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  1. #1
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    Question LFS Advice - Opinions?

    Ok, as i mentioned in a previous thread, my LFS came over tonight to see my tank and offer his advice. Of course before i take him up on it, i present it to my loyal friends here for opinions. To his credit i must add that he has probably close to 2000 gallons of reef in his personal home (his largest being a 750 gallon reef - with angels and all).

    Firstly regarding the hair algae problem i have, he said it must be due to high nitrates (even though the salifert tests have been showing my nitrates to be ~10). regarding the hair algae he suggests that i take out all the rock, scrub them clean, then replace them upside down so that whatever is left will die off (he offered to do this whole process for me - of course for a price, $250 US). he also said that i should not feed my fish (tang and angel) anything - and let them eat the algae all up. He also said that my Power Compact lights are more than i need for soft corals and are therefore leading to the algae problem. he wants me to switch back to actinic and 50/50 flourecent strip (coralife bulbs).

    Secondly, he claims that the E.S.V. B-ionic, Mg, Sr, and I additives that i am using are designed more for hard corals and are too much for my tank. prolonged use of them, according to him, will eventually shock my tank. He wants me to switch over to Kent Marine additives (microvert, reef builder, Iodine, calcium a&b, etc), which he claims would be more appropriate for my tank. Note: he does not sell E.S.V. products in his store, only Kent additives.

    I feel that all his suggestions must be taken with a grain of salt (preferably Tropic Marin salt). On one had i feel that his experience with his tanks would make me want to just copy whatever he says and hope for similar success, on the other hand, everything i have learned in my short hobby experience lead me to follow what i have learned and not just trust a LFS who may very well be just looking out for his own best interests.

    Please help me out here and let me know what all of you think about this situation.
    Albert
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Toooloud's Avatar
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    Secondly, he claims that the E.S.V. B-ionic, Mg, Sr, and I additives that i am using are designed more for hard corals and are too much for my tank. prolonged use of them, according to him, will eventually shock my tank. He wants me to switch over to Kent Marine additives (microvert, reef builder, Iodine, calcium a&b, etc), which he claims would be more appropriate for my tank. Note: he does not sell E.S.V. products in his store, only Kent additives.
    For this, I do belieave that he is just trying to promote his items that he sells.. Now not saying he is right or wrong, i know alot of people when they try to work with you they like you to use things they have.. makes things easier for them..

    As for the build up .. that would happen even with the Kent items.. you have to remember that we somtimes add alot to our tanks that well does not get all used up.. One of the main reasons for Water changes. One reason why people like myself are very carefull on what goes into my tank and how much.. Becouse i do not do water changes.. Well i do maybe every few months... I just add top up water.



    To his credit i must add that he has probably close to 2000 gallons of reef in his personal home (his largest being a 750 gallon reef - with angels and all).
    Allways good when you dont have to take someone word for it.. Atleast you know that he is not bullshiting you and does know what he is doing..


    Firstly regarding the hair algae problem i have, he said it must be due to high nitrates (even though the salifert tests have been showing my nitrates to be ~10).
    10ppm I assume.. If so that is high for a reef tank. Are you running any sort of mechanical Filtration? This could be the cause!

    regarding the hair algae he suggests that i take out all the rock, scrub them clean, then replace them upside down so that whatever is left will die off (he offered to do this whole process for me - of course for a price, $250 US).
    By doing this you are going to Distrub your tank BIG TIME! .. causing the rock to release alot of its Bacteria and release alot of the toxins that are stored in the rocks and sand bed! SO you would need to provide a new home for your fish for several weeks while the tank recycles.

    One thing i would suggest for the Hair Alage is a "SeaHare" i have added on to my 72G tank when it was a Forest of Hair Algae.. and with in a month it was nice and clean!



    he also said that i should not feed my fish (tang and angel) anything - and let them eat the algae all up
    Doing this might or might not work!! Althought most tangs would turn and eat the algae in there natural enviroment but angels do prefer meaty foods and concidering they have been feed foods the way you have been for so long they may not eat the aglae.. and might starve out and die.


    He also said that my Power Compact lights are more than i need for soft corals and are therefore leading to the algae problem. he wants me to switch back to actinic and 50/50 flourecent strip
    How old are your bulbs.. Running New PC would not promote the growth alone! .. There are many factors.. and by going to the lower lights, you are still feeding the algae with food source so it will still grow.. You need to starve out the Algae.. by clean water! and give it some compition.. for the $250 you would pay to have someone clean it.. you can add on a Refugium and calupra witch will then feed off the tank and starve out the aglae!


    On one had i feel that his experience with his tanks would make me want to just copy whatever he says and hope for similar success, on the other hand, everything i have learned in my short hobby experience lead me to follow what i have learned and not just trust a LFS who may very well be just looking out for his own best interests.
    See, You did the right thing.. Post it here hear everyones opions and see what happends.. Have you seen the Tanks in this guys house? Reason why im asking is becouse for the longest time i have been going to a LFS here and dealing with one guy who claims to have had a 240G tank with 100g Refugium and 150G sump all plumbed in together.. well one day i get a PM on another board as he was interested in some frags i was sell.. Did not know his person but i drive down to the house.. Go in to see this nice 30G tank running and he tells me that he was happy with the coral and his brother works at the LFS .. So he calls his brother.. who i find out to be a lyer as he had nothing but a 30G! ..

    I just dont see why people need to ly.. we can't all afford the biggest systems.. and i ahve seen some really big system that look like crap where i have seen some 20-50g system that look AMAZING!
    So unless you see things with your own eyes.. you need to second guess them.. witch is what you did here.. and im sure there will be different opinions but im sure alot will agree with most of what i said.

    thanks
    Mike
    mlambert@rogers.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    Toooloud - KARMA TO YOU!!!! wow, you did a great job there and i cant even begin to tell you how much i appreciate it (i know i did leave you with quite a situation).
    Firstly, its about 4:00am and i just finished rearranging my rock (too late for that piece of advice) - i figured i'd rather spend that money on corals. I did set up my rock (according to his advice) with corals in mind this time. my previous set-up really didnt have many places where i can add my corals, so i set it up with cup-like formations of the rocks facing upward so that corals can be placed in them and have the more natural appearance as if they grew out of the rock. as far as the bacteria, i thought quite the opposite. when i blow the rocks with a turkey baster, this cloud comes out of it, which i thought to be pretty much decomposed organic matter which can now be filtered out. also by blowing all the junk out, it leaves more room for water flow through the rock essentially. does this make sense at all?
    Regarding the chemicals - should i switch to the Kent additives over the E.S.V. so that we can be on the same page (and have one less thing for him to blame in my tank)? are they going to be just as good as the ESV?
    As far as his personal tank, he has pictures of it in his store, and has invited me to come over and see it numerous times (so i dont think he is bluffing). i also know his father who complains to no end about how much money has sunk into those tanks (when he was a kid).
    I guess i will cut back on the food and watch the fish to see if they are starving or not. if i notice that they are refusing the algae and seem to be getting weaker, i will resume feeding.
    my PC's are fairly new (2 months?). but wouldnt i need them for my corals?
    regarding the water quality, now that i have a better skimmer, i am assuming that with time all the junk will be exported and as my water quality improves, the algae will not return. i have also read somewhere once that the rock itself could have absorbed nitrates and phosphates, and when the algae grow on it, it uses it. this is very possible since the first time i filled my tank it was with, believe it or not, tap water (back in my newbie days). so taking all that algae out takes out the nitrates it absorbed with it. i also run phosguard 24/7 in my tank.
    i do use 2 filter pads for mechanical filtration - you suggest i dont? i would rather it pick things up out of the water (usually lots of algae) which i can simply wash off every few days.
    i too am not a big fan of water changes as i find them to be a big hassle, and also disrupt the balance in the tank. however, i think i may just do a couple of water changes anyway to just get things back on track. the extent of my water changes lately have just been adding salt water to bring my salinity back up after a lot was skimmed by my skimmer during the breaking-in period.
    Thanks again for all your help so far.
    Albert
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  4. #4
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    Firstly regarding the hair algae problem i have, he said it must be due to high nitrates (even though the salifert tests have been showing my nitrates to be ~10).
    Phosphates and silicon are generally to blame for algae, if you use ASW have you tested it for either? as a ASW product change might help, also what fresh water do you use?

    i think i may just do a couple of water changes anyway to just get things back on track.
    the water changes will remove the dead algae and any other algae particles left over, as these will simply regrow if left in the tank.

    regarding the hair algae he suggests that i take out all the rock, scrub them clean, then replace them upside down so that whatever is left will die off (he offered to do this whole process for me - of course for a price, $250 US).
    For that $ I'll fly over and do it!! turning the rocks upside down Will start them cycling again. As Toooloud correctly advised. In fact he's really filled in all the spaces...

    my PC's are fairly new (2 months?). but wouldn't i need them for my corals?
    Additional lighting or new lighting will/can induce an algae outbreak, why not keep your options open for other corals in the future? You're sure to want more and the lighting may be what you need..

    If you haven't seen any adverse side effects from the additives you use, then I wouldn't change. As my LRS said, "Rule number 4; If it works, don't **** with it"
    Unless of course there's a really cool gadget that has to be bought..:wink3: (I added that)

    $250US wow. $250. That's around $450AUS. Think of all the things you can get with that..[list=1][*]calcium reactor[*]refugium [*]bigger sump[*]bigger anything[*]all new pre-cured LR [*]half a fendi handbag (small)[/list=1]
    I want that mans job..

    I'm currently at the end of an algae battle (touch wood) and hopefully you will be soon.....
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  5. #5
    ATC
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    Senior Member ATC's Avatar
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    Alrha - take a look here

    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm

    I have Fenner's CMA book at home and every thing I've seen in it makes good sense. I've also heard that diadema urchins will eat hair algae. I had a new large piece of rock that was scrubbed andput into a separate tank with no lights to try and remove the hair algae before it went into the main tank and it took a long time before the algae was completely gone.

    Do you have a 'fuge or macro algae that will compete with the hair algae?
    Aven

  6. #6
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    thanks for all the advice - why would the rocks re-cycle? the bacteria dont know which way is up! is it a good idea or not to generally blow out all the "stuff" inside and/or on the rock?

    i dont have a fuge, but i recently put some macro algae in my overflow box (i originally bought it for the tang, but now i figured, let him get started on the hair algae first).

    I use Tropic Marin salt - thus far. I plan on keeping my lights (contrary to his advice - they were $250US) and no, i didnt pay him $250US for it, i did it myself - doesnt make it much of a hobby if you pay other people to do it - in addition to the money which i dont have, i would rather look at that tank and be proud of myself, not of him!)
    Albert
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    Just a few points:

    - Just because your nitrate tests low doesn't mean it isn't feeding the hair algae. The hair algae will take the nutrients out of the water and use it to grow. Then when you test the water and the nitrates are low you figure it's not a problem. I'll bet if all the hair algae was suddenly eradicated you'd have a huge nitrate spike. I found this out the hard way when I had a bad bryopsis algae problem. 10ppm is rather high for a reef tank.

    - Experts tests have shown that many hobbyists have "trace elements" in their tank water at toxic levels. Almost all the salt mixes have them in massive quantities already and adding more isn't necessary. I don't add anything I can't test for.

    - Definitely consider a diadema urchin. Mine saved my tank from hair algae and I haven't seen a bit of it since. They are very cool critters. I don't have one but I've heard that lawnmower blenny's are quite helpful as well. You might want to consider both.

    - Rather than change your lighting, why not just reduce the time it's on for now until you get the hair algae worked out. Then you can gradually increase it.

    Hope this helps!
    Susan

  8. #8
    Senior Member ALRHA's Avatar
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    Flame, i acutally just came back to my computer after decreasing the lighting hours (now Actinic from 1:00pm-11:00pm and 10,000k from 2:00pm-10:00pm) So that is 10 hours total plus 8 of "full light".
    I think you are right about the nitrates, so we will see now what happens. I have been overfeeding a lot especially lately as i was trying to get the purple tang to eat. i do believe that a water change is in order for tomorrow night.
    I test for all my additives as well. i actually have every test kit that salifert sells. My hope is now to see the coraline algae take over the rocks before the hair algae (i have noticed that wherever coraline got a foot-hold, hair did not grow).
    I have the algae blenny (he mostly picks off the back glass - much more than he can eat) and i dont know about adding an urchin - i wouldnt want him knocking things over in the tank, and i dont want to get stung by it when i am working in my tank.
    Albert
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Flame*Angel's Avatar
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    You could easily drop your full lighting more than that if you want. I have 12 hours of total and 10 hours of full. It wouldn't hurt the tank a bit to go down to just 6 hours of full light for a time while you're battling the hair algae.

    I was hesitant to try the urchin at first as well. I've had mine for over a year now though and haven't found him to be any trouble at all. He actually helps spread coralline in the tank and is an interesting critter to watch. They are mostly nocturnal though and aren't out much during the day.

    I bought all the Salifert test kits too. It's great peace of mind when something isn't right to be able to at least narrow down a problem.

    Hope you can get through this soon!
    Susan

  10. #10
    Senior Member ReefVan's Avatar
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    Considering that you have a predominately "softie" tank you can cut back on those lights some more ...

    There's a lot of good advice being given in this thread, go with it.

    Seriously think about adding a sump one day, you could put a DSB in there or macroalgae. This is an excellent "nutrient export" method and will only help your tank.

    You're on the right track. :thumb:

    One last comment, tangs tend to get more aggressive when not fed on a regular basis. This is probably due to the "competition for food" scenario. Think about, if you were hungry, you'd probably snap at someone who just grabbed that sandwich in front of you ...

    van impdaddy
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