View Full Version : Really want to make this work

03-12-2017, 12:57 PM
Not sure where to begin...
First a short synopsis of what, where and how.
Ive purchased an established 90 g tank was acquired with one large (~5 inch) Blue Tang, 2 Clowns maybe 2.5 - 3 inch, File fish, Pajama Cardinal, live rock, no coral about a year ago.
Live rock was infested with aiptasia (sp?) so we added a half a dozen Peppermint shrimp and a cleaner shrimp.
We also bleached/acid bathed the rock in two stages after shrimp didn't help much.
Now we have still continue to have major algae problem.
It was my son's project until he decided he needs money for to upgrade the DYI support apparatus that it came with. He decided to get rid of it.
I've decided to keep the tank... and take on the challenge since I scuba this should maintain level of health sanity between dives  .
I consider myself an experienced tropical fresh water aquarist and I'm founding out that means nothing reef realm.
But I need to move it to the main floor from basement simply because if out of sight, out of mind.
Before doing this I'm reviewing the BRS's 53 week tank build project videos (BTW, Ryan's a hoot!). I'm realizing BRS has gone all out on this build.
The water we use is from our well. Water was fine for fresh water tank but I suspect it isn't for salt water.

Set up:
90 gallon glass with an overflow off center with a black painted pine stand no canopy. Its ugly but okay, problem is it show every bit of water stain and salt buildup.
Weve added a bag of live sand on the bottom and covered it with dead sand  and have about 40 lbs of live rock.
Sump is a 40 gal breeder tank, presently no sock filter, apparently clogs up too fast according to my son. Half of the sump has sand, a handful of green plants and some live rock as well. There is slot for a foam filter which also have been removed because apparently the water just flows over it. The sump is currently in mechanical room directly behind tank in the adjacent room.
The return pump is older but it works.
Added a new skimmer, back in June Reef Octopus Classic 150INT Protein Skimmer.
Already purchased a Fosban reactor (Two Little Fishies ATLPBR150 GFO PhosBan Reactor 150) that I'll be adding once I move the tank.
There are two LED light units that you can switch between white light a blue light or a combination.
The is one power-head with a timer.
We have these two plastic tanks that are connected that used to fill the sump, however when I move the tank I wont be able to use this.

In the queue:
I'm getting a RODI system. I want to connect the this to the sump with an automated top off system and some safety shutoff system but that may not possible due to nearly impossible to run the water in the floors with finished basement. So I do not know what Ill do. Most likely Ill have a reservoir next to the sump that Ill have to refill once a month.
Want to add more clean-up crew, there few snails but not what a fish guy at fish store recommended.
I will build a canopy so the light doesnt spill to the entire room.
So with moving the tank, Ill transfer the sump contents into an acrylic sump Ive recently purchased for this purpose and it will go under the tank inside the stand.
Im ready to put some money into this in order to turn this into a show tank but Im really concerned that it will be more hassle than pleasure. For this reason Im using the videos from BRS 150 build. Some of the items Ryan features will be a must while some will be a nice to have, like the $400 some controller, yikes!!!
Ill have to redo the plumbing entirely

The primary reason for this post is, why is there so much algae growth in the tank and how to get rid of it? I wish to achieve a tank in terms of cleanliness similar to Mr. Aquas large tank, or show tank at Aquatic Arts. Now I realize these guys are pros but I would guess they dont scrub their tanks every day, do they?

I imagine I can put in about an hour a week in some tending to maintenance, but currently the tank would need daily scrubbing because the algae is taking over, I think its brown diatoms.


03-12-2017, 01:08 PM
The brown stuff is diatoms or dinos. The good news is that it's most likely the water that's causing your issues. Once you switch to RODI I imagine that many of the problems will be solved. RODI is usually better to make in batches than the auto top off, because the when you first start making a new batch the water is "dirtier" from what I understand.

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03-12-2017, 02:38 PM
Have you been testing the water for anything?

The brown algae is Def diatoms most likely related to not using rodi water. They tend to do well with a lot of Silica in the water. They are also prevent when a tank doesn't have stable nutrients and that's why they are always part of a young tank.

Sorry to say it but, you will have to invest a decent amount of time in maint, testing, ect to have a really great tank. An hour week is probably not going to get it done, especially in the beginning. Imo you cannot skimp on regular maintenance.

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03-12-2017, 03:24 PM
I would get the filter sock in right away and change it frequently. If it is clogging fast, it's because it is catching stuff you probably want out As you are scrubbing off algae, the sock will catch the loose pieces and you can get them out of the tank. I would change it daily for a while if you are scrubbing a lot of algae off. With nutrients, everything that breaks down in the tank stays in there unless something removes it, scrubbing the algae just gets in the water column, and the filter sock helps pull some out. The skimmer pulls some nutrients out, the snails eat some, water changes remove some, and macro algae consumes some and then you pull out some of the macro periodically. You have the right steps in mind. The RO/DI will make a big difference, water changes, manual removal of some of the algae, filter sock, more clean up crew (I personally prefer all snails or just one or two hermit crabs in there). I would go with the container by the tank for your ATO, not directly from the RO/DI - If your float valve fails, you could dump water nonstop into the tank and floor. If you use the container, the worst cast would be the volume of the container.
Adding an algae turf scrubber will help too.

Another easy thing you can do right away:
Go without the lights on for three days and cut back on feeding a little.

Petco will check your water for free if you take in a sample.

As far as maintenance goes, instead of thinking of it as a chore, I think of it like Mr. Miaggi in Karate Kid trimming his Bonsai trees. Not a chore, therapy... DanielSon.

03-12-2017, 09:54 PM
Have you been testing the water for anything?

Had the water tested at CSU, Soil, Water & Plant Testing Laboratory.


03-12-2017, 10:44 PM
Had the water tested at CSU, Soil, Water & Plant Testing Laboratory.

I meant have you tested your tank water? Regardless of your well water test results the first change you should make is using RO water. The water tests they perform are for domestic drinking water. You don't want any of that in your tank if you can avoid it. This change alone would make a big difference in your tank. You are adding alot of things in that your salt already has and some you don't want in the first place. Not using ro only makes keeping the right parameters more difficult.

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03-13-2017, 01:03 AM
The testing of tank water is important to see your alkalinity, PH, salinity, calcium, nitrates, and phosphate mainly. This is more important when you have corals.

This article has tons of info: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-05/rhf/

static reef
03-13-2017, 08:39 AM
Ok. Where to begin?

1. Replace your filter sovk and/or the filter pad. Wet skim for the next few weeks and water change. You need a type of mechanical filter for such a new tank. This will help you remove large and small particles from your water column (thus reducing algae).

2. Salt creep and stains are easy to remove.
A. Buy a 80 grit sand paper block, a quart or ebony wood stain and a can of polyurethane spray paint.
B. Lightly remove that blotches or salt from the stand.
C. Lightly rub stain directly to stand.
D. Sprey poly on stand after stain dries.
E. Marvel over how much better the tank looks.

3. Get your rodi up and running ASAP.

4. Keep researching and take your time. I live in woodmen hills. There are a few of us that live out there and you are more than welcome to come take a look at my set up for some construction/maintenance ideas.

(Remember during your planning that) the goal to the hobby is having consistent and stable water.

03-14-2017, 08:52 PM
Thanks everyone for support and encouraging words! I'll keep you posted on my progress.

03-15-2017, 08:42 AM
Your TDS is high at 138. RO/DI should bring that down to about 0

03-15-2017, 09:52 AM
I agree your main issue is your rodi.
Then make sure you stay up on skimmer maintenance do regular water changes and don't over feed and you'll be back on track.
My tank is stuck in the 90's when it comes to equipment but your welcome to stop by and talk reef