get a dog or cat you feed it everyday and make sure it has clean water and sleeping place etc...so why wouldn't you do that when you have a Tank..? Everything gets checked daily, actually more than once a day...and I do Tests weekly and Supplement weekly as needed..most times I Test twice a week, but usually only need to add once a week...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  8. belindamotion

    belindamotion Thread Starter Google Master

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    @butcherman I only have two Nemo's, a BiColor Blenny and a Cleaner Shrimp... as I mentioned earlier...I started Prodibio..they say every 2 weeks...should I go according to their Product info or change to weekly as I'm going to be doing 2 waterchanges a week..? and as I asked earlier..would that include the fuel source also...? at the moment I'm just doing bacteria as I was told that I'll even get more of a Cyano outbreak if I add the fuel source now..so I'm waiting for the bacteria to do it's thing...so to speak..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    Hi belinda if you want to mod your skimmer. I am talking make it into a monster skimmer, i can help you do so. It takes a little work. Two garden irrigation up tubes with threaded bit at the end. Some fine fishing line, gel superglue a two and a half mm drill as well asa pair of scissors as well as a plastic embroidery mesh. I haveto take my skimmer apart to photograph and show you the stuff and how to do it. A bit of work and you will have a great skimmer. Then we can talk about the rest. I also haveto go out to do some shopping etc but by the end of today you will have,your info. I will put up a thread.
     
  10. belindamotion

    belindamotion Thread Starter Google Master

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    @mandarinman ..that will be great as my biggest headache was trying to find a Skimmer that fit's in my rear Skimmer slot...hopefully in the end my Tank will be all natural again as I have very little faith in my Skimmer as it is in it's current state...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  11. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    How long has your tank been running Belinda?
     
  12. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Do the mod :thumbup: I love tinkering :tt2:

    Belinda, How old is this tank?

    Remeber with marine tanks, there is and always will be one rule, There is no quick fix, good things take time. So you will need patience!

    Your take has high no3 and po4 levels, not only in the water column, but in the rock, substrate filter media. and trying to lower your levels with wc might take a while.
    generally i find that once i Have changed anything i need to stick with it for atleast 2 months befor, i can see if it is working or not.

    As for the probido, i am unsure about dosing fuel and food and such, what i do do is use microbe lift special blend, i know this dose not require any fuels, foods or such.
     
  13. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Unfortunatly on smaller systems nitrate and phosphate does become difficult to control due to space limitations. When doing water changes i prefer frequent smaller water changes as apposed to one big water change. I would break it up 20% per week = 2 x 10% per week or even better 4 x 5% per week. Amonia absorbing stones (Zeolites) are a very good idea as they absorb amonia before it goes through the cycle Amonia - Nitrite - Nitrate. So by absorbing amonia you have less nitrate at the end.

    You shouldnt rely on the skimmer to produce flow in the system, that is the job for circulation pumps. Carbon is a great water polisher and keeps it crystal clear, i used to run 24/7 not anymore, i now run once a month for 24 hrs. Ceramic rings are biological filtration which is part of your natural filtration. Chemical filtration is AC, phos removers, zeolites etc.

    One dose of a bacteria should populate the system and from there it will produce its own bacteria. If you start using a carbon additive like vodka then you start crossing over to ULNS. If you just add bacteria now and again, no problem as its healthy for you system but not an absolute must.

    On a smaller system i wouldn't worry too much about the skimmer i would use the live rock as you primary source of filtration, you need godd circulation for this. I would use minimum zeolites just to help the reduction of amonia. Small amounts of phosphate remover to help with the phosphates and AC once in a while to keep the water crystal clear. Warning here dont run phos remover and AC at the same time as it can strip too much out of the water at once. As stated above use regular water changes to keep the system healthy.
     
  14. Evo R

    Evo R

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    @belindamotion i understand your situation completly as i too suffered as your doing now.My Buyo was the slightly bigger one than yours.

    And the coment to follow is solely my OWN opinion.

    First off a skimmer is not the alfa and omega.(I am yet to see a skimmer in the ocean, and what else are we trying to replicate in a small little glass box but the ocean??)
    I got fed up with the sh@ty boyu skimmers so i removed mine completely!
    But having a skimmer makes your life soooooo much easier!!!!!!

    Secondly what im reading from your first post is a classic case of trying to OVER compensate for symtoms instead of the causes.( This happens when something is caused by something else happing and then you/we try to compensate by adding this and that goes wrong because of it, then you/we add this to correct that.)

    Now how to "fix" your tank......

    First off....if nothing is dying now, stop what you are doing. Stand back and asses your tank and its workings. You mentioned you want a "natural" approach to your tank. Impossible! Why do i say this... Well mother nature / the ocean uses Bio Filtration only.(Meaning living filtration) And seeing as we are not God, and can not create life..we have to cheat a little by having mecanical and chemical filtration aswell to a certian point.And everything revolves basically around one thing....bacteria!!

    Now the causes.....

    Your nitrates ect is high, why?
    I too had more or less the same setup as you before i found what worked best for me (after i learned what the purpose was and why i needed it in my tank)

    The ceramic rings and LR/rubble are the causes of your constant high nitrates. Why? Because diatoms and rotting food ect. gets "stuck" on and in between the the rings and rubble, and when there is too little flow, it accumilates over time to such a huge amount that the living bacteria cant consume it all. Now please dont go and remove all of it all at once as you will have a system crash!!! Why? Because your system is straining to sustain life with the little bacteria that you have, now by removing everything all at once, you are removing most of the little bit of bacteria that you do have!! Remove it slowly day by day so that your bacteria can compensate for that by multiplying to keep up with the nitrate demand in your system.
    And in my opinion its better to do small but more regular water changes as you are removing good bacteria in the water colom.( Except when there are big problems then its always advised to do large water changes to remove the problem, because bacteria can be manually added.)

    Now what other problems do you have?

    My tank consited out of 3 chambers.
    First i had a bag of Chemi-pure Elite with filter floss on top.(wich i changed every 3 days to prevent detris build up wich will lead to high nitrates ect.)
    Second chamber was my heater and last was my return.That was it!!
    And in my DT i had araganite and good LR.
    Stocked my tank slowlly so that the system could balance it self out bacteria wise.
    Remember when you where new here and you waited so long before you introduced your first LS ect....your tank was stable and maintained its self. Now by adding to fast your bacteria's cant multiply fast enough, thats when you have a diatom or GHA outbreaks ect.(mini cycle)

    Hope this made sense in some sort of way?? O and please mind the spelling.....want eks eintlik afrikaans!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  15. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    I am dosing fuel,pgytoplankton,zooplankton and a carbon source. First thing is skimmer and rest can follow.but do things slowly as butcherman says. Ps if you are having green algae probs it works well to up magnesium levels. There might be sevral things wrong that can and will be dealt with over time. Ps zoas dont usually perish. They tend to sulk zo that might be related to something totally unexpected.
     
  16. belindamotion

    belindamotion Thread Starter Google Master

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    The Tank is 10months old...cycled about 5months..:blush:got Fishy's and when I started Testing(month 6) it was high and I was worried about the fish so that's when I got the Stones and PhosGuard..then I had the bad RO water(turned out to be the same time I got the Fishes..by 7th month it was still green..then got by 8th month the Filter Canister..I'm now roughly at month 10..
    @Alan ..I now have awesome circulation thanks to the Canister Filter, but have to admitt that I now have the PhosGuard and Active Carbon together..hence all my problems..I've managed to figure out about 2weeks ago that I had 3 times the amount of AC..so for the past 2months just about everything got "stripped"..that's what I'm trying to fix but at the same time "wanting to go back to "natural"..so I can just dose BioDigest once every two weeks and NO fuel..as I don't want to go LN...I couldn't find any Special Blend...
     
    Last edited: 8 Oct 2011
  17. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Northlands has stock.
     
  18. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    I have just finished taking pics after dis assembling and reassembling etc. my bubbles are gone! I forgot what oil in our skin does to skimmer. Oh well it will fix itself over the next day or two!
     
  19. LuckyFish

    LuckyFish MASA Contributor

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    You wrote: ...and I see the "food" just drop to the sand

    There should be no food hitting the gravel. The fish you have are usually greedy eaters. If really food hits the gravel, the shrimp should go for it. If there is still uneaten food left, then you really feed to much!
    If you really feed to much, then I'm not surprised that you have all these problems.
     
  20. belindamotion

    belindamotion Thread Starter Google Master

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  21. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    I was just thinking about it. Phosguard is quite fragile. I found some in the back of my tank that i had forgotten about(oops) i was wondering if the prezsure of canister filter has not been breaking it releasing particles into,tank. If,so that is mucho problem.
     
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