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  1. #1
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    Question Is my NSW causing a problem???

    I decided to test salt water sources to find the reason for red slime algae and the results are as follows.

    Main display tank:

    Ph- 8.2 (4.30am)
    8.2 (8pm)
    Alk- 9dkh
    Calcium- 425ppm
    Nitrates- undetectable
    Phosphates- undetectable
    02- 9 (4.30am)
    7 (8pm)

    NSW ( aerated/heated- taken during the day)

    Ph- 8
    Alk- 7
    calcium- 425
    Nitrates- undetectable
    Phosphates- 0.1ppm

    I use aerated R/O water.

    I've had red slime algae for 3 months.

    I originally thought the red slime algae was from the NO tubes that needed changing, exasperated by the introduction of PC on top of the NO's.

    2 months ago I removed the bio-wheel, have been doing weekly 20% water changes, changed all NO lighting, reduced feeding substantially, and 2 weeks ago reduced the photo period by 2 hours, removed the NO and now use 2 actinics with the PC and it comes back the next day, if not within a few hours.....

    Is the phosphates in the NSW causing the algae? It's the only flaw I can find. As I see it when I do a water change all I seem to be doing is adding more phosphates everytime....

    I'm thinking that the supplier isn't collecting the NSW at the appropriate times and just goes when it suits him, not the weather and mother nature.

    Should I run a phosphate sponge in the NSW tub before adding it to the display tank?
    "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)

  2. #2
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    There seems to be differing opinions on how much phosphate is problem causing, I remember reading Borneman who said anything above .3ppm becomes an issue, and obviously undetectable is ideal.

    Red Slime thrives on quite a few things in our aquariums - nitrates, phosphate, some believe silicate (but I've read discussions that say otherwise on that one)...also certain vitamin additives (or other additives) can cause blooms...it's tough to nail the exact cause and super frustrating when the bloom's winning the war. I know I've been there. And because it’s hard to nail down the culprit, I think it’s also hard to say if it’s NSW specifically, or a combination of events.

    IMO, the circulation is very important. If the tank has good water turnover, then more of the unwanted nutrients that the nasty red slimies are thriving on pass through your skimmer and are removed from your system…thus slowly starving them.

    I just had an outbreak not to long ago…to get it back under control, I added a powerhead to my existing circulation flow, temporarily tweaked my alk up a “little” higher (ReefMutt will probably get me for that one – but microalgea and high alk levels don’t get along), and reduced my feeding a little. It took a couple of weeks, but it slowly came back in line. Many people siphon off the slime as they wait it out, but I’ve read differing opinions on that one…there’s a belief that disturbing the sandbed reduces it’s ability to create the environment it requires to remove the nutrients that the red slime is feeding on. But, IMO, it’s just the very top layer, so no big deal, plus siphoning that top layer is pulling out some of the nutrients that the red slime might be feeding on…the sandbed can recover after the war is won.

    Do you add any nutrient/vitamin additives to your tank? And what’s your circulation like?
    Keep passing the open windows!

  3. #3
    Senior Member xerces's Avatar
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    Where is the water being collected?

  4. #4
    Senior Member reefmutt's Avatar
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    I can handle a little dkh tweeking once in a while...
    Tiffany, once red slime gets a hold in your tank, I have read that it can begin to generate its own beneficial conditions for surviving. Also, it takes VERY little to keep this stuff happy once it is established- I would bet that the nsw is contributing to the problem- as that naughty Pubber pointed out, cyano will use whatever it can as food- maybe even small amounts of pollution like farm fertilizers or factory exhaust that settles in the ocean farther out.
    I think you should try a phosphate sponge in the tank and make up water if you continue to use nsw ( as a matter of fact, I am beginning to think that a phos sponge is a necessary part of any reef on a permanent basis).
    I also think, that adding a one time dose of erythromycin to the tank may just finish your problem right there. The antibiotic MAY kill off other beneficial bacteria in the system, but it should also kill the cyano and once gone- with nothing to feed it, it shouldn't come back. I know this is extreme but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!! And the reef will repopulate the beneficial bacteria in no time.
    Matt.

    Old system torn down to make a playroom.. planning a 62x42x28 high

  5. #5
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    Reefmutt,
    If you KNOW what the problem is and while fixing it, you also want to get rid of the cyano, then using the Ultralife Red Slime Remover is a lot safer and will not harm the rest of the tank at all. The beneficial bacteria will not take a hit nor need to repopulate afterwards.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info.

    Do you add any nutrient/vitamin additives to your tank? And what’s your circulation like?
    I don't use any vitamins/additives.
    I have 3 600l/ph and 1 1500l/ph (in a 3 foot/36 inch)

    tweaked my Alk up a “little” higher
    My boyfriend did that last night when the Alk dropped to 5. He said that he used 1 tspn but when I checked it the next day I figured out that he used 2. The algae isn't as prevalent as it was before in regenerating.
    How high do you recommend to increase it to?? And for how long?

    I think you should try a phosphate sponge in the tank and make up water if you continue to use NSW
    I added carbon and wrapped it in a phosphate pad tonight.
    I think I'll run a phosphate sponge in the NSW tank from now on.

    a one time dose of erythromycin to the tank
    What dose?
    What "good" stuff does it kill off? Since adding 'Pokey' (the Lionfish, that loves flake!!??!!) my bristle stars and cope-pods etc have disappeared, so I'm a little reluctant to add anything that will kill off what may be left over...

    Ultralife Red Slime Remover
    I haven't heard of it and will look into it and see if we can get it here. ( note: if it works then we probably can't...)
    "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)

  7. #7
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    Cool

    is this tank also a newer setup? if so, sometimes it will go through this phase regardless of what you do. when I experienced this I just kept syphoning off the stuff with a turkey baster,arranged the rock work for better flow as the wall of rock thing really traps food and stuff, cut back the feeding a tad and eventually things evened out. also the higher ALK seems to be very popular.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    The tanks 3 1/2 years old.
    I use the Turkey blaster and siphon it out every week, sometimes twice a week.
    I'll try and keep the Alk up. How high and for how long should I do this?
    I have troubles getting my calcium above 350ppm, and keeping it there if I do, (it's all that coralline) so I don't want to raise the Alk too high. Is around 10 to 12dkh ok? I usually have it around 9dkh.
    "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)

  9. #9
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    Any better yet?

    Hey Tiffany,

    How's this coming along? You mentioned that your alk was down to 5dkh...did the cyno start to die off as you brought your alk back to 9dkh (I think that's where you mentioned you like to keep it). If not, you could bring it up a little higher, 11dkh would be OK for a while IMO...but remember to keep your calcium balanced and monitor your Ph when playing with these water parameters.

    For how long would probably depend on how the cyano reacts to what your trying? I like to keep my levels around 10-11dKH and my calcium around 420-450. (but everyones different).

    The good stuff that erythromycin can kill are the nitrifying bacteria, as it's an antibiotic...it's safe for your other reef inhabitants. I've also heard that it can create more resistant strains of cyano - I have no idea how factual that is or isn't.

    Red Slime Remover oxidizes the waste (or cyano food) so that it can be removed quickly from your system...it's not an antibiotic, so some people have a preference for it.

    The only point to sort of consider is that the last two methods are quick patches...as ReefMutt and Toutouche pointed out, it's important to eliminate the source or it could come back.

    ReefMutt,..."nasty"?? I prefer "mostly evil":angel:
    Keep passing the open windows!

  10. #10
    Senior Member tiffany's Avatar
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    It's at 10dkh atm and the ph is at 8.2 and it's not as voracious as it was.

    The calcium is at 250ppm tonight and is loosing about 100ppm everyday The ph is dropping to 7.8 and I'm buffering it constantly.
    As the two have to be added separately how do I adjust both parameters at the same time? As when I fix one the other drops!!!
    "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)

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