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Beaux

Need advice

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Sorry if this is on the wrong section.  I did not know where else to post it. 

A good while back I started the cycle on my 40 gallon. I used the frozen shrimp in the mesh bag method. About 1/2 way into cycle I decided it was not a good location.

I use live sand (black Hawaiian). The tank was a little to close to a door knob so I decided to relocate it. Only other space I had was in a double window, so I bought some Black out curtains. 

I could not get the temp low enough there, but 5 weeks in the cycle was just about done, started adding live rock and invested in a cooler, but the algae was out of control in one strip of the tank.

Move number 3, broke it back down, left just enough water to keep the sand wet, and about 15 gallons of the tank water.

Even though I thought I was doing everything I could to save it the bio died off. I was ghost feeding and using bio booster. Basically repeating the same steps as before.

I was absent for a little over a week last week. Got home and thought it would be close to being ready. 14 weeks.

I am pretty sure that I lost all the bacteria from the live rock, and still adding the bio booster daily now.

Even now at the end of week 14, it is like it never started the cycle.  No measurments moving in either direction. No diatoms no bubbles on the rock.

Should I just keep at it, or scrap it and start again with everything new?

Flow is great, good lighting in place, but nothings moving. Is there something i am just not seeing?

Greatful for any advice on this.

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We are looking for numbers ; Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate  What were they last week and what are they today.

Did your rock stay wet? Not under water just wet?

You added Bio booster did you add any flake food or food source for the bacteria?

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Dogfish

Numbers never changed all 0's across the boards. No drops and no rises..

As I stated earlier I started with a shrip in a mesh bag and did ghost fees. Once with a full cube of mysis shrimp followed by a full veggie kind reef food.

The only thing right is the salinity 1.25 and my ph is 7.3 which im adding buffer again to bring it up.

Started testing after the 4th day, and nothing registered, ever. No spikes or drops. My kits are brand new, even took samples to RCA to confirm. As far as the live rock it was removed but only to a bucketful of the same tank water until I replaced in the tank. Maybe 30 to 45 minutes

I have tested every 3 to 4 days, with the exception of last week. No ammonia nitrate or nitrite spikes ever happened. I am going to retest right now all the way and post the complete results.

One other thing,  I used nothing but RCA'S salt water to start but have had to several gallon top offs with thier RO, over time of course. Not all at once.

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If it was me I would to dose it with some ammonia. Maybe 1ppm and see if I got any nitrite or nitrate after a day or 2. I find it hard to believe there is no bacteria in the tank.

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+1 throw some ammonia in there.  I used the Dr Tim's but I'm sure there are probably cheaper alternatives

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Ph 7.5

Ammonia 0

Cal 200

Kh 5

Nitrate 0

Nitrite 0

Ph4 .25

Gh 1

Sal 1.25

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When you say ammonia, i have ammonia lock. Is that the same thing?

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Thanks for all the great help.

I did use the ammonia, but more inportantly the reason why the bacteria did not live for long. 

What I though was enough on the ghost feeding was not enough to sustain the bio.

I added the ammonia like everyone recommended and trippled what I was feeding.

I am already seeing the results in just two days time. Diatom and nitrogen bubbles from new live rock.

Thanks for all the great suggestions and support!

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I seem to have gone from bad to catastrophe with this.

I altered my HOB to add sock that I cut up to increase the catch of what ever this stuff is.

I have done all the recommended advice, but this now is out of control. 

I start every morning vacuuming just the sand bed to remove as much as I can. Then I blow the live rock to get what I can, and follow up with a medium toothbrush to scrub down the live rock.

I have added phosphate bead removal pack, and again redid my HOB with a double layer of the sock material.

Yet I wake the very next morning only for it to look like I have done nothing at all.

I have done 3 different times with total blackouts. Did not phase it. I do not see any point of treating with chemiclean because it is NOT cyno. Plus chemiclean is not an algaecide.

I saw a recommendation video about taking out the orange and red. I only have a moonlight feature so that is what I have been trying for two days. I am unsure how long my fish and coral will hold up by doing this.

I can barely see inside my tank under the moonlight setting, but I am not seeing my glass being completely covered by what ever this stuff (supposedly diatoms) is.

Since starting this moonlight my numbers are erratic. 

PH is 8 which I am working on.

The amonia is dropping from .5 to .25

Cal 480

KH 125.3

Nitrate has jumped to 40. I hoping that with the 5 to 10 gallon daily water changes this is not backfiring on me.

Nitrite 0

Phosphate has increased from 0 to 5.

My hammerheads seem to be doing all right but the torch is stressing hard.

I have 5 blue damsel type fish which are doing fine.

My CUC dies within days of adding new snails and hermits.

This started out what looked like brown hair algea, then I started noticing the bubbles that were hanging on the tops. Was told it was nitrogen.

Now its a powder like dust except what clings to the glass. See photo attached. 

I have been told to scrap the tank, acid wash everything but there is still a chance for it to return.

This has been almost a 3 month battle and my physical limitations are making this more and more difficult.

Any advice? Would you keep up the battle or scrap the tank? I have $800 invested into it.

If I were to scrap it, I wanted to convert it into a sump for my 150, but if there is any chance of infesting my 150, I would rather not take the chance at all.

The tank is just over a year old but financially I have been having to do little by little. My light is trash. Par is only 20 at clear bottom so I moved my corals higher for the light. What would you do?

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20180830_091033.jpg

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Are you still adding ammonia?  How much ammonia did you add in total?  How much are you feeding each day?   It looks to me like there's a ton of Nitrogen and phosphate available in the system but not much to compete with the algae.  Even with daily water changes (which I would think is a hassle) you might not be exporting as much nitrogen and phosphate as is being added.  

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What kind of rock are you using?
Rock, or substrate?
If it is the live rock you are asking about I have no clue. What ever RCA had in stock almost a year ago.
My substraight is black Hawaiian.

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I only added what the instructions called for, and just the one dose. I am only feeding once a day, just enough for the fish. Not over feeding. I was feeding reef roids 1 x week until the outbreak.
As per RCA I was using the pellet pack phosphate remover for 2 months. But I never detected any until I stopped using it.
I stopped using any type of cuc because they died within a day. That would be my only guess for the amonia spike.
I am only doing around 5 gallon water changes daily, mostly to vacuum the crud out. I am still doing a 1/4 water change for the substrate. Cleaning the HOB filters and dumping the skimmer trying to rid the tank of this stuff as much as possible.

Tonight I did notice one of my hammer heads is just desimated. The flesh is just falling right off the head. It looks still alive with color, not bleached at all. Once the outbreak started, the few mushrooms I have in the tank pulled inward and have not died or extended outwards either.

The moonlight seems to be slowing it down quite a bit. I just do not know if it will kill it completely.
I still have the eco booster, but at this point I am afraid to do anything than what I am doing now.

Are you still adding ammonia?  How much ammonia did you add in total?  How much are you feeding each day?   It looks to me like there's a ton of Nitrogen and phosphate available in the system but not much to compete with the algae.  Even with daily water changes (which I would think is a hassle) you might not be exporting as much nitrogen and phosphate as is being added.  


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Cyano can be brown as well as red and orange... not 100% sure if this is cyano based on the substrate picture... but the glass and rock make me think cyano. 

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I'm starting with a quote from Charles Delbeek because it helps show just how complex the question of nutrients in a reef system is:  

"When I see the colors of some of these low nutrient tanks, I can't help but be reminded of bleached coral reefs.  It should therefore not come as a surprise that feeding corals in such systems becomes a very important component in these systems.  Though reefs are often catagorized as nutrient "deserts" the influx of nutrients in the form of particulates and plankton is quite high when the total volume of water passing over a reef is taken into consideration.

Our crystal-clear aquaria do not come close to the nutrient loads that swirl around natural reefs. And so when we create low-nutrient water conditions, we still have to deal with the rest of a much more complex puzzle. Much like those who run their aquarium water temperature close to the thermal maximums of corals walk a narrow tight rope, I can't help but think that low-nutrient aquariums may be headed down a similar path." Charles Delbeck, Coral Nov/Dec 2010, pg 127

As phototrophs corals switch back and forth between being autotrophs (using inorganic nutrients) and heterotrophs (using particulates or organic nutrients).   Corals have shown preferences for feeding one way or the other at the genus level (and I suspect research will eventially show at the species level also) so keep in mind feeding a coral directly may or may not help.    (I'll point out here the colloquial terms "SPS" and "LPS" are irrelevent in determining which a coral specimen prefers.)    But in order to feed and grow corals need phosphate and if they are deficient it really screws them up.   Additionally, from both what I've read and my own experiences over the last 30 years, when corals experience a stress event that disrupts their feeding it can take months to recover (one paper found it took as long as 11 months for corals to recover). 

Looking at what you've posted stripping out all the phosphates would have seriously impacted the corals ability to utilize nutrients AND compete with the algae.  It doesn't help that nuisance algae, via the release of organic carbon, also are promoting pathogenic bacteria for the corals further impacting their ability to compete.  I also know from experience it can take months to shift the equilibrium of a system to one that favors corals.   With the low phospahte levels and the deaths you mentioned it seems to me it seem to me the ratio of nitrogen to phosphate is way out of whack and the only stuff that can really take advantage is the nuisance algae.  

As I see it you have two choices.  First is just start over.  (If it was my tank and I started over I would use the rock but get rid of the sand.)  The second is stop using anything that's messing with the nitrogen and phosphate levels outisde of feeding your fish or the occasional feeding of reef roids.  Do a couple big water changes (~30% but not mor than 50% and part of the water should be from a healthy stable reef system if possible) a week apart.  Add some hardy corals, both stoney and soft (Frogspawn not torch or hammer, Purple Stylo if you have high enough PAR an match PAR levels to what it was grown under, brown finger sinularia, toadstools, are some examples).   I would cut back to just weekly water changes, this gives the ecosystem time to stabelize a bit and it makes for less work.   After a couple big water changes and adding some hardy corals to help compete I'd drop back to ~15-20% weekly.  This second option I know from experience will take at least a couple months and 4-5 isn't unreasonable (look at my two threads on dealing with nuisance algae),

(As an aside, keep in mind "bleached" means a coral has lost it's zooxantheallae, not that it's white.  Bleached corals can in fact be more colorful than their healthy counterparts so color can not be used as an indicator of whether or not a coral is bleached.  To help cause additional confusion melanin is an essential part of a corals immune system, when bacterial loads increase the role of melanine in creating the "browning" of stressed corals or because of carbon dosing is still very poorly researched so "brown" coloration  may not be a good indicator either of healthy coral coloration.  😞  )

Here's a some additional links:

 

Microbilization of reefs

https://www.nature.com/articles/nmicrobiol201642

 

Organic Carbon causes coral death

https://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2005/294/m294p173.pdf

https://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2006/314/m314p119.pdf

 

Nitrate enrichment can increase the susceptibility of reef corals to bleaching
http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Nutrient enrichment.pdf

Ultrastructural Biomarkers in Symbiotic Algae Reflect the Availability of Dissolved Inorganic Nutrients and Particulate Food to the Reef Coral Holobiont
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2015.00103/full

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X17301601?via%3Dihub

High phosphate uptake requirements of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata
http://jeb.biologists.org/content/214/16/2749.full

 

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17 hours ago, Beaux said:

Rock, or substrate?
If it is the live rock you are asking about I have no clue. What ever RCA had in stock almost a year ago.
My substraight is black Hawaiian.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

I was wondering if it was pukani. That stuff is notorious for leaching tons of phosphates.

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I'm starting with a quote from Charles Delbeek because it helps show just how complex the question of nutrients in a reef system is:  
"When I see the colors of some of these low nutrient tanks, I can't help but be reminded of bleached coral reefs.  It should therefore not come as a surprise that feeding corals in such systems becomes a very important component in these systems.  Though reefs are often catagorized as nutrient "deserts" the influx of nutrients in the form of particulates and plankton is quite high when the total volume of water passing over a reef is taken into consideration.
Our crystal-clear aquaria do not come close to the nutrient loads that swirl around natural reefs. And so when we create low-nutrient water conditions, we still have to deal with the rest of a much more complex puzzle. Much like those who run their aquarium water temperature close to the thermal maximums of corals walk a narrow tight rope, I can't help but think that low-nutrient aquariums may be headed down a similar path." Charles Delbeck, Coral Nov/Dec 2010, pg 127
As phototrophs corals switch back and forth between being autotrophs (using inorganic nutrients) and heterotrophs (using particulates or organic nutrients).   Corals have shown preferences for feeding one way or the other at the genus level (and I suspect research will eventially show at the species level also) so keep in mind feeding a coral directly may or may not help.    (I'll point out here the colloquial terms "SPS" and "LPS" are irrelevent in determining which a coral specimen prefers.)    But in order to feed and grow corals need phosphate and if they are deficient it really screws them up.   Additionally, from both what I've read and my own experiences over the last 30 years, when corals experience a stress event that disrupts their feeding it can take months to recover (one paper found it took as long as 11 months for corals to recover). 
Looking at what you've posted stripping out all the phosphates would have seriously impacted the corals ability to utilize nutrients AND compete with the algae.  It doesn't help that nuisance algae, via the release of organic carbon, also are promoting pathogenic bacteria for the corals further impacting their ability to compete.  I also know from experience it can take months to shift the equilibrium of a system to one that favors corals.   With the low phospahte levels and the deaths you mentioned it seems to me it seem to me the ratio of nitrogen to phosphate is way out of whack and the only stuff that can really take advantage is the nuisance algae.  
As I see it you have two choices.  First is just start over.  (If it was my tank and I started over I would use the rock but get rid of the sand.)  The second is stop using anything that's messing with the nitrogen and phosphate levels outisde of feeding your fish or the occasional feeding of reef roids.  Do a couple big water changes (~30% but not mor than 50% and part of the water should be from a healthy stable reef system if possible) a week apart.  Add some hardy corals, both stoney and soft (Frogspawn not torch or hammer, Purple Stylo if you have high enough PAR an match PAR levels to what it was grown under, brown finger sinularia, toadstools, are some examples).   I would cut back to just weekly water changes, this gives the ecosystem time to stabelize a bit and it makes for less work.   After a couple big water changes and adding some hardy corals to help compete I'd drop back to ~15-20% weekly.  This second option I know from experience will take at least a couple months and 4-5 isn't unreasonable (look at my two threads on dealing with nuisance algae),
(As an aside, keep in mind "bleached" means a coral has lost it's zooxantheallae, not that it's white.  Bleached corals can in fact be more colorful than their healthy counterparts so color can not be used as an indicator of whether or not a coral is bleached.  To help cause additional confusion melanin is an essential part of a corals immune system, when bacterial loads increase the role of melanine in creating the "browning" of stressed corals or because of carbon dosing is still very poorly researched so "brown" coloration  may not be a good indicator either of healthy coral coloration.    )
Here's a some additional links:
 
Microbilization of reefs
https://www.nature.com/articles/nmicrobiol201642
 
Organic Carbon causes coral death
https://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2005/294/m294p173.pdf
https://www.int-res.com/articles/meps2006/314/m314p119.pdf
 
Nitrate enrichment can increase the susceptibility of reef corals to bleaching
http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/file/Nutrient enrichment.pdf
Ultrastructural Biomarkers in Symbiotic Algae Reflect the Availability of Dissolved Inorganic Nutrients and Particulate Food to the Reef Coral Holobiont
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2015.00103/full
Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X17301601?via%3Dihub
High phosphate uptake requirements of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata
http://jeb.biologists.org/content/214/16/2749.full
 
Thanks Timfish,

This is all great helpful information for me.

As I think I mentioned before I did remove the phosphate removal pack. I am seeing those levels increase. Along with my nitrates.

However I am seeing some positive results with only using the moonlight feature. My light is garbage, learned that the hard way.

Part of the info you provided helped me learn a valuable lesson as well. Just because I set up tank x, and it is a thriving tank now, I can not set up tank y duplicating tank x and it should be the same.

I guess I am old school when you talk about removing the substrate. Are you saying go bare bottom or change to another brand/type? I always believed that the substrate played a vital role in setting the bio filtration process?

Again thanks for the time in doing the research, I suppose I am not using key words in my searches.

However since I am seeing positive results with changing the lighting, I am going to give it a few more days while trying to get my numbers back where they should be.

But again thanks for the effort you put into it! Much appreciated!

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Thanks Timfish,

 

This is all great helpful information for me.

 

As I think I mentioned before I did remove the phosphate removal pack. I am seeing those levels increase. Along with my nitrates.

 

However I am seeing some positive results with only using the moonlight feature. My light is garbage, learned that the hard way.

 

Part of the info you provided helped me learn a valuable lesson as well. Just because I set up tank x, and it is a thriving tank now, I can not set up tank y duplicating tank x and it should be the same.

 

I guess I am old school when you talk about removing the substrate. Are you saying go bare bottom or change to another brand/type? I always believed that the substrate played a vital role in setting the bio filtration process?

 

Again thanks for the time in doing the research, I suppose I am not using key words in my searches.

 

However since I am seeing positive results with changing the lighting, I am going to give it a few more days while trying to get my numbers back where they should be.

 

But again thanks for the effort you put into it! Much appreciated!

 

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I love reading things Tim shares. He’s so smart and explains things that even I can understand. . I also appreciate this thread. My new tank is going through the same thing. Not quite as bad, but I sure don’t want it to escalate. I began running GFO and also have an ATS that’s trying to get going. It does have some growth on it already. But I’ve never heard what Tim said about healthy corals competing with the algae. I thght I had to remove the algae so it didn’t kill my corals. I’m blowing the film off each day with a turkey baster bc it’s really making my zoas unhappy. Hopefully we will both have success beating this

 

 

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4 hours ago, Christyef said:

I love reading things Tim shares. He’s so smart and explains things that even I can understand. emoji23.png. I also appreciate this thread. My new tank is going through the same thing. Not quite as bad, but I sure don’t want it to escalate. I began running GFO and also have an ATS that’s trying to get going. It does have some growth on it already. But I’ve never heard what Tim said about healthy corals competing with the algae. I thght I had to remove the algae so it didn’t kill my corals. I’m blowing the film off each day with a turkey baster bc it’s really making my zoas unhappy. Hopefully we will both have success beating this

Thank you!!!  :smile:    For the record my IQ is just average.   I'm just really obsessive about understanding what's happening in my tanks but am frustrated not having enough time to read all the papers being published by researchers.

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20 hours ago, Beaux said:

Thanks Timfish . . .

You're welcome!  :smile:

. . . However I am seeing some positive results with only using the moonlight feature. . .
 

Well, how do you know the siphoning you've been doing isn't what's caused the nuisance algae to slow down?  To be clear, I'm not saying the moonlight isn't the reason the nuisance algae is slowing down in your tank.   But I know it can take weeks after a problem is fixed for the results to be seen.   In my first thread on hair algae in Mike's tank there were weeks when the algae rebounded.  That didn't mean what i was doing wasn't working, it just was an indicator of the "equilibrium", for lack of a better word, adjusting to favor corals over algae.  (Rohwer discusses this in his book "Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas".)   Patience is essential, and it's important to pay atteniton to what's happened weeks to months prior to the appearance of a problem. 

Part of the info you provided helped me learn a valuable lesson as well. Just because I set up tank x, and it is a thriving tank now, I can not set up tank y duplicating tank x and it should be the same.

I guess I am old school when you talk about removing the substrate. Are you saying go bare bottom or change to another brand/type? I always believed that the substrate played a vital role in setting the bio filtration process?

I'm reminded of the old adddage "Crazy is doing the same thing over but expecting different results"  :jump:   But that's exactly what we need to expect.    What's really helped me is the research showing corasl, algae and sponges are all promoting different microbial processes.   Microbial processes in a reef ecosystem are differentially promoted at the Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species and Matz's research argues even at the genotype level.   Haas' research posted above shows at least some of these processes are pathogenic to corals.   Sooooo, even if we do exactly the same thing day in and day out with a system we need to expect things to change over time.  

The reason I would toss the sand is there's going to be a lot of gunk in it.  If I was going to start over it would be easier to just replace it than try to clean it.   The reason I wouldn't replace it if I was going to remediate the ssytem is it would be a lot of extra work to remove it and the biological processes that shift to promote corals over algae are working in the sand just like everywhere else in the ecosystem.  So as I see it it's unessesary to replace it.

 

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I do see your points either from personal experience or from your research.

My theory was that no matter the type of algea, it needs many factors to flourish. Light being one of them.

In my experiment with only using just the moonlight settings, removing the red and orange, has indeed slowed the growth. It dose not return in mass like it has with all the other methods I have tried.

Day 4 into this experiment I have 0 growth or return to all sides of any part of the glass, as well as reduction of mass amounts piled on my substrate. Even the live rock shows reduction, but not complete annihilation yet. I would like to see if indeed can be a workable resolution.

I still do suction out the spots I see, blow and scrub the live rock, and by late afternoon clean all the filters and other equipment. I am down to roughly only doing 2 to 2 1/2 gallons instead of the 5 plus gallon daily water change.

I have removed all corals into a quarantine tank, but I do not foresee them making a recovery. Let alone the risk of re contaminating the tank however this issue gets resolved.

As far as the substrate I learned a valuable lesson early on. I was rinsing my HOB filters and such in tap water instead of the removed tank water. Learning that I was basically killing off beneficial bactera.

Since the tap water contains chlorine, would it not have the desired affect killing not only the beneficial things but killing off what ever type of algae this may be, or is there a better route for this, should I resort to crashing the tank?

As the other member pointed out about identifying the type of rock, I do not have the knowledge to tell what type it could be. All I remember from that purchase was, it was a bright purplish color and its shape, an arch, was what I was looking for.

As far a set up I did not mean to imply I duplicated tank x to tank y. I had learned much from getting a great tank established on my first try. But without the shared knowledge of our club, I learned about flow, dead spots ect. and that was what I was trying to replicate. Having one of our members come out with a par meter was a tremendous help.

This post was actually more intended for a poll like result ie. if this was your tank and you have tried all that I have tried, what would you do? Keep trying or crash it and start from scratch.

Even then I would have to research how to rid my substrate of the problem, or replace it and a how to acid wash.

But I am glad for the ones that made suggestions such as yourself, because it helped me to expand my knowledge in reef keeping!

I'm reminded of the old adddage "Crazy is doing the same thing over but expecting different results"  :jump:   But that's exactly what we need to expect.    What's really helped me is the research showing corasl, algae and sponges are all promoting different microbial processes.   Microbial processes in a reef ecosystem are differentially promoted at the Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species and Matz's research argues even at the genotype level.   Haas' research posted above shows at least some of these processes are pathogenic to corals.   Sooooo, even if we do exactly the same thing day in and day out with a system we need to expect things to change over time.  
The reason I would toss the sand is there's going to be a lot of gunk in it.  If I was going to start over it would be easier to just replace it than try to clean it.   The reason I wouldn't replace it if I was going to remediate the ssytem is it would be a lot of extra work to remove it and the biological processes that shift to promote corals over algae are working in the sand just like everywhere else in the ecosystem.  So as I see it it's unessesary to replace it.
 


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P.S.
Can you buy sponges anywhere? Would that help to restore the balance?

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